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Re: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals (and other issues of concern of graduate students)

Subject   Re: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals (and other issues of concern of graduate students)
Date   Fri, 18 Jul 2003 12:01:02 -0400

Dear Statalist,

I would like to propose the following comments to Bill Gould (of 
StataCorp) from a graduate student perspective
>>3.  We are enamored of our current pricing/business model.  More
>>truthfully, we have stumbled on a model that works both for us
>>and for our users and we are nervous about changing it too much.
I really like the GradPlan pricing. Although I think it is somewhat 
more expensive now than the GradPlan I paid for in November I think it 
is still quite reasonably priced for the Intercooled. The SE is quite 
pricy, but to stay on the topics of the manuals.
The manuals offered through the GradPlan are extremely expensive (is 
the full documentation set discounted at all?). 
In total my institution has 2 copies of the manual accessible to all 
students but they are basically unborrowable. Some grad students can 
make it do with the help, but others are too advanced or just need more 
explanation to achieve their goals. 
I certainly did not even think about buying the manuals at first, but 
now I would buy them for sure if I could have the full documentation 
set for (let's say) $75. I don't know, but I hope Stata could still 
more than cover its variable costs; I am certainly not suggesting Stata 
becomes a charity.

>>That leads us to thinking about expanding the contents of the SMCL on-
>>line help.  The idea is to include all the content of the manuals so 
>>as long that content is computer related, deleting the statistical 
>>description, advice, etc.  We would also include examples, something 
>>we can very elegantly do in SMCL.
That would be great for two reasons! 
1. It would save me many, many trips to the library. 
2. For long time I mistakenly worked under the assumption that "if it 
was not in the help, it simply did not exist". Completely wrong, but I 
guess I was not the only one.

A last concern for (at least some) graduate students is updates and add 
ons. This is not manual related.
I don't know what stata can do about it, but administrators make the 
Stata folder and the ado folder non user-writable and it looks like 
there is no way of convincing them to type -update all- -update swap- 
with the result that we are still using the version out of the CD.

I just found out that it is possible to add ado paths. I'll look into 
this more, but I truly hope it is possible to download ado files to the 
added path.

Personally, I work from home with my own copy, but it is very 
frustrating not to be able to reproduce my results at the department.

Best Regards,
Renzo Comolli
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