Section 001, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #6: Complete by October 19

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on October 19. Remember, it only needs to be three or four sentences. For these weekly questions, I’m mainly interested in your opinions, not so much particular “facts” from the class!

Answer one of these:

We spent a little time in class discussing the article Stupid Data Corruption Tricks.

  1. Have you ever made one of the mistakes listed in the article? Describe what happened.
  2. If you haven’t made one of those mistakes, which one of them do you think is the most important to avoid?

36 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by October 19

  • The only mistake I have made on Taber’s list of Stupid Data Corruption Tricks is number 4; however, I have made the mistake several times. While taking the online excel course offered through Temple, a lot of the homework and quiz problems involved sorting data. Though, sometimes the data would have empty columns resulting in only parts of the data to be sorted. It’s not a big deal; a simple undo fixed it, however, it was very irritating to have to fix it multiple times. For future reference, either the spreadsheets used in the course should not have empty columns, or Microsoft should fix this simple mistake.

  • I haven’t used excel much in the past, so I haven’t had the chance to really make one of the mistakes mentioned in the article. But, I’m sure it will happen at one point or another. I think it is very important to avoid not doing a full back up that way, all of your work is up to date, you don’t have to back-track because you already saved it. When working, especially when in a rush or for long periods of time, it is easy to forget something as important as backing up your work. The mind becomes focused on other things and the obvious falls to the background.

  • When I used to work in the Accounting department, my number one mistake is # 10. Opening a CSV file directly into Excel. Due to having a large data, the only way I can export data was through csv export. Working in the e-commerce and Logistics industry, we work with a lot of data that include numbers, such as domestic and international tracking numbers. These numbers range from 8 digits to 25 digits, depending on destination country and shipping carrier. When opening a CSV file, it turns all these numbers into scientific notation.

  • When I took the Excel course required at Temple the biggest mistake that I made was number eight. Vlookup can be a very useful tool, but I also find it very easy to mess up if you are not paying attention. Sometimes I would rush through clicking in the vlookup, and it would not give me the answer I was looking for. The most important mistake that Taber covers is number three. Backing up data is so important, especially in a world where virtually everything is done on the computer. If a server goes down, or a simple computer problem, happens you will not be able to access your work.

  • Yes, I made the mistake of missing the data type. One time in excel I was performing a V Look Up. For some reason I entered the dates as just a string of integers without and dashes or slashes to make a differentiation that it is in fact the data. So, when I performed my V Look Up I could not get the values that I wanted.

  • This semester I was required to take an excel class which in return had me using excel quite a bit. One of the problems I experienced while using excel dealt with the VLOOKUP feature. As explained in the article, the feature is really intricate in regards to getting it to do what you want. There was a whole section dedicated to the VLOOKUP feature during my excel class and even with all the studying I made a mistake during the final exam. Excel requires you to fill out four different categories to complete the VLOOKUP function and I must’ve filled it out incorrectly which lead to multiple wrong answers on my final exam.

  • Personally, I have made a few mistakes that are listed in the following article, whether it was opening a CSV file right into Excel, or working in a workbook and editing info without having a backup copy that was untouched. However, the mistake that I made most often, especially this summer at my internship, was the mistake of accidentally using VLOOKUPs fuzzy match. This made things way more complicated if you did not provide a “true” or “false” at the end of the function, and would drastically change the lookup values. While there are many mistakes that I made unintentionally, messing up the VLOOKUP can cause a lot of problems and decrease efficiency.

  • The mistake I made is “Number 6: Miss the data type”. When I use excel, I used to focus on the data(only the number), so I usually forgot about the data type. The most serious one was when I typed date without type. It automatically changed to integers, so I could not write down what I really want to type. I tried more than 50 times to type date but I failed to do.
    I recognized that what I typed were changed to integer form after I typed more than 100 dates. I had to delete all the things and type again.
    I learned a lot of things from that accident.

    There are many things to consider when I want to type exact data using excel.

  • I have done many mistakes when working with database due to my recklessness. Out of many of the mistakes was mistakes number 2, not knowing which system I am logged on to. I was querying data to be turned into weekly productivity reports from a newly developed line of business in my workplace, data traffics protocols goes through different phasing of data quality control from our Oracle Data Warehouse to our production environment. Thus, on each environment, I have to analyze and check the quality of the data before it is promoted into the next level. I was querying measures and data for one full day and the numbers do not add up and huge variances are found in the data. Unbeknownst to me, I was querying data and cross checking data from two separate Dev and QA environments, which would never match in this case. Thus, I spent a full day doing nothing at work.

  • In high school, I had to take a technology communications course where we would often work with excel. The mistake I would make is number 6, miss the data type. If I would enter data, without listing the data type, it would change to an integer and everything would get misinterpreted. This was an easy mistake that I’m sure many people would make and we need to be more careful of it!

