I recently accepted a job offer and made the move to an office where I am able to work with a large number of engineers. Another huge benefit I found after arriving is that for the first time in about 20 years I am working in a job where my supervisor has the same or more advanced computer skills than myself. And while there are most definitely many other pluses, one I am also particularly appreciative of is that with this move I was able to jump ahead at least a decade or more in technology and can again work with current software and hardware. We are even using 3D technology! So, it's definitely been a good month, and I feel very fortunate. But in the end, sometimes it's the little things that make a big impression. Within the first few days, I was able to pick up a couple simple computer tips from my new supervisor that I am ashamed I didn't already know. But they have proved to be so darn useful, I have to pass them along, at the risk of looking stupid, just in case others are like me and use the computer all the time yet somehow these little tips got past them.
Simple yet essential computer tips:
First, I learned how to zoom the display on my computer: Control + mouse wheel. Try it! Now! All these years I've been trying to use the zoom controls in software to see things on the screen better when all I ever had to do was hold down my control key and scroll with the mouse key. How did I not know this!!?
Next is an Excel tip – to get a hard return in a cell that allows you to type two lines of text and have them be on two separate lines in the cell, just hit Alt+Enter. All these years, I was using wrap text and putting in spaces to force it to wrap to the next line within the same cell when I could have just put in Alt+enter after the first line and avoided all those spaces! How did I not know this!!?
Anyway, now I do, and now, you do too! (or possibly you already knew it and are wondering how in the world I did not already know this!!)
Last subject I wanted to touch on for those of you into transportation is roundabouts. If it's a topic you are into, you might want to check out the following two resources I discovered over the last few days:
TRB Webinar: Roundabout Design and Development Review – May 16, 2013, 2:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. ET. This is a webinar moderated by Brian Walsh from the Washington State Department of Transportation. If you work for one of the sponsors of the Transportation Research Board, this webinar is free for you. However, even if you don't, the cost is only $99.
FHWA Roundabout Outreach and and Education Toolbox – the Federal Highway Administration has set up an "everything about roundabouts" site. No matter what you are looking for related to roundabouts, I think they must have it here. There are links to brochures, videos, photos, graphics, presentations, etc. The contact person for the site, Jeff Shaw, is a great and very helpful engineer I had the good fortune to meet several years ago. If you need to know anything about roundabouts, Jeff is definitely the guy to help you out.