• Converting minutes from midnight

    Jane asked me how to convert “minutes from midnight” into hours and minutes in Excel.

    Turns out the TIME() function can do this for you.

    Say you have 585 minutes. Use it like this:

    =TIME(0, 585, 0)

    Then format the cell for time, eg. “h:mm”, and you get

    “9:45 AM”

    Just what the doctor ordered!

    Before you ask, no I’m not an Excel expert, but I am pretty good at knowing where to find the answer most of the time.

  • Hotmail rejecting forwarded email

    I’ve been using ZoneEdit to manage the DNS for our domain gardiner.net.au with reasonable success. About the only problem I’ve had is every few months, I’d discover that email sent to my wife’s Hotmail account (via her @gardiner.net.au address) is rejected with a message like the following:

    [email protected] (expanded from [email protected]): host mx4.hotmail.com[65.54.244.232] said: 550 SC-001 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons.

    Reasons for rejection may be related to content with spam-like characteristics or IP/domain reputation problems. If you are not an email/network admin please contact your E-mail/Internet Service Provider for help. Email/network admins, please visit http://postmaster.live.com for email delivery information and support (in reply to MAIL FROM command)

    To their credit, the Live Hotmail guys are pretty quick off the mark to resolve this once you submit a request via their support page.

    I think the problem is that because ZoneEdit hosts so many domains, some of those turn out to be used (or hijacked) by spammers, and so inevitably their IP ranges end up on spam black lists. ZoneEdit don’t have any SPF records for their mail servers either which probably doesn’t help.

    So tonight I bit the bullet, and signed up with Google Apps to manage the mail for our domain. I’m hoping that pointing my MX records to Google will mean that things all look legitimate when Hotmail goes to verify that the domains match up with the SPF record.

    Signing up was pretty straight forward. After verifying that I control the DNS records, I added accounts for all the people who have @gardiner.net.au email addresses, then logged in and configured their email to forward to their preferred address. There’s even a ‘test’ email address so you can try things out before you update all the MX record information.

    We’ll see if this turns out to be a good idea or not.

  • Book prices

    I recently ordered MCPD Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-547): Designing and Developing Web-Based Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework from Amazon and it cost me about $AU 60 (including postage).

    MS Press have just launched their Australian web site, and the same book is listed as $AU 120. Dave Glover mentions that user group members can get a 50% discount, but only for this month. So for this month at least they are comparable.

    It isn’t just MS Press though. I’ve seen other Australian booksellers listing this same title at equally uncompetitive prices. About the only reason you’d buy local is if you didn’t want to wait a couple of weeks for Amazon’s standard delivery to arrive.

    Certainly, the Australian dollar is very high at the moment, so that helps with the exchange rate, but I still don’t get why there’s such a huge price difference.