Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How To... Edit a Basic Gantt Chart in Excel 2010

The most popular video on my YouTube Channel is "How to Create a Basic Gantt Chart in Excel 2010" - as I write it has 183,042 lifetime views. A similar video for Excel 2003 has 89,089 views. I get a lot of questions in the comments fields about other things that Excel can do with Gantt charts - usually I suggest to the viewer that they try a "proper" project management software tool like Microsoft Project.

Today I tried to see what else I could do based on feedback received on the channel. In the new video below I show how to link end dates with the start date and duration, change task colours, assign resources, and add labels to Gantt chart tasks. It's a bit of a mish-mash, but hopefully people will find it useful - check out for yourself:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Careful With That Axe, Eugene (with apologies to Pink Floyd)

Courtesy of @pj_wall I have found a new title for my blog that I like. It is "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" which is the title of a 1968 song by one of my favourite bands, Pink Floyd. According to Songfacts.com, this song was released as the B-side of the single, "Point Me At The Sky." The title is a reference to the first line of that song: "Hey, Eugene, this is Henry McClean". There are very few lyrics in this song, but it features a scream by Roger Waters which is also used at the beginning of Floyd's biggest hit "Another Brick in the Wall". Here's a version taken from Superstars In Concert at Earl's Court on 18th May, 1973:

Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album was played constantly in the Common Room while I was at boarding school in Roscrea, iconic songs like "Time" and "Money" are very familiar to me. But I must confess to not being aware of the Axe song.

I hope that Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Syd Barrett don't mind me stealing their song title. It's a cool line and gives me a much cooler title to my blog than "Eugene's Blog".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One and a Half Million Learners - Wow!

Yesterday my YouTube channel Learn with Dr Eugene O'Loughlin passed the 1,500,000 views mark - WOW!!! I still can't believe that my modest efforts at creating a few handy videos are being watched by so many people, I am both humbled and astonished by these figures. The channel has grown a lot since I set it up in April 2006. I now have 81 videos in my "How To..." and "Problem-Solving Techniques" playlists. The "How To..." videos are by far the most popular. Below is a graph from YouTube Analytics:

The first half million views mark took 4 years to achieve, the second half million took six months, while the third half million has taken six months as well. Another interesting fact is the estimated 4,676,030 estimated minutes watched - this is the equivalent of 8.9 years! On 17th October last was the record day at 5,330 views. While the trend above is upwards, I have noticed a slow down in the rate of growth over the past week. I also expect a dramatic fall off at Christmas/New Year time, this happens every year. Nevertheless, if this keeps up the channel can look forward to hitting the 2,000,000 mark sometime next March/April.

Thank you so much to all my viewers!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amazon Author Central Launches in UK (and Ireland)

Amazon have released a version of their Author Central today for Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD - they have allowed book authors to set up an "About Me" profile for some time, I had already updated my profile as author of An Introduction to Business Systems Analysis. What I hadn't done before is check out some of the new features that are available to authors. Author Central provides "Sales Info" details - so far this is just the bestseller rank, no doubt in future it will provide more detailed analytics.

For my own modest single book publication I can see today that my booked is ranked #288,328 on the bestseller list today, that's down a whopping 58,137 places since yesterday. On drilling down a little deeper I can see the ranking for all of 2012 and that the ranking jumps up and down quite a lot. The highest position in 2012 was at the dizzying high of #46,523 on February 8th last (#779,025 was the lowest). I suspect that each peak is a single sale of the book, there are 25 peaks which indicates I've sold 25 books through Amazon over the past year!

Image Source: Screen shot from Amazon.co.uk Author Central Page

The Amazon page indicates that there are over 6,239,000 books in the bestseller rank list. At least my book is in the top 5%, which also tells me that an extremely modest number of sales gets you high up the list, and also that Amazon list an awful lot of books that don't sell very much at all.

Expect Amazon to step up their publicly and author available analytics in the near future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

College Faculty Survey Finds Their Use of Social Media Has Evolved

Pearson Higher Education and the Babson Survey Research Group conducted an annual survey of nearly 4,000 teaching faculty from all disciplines in higher education which examined both the personal and professional impacts of social media (via PRWeb).

