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2008 Jan 16 15:09

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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative data storage (of excel files)
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Re: [vox-tech] collaborative data storage (of excel files)

On 2008-01-16, wrote Gandalf Parker:
> On Wed, 16 Jan 2008, Bryan Richter wrote:
> >On Jan 16, 2008 1:30 PM, Dylan Beaudette <dylan.beaudette@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >>They work exclusively with Excel.
> >>
> >The big cheese couldn't understand that they needed a database
> >application! We're talking terabytes of data over the life of the
> >project, and they're trying to get Sue to whip something together all
> >by herself because of their complete unfamiliarity with the concept.
> In the computer classes I taught the military I had to broach that 
> subject. I would say "yes you CAN do it in a spreadsheet, or in Word 
> tables, or a presentation, etc etc. But why ignore what they do best? 
> Basically its like this. If its going to be read, then Word does it best. 
> If its going to be presented, then a presentation is best. If you are 
> going to do mathematical things with numbers, then a spreadsheet will do 
> it best. If you are doing things with words like sort and search then a 
> database is best.

Good approach, though i would disagree with the statement that mathy
stuff with numbers is best in spreadsheets. I've wasted enough time
scrubbing spreadsheet cells one by one to see the hidden formulas to
find the one with the error to decide that spreadsheets are unsuitable
for anything except quick exploratory analysis that will later be
transferred to a robust environment (i.e., R). This is a consequence of
the broken design model of spreadsheets.

Specific programs (*cough* Excel *cough*) also have nasty bugs in their
math functions (that have been known for years but never fixed) that
yield mathematically invalid results when presented with certain
atypical inputs. Just say no to spreadsheets.

Henry House
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