I still don’t believe it, but I won a SAS Award!

SAS Lifetime Achievement Award
This is a copy of the slide from SAS Forum UK 2017. My thanks go to SAS UK for their permission to reproduce it.

My university degrees were in Chemistry, but when I tried to find my first job there were none in Chemistry, so, as I’d developed an interest in computing, I decided to move into Information Technology instead. I have never really considered my jobs to be work, even to the present day, but more like a paid hobby.

I first encountered SAS software (version 79.5) in 1981 while working as a mainframe systems programmer at the University of London Computer Centre. Not long after that I was the SAS Representative at Prudential Assurance in London installing SAS on their mainframes, and making myself known to SAS UK by asking their Technical Support question after question about a wide range of SAS features.

In September 1992, 25 years ago, I went freelance, formed my own SAS software consultancy, Holland Numerics Limited, and started work on the first of two SAS contracts in Belgium. Since then I have also worked with, and provided training for, SAS-using companies in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and the USA. As a permanent employee I was never allowed to attend conferences, so I’ve made the most of my freelance status to attend at least one conference every year since 1993, and have presented SAS-related papers at many international conferences since 1995 too. My first paper was presented at SeUGI in Stockholm.

I discovered social media in 2005 when I registered on LinkedIn, but my social media activities really took off in 2008 when I joined Squidoo, and then Twitter, to advertise my first SAS-related book, “Saving Time and Money Using SAS” published by SAS Press. Since then I’ve become active on a number of sites answering SAS-related questions and advertising more of my books. The web sites have included LinkedIn Groups, SASProfessionals.Net, sasCommunity.org, Google+ Communities, SAS Customer Support Communities, BeBee, and now WordPress on this site.

Charles Senabulya presenting me with the award. My thanks go to SAS UK for their permission to reproduce it.

So why do I still not believe that I’ve won a SAS award? I was sent an email the previous week asking if I wanted to attend the Awards Dinner at SAS Forum UK, as I’d been nominated for an award, but not that I’d actually won one, or even which award it was. Everyone from SAS UK I’d met from when I arrived at the conference in Birmingham had been very welcoming, but that certainly wasn’t unusual. Even the description of me before my name was finally revealed referred to me presenting on Analytics at conferences didn’t seem to fit either (until someone later explained to me that SAS staff generally include graphics in Analytics!). Even stepping onto the stage to receive my award felt like I was part of an elaborate hoax, but the warmth of Laurie Miles and Charles Senabulya soon removed that thought from my mind, and I felt extremely honoured to be there and receiving the SAS Lifetime Achievement Award from friends I admired.

Back at my seat I sent a message to my wife Angela to tell her about it. She replied: “Does that mean you can retire as they don’t expect you to do anything else”. Remember at the top of this post I called my job a paid hobby. Some people retire so they’ll have more time to spend on their hobbies, but I’m not sure it is possible to retire from a hobby!!

 

 

The SAS Forum UK 2017 Book Draw Winner was … Peter Lowes

Peter Lowes receiving his book prize at SAS Forum UK 2017
Peter Lowes receiving his book prize at SAS Forum UK 2017

Congratulations to Peter Lowes from BusinessData Partners, who won a copy of my latest book, “SAS Programming and Data Visualization Techniques”. Thank you also to all the SAS Forum UK 2017 attendees who entered the book prize draw, but didn’t win this time. I hope you will try again at another conference where I’ll be holding a book prize draw in the future.

My blog and forums are open for business in their new premises!

On 28 March 2017 I completed the migration of my blog and forums to a new server. You will not have to do anything different to access the new server, as it is all managed transparently by my router.

The new environment is protected by an uninterruptible power supply, and has an increase in its available disk space. I’m hoping that the chance of future interruptions has been dramatically reduced.

Alongside the blog are 2 forums where you can ask questions:

(1) The SAS Skills Discussion Forum is included when you register for the Free membership, and is where you can ask questions about SAS skills, but not SAS coding problems.

(2) The SAS Programming Forum, which has a very small subscription cost, is where you can ask SAS coding questions, including those from homework and interviews. This forum also includes a growing SAS course in the form of small topics. There are currently 3 main sections to the SAS course: Data Steps, PROC SQL and macros, but more are being developed.

My published Training Course list is for companies, the SAS course is for individuals

I published a list of available training courses for 2017 in January this year, but this course list is actually intended for companies, and not for individuals, as the courses have a fixed price no matter how many people attend them. All the training materials are personalised and supplied in digital form, and so can be duplicated for that client to re-use internally.

