Section 001, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 9, 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?

59 Responses to Weekly Question #6: Complete by March 9, 2017

  • Since my experience with excel is very limited I have never made one of these mistakes due to not having an opportunity to. The most important data corruption mistake to avoid is to not click Yes when the message says “do you want to remove this from the server?”. This is the most important to avoid because it is extremely detrimental to the work you are doing and it deletes not only the data but also the metadata.

  • Before taking this course, I rarely worked with data and programs like excel. But, If I were to relate to one of these, it would be clicking “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?” I have definitely made this mistake before on my computer and deleted things I did not mean to get rid of. I probably did not make this mistake on excel because I do not use the program often. But I have made the mistake before and deleted important information by accident. I think it is very important to avoid clicking “yes” without completely evaluating what the message is saying because you could lose data and information completely, or create much more work for yourself.

  • During senior year of High school, I had to use excel to create my own credit card balance and show what will happen if I only pay the minimum amount and how much more I would end up paying. Since the assignment asked us to put an amount of $100,000 or higher, the rows were extremely long. I fell in the stupid corruption tricks of “Copying formulas that use relative coordinates” where I “intended to copy cell contents all the way to the end of a row set, but the copy-down operation stops at an empty cell” that I didn’t notice. I then had to start all over again because my data had already become dirty.

  • I had an experience with number 4, it was during my high school year when i was trying to sort my data from my bio lab and I accidentally forgot to select all of the columns. It was not something that could be easily fix and i have learned my lesson since then. The one thing I would mostly want to avoid is working on the database w/o doing a full backup prior. That way if I were to mess up, I can easily pull up the database that I saved before and rework on the database.

  • Most of my experience with Excel has come this semester, and I have yet to have any major issues with data corruption. I believe the most important mistake to avoid is clicking “yes” without reading the “do you want to remove this from the server.” This can lead to the deleting of metadata and configurations, as well as data.

  • I believe the most important thing to remember is to create the backup. Anything can happen within a software and we always regret it when it happens after we do a ton of modifications. Sometimes, but not always, Excel has the auto save feature, but that rarely occurs when the computer itself loses power. Having a backup ready or even saving a worksheet periodically can save one time and money.

  • 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.

  • One mistake that I have made quite often is to copy the formulas that use relative coordinates. The error occurs when the correct cells are not selected in the formula which results in a miscalculation; you wish to copy all the cells till the end but the copy-down operation stops if there is an empty cell. There have been times when I fail to notice the glitch in the calculation until I go back and review the entire data set. To avoid this issue, certain values must be locked so that they don’t change when the cells are dragged down. This just shows that you cannot assume that all the information in Excel is accurate, and you have to be careful in order to avoid miscalculations.

  • Last semester in my Cyberspace and Society class, I had to complete an extra credit assignment using Excel. The assignment was about a bank loan amortization for an art gallery, where I asked to find out which bank would be would cheaper to take out the loan from for the art exhibition. I was required to generalize the worksheet where I had to use formulas that contained cell references instead of values wherever possible. I also had to make use of absolute and relative cell referencing so that if the figures ever changed, the formulas would take care of making changes everywhere else on the worksheet. While working on the assignment I fell prey to the classic error that is mentioned in the article ‘Stupid Data Correction Tricks’. I put values in fields that were meant for formulas that the represented anchor point or the locked down cell reference. The result was that I got inaccurate values for the principal and interest amounts and that further resulted in inaccurate monthly payment amounts. Basically, it became difficult to identify the cell in which I had made the mistake. Once that particular cell was identified and replaced with the formula, excel worked its magic by automating and calculating all the correct amounts in the cells.

  • I’ve used Excel a lot throughout both high school and college. It’s safe to say that I’ve made a number of these errors. I’ve definitely opened a CSV file directly into Excel without meaning to. I was probably aggregating phone numbers and trying to tie them to various DMAs. I’ve also copied formulas that use relative coordinates without editing the formula. This has happened in many assignments at Temple. The data would have errors all over the place and I had to edit it before using the formula.

