Section 003, Instructor: Shana Pote

Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 9, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on March 9, 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 March 9, 2016

  • Profile photo of Eugene I Seto

    I have made one of those mistakes before. One mistake I made was number 1, Open a CSV file in Excel. I just clicked the CSV file and it wouldn’t open correctly so I asked a friend how to open it and he told me that I should open the CSV file in Excel.

  • I have never personally made one of these mistakes since I’ve never worked with Excel before, but I think the most important one to avoid would be to begin working on the database without doing a full backup first. This step should be obvious, but since some databases claim to have free, continuous backups, people may take the risk. It’s crucial to continuously save your work as you go to prevent losing any data or wasting time. These “free” backups, if unsuccessful at saving data, may not be as free of charge as you thought when trying to restore lost data! This task is a no-brainer which makes it easy to forget and crucial to remember! Better safe than sorry.

  • Profile photo of Kashif Hasan Malik

    I have not personally made one of these mistakes but the most important on to avoid is not knowing what system you are logged into. If you are not aware of the software and the capability of the program, you are more likely going to make more mistakes than expected. Also, if you are working with other people, there is more of a chance your errors will spill over to their work as well and make the whole project and task more complicated. This is so dangerous because it can go undetected for a period of time and the root cause can be hidden and not realized which magnifies the problem.

  • Profile photo of Akshat A Shah

    I have worked in Excel on many different occasions, but I have never made any of these mistakes. However, I would say that the mistake that everyone should try to avoid is starting to work on a database without doing a full backup first. It is good to periodically save what you are working on, so you do not lose it especially if it is for work and there is a deadline on it. Some vendors do say that they have free backup, but they may charge you when you want to retrieve it later. It is important to save your work that way you do not have to do it all over again. That is why starting to work on a database without doing a full backup is a mistake that everyone should try to avoid at all costs.

  • Profile photo of Matthew Major

    I do recall some of these happening, however I do not remember specific events and they were also very minor situations, therefore I am going to answer question number two. I think that #6, Missing the Data type, is a huge one to stay on top of. If you have the wrong data type, the data is basically useless. Excel sometimes tends to recognize the wrong type and it can throw off your whole project. A good example is a also mentioned in the article, and is when a date is recognized as an integer. Rather than a specific time, it recognizes it as a value, and this could mess up an entire analysis because rather than looking at the time as a specific time, it provides it as a numerical value, which in turn could go much higher than 12/24 for hours (depends if talking about military time or not) and for 60 with minutes.

  • Profile photo of Isaiah J Carroll

    I believe the biggest mistake to avoid is the leaving out of columns. The data entered into the excel spreadsheet is there because it is of significant value. To accidentally leave out columns, means the person interpreting the data will have false, or not entirely accurate, data. As a result, the actions taken based on the data given in the spreadsheet could lead to a disaster.

  • I had not experienced any of the mistakes mentioned in article until this class. With Assignment 2 specifically I ran into a number of the mistakes listed. For example in my work on the assignment I certainly ran into number six. I missed properly categorizing the data type and placed it into the wrong section of Tableau. Overall the assignment did teach me a lot about navigating the program.

  • Personally, I’ve never made any of the mistakes listed in the article, however, I believe the one mistake that is most important to avoid would be mistake number 3: start working on the database without doing a full backup first. I think this is the most important mistake to avoid because sometimes your computer can shut off unexpectedly or the program could be closed accidentally and you could lose all of the work and progress that you’d been toiling over most likely for hours. Most programs have an auto- save feature that kicks in every minute or so to save the changes made to the file, yet there are still some that don’t which is why I thin this mistake is so important to avoid. This mistake could undoubtedly set you back all the way to the beginning, erasing all of your hardwork if you are not careful.

  • Profile photo of Sergio Campos

    Since this class started I have made a few of these mistakes while working in Excel. In my opinion, the biggest mistake you can make is number three. When you start working on the database without doing a full backup first, you risk the chance that the work you did will get deleted or erased due to a computer malfunction or your carelessness.