The key findings of the survey (quoted below from the PRWeb report) include:
  • 64.4 percent of faculty use social media for their personal live, 33.8 percent use it for teaching
  • 41 percent for those under age 35 compared to 30 percent for those over age 55 reported using social media in their teaching
  • Faculty in the Humanities and Arts, Professions and Applied Sciences, and the Social Sciences use social media at higher rates than those in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Blogs and wikis are preferred for teaching, while Facebook or LinkedIn are used more for social and professional connections
  • 88 percent of faculty, regardless of discipline, reported using online video in the classroom

Faculty are becoming "more comfortable" about the wider adoption of social media, and are getting less and less concerned about the use of social media. The top two concerns are "privacy and the integrity of student submissions" according to the report. As you can see below Facebook is the most used Social Media tool for personal use, while Linkedin is the most used for professional use:

Chart source: How today’s  higher education faculty use social media by Pearson Learning (click to enlarge).

I'm delighted to see such a high percentage of Faculty using online video in the classroom. But I am also struck that with such high rates of adoption of Social Media among Faculty, and the near total adoption by students, that more effort is not put into trying to use the likes of Facebook and Linkedin for learning. There's a business opportunity for some young entrepreneur here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"How to get hired in IT" presented by Tom Bentley (SAP)

Here's an excellent video from GradIreland TV featuring Tom Bentley of SAP who is speaking about the recruitment process and what graduates should do when applying for jobs. It's aimed at IT graduates, but much of what he says can be applied to job applications in general.

One quote from the talk that I really liked was "Every time you apply for a job, change your CV". Bentley states clearly that each job is different and he gives some examples of how and why you would change your CV depending on the job you are applying for. The video is nearly 14 minutes long, but worth watching the lot if you are looking for a job in IT.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Shout Out for Carnew TDC (Meet Bob)

It's great to see organizations like Carnew Training and Development Centre (TDC) using innovative ways to promote themselves using YouTube. Carnew is a small town in South Co Wicklow. I grew up three miles from Carnew and it is where I went to school until 1971. Carnew TDC have created a video about Bob, someone who left school early but returned later to upskill at his local Training Centre. This is a super video and worth checking out. It is also entered into the Better Together Make a Difference to your Community video competition. You can vote for Carnew TDC here - I think this is well worth supporting.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Changing Role of the Business Professor

There was an interesting interview on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 during the business news with Joe Haslam who is professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Instituto de Empresa (IE) Business School in Spain. While the interview was about the economic situation facing the Spanish Government, I was most interested in his comments towards the end of the interview where he pointed out that the role of the professor is changing.

Image source: Joe Haslam Google+ profile.
Haslam (pictured) makes sense when he tells us in the interview that a list of publications "as long as your arm" is not what "business schools look for" anymore. To appear to be "relevant", professors have to be "actively in the market" and "doing the same things that the students are doing" - this makes his business school different to a University environment.

Well "Here, Here" I say!

My last journal publication was in 2005. Since then I have published a book, one other book chapter, and a few conference papers. In short, my academic research output is dismal when compared to what is expected of other third-level lecturers. This should not be a surprise to anyone as I do not conduct any research, nor do I have any research students. Most of my non-teaching related activity is in YouTube and Blogging.

I can see this idea trending a bit more. Soon academics will be judged not just on how many journal papers they have had published, but also on what their personal web site looks like and does, what their Twitter activity is, what subjects they are blogging about (and the frequency of posting), and what third-party blogs they read and are subscribed to. All this is easy to track with analytics. It can take months to research and write a paper, and more time for publication to take place - easily leading to a year or more before your work can be read by your peers. With a blog, you can publish instantly. You can even write your own book and publish it yourself whenever you want. 

Keep up!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How To... Use the HLOOKUP Function in Excel 2012

Following up from my post of yesterday about a new YouTube video relating to the VLOOKUP function in Microsoft Excel 2010, today I have added another new video - this time about the HLOOKUP function. In VLOOKUP the "V" stands for vertical (data in columns), while in the HLOOKUP function the "H" stands for horizontal (data in rows). Both functions operate in the same way with almost the same syntax.

