Orange Crate Derby

4 July 2011

20110704-112918.jpg

Patio is Ready for Summer

30 June 2011

Creating Labels in OpenOffice

13 November 2010

I recently went through the process of creating address labels for mailing about 300 letters requesting donations to a school fund raiser. This could also come in handy for that Christmas card  list which is coming soon. The assumption in the following steps is that you have a list of addresses in a spreadsheet, but they could be from almost any data source.

Starting with your spreadsheet, Excel or OpenOffice, containing address columns such as: Name, Street, State, Zip, … The general steps are:

  1. Create Database from spreadsheet or other source – this will be the source of address data for the mail merge
  2. Create Labels – empty document template based on the brand and size labels that has placeholders for the address data linked to the database in step 1
  3. Mail Merge – puts the address data from step 1 into in the template from step 2 and outputs the document for printing/saving

Create the Database

Creating a database in OpenOffice.org can be done from the File menu in any product Writer, Calc, Base, etc.. From the File menu select New, Database. The Database Wizard will open. The first step in the wizard is to select your database (i.e. spreadsheet or other). Choose the last option “Connect to an existing database” and select “Spreadsheet” from the dropdown list.

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Click Next and browse to your spreadsheet file which can be an OpenOffice.org spreadsheet or Microsoft  Excel.

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Click Next and and Finish. The option presented on this last screen may not be obvious at first. Make sure ‘to select ‘Yes, register the database for me’. All this does is make the database available in OpenOffice.org on your computer. You will need this in the next step.

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Name your database file. Use something more descriptive than NewDatabase.odb. The filename will be the name of the registered database you will be selecting in the next steps. You now have an OpenOffice.org database.

Create Labels

The following steps create a new document template based on the physical size and layout of the labels that you plan to use. Make sure you have your labels in hand and know what Avery template you will be using. From any OpenOffice.org screen select File, New, Labels. The Labels dialog will open. There are three tabs in this dialog.

On the first tab “Labels” select the Database you created in the first step. The Table is the name of the worksheet from the spreadsheet. The database fields are the column names. The idea is to select each field you want in the label and click the arrow in the middle to move them into the box on the left. After inserting each field press Enter to insert a carriage return is a field is on a new line in the label. If you are entering multiple fields on one line with a comma e.g. <City> <State>,<Zip>  then insert the fields then type a comma then the next field.

Then at the bottom of the first tab select the Format, Brand and Type of your labels.

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The second tab “Format” contains the details from the Brand and type you selected. You should not have to adjust unless you have some custom labels or a template did not exist for you labels.

On the last tab “Options” select “Entire Page” as you will be creating full page of labels and not a single label per page. The “Synchronize contents” checkbox, if checked, will create a button that will be available in your document. From the help,

The Synchronize labels button only appears in your document if you selected the Synchronize contents on the Options tab when you created the labels or business cards.

Copies the contents of the top left label or business card to the remaining labels or business cards on the page.

So if you plan to make changes later to the layout of all labels document you can select this box, otherwise you can uncheck it. It’s not really needed if you get the label item layout right in the first step.

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Select “New Document” and a new OpenOffice.org document will be opened in Writer. You now have your template ready to accept the data in the last step Mail Merge.

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Mail Merge

You are almost done. With the Label template opened in Writer, select Tools, Mail Merge Wizard.

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Just click Next to step through the wizard. The default options should be OK. When you click Next at step 6 ‘Edit document’, the labels will be generated.

At the last step, choose ‘Save merged document’ and then option save as ‘Save as a single document’

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You now have a document containing all of your address data which you can print as needed.

All Natural NyQuil – Hot Knives

11 November 2009

All Natural NyQuil

I’ll have to try this All Natural NyQuil next time I’m sick. Mint, ginger, agave nectar, green chile and the secret ingredient … Southern Comfort.

Advice on prolonging life from an emergency physician

10 November 2009

This list of advice on how to prolong life is much more interesting than the usual exercise and dietary advice.

W.O.W. 8/16/09 and my “Dirty Dozen for Black Swan Avoidance”. ».

Pogoplug and Tonido Plug

31 May 2009

These tiny and cheap computers are amazing. Not sure what I would do with one, but they supposedly use one tenth the electricity so running a green blog using only solar or wind power would be a fun project.

Pogoplug is on sale now for $99.

Tonido Plug is comming soon for only $89.99.

Lifehacker – What Would You Do with a $40 Computer?

Cook for Good

28 May 2009

I found Cook for Good as usual from a lifehacker post. It was interesting to see how you can cook from scratch for $1.16 per meal which is, in some states, less than the food stamp allowance. Unfortunately, the plan is vegitarian but some of the recipies look good. I’m not sure any meal plan can “save the planet”, but to get started there was a rather long lesson on how to make a pot of beans.  So I soaked some dry navy beans overnight and cooked them in the crockpot all day Saturday and did my part to save the world.

L’Avion Experience

6 March 2009
I’m leaving tomorrow to return to the US on L’Avion airlines.  logo_elysair

Yes, the plane is purple inside and outside.  I’ve never seen the movie, but some say it looks like the Soul Plane. You decide.

Soul Plane

Soul Plane

LAvion

L'Avion

Snoop

Snoop Dog

LAvion Stewardess

L'Avion Stewardess

The trip to Paris was very long on Tuesday into Wednesday.  Almost 4 hours delayed departure on top of the 8 hour flight, not to mention getting to Newark a couple hours early to check in. I may think twice about using them again. Other than the delay, it was a good experience.

Note: Although I fit their definition (traveling between NY and Paris for work), I don’t really want to be known as a Paryorker.

paryorker

Orange Blossom Bread a.k.a Garbage Bread

1 March 2009

Just finished making a loaf of what was, and still is, affectionately called Garbage Bread in the Reasor house. Made from the orange peel of three oranges rescued from a trip to the local dump. It came out a little more cake-like and less dense than I remember.

Orange Blossom Bread also known as Garbage Bread

Orange Blossom Bread also known as Garbage Bread

Garbage Bread Recipe

Mom's recipe

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

1 March 2009

For those who do not feel the need to share their Facebook content with the world.

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.

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