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1. Newsy stuff from the world of computers and elsewhere.
3. Talkback.
4. Spreadsheet ideas
5. Great sites.

In last weeks I commented that the western powers wanted to keep their nuclear weapons but prevent others from having them. This provoked a somewhat angry response from one reader, with whom I had an interesting and cordial exchange of emails. His point of view was well explained and I enjoyed our debate.
So, Talkback is born. It's a section in the newsletter for readers to express themselves. You can read more about it in the Talkback section below, and I hope you'll use it and help make this newsletter even better.
The news from computer land was pretty dull this week, so I was grateful to the first human microchip implant for brightening things up.
If you use Excel you might be interested in what will become a regular feature: spreadsheet ideas, a collection of ideas to get more out of the program.
We have a selection of downloads and websites, and I hope you enjoy this issue. Phil.

Website robbery:
There was a time when a would-be robber would have to do some physical work, break into your house or pin you against a wall holding a knife to your throat, in order to take your hard earned cash. But no longer: you can be robbed while surfing the web in the comfort of your own home, and you won't know about it!
There are sites which install "Trojan Horse bots that allow attackers to compromise end-user banking credentials for more than 50 financial institutions and ecommerce websites." If that sounds scary, it is.
The scary part is that you don't have to do anything, like open an attachment. "This code attempts to exploit the Microsoft AdoDB / XML HTTP (MS06-014) vulnerability to download and install a Trojan downloader without end-user interaction."
There are some give-aways though; you are advised to turn off your firewall and antivirus: which is about as dumb as wandering through a high crime area waving a fistful of dollars, pounds or euros.
Read more:

A better way to open a door?
A computer technician in California (where else!) has had a chip inserted under his skin which opens the door of his apartment with a wave of his hand. Apparently he was fed up with losing his key.
His door opener uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which has been around for years, and is used in animal identification, product inventories etc. This is thought to be the first human use of the technology and I can't help wondering what other futuristic nightmares await us.
Read more:

Yahoo under attack:
The only interesting thing about this item is that the main character seems to believe he can win. Eric Jackson, who has 45 shares in Yahoo, has put forward a nine point development plan to Yahoo shareholders. His requirements include sacking the chairman and most of the directors. He is promoting his bid via YouTube, alongside a picture of Martin Luther King delivering his "I have a dream" speech. Dream on Eric.
Read more:

More news about computers:
For those of you who want more news from the world of computing, the following are good sites:
And if you Google for computer news you'll find loads more:
There are also news items on which is well worth a visit.

Irfranview: is a very fast, small, compact graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista. It's free and its features include:
º Thumbnail/preview option
º Slideshow (save slideshow as EXE/SCR or burn it to CD)
º Show EXIF/IPTC/Comment text in Slideshow/Fullscreen etc.
º Support for Adobe Photoshop Filters
º Fast directory view (moving through directory)
º Batch conversion (with image processing)
º Multipage TIF editing
º File search
º Email option
º Multimedia player
º Print option
º Change color depth
º Scan (batch scan) support
º Cut/crop
º IPTC editing
º Effects (Sharpen, Blur, Adobe 8BF, Filter Factory, Filters Unlimited, etc.)
º Capturing
º Extract icons from EXE/DLL/ICLs
º Lossless JPG rotation
º Many hotkeys
º Many command line options
You can get this great download, and dozens more, by logging in at and entering our download area.

Share ideas, have a rant, comment on newsletter items, reply to talkback items, it's a "free for all" section where anything goes (well almost anything). Make your contribution succinct and please include your name and country in the email.
Here are some ideas:
Is the man with the chip in his hand a pioneer or a crank?
Is Windows Vista any good?
Should Bush and Blair be tried for war crimes?
Is online banking safe?
Is your blog worth a visit?
Please put TALKBACK in the subject line of your email and send it to:

Spreadsheet ideas:
To make the current date and time show on your spreadsheet:
º Select the cell you want the date to appear in and type in "=now()" without the quotes. Press Enter.
º Right click on the cell and select Format cells from the dropdown list.
º Open the Number tab and select Date from the list. You can now select the format you wish to display the date in.
º To display the time, use the same formula and go through the same process, but instead of selecting date, select time as the format.
º The time will update every time you enter some data or recalculate.

Get rid of the zeros in large arrays of data. If you have a large amount of data that shows zeros and you would rather see a blank cell, do this:
º Highlight all the cells in the table that contain numeric data (ignore the labels) and select Format from the row of commands at the top of the page.
º Select conditional formatting from the dropdown and you'll get a window with options.
º In the second little window, click the cross at the side and select "equal to" from the dropdown.
º In the window immediately to the right of that type 0 (zero, not the letter) and click on the Format button.
º Set the font colour to white.
º Press OK and then OK again in the main window and all those zeros disappear.
º Conditional formatting can be used for many things, e.g. making numbers above or below a certain value appear in a different colour.

If you want to know more about what Excel can do you can ask us by logging in at and asking the question. There will be more spreadsheet ideas next week.

Interesting sites: is one of my favourite sites. You'll love the story about the artist who fried meatballs (for a dinner party with friends) using fat produced from his own body by liposuction. Project Gutenberg is a fantastic collection of over 20,000 free e-books. It's all perfectly legal as the books are out of copyright. It's a brilliant resource for all who are interested in great literature.

"Sandusky, Ohio- A man was charged with negligent assault after he shot his wife's hat thinking it was a rat. The hat was on his wife's head at the time. The same man had previously shot himself in the foot while trying to shoot a rat."
More such madness can be found at:

Phil Dodd February 2007.