Would anyone like to run a correlation for me?

As regular readers will know my ability to do anything technical is near zero. For example, I really do not know how to do anything at all in Excel. Or any other spreadsheet (I put it down to having being scarred by my experience with Lotus 123 V 1.0 at an impressionable age. Or maybe just to being dim).

However, there\’s something I would like to see the result of.

Here\’s a listing of countries by Gini. That\’s a measure of inequality. Use pre=tax (for we\’ve only post tax and benefit for the OECD countries).

Here\’s a listing of countries by GDP per capita.

I\’m assuming that there\’s some relationship between the two. And my initial prejudice is that inequality is higher in poorer countries. What I\’d like is someone to run the numbers (I think this means putting both sets into Excel and then hitting a button?) and produce a graph. Or scatter plot with a summat innit.

Essentially, are richer countries more unequal than poorer, or the other way around?

Whichever way it works then yes, I would write an article about it.

44 comments on “Would anyone like to run a correlation for me?

  1. “I really do not know how to do anything at all in Excel. Or any other spreadsheet (I put it down to having being scarred by my experience with Lotus 123 V 1.0 at an impressionable age. Or maybe just to being dim).”

    It’s not you that’s dim, Tim, so much as that the light’s dim. The reason the light is dim is that you have your eyes closed. There is absolutely no reason why any reasonably intelligent person shouldn’t learn to use Excel, even if it isn’t particularly intuitive, given that idiots can.

    I’d be happy to help you learn (and I’m not just pimping my services), but I won’t pander to your refusal to learn to use one of the tools of your trade by doing the work for you. You’re being irrational.

    So, here’s how to start to learn to use Excel, rather than a howto script for graphs. (I expect someone else will have been your crutch before I finish, though…)

    Open Excel. If you don’t even get that far, I can guarantee there’s no way you’ll work out anything, however straightforward.

    Copy the series from the first webpage in question. I went for the middle table. Click in cell A1 in Excel and hit paste. It won’t come out right. Strange, why not have a quick look at the help file. Hit F1 for help, type ‘Paste’ into the search box. Oh look, there’s something high in the results called ‘paste special’: why not give it a try?

    Having played with that, and the undo button if necessary, maybe even a new file if needed (because so far we’re just playing with copied data) you ought to have a nice list of data. Delete the ranking column, because we don’t need it, ditto the year.

    If you started with the data in alphabetical order, that would be sensible. If you didn’t, select the three remaining columns and play with the Sort & Filter button. It is utterly self explanatory, so you’ll probably get it right first time, but it’s good for the learning process to explore.

    You will likely find Nepal and Switzerland pop up at the top. That’s because they have spaces in front of their names. If that confused you at all, it shouldn’t have: you know how alphabetical order works. It works the same in Excel.

    Copy and paste the other data set in much the same way, so that they line up. Of course, they don’t have quite the same list of countries. You’ll need to manually rejig them with copy and paste to make them line up, taking out any that don’t have entries in both lists.

    That tedious and relatively time-consuming task should prompt you to think ‘there must be a better way’, and the key to learning Excel is understanding that there almost always is. In this case it’s a simple-to-use function, but that’s a bit much for a first timer. (If you have a look in the helpfile for ‘vlookup’, you may be surprised by the reasonable degree of clarity, and the amount of assistance it actually provides. It’s just a bit much to learn all in one go.)

    Now you have two matching lists, so you can just paste one set of data next to the other. Finally, simply select the data, click the graph button, and play with the options until you find what you’re looking for.

  2. Or you could copy/paste the Wikipedia tables into a text file and write a quick Python script to correlate them.

  3. I haven’t checked recently, but there used to be a fairly clear correlation between Gini and cultural/ethnic diversity. The most mono-cultural, mono-ethnic societies (eg the Nordic countries and Japan) used to have a lot lower Gini scores than the USA or Brazil. The theory was that the middle classes in mono-cultural societies were more willing to pay higher redistributive taxes, because the would-be recipients were felt to be people just like them.

