Charlie Maurice to Leave the SSCC

We are very sad to announce that Charlie Maurice is leaving the SSCC to join UW-Madison's Computer-Aided Engineering facility. Charlie started out at the SSCC sixteen years ago doing PC Support. Over time he took on more and more system administrator duties, first as Andy Arnold's backup, and since 2015 as SSCC's primary Windows System Administrator. While this shift made him much less visible to most SSCC members, he has played a critical role at the SSCC, with responsibilties including Winstat, remote configuration of Windows computers on the SSCC network, security and data integrity,and much more. He also played a major role in the creation of Silo.

Charlie will be deeply missed and we wish him well in his future endeavors.

Adapting to Charlie's Absence

We will hire a successor to Charlie as quickly as possible, but in the meantime we're going to be short-handed (recall that in 2015 budget cuts took us from 11.15 FTEs to 9.85, and now we'll be at 8.85 FTEs). Charlie's duties will be temporarily divided among SSCC's Technical Services staff, some of whom will hand off duties to other SSCC staff. We ask for your patience as almost everyone will be doing some things that are new to them.

The changes you're most likely to notice will be to the Help Desk. For the moment, the Help Desk will close at 3:00 to allow staff more time to solve problems, and don't be surprised if you sometimes find SSCC's statistical consultants covering it. As quickly as possible we will hire several students to cover the Help Desk in the afternoons. We fully expect to be able to hire students with good basic technical skills, and they'll have immediate access to SSCC's professional staff for anything they can't solve.


We have just a few more training opportunities left this semester: Managing Your Citations with EndNote Basic, a useful tool for anyone who writes academic papers, Stata Programming, a must for anyone who uses Stata regularly, and NVivo 11 Software Basics, for those interested in qualitative analysis.

Packrat and Network Drives

Packrat is a handy R tool that allows you to have a separate set of packages for each project you're working on. This prevents packages you install or update for one project from changing the behavior of code you wrote for another project, making it non-reproducible. Unfortunately, we've found that Packrat's current version does not work on network drives like U:. We hope this will be fixed soon, but in the meantime you'll have to run it on a local drive (i.e. C:). Just be very sure anything you keep on a local drive is backed up, either to the SSCC network or somewhere else, on a regular basis.

Tip: Tell Stata on Macs Not to Remember the Working Directory

With Stata for Windows it's very easy to set Stata's working directory: if you start Stata by double-clicking on a Stata do file or dataset, it will open with the working directory set to the location of that file. Stata for Mac can work the same way, but comes set to remember the working directory from your last Stata session. This could be convenient if you work on a single project for long periods, but we suspect most people will be better off with the Windows behavior. You can get it by going to the StataSE 15.1 menu, Preferences, General Preferences and unchecking Start in last session's current working directory.