8月 252009
I first met conference chair Lauren Haworth back in 1997 when she was presenting a paper at the Pacific NorthWest SAS users group. Since that time, she's gone on to chair the Western Users of SAS (WUSS) conference (twice!), write 2 SAS Press books, serve as a section chair for SGF, and now, serve as conference chair. It would be an understatement to say that Lauren has a lot of experience supporting the SAS user community.

I'm sure that she's heard it all over the years, and I thought that it might be fun to play some Fact or Fiction with her. If you like this game, we can make it a quarterly feature, and you can suggest the questions the next time!

1.) Fact or Fiction?: SAS Global Forum is really a thinly disguised SAS marketing event run by SAS?

Not true! SAS does provide the Opening Session, which is an opportunity for everyone to find out what's new and on the horizon. It that respect, it is perhaps a bit of marketing to a captive audience! The real focus of the forum however, is on education and providing an environment where SAS Software users can come together and network and learn. SAS mainly sends R&D and services staff. I don't consider it as a sales opportunity for them. The forum is also the result of a collaboration between the SAS Global Forum Executive Board and SAS. In fact, the board met for two days this past July to continue finalizing plans for this year's forum, and we also have weekly conference calls.

2.) Fact or Fiction?: Most presentations at SGF come from SAS staff instead of real-world SAS users.

Hmm. It depends upon how you look at it. There are definitely more presentations from real-world SAS users than SAS staff. SAS staff will be invited by section chairs to provide about 60 of an estimated 300 presentations. But when you factor in the "SAS Presents" content, which is provided entirely by SAS, then the equation might balance out. At any rate, SAS is not the dominant presenter. It's a good mix of both.

3.) Fact or Fiction?: A gallon (16 cups) of coffee costs more than $60 at the convention center.

I had to check on the answer to this one! According to SAS Certified Meeting Planner Diane Marshburn, it's false that there are 16 cups to a gallon at hotels or convention facilities because they typically use larger capacity cups, which means you'd have between with 10- 12 cups to a gallon. Unfortunately, the cost of more than $60 a gallon is true and not negotiable! So that cup of coffee you have at the conference costs us $5-6. It just one of many "behind the scenes" things that are part of planning an event. Diane and other planners back at SAS work very carefully to plan food and beverage menus so that SGF gets the best deals and value from all of its vendors.

4.) Fact or Fiction?: The conference chair is paid a stipend by SAS and has full access to the SAS corporate jet and free M&Ms.

I wish! SGF is a non-profit organization that's totally separate from SAS. My employer allows me to donate my time to the conference (Thanks, Genentech!) I receive no salary from SAS or free trips on the corporate jet. However, I do get M&Ms if I want them when I visit SAS. [note from Michael: SAS is the world's largest corporate consumer of M&M's - we consume 22 tons per year.]

5.) Fact or Fiction?: The last conference held in Seattle had approximately 3,000 attendees.

That's true. This year we're hoping for approximately 3,200 attendees.

8月 242009

import urllib
from dateutil.relativedelta import *
from datetime import *

def GetPrice(ticker, start, end):
  stock = ticker.upper()

  m1 = int(start.split("/")[0])
  d1 = int(start.split("/")[1])
  y1 = int(start.split("/")[2])
  dt1 = date(y1, m1, d1) + relativedelta(months = -1);
  a = dt1.month
  b = dt1.day
  c = dt1.year

  m2 = int(end.split("/")[0])
  d2 = int(end.split("/")[1])
  y2 = int(end.split("/")[2])
  dt2 = date(y2, m2, d2) + relativedelta(months = -1);
  d = dt2.month
  e = dt2.day
  f = dt2.year

  url = "http://ichart.finance.yahoo.com/table.csv?s=" + stock + \
        "&d=" + str(d) + "&e=" + str(e) + "&f=" + str(f) +       \
        "&g=d&a=" + str(a) + "&b=" + str(b) + "&c=" + str(c) + "&ignore=.csv"
  data = urllib.urlopen(url)
  print data.read()
GetPrice("jpm", "08/01/2009", "08/10/2009")

Date,Open,High,Low,Close,Volume,Adj Close
 Posted by at 12:38 下午
8月 052009
I wanted to take a minute to share these two pieces of media that I discovered this week. In a video interview with Bloomberg's Bernard Lo, Dr. Goodnight, CEO of SAS, talks about the emerging Asian market and about how SAS does business in Asia. (Note: I couldn't find an easy way to share the Bloomberg video. To locate it, click on the link I provided above and look for this title "SAS's Goodnight Sees Asian Market Becoming More Dominant.")

