Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

An invitation, and a desperate cry for help.

Today's episode of Total Drek is, sadly enough, devoid of much actual content. As the title suggests, it consists of an invitation and a request for advice. First, the invitation.

As some of you may be aware, I am a science fiction nut. Of the magazine and journal subscriptions I maintain, my issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact usually gets read first. This perhaps signals a certain lack of professional commitment on my part but, as is often the case, I don't care. As long as I'm getting my work done, and I am, it's nobody else's business how. In any case, I am a science fiction fan and, as it happens, a movie is coming out today. This movie, Serenity, is based on the popular, albeit short-lived, television series Firefly. As it happens, Firefly and, indeed, Serenity are the work of Joss Whedon, who is best known for the dramatic, and quirky, television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, basically, we have a sci-fi extravaganza hitting the theatres today that was written by a guy who generally, in my view, produces quite good work. I have a good feeling about this film and am quite determined to see it. This determination is only heightened by the fact that, by the end of the day tomorrow, I should have basically finished everything I need to make Monday's huge grant deadline- and so I have a need to blow off a little steam. Especially after that car accident last Saturday.

So, I'm issuing an invitation. Those of you who know who I am, and where I live, are invited to come along tomorrow (Friday) for a viewing of Serenity at one of our local theatres. What time? Where? I have no goddamn idea- just e-mail me or drop by my office and we'll see what we can coordinate. Regardless of whether any of y'all come, my Sainted Girlfriend and I are going.

Secondly, I need some help. Recently, I've been doing some work for a faculty member that is proving to be dramatically annoying. As you might guess, this is becuase it involves programming in SAS. Now, SAS isn't the worst statistical package ever made, but it's hard to imagine one that would be less convenient and effective. In any case, I'm currently in the grips of a weird glitch wherein SAS is detecting the correct number of records in the dataset (1,824) but is not detecting the right number of observations (also 1,824, but SAS is only giving me 303). I'm fixing to use the "truncover" option suggested by SAS itself, but from long experience I know that SAS's idiosyncracies can often only be dealt with by consulting other poor, accursed souls who have been forever-warped by the experience of using SAS. So, yeah, any other SAS users out there have any ideas?

For those who want to know: the data is in an ASCII file originally written for SAS. No extraction program is available. I'm using an infile statement with column locations defined in the input statement. I'm getting the right number of variables, just the wrong number of cases.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the technical term for this is, "You are fucked."

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Believe it or not... no.

I cracked the problem yesterday in the late afternoon. I did, indeed, need the "truncover" option in my infile statement, but I had to omit the @@ option in the input statement, and add an lrecl option as well. Once all that was done, it ran fine. I just delivered the data to my... um... client?

In any case, problem solved, but SAS still sucks.

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:18:00 AM  

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