  • I have made a few of these excel mistakes during the excel class temples requires you to take. Number 9 copy formulas that use relative coordinates when doing one of the assignments in the excel class. I went to go copy the formula but it stop because of a blank cell so instead of back tracking I just started the assignment over with the backup copy I saved. Number 3 is very important because with out a backup I would of had to start from scratch on the assignment. Having a backup of the file and remembering where you saved it and what you named it can allow you to fix something instead of starting over.

  • Number 1 is one of the most important mistakes to avoid. Sometimes when messages pop up like that, people don’t spend the time carefully evaluating whether or not that is actually what they want to do. It becomes even more critical when one spends a tremendous amount of time analyzing and configuring the data, only to accidentally delete all the progress they have made in an instant and force them to go back and do it all over again.

  • I have never spent much time on excel before this class. I’m pretty bad with all this online data stuff like excel and tableau, so knowing me I will make a few of the mistakes that are listed in the article. Number 3 is one of the most important mistakes to avoid. If you don’t do a full back up before starting your assignment, you risk working with inaccurate data, so it’s very important to make sure you have all the correct information.

  • One of the biggest mistakes I always make in excel is number 3 and it always ends up backfiring for me horribly. Current in one of my classes I have to do an excel every week and last week I completely messed up and didn’t have a clean excel spreadsheet to go back to. Luckily my friend had saved the original copy and provided me with a version otherwise I would have really been in trouble. I have attempted to make sure that going further I do not forget about saving a backup file on my assignments.

  • I have never experienced any of these problems when using Excel, because I only have limited experience using it. I think the most important mistakes to avoid would be confusing the data types, because you would then have to go back and re-enter the correct data manually. However, all of these mistakes seem to have messy consequences that could potentially set you back in your work.

  • I have always had problems with #8 VLOOKUP. It is so easy to make a little mistake when using this function. The function requires more than one reference to refer back to so its important to have all your information ready when inputting the function. Excel can be confusing, especially when using this function because of the specific information you need to input for it to work. Once it works, it is quite useful, the hardest part for me is just getting the initial function together.

  • A common mistake that I have done in the past to corrupt my data is, number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first. I have done this several times in excel, where I work on assignment for a lengthy amount of time at one time and forget to save throughout that time. I will create a large mistake that corrupts all my data and will have to start over at the point where I last saved my work. Now, I have tried to create a habit of trying to save my work throughout the time I work out to try to avoid this type of issue of happening again.

  • I don’t have much experience with excel in regards to databases, although if I had to pick the most important mistake to avoid it would likely be making sure you are logged into the correct system. I see it that was due to the fact that the system you are on dictates if anything else you do would be a mistake, even if you do what would be correct on the proper system avoiding all of these other issues mentioned in the article. The rest of these mistakes are drastic, but at least you are aware of what you are currently working on. When logged into the wrong system you can easily destroy work you wouldn’t have even considered an option at first.

  • Almost like everyone else, I have made mistake number 7. When working with a handful of data, it is so easy to mix up values with references to other data sources. Although, my mistake wasn’t exactly like how the article described; one time I was working on a column that was meant for “Names”, however the column next to it was for “School”. A lot of school names are actual people’s names usually named after someone of importance. In one row, I accidentally shifted everything with columns.

  • I do not have much experience with Excel. However, Number 3 on the “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks” compilation seems to be the most pertinent. It’s vital to do a full backup on any computer software application. I’ve completely restarted multiple MIS 0855 assignments when I was too confused to continue, and not having the original data set each time would have made things extremely difficult.

  • One of my reasons for taking this class was to gain skills and experience since I do not use Excel very often at all. Because of this I have not made any of the mistakes listed in “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks,” however I feel the most important one to avoid is number seven. Organization is something I have to constantly put effort into, so I could see it being something I’d slip up on. Being organized is one of the easiest fixes to set yourself up for success!

  • Personally, I haven’t run into any of these “Stupid Date Corruption Tricks”, mainly due to the fact that I don’t use Excel that often. Having taken an Excel course this semester, I will most likely be able to avoid these tricks. However, I believe the most important one to avoid is number 3, “Start Working on a database without doing a full backup first”. The article puts this perfectly, in that you’re basically doing work without saving at all. You’re practically waiting for it to kick you off, and have you lose all of your data and work. Making sure you do a backup before hand is essential.

  • I personally do not use excel that often and cannot think of a time ran into any of the problems listed in the article, but I can see how many of them could be nightmares when working in excel. To me the most important of them all to avoid would be number 3. If you start working on any project without doing a full backup you run the risk of losing all of your work. If you pay mind to number 3 you can avoid many other problems and make even more a lot easier to fix.

  • I don’t have much experience with Excel, so I haven’t made any of these mistakes. But I do think it is very important to avoid the mistake of “Sort a spreadsheet, but not include all the columns.” When working with the data and then realizing that you are missing certain rows that can mess up all of the data. That is such a huge loss of time and then you would have to start over with all of the data that was forgotten.

