Thursday, March 3, 2011

Let the 2011 User Group Season Begin!

The 2011 user group season is upon us, and boy oh boy, what a start!!! Tomorrow's TASS meeting at the SAS offices in Toronto is pushing 300 registrants. Perhaps it's the (very) early promise of spring that's motivating people to brave the chilly early March air in search of camaraderie, coding and of course, coffee with friends and colleagues.

Tomorrow's agenda is a great one. The morning session features Tim Trussell demonstrating how text analytics can be leveraged for sentiment analysis, forecasting and other business applications. And on his birthday, no less! If you have a chance, do wish him all the best... I won't reveal how old (young) you are, Tim, have no fear. Also featured on the agenda is SAS legend Art Tabachneck who will be expanding his extremely popular 'coders corner' series to a full length presentation entitled Enough Really Good SAS Tips To Fill A Book... Art, maybe you SHOULD write a book! I'm sure the good folks at SAS Publishing would be interested.

The afternoon session promises to deliver even more value. Wayne Levin returns to dazzle us once again with his amazing presentation skills and command of the JMP data visualization software and SAS Global Forum 2012 Section Co-Chair Harry Droogendyk will speak at length about creating stored processes through cascading prompts. I don't know how this agenda could have been improved, to tell you the truth... but YOU may, and I'm always eager to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly with suggestions for future meetings.

I've been sharing a few stories lately about how social media has connected and benefitted SAS users across the country. I'd like to share another, if I may... and this is a really neat one! Many of you will know the name of Art Carpenter. Art is a true SAS heavyweight; published by SAS, a former Chair of Global Forum, a regular featured speaker, an all-around gentleman and a fantastic human being to boot. Well, a SAS user reached out to me with an interesting observation. In reading Art's book entitled Carpenter's Complete Guide to the SAS Macro Language, 2nd Edition, one of the resource links for further information was discovered to be inactive. Would I be able to help locate it? A quick email to Art resulted in a completely un-surprising exchange. Art reached out directly to the individual with a personal email urging him to contact another author directly and suggesting a few other resources with words of encouragement. Needless to say, the inquiring party was stunned... and thrilled!

These little points of connection are what help make the SAS world such a wonderful place to be. The support, courtesy and sense of collaboration all stem out of a feeling of 'belonging' to a global community: a community which may speak different dialects and be scattered all over the globe, but who naturally gravitate towards helping each other through our common language of SAS. I'll be seeing Art in Las Vegas in about a month and I'll be sure to take him out for a bite to eat in thanks.

I'll be having a very hectic day tomorrow but I do hope to update you on how the meeting went over the weekend. In the meantime, I hope I'll see you tomorrow or at another user group meeting in the near future...

Until then...