Maddening problem with Excel

I had listened to the Dr. Demento show, on radio in Los Angeles, for about nine years–until radio’s corporate geniuses decided “We know best.” :mad:
Meantime, I started recording stuff off the shows, and now have about 67 cassettes, 60 or 90 minutes long. In the process of indexing these items that I recorded, I would estimate that I have amassed about 2000 entries–title, artist, volume, comments.
When I started preparing a database, I used the Microsoft Works available on the MacIntosh computer common at the time, and prepared a voluminous record on one floppy, and had the foresight to have it printed–unfortunately the printed file I have is truncated.
So, one of the things I started to do now that I have a PC at home is re-create the Dr. Demento database, on Microsoft Excel, since I could not determine that the basic Windows system, or MS Word, has a database feature, so I used Excel, which is probably not the best way to do it but the best I can use without buying special software.
By last night I had keyed about half of the Dr. Demento file onto this one floppy. But tonight I found that the diskette could not be opened any more–and after I ran it through the ScanDisk procedure, the 950-line, seven-column record I had assembled was reduced to half a page! (I hadn’t even been able to copy it onto the hard drive; I kept getting that maddening dialog box with the red circle and the white “X.”)
Is there any better way to do this, before I get halfway through committing this file to a floppy disk only to have “disk errors” destroy all my work?

I don’t have any suggestions for recovering your latest file, other than to attempt file restoration (as it appears you have). If the media’s damaged, it may be good and lost. However, if it’s something else–say, one copy of the FAT is bad–there might be a chance to recover at least part of it.

Another option might be to use the older, printed list. You mentioned that it was “truncated.” Is most of the data there? If so, it might save you some data entry time to scan the printed info with an OCR-capable program. I’ve had good luck with these in the past, even importing rather seamlessly into spreadsheets. A lot depends on the quality and font of the printout, of course. For some reason probably related to the time of day, I’m drawing a blank on the programs I’ve used for this, but I expect others will be along soon to help out.

BTW, I see nothing wrong with using a spreadsheet to maintain this type of listing; in fact it would have been my first choice. Some other options would be a document table (i.e., Word) or database (i.e., Access). The former strikes me as not easily enough manipulated, and the latter as too much trouble for your application. Good luck.

I would always recommend Access for anybody who needs to do light database work. Granted, there’s a steep learning curve, but once you have the knowledge, you can use it to make any number of databases.

As for the OP, I have no idea why you couldn’t save to the hard disk. If you could be more specific with the errors you are getting maybe I can be of more help.

      • I ran up a 10x7 Excel 2K file and upon saving it, observed it to be 13,824 bytes in size.
        13, 824 bytes times 95 = 1,313,280 bytes, and I only put three random letters in each cell. How much did you put? -And how much does a floppy hold again?
        Excel should have warned about exceeding the disk capacity.
        Word does not have any native database built in, but you don’t need one though, unless you wanted to actually do sophisticated conditional searches, and a spreadsheet won’t allow that, so I am assuming it wasn’t important. I guess you just want to be able to put the songs and artists in an alphabetical listing, and somehow be able to cross-refrence the songs, artists and albums.
        -If so, then you can write HTML sheets with a text editor, that have links in a “database”-type structure. (Say so if you do not get the big picture) Plain HTML runs in a browser. -And you can even save your comments, song lyrics, images and sound files along with each entry, just by writing them into each song/artist’s webpage, and this has no size limitations (like MS Works database would have) and is cross-browser and OS compatible. Get it? Screw Access! Fight the power, man.
  • By the by, an Access file that size will definitely be too big for a floppy. You need a Zip drive or CD-R, or of course just leave it on the HD. - DougC
      • I’m thinking he started out, saved the file right away when it was empty, then keyed in more than the floppy could hold, and tried to save it.
  • I’d also note: if one attemps the HTML-“database” as I suggested, it’s still going to be way too big to put on a floppy. You will need a Zip drive or a CD-R/W, or to leave it on the HD. - DougC

To clarify:
When I tried to open the file at Kinko’s I got a message suggesting the file was “read-only,” and I had not so restricted the floppy; I was mystified by the on-screen message, and kept trying to reopen the disk, if that’s what the problem supposedly was, by moving the little tab near the bottom corner of the floppy up or down; it didn’t work. And I knew I had a problem when I tried to open the file on my computer here at home and still got that white X on red. :frowning:
By “truncated” I mean that someone else had printed it out for me, but the page layout was portrait instead of landscape, so the Comments column was chopped half off.
I don’t have a scanner and have not the slightest idea how to use one–I do have access to them, though not guaranteed or for any real length of time.
The fields I use, from left to right, are Title, Artist, W (whole or part), D (for Demento; the series of cassettes, in roughly chronological order, are D-1, D-2, D-3, etc.), Date (not filled in yet anywhere, but extant on the cassetes’ index labels), and Comments. There are approximately 2000 titles, from “Abdullah Bulbul Ameer” by Frank Crumit to “Zip It!” by Morton Downey Jr.
Near as I can figure, the individual floppies I use have an approximate capaticity of 1.1 megabytes.

