My first ever promo video. August 2011.

I got this idea from the Office promo Microsoft were running at the time. They were 2 minute videos reimagining how (for example) the Apollo 11 mission could have been modelled on Excel if it existed back then. (And if Abraham Lincoln had Word to write the Gettysburg Address, etc). In that series, the dialog was shown as if on IM Messenger.

‘A New Kind of ….’ was inspired by Stephen Wolfram, from his explainer/demo of Wolfram Alpha. With the arrival of Power Query and other Power features these ideas are no longer ‘a new kind ..’, so I have dropped that phrase. Filename: CDM_20110821_1.mp4

Askhiran.com was a project I launched in 2001. This was a Google-like search engine to make the technical knowhow of the ‘Dreamweaver UltraDev’ developer community easily find it’s own know-how; and also connect with members of the community. It archived the content from the UltraDev newsgroup. (for those new to the internet, ‘newsgroups’ were where know-how grew in those days; Microsoft had hundreds of keenly focused newsgroups. Eg. microsoft.excel.general (I think it the general one was called). And there was microsoft.excel.programming.

Before newsgroups, the recommended forum for Microsoft was their forums on Compuserve. My activity on PivotTables was 6 times more than the nearest other expert Bill Manville. I was pretty keen on PivotTables from 1995 onwards, and keen on helping others. I learned most of my tricks from researching how to solve other people’s problems 🙂 Some of the other stalwarts worthy of mention from those pioneering years – Tom Ogilvy, Myrna Larson, John Walkenback, the late Dave Hawley.

In this video, the closing music is from the title theme from the movie Khartoum, starring Charleton Heston as General Gordon.

Hiran de Silva

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