I'm sorry, but I don't. Despite the fact that for years people in my office have come to me with questions (and occasionally people not in my office that I haven't heard from in five years will call me with quesitons), Excel is to me nothing but a place to put a few tabs with bold header rows followed by rows of data. I can sort them. I'm pretty good at sorting. Oh, and of course I can pull the contents out with Perl (or put the contents in with perl, if required). I can't produce a chart in Excel (or couldn't until recently), and I cannot even enter a formula. The last time I entered a formula into a spreadsheet, it was in AppleWorks in the 1980's (and I don't mean ClarisWorks, which current goes by the name AppleWorks the same way Caldera systems currently goes by the name SCO).
Had a big shutdown process to oversee this weekend. It's the second time I did it. This time around I was only responsible for bringing the processes back online after the routine maintenance, but that is the harder half of the job. The first time I did this, the weeks prior to the procedure were spent with my learning how to perform the shutdown and the recovery. Friday night the maintenance occurred, Saturday morning I brought everything back up
I was unable to provide the desired data that Saturday. Life went on.
This time in the interim somebody else had heavily revised the process, instrumenting the database to report volumes of data about the recovery and the catchup on the backlog. And had produced pretty good examples of the charts that needed to be produced in Excel. I still didn't know how to generate an Excel chart properly, though, so I had to teach myself with Google, which wasn't too bad. I drilled myself a couple of times last week so I would be prepared, and went into the weekend perfectly ready to perform the shutdown process and generate the required charts and reports.
And everything went off without a hitch. This was a shorter maintenance, and the recovery was shorter. In fact, it was all done within about four hours. By that time, the system was completely caught up. After bringing everything back up when I received my phone call in the middle of the night, I got up on Saturday morning, deduced that everything was finished, produced the graphs, and sent them off.
And then Monday I had an email saying, "Oh, you also need to fill out this recovery report spreadsheet for the manager's manager's manager." Err
And when I was done, the spreadsheet was giving negative recovery times for some system elements and just plain "ERROR" for the recovery time on others.
"Does anyone really want this?" I wondered, and sent it off. And arrived back at work today to find an observation from the requestor of the spreadsheet that "some of the formulas were wrong." Okay, back to the drawing board.
So here I am, and my group has bounced this spreadsheet around, and it's going to take forever to do it, and plain and simply, I can't diagnose why Excel can't figure it out. I just don't have that kind of Excel know-how. What's more, I can't see why I should spend 16 hours this week reporting that a planned maintenance downtime took 4 hours to recover. But all indications of upper management are that that is exactly what I should do. So here I am, trying to learn Excel. I imagine that if the requestor of this spreadsheet, high in my management chain, were to come to my desk, he'd be saying, "What's the matter with you? Why can't you do this? What kind of a programmer are you when you can't even use Excel? You're outta here!" I was hired on to be a programmer, not an Excel-hack. I guess programming Excel is an Excel skill, and I guess I'd like to learn it. But I'm having trouble seeing what value I'm generating for my employer today.