PowerPivot Tables and Excel 2013

While Microsoft introduced the PowerPivot table in Excel 2010, it really did not “adopt” PowerPivot and Power Query until the release of Excel 2016, when Power Query became a native element in Excel. It still requires that you install PowerPivot, but it is now included with all versions of Excel (not just the Pro versions).

While Excel 2010 cannot use the PowerPivot tables (sorry folks, Microsoft changed the file format starting with Excel 2013) you can use them with Excel 2013; providing you do the necessary work to enable Power Query and PowerPivot. To make things easier, I have written a set of guidelines to help folks with that process. I’ve done it a number of times, so my process is pretty much perfected.

Download my guidelines.

Some PowerPivot Tools Updates

We have been busy since the National Annual Meeting providing updates to the Commissioner Tools PowerPivot tables to give you more actionable information and better-quality reports. Our recent updates include:

  • The “Unit Contact Analysis” tool has been updated to more “actionable” information. These include:
    • Units without an assigned commissioner (*new unit also indicated)
    • Units not contacts in 2018 (*and new units)
    • Units not counted in JTE due to a lack of the unit receiving a detailed assessment
    • A summary report showing the number and percentage of units by Council & District that have not received a detailed assessment.
  • Updates to the “District Commissioner Visual Analysis
    • Easier to read the main graph
    • Easier to read the narrative analysis
    • Better ability to select various Councils & Districts
    • Listing of all units without a detailed assessment based on the filters from the main page.
  • Updates to the “Units Needing Assistance” PowerPivot table to show units which have not received a commissioner contact in the last rolling 12-month window.
  • The new “Units Needing Assistance – Advanced Analysis” PowerPivot table. This provides data that was requested by many including the name of the unit leader, their training status, the training status of the assigned commissioner, and if the unit attends Roundtable.

Special Note: As we have crossed over to the Roundtable program year of 2018-2019, just a reminder for those who use the Roundtable Program Year Analysis to make sure that they change the information on the “parameters” tab to get the most recent information. (Unit_Health_2018.csv and Unit_Health_2019.csv).

These updates will soon appear on the Scouting dot Org web page:

And are available now on our alternate download location.

2018 Versions of PowerPivot Tools

For those of you looking for the Unit Contact Analysis and District Commissioner Visual Analysis PowerPivot Tools that were updated to include the 2018 JTE requirements, you can find them on the Alternate Downloads page. Documentation will be updated shortly, but the page indicates the reports that are needed for the tools.

Feel free to contact me, if you need additional information.

DCS Thesis Complete

Doctorate of Commissioner Science KnotSo, I have completed the thesis, which summarizes my 4 year project on analyzing the data from the BSA’s Unit Visit Tracking System. The thesis was reviewed by the doctoral committee, and accepted, and I will be receiving my Doctorate of Commissioner Science at the Central Florida Council College of Commissioner Science, on Saturday, April 5th.

It is a bittersweet thing to complete a project in which you have logged more than 500 hours of work. But, with the new Commissioner Tools launching at the National Annual Meeting in Nashville this May, there is, at the moment, no more need for these tools. So, it was just a good a time to complete my thesis. and knock this off my “to do” list.

If you’d like to read the thesis, you may download it here.

Remembrance and Renewal

Remembrance and RenewalDuring this ceremony, we hear the names of our departed Brethren. These individuals are our Brothers with whom we have shared the beauty and grandeur of Masonry. The reading of these names is reminiscent of an ancient Sanskrit injunction: “Lead us from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.” As Masons, we are travelling together on a mystic journey, a journey toward greater and greater light. “The Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal” is a celebration of our Masonic bonds, an opportunity to remember our Brothers who have journeyed on before us, and a time to reflect upon our own individual quest.

In the course of our life journey, we experience cycles of darkness as well as peak experiences of joy and spiritual growth. Symbolically at this time, we move our thoughts from the darkness of winter to the renewal of spring and the promise of more light. The very name Lent is taken from the Latin word which means “to lengthen,” and it is during the period of Lent that the rays of light begin to lengthen until the advent of the Vernal Equinox where day and night are equal.

The Vernal Equinox has been recognized by cultures and religions in all times as very spiritual. For example, the Christians celebrate this season with Lent, Maundy Thursday and Easter, the Iranians with the celebration of Jamshedji Nauroz, and the Jews with the observance Passover.

We might say that the Vernal Equinox is:

  • A time of renewal
  • A time of more light in our life
  • A time of the crossing over from the darkness of winter into the light and renewal of spring
  • A time for extending our vision of universal brotherhood
  • A time to erase the divisions of race, creed, and religious intolerance
  • A time to remember those who have journeyed on to the Celestial Lodge
  • A time to thank the Creator for the men and women in our military who are sacrificing their very lives that we may enjoy the blessing of liberty and justice in our democratic society
  • A time for reflection upon the spiritual truths exemplified in the lives and ideals of the avatars, saviours, sages, and messengers of light of all ages.

