Joe Johnson

office 2010

Lotto Redux: Finding Winning MegaMillions Tickets

Joe Johnson - 17/12/2013

3077639_GLast year during the big PowerBall mania I had some time stuck in DC for a client to write up a quick Excel spreadsheet for checking a bulk supply of tickets. Well, now it seems the changes to MegaMillions has ballooned the jackpot up near where the November 2012 PowerBall was at and again people are lining up to buy tickets.

Following the same principles as the PowerBall sheet, this one uses a quick sort and count logic to check each of the possible ways you can win against the Megaplier and the current jackpot to provide a total winnings. Every number that matches a winning ball will highlight in green and each one that doesn’t match will highlight red. If you win one of the smaller side-games, you’ll see a dollar amount listed along column X and displays the total winnings at AA2.

Please let me know if you have any issues or questions, and feel free to disseminate this if you’d like. Just remember to credit me, thanks!

Download the Spreadsheet

Finding Winning Power Ball Tickets

Joe Johnson - 28/11/2012

It seems nowadays everyone has an office pool for the Power Ball, pooling cash into a large pot and buying enough tickets to cover the cost of them so you all share in the massive jackpot. But the pain with having a lot of tickets is the fact that there are winners other than the jackpot, smaller wins that can be buried in 10, 20, or even 100 tickets bought for a pool. So how do you properly account for tickets and check them against the smaller prizes beyond just the jackpot?

With the daunting task of having to track 33 tickets tonight against the jackpot, ensuring I didn’t throw away any smaller winnings, I did what all good nerds do…I fired up Excel! By utilizing the Conditional Formatting system inside of Excel 2010, I setup rules to compare the values of all the winning pulls and compared them against each individual result to mark it green if a winner and red if a loser. Then I did the same for the individual Power Ball number, again green highlight for winner and red for loser. Using the COUNTIF function, you can create a logical statement to add the formatting

But that still leaves me to check each of the 33 lines individually for a winner, something that would have kept me up half the night. So again using the COUNTIF statement and some hidden fields, I can count the number of matching pulls in the ticket and if the count matches one of the additional jackpots, I can spot it! A few more nested IF statements later, and it gives me a pretty results column that tells me just how much money I lost.

For the record, it was $66 in tickets that netted me $12 in winnings, a grand prize loss of $54, woo hoo!

To make this easier for everyone, I’ve extended the spreadsheet to 50 tickets and pumped in some dummy data so you can play around with the sheet. If you distribute it, please give credit where credit is due, but otherwise enjoy and good luck on the lotto! Hopefully Saturday it’ll be up to $650 Million and I’ll win! I promise $10,000 to anyone that comments and shares if I win the jackpot, up to 500 people!

Download the Spreadsheet

Outlook Social Connector for Outlook 2010

Joe Johnson - 22/07/2010

This week I upgraded my desktop to Windows 7 and Office 2010. My laptop has been running both for about 2 months, but I finally broke down and installed it on the desktop. Don’t think it was because I have a problem with 7 or 2010. On the contrary, I love them both…they’ve reignited a passion for PC computing that I was lacking in the post-Vista world. No, it was merely the huge pain it takes to rebuild your PC exactly the way you like it after wiping the OS. Four days later and I’m just getting settled in.

But one thing that I let fall to the side in my months of Office 2010 use was the Outlook Social Connector. It’s this handy little tool that will interface your Outlook connections with your Facebook and LinkedIn connections (and MySpace and others, depending on who makes a plugin and if you install it). When I redid my desktop I chose 32-bit Office to support the LinkedIn plugin and gave it a twirl. What I didn’t expect was how creepy it might become.

What the Social Connector does is aggregate all of the Social Media data about a person for you right inside of the Outlook interface. The new People Pane in Outlook is one place where it does this. The People Pane is a section at the bottom of the email preview screen that shows all of the relevant prior email, appointments, and chats with all of the recipients or senders of an email message. So when my business partner sends me an email, I can see his past emails and our past meetings all in one handy place; pretty cool! The Social Connector adds in LinkedIn and Facebook information streams to the People Pane, including…their picture.

Hello There!
When I was pricing out a POS hardware solution for a client this week, I spoke to Dell on their cool OptiPlex 160 line of mini PCs. The sales rep kindly sent me some links via email to go over the features, which was a huge help. But when I opened the People Pane, I saw it not only found his picture from Facebook, it also found his (unprotected) update stream, his LinkedIn profile, and placed all of it right into my Inbox.

Needless to say, it was a bit creepy to find this all here at my fingertips without the sender of the email knowing. After a little digging, I found at least three dozen others on various mailing lists and discussion groups where I’m a member who had wide open Facebook accounts identified by the Social Connector. Even when the account is protected, it shows me their profile picture. Sometimes even several profile pictures if they have a Facebook and a LinkedIn account with profile images designated.

While I don’t think I’ll uninstall this tool from Microsoft, I think maybe limiting the display to only my friends and connections on the various networks might be a good upgrade. Then again, maybe people should learn to secure their accounts so only friends see that information. Or we can follow the Zuckerberg model…I mean, you don’t have anything to hide, do you?