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  #131  
Old 03-03-2010, 12:36 PM
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Never mind - the problem's at my end with all PDFs.
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  #132  
Old 03-03-2010, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
Some of my spreadsheet-related articles have been bundled together for the Actuarial Practice Forum:
http://www.soa.org/library/journals/...10-02-toc.aspx

full paper:
http://www.soa.org/library/journals/...2-campbell.pdf
Thanks Mary Pat. At last some light is being shed on these problems.

Unfortunately, most of us who find these articles enjoyable, are probably those who believe they can make a mistake and so double-check their work, perform consistency checks, try to tidy up their spreadhseets, etc. And I believe we really are a minority.


Of course they are still useful to improve our skills. And the fact that some attention is being attracted to these concerns and that several articles on spreadsheet risk management are seeing the light of day, gives prudent people solid arguments to make the almighty reconsider their position (and empowers them to do so).
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  #133  
Old 03-03-2010, 07:46 PM
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A related article, from The Actuary's March 2010 edition:

Number crunch: spreadsheet chaos, by Alastair Day.
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  #134  
Old 03-04-2010, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diegol View Post
A related article, from The Actuary's March 2010 edition:

Number crunch: spreadsheet chaos, by Alastair Day.
Thanks for that link.

When I wrote my articles, I was just responsible for my own spreadsheets, and these were resources and practices I searched out for myself. I was trying to spread the info to other people, to reduce problems....

....and now I've got some direct reports, so I can impose my ideas on them.

MWA HA HA HA.

I mean, so let's see what happens.
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  #135  
Old 03-09-2010, 09:22 AM
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From the EUSPRIG mailing list:
http://andyjko.com/2010/03/05/spread...ney-yet-again/

Quote:
When she did call back, she leveled with me: accounting was wrong, there was an error in the spreadsheet, and after fixing the multiplier cell, my bill was reduced by a factor of 10. After the credit calculators, they determined that I had overpaid from the previous bill by about $100, and that I probably wouldn’t have a bill for the next two cycles. She apologized for how long it took to resolve the issue, but reassured me that it wouldn’t happen to me again.

But I wasn’t thinking about me at this point. I was thinking about all of the other customers, whose spreadsheets probably had the same error. Would the accountants audit all of the spreadsheets that copied the error? How many customers would call about the bills? How many would insist, like I did, that there was a spreadsheet error, and demand that it be properly diagnosed? And how much of this feedback would ever make it to the accountants writing the buggy spreadsheets?

Oh, end-user programming. Your manifestations in society abound.
In other news, it looks like I might be speaking at this summer's EUSPRIG conference.
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  #136  
Old 03-09-2010, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
From the EUSPRIG mailing list:
http://andyjko.com/2010/03/05/spread...ney-yet-again/



In other news, it looks like I might be speaking at this summer's EUSPRIG conference.
From http://www.ista-na.com/en/about_ista/index.html

Quote:
About Us

ista North America is the proven leader in the consumption-dependent billing of energy, water and ancillary costs. We offer and provide our services to the multifamily, commercial and military industries. ista North America has offices throughout the United States.
They create a different spreadsheet for every customer, and in this case they somehow erroneously multiplied everything by 10???!!!
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  #137  
Old 03-09-2010, 11:31 AM
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Funny how that happens.
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  #138  
Old 03-09-2010, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
In other news, it looks like I might be speaking at this summer's EUSPRIG conference.
Okay, I'm definitely getting you to autograph my next copy of MS Office.
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  #139  
Old 03-09-2010, 01:34 PM
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I've arrived!
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  #140  
Old 04-08-2010, 12:52 PM
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Manual entry issues
http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.o...2010.0112.full

Quote:
Figure 1.
Errors in adding numbers in Microsoft Excel. Excel's SUM() function, which is used to total all columns in this figure, ignores values that are not numbers. No errors are reported in any of the examples. (a) Two apparently identical sums giving different results. The erroneous sum in the right-hand column is caused by 3.1. having a final decimal point/full stop, and hence being treated as text, and thus processed as zero by SUM. The difference between the column sums may not be noticed by a user, particularly since in normal use they are unlikely to double-check the ‘same’ columns, as used here for illustrative purposes. (b) The ‘show precedents’ feature is one way to help check calculations. It highlights the operands of a cell, but here the precedents for the incorrect total are shown as including the value that has been ignored. Evidently, Excel's notion of ‘precedents’ is the range of possible operands, rather than the actual operands, and therefore the feature is misleading. (c) Through innocent error or intentional mischief, even more unusual column sums can be produced. In the left column, the cell ‘3.1’ is generated by the formula ='3.1', which turns the apparently correct number 3.1 into a string, with value zero as before. In the right column, the cell ‘23’ is actually the number 995, but formatted as ‘23’ using a custom format.

....
Quote:
Although many systems such as Excel are scriptable (i.e. they can be programmed by end users), it is impossible to circumvent underlying dependability defects simply by adding more code without having appropriate built-in features: unfortunately, then, many application programs will need major revision to be more dependable (discussing the possible merits in this regard for open source approaches is beyond the scope of this paper). Certainly, programmers need to be aware that dependable number entry is not a trivial problem, and even the programming languages they are using need careful checking.
Now, the article is actually about particular drug delivery systems, where factor-of-ten problems occur on dosage entries often... and can have fatal results. The authors talk about systems to prevent some of the more common entry errors in these systems.
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