Section 003, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #6: Complete by October 20, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on October 20, 2016. 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?

55 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by October 20, 2016

  • Yes, I have made the mistake of copying formulas and not using relative coordinates. Sometimes when completing Excel Projects for other courses I forget to lock certain reference cells by using dollar signs ($A$1). When you do don’t want the reference cell to change when you copy a formula all the way down a column, but forget to include dollar signs, the reference cell changes throughout the sheet instead of staying constant.

  • I am among the many people that made mistakes in Excel. One crucial step is to save every 30 min to an hour because, let’s face it, anything can happen at any time. It is an obvious yet common mistake for many. In one case, I was putting in results for a study I did in class and I kept in mind that I should save after every couple minutes. Towards the end, Excel froze and I could not save what I had already put in. It was not a big problem, but I had to start over. Had I saved every few minutes, it would not have been as difficult.

  • I have made one mistake from time to time and that is failing to back up my information. I will input a set amount of data into a spreadsheet and forget to back it up when using a school computer. Then when I use my computer at home and open the file, I realize that none of the information was saved. Because of that, I always create a back-up file online in case one of them doesn’t save or is corrupted.

  • One mistake included in the article I feel is most important to avoid is Mistake number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first. When working with data, especially big data, it is very necessary that a back up file is created because there are possibilities that human error can be made and may cause data to be lost. Also, unforeseen occurrences such as hard disk failure may occur and puts a user at risk of losing large data files. In addition, virus and spyware which may not be detected early enough could tamper with data causing them to be corrupted or lost. For these reasons, I think it is imperative that computer users remember to do a full backup before working on a database.

  • The one mistake that I’ve done on multiple occasions would be mistake number 6: miss the data type. I’ve experience this mistake so many times that I can’t even count. I’m an IT student and do a lot of coding so I tend to make a lot of mistakes with missing the data type often. This normally happens when I work too fast. For example, I’ve had to create multiple databases for projects before and when creating the database, I’ve made mistakes with setting the data types for the variables in the data tables. I’ve had issues where I accidentally set a variable to hold integer values but I actually required float values which messes everything up later when I have to access the database. These types of mistakes with data types are fairly common and most of the time I just need to do validation on the variables to make sure that the data types are correct for each variable in the database.

  • To be honest I never really worked with excel until I began college. Once I started Temple I used excel increasingly more and more. But I have never made a mistake listed in the article and there is one reason for that. The reason I didn’t make one of those mistakes is because of the Temple University FOX Excel class. That class taught me the ins and outs of excel and has been one of the most informative classes I have taken. Although, I believe that number 3 start working on the database without doing a full back up is the most important step to avoid. This is because you could lose all of your data in the blink of an eye. Your hard drive could crash and you lose all you data or you could lose all of your hard inputted data that you spent hours working on.

  • Although I did not work in Excel that often before coming to Temple, I do admit to opening rawer, simpler files and tables using Excel, hoping to get the same results. In this article, it accounts for #9 and #10. I did not know, before hand, what a CSV file was. But, it’s not limited to just that one file type. However, I do think the biggest mistake I’ve ever fallen for has to be incorrect data types, as talked about in #6. Whether it be in Excel or Tableau, or using some sort of code compiler, a data mistype error that does not get corrected can cost monumental damage to a project. That’s because it leads to other variables that reference the constant in the mistype to also stop working.

  • I haven’t worked with Excel that much in college so I haven’t made any of these mistakes but the one I would say is most important would be mistake number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first. Technology is amazing but it can also be very frustrating. There are times when I have been working on stuff in other platforms and my computer crashes and all of my work is gone. I have always been told to save and back up my work but I never take it seriously and there are times when it costs me. I definitely think the number one key to success would be to do a full backup so that if any unforeseeable circumstances were to happen the work would not be lost completely.

  • I used to made mistake number #8. For many excel functions with “false” or “True” parameter. I always used the default choice by typing nothing in that parameter. The default choice for “vlookup” is “True”—Approximate match. However, what I need is exact match for most of my work. This mistake often occurs in my work. I think I need to be more careful with those functions with “true” or “false” parameter.

  • I have made one of these mistakes in Excel, and according to the article, it was the number one way to corrupt your data. I clicked “yes” without fully reading the message that popped up. I thought I was just moving data from one column to another, but I accidentally deleted the entire column of data and the metadata that went with it, which was super frustrating. It was a mistake that probably could’ve been easily avoided if I had 1. simply read the message and 2. had more experience working in Excel.

  • While analyzing data for a paid project, I copied and pasted a formula with relevant coordinates. Luckily, I caught my error before I submitted my spreadsheet. I find that Google Sheets handle formulas with relevant coordinates better than Excel. For example, say you want A10 to be the sum of A2 and A4. You type “=A2+A4” to get the result. If you want to do the same thing in the B column, you can copy-paste the A10 formula into B10 and it will adjust to “=B2+B4.” I don’t know if that works for Excel or just for Google Sheets.

