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st: Version of -foundit- files (WAS: Generating random variates)


From   "Nick Winter" <nwinter@policystudies.com>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: Version of -foundit- files (WAS: Generating random variates)
Date   Fri, 23 Aug 2002 08:20:19 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Harbord [mailto:Roger.Harbord@bristol.ac.uk] 
> Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 6:25 AM
> To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
> Subject: st: RE: Generating random variates
> 
> 
> I glanced at Thomas Steichen's message (below) and realised 
> that although I 
> thought I had the -rnd- package installed, the help file I 
> see is quite 
> different to the one he quotes.  I tried -findit rnd- again 
> and saw that 
> there are four sources for this package:
> 
> 1) STB 41 sg 44.1 Correction to random number generators.
> 2) STB 28 sg 44   The original programs.
> 3) rnd from http://www.stata.com/users/jhilbe 
> 4) rnd from http://fmwww.bc.edu/RePEc/bocode/r
> 
> I had originally installed -rnd- by clicking on the sg44.1 
> link (1) and 
> assumed that I had latest update, and that 3) and 4) were 
> copies of this in 
> other places.  However, I was wrong - to install the lastest 
> versions of all 
> the commands you need to click on 3) to get the latest 
> version of most of the 
> programs, then 4) if you want updates to F, t and chi-squared 
> generators 
> that allow non-centrality parameters.
> 
> Am I the only one to find this a little confusing? (Try -findit rnd- 
> yourself).
> 
> I greatly appreciate the ease of installing user-written 
> commands and updates
> in web-aware Stata, but this seems to be one case where it's 
> not quite as 
> simple as it might be.  Deciding whether to force 
> installation replacing
> already-installed files was complicated by the fact that 
> there seems to be no
> standard format for showing the date in the output produced 
> by -findit-, or 
> the help files - sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not.  
> So it's not 
> always immediately obvious whether you're about to install a 
> newer version or 
> an older version.
> 
> Doubtless all of these updates have been announced on 
> Statalist at the time, 
> but I've only been using Stata since March (and getting the 
> statalist-digest 
> since April).  From statalist discussions earlier this year 
> I'd got the 
> impression that updates to STB/SJ programs should be 
> published, no matter how 
> briefly, in the STB/SJ.  Hence my belief that installing the 
> latest STB/SJ 
> insert was enough to ensure I had the latest versions.
> 
> Having worked out the situation for -rnd- (I think), I guess 
> I'm now asking: 
> what's the best way in general to be sure you're installing 
> the latest 
> version of any package?

I've mentioned before, but I'll mention again, my feeling that this is a
problem.  I wonder if -findit-, -net describe-, and other such programs
could be modified to (optionally) display the "*!" lines of any ado
files they turn up?  As urged by the recently-created stylerules.hlp,
those lines at the beginning of an ".ado" file often include the version
number and date, which would make it easy to compare with what's
installed.

Nick Winter
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