By total coincidence both the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP videos are exactly 5 minutes and 29 seconds long! Here's the HLOOKUP video...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How To... Use the VLOOKUP Function in Excel 2010

My newest video on my Learn with Dr Eugene O'Loughlin YouTube channel is about the VLOOKUP function in Microsoft Excel 2012. Up until today I had never used this function before. However, I am getting students to create a simple Expert System in a tutorial tomorrow and it involves using the VLOOKUP function. If you have two tables in a spreadsheet, VLOOKUP allows you to "look up" values from one  table to another. It can be used for calculating items like tax rates, commissions, mark-ups, etc.

In the video below, I use two simple tables and assign the price of books based on the type (paper/hardback, or eBook) sold. This simple example should explain how to use VLOOKUP at its simplest. 

This is the 80th video on my channel, and I hope that eventually it will clock up a good few views and also make a few euro from advertising. Check it out:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Open Day at Manchester Metropolitan University

Yesterday, my daughter Vicki and I headed over to Manchester for the day as MMU were hosting an Open Day for prospective students. Vicki wanted to check out some courses and I came along to see MMU too.

Image Source: mmu.ac.uk.
Ryanair got us from Dublin to Manchester - flights were cheap as there was no United/City game on in town this weekend. A train from the airport got us right to the MMU campus - at least the College is easy to get to.

We attended the first "Welcome" event for the School of Arts and there is no doubt that some very talented people went to MMU. We were shown some wonderful ideas and work, it sounds like an ideal College for artistic people. We found the staff very helpful - there was a small army of student "Ambassadors" to point us in the right direction. The academic staff were very helpful and easy to chat to - everybody made us feel very welcome. The facilities are great, though we could not see into the new Arts Building as it will not be finished until the end of this year. My overall impression was very positive, and Vicki liked it too!

We met my brother Brian who was also in Manchester for lunch in Revolution on the Oxford Road. It was good to see him as we don't meet up that much given that the Irish Sea is in the way. Revolution has a love of vodka and I had a delicious burger with a vodka salsa that didn't really taste of vodka. We had a great table at the window looking out onto what we were told is the busiest bus route in Europe.

Manchester is a very cosmopolitan city with up to 80,000 students based there. It was my first visit there and all I can say is that I wish I was 18 again and starting out in a University like this.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The World According to Eugene

I am experimenting with new names for my blog - "Eugene's Blog" is a bit boring. Having written before about how most of the blogs that made the list of finalists in the Blog Awards Ireland 2012 list had such cool names, I have decided to try to come up with a different name. Maybe I might even come up with a cooler name?

I first thought of "Eugene's World", but that is already taken in Dr Who (see Wikia) - similarly "Eugene's Web" is already in use. As I rant a lot on this blog I wondered about "Ranting for Ireland", but somebody beat me to it and created a blog with the same name (there are no posts on this blog).

I also thought about taking a line from a song or a poem - but nothing seems to come to mind yet. I'm just not good at thinking up names. My first effort I know is a bit tame - "The World According to Eugene". Expect to see the name change over the next few weeks as I try to come up with something I like.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New - YouTube Minutes Watched

Following on from my previous post earlier today, I note that this afternoon YouTube has introduced a new set of analytics for "Estimated minutes watched", and once again I am astonished that not only are so many people checking out my videos, but that they are obviously spending a lot of time doing so. The chart below covers the same period (38 days) as the one in my earlier post (slightly higher number of views since it was captured later in the day). The figures for "Estimated minutes watched" are only available since 1st September this year.

415,149 minutes translates into 6,919 hours - an average of almost three minutes per view. This is also the equivalent of 288 days (in a 38 day period)!


My YouTube Channel passes 5,000 views/day for first time

I am addicted to YouTube Analytics!

