New and Regained, 2

When the skies rebel against the peace, exploding in monstrous roars of thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning, something must be done. When the heavens flush doubt and hubris and hope from the air in the fury of pounding rain, and when the ground shakes and shudders and trembles in fright at the rage of Mother Nature, something must be done.

First and foremost, because today (even though ‘today’ is an odd word to use when the time is 4:00 a.m. and daylight refuses to consider showing its face for hours) is January 2, 2017, what must be done is that I must remember to wish my friend and long-ago-former-employee, Jade Hart (with whom I have no contact since her last age-expansion experience) happy birthday. But, secondly, the tumultuous nature of this early morning calls for writing the second edition of New and Regained. Even without the riotous storms outside our windows, New and Regained would have called for attention. And thus, as we know from the wise words of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, “attention must be paid.”

COUNTIF Function in Excel

Today’s regained knowledge relates to the COUNTIF function in Microsoft Excel. I am sure I once knew COUNTIF like I know the back of my hand, but I’ve forgotten where I left my hand, or perhaps I’ve left my hand where I’ve forgotten it. So, today, I’ll revisit and regain that lost memory, by example.

In the following example, the function argument returns a value equal to the sum of days of the week in the range of cells from B7 to B78, the value in cell B3 is found. =COUNTIF(B7:B78,B3)

For example, if cell A1 contains the function formula, cell B3 is blank, and cells B7 to B78 contains seven instances of “Monday,” fourteen instances of “Tuesday,” eight instances of “never,” and five instances of “someday,” the numbers following the words below would appear in cell A1 if I were to type the following the words in cell B3:

Monday: 7
Tuesday: 14
Never: 8
Someday: 5

Now, whether you realize the importance of this function or not, the world would not spin properly on its axis without the truth conveyed in the COUNTIF function. While I was revisiting the goodness of COUNTIF, I encountered new information (at least it was new as far I can recall) that shocked and stunned and otherwise surprised me. And that is this:

MOD Function in Excel

The MOD function in Excel delivers the remainder of a number when divided by a divisor. For instance, MOD 3,2 returns the value of 1, which is the remainder of 3 divided by 2. I do not recall ever using the MOD function, which I learned as I was wandering the esoterica of Excel is shorthand for modulo, a mathematical term meaning “with respect to a modulus,” to which I do not believe I have had the displeasure of being exposed. Another way of expressing the term, which I find easier to understand, is this: 3 is congruent to 2, modulo 1 or 9 is congruent to 6, modulo 3.

Now, you may think these bits of regained and new knowledge are useless logs in a forest, but I assure you they are not. I am teaching myself Excel; rather, I am relearning some of the more complicated aspects of Excel I once knew and learning other aspects I never learned. But I’ve actually put both of these functions to use in a spreadsheet that determines, mathematically, whether a given year is a Leap Year (per yesterday’s post). I’m not fully “there” yet, but I’m making progress. And that’s all we can demand of ourselves, isn’t it? That we make gradual improvements in ourselves, in pursuit of becoming a person of whom we can be justly proud?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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