The other piece, an article on investors.com titled Good Days for Software CEO Jim Goodnight, talks about ways that SAS is unique as a company. This article highlights the fact that Goodnight, and therefore SAS, believes in listening to the people who use our software -- that's you! The article mentions the SASware Ballot. If you missed the 2009 ballot results, you can find them in the Community section of support.sas.com.

8月 042009
Where has the time gone? Here in Texas the hot sun is still roasting, while local retailers are promoting their back to school items on sale. For several weeks now, I've had a blog idea brewing from a talk entitled "WHY COUNT CRIME WHEN YOU CAN PREVENT IT?" You'll see why it caught my interest by noting the image in the top left corner of this slide.

Dr Colleen McCue shows how handwritten police notes and data taken from phone calls can be analyzed to predict future locations and potential criminal events. She'll be speaking live at M2009 but for those who you want to hear her sooner - you can view the archived presentation at your leisure. Her engaging explanation illustrates how Analytics are helping Police departments do their job of keeping neighborhoods safer.

According to Dr McCue "Automated text analytic software could be game changing in information intensive tasks (e.g., a major case will have thousands of tips – the DC Sniper case was compromised in some ways because people focused on the “white van” – the software won’t get tired, bring bias, or forget what it just read). It also has tremendous potential in culling through a lot of interview data (e.g., the detainee data), particularly when you have disparate sources that are geographically diverse but likely connected (through common operational goals, training, etc). "

Three cheers for the FBI, local police - and your local government -- all holding future potential customer success stories for text analytics. Meanwhile you don't want to miss the recent white paper Text Mining for Safety describing how the Oil and Gas industry sees Text Analytics as the answer to moving beyond simply tracking accidents (counting them) to REDUCING hazards on the job. Text Analytics is keeping us safe on the job and at home.

8月 032009
The Call for Papers has been open over 2 weeks now, and the response is good. We’ve heard from SAS users from over 35 companies from all over the world. The first submission was from the UK, but we’ve also had submissions from Singapore, Canada, Italy, and of course the US. SAS Global Forum is truly international: last year over 24% of the attendees were from outside of the US. So far, most submissions have been for the Statistics and Data Analysis section, followed by Application Development. As a reminder, there are over a dozen technology solutions sections and seven industry solutions sections that you can submit a paper for. If you have questions about any of these sections, simply contact the appropriate conference leader. You can also suggest a topic idea to an author by visiting the sasCommunity.org "Share Your Ideas" page.

7月 292009
With SAS analytics; many of you are breaking ground as you strive to deliver more value from textual data. Data mining has matured into an accepted practice for Customer Relationship Management teams in Telco, Finance and Marketing. I'd go as far to say that its become essential to survival for most large companies across the globe. Text Mining, as you readers are well aware, is not yet as popular, with many employers assigning just one or two of you with responsibility for text mining.

It can be a burden to struggle alone in a silo without anyone to bounce ideas or brainstorm with. To make it easier for you to connect with peers who share a passion for these technologies – we set up a discussion forum on the topic of SAS Enterprise Miner and SAS Text Miner, two months ago. While SAS employees may participate on these discussions, this forum is not meant to replace the SAS Technical Support help center.

Another excellent way for you to get feedback on your work is to respond to the SGF Call for presentations 2010 (Seattle).

Honestly, one of my favorite things about SAS is
- :-) You - ,
our innovative customer implementing software on your real world challenges.

Only a few text related topics have surfaced in the discussion forum to date, so I’m writing this blog to encourage more of you to join in and set up your profile. Please accept my invitation to post questions, experiences, and thoughts on best practices.
7月 132009
I have 2 exciting things to blog about: the opening of the Call for Papers, and the new SAS Global Forum Web site.

