How to get your SAS on

WUSS_2We’ve all probably done it. It benefits others and yourself. You don’t get paid, but it always makes you feel good. Of course, I’m talking about volunteering.

Jennifer Waller’s keynote presentation, “How To Get Your SAS On” was more than just a catchy title. The attendees at WUSS 2015 in San Diego got to learn about the benefits of giving back in their professional careers. It’s a fitting place to talk about volunteering, since user events like WUSS depend on volunteers to succeed.

Waller’s story

If you’re part of the SAS community, you've probably heard the name Jennifer Waller. She’s presented at Southeast SAS Users Group (SESUG) events and SAS Global Forum for a number of years. But the pinnacle of her professional volunteering success is coming up with the job of conference chair at SAS Global Forum 2016.

Volunteering was something that was instilled in Waller at a very young age. “My parents have been the example for me since day one,” said Waller. “Serving was just something we did.”

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If I were a carpenter … thoughts on the recent SAS Statistical Software Release

DrillsOne question I get asked a lot is: What is the most exciting new statistical feature in the 14.1 release? And they get a bit frustrated when I say: It depends.

But it does depend! SAS statistical software provides a broad array of capabilities that help users track disease outbreaks, predict cell phone plan choices, design clinical trials, improve health care utilization, plan agricultural experiments, create more effective web sites, and determine insurance premiums. And those are just a few examples. Which new feature makes your day depends on your particular area of statistical practice.

So, let me answer the question this way:

If I were a sample survey researcher, I would be excited about new techniques for dealing with missing data from surveys!

Nonresponse in surveys is a big problem. Even with government surveys conducted in-person by researchers, there are question that respondents don’t want to answer, such as topics like income or diet. Missing data matters because the results of the analysis may be biased if non-respondents are different from respondents, and the results may also be less precise.

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Revamped SAS Support Communities Offer Enhanced Customer Service

Many years ago, SAS Support Communities began as a way to connect and help SAS users. Since that time, our communities have seen tremendous growth in membership and readership. Our members show a vast diversity of interests – both in terms of the topics that they discuss and in the actions that they take to help each other.

SAS Support Communities

To take to the next level, we have upgraded our communities platform and redesigned the site. This new environment will help SAS users:

  • Quickly find correct information with intuitive searches.
  • Connect with peers.
  • Share what they know.

You’ll notice some immediate benefits of the new site:

  • A quality mobile experience.
  • A new system of ranks and badges that rewards you for contributions to the community.
  • Better SPAM filters, keeping the noise level down so you can enjoy the good content.

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Rebooting the Little SAS Book: Catching up with the authors before WUSS 2015

LittleSASBookAsk any user how they first learned SAS and there’s a good chance they’ll cite The Little SAS Book as a resource they used to get started. Authors Lora Delwiche, Susan Slaughter, and Rebecca Ottesen have written a new book that promises to be just as helpful to new SAS programmers.

Exercises and Projects for The Little SAS Book Fifth Edition includes a variety of exercises to help people learn SAS programming. All three authors will be presenting at WUSS 2015 in San Diego and signing books in the exhibit space on Thursday September 10 from 1:45-2:15pm. It’s a real treat for attendees, who can meet the authors and purchase their book at a 25% discount.

I recently chatted with each of them to learn more about their new book.

Q: The Little SAS Book has taught hundreds of users how to use SAS.  How is this new book different?
Lora Delwiche: The Exercises and Projects book complements The Little SAS Book by providing questions to test your SAS knowledge and interesting and often challenging exercises to practice what you have learned. The book also includes several ideas for extensive projects that require a broad knowledge of SAS to complete. All topics covered in the Exercises and Projects book are also covered in The Little SAS Book. We hope that readers of The Little SAS Book will appreciate having this book to help them along their SAS learning journey.

