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Archive for September, 2010

Access: Querying for “Preferred” Data Given Multiple Choices

A friend once presented a challenge with his Access database. A table called tblContacts held information about contacts and included the fields WorkEmail and HomeEmail. Some records had values in both fields, others had values in just one or the other, and some had no values in either field. The user wanted to query the table for a list with a name and only one email address for each record. His preference was the work email, but he would use the home email if no work email existed. The table looked something like this:













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Select hair and edge details in Photoshop CS5

Cat with new background

Have you ever needed to change or replace a backdrop behind a person’s face or a furry animal, only to be confounded by trying to make a detailed selection of the hair around the edges?

Three Maine Coon cats There are several techniques you can use to accomplish this, but Photoshop CS5 has come out with a dandy new way to select fine detail like you find in hair, without including unwanted background information.


  1. In Photoshop, use your favorite selection tool to select the subject.
  2. Open the Masks panel and click on the Add a pixel mask icon.
  3. Click the Mask Edge… button. The Refine Mask dialog box opens.
  4. Read the rest of “Select hair and edge details in Photoshop CS5” »

IT Training at Techfest ’10 – Free T-shirts and materials

IT Training & Education will be at Techfest ’10 in the Main Library all day from 10am-4pm, giving away T-shirts and workshop materials.  Come by and say hello, and let us tell you about all the great workshops we have coming up this semester, like Python and Soundbooth!

Excel: Trimming Cell Entries

A friend recently complained to me about mail merge results she was getting from her Excel data. Her spreadsheet held lists of important donors to her organization, but the data had been entered in various ways from many different sources. As a result, cells in the data held random spaces before or after the information causing her address labels and letter components to look less than professional. Excel’s Trim function came to her rescue. The Trim function removes spaces from text.

My friend’s original data looked something like this:

Data with unwanted spaces

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Twelve Tips for Safe Social Networking

With the school year getting back into full swing, it’s a good time to think about your online identity and what you’re doing to keep yourself safe.

UITS  has just published Twelve Tips for Safe Social Networking. If you have a Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, or any social networking account, you should check it out!

See the article here. (opens in a new window)

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