First, the Call for Papers is now officially open through Monday, October 26. Call for papers sections are classified under two primary categories - Technology Solutions and Industry Solutions. Papers themselves fall into three categories: Contributed Papers, Invited Papers, and SAS Papers. Learn more about the specific conference sections within each category and the types of papers being solicited. How (and when) are papers selected? Conference leaders review and select papers, and they will notify authors by Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 as to whether or not a submission has been accepted. It’s a tried and true system that works. For more details, refer to How to Submit a Paper... and other relevant questions.

Second, we have a great new look for the SGF Web site. The Web site not only has the new conference colors, it also has a simplified navigation system. By using the tabs at the top of the Home page, you can quickly access other parts of the site such as “Overview,” and “For Presenters.” There’s also a “Quick Links” area that include direct access to the very popular Online Proceedings as well as info about previous and future conferences. Take a tour, and let me know what you think. Of course the tabs and site will continue to change as we add content and move closer towards the conference.

PS: Looking for an idea to write about? Want to suggest a topic idea to an author? Visit the sas.Community.org "Share Your Ideas" page.
7月 112009
Contributed by Kirsten Hamstra, SAS Publishing

Changes are happening at SAS Publishing with several new features being rolled out this month. The first and largest new feature focuses on our authors.

Currently, most SAS Publishing titles have a corresponding companion page that features additional information about the book, including author background, recent updates and sample code. Our authors are subject matter experts, and many have published several titles with us. The author pages bring the attention back to them and their expertise. The pages feature several different areas for customers to interact and learn about SAS Publishing authors including links to their titles, news, events, podcasts and social media links to their pages on Twitter, Facebook or other channels.

To learn more about your favorite author, visit: Author Pages on support.sas.com.

Another new feature that works together with author pages allows customers to be notified when a new book is available. The Coming Soon page lists all upcoming SAS Publishing titles, anticipated publication date and gives visitors the option to receive an email when the book is available for purchase.

Finally, the SAS Publishing Bookstore has added a new section called Conversations. As SAS Publishing continues to participate in several social media channels, we want to inform our customers how and where they can find us online. There are currently links to our pages on Facebook and Twitter with more to be added soon!
7月 112009
My colleague Mark Chaves, product manager for SAS Customer Intelligence responded to my earlier post “Why customer intelligence will fail without text mining,” with some strong opinions of his own. And remember – he’s a marketing guy, too! Read on:
I agree with Manya’s comments and wanted to add that advertising as a medium through which marketers communicate is evolving, not diminishing.

When I hear comments like “we don't need online advertising”… it makes me laugh. Professors like Eric Clemons have the luxury of living in an academic world and being provocative gives them a chance to get their names out there (as KD Paine will tell you, universities are also tracking “mentions” and “quotes” in order to get name recognition for their professors).

Without having read Eric’s comments in full context, I would only add that evaluation of advertising or any marketing tactics has to be made in the context of a firm’s strategic goals and objectives. This is typically represented by scorecards and “funnel” diagrams that describe the “path” that consumers take when making purchasing decisions.

In the funnel to the right, we see that online advertising may have a positive effect on improving “Brand/Product Awareness” (top of the funnel) and then we may also notice that online peer recommendations may have a measurable effect on web traffic or store traffic, and ultimately sales. Conversely, a peer may recommend a new product to another peer (thereby driving awareness) and a price promotion may actually compel the consumer to make the purchase.

Two examples:
1) I see a banner advertisement for a new Weber grill from Lowe’s (increased brand awareness) but I may call up my friend Dan (a BBQ nut) or check BBQ blogs to see how it is rated.

2) A blog or a tweet or a friend directly introduces me to the Flip Camcorder (increased awareness, consideration) but I may be compelled to purchase said camera if a Best Buy banner ad tells me there is a sales on Camcorders
Coming back to my comment about marketers beware, tying promotions to the right kind of consumer reviews could be extremely valuable. Text mining can analyze consumer reviews to help identify the appropriate comments and segment(s) to go after.