The Analytics Experience – virtually anywhere

email-banner600-400Analytics experts and decision makers are taking over Las Vegas Sept. 12-14 while attending Analytics Experience.

Whether you are in Vegas or need to participate from the luxury of your sofa or office, read on for help to stay connected and be a part of it all.

Watch Live

There is an exciting lineup of sessions that are being streamed live from Analytics Experience. You can check out this impressive list before the conference, add them to your calendar, and then watch live September 12-14. Sessions including opening remarks, keynotes and SAS Talks will be streaming live online. Missed something? No worries. Many of the videos will also be available on-demand. Read More »

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Can you name all the SAS colors?

Anybody can come up with a list of simple colors, such as red, green, and blue. If you're a bit more color savvy, you might even throw in indigo, magenta, and fuchsia. But what about more obscure names such as cornsilk, mistyrose, and midnightblue? This blog post will help you visualize and use all 141 of the SAS colors!

Before we get started, let me put you into a colorful mood! Below is a painting from my favorite artist, Sara! I really like the way she uses colors & shapes in her paintings. Note that she's got an art show coming up in Durham, NC on Sept 16, 2016, called Dis-sec-tion of Col-or - if you like her style, you should drop by and see more of her work!

sara_art

 

Now, on to those 141 SAS colors... The term "SAS colors" is a bit vague, so let's get a bit more specific. Let's limit it to the colors that are predefined in the SAS Registry, that you can use by name in SAS/Graph. A table on the SAS support site lists 141 such colors, so we'll go with that list. The support page shows the colors in table form (including the name, the rgb hex code, and the hls color code), sorted by color name, and then sorted by hue. Here are 2 screen captures of portions of their two tables: Read More »

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Are milkweed and monarchs making a comeback?

Everyone who knows about monarch butterflies, likes monarch butterflies. This blog post focuses on their food source - milkweed. And to get you in the mood, here's an amazingly beautiful picture my friend Eniko made of a monarch:

monarch_eniko

In recent years, I had heard reports of the dwindling number of monarchs making the annual migration from the US to a small section of forest in Mexico. In 2013 the number of monarchs covered a record-low of 1.7 acres, but in December 2015 it was back up to 10 acres (still not the 44 acres they occupied a couple of decades ago, but certainly headed in the right direction!)

One of the causes of the declining number of monarchs is the loss of the plant that is their food source (and where they lay their eggs) - the milkweed plant. As more and more land is paved over and built on, and as large farms get really good at killing all the plants that aren't the crop they're growing, the number of milkweed plants has declined. Thankfully there have been a few programs trying to increase the number of milkweed plants (both government and private projects), and hopefully that's helping the monarchs make a comeback! Read More »

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Analog clocks, vinyl records, and payphones

What do people have in common who have used analog clocks, vinyl records, and payphones?  They were all probably born before 1980! Now, let's focus on those payphones!...

A lot of young kids these days can't imagine a world where everyone doesn't have a wireless phone. My buddy Ed likes to show his grandkids old TV shows, and they were asking him why Maxwell Smart carries his cellphone in his shoe. And when it comes to payphones and movies, who could forget the Blues Brothers getting blown up in a phone booth (and then finding 'at least $7 worth of change'), or Clark Kent trying to find a phone booth to change into his superman outfit!

Call me nostalgic, but when I saw an example on the metricmaps website showing the decline in the number of payphones over time, I couldn't help but take a peek. Their map is an animation over years 1998-2007. I screen-captured a single year's map to include below. Read More »

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Trends in analytics with Zencos

DavidSeptoff_Headshot_2

David Septoff, Zencos

Leading up to the Analytics Experience conference, we're going to explore the big trends, hot topics and what's ahead in the industry with some of the companies leading the way.

I had the chance to interview David Septoff, CEO of Zencos to get his take on what you need to know about analytics right now.

  1. What do you think is the most exciting thing in analytics right now?

Analytics has grown and expanded enough recently that almost every organization recognizes the power and value that analytics provides. Companies are working harder to ensure that data governance and data integration don’t create bottlenecks or roadblocks to building useful business intelligence solutions that can create the kind of analytics that management craves. Nearly every recent technological trend points towards getting more data into the hands of more analysts in less time. Read More »

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How close are you to a nuclear plant?

Have you ever wondered how far you live from the closest nuclear power plant? I've crunched the numbers for cities here in the US, and created an interactive SAS map to help answer that question!

The average age of US nuclear power plants is 35 years, and there just doesn't seem to be a push to build a lot of new ones (contradicting one of my favorite 1980s songs). Perhaps a few famous nuclear accidents (Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986, and Fukushima in 2011), along with worries about what to do with spent radioactive fuel/etc, make it a bit too risky for most power companies to pursue. But the nuclear plants we've already got will probably be around for quite some time ... which gets us back to the original question, "How far do you live from the closest nuclear power plant?"

