Celebrating 25 years writing for SAS Press

Of course it has not really been 25 years of SAS Press, but more like 30 or so.  But it has been 25 years of the publishing of SAS books by SAS users.  What started as “Books by Users” with only a few titles has grown into what is now known as SAS Press with hundreds of titles covering all aspects of the use of SAS software.

It was in the early 1990s when David Baggett, then the Acquisitions Editor of the fledgling Books by Users program talked me into authoring my first book (I was reluctant – he was persuasive).  With dreams of fame, fortune, and interviews with Oprah swirling in my head,  I accepted, and my first book title, Quick Results with SAS/GRAPH® Software (coauthored with Charles E. Shipp), was published in 1995.  It was fun writing that first book, and it was followed over the next 20 years by four other book titles. Four other books on other aspects of SAS, and I am currently working on the third edition of Carpenter’s Complete Guide to the SAS® Macro Language.  And it is still fun.

The books published by SAS Press continue to be valued, because books written by those that use the software tend to have a special value to those who use SAS software.  They convey a message using language that the user of the software understands.  When you are trying to learn some aspect about SAS it is incredibly helpful to read something that has been written by an author who ”has been there.”

As we celebrate 25 years of SAS Publishing, let’s celebrate the opportunities afforded to us as authors and as readers by SAS Press.

By the way, I am still waiting for Oprah’s call.

Editor's note: Art Carpenter’s blog is part of a series of blogs we'll be posting this year to celebrate the 25 years of SAS Press. We're also marking this milestone by offering customers 25 percent off their entire order from the SAS Bookstore. Use promo code SMPBBP. Discount ends Dec. 31, 2015. 


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Superman -vs- Batman ... Halloween smackdown!

Choosing the perfect Halloween costume can be a tough decision ... especially when it comes to choosing between two awesome favorites like Superman & Batman!?! I think we're gonna need a bigger boat! (and by 'boat' I mean analytical software, of course!)

Let's start with Superman. This character has been around since 1933, and has been a popular costume for many years. Here's a vintage picture my friend Margie sent me, showing that Superman was popular when she was little. I really like this picture - it reminds me of the days when I was a kid, and everyone made their own costumes. :)


And now, on to the analytics! ... For my data, I went to Google-Trends and did a keyword search for 'superman costume'. I saved the data as a csv text file, and then used a data step to read it into SAS. From there, it was a simple matter of using Proc Gplot to plot the past 5+ years of data. Looks like the interest in Superman costumes increases at Halloween each year, and has been increasing the past 5 years.


And now for Batman ... Batman has been around since 1939, and the Google Trends for 'batman costume' follows the same general yearly pattern as 'superman costume.' Interest has been been pretty high the past 4 years, without the gradual rise each year like the Superman graph. Read More »

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The cure for cancer lies in our apps

David Pogue

David Pogue

Every new piece of technology today can be rooted back to the creation of the iPhone, and it’s what David Pogue, Author, Host of NOVA ScienceNow and Yahoo Tech Columnist, calls the singular invention that caused the greatest gap between generations.

While its touchscreen, audio, video, Wi-Fi, GPS, wireless antenna and censor capabilities wow us, Pogue said the iPhone is more than its cool features.

“The iPhone is everything but a phone. It’s the apps that lie within it that really matter, allowing us to connect to the masses,” he said.

Specializing in critiquing technology and how it affects society and culture, Pogue, who gave the Analytics 2015 keynote address Tuesday morning, calls life today a disruptive and unrecognizable new landscape of technology and culture.

Consider Web 2.0 and the idea of sites and company owners allowing viewers to control the content, the pictures and the stories. In the old business model, this wasn’t even a consideration, but now companies like Facebook, Airbnb and Uber are completely driven by the individual consumers.

“Previously, if we wanted something we went [directly] to the brand, but now we use the brand, to go directly to each other,” said Pogue. The result allows strangers to connect globally with very narrow and common interests. And while it’s disruptive, it’s also the reality of the new technology world centered on a sharing economy.

New technologies are coming out daily, and while a lot take off, a great deal of them tank.

Google Glass? The invention was a genius idea, but it’s been pulled off the market for social reasons. Pogue said there are numerous developments like Google Glass, great in concept but they aren’t being embraced by the masses because they aren’t compelling enough. Read More »

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How a data scientist plans his trick-or-treat route

As I continue to apply analytics to various aspects of Halloween, I turn my attention to planning my trick-or-treat route ...

Random picture: Here's a shot of my friend Sara's trick-or-treat crew. With tiny legs, and huge loads of candy, having an efficient route is very important! :)


I started by creating a list of all the houses in my neighborhood, and determining the lat/long coordinate for each house. I stored this information in a SAS dataset, and now I can plot & analyze the data. Here's a simple scatter plot of the houses. Read More »

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Create Halloween images and learn SAS basics

Do you have fun being a computer geek, and programmatically creating holiday images? If so, then this blog's for you!