    I suspect that correlation is less clear now, because China is 95% Han Chinese, but increasingly unequal, and some Nordic countries like Sweden are more multi-ethnic…

  4. I believe that richer countries tend to be more equal, despite some outliers such as the US, Singapore, etc. Care should be taken in interpreting this relationship and its possible causes, however. Also, some people argue that it’s not just income but also health, crime, life expectancy and other indicators which perform better in more equal societies. As Christopher Snowdon shows in The Spirit Level Delusion, however, these claims are mostly bunk.

  5. There is only one measure in these tables that is of any real significance to us in the UK. It is that in 3 out of 4 of the tables the UK is a higher position than France. Up you Frogs!

  6. I have to agree with Dave; you really should make the effort to learn. Excel is THE number-crunching tool because of its ubiquity if nothing else, having been installed on practically every workplace PC for the last 2 decades. It’s not hard for a reasonably intelligent person to grasp the basics and it’s a world away from Lotus 123 from 25 years ago.

  7. I rather liked Lotus 123.

    “There is absolutely no reason why any reasonably intelligent person shouldn’t learn to use Excel … given that idiots can.” For many things to do with using computers it actually helps to be an idiot. Clever people spend too much time fuming “why didn’t you say so, you arseholes?” or “what a dim way to do it, you clot!” and “don’t you understand English, you stupid sod?”

  8. Dearieme>

    You wouldn’t credit the calibre of idiots I’ve dealt with over the years. The problem with computers generally is that a lot of people, intelligent or not, just seem to view them as some opaque strangeness rather than engaging – like Tim here. For some reason many people don’t apply common sense or basic knowledge once they sit down at a computer.

    A good example is ‘minimise’. It’s a bastard word, but does exactly what it says on the tin if you actually process it as a word rather than treating it as a special technical term and assuming you don’t know what it means.

  9. But, Dave, every word you come across in computing requires you to guess whether it carries its natural English meaning, or whether it’s a code word for something else. Again and again you find something really dim. An example I remember of stupidity was the contrast between early Macs where under, say, “edit” were functions that really were relevant to editing, AND nothing that wasn’t relevant. By contrast on my first meeting with a PC I wanted to do something that assuredly wasn’t an edit, and yet I eventually found the instruction under “edit”. Sheer fucking stupidity.

    It happens the whole time: look, for instance, at the website of Nationwide BS, and consider managing your current account. Suppose you want to modify a standing order by, say changing the date or the amount, but leaving the payee unchanged. You have somehow to guess that you must nonetheless opt for the change the payee instruction. Stupid cunts.

    So I have every sympathy with the occasional or novice user who is driven up the wall by such nonsense. It’s no use saying to him “use your common sense” because that means, if it means anything at all (which is doubtful), do something new by analogy with something familiar. But he’s an occasional or new user: he doesn’t have a stock of somethings familiar to draw an analogy to.

    The root problem is that much of computing is dominated by modestly clever people who imagine that they are very clever, and the bollocks that follows from their lack of imagination, reflection, and precision. No doubt that was why the early Macs were such a revelation: somehow that company had managed to eliminate much of the stupidity that would otherwise have been imposed on the user interface.

    It would help if people were franker. When I had to learn Fortran long ago, people were prepared to say that much of it would seem dimwitted compared to (for example) Algol, but that you simply had to learn the conventions, however daft and arbitrary they seemed to someone who already knew a better language. That’s infinitely more useful advice that some lazy stuff about using your common sense. At its worst, using some under- and badly-explained software is reminiscent of using IBM’s JCL a million years ago, than which I can hardly say worse.

  10. If you want to talk about bad user experiences, you’re preaching to the choir here. One of my dayjobs is teaching people how to use software, and really that oughtn’t to be a necessary position. In general, our understanding of UI design is pitifully poor.

    “The root problem is that much of computing is dominated by modestly clever people who imagine that they are very clever, and the bollocks that follows from their lack of imagination, reflection, and precision.”

    That’s usually known as programmers programming for programmers.

    To be fair, though, in comparison to the development of the car, computer interface design is still at the stage where they hadn’t yet come up with the three-pedal arrangement. It’s getting better slowly.

  11. Tim, can I write the article now for you?

    “Having run a correlation, I have discovered that the Gini coefficient is [lower][higher] in poor countries rather than rich countries. Therefore higher inequality [is the price we pay for living in a society with high absolute wealth][in poorer countries will be alleviated by the wonders of free market capitalism].