  • I have made one of the mistakes from the article when I was working in my data analytics course last semester. The mistake was I did not add “false” as the fourth parameter for my VLOOKUP function. As stated in the article, if this is not added there are some corruptions to the data and for me, there was the wrong item that I was trying to lookup in the cell.

  • I make the mistake of not backing my excel data up before editing it. As I never had any really big issues, it still is a concern that I don’t do it. The main reason I’m getting lucky Is because of the Excel “reverse” function that allows me to fix a quick mistake. However, in the future if I am doing a big project in Excel, I think the backup would be necessary.

  • I have made two mistakes that are stated in the article. The first mistake is that I started working on a database without backing up the original file. The reason this was bad was because I did not remember what I had before I have made the changes. Also, I couldn’t compare the two types of data or even delete the data and try again with the original. The other Mistake I have made was missing the data type, because if you put a zero of the beginning, it would automatically be deleted if the data type is not text. I thought if I had the type on numbers I would be able to put zero at the beginning but that was not true.

  • I think the most important mistake to avoid when it comes to working with excel is to “start working on the database without doing a full backup first” because if you don’t back up or save the original copy and you make a mistake, there is no way to go back. You would have to start your excel sheet all over again. It wouldn’t matter if you were sure not to make any of the other data mistakes like missing the data type, if you screw up your entire spreadsheet and can’t go back to the original.

  • Since my experience with working Microsoft excel I have committed mistake number 6, which would be “Miss the data type.” This occurred when I was working at my front desk job at Temple and mistakenly misrepresented a date as an integer. Because of this mistake, the dates were messed up and did not correlate with the rest of the data I had in the excel spreadsheet. This caused false data to appear for my co-workers and I. I now always try to avoid at all costs making that same mistake again.

  • I have never had a personal experience with any of the data corruption mistakes described in “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks”. However, by reading the article it does become fairly clear which mistakes out of the ones listed are worse than others. To me, I believe the mistake which is most important to avoid is “start working on the database without doing a full backup first”. Saving your work and backing it up is very important. If you do not save your work or make a mistake like this, you may lose all of your work and be forced to start all over again. This is a mistake which I believe is the most important to avoid out of the mistakes discussed in the article.

  • I have indeed made one of the mistakes listed in “Stupid Data Corruption Tricks”. I don’t have much experience with working with data, but in all of the times that I have I have never made a backup of my data. At my level, the slip up doesn’t really matter as none of my data mattered, but it could quickly become a much larger problem as I start working with more important data that would need to be backed up. In the future, I will start performing backups of my data in case an unexpected problem occurs.

  • I believe that the most important mistakes to avoid is number 3. Starting to work on a database that has not been fully backed up first is one of the easiest mistakes to make. It is also one of the most simple tasks to follow.

  • One of my most unforgetful Excel mistakes involves number 4 – sorting. It was last summer when I was recruiting attendants for my 200-person study-abroad event. Instead of only clicking the first cell of the column I wanted to sort, I selected the entire column and sort. Hence, all the data mixed up but the worst part was I did not realize that. I even sent out all the acceptance and rejection letters for more than 500 people. When my teammate found out that we messed up the data sheet, we had to start all over again and even had to find a way to recover the original sheet. Then we had to email all 500 people again with apologies. I would never forget this mistake and this great Excel lesson.

  • Since I have a very limited experience on Excel I haven’t made none of those mistakes. However, by reading the article I believe the most important and relatively easy one to avoid is “start working on the database without doing a full backup first” because by having a backup is a secure way to have always your starting point in hands in case of any mistakes along the process or even just to check information in the original data. Without a backup your ability to review any points of the original data gets impaired and correcting this is an easy step that would bring a lot of positive rewards.

  • When working for an energy efficiency company we were collecting data on energy efficiency rebate programs throughout the country. The database would then be read by a system that could auto populate the rebate applications. For the system to read the data though it needed to be formatted perfectly. It was very difficult to determine the proper data type while collecting the information. We also were able to easily corrupt the data by uploading excel docs twice or not converting them to CSV files.

