Wisdom of the Cloud

Many summers ago when I started out in the Craft, I could log onto the trusty DEC-20 literally anywhere in the world, and use SPSS or BMDP to analyse data. Nowadays, I have to have IBM SPSS or Stata installed on the right laptop or computer, and bring it with me, wherever I may roam, and wonder dreamily  if I could just access my licensed stats packages from anywhere, like a library, a beach, a forest, a coffee shop.

One option would to subscribe to a stats package in the Cloud! Iin terms of main line stats packages, https://www.apponfly.com/en/ has R (free plus 8 euro’s ($A12.08) per month for platform, NCSS 10 at 18/27.19 per month + platform, IBM SPSS 23 Base 99/149.54 ditto and Standard (adds logistic regression, hierarchical linear modelling, survival analysis etc) for 199/300.59 per month + platform.

Another option, particularly if you’re more into six sigma / quality control type analyses, is Engineroom from http://www.moresteam.com at $US275 ($A378.55) per year.

Obviously,  compare the prices against actually buying the software , but to be able to log in from anywhere, on different computers, and analyse data,  sigh, it’s almost like the summer of ’85!

SecretSource: of Minitab and Dataviz

When the goers go and the stayers stay, when shirts loosen and tattoos glisten, it’s time for the statisticians and the miners and the data scientists to talk, and walk, Big Iron.

R. S-Plus. SAS. Tableau. Stata. GnuPlot. Mondrian. DataDesk. Minitab.   MINITAB?????? Okay, we’ll leave the others to get back to their arm wrasslin’, but if you want to produce high quality graphs, simply, readily and quickly, then Minitab could be for you.

A commercialized version of Omnitab, Minitab appeared in Philadelphia in 1972 and has long been associated with students learning stats, but also now with business, industrial and medical/health quality management and six sigma, etc. There’s some  other real ‘rough and tumble’ applications involving Minitab – DR Helsell’s ‘Statistics for Censored Environmental Data using Minitab and R’ (Wiley 2012), for instance.

IBM SPSS and Microsoft Excel can produce good graphs (‘good’ in the ‘good sense’ of John Tukey , Edward Tufte, William Cleveland, Howard Wainer, Stephen Few & Nathan Yau etc etc), with the soft pedal down and ‘caution switches’ on, but Minitab is probably going to be easier.

For example, the Statistical Consulting Centre at the University of Melbourne uses Minitab for most of its graphs (R for the trickiest ones). As well as general short courses on Minitab, R, SPSS and GenStat there’s a one day course in Minitab graphics in November, which I’ve done and can recommend.

More details on the Producing Excellent Graphics Simply (PEGS) course using Minitab at Melbourne are at


student and academic pricing for Minitab is at http://onthehub.com/

What, I wonder, would Florence Nightingale have used for graphic software if she was alive today???