I did a few Web searches to see what might already be out there on this topic, and found the following map on the metricmaps website. It was an eye-catching map, but what did it mean? After a bit of studying, I guessed that the yellow areas were close to a nuclear plant, and the violet/purple areas were farther away. I wasn't sure if the height on the map represented the elevation, or the distance from the plants (I'm thinking the latter, but that doesn't really seem like a good way to visualize it, since that can easily be confused with actual elevation). Also, it was difficult to tell how far specific cities are from nuclear plants. Read More »

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A map of Zika cases in the US

As Zika starts spreading into the US, it will be important to have a way to track it. Therefore I wrote some SAS code to pull the latest data from the CDC website, and plot it on a map...

But before we get into the details of my map, I wanted to share a bit of trivia with you. How many of you know what's in the photo below (courtesy of my friend Mubarra)? Yes, it looks like a tennis or badminton racket, but it's actually an electric mosquito swatter (or sometimes called a mosquito bat). It's sort of like the old "bug zappers" that were popular in the 1980s, but instead of using a black light to lure the mosquitoes into the electric wires, you target them manually. I think they are more popular in other countries right now, but I foresee them becoming popular here in the near future!

mosquito_swatter

The number of Zika cases in the US is on the rise, and I recently saw the data presented using the following bubble map in a New York Times article. I liked the map, but since they only labeled the number of cases in a couple of states, it left me to wonder exactly how many cases have been in other states. Also, since Puerto Rico isn't one of the official 50 US states, I'd rather not show it in this particular map (not that it's unimportant - but Zika is "already there" in a big way). Read More »

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Now is the time to get SAS certified

Yes, I read the baby books.  I visited the websites.  I swaddled a football.  I was prepared.

When my daughter came into the world last year there was a small comfort that I had done about all I could do to prepare for her arrival.  I say a small comfort because there really isn’t a great deal of ease and relaxation to be found in four hours of sleep a night and lots of crying.  The baby cried as well. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my brief journey into fatherhood is that knowledge needs to be applied and tested to really become a skill you can rely on.

Is SAS like my toddler?  Well, no.  SAS is much better with math, and my daughter is better at throwing a ball.  However, both parenting and working with SAS can be rewarding, long-term pursuits.  SAS can be simple.  A short WHERE or IF statement can be a powerful tool that can be learned in minutes.  SAS can also be complex, with some people devoting 40 years to continual learning and career growth to do extraordinary things with SAS.  Regardless of your current skill level, you should take a serious look at SAS certification if you’re interested in using SAS in your work.

Why?  Let’s count the reasons… Read More »

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5 new books to go back to school with SAS

Whether you’re a high school student, a college student, a working professional looking to step up their SAS® game, or a lifelong learner who wants to explore analytics, statistics, and learn new skills, SAS Press has something for everyone this back-to-school season.

SchoolBooks

  1. A Recipe for Success Using SAS(R) University Edition: How to Plan Your First Analytics Project

This book teaches beginners with no programming experience how to start using analytics, use SAS to accomplish a project goal, effectively apply SAS to their projects or assignments, and more. Dr. Sharon Jones uses real world scenarios and case studies of projects done by her own students to help you brainstorm fun projects that will help you use SAS in your daily life. “I’ve broken this book down into easy-to-read chapters so readers can get quick and easy takeaway tips they can then apply within their community or school,” said Dr. Jones. “The goal of this text is to introduce readers to SAS and show them that when applied correctly, this software solution can help them accomplish multiple project tasks, such as data entry management, business forecasting, report and graphics writing, and more.” Read More »

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Free POC, on the latest SAS technology, in your own office

Ever wanted to test out the latest SAS® technology on your own data, but lacked the time or administrative backing of IT to make that happen?  Ever wanted to test drive Hadoop with your own data and SAS® but are lacking the support or skills to do that?  If I piqued your interest, let me take a moment and introduce you to the Analytics Fast Track™ for SAS®.  This portable Proof of Concept (POC) solution has all of the latest SAS® technology installed and already configured for your use.  You no longer need to worry about exporting your snippets of data and sending them to SAS®, instead, we send the software, hardware and experts to you.

Worried about actually loading the data and administering the box?  You don't need to worry about that either.  Part of the Analytics Fast Track™ for SAS® POC is having a SAS team accompany it.  The SAS® team will help ensure the success of your POC and make sure there are no administrative issues to worry about or slow you down.  You will work with your SAS® account team to set the expectations and success criteria for your POC before we even come on site.  This way you will have a more focused timeline and have more time and energy to explore and innovate with these new SAS® technologies.  Typical POC's completed in this manner have taken less than a week to complete.  That’s right - days, not months, to realize the value of SAS®.  Not too bad being able to see some ROI before you even have to spend anything.  Yes, you read that correctly as well, no cost to you. Read More »

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