  • Profile photo of Katherine Braccio

    Personally, I have never made any of the mistakes listed in the article, or at least I have not worked with data enough to make such an egregious mistake. I think the problem that is the most important to avoid, and easiest to avoid, is #3, or working on the database without doing a full backup. I think this mistake is applicable to the world outside of data, and it is always important to either save versions of your work progressively as separate files to ensure checkpoints of progress. It is an easy habit to get into, and if something were to happen, you would never lose ALL of your work, only the incremental progress you have made since your last save.

  • Profile photo of Prince Patel

    I downloaded CSV files when I was doing assignment one for this class. I did not open the file by the recommended way, but instead I just double clicked on the CSV files to open it with excel. I did not know that it would cause any errors. I was ignorant about this common mistake to I took it as granted and developed my hypotheses for the assignment. The data was converted into excel file but I never knew if it converted it properly or not.

  • Profile photo of Colin Kelly

    I’ve never run into any of the problems listed in the article because I don’t really use Excel too much, but I think the most important is obviously not making a backup of a file. Computers and technology as a whole can have problems all the time and you may very well run into a problem in the middle of nowhere that ends up either corrupting your file or shuts down your computer. Without having the backup, you’d lose all your work and start back from absolutely nothing again.

  • Profile photo of Ashley Charlton

    I have never experienced any of these problems while working in Excel. I think the most important mistake to avoid is starting to work on the database without doing a full backup first. Without a full backup you can easily lose your data. The continuous backups should not be the only thing you rely on.

  • Profile photo of Elena K Cipparone

    I’ve made mistake number 9: copy formulas that use relative coordinates. Doing so provided the wrong calculation for that cell, and then upon copying the formula down, it caused every subsequent cell to be incorrect as well. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect such an error since excel will simply recognize and assume the formula entered is the intention, unless the prior cell contains a different formula.

  • Since the experience I have with using data, in particular excel, is relatively limited I cannot say i have ran into any of the problems listed in the article, yet. With that being said I can still see how someone could make these mistakes when using data. Simple things such as entering the wrong data type or not backing up your files before starting a new database can be something that can cause you pain and agony in the long run, and because this is the case I think that these two are the most important errors to avoid on this list of disasters.

  • Profile photo of Emily A Jacobson

    I think mistake 3 is an important error to avoid. This error is starting to work on the database without doing a full backup first. While the other mistakes can seriously effect your results, nothing can effect your results more than not having anything because it is all lost. Like all important documents and information, it is important to backup your work as you go.

  • Profile photo of Brandon K Shaffer

    I haven’t made any of these mistakes because I’ve never worked with excel before. From reading the ones listed #2 “What System Am I Logged Into?” is a problem that would be extremely frustrating. This problem reminds me of playing a video game for a long time and neglecting to hit save before the game unexpectedly shuts down. With this problem, not only would you lose all the work that you have been doing on a clients project, but you’ve also created another problem by changing data that wasn’t supposed to be changed in the first place. One would then have to fix the incorrect updates, then go back in and make the correct updates to the other clients data.

  • Profile photo of Alice Nguyen

    I have tried to open CSV files in Excel for the first assignment in this class – the result was a mix of mistakes #6 and #9. The data were all messed up and compressed together because of the tiny allocated space in a typical cell, phone numbers and coordinates were auto-corrected to integers and because there was no data dictionary, neither the headers nor the data themselves made any sense. For #9, there are programs that can relatively deal with *.csv file types, but I would like to avoid #6 as much as possible because auto-correction of data types is not only a common problem, it is also very varied, hard to spot and clean efficiently.

  • Profile photo of Jose X Villanueva

    I think the most important mistake to avoid has to be Number 3, “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” One may forget to backup the original data and if a mistake is made during the analysis then the data can be corrupted for good. By keeping the original one can have a backup in case a mistake is made.

  • Profile photo of Tae Shin

    The one mistake that I made was to work on a database without doing a full backup first. After making changes, I saved the new draft but realized I was missing some numbers that I needed because I deleted it. Now, I was stuck with a full analysis with incorrect data because of the fact that I did not save the first draft. If I had the first draft, I would have been able to look at the numbers and place it back within my saved copy.

  • Profile photo of Erica Corinne Rudy

    I have made mistakes with number 3 the most. For whatever reason, there have often been power outages in Pearson and McGonigle Halls, and these power outages have occurred when I was working with data and Excel. Each time, I never seem to learn my lesson, however, and rarely save frequently.

