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Greg Fox

Greg Fox, former statistical communications specialist at Minitab, wrote for the Minitab Blog from 2011 to 2016. 

Like many, my introduction to 17th-century French philosophy came at the tender age of 3+. For that is when I discovered the Etch-a-Sketch®, an entertaining ode to Descartes' coordinate plane. Little did I know that the seemingly idle hours I spent doodling on my Etch-a-Sketch would prove to be excellent training for the feat that I attempt today: plotting an Empirical Cumulative Distribution... Continue Reading
T'was the season for toys recently, and Christmas day found me playing around with a classic, the Etch-a-Sketch. As I noodled with the knobs, I had a sudden flash of recognition: my drawing reminded me of the Empirical CDF Plot in Minitab Statistical Software. Did you just ask, "What's a CDF plot? And what's so empirical about it?" Both very good questions. Let's start with the first, and we'll... Continue Reading
It's that time of year again. The time when eggs get nogged, pudding gets figgy, and it becomes socially acceptable to speak in rhyme. So on that note, and with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, I bring you this timely and heartfelt PSA. Enjoy. Twas the week before Christmas, and I couldn't be bothered, to make sure that our tree, had quite enough water."A sprinkling of needles on the carpet, I... Continue Reading
The season of change is upon us here at Minitab's World Headquarters. The air is crisp and clear and the landscape is ablaze in vibrant fall colors. As I drove to work one recent morning, I couldn't help but soak in the beauty surrounding me and think, "Too bad everything they taught me as a kid was a lie." You see, as a boy growing up in New Hampshire, I was told that the sublime beauty of autumn... Continue Reading
At the inaugural Minitab Insights Conference in September, presenters Benjamin Turcan and Jennifer Berner discussed how to present data effectively. Among the considerations they discussed was choosing the right graph. Different graphs are good for different things. Of course, opinions about which graph is best can, and do, differ. Dotplot devotees might decide that they are demonstrably... Continue Reading
No matter how experienced you are at analyzing data, communicating about your results can be a tremendous challenge. So it's not surprising that "Effectively Reporting Your Data Analysis" was one of the best-attended sessions at the inaugural Minitab Insights Conference last month.  The presenters, Benjamin Turcan and Jennifer Berner of First Niagara Bank, have a great deal of experience improving... Continue Reading
My recent beach vacation began with the kind of unfortunate incident that we all dread: killing a distant relative.   It was about 3 a.m. Me, my two sons, and our dog had been on the road since about 7 p.m. the previous day to get to our beach house on Plum Island, Massachusetts. Google maps said our exit was coming up and that we were only about 15 minutes away from our palace. Buoyed by that... Continue Reading
In my last post, we took the red pill and dove deep into the unarguably fascinating and uncompromisingly compelling world of the matrix plot. I've stuffed this post with information about a topic of marginal interest...the marginal plot. Margins are important. Back in my English composition days, I recall that margins were particularly prized for the inverse linear relationship they maintained with... Continue Reading
Remember the classic science fiction film The Matrix? The dark sunglasses, the leather, computer monitors constantly raining streams of integers (inexplicably in base 10 rather than binary or hexadecimal)? And that mind-blowing plot twist when Neo takes the red pill from Morpheus' outstretched hand? Well to me, there's one thing even more mind-blowing than the plot of the Matrix: the Matrix Plot.... Continue Reading
Once upon a time, when people wanted to compare the standard deviations of two samples, they had two handy tests available, the F-test and Levene's test. Statistical lore has it that the F-test is so named because it so frequently fails you.1 Although the F-test is suitable for data that are normally distributed, its sensitivity to departures from normality limits when and where it can be used. Leve... Continue Reading
People say that I overthink everything. I've given this assertion considerable thought, and I don't believe that it is true. After all, how can any one person possibly overthink every possible thing in just one lifetime? For example, suppose I live 85 years. That's 2,680,560,000 seconds (85 years x 365 days per year x 24 hours per day x 60 min per hour x 60 seconds per minute). I'm asleep about a... Continue Reading
Mind the gap. It's is an important concept to bear in mind whilst traveling on the Tube in London, the T in Boston, the Metro in Washington, D.C., etc. But how many of us remember to mind the gap when we create an interval plot in Minitab Statistical Software? Not too many of us, I'd wager. And it's a shame, too. When you travel on the subway, minding the gap means giving thoughtful consideration... Continue Reading
I have been riding my bike to work lately instead of taking my car. I figured I could use the exercise. I figured it would be good for my health. I figured it might help stave off global warming. I figured wrong.   I’ve noticed lately that the sky seems to get darker a little earlier every day. I asked my wife if she had noticed the same thing and she said, “When are going to take out that garbage... Continue Reading
My son goes to the same high school as infamous Aussie rocker Angus Young, from AC/DC. If the school provided any of the inspiration for songs like “Highway to Hell” and “Dirty Deeds Done at a Discount”, I think my son will learn a lot there. In fact, he might even learn that gambling doesn’t pay. On weekday mornings, I often walk my son to school and then hop a train into the city. As we’re... Continue Reading
The other day I was having lunch with a Minitab user. She asked if Minitab Statistical Software could calculate the number of business days between two dates, excluding weekends and holidays. “I’m not sure,” I said. “I’ll look into it." I am happy to report that Minitab can indeed do this. Which is good, because this would be a pretty disappointing blog post otherwise. It’s actually really easy,... Continue Reading
The other day a colleague of mine mentioned a use for Minitab's Tally command that I didn't know about. I thought I would share it with you in the form of contrived anecdote. I hope you enjoy it. Bob works at a manufacturing plant. You may remember Bob as the guy who was obsessed with gnomes. Well, his work with gnomes was so exemplary that he was promoted to work in the Garden Tool Division. Bob... Continue Reading
I am an outlier. Of the people who work in my department, I go to the fewest meetings, I talk with others the least, and I make the least use of our exercise facilities. But this is not because I am negligent, anti-social, or lazy. It is because I am separated from the rest of my department by about 10,000 miles.You see, my family and I have had the opportunity recently to move to beautiful... Continue Reading
I was playing around with the power and sample size graphs in Minitab recently, and I noticed something interesting. Power, for the uninitiated, is usually described as the likelihood that you will find a significant effect or difference when one truly exists. There is a lot of good content on Power in the Minitab Help, StatGuide and Glossary. In any case, rather than simply describe what I found,... Continue Reading
I followed the nurse down the long beige hallway and had a seat. “The doctor will be with you shortly,” she said as she turned to leave. It had been a month since my last visit. My doctor had prescribed me a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. I had prescribed him a P chart to monitor his wait times. I was anxious to find out how both had worked.“Ah there he is,” said my doctor as he entered the... Continue Reading
So I’m in my doctor’s office the other day and he tells me my “LDL” is “out-of-control.” “What’s an LDL?” I asked. “I’m glad you asked,” he said. “You see, LDL is the bad cholesterol and you want it to be low.” “So there’s a good cholesterol?” I asked. “Yes, it’s called HDL, and yours should be higher.”“Oh, so the HDL should be higher than the LDL? Kind of like how the UCL is higher than the LCL... Continue Reading