When Stata first started back in 1985, communicating with users–well, back then they were potential users because we didn’t have any users yet–was nearly impossible.
From the beginning, we were very modern. Back in 1985, there were competing packages, but no one (not even me) expected personal computers to replace the mainframe. Back then, about the best that could be said about the available statistical packages is that they worked (sometimes) for some problems. What made Stata different was our belief and attitude that personal computers could actually be better than the mainframe for some problems. That in itself was a radical idea! In the mainstream, mainframe computer world, there was a popular saying: Little computers for little minds.
And we’ve stayed modern since then. Stata was (in 1999) the first statistical package to have online updating and an automated, modern, Internet way to handle user-written code. Modern Statas not only have that, but can use datasets directly off the web. But we have fallen behind! It’s 2010, and StataCorp doesn’t have a corporate blog!
Well, we do now.
Well, that may not be the most exciting announcement we’ve ever made. But our blog will be authored by the same people who develop Stata, support Stata, and yes, sell Stata. It will be useful, and it might be more entertaining than you suspect. If it is, that will be because of the people writing it.