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Deleting old backups with SAS Backup Manager

As Gerry Nelson pointed out in an earlier post on 9.4M3, a new interface to the SAS Backup and Recovery Tool is available from the Administration application in SAS Environment Manager.  This new SAS Backup Manager interface makes scheduling regular backups and executing ad hoc backups extremely easy to do and greatly simplifies the life of a SAS administrator.  The ease with which new backups can be made should also encourage closer adherence to best practices suggesting backups before and after significant system modifications.

The SAS Backup Manager interface includes a History view of the backups that have been run and displays details of a selected backup.  In this case, I selected the oldest backup in my history which is one I took after my initial 9.4M3 install in July.


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SAS Visual Analytics 7.3: Check out the sample reports!

VisualAnalyticsNew in the 7.3 release, SAS Visual Analytics now provides sample objects.  During installation, the SAS Deployment Wizard prompts you to include sample reports by default.  In addition to eight reports, an exploration and ten sample datasets are also included in the samples. These sample reports and datasets are available by industry or business issue (e.g. Warranty) and help you see the potential of the software immediately after the configuration.

During the configuration, the installer will see a prompt to Install Visual Analytics Sample Reports.  The checkbox to install the samples is checked, by default, but if you choose not to install the samples during the configuration, you can configured it later.  When the samples are loaded, the objects shown below are in SAS Folders/Products/SAS Visual Analytics/Samples.  The automatic configuration also creates a sample collection containing the eight reports, called Visual Analytics Samples.

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Don’t WUSS Out – Five “Can’t Miss” Happenings at WUSS 2015

WUSS2015With all of the classes and presentations offered at this year’s Western Users of SAS Software conference, planning your activities can easily become overwhelming. Have no fear – we are here to help! Below are five “can’t miss” happenings at WUSS 2015!

1. Jennifer Waller’s Keynote Address - Wednesday, September 9

Jennifer Waller has been a SAS users since 1989 and is no stranger to presenting at SAS Users Group conferences. She has presented at SESUG and SAS Global Forum and will serve as the chair of Global Forum in 2016. In her keynotes address, How to Get Your SAS On, Jennifer will talk about her passion for volunteering within SAS Users Groups.

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Five things a SAS user should know this week

Note: This blog post is cross-posted from the Key Happenings blog. Going forward, posts about changes to will appear here, in the SAS User's blog. Enjoy!

Five things a SAS users should know this week...

5 -- SAS 9.4 M3 and 14.1 are available
4 -- Communities will go to read-only status from August 31 - September 7
3 -- SAS 8.2 Samples and SAS Notes have been archived
2 -- SAS Talks series combined with Ask the Experts series
1 -- Survey: What tasks do you do most on a web site?

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What’s new in SAS Grid Manager 9.4M3 architecture

GridIf you have, or are considering, SAS Grid Manager, you’ll be excited to hear about two new changes to the product that make it even better for managing and processing in your analytics environment.

The two changes were made in conjunction with the release of SAS 9.4M3 in July, and included:

  • The introduction of the SAS Grid Manager agent plug-in for SAS Environment Manager.
  • The substitution of the SAS Grid Manager Plug-in for SAS Environment Manager with the SAS Grid Manager Module for SAS Environment Manager in the middle tier.

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Keeping SAS current with Java 7

javaAs of April 15, 2015, Oracle is no longer providing public updates of the Java 7 runtime environment (JRE) or software development kit (JDK).

SAS 9.3 and SAS 9.4, however, continue to rely on Java 7 for support of business production. SAS has therefore contracted with Oracle to continue receiving security updates (not feature enhancements) to Java 7 for the foreseeable future. This will ensure that our customers are protected from the ever-changing cyber threats aimed at Java 7. Oracle plans to release updates quarterly – that is, four times a year.

Keeping up to date with Java releases

The Security Bulletins support site provides a quick indicator of the versions of Java that are available.   This site references the SAS Technical Support Usage Note 55188 which provides step-by-step instructions for identifying what update(s) you need, and retrieving the update from SAS.

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