  • Profile photo of Alexandria M Freeman

    In my experience with working with data I have not made any of these mistakes or I had possibly fixed them before they became relevant. Out of all of these I believe #3: Start working on a data base without doing full backup first is most important. Saving frequently is a habit I have began to form since high school. The computers were not always reliable and could crash at a random moment and I could have lost all my work before previously saving. It has become almost a fear to have completed hours of work that could disappear in seconds because of a crash, power outage, or other issue.

  • Profile photo of Gabriella C Baldini

    I have not personally experienced any of the specific mistakes listed in the article, however I definitely feel like the mistake that could be the hardest to “recover” from would be working on the database before doing a full backup first. All of the other mistakes can be remedied in some manner, and if not, you can always begin again if you have that full backup. Working on the spreadsheet after you’ve done a full backup can also allow you to try things with the data even if it may not work, because you know you have that backup just in case. Also, it’s important to have the original file untouched if you need to refer back to it for some reason along the way.

  • Profile photo of Jordan Timothy Motter

    Since I do not work with Excel very often, I have not made any of these mistakes before. However, I do think that an important step to make sure you do not do is Miss the Data Type. There are many things that can go wrong with your spreadsheet if the program confuses a certain data type with another.

  • Although I have never personally had any of these problems, I believe the most important problem is not making a backup of the file you are working with. Technology is unpredictable and can at any time stop working and shutdown or give us major problems for whatever reasons. As a result, failing to create a backup of whatever you may be working on can result in data being corrupted or even entirely lost. The simple step of creating a backup of the file can go along way and result in saving you time and energy.

  • Profile photo of Ryan C Gibbons

    Because I don’t have much experience using Excel, I can’t recall an instance in which I made one of these mistakes. In my opinion, the most important mistake to avoid is number 3, “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” I think this is the most important because by not saving your data beforehand, you are taking the risk of making a critical mistake and not being able to refer to the original document in order to correct it. You are also in danger of losing all your work if something unexpected happens to your computer.

  • Profile photo of Kennedy Frances Price

    Throughout my schooling I have been required to take a computer class that is heavily based on Excel. In working with Excel I recall having problems with formulas and figuring out certain calculations, such as the number 7 mistake. I do not remember specifically the issues I have had, but I have become more careful in dealing with formulas to ensure there are no errors present. I believe the most important mistake to avoid is number 3. Without a backup you cannot have an original to look back to after a mistake or have the data if there is technology failure and things get deleted. There is a large risk of losing everything if you do not have a backup in place.

  • I have minimally used excel in the past. I believe not backing up the original data is the most crucial mistake. Computer errors or user errors are common in today’s world; having an original reference is valuable to double checking work. Without the original copy it would be virtually impossible to remember all of the changes made. Hypothetically, if a mistake is made, having the original copy to restart or compare work can be a lifesaver.

  • Profile photo of Brittney Michelle Pescatore

    Although I have not made one of these mistakes, I think it is most important to do a full back up of the database. I always save a copy of my work be safe. It is very easy to make a mistake or to accidentally lose the work you have completed. It is also important to remember to save as you go so that way you do not need to worry about losing your work.

  • Ive never used excel, so I’ve never come across these mistakes. I think the worst mistake would be the “not backing up your data” mistake. If you accidentally make a mistake and delete your data your entire project is gone. You can recover from the other mistakes, but if you delete the entire data set your project is over.

  • Profile photo of Xiaoxu Liu

    I have never personally made one of those mistakes. I think the most important problem to avoid would be to start working on the database but without doing a full backup first, because other problems on the list are the errors that people would make in excel, which means people can fix it as soon as they found them. However, if you don’t have a backup, once your computer breaks down or you forget to save your work before you close excel, you will lose your entire work and you will have to do it again.

  • Profile photo of Jason Ly

    I made the mistake of not making a backup or a database. It was a database for a whole company and consist of scores i had to input that would reflect on their productivity. I had to average their previous and current score. I realized that i scored them incorrectly and had already manually input them in to the database. Since i didn’t make a backup, i didn’t know what their previous was and had to spend a whole entire day fixing my mistake by looking up each individual’s previous score from a different database.

