In hopes of adding to your SAS Global Forum experience, we've kicked off a SAS presenters series. Here, we’ve asked some of the SAS presenters five questions to learn more about what makes them tick, why they chose to present and what they hoped you would take away from the presentation. Take a look at Eric Gebhart’s answers.
Eric Gebhart, Software Developer
Eric, tell me something about yourself that our readers might not believe.
There is lots of stuff to answer this with. I've been unicycling since I was eleven. Recently, at a WUSS luncheon, I was asked to give a short keynote. (Not exactly a keynote. They wanted someone who would provide something a little different.) I presented while riding my unicycle.
I'm also fairly geeky. I use an Apple PowerBook Pro to do all my work. It's refreshing to be in Unix environment since that is where I started programming in 1981. I enjoy playing video games on my Playstation 3: odd games, not so much the violent or sports games. Most recently, I've played Flower and PixelJunk - Eden.
When you say you are fairly geeky, I’m sort of confused to hear of your artsy side. Tell me more about that.
I'm in to fine art, and I always try to go to the museums when I travel. I've also been known to sculpt and paint. Last November I donated two mobiles for an auction to benefit Black Mountain College Museum. I've been making mobiles in my spare time since then.
And, last year I started dancing the Argentine Tango. I’m most likely a tango addict. Earlier this month, I went to Tucson for the Tucson Tango Festival, and I arrived in DC four days early to take advantage of the DC Tango Marathon. I’ll be going to Atlanta the day after SAS Global Forum to attend the Atlanta Tango Festival.
How many times have you been to SAS Global Forum? What was your most memorable experience so far?
Nine or ten, if you count SUGI. I've been to every SAS Global Forum there's been. My first presentation at SUGI in 2000 was the most memorable. I checked my laptop in the tryout room that mirrored my presentation hall. But when I plugged it in, the video didn't work. We ate up 30 minutes of my presentation by the time we finally exported my PowerPoint slides to a CD, and then put the CD in a different computer.
The slideshow forgot all the hidden slides and the order of the slides. I talked really fast and flipped through the unnecessary slides. I coped with them being out of order.
What problem or customer pain were you hoping to solve with ODS Packages: Putting Some Zip in Your ODS Output?
I am giving new information about new or fairly new features that will explain how the features work and how to use them. I think that an understanding of how things work together gives more power to the customer. ODS packages are a new, integral part of ODS that will enable easier packaging of ODS output, but it goes beyond that. Understanding how packages work and interact within ODS gives a thorough understanding of what is possible and what the future holds.
ODS inline formatting is finally production after several years of experimental status. It has a new syntax and new abilities that can be more thoroughly exploited with a little understanding of how things work.
During your presentation, what are the most important highlights or questions that you hoped to cover?
I wanted everyone to leave with enough understanding that they could try all of these things out for themselves. I wanted them to get enough information that they could visualize and then think about how these things can be used to help streamline their processes or make better reports more easily. If I helped my audience think in new ways to solve old and new problems, then I accomplished my goal.
Were there unexpected user questions that will send you back to the drawing board?