In this example, I demonstrate how to take simple x/y coordinates, and create map polygons shaped like holiday images, that can be plotted using SAS/Graph's Proc GMap. Once you learn the basic technique, you can easily re-use this code to create your own images. :)

First, we need some x/y coordinates. I did a few Google searches and found several nice Halloween examples at math-aids.com. I chose the bat, and copy-n-pasted the x/y coordinates into the datalines section of my SAS job. Below is some partial code (you can click here to see the full code) that reads the x/y coordinates into a dataset that can be plotted as a geographical map.

data bat_data;
input x y;
7 6
8 5
9.5 4
11 3.5
13 3
(several data lines not shown)
0 2.5
1 3
3 4
5 5

Read More »

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Not in Vegas? Watch the Analytics conference anywhere

SAS experts, users and decision makers are taking over Las Vegas this week while attending Analytics 2015 and The Premier Business Leadership Series.

Whether you are in Vegas or need to participate from afar, read on for help to stay in tuned and be a part of it all.

Watch Live

Even more sessions are being streamed live from both conferences this year. You can watch live video happening October 26-29. 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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Need help choosing a Halloween costume?

When I was a kid, I always found it difficult to pick a Halloween costume. Now that I'm older, perhaps I can use computers & analytics to make my decision (and yours) easier! ...

There are several different schools of thought on Halloween costumes - for example, some like to dress in the most popular costume, while others like to dress in the most unique one. In this blog, I'll focus on the most popular costumes (because that's easiest to find data for).

As I searched the Web for popular costumes, the following map from sumocoupon kept popping up. It's more of an infographic (with lots of images) than an analytic map, and it's about 3 times as tall as it is wide (which seems to be the trend these days with infographics - making them very tall). My biggest complaint is that the images/glyphs for the costumes often aren't intuitive, and I have to keep looking them up in the legend ... which means I have to keep scrolling up/down to see the legend (since it's way too tall to fit on one screen). Below is a screen-capture of the map, and 2 of the 11 rows of legend:


The most trending costume in 3 states was 'Pirate' - and you can't get much more Pirate-y than my friend Joy in this picture. Arrr!!!


Now it's my turn ... Read More »

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Calling all curious data science experts

DataScienceDon’t just think like a data scientist. Be one! You know analytical talent is in high demand. Differentiate yourself by earning a newly launched certification in big data and data science from SAS. The SAS Academy for Data Science can help you sharpen your skills and validate your expertise – for employers, customers and yourself.

Or perhaps you are already a data scientist and are keen to share your knowledge and experience? So why not write a book to support one of the many topics covered in the academy? From preparing data for analysis and reporting; getting started with SAS In-Memory Statistics; to neural network modeling; and experimentation in data science, there are a whole lot of areas you could choose. Inspired?

I’m hoping to meet lots of data scientists and aspiring data scientists next week in Las Vegas at Analytics 2015! If you have any publishing ideas and would like more information then please pop by the SAS Press booth and introduce yourself. Read More »

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Get the inside scoop for your Halloween candy selection

It's that time of year again - time to choose what Halloween candy to buy for the trick-or-treaters! This is always a tough decision that has me angsting in the candy aisle. And if selecting the perfect candy wasn't enough pressure, my city (Cary, NC) was recently recognized as #1 on the list of the Top 10 cities in the US for Halloween treats! With all that in mind, this year I decided to use data & analytics to help select the perfect candy ...

Random picture #1 (Kara's son, ready for Halloween):


After a bit of research on the candy topic, I was somewhat surprised to find that there are basically 3 companies supplying almost all of the Halloween candy. I found a graph of the supplier data on foodandwaterwatch.org, but it had a few problems. The biggest no-no is that they used a 3d pie chart - this distorts the relative sizes of the pie slices. I made my version two dimensional, and also rotated the pie so that the equal-sized Mars & Hershey's slices are symmetrical about the middle of the pie (that makes it easier to see that they are the same size). Here's my simpler/improved pie chart:


Random picture #2 (my friend Mary has some fabulous costumes - I don't stand a chance of out-costuming her ... but perhaps I can give out better candy!) Read More »

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25 Fun Facts about SAS Press authors

120084856You’ve read their books. You’ve probably even met them at conferences. But now, we’re revealing another side of our beloved SAS authors in this list of fun facts. Prepare to be surprised. Hint – one of the authors swims with sharks.

  1. Tricia Aanderud

Tricia has over 100 jokes memorized - most in questionable taste. Two guys walk into a bar.  You think the second one would have ducked.

  1. Bill Benjamin

When Bill was in high school he attended several art, photography, and journalism classes. But, he knew the computer field was catching on and would put him in a new field at a time of extreme growth. So, he flipped a coin and became a computer programmer. We’re glad it landed that side up!

  1. Patricia Berglund

Patricia has an interest in sled dog adventures and racing. She has even adopted a retired sled dog from a kennel in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan called Nature’s Kennel.

  1. Chuck Boiler 

Chuck briefly taught grade school. He fell in love with teaching and the discovery moments that students get every day while learning. That experience prepared him for what he gets to do today both in the book and in his career.

  1. Iain Brown

Iain is a big football fan (that’s known as soccer for us Americans) and uses analytics in his spare time to help pick his fantasy football team. Read More »

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