Section 005, Instructor: Shana Pote

Weekly Question #6: Complete by Oct. 19, 2017

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on October 19, 2017. 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?

5 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by Oct. 19, 2017

  • I have made one of the mistakes listed in the articles and it was mistaking the data type. This happened when I was inputting data into excel and I was trying to input dates into Excel, but the program confused it as integers, so I had to change the way I inputted the data. Another mistake I made was not backing up my data or making a copy of my original data before making any changes. It is important to back up data, because you can use the original data to compare to the new data you have altered just in case you have made any mistakes. Also it is important to have a backup copy, because if you make any mistakes or somehow lose your new set of data then you always have the old copy to refer to.

  • I have definitely edited an excel sheet without backing it up first. Sometimes I’m working on something quickly, or assume that other people have a version. But this is a bad habit I should definitely get out of. I’ve also had the problem happen that we talked about in class, where the zip code was dropping the “0”. I work at a PR firm right now and we send out tickets for movie studios, so this could have been a big problem! Luckily, I was able to fix it before it got any further.

  • I am guilty of hitting the “ok” button without reading the dialogue box. So far no major consequences have happened, but its only a matter of time. I also have had the issue with leading zeros. I am continually updating a contact spreadsheet and we have quite a few contacts that are located in New Jersey, which initially I was unaware that the leading zero would be a problem. So the first few times I was updating, I didn’t take notice to the fact they were dropping off until one time I looked up as I hit “enter” and saw it eliminate the zero. Which led me to have to scan through all the zip codes for New Jersey and correct the ones I had entered during the month. For our purposes I was able to just adjust the cells which needed the leading zeros to a “text” format which allows for the extra zero.

  • I have made a mistake listed in the article, it was missing the data type. It happens when I put in a date, but it changes to an integer. Many similar data errors have occurred, although it is a very simple fix. Another mistake I’ve made on Excel is copying formulas and miscalculation. I’ve miscalculated and copied formulas into the rows, but sometimes I miss a cell that I didn’t notice before. I’ve also made the mistake of not backing up my data or making a copy of the original before making major alterations. You should always back up your data because it is important to have the original to look at in case you need to fix a mistake in the new data.

  • I think that mistake 3 “Failing to do a full backup first” is the most common mistake and the easiest to avoid. It is very important to always back up all sets of data. Without a backup, you would have to start from scratch to recollect the data which can be time-consuming or very difficult to do, especially if you have a deadline. One time I made this mistake, I was working on a 5 pages paper for one of my classes, and when I was in the middle of the paper, the computer abruptly shut down, and I wasn’t able to recover the document afterward. This mistake thought me to always save whatever I m working on every couple minutes.

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Shana Pote

Alter Hall 232
Class time: 5:30-8pm, Thursdays
Office hours: Thursdays, 1 hour before class, or by appointment.
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