Section 005, Instructor: Joe Spagnoletti

Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 8, 2017

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

48 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 8, 2017

  • I have not worked with excel too much but one mistake that I remember vividly is when I forgot to do a full backup before working on data.This happened when I was working on a project and as I was about halfway through it the system shut down and my work was not saved. This mistake was very inefficient and led me to have to start all over creating more work for me.

  • I myself have not made any of the mistakes listed in the article, as I have never been tasked with something that required one of the steps mentioned in the article. However, I think #3, the step about working on a database without backing it up first, most important. Realistically, the easiest way to figure out why something in the program went wrong is to backtrack, and having a backup file would be the easiest way to do. In addition, especially with how haywire some computers can become, it’s always useful to have a backup in the case of a surprise shutdown.

  • The mistake I have made often is “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first”. Many times I get so wrapped up in the data I am inputting or problem I am solving and forget to save. For example, while taking the Excel for Business Applications class I forgot to save my Excel work which provided answers for the quiz I was taking and I had to redo the whole Excel sheet in order to submit the quiz.

  • i cannot recall making any of the mistakes listed in the article. However, number 4 (sort a spreadsheet without including all columns) seems like it would be the best to avoid. Ive come to this conclusion because if someone was to work on a data sheet and not include all the columns, then they would have bad data and not even know it. When they finally would realize then they would have to start the entire thing from the beginning.

  • I have made the mistake before of not including all of the columns in a sort (#4). I was in an information technology class in high school learning excel and creating a small database. I sorted the names by alphabetical order, but forgot to include the phone number column. Every person then had an incorrect phone number associated with them.

  • I have made the mistake before of not including the word “false” as the 4th vlookup parameter. It was for a personal finance class and we were pulling information out of a grocery list. I just remember it not working when I initially tried and then had a classmate come over and we figured out the false was missing. To this day still do not completely understand why that false has to go into the formula.

  • Working with Excel is not something I have done outside of personal activities, and even so I rarely ever use it, however, I feel that not creating back ups and miss typing data are the two most important mistakes to avoid. First, the other mistake examples in the article are more related to excel and can come from some rather specific logistical errors and while they are important to the topic, I feel like they only carry weight because of that. Creating back ups and correctly typing data however is very encompassing and can be translated to just about every situation someone might find themselves in. I’ve lost plenty of papers and hours of work for lack of saving and creating duplicates. Even in recreational things like video games, creating saves and back ups of those saves can prove useful. As for data typing, that literally comes up everywhere in life, be it Excel, lab reports, ringing someone up at a register, perscription writing, placing an order mistakes at restaurants and more. Because these two errors are more encompassing in nature, they require more effort and attention to be avoided, making them substantially more important.

  • I really am not a big excel user or fan, so I don’t know if I’ve even done advanced enough work in the program to run into one of these errors. The one that seems the most deadly is the last one: clicking “yes” on the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?” It seems like all of the other errors, while headaches, will only screw up one set of data or one attempt to use that data. This error seems to be the only one capable of removing data from an entire system. It also is the only one that removes the metadata you’d need to correct the error. This seems to be the most widely devastating and most difficult to fix error.

  • From my point of view, we are very likely to make any of the mistakes that listed in the article. From my personal experience, I have not done so much work which is related to Excel particularly.; however, if I have to choose one mistake that is so important to avoid while doing Excel, it would be mistake #3 “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” It is obvious that it is always helpful to save the original version of work before doing anything with it; therefore, if you have any issues while doing work with Excel, you can always go back to the original version and compare the current version that you are working to figure out what steps you did do correctly. In addition, it is so important for everyone to keep in mind that while they are doing work with Excel or Word or anything, they should save their work multiple times because they might accidentally close the work without saving it or the computer suddenly shuts down because it runs out of battery.

