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Basics of Cluster Analysis. -- Ed.
Mike Clark, Research and Statistical Support Services
As was reported
month, for better or worse, SPSS 12 has arrived.
This new version however doesn’t do much that wasn’t already done
before in some shape or form. The most noticeable change
for the regular user will come in graphics that, while improved
quite a bit, still can’t touch the capabilities of R with a
10-mile pole. The visual banner mentioned below can be read
as “Recode option 2”. Oh, and the longer variable names
makes it a little more handy as well. Anyway here is some
of the press release regarding SPSS 12:
New Presentation Graphics
SPSS 12.0 includes enhanced reporting
capabilities based on a new graphics system that enables users to
produce presentation-quality graphs. The new system features
enhanced production graphics, expanded control over chart
appearance at the time of creation and editing, and customizable
Improved Data and Output Management
SPSS 12.0 boasts several new features
that enable greater custom control for data and output
Visual Bander is a data manipulation tool
that allows users to intelligently create bands for numeric data
(e.g., breaking ages into demographic groups).
Longer variable names enables users to
import and describe data files that have extended names.
Identify Duplicate Cases helps users to
cleanse data by identifying and filtering duplicate records.
The Output Management System (OMS)
enables end-users and application developers to create SPSS
output from either SPSS data files, XML, HTML, or text files,
enabling users to develop customer programs and applications.
Additionally, SPSS 12.0 includes a
read-only option, which provides users with the choice to make
datasets "read-only," preserving original data and preventing
future alterations. It also includes a data file comments
function, which enables users to add notations within individual
Some of the other new ‘features’ for 12.0
are stuff you would have to pay more for. More unfortunate
however is the fact that SPSS 12 was immediately patched to fix
problems such as SPSS vanishing into thin air and using such
basic and necessary functions like ‘Save’ and ‘Save as’.
Overall Performance was improved.
Working with Excel:
A problem exporting date/time variables
to Excel was repaired.
A problem in which data from Excel were
converted from long numerals to scientific format was repaired.
A problem exporting Tables data to Excel
A problem in which dates exported to
Excel were off by one day in certain situations was fixed.
An issue in which exporting data files to
Excel with no variable names and no data results in an assertion
failure was resolved.
An issue whereby saving an empty SPSS data
file as an Excel 97+ file caused C++ Assertion Failure was
Working with data files and databases:
A problem with the SAVE and SAVE AS
commands led to lost cases in the system file was fixed.
A problem with setting the data file to
read-only in which the permission command did not work was
A bug in which long tables names led SPSS
to read field names via ODBC out of order was repaired.
An issue in which the native Oracle ODBC
driver did not work in SPSS 12.0 was resolved.
Working with pivot tables:
A bug in which SPSS vanishes when pivot
table column was widened was fixed.
Working with new graphics:
A bug in graphics in which text was not
rotated correctly for Windows Metafiles was fixed.
A copy object/paste into Word problem was
A bug in which copying a graph and
pasting it Word led to a chart with no data elements on Windows
98 and Windows ME systems was fixed.
A problem publishing charts to
SmartViewer Web Server was fixed.
A problem in which exporting an output
file with charts led to a sharing violation was fixed.
In graphics, a problem in which point
binning caused marker fill to become black was repaired.
For clustered bar charts the default
width was fixed.
An issue in which the Number format tab
in the chart editor did not accept decimal places in the scale
factor edit field was resolved.
Working with SPSS procedures:
A problem in which the processor
terminated while using TwoStep Cluster was fixed.
A problem in which SPSS Complex Samples
was not running due to invalid plan file was fixed.
A bug whereby the Output Management
System selected an incorrect set of objects was fixed.
For SPSS Server the following changes
For SPSS Batch Facility, an issue in
which warnings were suppressed from output by default was
For SPSS Batch Facility, an issue in
titles were generated by default was resolved.
A problem in which and error message was
caused by SPSS Server with the default server set to an SSL
server was fixed.
In any case, despite its own best efforts
SPSS is still pretty good at doing most things that a lot of
folks in the social sciences want to do. Whether it will
continue to be one of the leaders in this area remains to be
seen. If are a faculty or full-time staff member and you feel
like you want to harness the awesome power
of 12.0, you can pick up a copy from
our office (call 565-4066 or 565-2140 to arrange an appointment).
* See also "SPSS
12 Patches, Licenses, and Updates Now Available" in this issue.