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should a calorie counter be done with a database or should it remain a spreadsheet

Posted on 2014-08-28
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I know nothing about databases yet.  I'd give myself a "C" grade on spreadsheets knowledge.  I am making a Google Docs spreadsheet that tracks how many calories I eat.  I'll bake chocolate chip cookies and THE PROBLEM IS:
I don't know if I will eat them with breakfast, lunch, or supper.  Do I have to copy the cookie calorie information to all 3 areas of my sheet to be complete or is there a better way to do this?
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Question by:dwcronin
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Montoya earned 2000 total points
ID: 40290075
having a database of items with their caloric content, means that you won't have to re-type that information every time. That is one of the uses of a database. You have that information stored in a place where you can retrieve it any time you wish.
In the case of your tracking needs, you can go to the field and select cookies in the lunch slot, and it will retrieve 'cookies' along with its value. (otherwise you would typically copy/paste into a cel, or re-type it.

You can, of course, do a dropdown in Excel with all your choices coming from predefined list, therefore using Excel almost as a flat-file database.
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by:dwcronin
ID: 40290272
That is EXACTLY the type of thing I was looking for.  Good idea but I use Ubuntu and so I use either LibreOffice Calc or I use the online, Google spreadsheet.  Can I do that dropdown in either of those?  
It is a great idea but I don't use Windows...
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Author Comment

by:dwcronin
ID: 40290991
I found that "data validation" allow me to have drop downs that have only certain foods but I can't retrieve the calories when I select a food.  I only get the food name -  no other info.  I guess I'll look at databases.
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by:Montoya
ID: 40291101
I dont use those tools, but usually you can do a two-column data validation in some of the better ones.
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Expert Comment

by:Montoya
ID: 40291102
doing it with database is pretty easy and can be a lot of fun, if you're getting into it :)
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Author Comment

by:dwcronin
ID: 40291201
iammontoya:  I'm getting confused.  Can you get me started in Ubuntu with libreoffice base or goole (I'm not sure they have a database.  I'm getting nowhere.
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Author Comment

by:dwcronin
ID: 40291264
I thought google had a database,   but I think I was confusing that with their presentation program.
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by:dwcronin
ID: 40291356
I' going to try mysql
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by:Montoya
ID: 40292558
hi again.. there are some open source databases out there...

all you need is one table,

tblFood

txtName
numCalories

depending on which database you use, just record your database location (usually your host, myhost is popular), your credentials for the database user..connect and get your values.
I'm def not the best person to give Ubuntu advice. I had it installed for 1 day..maybe it's time to pull out an old PC and try it again.  :)
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Author Comment

by:dwcronin
ID: 40294799
I had Windows 7 installed to use Dragon Naturally Speaking.  I tried 8 for a day and hated it.  There is so much good free software on Linux that I  doubt I'll go back soon - maybe ever.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dwcronin
ID: 40294807
if you type part of the name, it tells you if you have the info and it fills in the complete name.
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