    Therefore higher inequality [is an unfortunate but mild side effect outweighed by the otherwise beneficial effects of the free market][is a problem that will be solved by the free market].

    BTW did you see some “evidence based” research demonstrating that the ASI is a left wing think tank? Try harder.

  12. Luke>

    “higher inequality [is an unfortunate but mild side effect outweighed by the otherwise beneficial effects of the free market]”

    I’d hope Tim’d be contrarian enough to go for ‘inequality is not, as commonly thought, a bad thing’ rather than your wishy-washy version.

    Also, you forgot to call anyone a cunt.

  13. The Microsoft Office ribbon. It could have been good. It is dreadful.

    It is supposed to be customisable. I have customised it, several times. After a couple of weeks it de-customises itself. I have given up.

    It is a complete disaster for power users, especially keyboard clickers like yourself. Three months on Office 2010 and I am still on the steep bit of the “learning curve”. So much stuff I can no longer bloody find.

    I know it remembers a lot of all the keystroke-based stuff, but with the old version it opened menus for you. So if you want to do something taking 5 keystrokes you have to know it by heart now – previously you were always shown the next options.

  14. @Luke, having run the correlation, the poor countries have a much wider spread of GINI coefficients. The baseline is about 20, it’s quite striking how most countries cluster in a rough triangle, with the corners at dirt-poor GINI 25, dirt-poor GINI 70, and ~$50,000pppa GINI 25. There’s a few countries above the triangle, and the <10 countries with GDP above ~$50,000 don't fit neatly into any narrative.

  15. James>

    The ribbon is hard to get used to, if you’re used to the old way, but it is more efficient once you have retrained. From the ordinary user’s point of view, it’s a massive leap forwards in discoverability.

  16. James V, thanks. While mildly trolling Tim I did actually think it was an interesting question. Presumably it slightly overstates the inequality of developed countries as it’s pre tax and benefit, which (I guess) makes less difference in poorer countries?

  17. The people having a go at Tim are missing a basic point about human life, which is that we are all specialists. We tend to acquire those skills we need on a day to day basis, but have only a limited time to deploy in skills acquisition.

    So, if you only do something occasionally, it’s usually more rational to ask somebody else who has the skills already. Which is, um, how the economy works in general.

  18. As to the Microsoft Ribbon, it reminds me a great deal of the terrible interfaces you used to see in apps by amateurs written in Visual Basic for Windows 3.1. It’s fucknig awful. The first time I saw it was on a neighbour’s laptop when I was helping him with a book, and I was utterly baffled that any modern software company would think such a monstrosity to be sensible.

    Then I saw the slap-headed latte-sipping idiot at Microsoft who invented it, and it made sense. Yes, the same fuckwit who came up with using “Metro” for desktop PCs.

    Classic example of the “bend over, think of England, don’t worry eventually you’ll get used to it” approach.

  19. @Dave, I could appreciate the ribbon. If, having spent several working hours putting things where I like them as best I can (the customisability is not limitless) they would stay there and not disappear after a random interval of time.

    I am stumped. I write my own macros, I program my own shortcuts, I am intimately familiar with my own personal normal.dot and have been for years, but I cannot get a customisation of the ribbon to stick around. So I have stopped wasting my life on attempting to do so.

    The other thing wrong with the ribbon is that it might as well be in Chinese. There are as many of these pictorial, hieroglyphic icons to choose from as Chinese characters. What was wrong with having a standard set of, perhaps 100 icons, and the rest in words (or at least customisable to words, rather than indistinguishable squiggles)? I think they even recognised the problem as so many of the little buttons have words underneath or next to them as well, defeating the point of the icon.

  20. Of course what we need is the flexibility for both approaches. But doubtless the actual approach, were it ever to happen, would be to double the already-confusing plethora of office editions. So you’ll have something like “Office TruePro” and “Office Numbnut”. And TruePro ultimately won’t work on home-based versions of the OS, and will be deliberately far more expensive, only available with commercial licenses etc. Just like unbundling outlook made those of us who actually like it go out and spend good money on something that used to come in the Office package.

    I fear there is more material here for The Other Place.