  • Profile photo of William G Roman

    I have made one of these mistakes in the past. I have clicked “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?” I was working on an assignment when I did that and it deleted some of the data that I needed. Thankfully, I noticed the mistake towards the end of the assignment. I did it because I assumed that it was something that I was supposed to do because it popped up on my screen. I am now careful about reading and figuring out if I should click on things like that.

  • Profile photo of Junaid K Farnum

    I have made one of those mistakes before, and it happens to be mistake number 10. It happened in our class in fact. When the class was assigned to look up data from the open data sites provided I downloaded a CSV file that had contained all of the Farmer’s market locations in Philadelphia. I had assumed that just because it had excel icon that it was able to be opened on Microsoft Excel but instead when I opened it, all I saw was lines of code and script. This is what I assume to be the large integers that Excel turns into scientific notation upon opening the file.

  • One of the mistakes I have made that are listed in the article is sorting a spreadsheet, but not include all columns. When using Excel, leaving out columns would create a gap in the data, meaning that there would be missing data. The mistake that is most important to avoid is to start working on the database without doing the full backup first because it would be time consuming if the data suddenly went missing or deleted due to a technical issue, so a full backup should be made just in case.

  • I have made the mistake of copying a formula using relative coordinates before. I work on excel for a lot of my business classes and actually make the mistake pretty often. It’s relatively simple to go back and fix most of the issues, and it’s never really corrupted my work, but there have been times when it’s been easier for me to just restart the entire spreadsheet rather than go back and fix all the intermediate mistakes, which can be surprisingly time consuming.

  • Profile photo of Mark Anthony Negro

    Two years ago, in my junior year of high school, I had an accounting course. In that class, I learned about and went through excel. I remeber the several mistakes the system can make. One mistake I remembered when reading this article was number six, miss the data type. Excel can misrepresent dates put in cells with integers, causing confusion. All of the mistakes listed are very important to avoid, but in my opinion, the most important are number six and number three, start working on the database without doing a full backup first. Not backing up your file at first and having the wrong data in cells from the integers can be a disaster for some users and cause them to restart.

  • Profile photo of Jake Montana

    I have not yet made any of these mistakes when using excel however I believe that number 3, start working on data without backing it up, is the most important problem to avoid when dealing with data. Starting work with data before a backup could be very dangerous if mistakes are made and it would save a lot of time to make a backup if a mistake is made. Also, people that forget to save or people who have computers that could crash when dealing with data would be thankful if they did create a backup.

  • Profile photo of Joshua J Affainie

    I have worked in excel on my different occasions, but I have never made any of these mistake.However, I would say that the most common mistake people should try to avoid is to work on a database without doing a full backup first. It is important to save your work that way you do not have to do it all over again.

  • Profile photo of Colin P Krouse

    I think that the worst problem on the list to occur would be Number 3, failing to use a backup server. This problem stands out because it is common to many forms of technology, but could have especially bad consequences when one is dealing with large, organized data sets. It also seems like it could affect a wide range of people who work with data because it does not necessarily depend on the user’s skill. Even automatic backups fail to save some data, so it is important to ensure that everything is backed up before working with a database.

  • Profile photo of Grace G Hirsch

    Clicking ‘yes’ without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from your server?” is a mistake I make most often when working with data. I am the farthest thing from computer savy, so I usually don’t just click “yes” or “no’ and hope for the best. I have most recently been coming across this issue in this class, because it is a computer based course. I have gotten better, but when working with anything other than the basic computer tasks, I blank.

  • I have never made any of these mistakes, but I think that the most important mistake to avoid would definitely be not backing up the worksheet. I have made the mistake of not backing up important files, and not saving them in the right place, and it honestly just brings up a whole host of different issues. Backing up data is a very important aspect of any project, especially if it means that you wont have to redo hours of work that you have already done just because you hit the save button, or transferred the files to multiple memory sources.

  • One of the mistake that I made is number 4. I was asked to use the Excel to import results of grades, and I tried to use a tool to calculate the total grades of each person and the average grade of whole class. But I miss one column which presented the math score, so that the average grade was much higher and the total grade of each one was much lower. It completely messed up.

