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Secrets from the Data Cave, October 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!Access vs. Excel: Which Will Reign Supreme (for your storage needs)Access and its less showy cousin, Excel, are both good options for data storage. In this installment of Secrets from the Data Cave, I'll highlight some things to consider when deciding between using Excel and Access for your data storage needs.I should start by saying that Excel CAN do a lot...

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Secrets from the Data Cave, May 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!May 2014:  The Difficult Database, Part 1: The Data Monster            In my experience working with relational databases, I’ve seen it all: the good, the bad, and the very ugly in data-keeping practices.  I’ve learned a lot about wrangling data in an unruly database. While plenty of problems I see are caused by a complicated combination of elements...

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Secrets from the Data Cave: January 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room -- fondly referred to as “the bat cave”--- where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we'll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!January 2014: Using Data to Convince Your Friends You Are Psychic on Super Bowl SundayHere we are in 2014, with February already nearly upon us, and as Super Bowl Sunday draws closer, I hear more and more people making predictions about who will win it all this year. Whether your team wins or loses (or didn’t make the playoffs), you can still...

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Secrets from the Data Cave: December 2013

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room -- fondly referred to as “the bat cave”--- where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we'll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!December 2013: Working while traveling this holiday? Read this first!It’s the holiday season, which means that lots of people are traveling to be with family and friends. Maybe you’ll have a long layover in an airport, be staying in a hotel, or maybe you’ll try to escape to a local café when it comes time for your crazy family to force...

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The Cryptic Problem of Encryption

by Sarah McCrudenSo you’ve compiled some raw data for your next big report, or, you’ve come across a few clients’ records that have errors that need to be addressed. If you need to share these tasks with a coworker, email is often the most convenient method for sharing: just attach and send! Sounds simple. But, have you ever wondered just how the email makes its way to the recipient—and whether it’s really safe on its journey there?According to Leo Notenboom, a personal computer and software industry expert, concerns about email interception may be exaggerated: “It is possible to sniff and eavesdrop on email conversations. It's also not particularly easy, unless you're on an open WiFi connection.” Yet, he goes on to say that, “by default, the contents of email is...

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Guest Blog: Moneyball & adapting to a data driven world

 by Meridith PolinThe role of the evaluator is much like that of Peter Brand in the  movie Moneyball (based on the book by Michael Lewis, a favorite author of mine). Peter Brand’s role as an economics whiz kid—   hired by the Oakland A’s— was to help them figure out how to win. Using meaningful statistics, Peter and the General Manager Billy Beane, helped turn the game of baseball on its head by looking at data in a new way. Similarly, evaluators are charged with  identifying and measuring the ‘bottom line’ of non-profit services from a social impact perspective. We have seen an explosion of businesses and non-profits talk about the use of data (like they do in Moneyball).But before anyone thinks about the analysis of data,   we (as...

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What constitutes a good evaluation?

After a bit of a hiatus from the blog, we are happy to be back!  We plan to post a new blog entry each month and hope our entries incite some discussion among you in the comments section. So to get things rolling, we have a question to pose to you...

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