  • I think the most important thing to avoid is #3 “Start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” This is because small edits or changes can corrupt the data or interfere with reports. This can cause frustration on the database administrator’s end, but more importantly result in inaccurate information or a crippled system.

  • I have yet to make one of these mistakes but I am sure over the course of the next few years here at Temple I am bound to break one of them. I feel the most important thing to avoid would be Number 1. The absolute last thing any person wants is to lose all their hard work they’ve created without realizing it. In the past, I’ve deleted papers by accident and didn’t realize until I tried to pull them up days later; there’s no worse feeling than that.

  • One of the common mistakes I have made in excel are placing values in fields that are supposed to be pointers or references. Sorting through vasts amounts of data can be difficult to coordinate, especially when there are saved references. Usually, I have a difficult time dealing with this in excel or a CRM system. To avoid this, I began highlighting the referenced points in either a different font or color. This ensures that the saved data won’t be corrupted or come up with a “Reference Error.”

  • I haven’t made one of these mistakes before because I haven’t worked on Excel that much. But when I work on Excel, I rarely create a backup prior to working on the database. I think this habit would bring me trouble if there is something wrong with the power source or the computer. Creating the full backup would save me a lot of time and effort if anything like power cut happens.

  • In my previous internship I was assigned a task to pull all the clients with all their information. This entailed a lot of fields and columns in excel. I made the mistake of working on this document without ever saving it. One day I was in a rush to leave work and forgot to save the file on my drive. That night the tech restarted all computers and updated the software. I sadly lost all the information that i was working on for weeks. i believe backing up your data is one of the most important things you could do.

  • One of the problems I encountered from the article is sorting a spreadsheet without including all the columns, I was working on a database for an organization I volunteer for and I was sorting the members by status––how often they come depicted by “A,” “B,” and “C.” The database contained all personal information such as full name, phone number, address, status, position within the organization, etc. All of the data got jumbled up; however, I was able to correct it since I had a backup file available.

  • Start working on the database without doing a full backup first

    This is the one that I feel would be most important. Before working on something you must make sure you have a backup. There are so many things that can happen and you always want to have a backup just in case. That is my number one rule when working with anything on the computer. I always have a backup saved somewhere. To me it is most important.

  • I have not used excel too much in my life, so I have not made any of the mistakes listed. However, if I had to pick I would say, “Click “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?” is the worst mistake. We as individual workers are always trying to get our work done as fast as possible and it is easy to misread a pop up window. That is why I think this is the most important mistake to avoid because it is something that could dramatically effect our excel sheets.

  • The mistake i made in this article is not backing up my files before working on them. In my intermediate accounting 1 course i was working on the accounting cycle project that took me 2 weeks to complete. Everything was complete and ready to go to be handed in the next day. when it came time to submitting it through safe assign the file had to be turned into a PDF file, because i did not back it up when the file went through the transformation it became corrupt and i spent all day trying to do the project again

  • In my limited experience with excel the main issue that I have encountered is messing up the VLookup. I forgot one of the parameter’s forcing it to come up false, only for me to realize my mistake after receiving a grade on the assignment from my professor.

  • I think the mistake that I have done from this article is not backing up data before working on it. I have worked on certain things and a handful of times my computer would shut down and the material that I was working on didn’t save and I lost everything. This could easily be avoided if I continue to backup my files and I wouldn’t have to worry about losing my work.

  • A mistake I have made before from this list, is the error in #4 where when you sort a spreadsheet and you do not add all the columns. I was organizing a list of internships for my job in the STHM CSPD, but neglecting to add 3 extra columns when sorting which would have left the data out of place for these specific 3 entires. I was able to fix it however since I went back to check my work before finalizing and passing it on to my boss.

  • I made many mistakes in my years in excel but one of the biggest ones was not backing up the spread sheet. I worked on an assignment for like 3 hours one day and didn’t save it and got confused and messed everything up I had to restart it from the beginning. Major tip make a back up!