  21. Ian>

    I quite agree about specialisation, but as someone who works with numbers a lot, Tim really ought to know how to use Excel: it’s a standard tool of his trade, so to speak, almost as much as a word-processor is.

    On your views of the Ribbon, I’d have to say that your taste isn’t relevant, and all the metrics show what a vast improvement it’s been.

    Anecdotally, having run support departments following rollouts of ribbon-Office variants, it leads to something unique in my experience: there’s a rise in the number of support calls, but mostly from people asking about a ‘new’ feature they’ve just found out about – which was previously a vanishingly rare occurrence. That it improves discoverability significantly for the vast majority of users is established beyond a shadow of a doubt, in my mind.

    Of course that doesn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed to have to relearn the Excel interface, but I don’t let that annoyance blind me to the clear improvements.

    Much the same applies to Metro as well, however much you may dislike it.

    James>

    No idea why the ribbon customisations won’t stick for you. Presumably getting over-written somewhere by something for some reason, but like you say, life’s too short for that kind of thing unless I’m being unreasonably well-paid.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m quibbling, though, but that isn’t a problem with the concept of the ribbon: just with its implementation.

    Your criticism of the design-concept may well be valid. I certainly wouldn’t have thought Microsoft (or anyone else) would get it spot-on first time. On the whole, though, it’s measurably a vast improvement in general usability, which is why Microsoft went with it.

  22. I am being unreasonably well paid. That’s the problem. My time spent on non-billable is a cost to my employer vastly greater than the software cost in the first place. It shouldn’t cost €2000 in wasted time to find your way around and customise your version of a package only to find the customisation disappears.

    I suspect globally that productivity loss to highly-paid power users is orders of magnitude more to the “gain” from those on $12 an hour realising Word supports footers. This is totally irrelevant – even most power users only use a few percent of the available features, depending on what precisely they do with it.

    Still, I’ve set up my F keys for the things I need to do most of the time, It’s when I have to hunt for something I know the old version did but can’t for the life of me find that I get frustrated. And, to be fair, half the time I end up on the web and there are a million pages along the lines of “why oh why did Microsoft remove feature X from Word 2010?”.

  23. And microsoft office’s built-in help now returns general web results. Bloody ehow and about.com shit. It’s either that or sit through a 30 minute tutorial on field codes, when all I want do to is remind myself how to adjust some nest in a series of automated fields.

    I mean, the software does this shit, how come they can’t make the effort to describe it properly. I yearn for the days software came with printed manuals.

  24. I can’t actually see a correlation between the numbers in the Wiki article and the World Bank data it purports to be derived from so I just pulled tehm off the web page and stuffed them in a text document.

    I write software that is used by very non-technical users. It is quite surprising how much things need to be made explicit. Like putting glowing neon borders round buttons with an animated arrow pointing to them with a “Generate printable documentation” bubble. Or using steadily escalating font sizes (with bright red text, natch) when they persist in making the same error over and over. I have to constantly remind myself that ‘straightforward’ and ‘obvious’ are different things.

    For doing stats analysis I like Mathematica. I don’t do enough of it to justify learning a special-purpose package like R. A quick and dirty massaging of the Wiki data shows a scatter plot that doesn’t appear to have any real meaningful structure, other than there’s a lot of really poor countries, and in the 25-ish to 40-ish % Gini band you can have pretty much any GDP from Flintstones to Jetsons. Above about 40% it does look like high Gini and low GDP are correlated. This is handwaving, but the data are pretty murky.

  25. My basic take on the “ribbon” is that I hugely resent giving up acres of screen real estate to make functions “discoverable” by fuckwits. If they can’t be arsed to go through the menus looking for what they want, that’s their problem not mine. Give them an optional ribbon and call it, I dunno “interface for fuckwits mode” and let me have my screen area available for something useful instead of a jumble of pictures designed for three year olds who apparently can’t read actual words.

    Seriously, if the ribbon makes it all work better for companies who employ idiots, let them have a ribbon. Just don’t impose it on everybody else.

    And anyway, just give them a web browser and tell them how to search for “how do I reformat a pivot table in Excel?” or something instead of ringing support departments. Ever tried the Blender 3D interface. It’s the very definition of “undiscoverable”, but also extremely efficient, running of keyboard shortcuts and the like. And you can learn the whole thing with a browser and no support department at all.

