One highlight of writing for and editing the Minitab Blog is the
opportunity to read your responses and answer your questions.
Sometimes, to my chagrin, you point out that we've made a mistake.
However, I'm particularly grateful for those comments, because it
permits us to correct inadvertent errors.
feared I had an opportunity to fix just such an error when I saw
this comment appear on one of... Continue Reading
shopping. For some, it's the most dreaded household activity. For
others, it's fun, or perhaps just a “necessary evil.”
Personally, I enjoy it! My co-worker, Ginger, a content manager
here at Minitab, opened my eyes to something that made me love
grocery shopping even more: she shared the data behind her family’s
shopping trips. Being something of a data nerd, I really geeked out
over the... Continue Reading
n' begorrah, it's St. Patrick's Day today!
The day that we Americans lay claim to our Irish heritage by
doing all sorts of things that Irish people never do. Like dye your
hair green. Or tell everyone what percentage Irish you are.
Despite my given name, I'm only about 15% Irish. So my Irish
portion weighs about 25 pounds. It could be the portion that hangs
over my belt due to excess potatoes... Continue Reading
can be a tricky thing. Consider trying to predict the number rolled
by 2 six-sided dice. We know that 7 is the most likely outcome. We
know the exact probability each number has of being rolled. If we
rolled the dice 100 times, we could calculate the expected value
for the number of times each value would be rolled. However, even
with all that information, we can't definitively predict... Continue Reading
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
now I’m enjoying my daily dose of morning joe. As the steam rises
off the cup, the dark rich liquid triggers a powerful enzyme
cascade that jump-starts my brain and central nervous system,
delivering potent glints of perspicacity into the dark crevices of
my still-dormant consciousness.
Feels good, yeah! But is it good for me? Let’s see what the
Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee... Continue Reading
As a person who loves baking (and eating) cakes, I find it
bothersome to go through all the effort of baking a cake when the
end result is too dry for my taste. For that reason, I decided to
use a designed experiment in Minitab to help me reduce the moisture
loss in baked chocolate cakes, and find the optimal settings of my
input factors to produce a moist baked chocolate cake. I’ll share
the... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest
The old saying “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and
looks like a duck, then it must be a duck” may be appropriate in
bird watching; however, the same idea can’t be applied when
observing a statistical distribution. The dedicated ornithologist
is often armed with binoculars and a field guide to the local birds
and this should be sufficient. A... Continue Reading
you ever wonder why statistical analyses and concepts often have
such weird, cryptic names?
One conspiracy theory points to the workings of a secret
committee called the ICSSNN. The International Committee for
Sadistic Statistical Nomenclature and Numerophobia was formed
solely to befuddle and subjugate the masses. Its mission: To select
the most awkward, obscure, and confusing name possible... 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
While there are many graph options available in
Minitab’s Graph menu, there is no direct option to
generate a waterfall chart. This type of graph helps visualize the
cumulative effect of sequentially introducing positive or negative
In this post, I’ll show you the steps to follow to make Minitab
display a waterfall chart even without a "waterfall chart" tool. If
you don’t already have... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger
The great Dr. Seuss tells of Mr. Plunger, who is the custodian
at Diffendoofer School on the corner of Dinkzoober and Dinzott in
the town of Dinkerville. The good Mr. Plunger “keeps the whole school clean” using a
Unfortunately, Dr. Seuss fails to tell us where the
supper-zooper-flooper-do came from and if the production process
was... Continue Reading
In week 16 of the 2016 NFL season, the Cleveland Browns were
able to avoid going into the history books as only the second team
to finish the season 0-16. They claimed their first and only win of
the season after San Diego missed a last-second field goal. While
they came very close to going winless, the statistics paint a very
different picture of the odds of that occurrence.
Going 0-16 is hard.
Usi... Continue Reading
The language of statistics is a funny thing, but there usually
isn't much to laugh at in the consequences that can follow when
misunderstandings occur between statisticians and
non-statisticians. We see these consequences frequently in the
media, when new studies—that usually contradict previous ones—are
breathlessly related, as if their findings were incontrovertible
Similar, though less... Continue Reading
For all you creative and fun-loving folks out there, in this
blog post I'm going to share a puzzle instead of a story or lesson.
The holiday season is getting into full swing here in the United
States, and that gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect, and
even have a little fun while still thinking about how we can
improve our processes and products.
Perhaps you're wondering what a puzzle... 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
by Matt Barsalou, guest blogger
I know that Thanksgiving is always on the last Thursday in
November, but somehow I failed to notice it was fast approaching
until the Monday before Thanksgiving. This led to frantically
sending a last-minute invitation, and a hunt for a turkey.
I live in Germany and this greatly complicated the matter. Not
only is Thanksgiving not celebrated, but also actual turkeys... 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."
see, as a boy growing up in New Hampshire, I was told that the
sublime beauty of autumn... Continue Reading
The ultimate goal of most quality improvement projects is clear:
reducing the number of defects, improving a response, or making a
change that benefits your customers.
We often want to jump right in and start gathering and analyzing
data so we can solve the problems. Checking your measurement
systems first, with methods like attribute agreement analysis or
Gage R&R, may seem like a needless waste... Continue Reading
watched an old motorcycle flick from the 1960s the other night, and I
was struck by the bikers' slang. They had a language all their own.
Just like statisticians, whose manner of speaking often confounds
those who aren't hep to the lingo of data analysis.
It got me thinking...what if there were an all-statistician
biker gang? Call them the Nulls Angels. Imagine them in their
colors, tearing... Continue Reading
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