  • I’m not particularly familiar with Excel so I can’t say I recall making one of these specific mistakes. However, after reading the article, I can see how missing the data type can be crucial and important. It seems to me that it could be such an easy mistake to make but also one that could be annoying and troublesome in figuring out as well. Number 4 also sticks out, another simple yet tedious and meticulous mistake is having empty columns when sorting your spreadsheet and in return, some data won’t be included.

  • I have had issues with number 6, ‘Miss the Data Type’. A common issue that I frequently run across in Excel is when I work and input zip codes. A lot of New Jersey zip codes start with a 0. So if the cells are not formatted correctly, those zip codes that begin with a 0 are corrupted and the 0 would not register. Also, date of births, if not entered correctly, can become corrupt. Formatting a cell is very important and when logging data, you need to verify that the data type is correct in order to have the data useful and accurate.

  • A problem I’ve had was with number 9: Copying formulas. When I was on excel I went to copy and past a cell into my formula & I accidentally cut the cell and the cell moved over & messed up the rest of the rows because the same formula that was in the cell was in all of the cells so when it was erased it messed up the rest.

  • I have not used Excel in many advanced ways that would allow me to make most of the mistakes listed. However, I can certainly see how troublesome some of the problems could be. I think that sorting data without including all of the columns would be very problematic. For example, if a business had a list of clients in Excel with several columns with different information about each client, sorting them incorrectly would pose a big problem. Obviously if you were to notice right away that a mistake was made then clicking undo would be an easy fix. However, if it took some time to realize that the mistake was made then it would be much more cumbersome to fix.

  • At my internship I mainly use Excel to create, clean and upload data. As I was reading the article there were a few things I have done that where mentioned in the article. The first thing would be when I convert an Excel file into CSV file and try to reopen most times the data is corrupted. When this happened to me for the first time I was really mad because I had around 3000 lines in Excel and by one mistake I destroyed all that work. Another thing I learned with Excel is that you always have to back up your files, I have learned the hard way. I always make sure to have to copies of my files in case something happens with one.

  • The mistake that I’ve made most often on the list is number four, sorting a spreadsheet but not including all of the columns. I’ve been using Excel more this semester than I ever have before, especially in Temple’s one credit Excel class. This technique was a valuable one to use, if one knew how to use it. I would often forget to select the entire spreadsheet before sorting, which was an irritating mistake. Luckily the undo button is only a click away, however it is still a sloppy yet simple mistake I often make.

  • The only mistake I have ever made from Saber’s “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks” article was clicking “yes” without clearly evaluating the message. This actually happened to me a few times this semester because I am new to Excel. I agree 100 percent Taber that Excel should be more specific on what is being deleted and where it is being deleted from. The few times I made this mistake the file completely was unrecovered.

  • When I first began using excel, I made the mistake of using incorrect cell references in my formula. I had not learned how to use absolute cell references yet, and assumed that was the default. This was very frustrating, as my accounting assignments never seemed to end with the correct values, and rather than use the formulas, I would manually enter each value which took much longer.

  • After reading Saber’s “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks” I found out that I do not make any of the 10 mistakes. I have had 2 internships over the past 2 summers that have been excel based. Due to this, I feel like I am a master of the program. The most important to avoid is copying formulas that use relative coordinates. Formulas, in my opinion, are the hardest thing to really learn in excel, so by copying formulas it makes it easier to get the desired result. However, by doing this it can actually give inaccurate data.

  • The one mistake that I have most recently made in reference to the “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks” article is sorting a spreadsheet and not including all of the columns. Just yesterday, I started doing Assignment #3 for this class and was getting so confused as to why I only one of my columns were putting itself in alphabetical order rather that organizing all of them. I soon figured out how to get the rest to do what I was asking, but, it was quite frustrating at the time because I knew the answers that I was getting were wrong.

  • Yes, I have done some of these mistakes. The most common mistake is simply typing data in wrong. Sometimes I try and do my work fast and hit the wrong numbers when inputing my data on spreadsheets. I eventually realize that it happened so I do not think this is the worst mistake that could happen, unless I don’t realize it.

  • Have you ever made one of the mistakes listed in the article? Describe what happened.

    Last weekend I started Assignment #3. Towards the end of the assignment I noticed that I did not have an answer for number 5 and 6. My spreadsheet was not wrong, but my biggest error was working through a step. I couldn’t undo my work, and i didn’t have a backup file of question 2 nor 3. I was guilty of dumb mistake number 3; “working on the database without doing a full backup first”. I had to start the whole assignment over again in order find the answer for number 5 and 6. needless to say, I definitely learned my lesson.

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Office Hours
Laurel Miller (instructor) 1:00-2:00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 207F or by appointment.
ITA information
Rebecca Jackson (ITA) By appointment only. Email: rebecca.jackson@temple.edu