    You indulge fuckwits, you get fuckwits. Dumb the world down to their level, and you end up with a world of dumb. Like, the Ribbon, Metro, and metrosexual twats called Jensen having well paid careers instead of being savagely beaten to death by mobs in the street, which is what they actually deserve.

  26. @ dearieme
    Do sympathise but resolutely refuse to use internet banking (there is no such thing as a fraud-proof computer system). Also I don’t think it is down to the stupidity of the programmers so much as their bosses. I started working as trainee programmer when I was 17 followed by a couple of Vac jobs, picking up Fortran and Algol 60 – my view was and is that what was wrong with Fortran is that IBM top moguls demanded that it be designed around the machine capabilities rather than to serve the user – and I was later told that our star programmer walked out roughly half-way through the time period for a firm-wide IQ test getting a score “some unknown number in excess of 180″ (which ignored his finishing in half the time) After having naively taken a career change at 21 because I didn’t control the input data so my programme was giving the wrong answer I wasn’t allowed near computers for two decades because I knew too much and would have embarrassingly pointed out errors.

  27. James – and maybe a bit for David>

    I seem to spend a lot of time picking apart jumbled messes of arguments in this context. I get pretty well paid for it as it happens, in a lot of cases at least. I’d love to understand how an otherwise coherent chap like yourself can conflate two entirely different issues simply because we’ve started talking about computers.

    Please don’t take that as a personal criticism or some kind of attack, because it’s not. I’m fascinated with the ability computers seem to have to make otherwise intelligent and rational people, well, stupid. It’s plainly that brains aren’t being engaged.

    David Gillies provides some nice examples. They’re also examples of something else, which is that we know almost nothing about UI design. It’s bizarre to think that if you go and look up where to place a button on-screen to be most obvious, and how to style it, nobody knows. I tend to applaud any attempt at all to improve that situation.

    Anyway, that aside, the issues you mention are completely different. Sorting out the retention of your customisations is one for your IT support department – you know, the specialist with comparative advantage in the field. Learning the ribbon is one for you.

    Until I was convinced of the benefits, I initially recommended to clients that power-users didn’t switch. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s definitely a good thing, and I was probably wrong to start with. If a power-user discovers a single new useful function worth a mere 1% in productivity over a single year, that’ll be worth spending 20 hours to acquire (whatever the hourly value of your time). In fact you don’t even have to reacquire the skills every year.

    To put that in more realistic terms, you only have to gain a ~0.2-0.3% productivity gain for it to be worth spending a full week retraining once every five years.

  28. “I yearn for the days software came with printed manuals.” I agree entirely. But, by and large, over the years I have transformed from being a chap other people came to for advice on matters computing to a chap who wants as little to do with the whole effing circus as poss. Pity: long ago it didn’t get between me and the serious work I wanted to do. There was even fun in it. Except for Fortran and JCL, obviously. In my time motor cars have got better and IT worse. Very odd.

  29. Dearieme>

    “In my time motor cars have got better and IT worse.”

    Congratulations, that’s the single stupidest thing anyone’s ever written on Tim’s blog. Including Arnald. Hell, it’s on a par with the stupider things Ritchie comes up with.

    Unless you’re fifteen or less, simply to be posting that comment on a blog is obviously self-contradictory.

    The very strongest statement you can make without it being utterly ridiculous is that you find IT to be less useful to you than it has been in the past, but even that’s debatable: you’re not forced to upgrade.

    No, sorry, there’s no possible way in which something that has got better at an exponential rate can be said to have got worse, any more than we can be said to be poorer now than a couple of centuries ago – and that’s the degree of difference we’re talking about over just the last twenty or thirty years in computing.

  30. I’m not sure which issues I am conflating.

    I’m also not sure what more I have to “discover” about Word. Doubtless plenty of stuff, but most of it not relevant to me. The stuff that’s relevant, I know. The stuff I’d like to do that I know I can’t I know I can’t. My use of the software is driven by my need to do stuff with documents, not by the features that are or are not available.