  • I do not recall making any of the mistakes listed in the article because I have not had a lot of chances to work with data. In my opinion, corrupting data in anyway is not good and it will affect your understanding of the topic that the data represents. However, I think it is best to avoid number 3 in the article, which is start working on a database without backing it up first. This is because there might be a technical error at anytime and you might lose your database. Furthermore, while evaluating a data, you might start to recognize problems here and there and it will be very hard to chase back the data if you do not have a back up of it.

  • Excel is not something that I have worked too much, and my Excel works actually do not required the steps listed in the article. However, number 3 (Start working on the database without doing a full backup first) seems like an important mistake that we should avoid. The reason why I choose this is because if I do not do a full backup first, all my data might not be restored, which means I will not be able to continue my work unless I start all over again. It is super inefficient especially when I am in a rush.

  • I do not believe I have ever made a mistake, however, if I did, the one to avoid the most in my opinion is step three. If you do not create a backup, you could lose a lot of times work and effort into creating a data set. If you do not create a backup, you might lose all of your work that was created. People make the mistake all the time of not creating backups or when to save your work. Whenever I make papers or Excel sheets, I always save my work throughout the process. Overall, step 3 is crucial, as you always need to save your work throughout the work process.

  • I think that the most important mistake to avoid is Number 2 (“What system am I logged in to?”). Over the summer I did an internship in which we had 4 different project management systems and we had to manually input the project numbers into each system. When someone did not use the correct format, made a typo, or accidentally input a project twice it threw off the system and led to us not being able to track time properly or to people being unsure of whether or not a project was completed.

  • I personally don’t remember making any of the mistakes listed on the article, but after reading the article I believe that number 3 would be the most important to avoid. Creating a backup isn’t a hard step to do but yet could be a lifesaver. If something happens during the process and someone loses all their hard work, it could take hours or days to get back what they lost, so number 3 would definitely the most important to avoid.

  • Last year when I worked on a paper about trends in on base percentage in baseball players over a season, I hit “select all” but Excel missed a few columns. I did not realize the mistake for a long time and the sorted spreadsheet showed completely different results. Unfortunately it took me two times as long to figure out and fix the issue so the data was correct.

  • The thing from this article that I have definitely done before is Number 3, which is not doing a full backup when you’re working on something. This actually happened to me last class when we were working on Excel and as I was going through my work Excel shut down unexpectedly. This then sent me from being almost finished to barely started in the blink of an eye. You would think something so simple would be easy to do, but sometimes when you’re working on something, like me in this situation, it can slip your mind very easily.

  • I haven’t done too many assignments through excel, however, last semester when I was taking the Business Excel course I made a horrible error. I did not back up my files when I was working and in the middle of an assignment my computer suddenly died and did not autosave my work. I was so close to finishing the assignment and I had to start all over again which resulted in me wasting 2 hours of my time, but I definitely learned my lesson to always backup my work.

  • Reading through the article and after almost losing all of my data on my laptop this past week, I feel like the most important is, “Number 3: Start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” I purchased an external hard drive years ago, but never got around to using it. After my laptop’s cable stopped working this past week I feared that I would lose everything on my laptop, which included some editing software worth hundreds of dollars. From my experiences this can be a big issue for huge companies/corporations and even the average person with data on their computer.

  • I have only been exposed to Excel very few times, and when I was I was always careful with which cell referenced what. For example, I had to make a bunch of probability distributions and their respective graphs for my Actuarial Prob & Stat course last semester. every cell had to be in reference to certain criteria (trials, successes, failures) so I could not use hard coded data. I had to be weary of how the function affected each value and if it was correct.

  • I have barely used excel, but from what I see, I would say that no. 3 , “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first”, is the most important. I think as a general rule for pretty much any document or any electronic piece of work that this would be the case. I think this would apply especially to excel because I’ve seen excel sheets with 10s of thousands of data points on them, and I would hate to have to lose all that data.

