Friday, April 29, 2011

Excel 97 (Excel 8) -- Easter Egg

Excel 97 (Excel 8)

Excel's 97's easter egg is the most impressive that I've ever seen. Follow these steps:

  1. Open a new workbook
  2. Press F5
  3. Enter X97:L97 and press Enter
  4. Press Tab
  5. Press Ctrl+Shift and click the Chart Wizard button on the toolbar.

You'll be greeted with a full-screen animated image. Use the mouse to move around.

Trigger the egg. You'll be looking at a purple 3D landscape. Use the mouse to "fly" over the landscape (the mouse changes direction, left button moves forward and left button moves backwards). Fly around a bit and you'll see a grey stone pyramid. Fly to the side of the pyramid that's black and you'll see the credits scroll by.

NOTE: If this doesn't work, select the Tools Options command, then click the Transition tab. Remove the checkmark from Transition navigation keys and click OK. Then try it again.

A MS Word Easter Egg

A MS Word Easter Egg

An "Easter Egg" is a small, undocumented procedure in a program that normally expresses interesting commentaries or gives credit to the people who labored over the program. Like their namesake, Easter Eggs normally take a while to find and can be quite elusive.

Try this out:

1) Open a new Microsoft Word document.

2) Type this: =rand (200,99)

3) Press enter and wait 3 seconds.

A variation on that theme

1. Open a new word document
2. Type =rand(3,14)
3. Press enter.
4. Wait a few seconds and see what happens.
5. Try typing after "=rand" any variation from (1,1) to (200,99)to see the different results.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Find the Grade Level of any Document

Use Microsoft Word to Find the Grade Level of any Document,
or report, thesis, letter, article or any written document.

By Gloria Goldsmith

Microsoft Word has a program within it of which most computer users, including homeschoolers, are NOT aware. Microsoft has incorporated the very helpful Flesh-Kincaid Readability scores in the Word program. This means you have a source available, right at your fingertips, to determine the grade level of every book in your house! Plus, high school and college students can check if their compositions are up to their grade level or higher before submission.

The scale that will appear in Word has three sections of information: Counts, Averages, and Readability. The first two are self explanatory; the third section contains Passive Sentences, Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.

Passive Sentences
Important to understand for composition purposes, it is not important for our grade level information. Information can be found on the web regarding the meaning of the passive voice.

Flesch Reading Ease
Based on a 100 point scale, the higher the score, the easier it is to understand (comprehend) the passage.



90.0 - 100.0

Easily understandable by average 11 year old student

60.0 - 70.0

Easily understandable by average 13 -15 year old student

0.0 - 30.0

Best understood by University Graduate

The standard readability desired is 60 -70. A few examples give more clarity: Berenstain Bears and the Missing Dinosaur Bone is 100, Charlotte’s Web is 83, Reader’s Digest is 65, Time magazine is 52, and Harvard Law Review is in the low 30’s.

Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level
A specific formula is used that computes the number of syllables, words and sentences in a passage which is translated to Grade level information.

How To Use
For all grades, select THREE passages: one from the beginning, middle and end of the book. In order to receive accurate grade level information and the higher the probable grade level, the more important it is to use three passages from different areas of the book.
Early Grades (1, 2, 3) - you probably will type an entire page or two (at least five sequential sentences) from the beginning, middle and end, just as they appear in the book.
Grades 4 and up – Select a paragraph of five or more sentences from the beginning, middle and end of the story. Obviously, the higher the grade level, the longer the sentences and paragraphs will be.

To Activate Word’s Readability Statistics:
Word is Microsoft’s word processing program.

WORD 2002
Open the Word program.
Find Tools and click on it, go to Options. This will bring up a new window with several tabs.
Select Spelling & Grammar Tab, go to Grammar section, check box for “Show Readability Statistics” and click OK at bottom of window.