  • One of my biggest mistakes I made in excel was not making a back up. My professor for my excel class actually told us that we should do this in case we made a mistake. However, I didn’t think anything of it and because of that I faced the consequences. While doing an assignment I made a mistake in the excel documented and couldn’t go back and because I didn’t had a back up I had to start all over. Ignoring that tip was’t the best idea and me having a back up has became a habit every time I use excel.

  • I have not worked with Excel as much as other people but I do think that number 3 is the most important to avoid. A lot of times I make sure to save my Excel file at least every 20 minutes before I continue working. I am always scared that I will forget to save my work. I even put it on my flash drive and work on the file on my computer than replacing the finished file in my flash drive again.

  • I usually forgot backup my works before. The most serious situation I faced about half year ago. My computer’s hard drive was broken, and it could’t start. When I brought my computer to fix, a lot of pictures, word, excel and data couldn’t recovery any more. So backup important documents is very important.

  • I have never really worked with Excel before so I have not made any of these mistakes. I think number three is the most important problem to avoid: “start working on the database without doing a full backup first.” I always save everything that I do about 3 times before I am actually finished working on whatever it is. I get very paranoid that wha I am working on will not get saved at all, or not saved after I am finished with the final product.

  • I have accidentally had mistake number 6 “miss the data type” happen for me. It has never caused any real problems since it is such an easy fix. Sometimes when I work very quickly with excel it is something that I just do not pay enough mind to and then when my computations are off I have to go back and fix it.

  • Personally, I do not need excel for my major or for any part of my life so I have not made a lot of the mistakes/tricks listed. However, I do use excel to organize events and weekly data for my church from time to time. I usually forget the most to backup my work, so I have a lot of data before. Because of this trick, I have started to back up the file before, in the middle and at the end of the file as well as saving consistently throughout my work.

  • Though I have made mistakes using excel before, I cannot clearly recall a time where I made any of these ten mistakes. However, I would think that the one that is most important to avoid would be mistake number 5: using a deduping tool with “loose” criteria. For most of the mistakes listed in this sheet, it seems that making that mistake can be undone if you realize the error quickly enough. However, the article says that merges, which is part of mistake 5, cannot be undone. If you were to make this mistake then it is extremely difficult to rectify your mistake.

  • When I first started working on excel a lot of the files I would open into the program were CSV. I often made the mistake of number 10, opening a CSV directly into excel. At first, I didn’t notice that it corrupted any of my data because I wasn’t using the columns that it changed. Now that I am in a couple of data and reporting classes, I have been a lot more cautious and aware of how I’m opening my files when I first begin. A mistake that I always want to avoid would be number 3, I never want to start manipulating data without first having a backup of it.

  • I have sorted data without including the entire table, though this is an easy fix with ‘undo’, I’ve overlooked this at first thinking that the data was sorted all together. Obviously it just jumbles the row you have sorted, and doesn’t change any of the other data so nothing matches. It is a simple mistake, but I’ve made it nonetheless.

    I’ve also tried to open cvv files in excel, and dates and long numbers like revenues don’t translate well. The numbers become unformatted and you basically have to start the entire import process over again.

  • In my opinion, creating a backup is more important than anything else. No matter what I did wrong, I can open the backup and do it again. Once I was typing an essay on an old version of Microsoft Word, and the computer was very slow and automatically shut down after a few hours. All my work was unsaved, and I have to rewrite the paragraphs I have done. After that, I click save button almost every 3 minutes to make sure I have the backup.

  • The mistake that I have made before is missing the data type in Excel. I have to make detailed spreadsheets for work that involve inputting the addresses of hospitals and doctors offices, one component being the zip code. We discussed in class that you have to change the data type in order for the number to remain the way you input it. The main issue is for New Jersey zip codes begin with 0. Excel does not know that your intent is to type in a zip code, so if your zip code is 01234, it changes to 1234 since no real numbers start with 0. If you change the data type to text it allows you to put in 01234 without removing the 0.