  • While I haven’t made any of these mistakes the one that I feel is most important to avoid is Taber’s #1 option which is clicking yes on something that you haven’t read yet. No matter what program you are in, if you are very focused and working hard and something pops up the first thing that you want to do is just get back to work as quick as possible. By doing this however, it could cause you to lose all of the process that you have made on your project. This would set you back anywhere from a couple days to a couple of weeks which could cause you to lose your job. Thats what makes this mistakes the most important to avoid.

  • The mistake that I have made before is number 8: Accidentally use VLOOKUP’s fuzzy match. First time I use the VLOOKUP function in the Excel software, I felt it is really easy to use, because it can simply look up and retrieve the data from table until I made the mistake. My lookup columns in the spreadsheet include duplicate values, and I used VLOOKUP function which I found that VLOOKUP is only match the first value. So that we should pay attention when we use VLOOKUP function when we work on Excel.

  • While using the VLOOKUP function of excel, I forgot to type FALSE for the 4th parameter of the function. The function did look for the exact match in the lookup table and I ended up getting the wrong results from the function. This error on my part has kept me on my toes for future uses of that function and I now know that I need to specify false for the fourth parameter when looking for an exact match.

  • One of the most important excel mistakes to avoid is the date being showed as an integer. I’ve seen this while working with excel this summer. When I would see a workbook, there would be large integers that were supposed to be dates. It can be misleading but if you know it’s supposed to be a date, you can change the format, so that it looks like a date instead of an integer. If there is no column heading, however, this can be very confusing and misleading to someone who is looking at the workbook.

  • I have done very little work using Excel before this class so I do not have a personal experience in making an error in the program. With that said I feel like number 3 on Taber’s list is the most important to avoid. Although I have not had experiences with this issue on excel I have had issues with not backing up my work on other programs like Word. Not backing up your work just leads to more stress than is necessary and it so easily avoided by periodically saving your work.

  • Yes, I made the mistake of not backing up my data files after making changes to the content. I was working on a spreadsheet of all the student information for a non-profit I was working with over the summer. After three-fourths of the information was in the spreadsheet I took too long of a break and my computer’s battery died. Two in half hours down the drain.

  • With my experience with Excel, I have made common mistakes. One was having zero’s as the first number of the data, but Excel simply prefers to delete that because it does not recognize it. For example I was doing a similar exercise as to the example showed in class with the zip codes in NJ beginning with 0xxxx, all the data was messed up and the deliverable was incorrect. Also backing up a file or having a copy elsewhere on the hard drive, is a simple but yet forgetful mistake, that I have made, very time consuming and disappointment.

  • The most important mistake to avoid is to start working on the database without doing a full backup first. Because we are making changes to the data, we can make mistakes that are irreversible with the undo button. Therefore, by having a backup to our data, we can be assure that we still have the original copy of the data to work on after we mess up.

  • I have definitely fallen into the issue described in Number 6, “Miss the Data Type”. Over the summer, I had an internship at a PEO (Professional Employer Organization), which is basically a regional company that handles a local small business’s HR needs (such as payroll and employee benefit administration). I worked with the benefits people there, and a lot of what I would do is work with the sales people. The sales people would have potential clients, and then if these small business clients were interested in us handling their benefit needs, the sales people would send us a census of the client. The census would have the client’s employees names, dates of birth, zip codes, etc. A huge issue I had was when I was working with zip codes. A lot of NJ zip codes have 0’s at the beginning of them, and if the cells were not formatted correctly, the zip codes that had 0’s at the beginning of them would be completely messed up and the zero would be lost. Whenever I would do anything with those census’s the zip codes were usually the issue, but sometimes also the dates of the dates of birth of the employees would also be messed up. This experience showed me just how important formatting a cell to be the correct data type is in order to have the data be as useful as possible.

  • I’ve made the mistake Number 6, “Miss the Data type,” before. I recently just took Temple’s Excel for Business Applications online class where I often committed this data corruption when doing my assignments. It’s hard for me to think of a certain example, however i remember several times where my dates became mistaken for numbers. It wasn’t up until I was on a certain chapter which explained this data corruption to me that I realized what had been happening in previous assignments.

  • I think the most important mistake to avoid is not saving a full backup data copy first. If your computer crashes or you completely mess up the data, it is important to have the original file saved. This has definitely come in handy for me when I’ve accidentally made a big mistake in editing a file and by saving a back up it allows me to delete the one I messed up on and start from the beginning–with the original data.