To Use Activated Program
Type in the three selected passages. Go to Tools (at top) select Spelling and Grammar.
If the program thinks it has found a misspelling or grammar error a box will come up allowing you to fix or ignore. Once you have moved through all perceived errors the statistics window will pop up. If you own the book, on the copyright page write the grade level (Example: GL: 4), this will save you time down the road. If it’s a borrowed book write the information on a post-it note, placing it on the copyright page.

Word 2007
Open the program and click on the Microsoft Office Button located in upper left corner.
At the bottom of new small window, click on “Word Options”.
A large window appears with two sections, in the left section click on “Proofing”.
On the right, find the heading “When Correcting Spelling and Grammar in Word”; check the box beside “Show Readability Statistics”.
Click OK at bottom of window.

To Use Activated Program
Click on Review Tab, on the far left click on Spelling and Grammar. If the program thinks it has found a misspelling or grammar error a box will come up allowing you to fix or ignore. Once you have moved through all perceived errors the statistics window will pop up. If you own the book write the grade level on the copyright page (Example: GL: 4), this will save you time down the road. If it’s a borrowed book write the information on a post-it note, placing it on the copyright page.



An activity presented via email from Richard Pressinger

One of my favorite reading activities that is very effective in strengthening reading comprehension is sometimes called "Quest/Request and you can do it with one other individual or paired individuals or in a round robin with a small group. Here is how it works.

Everyone reads a short paragraph silently. Then one person starts by asking a question about something that was in the passage. Others try to answer it, looking back in the passage to find the answer if necessary. Then the next person asks a question, and the next and the next and so on, until no one can think of any more questions to ask.

You can get into different kinds of questions such as those of a graphophonic nature (e.g. How many sentences? How many five letter words? How many words that end in "tion?") or questions about the meaning of the passage, or you could highlight explicit questions or implicit questions.

The goal is to ask as many questions as possible. It is less important that the questions be answered than it is to simply ask them. It should not be a competition between students, but a group might wish to compete against its old record by increasing the number of questions it is able to ask about a passage. I've done it with my adult students and have filled a page writing down the questions we asked about a simple 100 word paragraph. Once we had asked more questions than there were words in the paragraph.

There are many things at work here. One is it encourages an active, rather than a passive reading style. Another is it gets students to reread the same text many times, thereby developing fluency. Another benefit, I feel, is it forces the reader to rework the meaning of the passage into new forms, statements into questions, for example. This seems to have a powerful effect on one's ability to remember the content and comprehend the meaning of a passage.



The Catch – 22: Even though AVKO has demonstrated that 75% of all words poor readers cannot read contain advanced phonic patterns that are not systemically taught in school, schools cannot and will not systemically teach them. Why? Because they don’t have either a listing of these patterns or a listing of the words that contain these patterns.

Where can schools get a listing? Only from AVKO. The listing of the patterns and the listing of all the words by patterns is to be found only in AVKO’s The Patterns of English Spelling.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

Some programs and media come packed with secret “goodies” called Easter Eggs. These are fun little additions, added by programmers that can be found by accident, by completing some tasks, or by hearing about them from other people. In this article we will find some of those Easter eggs. Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • What is an Easter Egg?
  • What an Easter Egg is Not
  • Easter Egg Examples

What is an Easter Egg?

Easter eggs, in software, are deliberately added and not just “glitches” (see more about that below.) Often these Easter eggs are added by programmers for a joke, to get some attention, or to add some flair to the software you’re using.

A classic example of an Easter egg is a hidden menu on DVD or an animation in a piece of software that can only be seen by pressing certain keys.

What an Easter Egg is Not

There are some common misconceptions with the term “Easter Egg.” An Easter egg is not:

  • A bug in a program.
  • An imposed restriction.
  • A hack in a program made by the end user.

For example, it has been claimed that not being able to create a folder, in Windows, with one of the following names is an Easter egg:


This is not an example of an Easter egg. This is a restriction that dates back to DOS, to protect certain file names being used that are reserved by the operating system: