##
SPSS will make you go blind *November 17, 2006*

*Posted by caveblogem in Market Research, Other, statistical analysis, Uncategorized.*

trackback

trackback

I don’t usually complain about this stuff. I asked for it, after all. I wanted to be doing more quantitative stuff at work. But I have spent about an hour this morning looking at this little tiny window in SPSS trying to parse out these variables from a data map.

Why does it take so long? It takes so long because version 14 of SPSS seems to hate the technicians who do this sort of job, I guess. Theoretically you are supposed to be able to look at the line numbers and simply click between variables to set up the import. But the line numbers on the tiny screen jumble together, so by the thirtieth variable you have no markers by which you may steer. So you have to count, if it is a complicated set of data (see picture below.)

In high school I briefly explored the idea of being a bank teller, taking a ROP program class in that career for one long day. Turns out I am pretty good with complicated sorts of math and computers and such. Turns out I can’t count a bunch of numbers and end up with the same total twice in a row. I flunked the math test they gave us that day and was so mortified that I couldn’t return. At first I wouldn’t even believe my score. I thought that somebody had switched tests on me or something.

I’ve never used SPSS before, but have dealt with similiar import windows in SQL Server and I agree they can be maddening. It’s enough to give one a massive migraine.

I once had a job checking numbers on microfiche against a printout. Even though the part-time job paid almost twice what I could make in other jobs, I had to quit. I thought I’d go mad sitting there for hours staring at numbers.

It was a shame, too, because there were really nice people there. But I just couldn’t stick it out. That experience helped form my strongly held conviction that I am, as I suspected, no good at numbers and technical things. Maybe that’s not really true, but the strength of that negative experience feels (!) pretty convincing!

I admire your ability to do both quantitative stuff and to write so well.

14.0.2 patch at http://support.spss.com (login: guest / password: guest) fixes this, I think.