  • Profile photo of Sakeena A McLain-Cook

    I have never made any of these mistakes but I think that the most important mistake would be not knowing what system you are logged onto. This mistake can be very time consuming and can get you really confused. It can ultimately corrupt data and cause you to have to take several steps back in your process.

  • Profile photo of Alexander Somers Greene

    Although I have not personally made any of these mistakes myself, I believe that the most important mistake to avoid is not including all of the columns when sorting your datasheet (#4). Making this mistake would corrupt the entire datasheet making this variation useless. Hopefully you have a back up or 2 of a datasheet when you make this mistake because if you don’t, its not gonna be a lot of fun.

  • Profile photo of David J D'Angelo

    I have never really used Excel before in depth, but when i have, i have always worked with a lot of data. Because of that, i think one of the most important mistakes to avoid is not backing up your work. Saving the original work before you make changes is smart because if you make a mistake in your changes, you can always just reopen the original document and start over. Computers are not always reliable, so saving your work periodically is important so the data doesn’t get lost or rearranged in any way.

  • Profile photo of Kenneth Kirk Killian

    The main mistake I make out of the ten listed is number seven which is putting values in fields that are suppose to be pointers or references. When I was messing around with Tableau trying to figure out how everything worked, I was just adding whatever I could into any field and I thought it was weird that after I had put in so much information that I didn’t really have any graphs I could use. After realizing that I can’t just put anything anywhere, it became easier for me to distinguish what needs to go where so I could make relevant infographics.

  • I personally have made mistakes number 3 while I was using excel to make a balance sheet of a small company. The assignment is very urgent, and there is not too much time for me to carefully check my work. As a result of starting working without doing the full backup, I wasn’t able to refer back to the original data when my data corrupted. In my opinion, I believe that the most important mistake should be avoided is number 3. It’s so important to have full backup because the backup allows you to recover the data whenever you make the mistake.

  • Profile photo of Michael Lawrence Carey

    Missing the Data type has been a big one for me. At work when Im working with dates and grades, EXCEL sometimes will have some trouble differentiating numbers as dates and numbers as grades. This, ultimately, leads to some confusion as there are a lot of questions in the office with some of the grades and what each numerical value inputted represents. I never was too good in EXCEL, which is why i hope the course will help teach me to avoid those costly mistakes.

  • Though I have never made any of the mistakes on the list as I have never had to work with large sets of data outside of school projects in Excel, problem number 3 seems like it might have the most devastating consequences. Failing to back up could result in a complete loss of data, which is definitely more problematic then some of the other issues that result in skewed or unclear data. I think this problem could affect anyone regardless of their skill in working with data sets, so it is important to make a checkpoint regularly rather than neglect it or simply trust the automatic backup.

  • Profile photo of Erin Elizabeth Kelly

    I have made at least one of those mistakes in the article. More specifically, I have make the mistake mentioned in number 4. I have sorted a spreadsheet, and forgot to include all the columns. At work, I create a decent amount of spreadsheets to analyze and keep track of data. Every day a list of “New Hire” people is sent out. We have to put those people on the older spreadsheet and put it in alphabetical order. One time I sorted it alphabetically and realized that the new employees name did not match the other information because I did not sort it correctly. Luckily all I had to do was undo it to correct it.

  • Personally, I have made the mistake of not backing up my information/data while working on it. And the same time I forgot to do that, my computer restarted out the blue on me.. teaching me to always back up my work.

  • Profile photo of Shuyue Ding

    I made mistake like miss data type. I did not know what to do with those data after that. I will pay more attention about this.

  • I have never made any of these mistakes on excel before, but the most important mistake to avoid when working with excel is to make sure your data is backed up before you start working. If you are working ad your worksheet fall apart you will lose all of your data. I don’t think I have to say how detrimental that will be if you lose all your data.

  • Profile photo of Nancy Nam

    I think problem number 9 happened to me a few times. I would use try to use the formula on the whole row by highlighting one of the cell and scrolling down to the end. Instead of having the formula be used to calculate the data for the rest of the row, the data in the cell I highlighted is just copied all the way down. If I didn’t pay attention and catch the mistakes this dumb error may be quite “insidious”.

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