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Excel 2007 handling of CSV files

Wednesday October 28 2009

Excel comma semicolon Sometimes you wonder what century we’re living in. Things that should be simple and ‘just work’ often don’t.

I whipped up a quick CSV export function, which results in files such as:

"name","department","phone"
"john smith","accounting","555 1234"

Pretty standard. UTF-8. Double quotes (") in fields repeated ("") to escape them. Works fine in Apple Numbers, Excel for Mac and my Excel 2007 on Windows XP (VMWare).

However, a coworker was unable to open the files. Also using Excel 2007, on Vista in this case. After many fruitless attempts changing the format, such as unquoting certain fields, changing line endings to \r\n/, it appears that a Dutch Excel 2007 handles CSV files differently than a US Excel 2007… The European localized version only accepts fields terminated by semicolons, whilst the US version needs fields terminated by commas.

This makes CSV export for Excel impossible to create reliably, unless you add some sort of radio button to ask if somebody runs a US or European version of Excel. Or if you do some browser header sniffing and hopes that this person doesn’t run the browser in a different language than Excel… (which is quite often the case in The Netherlands).

Only resort – add an extra button: Export to Excel XML. Gahhhhh…

Anyway, I hope this post is helpful for someone who runs into the same problem as I did.

MacFusion and Snow Leopard

Tuesday September 8 2009

MacFusion & Snow Leopard Quite happy with running Snow Leopard. I didn’t encounter any incompatibilities, except with an older version of XAMPP and MacFusion.

When mounting a drive with MacFusion, you’ll get the error that the remote host has disconnected. When you look at the log file, you notice that the error is actually in a shared lib: dyld: could not load inserted library: /Applications/Macfusion.app/Contents/PlugIns/ sshfs.mfplugin/Contents/Resources/sshnodelay.so.

To fix this, simply execute the following in your terminal:

mv /Applications/Macfusion.app/Contents/PlugIns/sshfs.mfplugin/Contents/Resources/sshnodelay.so /Applications/Macfusion.app/Contents/PlugIns/sshfs.mfplugin/Contents/Resources/sshnodelay.so.bak

This will prevent MacFusion from loading the offending shared lib. Everything works again :)

Lovely simple lentil soup

Wednesday September 2 2009

Soup About time to post something! Nothing too exciting, just a very tasty and super easy red lentil soup recipe I wanted to share.

You need:

Two cups of red lentils
500 grams of leek
Two big onions
Vegetable oil (sunflower, olive oil, whatever)
2 litres of vegetable stock
Spices: Ground chili pepper, sweet pepper, turmeric, allspice, black pepper and cubeb

Preparation:

  1. Dice the onions. Cut up the leek coarsely – don’t forget to wash the dirt away. Heat a nice splash of oil in a big soup pot, add the onion and leek and simmer on a low fire for 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the lentils. Otherwise you get some scummy foam on your soup (bleh). Add your vegetable stock and the lentils to the cooking pot. For vegetable stock you can just use water and stock cubes. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the fire.
  3. 5 minutes in, add the spices, except for the black pepper. Of course, by far the best is to get fresh (whole) spices and grind them yourself in a mortar and pestle.
  4. Let it gently bubble for half an hour on low fire (stir every 5 minutes!). In the last few minutes add a hefty dose of black pepper. Pepper tastes much better when it’s relatively fresh, instead of cooked for a long time.

Serve with some lightly toasted whole wheat bread. You’ve got yourself a nice filling veggie soup, with lots of protein and fibers. Yay!