Individuals looking for SAS training should subscribe to the SAS course in the SAS Programming Forum instead, which is specifically targeted at individual SAS learners and programmers, and is priced as a low-cost monthly subscription. However, the SAS Programming Forum is not just there for the SAS course, but can be used to get answers to any SAS-related questions you may have too, even if they are from homework or interview questions.

Fast – Cheap – Good – Pick any 2!

Fast - Cheap - GoodI’m sure you’ve seen this sign many times before, but it is a very important statement!

At Holland Numerics we strive to provide good service at all times, so we will never even consider providing fast service cheap, because it will not be good! That said, we can provide good service fast, but it won’t be cheap, and good service cheap, but it won’t be fast.

Sometimes we have to sit back and consider Oscar Wilde’s view (from his play “Lady Windemere’s Fan”) that at his point in time a cynic, but now everyone, knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing! This is particularly relevant for consultancies like Holland Numerics trying to determine appropriate pricing for consulting services.

That is why the SAS Programming Forum is accessed for a small subscription, not because we need it to be an income stream, but because we want to make certain that subscribers really want to access the valuable SAS-related information I have added over several months in that forum. I like to think this is perfectly exemplified by another quote, this time from my all-time favourite novel “Time Enough for Love” by Robert A Heinlein:

“Anything free is worth what you pay for it.”

What is the SAS Programming Forum and why does it cost to access?

It is rather sad that everyone knows the price of everything and the value of nothing! I have paraphrased this statement somewhat from the original written by Oscar Wilde for Lord Darlington in “Lady Windemere’s Fan”, but the reality is very much in evidence everywhere today. But how is that relevant to the SAS Programming Forum?

I wanted to create a place where students of SAS programming (which includes myself, as I try to learn something new about SAS every day) could ask SAS-related questions, even if they were from interviews or homework, without being criticised. However, I wanted to exclude those asking questions because they were too lazy to research the answers themselves (#LAZYWEB), so I hoped that charging a small amount to access the forum would filter out those trying to get free information with no effort, but encourage those enthusiastic enough to pay to learn about SAS an opportunity to do so. The SAS Programming Forum subscription is only GBP 5.00 per month for up to 3 months via PayPal, so it can be stopped at any time, but also renewed easily, and includes access to my SAS course about SAS programming topics, which I’m progressively building, and currently includes 4 sections on SAS components, Data Steps, PROC SQL and SAS macros, and now totals 25 topics in all. The sections are intended to be read sequentially, but are, for the most part, independent of each other. The key feature of the SAS Programming Forum and the SAS course is that questions can be asked at any time and they will be answered, provided sufficient information is given in the question. This is not a “get out” clause, but a learning point for all prospective SAS programmers that without sufficient information you cannot write a SAS program that meets the customer’s needs, so you have to be able to ask question yourself!

SAS Programming Forum Introduction

This forum is intended for SAS-related questions and answers, and, as this forum is paid-for, answers to interview questions will be accepted too.

Here are the basic rules for posting in this forum:

        All postings MUST be completely SAS-related, which means that they should, at least, mention SAS or a SAS component. I’ve been using SAS for over 25 years, so I know what is and isn’t SAS (that is SAS Institute software-related, not SaaS, SAP, SPSS or an IBM service!). However, labelling a general link as a SAS-related link will break this rule too!
        No copying of existing postings just to get your name on it. Please check you’ve posted correctly, and tidy up yourself if you haven’t!
        The SAS Programming Forum is for discussions, not for jobs and time-dependent postings. Remember that this forum has a Manager, not a garbage collector.
      This group is an English-language forum. Foreign language posts are accepted, but only if the content is understandable as related to SAS by the majority of the forum members. Please include an English translation, if necessary.
      The advertising of illegal copies of books and software will result in immediate removal from this forum.
      The group is open to everyone, but abusive, political or disrespectful behaviour will result in the removal of the poster and all their postings. Please note that the posting of job adverts as comments in SAS programming discussions is considered to be disrespectful!

 

SAS Skills Discussion Forum (non-programming) Introduction

This free forum is intended for questions and answers about SAS-related skills, but NOT about SAS programming code or interview questions, as these questions will be moved immediately to the paid-for SAS Programming Forum.

