Tesco launches on IFTTT

Today I read that Tesco has launched a channel on IFTTT.  IFTTT (If this then that) is an online service that allows you to connect “triggers” with actions.  These are combined in a “recipe”.

Tesco have launched 2 triggers and 1 action.  If a Tesco Grocerie’s product price changes or if it goes below certain price you can trigger any action on IFTTT.   Alternatively you can set any IFTTT Trigger to add a product to your Tesco Basket.


Some of the recipes that have been popular so far are –

  • If a specific product goes below a set price add to basket
  • Track the price of a product in google drive
  • Enable Alexa voice command to add milk to the basket.

There are few traditional retailers on IFTTT so this will be an interesting case study in how people engage with Tesco through IFTTT and whether it drives commercial success.  Tesco underline their commitment to value with their price based triggers, this could make it easy for shoppers to track the price of adhoc expensive household products and shop only when they are on offer.

If you use IFTTT will you be using the Tesco channel?  Leave a comment

Read more on the Tesco Labs Blog

Save as PDF with Excel VBA

Often you won’t want to send out an Excel file, your report is the finished article, either there is no need for the reciever to edit in excel or you’re worried that with everyone using different versions of excel it may not look the same on their machine.  Recently I discovered that it is possible to save as PDF with Excel VBA.

This has been a great benefit in my quest to “automate everything” as weekly reporting can now save itself as PDF for easy distribution.

The below code (thanks to Stackoverflow where I found the basis for doing this) saves a set of sheets as a PDF with a file name and the date / time.

For my purposes I have a sheet named “Workings” with all my code variables in it.  Change the line  Set rngRange = Worksheets("Workings").Range("D2") to the location of a cell where you have the folder and file name that you want to save the PDF as.  EG – The cell could contain “C:\MyFiles\Reporting\Homepage Metrics” (without the speech marks) – This would save the PDF in that folder with the file name “Hompage Metrics” appended with the date and time

The line Sheets(Array("Sheet1", "Sheet2", "Sheet3", "Sheet4", "Sheet5")).Select specifies which sheets should be included in the PDF, change this to the sheets you want in the PDF, ensure that you have already set up the print area and layout of each sheet.

Here is the full Code –

Sub SavePDF

Dim strFilename As String
Dim rngRange As Range
'Considering Sheet1 to be where you need to pick file name
Set rngRange = Worksheets("Workings").Range("D2")

'Create File name with dateStamp
strFilename = rngRange.Value & Format(Now(), "yyyymmdd hhmmss")

Sheets(Array("Sheet1", "Sheet2", "Sheet3", "Sheet4", "Sheet5")).Select
ActiveSheet.ExportAsFixedFormat Type:=xlTypePDF, Filename:= _
strFilename & ".pdf" _
, Quality:=xlQualityStandard, IncludeDocProperties:=True, IgnorePrintAreas _
:=False, OpenAfterPublish:=False

End Sub

Excel VBA – Save Workbook without “Are you Sure” pop up

Recently I’ve been working to “automate” my life, well my work reporting at least!  Why spend 3 hours on a Sunday reporting the weeks data if you can automate this.  So I set out to create a “Master Macro” that would sequentially open all of my weekly reports, update them, save, close and move onto the next one.

An issue I hit with this was that using the save command Activeworkbook.Save it would pull up a prompt to the user saying words to the effect of “are you sure you want to save changes?”  I wanted to suppress this as I don’t want to keep checking back on the macro and having to click yes periodically…  This is how

 Application.DisplayAlerts = False
'Your Code goes here'
 Application.DisplayAlerts = True

The Application.Display Alerts property disables prompts and alerts when a macro is running, if the prompt requires a choice Excel will always choose the default.

Personally I always put this within my code just around the save command, Then if there is anything wrong with my code / that weeks data set which would force a real prompt I will get to see it as the only code with display alerts set to false is my save command.

Like this –

Application.DisplayAlerts = False
Application.DisplayAlerts = True

I hope you find this helpful, leave a comment!