  • I have not used Excel much in my life but I figure the most important mistake to avoid would be starting to work on the database before backing it up completely first. I have made the mistake of not backing up documents on Microsoft Word and presentations on Powerpoint in the past. There is no worse feeling than losing a project after countless hours of work because you forgot to back it up when you started. I figure keeping your work saved on Excel is the most important thing not to mess up. You can fix mistakes but you can’t fix something thats not there.

  • I’m not an experienced Excel user however I have gone through a couple introductory courses. In on of the lessons we were utilizing the Vlookup option and computing excel sheets with formula inputs. About 15 minutes in my computer decides to update. Forgetting I had selected an option to update in 30 minutes , half an hour prior, I panicked thinking all my data was gone. Little to my surprise I have no backed up any of it and the result, well you can already guess. At least 25 minutes of work gone just like that.

  • Oh man, number 9 gets me all the time. Excel’s formulas and their ease of use are what separates it from other programs like Apple’s Numbers, but forgetting to hit F4, or not hitting it the proper number of times can screw your whole sheet up in a heartbeat. Especially when you start building formulas that refer to results of other formulas, then at some point you find yourself searching through three different worksheets within the same workbook trying to figure out which step in the process screwed everything up. And back in the day, before MS patched it over, if you inserted a row or column somewhere after having written formulas, it would screw everything up. The ease of use and my familiarity make it easy to fall into a rhythm and move rather quickly through the program, but one small oversight can set you back for hours. This happened keeping softball stats one year, I had one worksheet that held separate stats for each game and another that accumulated everything to show your stats-to-date, and one neglected F4 keystroke had it looking like our best hitter was doing terribly and the number 9 guy was an allstar.

  • I have never made any of the mistakes mentioned in the article, because I also have never used Excel regularly. All of this mistakes are obviously important to avoid and number 3 specifically called my attention, since I unfortunately know what losing documents because they weren’t backed up or saved feels like! It is very simple and crucial to avoid starting the work without doing a full backup first.

  • I have not made any mistakes listed in the article in the result of I just used Excel to do basic things. But I think the number three: “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first” is the most important to avoid. Think about that you are doing a huge assignment which you have done the whole day and it almost finished, But your computer shut down suddenly. You found out that what you have done the whole day are disappear, It is pretty disappoint, you will not want to do it again even if you know how to do all of them. That’s why I think it is the most important to do a full back up first before you start working on database. The action does not take your time more than one second after all.

  • I believe #3, “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first” is the most important. After doing all the data compilation like taking out the Nulls , changing the type for specific column cells and also clean up the missing data for excel when I was doing a group project, my old computer crashed for no reason. I guess because I just got an 4G RAM and at the same time I using other applications. The worst thing of all is I didn’t back it up, I need to redo all the progresses. It turned out that I stayed up late to finish all the work. Since then I never forget to press Ctrl + S and also after I finish one progress I’ll back it up on cloud.

  • I don’t really remember what mistake I did, maybe it was number 9. Copying the cell without checking from the top to the end. This made me so confused about it because at that time I don’t even know what is wrong! Undo it would destroy the data I created, don’t undo it the data is all wrong. And number 3, really nightmare for not backuping the data. Lost almost everything due to accidents.

  • There have been a couple of instances where I have copied formulas that use relative coordinates when trying to make calculations using a set of data. When this happens, the formula doesn’t use the correct cells and there will be a miscalculation. Luckily, these problems have been easy for me to fix because the data sets I have worked with are relatively small and it is obvious when there has been an error in the formula. However, these minor errors show the importance of being careful when using formulas in Excel.

  • To me making a backup is the most important aspect when working it excel. In high school I had to do a excel project in personal finance but I was not regularly saving my work. At one point I accidentally put in the wrong equation and it messed up all of my numbers. It was so messed up I had to start over. Now, whenever I do any project I make sure to save it twice on my computer, then put it in Google drive. This way there’s almost no chance of me losing my data.

