Thursday, February 26, 2009

Newspaper Website Visitor Trends

The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University posted an analysis of the top 15 newspaper websites. While they have many really interesting charts, they also posted the underlying data in a spreadsheet, which includes, for each of the top 30 sites, for 2007 and 2008, the monthly unique visitors and time spent per visit. Wow - great data (if it's right - which, of course, this blog cannot confirm).

Site:Nieman Journalism Lab
Page/Post:Top 15 Newspaper Sites
Spreadsheet:Newspaper Site Stats '07-'08

Tracking, Charting (then twittering) a Hamster's Stamina

SpookyPeanut (aka Henry) posted a link on twitter which caught my eye (well, my search, anyway)... He's apparently found a way to monitor his hamster's wheel - and has charted it using a Google spreadsheet. As he described it: "showing off my geeky side again". Nothing useful here, actually, but interesting that the Technical Director of this animated rodent film would post a spreadsheet about a pet rodent. ;)

Spreadsheet Chart:Stamina of a Hamster

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Home Prices by US Metro area

Healthcare Economist published a very useful spreadsheet of home prices and rankings by metropolitan area. It includes multi-year trends, by US region and broken into Single-family homes and Condominiums. I guess I should go searching to see if this "Healthcare Economist" ever actually talks about Healthcare ;)
(of course, as with every post here, we can't guarantee the information is right)...

Site:Healthcare Economist
Page/Post:Cost of Living II: Home Prices
Spreadsheet:Home Prices by metro area

Picking a US State of residence using the tax rates as criteria

Jason Shafrin, author of the Healthcare Economist blog, provides some really interesting information to help you pick which State you might want to live in using the Tax burden as criteria. He published a State-by-State Tax Burden spreadsheet to help guide you understand all the tax rates which might impact you as a resident - not just income tax rates.

Site:Healthcare Economist
Page/Post:Cost of Living I: State Taxes
Spreadsheet:State Tax Rates & Rankings

Travelling adoptive parents need to be prepared

5 by Faith is a blog covering a "journey of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia". As you can imagine (or maybe as you've experienced), new babies require planning - and when you add in the legal and logistical steps of adoption - well, let's just say it's lucky that the end reward is so huge. Thanks to 5byFaith for keeping all the planning they went through in spreadsheets loaded with information. (You might get some other ideas by visiting 5byFaith's other Blog or her Etsy Store)

Site:5 by Faith (blog)
Spreadsheet:Travel Tips, Hints (9 tabs!)
Spreadsheet:Packing List (12 tab sample)

Watching stocks on a Spreadsheet

Here's a spreadsheet which follows selected stocks from a given point in time, up to the current, updated price - to give an "unrealized gain or loss" calculation based on some theoretical number of shares purchased. It's very simple. The way this spreadsheet was populated as you see it, was from using the Google Finance stock screener - a very useful tool which lets you identify stocks which meet certain criteria which you can easily set. Oh - I almost forgot to mention - the stock prices in this spreadsheet update automatically using the GoogleFinance function of Google spreadsheets... sweet.

Site:JRsays (my blog)
Page/Post:Stock Screening
Spreadsheet:Stock Screen Spreadsheet (preview)
Spreadsheet:get your own copy
(on click, you'll get a copy put in your Docs list)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Canadian Women's Hockey League knows spreadsheets

The Oakville Hornets women's hockey league of Ontario, Canada probably have quite an online audience, given the number of teams and players they support. It looks like (at a quick glance) around 8 leagues with as many as 16 or 24 teams in some of those. They use spreadsheets extensively in their Tournament Standings pages - publishing updated standings with embedded published spreadsheets in web pages. If you're wondering why they'd do this - imagine the difference between updating HTML versus a spreadsheet each time a game is played... then imagine you need to add up total wins, or calculate win pctg. Much easier in a spreadsheet than an HTML page. Opens up the task to practically anyone in the organizations instead of just a webmaster. Nice job, Hornets!

Site:Oakville Hornets Hockey
Sample Page:Tournament Standings (sample)
Spreadsheet:Schedule of games & standings

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Easy sharing of expenses for a group outing

This is the classic example of using a shared spreadsheet to make it easy to share expenses for a group event. This group uses a blog to communicate, they have a shared calender, shared photos online, and a couple of spreadsheets where they've tracked expenses (linked on the right side of the blog). Everyone enters their out of pocket expenses, and the spreadsheet calculates the net due to/from each person.

Site:Shared blog AJC 09/07
Spreadsheet:Shared expenses accounting

Hockey Stats in spreadsheets - prospective Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres Prospects blog uses spreadsheets effectively to publish statistics on prospective hockey players. In the right pane of their blog, you'll find a few links to a spreadsheet in the "Statistics" section. Notice that the links are to different individual sheets within the same spreadsheet file (workbook). You can build individual links like that using the "More Publishing Options" link on the publishing dialog within the spreadsheets editor on Google Docs...

Site:Sabres Prospects
Main Spreadsheet:Sabres Prospects Stats
Detail sheet:Shooting MPH sheet

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spreadsheet of Twittering Musicians ++

If you're into Twitter, you can thank Gabriel N. for starting this huge list of twittering musicians. It's got hundreds of 'em - Coldplay, Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, ... the list goes on and on.

Site:Follow Gabriel on Twitter
Spreadsheet:List of Twittering Musicians and others

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Collecting data using a Google Docs Form

If you want to quickly collect information from people, a Google Docs Form is a great option. This sample survey about blogging will give you an idea of what the simplest form looks like, It literally takes just a few minutes to set one up (see my instructions) and get it out to people in an email or embedded in a web page, or as a standalone page.

Page/Post:Collect data using a web form
Spreadsheet:Blank Example spreadsheet with a Form
Form:Sample Live Form - Blogging Survey

Friday, February 6, 2009

Recipes are tastier when the calculations are correct

Jeff Barr (Web Services evangelist at has clearly allowed his technical and web services DNA to rub off on his daughter ;) . He posted a great story about how she created a spreadsheet to calculate the cost of a cookie recipe. We don't have the sample spreadsheet, but check out his post - it's a great example of the power of spreadsheets for things as important as, well, cookies.

Site:Jeff Barr's Blog
Page/Post:Using a Google Spreadsheet to calculate recipe costs