Archives / 2011 / July
  • Display Plus Sign in Excel if Value is Positive

    Sometimes in Excel you may want to actually display a + character (or plus sign) in front of the cell value if the value is positive.  For instance, if you’re showing the change in a value, like this (note these are made up values): In this case, you can imagine that the Change columns are relative to the previous month’s report, so this gives an at-a-glance idea of the trend.  However, you probably would like the first column to show a + sign so that it’s more clear that it’s a delta value, not a raw value.  You can apply this custom formatting to do so.  First, right click on the cell(s) you want to format, and select Format Cells.  Then click Custom and type in … more

  • Installing Visual Studio Load Test Agents and Controllers

    Visual Studio includes support for distributed load testing through the use of Test Agents and Controllers.  For reference, there are a couple of MSDN Walkthroughs on Installing and Configuring Visual Studio Agents and Test and Build Controllers and Using a Test Controller and Test Agents in a Load Test.  However, they lack pretty pictures, so if a screenshot walkthrough is more your speed, read on. Before starting, you’ll need to installation media.  This might be an actual DVD, or more likely it’s an ISO image you’ve gotten from MSDN that looks something like this: Here’s what mine looks like once mounted as my F: drive: Of course the next step is to run setup.exe, … more

  • Drawing Directed Graphs with GraphViz

    I’ve been wanting to draw some simple circle-and-arrow directed graphs for a while, because of a few problem domains I’m working in.  One example pertains to articles and related educational content, which I’d like to represent as a series of modules linked by arrows that represent prerequisites.  You can see a wonderful example of such a diagram on the Khan Academy’s site in their Exercise Dashboard (shown below): Their site actually uses the Google Maps API and is dynamic.  That’s beyond my needs for the moment, although I do think it’s quite cool.  I just want to draw circles and links and have them rendered nicely without my having to redraw them all or move them … more

  • How to Find Conference and User Group Presenters

    If you’re a user group leader or event organizer and are looking for quality presenters for your event, here are some resources that should help get you started.  This is not meant to be an all-inclusive or exhaustive list, of course, and to that end I fully expect that there will be great resources left as an exercise for you, the reader, to add via the comments.  Thanks for Gerhard Weiss for giving me the initial idea to post this (some time ago, on a mailing list). Know Thyself (and your past speakers) If you’ve been running a group or event for some time, you already have relationships with many speakers and presenters.  You also probably know which ones were best rated, … more

  • Common Design Patterns Resources

    Last night I gave a presentation at the Cleveland .NET SIG on Common Design Patterns.  The turnout was great, so much so that the group ran out of pizza and chairs, so thanks to everyone for taking the time to come out!  Thankfully the A/C held up pretty well (in years’ past, it’s been an issue there), and I hope everybody enjoyed the topic and discussion.  I promised that I would post the slides and demos here, so I am, along with a few links to other resources. Download my Common Design Patterns slides and sample code.  You can also view my sample code directly on CodePlex as it’s checked into its own fork of the MVC Music Store there. Learn more about Design … more