Wednesday, July 27, 2016

And another solution

Edited to add;

My chair is banding together with representatives from other departments to fight the decision and see if money can be found to fix it. The big issue is the short notice: finding a replacement with two weeks' notice and then LEARNING that program is a giant problem. (And "GOSH! just learn Mathematica!" is enormously unhelpful as knowledgeable people I have consulted have told me, "It takes most people three years to learn it; you might be able to do it in two.")

I'm hopeful. And at a very minimum, my chair is fighting it so I don't have to devote brainspace or energy to it - those kind of lowgrade "confrontations" are the thing that take the greatest quantity of my energy and morale. Best case scenario: it was someone thinking, "Wow, look at all we can save if we can just transition people onto this similar program" when the program really ISN'T similar and they need to be apprised of that. Worst case scenario: back to square one but someone on ITFF suggested a GNU based program called PSPP and if there's some way to put it onto our computers (running Windows, not Linux), it sounds like it's somewhat similar. And it's free, and the originators of it seem pretty adamant about that.

But I just get tired of these little grassfires that crop up and take way too much time and energy to try to beat back. Part of the issue is that, yes, SPSS is way too expensive just like page charges in journals are way to expensive and some supplies are way too expensive*..... the idea is "no one pays 'real' money" but the problem is, if it comes down to someone having to....I was actually contemplating if I could countenance paying $1700 for a personal site-license for a year and then using the heck out of the program until the license expired.

(*And yes, sigh, tuition, at least on some campuses. We have striven to keep tuition down but in the face of reduced state funding we've even had to raise it a little. But we're still way cheaper than the "flagship" schools, and cheaper than most private schools)

But yeah. This day pretty much sucked big igneous rocks.

If you're the praying type, pray for me: I bought a copy of "R for Dummies" and I am going to try to start teaching myself the (statistical) programming language R.

People tell me it can be done. I have little faith in my actually being able to do it as my previous forays into this sort of thing have mostly been abortive. The last bit of successful programming I did was 30+ years ago in BASIC.

(Side note: if this goes badly I may have a lightly-used copy of "R for Dummies" up for sale in a few months)

ETA: This came across my Twitter feed and I have to share it because it actually made me laugh after the emotional dumpster fire that today was for me.

Yeah, I don't know either but for me the beauty of it is how random it is.

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