Canadian language: what does Kabloona mean?

The tutor shares a term he discovered in the dictionary.

Kabloona is an Inuit term referring to a non-Inuit; the term particularly suggests a white person. It has been used to describe white people present to do specific functions: police, missionaries, etc.

Kabloonamuit refers to Inuit people who emulate White ways. They generally participate in the economy as a white person would – having a job instead of being self-employed, and buying clothes and food from stores.

Having learned only recently of the terms Kabloona and Kabloonamuit, I don’t know if they’re meant for conversational use. I’m intrigued I’ve never heard of them.


Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow:
  HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbel River, BC.

Spreadsheets: editing data within a cell

The tutor points out a handy hint that will be obvious to spreadsheet veterans, yet perhaps very useful to beginners.

Let’s imagine you’ve entered a city name in a cell: Medicine Hat, Alberta. However, you notice you mistyped the name: the cell reads Medidine Hat, Alberta.

If you return to the cell, arrowing back and forth will just place you in neighboring cells. Delete will erase the entire entry, as will attempting to type in the cell. It’s unlike a word processing situation, where you can arrow your way to the problem and edit.

Double-clicking on the cell is the solution. Then the typing cursor appears right where the mouse arrow was, and you can arrow back and forth within the cell entry to correct the misspelling.

Once again: to edit a cell entry, you can double-click on the cell, then move the cursor within the entry:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: the spring transition

The tutor observes how life changes with the seasons.

This time of year, it seems, one should spend more time outside. An immediate reason might be yard chores: weeding and putting down lime are two examples. The lawn hasn’t needed mowing yet, although some around me have already fired up their mowers.

On the west coast, we don’t have winter the same as the rest of Canada. The lawn stays green all year. However, it doesn’t grow much. Once the leaves are down, the landscape lies prostrate against wind and rain until spring.

During the gloomy months of winter, the west coast resident might “hunker down” in the home, turning to books, chess, and Internet research. An academic, of course, likely finds such pursuits appealing anyway.

When the sun breaks through, though, staying indoors seems less appropriate than during the windy, rainy months of winter. Yet, the indoor activities have come to define the lifestyle. Doing “what you did last week” seems natural. Furthermore, you likely have unfinished projects from those indoor pursuits.

For me, transitions can be challenging. With the yard chores beckoning, I always enter “spring mode,” having no choice. However, this year, I’m doing so for another reason as well: to escape the mental staleness that can so easily develop by living in routine.

I’ve gotten out the field guides and started going to the woods to search for the plants and birds I know await me. Already I’ve made a couple of finds; I look forward to sharing them in coming posts:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Spreadsheets: When is Easter?

The tutor points out how a spreadsheet can show holiday awareness.

Most holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, or Christmas, happen on a set date. However, Easter is different. As a child, I overheard it’s the Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring. Hence, its date varies by year.

If you’re using the spreadsheet LibreOffice Calc, however, you don’t need to wonder Easter Sunday’s date; in a cell, just type


then hit Enter. The date of the given year’s Easter Sunday will show in the cell.

For instance,


returns the date 2016-03-27.

Happy Easter:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Web design: css3 gradient, part III: browser support

Continuing about css3 gradient effects, the tutor discusses some of the browsers that do or don’t support them.

In my previous two posts (here and here), I’ve been talking about the css3 gradient effect. I’ve acknowledged that not everyone viewing those posts can see the effects, but I continue to believe that most people can.

On my ancient 32-bit system, which runs under Linux (Ubuntu), the gradients show up on Firefox. (It’s the browser that came with Ubuntu.)

My equally ancient 32-bit Windows XP system (from 2002) has two browsers: ie8 and Opera. As I expected, ie8 doesn’t show the gradient effects at all. Opera, however, shows them perfectly.

My wife has a Mac with Safari; the gradient effects show up fine on it.

Finally, we have two Windows 7 computers, both of which have Chrome and ie11. The gradients all show up perfectly on Chrome. On ie11, the middle rectangle’s gradient (from top left to bottom right) does not show up, but the other two do.

In future posts I’ll discuss browser usage:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Web design: css3 gradient, part II: code

Continuing with css3 gradients, the tutor shows some coding examples.

