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RE: st: RE: list in stata8

From   "Nick Winter" <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: RE: list in stata8
Date   Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:47:46 -0500

Allow me to second Buzz's very articulate comments regarding upgrade

Also, let us remember that the ultimate bottom line, regarding the
example of changes to -list-, is that you can, in fact, get back the
default behavior from version 7.  Unlike some (most?) other software,
Stata goes to great lengths to include options and version control to
allow people to control the look and feel of their work; and to
reproduce old-style results.  So really the complaint is about the
inconvenience of creating a personal wrapper program, called -ll-, to
include one's preference for -nocompress- and -clean-.  And the
inconvenience of learning to type "ll" rathter than "l".

The pain would be much worse, I imagine, if the new list was the new
list, with no option to specify options to get back the old behavior.

--Nick Winter

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Buzz Burhans [] 
> Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 10:38 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: st: RE: list in stata8
> At 08:12 AM 2/26/03 -0600, you wrote:
> >As I suggested previously - I am saddened to see that Stata 
> is being driven
> >more and more towards accommodating  cosmetics rather than 
> statistics. I
> >assume this is a market-driven neccessity and done with 
> reluctance by Stata
> >Corp.
> IMHO, this is very unfair.
> The new Stata 8 is substantively enhanced in functionality, 
> whether or not 
> it comes along with each of our various preferences still 
> intact.  The 
> discussion of "list' reveals substantial differences of 
> opinion regarding 
> preferred default behavior, and it appears that some of the 
> actual improved 
> functionality is offset, at least for now in selcted 
> circumstances, by 
> differences in speed. Where old functionality or ease of use 
> have been 
> comprimised, sometimes there are workarounds (perhaps at some 
> point "list" 
> will have user specified default preference settings or somthing like 
> that), other times one has to learn to live with the changes 
> if one wants 
> to capture the enhancements.
> This discussion of "list" does not in any way negate that the latest 
> version of Stata is functionally improved in many ways.Having 
> been around 
> software upgrades for probably too many years, one comes to 
> realize that 
> every update of favorite software brings a measure of 
> discomfort as what 
> was customary is replaced. I, for instance, am grateful for 
> other speed 
> enhancements in Stata 8 that make my use of gllamm fast 
> enough in Stata 8 
> to be a feasible alternative to having to use yet another different 
> software program at least some of the time.  It is these kinds of 
> substantive improvements that make upgrading Stata worthwhile.
> Even when some of the changes to things like the GUI are 
> "cosmetic", they 
> presumably contribute to the survivability and viability of 
> Stata in the 
> marketplace.  That viability is important to me, because I 
> don't want to 
> work on a program that is going to become obsolete, or alternatively, 
> prohibitively expensive because it has only a limited user 
> base.  I suspect 
> that some of the "cosmetic" changes address the marketability 
> of Stata, and 
> I support those efforts even if I don't use them.  When I was 
> an graduate 
> student at Cornell basic graduate level stats was taught 
> using a much less 
> powerful program that was nonetheless simpler to use at that 
> point because 
> it had a user friendly GUI.  It was the first program I 
> bought. It would be 
> better for most of us Stata afficiandos if it had been Stata 
> perhaps, and 
> "cosmetic" improvements are integral to what makes a program both 
> attractive and viable in the long run.
> Finally, I am a bit concerned that the tenor of the 
> discussion is more 
> negative than the Stata Corp people deserve.  There will 
> always be offsets 
> in "comfort" when upgrading; I would hope that the tenor of 
> the discussion 
> would not make Stata hesitant to plowing forward with new 
> improvements 
> because for fear of the risks of disturbing some of us as we 
> loose our 
> comfort zones.  For some of us, the "comfort zone" offsets in 
> this release 
> are minor compared to the gains in functionality. I for 
> instance, would 
> like them to keep focusing on developing the capacity for 
> heirarchical 
> models...the issues surrounding "list" pale for me compared 
> to the need for 
> stronger hierarchical modeling capabilities. Stata Corp is amazingly 
> responsive to user input...I would hope that where we as users have 
> legitimate critical inputs we would do it in a positive way 
> that recognizes 
> Stata's sensitivity to our voices.
> Sorry for the length, but the tenor of the criticism has at 
> times been 
> disconcerting, even if the substance of it has been valid.
> Buzz Burhans
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