On the bookshelves this second week of November

Once a week I make a trip to the local bookstore.

I never go there to buy anything. Sometimes I leave my wallet behind, so I can avoid making an impulse buy. I just browse, browse, and browse the aisles.

Sometimes I talk to the sales staff, and ask if they’re carrying a new book I’ve heard about. Or if they have the so-and-so book of an author or series they’re already carrying. Or to ask why they decided to change their display this month.

It hurts a bit to read about Neil Gaiman’s librarians as I don’t have those. I don’t have any book gurus to recommend me books and encourage my reading. The bookstore sales staff are probably the closest I can get. Public libraries are hard to come by where I live, and even the few ones that exist are in a pretty dismal state.

But I’m happy with what I have. The bookstore to me is what the library must have been to the young Neil: A solace. A happy place. I never schedule my trips there, and yet I always end up going mid-week, either on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Always right when I feel like the corporate world is going to gobble me up then spit me out. It’s my hump day reward.

It must be what retail therapy is like, except I don’t have to spend for anything.

When I was making my rounds last week, I thought it’d be interesting to share the books that caught my eye. If others manage to discover a great book through my book haunts then I’d be so happy to be of service! The books below are my finds, along with what it was about them that sparked my interest:

Continue reading “On the bookshelves this second week of November”

Advertisements

Microsoft DAT206x: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel Review

You never actually analyze and visualize data, but this course is worth taking as it’s a good introduction to using Power Pivot and Power Query–both of which are useful for managing large amounts of data in Excel. Just make sure you manage your expectations.

Update: To follow my progress in this program, check the Microsoft Professional Program tag.

 

Context

For those who are following this blog for my data science updates, it might be of interest to you that I am still working on Microsoft’s Professional Program for Data Science  (on beta). I have recently completed my second course, Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel.

This was my gateway course to the program. Excel enthusiasts at work had recommended it as a good introduction to PowerPivot, and it was only later that I found out the course was part of a larger data science program.

My primary purpose for taking the course was increasing my proficiency in Excel. I currently manage a large-scale project with an equally large-scale tracking spreadsheet. The spreadsheet easily gets out of hand due to the sheer number of assets involved and because it pulls data regularly from multiple data sources. I was hoping the course would help me clean up the data and make it sustainable to maintain in the long run.

Because of this, I’m reviewing the course from a more practical Can I use this at work? perspective rather than its relation (or lack of) to data science.

It took me about a month to complete, starting September 2016. You can follow my progress in the MS Data Science Program by using my tag Microsoft Professional Program.

Continue reading “Microsoft DAT206x: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel Review”

How to write like Hemingway

The elevator doors close.

I look left, and see a familiar face. The way his stoic face breaks into a smile tells me I’m familiar to him too. We exchange pleasantries, and talk about the great past time of adulthood: work.

The elevator goes down. My eyes try to maintain eye contact, but keeps going to his hands instead. Rather, that thing in his hands. That thing I only ever see in bookstores. On the reference shelf, which nobody cares for because the Internet exists.

Ding! Ground floor. The doors open.

If I don’t ask now, I might never know…

We’re just about to part our ways.

I break down. Continue reading “How to write like Hemingway”

It’s Normal to Love Lists (I Promise)

During a recent desk move at work, we uncluttered three years’ worth of, well, clutter. A lot of re-discoveries were made: Lost pens were reunited with their owners, papers overdue for the bin finally met their dues, and this:

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I had managed to accumulate six notebooks’ worth of daily to-do lists.

Seeing them piled up like that was a bit alarming. I mean, SIX NOTEBOOKS? Isn’t that a bit much? It’s not like I was particularly busy these past years… And given those blue Coronas are about a 100 pages each, it would mean I was averaging about 2.3 pages per day… hoooowwww? But more importantly, WHYYYYYYYYY???

Continue reading “It’s Normal to Love Lists (I Promise)”

The Ideas Behind the Idea Bank

I am not an original thinker.

I borrow other people’s ideas, mix them with others’, change them to suit me, and improve on them… until I toss them out for a new idea.

That’s pretty much how my idea bank came to be.

What is an idea bank?

An idea bank is a repository for ideas.

  • I deposit ideas into the idea bank whenever I get them.
  • I withdraw ideas whenever I need them, such as when I need to write.

Those withdrawals are the substance of my blog posts. It’s a great way to ensure I always have a  topic in the pipeline, and so I won’t forget about something worth sharing. Right now even if I don’t come up with any new topic ideas, I should have enough blogging content to post twice weekly for the next year.

It’s also a great way to gather the little notes I have scattered all around the place in a desperate attempt to NOT forget an idea.

It is in no way original though.

Continue reading “The Ideas Behind the Idea Bank”