  • In my labs, we use Excel a lot to show graphs and organize our data from our lab notebooks. At first, I made so many mistakes and my labs would take me an unreasonable amount of time. My brother uses Excel a lot for his job so he had to help me out with my labs and show me how badly I was messing my graphs up. The mistake that I made the most was missing the data type. A lot of the labs had to do with time intervals, and sometimes dates for more extensive labs. I was putting my times in terms of seconds, but some of my labs required several minutes. My numbers became way too large in comparison to the rest of the data, making my scales unnecessarily large. Instead of doing seconds for labs like this, I started recording in a 00:00 format, or in minutes.

  • I have not used excel too often but one mistake I did make was starting to work without making a backup. I was doing a lab where I had to put in number, make graphs, and compare them. While I was working on this my power went out and all my work was gone. This helped me learn to always save and often while working on important assignments.

  • Personally I haven’t had the opportunity to work a lot with excel so I can’t really say I have made any of these mistakes. However, I feel like number 3, start working on the database without doing a full backup first, is the most important thing to avoid. There is nothing more frustrating than having to redo an assignment after just completing it.

  • I am an “Apple Guy” and have worked more with Numbers than Excel. However, I feel that number 6 is the most important to avoid: Miss the data type. This is becuase misrepresenting dates and times as integers could have very negative effects (like not knowing when an entry was from).

  • I personally have not made a mistake that was mentioned in the article. However, I believe the most important mistake to avoid is not backing up the data. You should always back your data up because if you do make a mistake, you can always go back to the backup. I think that is why backing up your data is the single most important thing you can do to avoid corrupting your data.

  • Not only for Excel, but with other kinds of files(like PowerPoint, Word, etc) I mainly had problems similar with Number 1 : click “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?”. This usually happens when I have a file on my online cloud, something like google drive. I click on the file and open it, work with it, then just close it(thinking that it would have been automatically saved). But then I realize that I didn’t even download the file in the first place, I just literally opened the file and then closed it.

  • I have made one of the mistakes listed in the article. The mistake I made was sorting a spreadsheet, but not including all of the columns. The cause of this problem usually happens to me because the spreadsheet I was creating had over a thousand columns which made it easy for me to forget to include a small amount that was towards the end of the spreadsheet.

  • The only one of these that I can relate to is starting a project without backing up my data, even though it didnt result in me losing my data. I think the most important one is missing the data type, because i feel thats something you have to continue to check after every step because it varies.You should try and avoid that because if its off, the person whos reading it could have the rest of the data affected by one instance of a misrepresented data type, if the data even gets that far.

  • Given that I used to major in Business Management at Widener University before transferring here to Temple in 2014, I’ve worked with Excel quite often in Accounting, Finance, and MIS classes. The processes involved with data entry and functions used for calculating several different figures at once was tricky, and required much practice to become accustomed to the program. One mistake that I frequently make when using Excel are when I “Put values in fields that are supposed to be pointers or references” (#7) and “Copy formulas that use relative coordinates” (#9). In one respect or another, both of the errors I mentioned often lead to numerical miscalculations from the program having trouble recognizing the function you’re asking it to perform. Another problem that can arise from this is when the program cannot differentiate between certain column terms by attributing the same function to two closely similar words that each command separate functions.

  • I’m not really good at Excel, and i don’t really use it as well. So I am not sure about the other mistakes in the article talking about for the exact meaning. But one thing I remember during I used Excel is that “Copy Formulas that use relative coordinates.” I always get trouble when I want to calculate something in Excel since I’m not professional in it. I like copying and paste the formulas from one to one, actually some of them not using the same formulas. It really gives me a hard time.

  • Having experience using excel and having to learn how to use it you definitely come across problems. For instance, I had a hard time with VLOOKUP, which was utilized quite frequently and if it’s not exact it won’t work. Also a good habit is to always do a full backup, it saves a lot of time if anything occurs. Also to avoiding missing data types, which definitely corrupts data.

