Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

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Do you accept Office 2007 and Macros?

Yes, I don't mind/already have 07 and have no issues with macros
5
45%
Maybe. I have 07 but I don't trust macros
0
No votes
Maybe. I don't have 07 but macros are okay
4
36%
No, Don't have 07, don't want to upgrade
2
18%
 
Total votes : 11

Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby PracticalM on Mon 03 Aug 2009 18:21

BillW wrote:
PracticalM wrote:Have the formulas been tested. The problem I had with Open Office when I tried to convert the spreadsheets to it was that open office didn't support all the formulas very well.


I haven't had time to test the functionality in Open Office or anything else for that matter. I just made sure that it opened without error in Open Office before making my earlier post.


Ugh. The last time I tried to open the original Marvin spreadsheets in Open Office many of the functions didn't work but I'm pretty sure that was before 3.x

I'm on an old Mac Excel version and I've probably done enough custom work on my versions that I'd be loath to have to do a full test run against all the rules on a new spreadsheet.
I'll try to get around to posting them. Though I'll want to add that cool Tech sheet from Xveers if that's okay.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby Xveers on Mon 03 Aug 2009 21:27

Dawn Falcon wrote:Honestly, at this point if at all possible I'd transfer the spreadsheets to Open Office. It's free, it's multi-platform (Office 07 on the Mac is crippled) and so on. And even if you don't, I really can't recomend switching to the .xlsl format, the "compatability pack" fails miserably when it comes, ime, to even moderately complex sheets limiting users to Office 07 users only.

Cralis - MenuOffice for Office 07, restoring the toolbars, is wildly popular. Even in business use.


I've used OO, but frankly I don't like it. It really, really lags on complicated sheets, even ones coded on itself (as a note, I do stuff with Ad Astra... they do things Man Should Not Do with Excel...), and the syntax it uses for a portion of its commands is markedly different than the same commands in Excel for some unknown reason.

I had a friend who used my sheet on OO, and the only major compatibility issue was with data verification. MS is flexible with how the data is entered and parsed, but OO is far stricter. It's an easy repair job, you just have to strip out some spaces. But you have to do it about... 150 times. There were other weird compatability errors. This was done about a year ago, so things may have changed a bit...

Disgressing a bit, I initially -hated- the ribbon. With the passion of a hundred suns. But, I had to use it at university. And I've come to like it. Actually, I prefer it to the 2003 system a lot. It's a rather bit more intuitive, and far more flexible. Stuff is in different places, yes, but you can access more functionality from it without having to dive into option windows compared to 03. Once I got over the interface differences, I found it just as fast to use. I don't want to say faster because I never really thought about that.

Lastly, one other change was that 07 has two filenames for excel. There's an Xlsx for normal stuff, and another one with a slightly different name (that escapes me) that has macros enabled, so one can tell at a glance. I presume there's some underlying lockout beneath that, but that's another thing that's changed.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby BillW on Tue 04 Aug 2009 04:31

Xveers wrote:Disgressing a bit, I initially -hated- the ribbon. With the passion of a hundred suns. But, I had to use it at university. And I've come to like it. Actually, I prefer it to the 2003 system a lot. It's a rather bit more intuitive, and far more flexible. Stuff is in different places, yes, but you can access more functionality from it without having to dive into option windows compared to 03. Once I got over the interface differences, I found it just as fast to use. I don't want to say faster because I never really thought about that.


I have used the 07 Ribbon and even created programs with it at work. It is a different paradigm, but as Xveers said it makes things easier to find as you don't have to drill down through a lot of menus. This, IMO, makes the software faster to use also, once you have gotten past the learning curve.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby Dawn Falcon on Tue 04 Aug 2009 17:58

I had to use it on one job and it dropped my productivity in word by arround 40%. Didn't change in three months either.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby Crucis on Tue 04 Aug 2009 20:00

I've also found the 2007 ribbon much easier to use than the old methodology....
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby krenshala on Wed 05 Aug 2009 20:04

The Ribbon in 2007 has its strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, the options included on it are not always the ones I found myself in need of, so I still ended up using the toolbars to get the settings I wanted (formatting cells, mainly). Some of the choices on which part of the Ribbon a particular option was included seemed stupid to me, as well, which made finding what I wanted a pain in the butt (without any sign of an IED, thankfully :twisted: ).

Personally, I'd rather use Open Office to MS Office. The base file is smaller, the feature sets are near identical. With OOo version 3, all of the functions I needed in the SF spreadsheet were there, though I think there was one obscure one that was missing, but that may have been back in version 2.something.

Like Matt, I dislike having a 20kbyte "empty" document, which has always been my problem with MS Office (in OO the same "empty" file is something like 2k or 4k ... basically, the block size of datastorage on a HDD).

BTW, the calculations for income should not be that nasty. I got them to work quite cleanly when I created my own version of the spreadsheet back when GSF was new. I've since lost that version, but the PHP implementation I set up a couple months ago was all of 50 lines long (and that includes calls to the MySQL database, and the exceptions based on government types, and PU growth as well as income calculation). I need to rewrite it since it was eaten in my HDD crash a few months ago, but I'm not worried about its difficulty.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby Xveers on Wed 05 Aug 2009 23:40

krenshala wrote:Like Matt, I dislike having a 20kbyte "empty" document, which has always been my problem with MS Office (in OO the same "empty" file is something like 2k or 4k ... basically, the block size of datastorage on a HDD).

BTW, the calculations for income should not be that nasty. I got them to work quite cleanly when I created my own version of the spreadsheet back when GSF was new. I've since lost that version, but the PHP implementation I set up a couple months ago was all of 50 lines long (and that includes calls to the MySQL database, and the exceptions based on government types, and PU growth as well as income calculation). I need to rewrite it since it was eaten in my HDD crash a few months ago, but I'm not worried about its difficulty.


