I just realized that SAS allows selecting rectangular regions by holding Alt while clicking and dragging. I'd previously detailed this behavior in Microsoft Word, and I'm pleased SAS supports it. (It comes in handy when dealing with long blocks of copy/pasted code.)
I've been moving away from Apple products lately, but something I've missed on Windows and Linux computers are the lack of fonts. I had installed some fonts in OS X, and I wanted to get to them so I could move them elsewhere. On my Mac OS X 10.6 system fonts were stored in:
This Apple support page lists a few more locations fonts can be stored in (the other locations are for older systems and servers it seems).
Some of the fonts I've installed were in a format other than TTF (TrueType Font) and to be used on a non-Apple system would need to be converted. To convert fonts to .ttf, there seem to be two programs:
I didn't use Fondu, but it was talked about favorably for this purpose here. DfontSplitter was extremely easy to use and converted the fonts quickly and supported conversion from Dfont, TrueType Collection, and Font Suitcase. This was something I had been meaning to take care of for a little while and wasn't nearly as much work as I anticipated.
SAS is a great piece of software. Really, it is. As far as getting statistics done (and done well) it is in a league of its own. However, the user interface leaves a lot to be desired.
The little icon above the green arrow? Run all code (or run selected code).
The little icon above the red arrow? Delete all code and close the active file without saving with no confirmation.
Two small, black, similarly-shaped icons. One I use dozens of times in each session. One which I cannot think of a use for. And they put them right. Next. To. Each. Other.
Admittedly, this UI is not the latest and greatest out of North Carolina. SAS products ship with "Enterprise Guide" - a modern, workflow-oriented IDE for SAS. Enterprise Guide has incredible features and is thoroughly modern... but it is (in my experience) slow and overkill for many things. I just want to write some SAS code, see syntax highlighting, and run my code without worrying that I'll accidentally delete what I've been working on. I learned to use SAS through batch jobs on a UNIX system, so any UI is more friendly than the command line... but there has to be a middle ground somewhere.
It amazes me how many people are amazed when I show them this little trick. Holding the "Alt" key while clicking and dragging allows one to select a rectangular region in word. When using a monospace font (fixed-width fonts like Consolas or Courier New), this can be used to quickly delete columns of text. Best results are achieved using monospace fonts, but this tool has helped me many times in other situations. An example of a rectangular region selected with this technique is below.
Sometimes I will launch Word just to use this tool and go back to editing files in another program. I learned this back in high school in what I thought would be a gimmicky course on Microsoft Office. In that course I learned some pretty useful skills that, while not making me an expert, have served me well. It amazes me how many people have taken courses centered around Microsoft Office and still seem perplexed by it.
One of the primary focuses of this blog is going to be the technology (software/hardware/devices/etc.) that I use to be productive. The first few posts I assume will relate to software on my laptop (and fixing issues). Now, because laptop configurations vary considerably, I'm going to post everything I can about my computer so that if others experience similar issues there is a greater likelihood of finding the solution. I have more than one computer, so posts that are primarily concerned with this computer will be tagged with "ThinkPad T420i".
Lenovo ThinkPad T420i Hardware (Model 4177-CTO)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2430M processor (dual-core, 2.40GHz, 3MB Cache)
- Memory: 8GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3, non-parity, dual-channel capable (two 204-pin SO-DIMM sockets) (It may be possible to upgrade this to 16GB based on some things I've read (sources later), but it is currently listed as 8GB as the maximum memory.)
- Chipset: Mobile Intel QM67 Express Chipset
- Screen: 14" screen supporting 1600x900 resolution
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000 (integrated)
- Wireless: 1x1 11b/g/n, Wireless LAN PCI Express Half Mini Card, Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1000
Lenovo ThinkPad T420i Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
- Scientific Linux 6.2 (64-bit) (SL is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone)
I'm currently trying to switch to Scientific Linux as my primary operating system, so there will certainly be some posts about overcoming issues I've experienced with this (slow) transition. I'll keep this list updated with changes or additional information (or corrections) as I find them.
Below are a few documents I've found on the Lenovo support website which list detailed information about this computer (and related ones). I've posted them here because locating them wasn't obvious on the Lenovo website and, as products age and are no longer supported, the supporting documentation has a habit of disappearing.