  • It’s easy to forget to check data type. Sometimes the data represents fine but its the wrong data type. Then there is an error when typing in specific date or phone number.
    Click “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?” happens a lot too. Because the dialogue is so annoying. People just don’t want to read it.
    The third one “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first” should be the most important one to avoid because that gives you a chance to redo your data instead of losing them all.

  • After working with excel on numerous projects and assignments , the one mistake that has stuck with me even tell this day is the copying of formulas. Working on accounting assignments in high school and college, I have alway had troubled calculating the logged rows of numbers given to me from the information. The copying of formulas in my case resulted in errors that eventually made me think about the numbers being in the wrong place, when in fact the formulas were not specifically adapted correctly throughout the entire data sheet.

  • I haven’t made these mistakes before. If I did have to pick one that I felt was the most important it would be “Don’t miss a data set”. I feel like this is important because if you miss a data set then you will be missing information. Without the information it will be hard to create an excel spreadsheet at all. Even so missing one set of data can probably mess up all of the other data.

  • I started working without saving one time. I was doing all my work and the computer crashed. The excel restarted and all my information was lost. I should have saved everything beforehand but I made a mistake not doing that and I had to start all over again. Next time I made sure I saved my work and made sure I backed it up so just in case it got deleted I would have a recovery copy of it.

  • I haven’t make any mistakes yet, but personally i think the Number 2 ‘what systems i log to’ is the most important mistake to avoid’. There are 4 different management systems, we must have solid knowledge on each system and be familiar with them

  • Number 6: Miss the Data Type, When I was in the High School I have to create an attendance sheet in excel and I Typed the wrong data type and like no ones attendance was showing and I almost lost my position of IT captain of school. Due to people started complaining about my mistake on my captain position. So after that I never made any mistake related to excel.

  • I haven’t used excel extensively yet, but I have made excel spreadsheets before for a small business I run. I do consumer and commercial Drone services and for prices I made a list of hours and rates for different footage and services. I did a lot of things back then that I could have streamlined with what I know now.

  • I’ve definitely fallen victim to #4 and #6 in the past. I remember one time at my past internship where I downloaded about 5,000 rows of keyword research data and, of course, decided to pivot it. However, when I highlighted all of the data, I hadn’t included all of it. After I did my analysis, it wasn’t making much sense to me because the list seemed to be super short and incomplete. Later, I realized I had not highlighted Column A and that was where the majority of the keywords had been housed. I had to redo the analysis!

    Unfortunately, I’ve also had many instances of missing data types or incorrect types. The one platform that is constantly giving me issues with data types is Google Adwords. Google’s system identifies all data as “general” types rather than “currency”, “percentage”, “number” and “date”. I have to always be careful about analyzing campaign data over time because Excel will recognize the date as a string of integers instead of an actual date – very annoying!

  • Although I haven’t made any of the mistakes listen in the article, in my opinion, is number three: “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” I feel as though that could cause so many problems if one did not back up their data. Being mindful of checking up and updating is crucial or else what is the point of trying to create something in the first place.

  • In my past I have not used Excel very much, however I do remember when I was working on an assignment in high school and I forgot to conduct a full back up, which resulted in losing my work and starting from scratch. Ever since then I have made a concerted effort to back up data not only in Excel, but also on my iPhone and pictures on my computer. It is very preventable and all it takes is some thought to save yourself a lot of time and stress.

  • I do not really make any of the mistakes stated in the article, being that I do not really use excel very often. When I do, I like to think that I am very careful about what I do. With that being said, I would say that clicking “yes” without evaluating the message “would you like us to remove this from the server” is the most important mistake to avoid. If that is done, it can ruin your whole excel spreadsheet, and it is so simple and easy to commit. It is simply important to be aware of the problem, and not just click on impulse when the message comes up.

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Joe Spagnoletti (instructor)

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