Yes I know, this is a sad state of affairs - every day I check out my Learn with Dr Eugene O'Loughlin statistics provided in great detail by Google. This morning I noticed that on Tuesday (9th Oct) last the "Views" figure for the first time passed 5,000 for a single day. Since the 1st Sept the views have been steadily increasing and I have been expecting to hit this milestone for a while. The chart below is a screen grab from YouTube Analytics showing daily views from 1st Sept to 9th October during which time the channel received 138,906 views in total. You can also see a clear pattern where the figures rise during the middle of the week and drop at weekends. The lowest points are all Saturdays.

Click image to enlarge for detail.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen when I set up the channel, the lifetime views are almost up to 1.5 million now and the channel is the 96th most viewed in the world in the Life Long Learning Partner category in YouTube EDU. Today I have no classes, yet I will have close to 5,000 learners on-line from all over the world using my educational videos. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

YouTube takes aim at TV stations’ audience with 60 new channels - Irish Independent

YouTube is taking over the world - according to Monday's Irish Independent, maybe they are.

YouTube is planning lots of new channels and will become the medium of choice for viewers of shows and programmes - they are going to grab this space, but it will be over the dead bodies of the TV and movie studios. The Internet is fast becoming a source of TV programmes and movies - I can even watch Sky on my iPad.

In the Indo article, a YouTube spokesman is quoted as saying that they want to “lure television advertisers and viewers” from traditional TV. The article goes on to state that "YouTube’s 800m viewers watch a total of 4bn hours of footage on the platform each month, and while the top 25 US YouTube channels each attract more than a million viewers a week". YouTube may soon be the market leader - what are the consequences for TV companies?

Already in my house the computers are watched more than the TV, renting a DVD or video is a thing of the past. We don't have Netflix (yet) because of the shit Eircom service that we have in Blackrock - but this could replace Sky Movies.

We are seeing another revolution my friends - and as an evangelist for YouTube in education, I embrace this technology and hope that it becomes the future soon. Well as least for a few years until the Next big Thing comes along!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Drama on Stillorgan Road

This morning I came upon an accident on the south-bound side of the Stillorgan Dual-Carriageway outside the RTÉ offices - it was a big pile up involving seven cars. I must have just missed it happening as the traffic behind had not yet built up. 

Image source: Irish Independent.
The traffic heading into Dublin was (as usual) static and I'm sure plenty of people had a ring-side seat to this accident from the other side of the road. Four people were injured, and all the cars looked to be in a right mess to me.

There is a fascination with accidents - passers by are often accused of "rubber-necking". WTF else are we supposed to do - speed on by without a care in the world? My own reaction was to keep on going, and at the same time hope that nobody was hurt. The fire-brigades and ambulances heading to the scene soon indicated that people had been hurt.

But another reaction was that I wished I could whip out my iPhone and shoot some photos and/or video. I was already wondering how many people had tweeted the scene, and how much action the accident triggered on social media. Coming home later there was a collapsed elderly man being tended by an ambulance crew on the Blackrock bypass. Tonight I hope that all involved are safely tucked up in bed and that tomorrow will be a safer day on our roads.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

My Best Birthday Cake Ever! #Harley-Davidson #spoilt

Normally I keep quiet about my birthday, but Facebook sent me several "Happy Birthday" messages this morning from family and friends - so the word is out.

However, I could not keep it quiet after seeing the birthday cake my daughter Vicki made me last night - I was banned from the kitchen so did not see it until today.

All I can say is WOW - it looks fantastic and delicious!!! Almost a sin to eat it! I think this is the best birthday cake I have ever had - thank you Vicki!

Check out also the new shirt - also a birthday present! I feel very spoilt today.

Yesterday I heard an ad on the radio for the over 55s, and a horrible thought struck me - in less than three months time I will be able to say "Next year I will be 55". 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Something weird is happening to broadband in Blackrock

Some time ago I was informed by an Eircom engineer who came to my house to fix a connection that the  8 Mbps line that I pay for is only capable of a max of 4 Mbps. 