Well, dougie, the first two words speak volumes. I see more clearly now. Yep, if you’re buying time on unfamiliar and possibly substandard equipment, that do complicate things.

I don’t mean to insult you as you’re obviously bright, but did you try to “Save As” in either circumstance? Excel sometimes defaults to “read-only” files on open.

So if you could scan the print, you’d have the vast majority of your data restored, right? The only data entry would be to manually re-enter the missing comments.

I would think a Kinko’s would have one, but I’ve only been inside one once, and although I reconnoitered the best I could, I’m no expert. If they have a decent scanner (which is almost redundant these days) and OCR software (Omni Pro is the name I couldn’t remember last night, but anything free and declaring itself “OCR” should get you going), that might be the best move.

I’m assuming you know the difference between the various delimiters used in spreadsheets. If not, email or post, and I (or someone more eloquent) can explain. Once you know what shape the print’s in, you can config the OCR scanner to get the data into a spreadsheet with, hopefully, minimal hassle.

Since don’t recall you specifiying non-PC h/w, I’d predict your floppies hold 1.44 Mb of data; 1.2 if your drive is older. That’s pretty standard.

So let’s suppose I guess everything correctly (unlikely), and you:

  1. Go to Kinko’s
  2. Find they have both a scanner and OmniPage Pro (or equiv)
  3. Scan in 95% of the original data in one pass, losing only the rightmost Comments characters.
  4. The total filesize, which you had the good sense to save to the hard drive, is 10Mb (for argument’s sake).

…ya know…if we get that far, we’ll get the data home. There are several alternatives.
And while I may wonder why you’re going to all this trouble for a Dr D chronicle, I hope you figure it out soon. Good luck.

May I attempt to make your life much simpler and therefore much happier?

When I had to convert a big Works file into Excel, I discovered that Works and Excel don’t “handshake” at all. BUT what they do manage to do is use DBase files.

Take your Works program and save your data base using “save as” and select “DBase file” from the pull down menu.

Next, take that file (assuming you saved it on a disk) to your computer equipped with Excel. Open the DBase file using Excel. Make the minor changes you need (in my experience, every time I did this routine, Excel changed one or two things, nothing major) and save the resulting file in Excel format.

p.s. Use Zip disks.

…but only if I indicate the right words. I, of course, meant “at Kinko’s,” but made a c&p error. Sorry.

Monty, I may have misunderstood the OP, but I thought the Works file was also lost. If I’m (not unlikely) mistaken, yours is an elegant solution I’ve used to good effect also.

To Wisest Novel:
You have raised some interesting points. Maybe if I had just taken the printed file (the floppy file contained about 132 mb before everything got screwed up) to Kinko’s, or anywhere else where I could use a scanner, it would have saved me plenty of time in the first place.
Why go to this trouble for a Dr. Demento file? Because it makes it possible to find certain titles; and, as many of the Teeming Millions might have sensed by now, I don’t share most people’s tastes in music–in the 60s, my teenage years, I didn’t care for most of the stuff by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc… I only listen on radio to classical music (KUSC-FM) and jazz (KTWV-FM and KLON-FM).
Zip disks? I’ve heard of them; will they work in either the floppy drive A: or the CD-Rom drive C: in my Compaq CPU? I’ve never seen them…
I still have the Works floppy but, of course, if I try to pop a floppy I used in a Mac into my PC, I expect to get the This-disk-is-not-formatted message, as I did when I accidentally popped one into the A: drive of a PC at El Camino. I don’t even know whether I could still use it in a Mac, and they are few and far between now, even at El Camino (my college) or Kinko’s.

There is another possibility, since you’re using a floppy disk. Besides the read-only attribute of files, floppies can also be write-protected with the little tab in the corner of the disk.

Um, I could be wrong, but I think dougie already thought of that here:

Damn, dougie. I had meant to put a smiley in there to let you know I was just joshin’. Just more proof that you shouldn’t drive drunk or post tired. Sorry.