Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

I use Excel on occasion for data entry, but not enough to really get familiar with the shortcuts. Here are a few that are worth knowing:

F2 Edit the current cell. If you want to overtype, just start typing instead of pressing F2
Ctrl+; Enter today’s date – super handy if you are updating some kind of daily log
= Not a shortcut in the same way, but = tells Excel that the rest of the cell value is a formula, so you can just type a formula and skip the formula editing dialog.
TODO: Cell and cell range format  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

VmWare Workstation 8 Host-Only Networking

I downloaded a pre-configured vmware virtual machine running SITS on linux with Oracle for training purposes and ran it in VmWare Workstation 8. The VM boots up OK, but I can’t ping it from the host. VmWare is configured for host-only networking using 192.168.243/24 and the IP reported by the VM matches the one I would expect DHCP to have given it: (VmWare leaves the first half of the range for static IPs so we start at 128).

A second VM guest, an old Windows XP box for old browser testing, connected to the same virtual network, can ping the SITS VM. This one has IP, the next one in the DHCP range, so is also as expected.

Windows Firewall is disabled on the host so it can’t be that getting in the way.

Inspection of the IP address of the virtual adapter on the host (Network Connections lists it as VmWare Network Adapter VMnet1) shows something weird: the IP address is not as expected, but is!

I used the Virtual Network Editor in VmWare Workstation to create a new host-only network (VmNet2). This was assigned 192.168.47/24. I shut down the SITS guest VM, changed it’s VmWare settings to use the new VmNet2 and then restarted it. It gets assigned as expected, so it’s on the new network.

The host can ping it! Inspection of the new virtual adapter on the host shows it has been given as expected.

This confirms that a Windows 7 VmWare host can contact guests in a host-only network (I have previously been told they cannot and it only permits guest-to-guest networking, which I have just proven to be false).

So something has screwed up the VmNet1 host-only network adapter configuration on the host. No idea what, but as this is a dev machine it could have been anything including myself.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting Started with Windows 8

I’ve installed the Windows 8 preview as a VM and had a bit of a play around. It looks great; a big jump from the usual grey stuff we expect from Microsoft.

The Start button and menu has gone and is replaced by a new start page which has been designed with tablets in mind, but takes a little getting used to if you are still using a mouse. In particular, special menus appear when you put the mouse into the top corners of the screen.

There’s a great post here about getting started with Windows 8 and important keyboard shortcuts which I’ll need at some point.

The author also did a follow-up about simple Windows 8 customisations.