Here are the basic rules for posting in this forum:

      All postings MUST be completely SAS-related, which means that they should, at least, mention SAS or a SAS component, but not be about SAS programming code or interview questions, otherwise it will be moved into the paid-for SAS Programming Forum. I’ve been using SAS for over 25 years, so I know what is and isn’t SAS (that is SAS Institute software-related, not SaaS, SAP, SPSS or an IBM service!). However, labelling a general link as a SAS-related link will break this rule too!
      No copying of existing postings just to get your name on it. Please check you’ve posted correctly, and tidy up yourself if you haven’t!
      The SAS Programming Forum is for discussions, not for jobs and time-dependent postings. Remember that this forum has a Manager, not a garbage collector.
      This group is an English-language forum. Foreign language posts are accepted, but only if the content is understandable as related to SAS by the majority of the forum members. Please include an English translation, if necessary.
      The advertising of illegal copies of books and software will result in immediate removal from this forum.
      The group is open to everyone, but abusive, political or disrespectful behaviour will result in the removal of the poster and all their postings. Please note that the posting of job adverts as comments in SAS programming discussions is considered to be disrespectful!

 

About Holland Numerics: Blog and Forums

This site has 4 distinct parts:

  1. Holland Numerics Blog:

    A free blog for all site visitors, where news about SAS-related discoveries, books, apps and events can be found. Click here to register for free to allow you to comment on blog posts!


  2. Holland Numerics Forums (SAS Skills Discussion, SAS Programming and VIEWS UK):

    • The SAS Skills Discussion Forum (non-programming) is a free forum for all registered members intended for every SAS programmer to ask and answer non-programming questions on topics related to SAS skills. Posting programmer and recruiter introductory topics are encouraged. Please note that any SAS programming and interview questions will be moved immediately into the paid-for SAS Programming Forum. Click here for an introduction to this forum.

    • The SAS Programming Forum is a paid-for forum for Programmer- and Recruiter-level members intended for SAS programmers to ask and answer technical questions on topics related to SAS programming. As this is a paid-for forum, technical questions from interviews will be answered, provided enough information is included in the question. Subscriptions are paid monthly for 3 months, but can be cancelled at any time. Click here for an introduction to this forum. This forum includes the SAS course. Once you have registered for Free membership, then you will be able to read what is in the SAS course, but you will need Programmer membership to view any SAS course topics.

    • The VIEWS UK forum is a free forum for all registered members who have requested access allowing access to the VIEWS News archive. Once you have registered for at least Free membership, and requested access by sending an email to views-uk@hollandnumerics.org.uk, then I will manually update your blog profile to allow you to download all the existing 55 back issues of VIEWS News from the VIEWS UK – Home Page (as well as previously unpublished VIEWS content), and email you back when the update has been successfully completed. You will know whether you have access to this forum as it will appear in the forum list after you have logged on the site.

    • Subscribe to the paid-for forums at Subscriptions for Forums and Features

  3. SAS Jobs Listing:

    • The SAS Jobs Listing is a paid-for feature for Recruiter-level members intended for recruiters wishing to post SAS-related jobs, but free for all site visitors to view them. Click here for an introduction to this feature. This feature includes access to the SAS Programming Forum and the SAS course.

    • Subscribe to the paid-for features at Subscriptions for Forums and Features

  4. Holland Numerics Product Shop:

    This includes SAS conference and training documents (which can be downloaded for free), SAS-related books, Android and Chrome apps, and other products created by Holland Numerics. These can be purchased either directly from the shop, or via links to reseller pages. Click here to visit the shop.


Each membership level builds on the previous level, so for each successive level the blue boxes highlight the new areas and access added:

Membership level Blog & Forums Access
Not logged in Blog posts Read
SAS Skills Discussion Forum Read linked topics only
SAS Job Listings Read
Free membership Join Now Button Blog posts Read & Comment
SAS Skills Discussion Forum (and VIEWS UK, on request only) Read and Write Topics & Reply
SAS Job Listings Read
Programmer membership (includes Free membership)
Blog posts Read & Comment
SAS Skills Discussion Forum (and VIEWS UK, on request only) Read and Write Topics & Reply
SAS Programming Forum Read and Write Topics & Reply
SAS course Read Topics & Reply
SAS Job Listings Read
Recruiter membership (includes Programmer membership)
Blog posts Read & Comment
SAS Skills Discussion Forum (and VIEWS UK, on request only) Read and Write Topics & Reply
SAS Programming Forum Read and Write Topics & Reply
SAS course Read Topics & Reply
SAS Job Listings Read & Post New Jobs

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