Google Turn by Turn Navigation

I’m probably slightly behind everyone else discovering this  (only recently have I had a “modern” phone powerful enough! but I have just discovered how brilliant Google Maps “turn by turn” Navigation can be.


I have always used a “dumb” Tom Tom before which has no internet connection, and thought this was everything I needed, however always struggled with it when there is a road closure or diversion as it continually tells you to get back on the road you have just left.

This week driving along the M25 there were signs to say heavy delays from junction 6-5.  Stopping at Cobham services (Coffee!!), I loaded up google maps and told it to give me directions to home.  It sat on the dashboard and gave that bit more extra information than you would get from another product “the queue you’re in is a 4 minute delay”, it even said that the route I was on was no longer the fastest route (because everyone was taking the same diversion) so did I want to change route.

Whether or not I got home any faster is hard to say, but despite the heavy delays it took me on routes where I was rarely stationary in traffic so it felt like I was always making good progress,

Then the following day, I programmed it in for a 40 minute route I take regularly, to my surprise it suggested a different route which saved 4 minutes, I don’t know whether 4 minutes is that much different but it showed me even routes you think you know aren’t always the only option / best.

So next time your out on a drive, give google navigation a go.

Guildford to Dorking – North Downs Way

Back in May 2013 I decided I was going to walk the North Downs Way.  With a friend who is handily based at the start in Farnham we walked the Farnham to Guildford stretch.  Just under 2 years later I have got round to doing stage 2!

I’ve been closely watching the weather forecast all week, and every day the forecast has been different.  But the most recent forecast looked ok, about 8 degrees, not too windy, and dry till 12.  I got up at the usual work hour of 5am and drove to Guildford (after the North Downs Way crosses the river it goes up a road “Pilgrims Way” where it then cuts onto the footpath there is free parking!) After parking the car… the rain began.  By the time I had got sorted and put my boots and waterproof’s on the rain stopped.  So headed off around 7:45am

The Start!
The Start!

The sun hadn’t quite appeared but it was light enough to see, I started on the route which followed a clearly marked path through woodland to the Church of St Martha on the Hill.

The Sunrise
The Sunrise

I paused at the Church to take in the view, change out of all the waterproofs and at this point I realised I had left my Garmin GPS in the car so I fired up Strava on the phone – I think I missed the first mile – mile and a half and continued.  When I got to Newlands Corner the rain came strongly so I plowed on rather than staying to enjoy the view.

A Bowl?
A Bowl?

Along this part of the North downs there are many “Pillboxes” and war defences, I’m not sure what the Bowl shaped construction above would have once been used for.

Nearer Dorking the woodlands open up and you get a promising view that Dorking is not much further, from here you head through the Denbies Wine Estate, as appealing as the visitor centre would have been I just wanted to get back, so where the North Downs crossed the main road I headed right for Dorking Deepdene Station, a short train back to Guildford and then a bit of effort to persuade my legs back to the car.



The Route
The Route

Walking in January the ground was very muddy underfoot.  I received a pair of Alpkit Trekking Poles for Christmas and this was the first time I have used trekking poles and I was really happy with them.  I don’t really know if it made a difference on the flat, but where there were slopes or the mud made it very slippery I could just plow on through with my trekking poles keeping me upright.  Though I may need a pair of Gaiters next, the state of my trousers by the end!

Muddy by the end
Muddy by the end

Throughout this stage of the North Downs the route is generally in woodland, with wide paths which are fairly easy to follow.  Here and there the woodland breaks and you walk along the side of the ridge and have views for quite a distance.  I took a guide-book which I didn’t use (but was invaluable for preparation and the previous stage), but had a map app on my phone which was essential in a couple of places where signs have collapsed or were not obvious.

In all Strava recorded me walking 14 miles in 4 hours 12 minutes, I think with the bit I didn’t record and the walk back to the car it was around 17 miles in total (a few more than the 13 I had prepared myself for!)  But enjoyable to get out in the fresh air once again.