  • In my opinion, the most important mistake to avoid from the article is starting to work on a database without a full backup first. If you don’t create a full backup, you run the risk of losing your data as a result of possible mistakes or system failure. With a full backup, you can be sure that your data is safe and protected. In addition, it is a good idea to backup your data to an external hard drive because your system can fail and if it does, the backup is useless (if it was made on the system’s internal hard drive).

  • Personally, I have not had much experience with Excel outside of this class so I have not come across any of these issues. However, after reading these mistakes to avoid I would say that number 6, “Miss the data type” would create huge problems that would be very tedious and time consuming to correct.

  • I have not made any of these mistakes, that I am aware of. However, I believe the most important mistake to avoid is not doing a full backup first. I have had documents on Word disappear or close where I did not save or backup, which I had to redo. We all know this is a pain, and depending on how much you lost, you may not have time to redo it. So regarding Excel, I feel as if not backing up data is the most cringe worthy.

  • Surprisingly I do not have much experience working with Excel. I believe the most important mistake to avoid on excel is “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first”. Anything could happen when working with something that may be important to you. It’s good not to be too confident and always save a backup of what you’re working on, because a power outage or any other even may prevent your from being able to finish the job. Also it would be good to save a backup, just in case if you make a mistake and need a reference.

  • I have made a fair amount of errors in excel. Though I have not made any of the errors listed in the article, I believe that number nine is the most problematic. For instance this error could have occurred when during assignment #3 when we were dragging the calculation down our dataset. If our mouse slipped into the wrong column, an error could have occurred.

  • While taking a class in excel last semester, I definitely made a few of these mistakes. The only mistake I can remember making, though, is messing up the VLOOKUP function. I accidentally made a typo or wrote the wrong thing, and ended up so frustrated with excel that I just deleted the whole sheet and started over. At the time, it was very annoying, but at least I know now.

  • The mistake that I have made that was listed in the article was sorting a spreadsheet, but not including all the columns. My only real experience with this mistake is when I took the Excel class and during one of the assignments, we had to select the data on the worksheet and move it to a different to create a chart but I forgot that there was some data that was missing and when I tried to make the chart it was all messed up. I had to restart everything and make the chart again. From that point on, I learned my lesson to make sure everything was correct and filled in before selecting everything.

  • I have not experiences any of theses errors in Excel butI believe working on a database without backing it up first is the worst mistake to make. Losing data in Excel because of it not being backed up will cause a lot more headaches for yourself and who the data is for. Performing a simple action can have tremondous consiquences that are not worth the risk. So it is very important to back up your work first

  • Previously I have committed a few of the mistakes listed in the data article. Once such error I made was when I was sorting a roster of several hundred names and accidentally sorted only the last name column and not the others. It took several minutes for me to discover the error and even more time downloading the spreadsheet again because I did not back it up. However, I have thankfully learned my lesson from these errors and have not committed them since.

  • Yes, I have made one of these mistakes when I was copying the formula and did not use relative coordinates. I would forget to put the $ sign before the letter and numbers. This is a simple mistake that I can correct by paying more attention when putting in the formula.

  • Yes, previously I worked to clean up CRM databases similar to ones explained in number 7. By having different pointer fields for the same information our CRM would get confused and record multiple sets of the same data. This caused a lot of issues as it tampered with our pipeline and made it difficult to tell which information was valuable and which information was not.

  • I think the most stupid mistake i made was Number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first” I was doing homework last week and I had to copy a math formula to a website, but I forgot to back up other stuff alone with formula. After I done with that question, I lost all other formulas.

  • After reading this article, I realized that I have made two mistakes. First is #3, working on a data set without having the original saved can be frustrating. For example, when I was working on this week’s assignment, I forgot to save the original version before making changes. After making changes, I realized that I needed to go back and change something. It was a hassle that I didn’t save the original, because I had to go back and repeat some steps. Another mistake is #9. Sometimes I forget to add $ signs where they need to be added, or add other symbols like apostrophes and parentheses.

  • I have made the mistake of missing the data type. Over the summer, I made an excel sheet for my roommates and I to use so that we can see who pays what percentage and how much each month. When I was formatting all the cells, I forgot to format one cell to convert to a percent. So when I typed “30”, I thought I formatted it correctly to auto-convert to 30% which it didn’t. So my excel sheet had 30 x 85 which made one of my roommate’s total equal $2,550 when it instead should be $25.50. I did not notice my mistake until my roommate asked me if there was a typo and why she owed two thousand dollars. Oops.

  • I have made many mistakes in Excel throughout my years of usage. However bullet point number 3 has definitely been my top mistake. I have made the error of not saving a backup file many times and that has caused me a lot of stress/ added time to my work. Saving a backup file is very useful.

