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How to Find the Cell Reference for a Searched Value in an Array in Excel

excel logoJohn Ormsby (aka NASANUT) sent in what he playfully called a Dumb Question:

I have a spreadsheet that contains a 10 by 10 matrix of values. Each value is different. There are column headings at the top, ranging from 0 to 9 and there are row headings on the left, also ranging from 0 to 9.

What I want to do is this. I want to search for a value within the matrix, and if found, want Excel to tell me the row and column that it is in. In other words, if I search the matrix for ‘150’ and it is found at cell F7, then Excel can either tell me ‘F7’ or the row and column headings (I can work with either).

The problem I have is that all of my searching only results in information on how to go the other way (i.e. provide the column and row and ‘find’ the value).

The beautiful thing about this question is that a) it’s not at all dumb, it’s a surprisingly hard problem, and b) I had a lot of other things on my to do list (some of them fairly urgent) but of course I dropped everything to try to figure this out!

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Dumb Question Corner – HEIF/HEVC in Photos

Listener (and good friend) Rally brings us our Dumb Question this week:

When MacOS High Sierra is installed, the photo and video formats are changed to HEIF and HEVF, respectively. I presume that means that the Photos library on the Mac is updated to this new format for all the pictures in the local library.
Is the iCloud Photos library also updated? If not, what happens when new HEIF photos are uploaded to the library?

I also have about 50 Photos libraries from our travels on my NAS device (i.e., they are not the system Photos library). How would they be managed under High Sierra when I use them in my videos?

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Dumb Question Corner – What’s the Difference Between an Amp and a Receiver?

Gen 4 Apple TVListener Jill sent in a great dumb question this week, and Allison decided that I was more qualified to answer. Here’s Jill’s question:

What is a “receiver”?

The reason for my question is, Apple told us at WWDC that the 4th gen Apple TV could be used as a destination for Airplay 2 (multi-room audio). But the 4th gen Apple TV has no audio out, so how can that work? I don’t want my TV screen lighting up every time I want to play a podcast! Well, I asked around, and I got told “You need a receiver that offers HDMI connections”. Hence my question. So … what is a “receiver”? Also, supplementary question – why is it called a “receiver”? I have a good old fashioned amp, because I’m nearly as old as you are. I get amps: sound sources go in; you choose one, adjust the volume, job done. You can’t buy them any more – just these receiver things, and since I never got on that train, I haven’t a clue where to start asking about them.

Good question, Jill. You actually pose a couple questions. The first is “What is a receiver and why is it called a receiver?” and the second (implied) question is “How do you play audio from a gen 4 Apple TV?”

Let’s start with what is a receiver and why is it called a receiver. There are several types of receivers but the relevant ones for this discussion are an audio receiver and an A/V (audio/video) receiver.

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Dumb Question Corner – How to Automatically Back Up Podcasts from iTunes

Our dumb question this week comes from Kurt. He nearly violated one of my cardinal rules in his question, but I’ve decided to allow it. He wrote:

Itunes podcastsHi Allison, this dumb question gets dangerously close to the red line of No iTunes Questions, but I thought I would ask it anyway…

I’d like to be able to archive podcasts on a dedicated media drive. I currently do this manually, copying them out of the appropriate iTunes directory once or twice a year to the media drive and deleting them from the original directory. I always worry that going behind the back of iTunes like this is going to mess something up.

In an ideal world a folder action or an automator script would just watch a certain podcast directory, and copy the file to the media drive automagically every time that iTunes downloads one. Then I could set iTunes to delete podcasts after they have been listened to, and I’d have the best of both worlds – a lightweight, trim iTunes folder, and archived backups of podcasts. However, I’ve never really grokked Apple automation methods.

Or do you have any other ideas? The goal is to free up space from the gigabytes of podcasts that accumulate in my home folder on an SSD while retaining the ability to occasionally go back and listen to an older podcast without downloading.

Cheers, thanks for the entertaining weekly dose of tech,


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Dumb Question Corner: VPNs vs End-to-End Encrypted Messaging Services

Vpn diagramIn Dumb Question Corner, Steve’s Uncle Bob asked a really good question. It’s been a while since we did a dumb question so let’s review the rules. A Dumb Question qualifies for such a title if it’s something you feel like you should know the answer to, and figure everyone else must understand something you don’t. The questions are absolutely not dumb but it helps to call them that so you’ll feel ok asking them.

The second rule of Dumb Question is that ideally Allison will be able to answer them. I’ve been known to do a bit of research from time to time to figure out the answer, but in general it’s swell if it’s actually in my field of expertise. That brings us to our third rule, and it’s that you can’t ask me anything about iTunes. With that stage sent, here’s Bob’s question:

My question revolves around whether end-to-end encrypted chat programs like WhatsApp, Signal, and others are necessary if both parties already employ VPN’s? My understanding of VPN’s is that they encrypt all data between servers and mask the original IP address. That being the case, it would seem WhatsApp and other end-to-end encryption tools would be redundant. Another question stemming from this is whether both parties have to have VPN’s on their respective ends, or will it also work if just one party uses a VPN? Just something enquiring minds need to ponder to avoid Alzheimer’s.

I like this question because I knew that all of the information to answer the question was somewhere stashed away in my brain, but retrieving the right bits and assembling them properly was going to be the tricky part. Continue reading “Dumb Question Corner: VPNs vs End-to-End Encrypted Messaging Services”

Is There a Clarify-Like App for iOS?

does pages plus skitch equal clarify?James Staples asked me a question on Twitter that I had trouble answering at first, but after a few days I kept coming up with more and more solutions. He asked:

Do you know of any apps that can markup a photo (e.g. Step 1,2) via iOS extension like Preview or Clarify on OS X? Would just love something with steps and an extension like @clarifyapp for iOS. My #ptbs is that i’m trying to be more iPad-centric and would like to produce 1-2 screenshot guides

I wanted to help James especially because he coined the hashtag #ptbs! I was at a loss though, what app would do what Clarify does but on iOS?

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Dumb Question Corner – How to Stop Safari from Offering Push Notifications

David Bogdan sent in our Dumb Question for this week. He wrote:

Hello Bart and Allison,
Hello from Japan. It’s been awhile, though I’ve been listening to you on podcasts and it sounds like the two of you are doing well.

I wanted to ask another dumb question regarding security. Recently, I’ve been getting occasional popups such as the one below which ask me whether I want push notifications sent to me from the website.

The popup is incredibly intrusive and worries me. You can’t close the tab or quit Safari. You have to either click on the button or resort to force quitting.

Clicking on the one of the buttons would no doubt be the easiest route, but it seems someone could easily use javascript to produce a similarly appearing popup, and I prefer not to click on things I don’t know about. I’d prefer to show the better part of valor and just close the tab, but this new feature of Safari doesn’t seem to allow that. Is there any way to disable this Push popup in Safari?

Bart says these aren’t typical popups, which are really websites sending you somewhere else. This is Safari asking permission to send you notification (it’s a feature!) not a true popup. The good news is that we found the checkbox in Safari that stops this behavior. In Safari Preferences, Notifications tab, at the bottom uncheck the box that says “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications”.

And of course I created a step by step tutorial using Clarify on how to get Safari to quit annoying you!

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