I'll respond in reverse order.

It's not so much the actual income calculation that's a pain. That's straightforward (if a bit overly massive due to excel's coding scheme). The real issue is habitability calcuations, primarily how to parse out some... 18 different options without using more than 7 nested curve brackets and still leaving it to be maintainable. Of those options 12 are dynamically generated based on the race's own habitability. PHP and databases are both several eons more advanced and flexible than Excel, and if I was using either or both a much neater bit of code could be used with some basic logic. Excel just imposes some very frustrating restrictions. Using macros at least gives me the flexibility of coding languages. Instead of having to do a complicated bit of code repeatedly during a table I can just custom make a command that will do all the nasty stuff in the background.

Lastly, I can understand about file size, but frankly, isn't that just a bit... irrelevant? If we were talking about the time of 1 gig HDs and high density floppies I could understand, certianly. But for the most part nowadays even the most basic computer from walmart has a 20 gig drive onboard, and USB keys that hold a gig cost as much as a box of good quality floppy discs. Given that office files compress really well, is the fact that the file used is 20k larger than what it could be a rather pointless issue? I don't mean to be offensive, but I do see it as a rather non issue.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby krenshala on Fri 07 Aug 2009 20:41

Xveers wrote:It's not so much the actual income calculation that's a pain. That's straightforward (if a bit overly massive due to excel's coding scheme). The real issue is habitability calcuations, primarily how to parse out some... 18 different options without using more than 7 nested curve brackets and still leaving it to be maintainable. Of those options 12 are dynamically generated based on the race's own habitability. PHP and databases are both several eons more advanced and flexible than Excel, and if I was using either or both a much neater bit of code could be used with some basic logic. Excel just imposes some very frustrating restrictions. Using macros at least gives me the flexibility of coding languages. Instead of having to do a complicated bit of code repeatedly during a table I can just custom make a command that will do all the nasty stuff in the background.

I could swear I got the spreadsheet to determine habitability without much trouble. I may have been using a 'cheat' table on another tab, however, that determines gets used as a lookup table for the colony portion of the spreadsheet. Its been a while, so I don't remember for sure ...

Xveers wrote:Lastly, I can understand about file size, but frankly, isn't that just a bit... irrelevant? If we were talking about the time of 1 gig HDs and high density floppies I could understand, certianly. But for the most part nowadays even the most basic computer from walmart has a 20 gig drive onboard, and USB keys that hold a gig cost as much as a box of good quality floppy discs. Given that office files compress really well, is the fact that the file used is 20k larger than what it could be a rather pointless issue? I don't mean to be offensive, but I do see it as a rather non issue.

While you are correct, I have to point out that part of the problem with current systems is that applications have trouble running on them due to resource limitations imposed by programmers that just don't seem to care at all how many (mega|giga)bytes of data or memory they are using because "why worry, the computer will have plenty". While it has helped drive expansion of computer capabilities, it isn't exactly an efficient way to write code.
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby Xveers on Fri 07 Aug 2009 22:55

krenshala wrote:I could swear I got the spreadsheet to determine habitability without much trouble. I may have been using a 'cheat' table on another tab, however, that determines gets used as a lookup table for the colony portion of the spreadsheet. Its been a while, so I don't remember for sure ...


I use a similar setup as you've implied. It references to two seperate tables. One of them is a lookup that tells me what column to look from, the other goes to a table that dynamically generates hab values for T and ST for the inputted HI index. I've perhaps made it out to be a bit more complicated than it really is, but it was a mindbender for me to initially think of.

krenshala wrote:While you are correct, I have to point out that part of the problem with current systems is that applications have trouble running on them due to resource limitations imposed by programmers that just don't seem to care at all how many (mega|giga)bytes of data or memory they are using because "why worry, the computer will have plenty". While it has helped drive expansion of computer capabilities, it isn't exactly an efficient way to write code.


Very true. Which actually lets me segue into a rather interesting discovery. While on the bus I was thinking to myself about this, and I decided that if I'm going to take an issue, I should have some quantifiable numbers. So, I took the current Mod 5 sheet, and just saved it in the 2007 format. No changes to code or anything. And I was suprised to note that the saved size went from 678k with the 2003 format to 251k with the 2007. I can only surmize that either they're doing some native in the background compression, or the actual data structure is just that more efficient. I also tried it out with my deWulf doc, the one that has the compiled collection of all of my monthly updates. I went from 1.37 megabytes to about 780k. Not too shabby either. Again, no optimization or anything. Simply changed my save format. I'd be willing to provide both examples if someone is curious to dissect this issue further...
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Re: Future of Starfire Turn Spreadsheet Mk5

Postby Club on Sat 08 Aug 2009 14:40

The reason I voted Don't want to upgrade is that, for a couple reasons, I do my starfire turns on my laptop, a model that was low end in 2000 (Win 98). While it runs shipyard fine (legacy system bonus) the best it can do is OO2. While I don't know what that can do, I doubt that it is MSO 07 compatible.

That said, if the sheet can run, I'd have few issues with macros.

<tangent>

Until recently I hadn't used the laptop for a couple years - it only had USB1, and until I put in a card with a USB2 port, I had no way to get data off it. When I pulled it out, I was shocked at how fast it loaded. XP and Vista are draggingly slow by comparison even in my (Fairly high end) desktop, yet when it first came out, I thought Win 98 was slow.

Microsoft being, of course, the worst offender in the "Get it out the door" category of software companies. Probably a holdover from the way they came into being; as a programmer, Bill Gates makes an excellent businessman.
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