Today, after moving my router to the centre of the house I did a quick speed test and have seen the highest ever figure that I have recorded - 4.28 Mbps. How is this possible on a 4 Mbps line? Are Eircom finally doing something about their shitty broadband service in our area? I have discovered via Twitter that Eircom are rolling out fibre broadband in our area - indeed it is available at the other side of the road at the end of my garden. Will they beat UPC? On 14th September last I wrote about UPC installing cable on our road, but nothing has happened since. 

The race is on between UPC and Eircom for customers in Blackrock!

Friday, October 05, 2012

50 Years of "Love Me Do" - #LoveMeDo

On 5th October, 1962, The Beatles released their first single "Love Me Do". I have no recollection of this momentous event in music history as I was just about to turn three years of age a few days later. It was probably another 3 or 4 years before I even noticed it as the radio in our house was rarely tuned to anything but RTÉ. Later, we did have a record player and we were given a Beatlemania 45" record which had six Beatles songs on it including "Love Me Do". We played it over-and-over and John Lennon's harmonica is one of the sounds of the 60's for me. Since then I have always loved The Beatles and play their music all the time. 

To mark this historic date I took the photo below in front of my only Beatles poster from the 1979 movie "The Birth of the Beatles". 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Experimenting with my Kindle

I have not been using my Kindle much of late. My daughter Claire had been using it a lot for her College work, but now that she is finished I get my Kindle back. I have recently just added a book on Statistics to help me with a new module I am teaching at NCI, but I also look at the same book on my iPad which I am using more. At the moment I am doing quite a bit of writing, so have decided not to get involved in reading any books and devote the time instead to writing.

The Amazon Kindle.
Image source: Amazon.co.uk.
Last evening I experimented with the Kindle. I use Microsoft Word for all writing that I do (apart from this Blog). I knew that the Kindle supports documents in Word and I had in the past uploaded work documents to bring to meetings, (using the iPad's Kindle App instead of the Kindle itself). I have written before here about the Kindle format and how easy a book is to read on the Kindle device. So I wondered what my own writing efforts would look like as an eBook on the Kindle.

Uploading any document to a Kindle is very easy. I logged on to Amazon.com and simply added the book from my desktop to my Kindle Library by emailing it to my Kindle account. Amazon takes care of the rest - it was almost immediately available on my Kindle. With a little excitement, I read my own writing on a Kindle for the first time.

This whole process is a symptom of the change that is taking place in Publishing, which has been revolutionized by Amazon. Authors can for the first time "see" what their books/articles would look like long before they are considered for publishing. For the only book I have published, An Introduction to Business Systems Analysis, it was not until a camera ready copy in PDF format was created by my publisher (The Liffey Press) that I was able to see what my book would look like. The Kindle now gives me an opportunity to see what my own book looks like to potential readers, and this allows me to make changes that may not be so obvious in a Word document. I spotted some typos and formatting issues, but also read some text that did not make sense or could be written better. I now plan to upload my script after completing each chapter and read it as an eBook to help improve it even more.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Who stole our Iris? #iLost

Apple have come in for quite a lot of slagging and criticism for their new Maps App - much of it justified. Here at the National College of Ireland there is more evidence that the Apple App is not quite as it should be. 

Image Source: www.ncirl.ie.
Outside of the front of the College is a sculpture called "The Iris". It was created by leading Irish artist Vivienne Roche, engineered by ARUP Consulting Engineers in Cork, and fabricated by Steele & Co based in New Ross in 2006. It is 14 metres high and is impossible to miss if you are in Mayor Square - unless of course you are Apple!

Apple have decided to dump Google from their iPhones and iPads, and at great expense have created their own Maps App in a deal with Sat Nav company TomTom. Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak does not think that the problems "are that severe" and that "there are a lot of complaints about one little thing people spot, but it’s not that hard to deal with in life".

So it's not a big deal that the NCI Iris is gone from Apple Maps, but what I'm wondering is how did they miss it? What software used rendered this out? Are there any other sculptures and monuments missing from Apple Maps? Tweet with the #iLost hashtag if you know of one! Below are two screen shots from my iPhone: one of Google Maps clearly showing the Iris in the middle (including a shadow!), while the other from the Maps app shows an empty space where the Iris should be!

Apple's Maps App
Google Maps