In my previous post I began about css3 gradients, showing a few examples. Today, I show the code I used to generate them.

Left to right, red to blue:

<div style="background: linear-gradient(to right,#ff9999, #9999ff); font-size:20px; font-family:monospace; text-align:center">

Top left to bottom right, red to blue:

<div style="background: linear-gradient(to bottom right, #ff9999, #9999ff); font-size:20px; font-family:monospace; text-align:center">

Left to right, red to white to blue:

<div style="background:linear-gradient(to right, #ff9999, #ffffff, #9999ff); font-size:20px; font-family:monospace; text-align:center">

Next post I’ll comment on browser support for the effects above:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Web design: css3 gradient

The tutor shows an effect availabe from css3.

CSS code can be used to change the appearance of web-generated content. CSS refers to the appearance as the style.

A gradient signifies a color transition. For example:

Hello. The background shows a gradient from red to blue, left to right (if supported).

Hello. The background shows a gradient from red to blue, top left to bottom right (if supported).

Hello. The background shows a gradient from red to white to blue (if supported).

The effects above are not visible from every computer; I’d argue that, from the vast majority, they probably are. I’ll discuss compatibility, as well as the specific css code to accomplish gradients, in future posts:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Spreadsheets: converting date to serial number in Excel using DATEVALUE

The tutor continues about Excel’s handling of dates.

I mentioned in my March 16 post that Excel can convert a date into a serial number for convenient calculation of duration between dates. The serial number is the number of days from the turn of 1900 (possibly, on Mac, from the turn of 1904) up to, and including, the date of interest.

Excel’s built-in function for converting the date to a serial number is DATEVALUE, found by clicking the Formulas tab, then Date & Time. The user can also just type =datevalue() in the formula box.

The human form of date, such as “March 20, 2106” or “Mar-20-2016” or “20/03/2016”, is called a string. DATEVALUE converts a date from a string to a serial number. Caution: DATEVALUE only accepts certain forms of date string. Here are two forms that do work:

=datevalue(“20/03/2016”) should return 42449

=datevalue(“20-Mar-2016”) should return 42449

To use one of the formulas as above, it needs to be typed exactly that way: the quotes are needed.

I’ll be talking more about spreadsheets in future posts:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Math: calculating mortgage payment on the Windows desktop calculator

The tutor points out a very convenient utility.

I haven’t upgraded to Windows 10, so am still running Windows 7. From the Start menu (the circle with the colored window panes), if I click All Programs, then Accessories, the desktop calculator is the first listed.

I’ve written one article (see here) praising the Windows desktop calculator’s utility towards standard deviation. Today the focus is its mortgage worksheet.

Once the calculator is activated, click the View menu; at the bottom is Worksheets. Mousing over Worksheets, you’ll see Mortgage and a few other options. Click Mortgage, and the worksheet appears at right, with entry boxes for Purchase price, Down payment, Term, and Interest rate. After entering those values, you click Calculate to find the monthly payment. The worksheet can also be used to calculate Down payment, Purchase Price, and Term.

I don’t think calculating one’s mortgage payment can be done any more easily than with the Windows desktop calculator:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Seasons: when are the day and night equal in length?

The tutor shares a discovery about the seasons.

I always believed that equal night and day – twelve hours each – happens at the turn of spring and the turn of fall. Last year, however, I noticed on the environment Canada website that the first day of spring was longer than twelve hours, and wondered why.

Yesterday, March 17, I noticed the day to be exactly 12 hours long: sunrise: 7:29; sunset: 19:29. No wonder the first day of spring is longer than 12 hours, if a few days before, the day is already exactly twelve hours.

This morning I researched the reason that March 17 is exactly 12 hours. At I found out.

For the day and night to be symmetric (at the spring or fall equinox), sunrise would need to be defined as when the sun is half up – that is, when the middle line of it is on the horizon. Then, sunset would need to be the instant when half the sun has already passed over the horizon, while half remains visible.

In practice, sunrise is thought to be the instant the sun becomes visible; sunset, the instant it disappears. Therefore, the time for the sun to climb halfway above the horizon, and fall the rest of the way below it, is added to the day. Hence, the equinox – when the day and night should be exactly equal – is actually more than twelve hours.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.