Mar 27, 2014

Excel Tip: Dynamic Named Ranges

Named ranges are a great tool in Excel. It helps writing and reading formulas faster, make less range-related errors and if you are not using it in complex calculations, you should. Directions on defining and using them you could find here. The functionality is simple but you should pay attention to the names you assigned to the ranges - you want name to be meaningful and unique. Otherwise you would waste time checking what was behind that name and reduce its benefits.

Mar 20, 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of Data Mining

Checklists and Business Intelligence-like "Ten Things You Need to Know" over a huge and general topics have dubious value or impact. This is probably because we tend to read them fast and between other stuff as well as it seems that we all know better everything included there. However, sometimes it is really worth to pause and reflect on some of the included topics. KDnuggets recently published an article about the do’s and don’ts of data mining that is a fine example of this. As you might expect, a practitioner would find lot of "I know that" there and often it is hard won knowledge. Still, it is worth to stop and think for while over the topics as in the daily hurry and pressing deadlines we tend to go in a frame and veer off the best course of action.

Mar 12, 2014

Pedestrians Are the New Threat to the Nature

The war waged by governments, mindless green-heads, NGOs and a selection of free-roaming lunatics on the global warming had a range of effects on society. One is the  new breed of eco-minded people could finally find financing to go the rainforest where they are bitten and die, get lost and die or take some pictures for their Facebook timeline and return safely home to die by an unknown parasite. Other consequence is that some rich people could get even richer by selling cheap movies or inventing a new trading papers. But my point is not about that. It is about the pedestrians and their found hate towards cars.

Mar 10, 2014

Defining Big Data

Would you be surprised if I told you there is not one broadly accepted definition for "big data"? Would you be surprised if I told you 99.99% of people using the term have never even tried to find a definition for it? I bet you won't. I know some people who use "big data" for spreadsheets with more than thousand rows, some other use it every time they talk about something related to data and have no idea what they are talking about - this seems to be a common case actually. Relying on gut feeling could be misleading. Two computer science students attempted to catalog  all the definitions out there. You can see the article at  arXiv:1309.5821

Mar 4, 2014

"Trouble with the Curve" and Some Lessons for Analytics

Yesterday I saw Trouble with the Curve starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. It is a movie with a predictable plot and typical characters but still nice to watch. What is interesting is that unintentionally it makes a good point about applicability of data analytics and statistics in decision making process as well as reveals some hidden dangers of relying too much on it.