  • The most commonly made mistake in my personal experience has been not to do a full backup before starting to work on a database. Not only is it the easiest step to overlook it is also one of the most frustrating. I have made the error of starting to work on a dataset and realizing after I made a mistake that I didn’t have the original copy saved which made it very tedious to correct my mistake. In addition to not backing up the dataset before beginning your work is not remembering to do checkpoint saves throughout. Simple mistakes usually tend to be the most detrimental.

  • Although I have not made any of these mistakes I believe an important one to avoid is to start working on a database without doing a full back up. I could only imagine working hours on end on a project and forgetting to back it up and having to restart. It is hard to name a worse mistake than having to start from square one, as the amount of time you have to make up is critical.

  • While in high school, I had an issue with not including all the columns when sorting a spreadsheet. The issue here was is I did not know I had an issue until it was much too late. I had weird outliers where I knew I was getting wrong data. By the time i eventually asked for I had done more damage than what could be repaired. So i sadly had to start over from the get go.

  • I used to type in dates in cells that are the integer data type. I wouldn’t check right away, and I’d have a lot of messed up cells. By now, I’ve learned to check what my cells look like before I move on with entering data. Undoing also helps if you haven’t got too far.

  • Although I have made a lot of mistakes while using excel none of them are listed are in the article we read. However, I feel that Copy formulas that use relative coordinates would be the most important. If you mess up your formula this will result in all of your information being wrong.

  • I’ve forgotten to backup my file many times. There are times where I may make a change that I didn’t mean to make and I can’t undo it for some reason. There have also been times where I had been working on a file for a long period of time and my computer either decided to finish updating by restarting or plain old dying when it said it still had 20% left, which made me lose everything I had done. Since then I save much more often than I did before that, but sometimes losing some of your work is unavoidable, no matter how much you save.

  • (Question 1)

    During my summer internship, I experienced an issue where my text was not formatted correctly. I noticed that my calculations were not accurate because it was not reading all of the data as numbers which led my calculations to ignore those data points. It was a while before I noticed the issue and then its was difficult to find at first. It is very important to stay on top of the data that you import and make sure everything is formatted as you wish so you don’t end up searching for a needle in a haystack so to speak.

  • I made many of these mistakes in Excel throughout my years of using it. Sometimes when I work on Excel Projects for other courses( happens a lot in my integration of technology class) I forget to lock reference cells ($A$1). That causes a mess up when I drag the formula. the reference of the cells changes so the answers I receive are incorrect.

  • Throughout my use of Excel, I have made many mistakes. One problem that has occurred many times is missing the data type. It is something very simple to do, but can have big consequences. It changes the entire meaning of the data presented. It can be awfully confusing to read and messes everything up. I always double check my data to make sure I’m not missing anything.

  • I havent made none of these mistakes but i believe to me the most important one to avoid is “working on a database without doing a full backup first. it is very important to save your data and make sure that all data is backup before working on any new. Most system got a internal backup which allows them to backup for free or automatically but it always good to restore data

  • One of the mistakes I made when using excel was not using the relative coordinates that I needed for my formula. I used the correct cell for the first part of the formula, but then I needed to multiply each cell in that column by only the first cell in the other column and I didn’t lock it in. Some of the numbers were off and then other cells came up with nothing when I copied it down to the end.

  • Through the years of using excel, I made plenty of mistakes. Sometimes I go to undo something and it will not allow me to. I did not notice that I made the change and could not undo it. This caused a problem in my data and caused a headache.

  • I haven’t really used excel all that much so I can’t say I have made any of these mistakes. However, I would think the one to avoid the most would be to not back up the data first. If you do not back up the data and something goes wrong, then you may be in jeopardy of losing all of your data.

  • A mistake I have made while using excel would be improperly sorting a spreadsheet. I was tested on my ability to sort spreadsheets and properly select columns in my business excel course I recently finished this semester. It is tricky at first to select a particular column, input information etc. and it can be very easy to make a mistake and include irrelevant data or over-embellish data.

  • Yes, I have tried sorting without including all of the columns and also started working on a database without first backing it up. When I started working with data for the Data Analytics Challenge, I did not backup the file and messed up some of the data set with a few wrong formulas. Fortunately, the challenge site still had the original file.

  • Yes, The mistake i have made most often is the mistake of not saving very often. Then when it comes to the power going out, i’ve done a whole bunch of work for no reason. It can be emotionally painful when that happens.

  • Once, I did not back up the original file I was working on. It was for chemistry I Lab and for that class you created the excel sheets from scratch. I completed half of the assignment when I realized a mistake that was not an easy fix. If I had the original format, I could have saved a lot of time. Instead, I had to redo the entire lab assignment.

  • Number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first. This is the mistake I done. What happened is that after several steps it has become so hard to undo the steps I took

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Office Hours
Laurel Miller (instructor) 11:00am-12:00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 210 or by appointment.
ITA information
Rebecca Jackson (ITA) By appointment only. Email: rebecca.jackson@temple.edu
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