Monday, February 26, 2007

Systat 12 released

A new version of Systat is out. You can read the details here.

My stats knowledge isn't good enough to comment on the major features: extended mixed model analysis, robust regression. But they seem decent enough to be worth existing users upgrading to. Though, since it has been three years since the last upgrade, I am not sure they were worth the wait!

Some of the lesser features seem unimpressive. The improved plotting interface and cluster analysis sound rather like the claims from the Version 11 press release, and interface improvements sound more more like window dressing than real innovation.

What I was most drawn to were the removal of some limitations, only to be replaced with new limitations. Variable names can be longer to be more descriptive... but still only 256 characters. I know that 256 should be enough, and I can't think of a realistic reason why it shouldn't be. But history is full of such mistakes ("640k RAM is enough for anyone", "you only need 2 digits to store a date" etc). If you are going to fix that problem, why not fix it completely (or at least absurdly far above current expectations).

Likewise, a new multi-step undo... but only up to 32 steps. I am sure that I have undone more than 32 steps in a document before!

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