Toothpicks and Mobile Phone Maintenance

A while ago I had a problem with my mobile phone. Most often I’d plug in the charger and the phone would not recognize that it was plugged in. I experimented with different chargers and determined that the problem was not the chargers but the phone. Someone suggested it may have lint in the charging port since it spends so much time in my pocket. So I took a standard round toothpick and gently poked around the inside of the charging port and a large ball of lint came out when I pulled out the toothpick. Afterward the charger worked with no problem.

Flash forward to the other day when I was having problems with my earbuds on the same phone. Sometimes the inline remote would work. Other times not. Likewise the audio and microphone. Needless to say if the remote, audio and mic are not working then the earbuds are worthless.

Since I’m very picky with my earbuds (I don’t like the in-ear type but want the inline remote; I only know of one brand of these still available and they are not being manufactured anymore) and this pair was still working on other devices I decided to see if a toothpick may be helpful again. Sure enough another lint ball appeared when I pulled out the toothpick and the earbuds are working fine again.

Who would have figured that the most important tool in mobile phone maintenance would be a toothpick?

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List Differences in Two Cell Ranges in Google Spreadsheet

Another tip from my recent work in Google Spreadsheets.

I had two columns of data and was looking for a way to display items that appeared in one column that didn’t appear in the other. The combination of the FILTER and MATCH functions is how I accomplished this.

The FILTER function returns items from a source range that meets a specific criteria. The first argument in the FILTER function is the source range. The second argument (and further optional arguments) is the criteria. The example given by Google is as follows:

=FILTER(A2:B26, A2:A26 > 5, D2:D26 < 10)

In this example items from range A2:B26 will appear if their value in column A is greater than 5 and their value in column D is less than 10.

This was only part of my solution. I still needed to compare my two columns as the criteria of the FILTER function. I did this using the MATCH function. MATCH is very similar to FILTER. It returns the position in a range based on a criteria. For example if you have a list of the days of the week days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and your criteria was "Wednesday" you end up with this:


"Wednesday" is your criteria, A1:A7 is your range, 0 is your search type (exact match when range is unsorted). This will return 4 since Wednesday would be fourth in your list.

Throw in ISERROR to check whether MATCH is returning an error and you have the following:


In this example columns A and B both include a list of the days of the week. If column B is missing a day (or more) this formula will return the missing day(s).

Pretty neat.

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Access Data From Another Spreadsheet in Google Spreadsheets

I’ve been working with Google Spreadsheets a bit lately and have learned a few tricks. One such trick was learned when I had to find a way to have data in one spreadsheet automatically update based on data that’s in another spreadsheet. This turned out to be quite easy once figured out. Here’s how to do it:

1 – Every spreadsheet has a key. This key can be found by looking at the “key=” parameter of the URL for the spreadsheet. Make a note of the key of the spreadsheet you want to capture data from (your source).
2 – Make a note of the cell range the data you need resides in.
3 – Go to the spreadsheet you want to include the data in (your target) and include the following formula at the location you want the source data to appear:
=IMPORTRANGE("abcd123abcd123", "sheet1!A1:C10")

In this example replace “abcd123abcd123” with the key of your source spreadsheet and “sheet1!A1:C10” with the cell range you want.

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My Palm Blog Is No More

I finally did it.

I had an old blog called Dave’s Palm Pages in which I used to write about the old Palm products (Palm Pilots and their descendants) and hacks for them. It’s also where I posted links to downloadable sports schedules and other calendar data that could be imported directly into the Palm calendar app.

Although Palm went away several years ago I still kept the blog around. I figured since it was already there and it was costing me nothing to keep it there I may as well just leave it alone.

But now the time has come. In an effort to consolidate and delete old files I have finally removed my old Palm blog. I imported it’s posts, pages and images into this blog for posterity but the blog itself is now gone.

Goodbye, Palm Pages.

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I Didn’t See the Baby

The video above is alarming. It shows a crime committed in the Bronx, New York earlier this week where a man took a running start to knock a woman and steal her cellphone. What makes it worse is that the woman was carrying a baby at the time.

This video look awfully heartless. But as if this was bad enough the perpetrator of this crime, after he was arrested, apologized telling reporters “I didn’t see the baby.”

Really? Seeing the baby would have made a difference? Running at and violently knocking down a defenseless person is ok if there is no baby involved? And for what? A cellphone that’s trackable and will get you caught?

The stupidity of this act and the rationalization of the perpetrator are galling. Sad that this is the world we live in.

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