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st: RE: re: list in Stata 8


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: RE: re: list in Stata 8
Date   Mon, 24 Feb 2003 19:26:05 -0000

David Airey
>
> I kind of like the separator lines in lists, especially
> that you can
> sort by a group and have the lines respect the group divisions. I
> understand some of the complaints about slowness in v.8
> graphics and
> dialogs, and hope the slightly premature release of v.8 in
> this regard
> is not discoloring perceptions of other Stata features. But
> maybe no
> lines is the proper default. I have an email in to a couple
> of visual
> perception psychologists regarding the separator lines.
> I've asked if
> they help or hinder visual search, if any one has done a
> study on speed
> of searching in a list with and without. In general, any grouping
> feature that respects meaningful chunks aids visual processing.
> Arbitrary lines might be another story. Lines are not
> present in phone
> books for instance, though probably to save trees. I'll report back.

To repeat: you can set up your own default with a wrapper
program. You need neither depend on Stata Corp agreeing with you, nor
wait until they do so.

The separators help particularly at the ends of
a sorted list. I can count to 10 or so without making
too many mistakes, but Stata's guide lines make it
easier and I vote for "easier".

More generally, one thing that is nice in Stata 8 with -list-
is that it is easier within a program to send small lists of
stuff to -list- and get sensible headings and not-too-ugly displays
even when the variables are in fact temporary.

Users may not be aware of this, but it underlies
the display side of various other commands in Stata 8 -- and
there is potential for many more.

Nick
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk

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