  • Since I use excel very infrequently I haven’t experienced these mistakes off hand. In my opinion I think the most important data trick is being able to identify what system your logged into. If you don’t log out of your account before switching from computer to computer people can change the data or even delete your files.

  • Since I have not used excel that much before I did not make any of the mistakes listed in the article. However, I think the number 1 that “clicking “yes” without carefully evaluating the message that says “do you want to remove this from the server?”” will be the most important things to avoid because it could actually delete metadata and configurations, not just data as indicated in the article.

  • I have never really used excel frequently throughout my high school career. I now see how many different mistakes can be made from such a program. but one of the mistakes I think is the most important to avoid is number four. It is very important that you sort out the data correctly because if it is not done right, you can corrupt all the data and mess up the entire file which then is useless.

  • I have copied formulas before that use relative coordinates. It is annoying because it does not give you an error so at first it is hard o catch. Luckily after reviewing you can see some discrepancies. Out of all the mistakes not backing up your data source is the worst. If you forget to save and everything is lost or you realize everything is wrong and there is no going back. Without a backup there is always a chance of Murphy’s law.

  • I am not a continuous user of excel, but the one mistake that seems to be the most important to avoid would be #3. Forgetting to do a full backup first could be detrimental because someone could lose a lot of data. It is so important to backup while working on a database, and so that is why you should be aware of this issue at all times.

  • I’ve accidentally made mistake number four from the article (sort a spreadsheet, but not include all the columns). Some of the columns in my spreadsheet were separated by an empty column, so the columns on the other side of the empty columns weren’t’ sorted. My data was across rows, so the values got mixed up between the rows and I had to go back and use another copy of the data before I made the error.

  • I have suffered from the number one way to corrupt your data which is to say yes to a message box without fulling reading it. I have done this on numerous occasions and it has caused me to do more work then I had to. Always read completely before you say yes.

  • Using Excel ive had some mistakes. One of which was #3 in the article Stupid Data Corruption Tricks. To not backup the data base before working on it. I also think that it’s the most common mistakes for people with little experience with excel; out of the 10 different ways. In sports terms it’s a “Rookie mistake”.

  • I have only little experience with excel program. However,not backing up the full data often seem like the most mistake i make. Today, many programs automatically backups and saves data such as icloud and googledrive and makes me forget to save often. Backing up fully often will help stop losing important datas.

  • Although I haven’t had to work with excel very much, the times that I have I definitely suffered from Number 7: Put values in fields that are supposed to be pointers or references. It’s so easy to get caught in all the number at hand that sometimes you forget about the numbers that were initially there to either compare or contrast with at the end. All numbers look the same sometimes and if you’re not careful with spacing and separation, you’re bound to get the whole table-set wrong when it comes to forming calculations.

  • One of my most common mistakes for utilizing Excel would be that of not backing up the database, and start working on it without the mandatory or recommended backup. I believe that since Excel saves automatically i don’t need to save it much often; however, i realized after several lost of data instances, that I need to save data more often so i can prevent data losses in the later future. Hence, this is one of the most common mistakes from the article that I commit.

  • When I took intro to finance we would use Excel pretty often. I would start an assignment and forget to have a backup copy in case I did not save the file right after class and my laptop would die. However, this issue is not relevant anymore since I purchased a Macbook. Always remember to properly save and backup all your files.

  • I’ve never personally made any of these mistakes because I never really have to deal with numbers(outside of a classroom setting), but I assume the main thing to look out for is the subject category so things like dropping the initial 0 in the Jersey zip codes doesn’t happen.

  • I have downloaded CSV files directly into excel. When I did this nothing that I know of happened and things seemed to work out fine. But I think a really important thing to look out for is clicking “yes” when the popup asks if you want to remove this from the server. Personally when I see popups like that on my computer I just hit yes or save or what ever option is going to happen when I hit the enter key on my computer. Like the article says this can severely corrupt the meta data consequently corrupting the interpretation of your data.

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