Freemasonry provides us with insights into the assimilation of light. Our Craft has been likened to a deep well out of which each Mason draws according to his own understanding and enlightenment. During the “Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal,” we draw from that well.

The language of Masonry consists of its universal symbols and rituals. A symbol contains the essence of a truth. A universal symbol contains a universal truth. The universal symbols displayed during the “Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal” include, among others, the Cross, the Star of David, and the Volumes of the Sacred Law. These universal symbols can be viewed on many levels.

For example, the Christian might associate the cross with the crucifixion; the Buddhist with the sacred Boddhi tree under which the Buddha received enlightenment; the psychologist as an archetypical symbol found within the collective unconscious; and the philosopher as a universal metaphor of human perfection to be found within man himself.

The Star of David is also a universal symbol. Culturally, it is synonymous with Judaism. In addition, however, the Star of David is sometimes referred to as the Seal of Solomon. The United States dollar bill has a Star of David etched on one side with 13 points or stars in the form of two intersecting triangles. Symbolically, the triangle is the symbol of Deity found in teachings of Freemasonry as well as in many of the world’s religions. For example, in Christianity the Trinity is represented as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Hinduism, it is represented as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. And in Freemasonry, it is represented by the three greater and lesser lights.

A deeper interpretation of the Star of David is that the bottom triangle symbolizes God within man while the upper triangle represents the Transcendent Deity. Taken together, the two interlaced triangles reveal the union of man with Deity.

Multiple Volumes of the Sacred Law rest on the Masonic altar. They may include the Holy Bible, the Koran, the Upanishads, the Zend-Avesta, or whatever book or books Masons deem to be their sacred scripture. Scripture is the means by which we regulate our life and discover truth. In Freemasonry, we are taught that scripture is given to us by God for the “rule and guide of our faith.”

Freemasons use these universal symbols in the context of their own culture, their own religious preference, and their own self-development. In addition to being universal symbols, the icons noted above are images we individually associate with our respective cultures and personal beliefs. They provide us with insights into ourselves and light for our journey through life.

Accordingly, we, each of us, worships the Creator in our own way, according to the dictates of our own conscience, in our own church, or our own synagogue, or our own mosque, or in our own temple. The ritual exemplified in the “Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal” allows each person, regardless of religious background and belief, to share, in a broader, more universal context, the spiritual significance of this festive season.

As Masons, we strive to exemplify Masonic light. The “Ceremony of Remembrance and Renewal” provides a moving experience and a symbolic foundation on which to build an expanded, more universal celebration of the grandeur, the beauty, the harmony, and the mystery of life and our Craft. To cite the final words of the ceremony: “I give to you all the hope of spring renewed with its attendant bounty. May Brotherly Love prevail and may we ever be united in every social and moral virtue, cemented in the mystic and universal bond of Masonic Brotherhood.”

[Note: this is not my own writing, but I can no longer find the source document, so I wanted to preserve the excellent content of this article.]

More jQueryMobile

A handy and familiar tool set is an always welcome addition to the arsenal. And I guess that’s the way it is for me and jQueryMobile.

A “quick” (and I do mean quick – less than 4 hours of development time) mobile web site for my Church, combined with the SAAS provided by HandSetDetection has allowed me to have a small, but functional, site that will serve those who access our church website on a mobile device.

Now, we decided that we only wanted to serve this site to folks on smartphones – tablets are served the regular church website – but the system at HandSetDetection allows us to change that as we see fit.

One other “cool” feature, is that we are using the HTML5 audio tag for the Sermons page. That made the issue of serving up the recorded sermons sooooo much easier!

Now – this is a temporary site. Once we move to our new platform, we’ll be using a responsive design, but, even in the short-term, we have realized that over 50% of the devices accessing the church website are mobile devices!

Also, let me throw out some kudos for Iconifier – this one site makes it so very easy to have all the icons you need, not only for your favicon, but also for all the apple-touch icons.

Michigan York Rite Consolidated Calendar

Found another great jQuery plug-in called FullCalendar which I have used to create a “combined” calendar for a number of Masonic groups here in Michigan. (First off, I needed to establish Google Calendar accounts for each group, since none of them seemed to have one, even for publishing to their own members!)

Someone asked me if I created an “app for that” – and as I thought it through, I realized most folks who own smartphones already have a calendar app on their phone – so they don’t need an app – they need a consolidated calendar feed!

So, using the great ScheduleShare service – I was able to create a consolidated feed as well.

Last step was to make the calendar “mobile aware” so that it will adjust to smaller screens automatically – this I have accomplished by making the site “responsive” using Bootstrap.