    The actual hardcore things I dislike about word are some counterintuitive stuff (“splitting” cells is the best way to merge them), which at least allows me to show off to the new people in the office, and some uncustomisable stuff (which fucktard thinks everyone, no, actually _anyone_ wants their cross-references to default to “entire caption”) and so made this unchangeably default.

    The ribbon has manifold issues – am looking at the excel “home” tab at the moment. At least 50 things, half of them need additional explanation in English, some style things I can’t tell if they are actually buttons since MS decided they no longer like 3D buttons, I defy anyone to tell “increase indent” and “decrease indent” apart without mouseover. Some of these things clearly have context menus of their own.

    It is actually more challenging having to navigate those 50 items per tab than the menu-based system ever was. The ribbon makes it harder to remember where the stuff you want is. With the menu it eventually stuck.

  31. James>

    “It shouldn’t cost €2000 in wasted time to find your way around and customise your version of a package only to find the customisation disappears.”

    Finding your way around is one thing. Customisation settings being overwritten is something else entirely – call it a a bug for want of a better word. Another thing you’re adding into the mix is then whether or not the ribbon itself is a good idea.

    If what you say about Word is true, then it may really not be worth your while upgrading. It’s certainly possible to be that familiar with every single function Word or Excel ever had, even if extremely rare. To be fair, though, Word offers a lot less to learn.

    I suspect, though, that you’re suffering from anosgnosia. I would have said the same thing as you prior to getting to grips with the ribbon, but I’ve found things I never knew about before. As I said, you only have to add one small thing to your workflow (and keep your original productivity) for it to be worth spending significant time retraining.

    “The actual hardcore things I dislike about word are some counterintuitive stuff ”

    Absolutely. And whilst the ribbon is not perfect, it’s more intuitive than the menu system. That we got used to the menu system is something I’m willing to suck up in the name of desperately needed progress.

    Although I’d advise taking the time to get to grips with the ribbon, my main point was just to explain why Microsoft’s decision to go with it was the right one, although annoying to many existing users.

    Incidentally, is there a name yet for the law that any time Excel is mentioned the discussion will immediately sidetrack into an argument about the ribbon?

  32. Oh, er, my first paragraph was responding to you saying you couldn’t see what was being conflated, in case that’s not obvious.

  33. Really the only principal of UI design I have found applicable across the board is: during the design phase, test, test and test again with a bunch of people who are as close as possible to the eventual users (if they can be the same people, even better.) Of course that opens the door nice and wide for feature creep to come storming in, but that’s another story.

  34. I’m an “expert” in Word, in the sense that it’s very rare someone has a task I can’t figure out how to do. I’ll only use it under extreme duress though. I use LaTeX and emacs for all of my word processing requirements.

  35. dearieme: Printed manuals are a waste of paper and time now that we have the WWW and cheap monitors. I have two screens so I can put documentation on one and the program on the other.

  36. Dave, assuming my customisation is gone for good I stlil need to recustomise it before the IT guy makes sure it never disappears again. Sure I get better at it every time, but that’s not good enough.

    With the menu you usually only ever had to look through 10 things at most, at once. And they were in English, not Hieroglyphics. With the ribbon, you always have to go through all those tabs, left to right, deciphering 50 Hieroglyphics before you find what you are looking for. As I already said, MS must have recognised the problem as they added a lot of English words to their Hieroglyphs. Which defeats the purpose of the Hieroglyphs.

    “it’s that obscure red/purple squiggle about two thirds of the way along the middle row of the fourth tab” is never going to be as quickly findable as Abc>Def>Ghi. Making it findable for numbnuts who can’t read English has simply made getting to it slower for those who actually want it.

    Matthew, the problem with the WWW is with the quality of the information. When even Office’s “built-in” help offers you spammy results from ehow you know they have given up on actually helping users to use the product. Yes, we all do the two screens thing too.

  37. So Tim, having publicly admitted that you have a problem with Excel, you are half-way on the way to become a fully fledged climate scientists, like the esteemed Dr Jones!

    Find an afternoon in your busy schedule, sit down, and some tax calculations or expense account returns, and you will mourn the fact that you wasted 20 years of your life learning Russian and various other assorted languages instead of a very useful skill like using Excel.

  38. Mr. Worstall, it would be a good investment of your time to acquire basic competence in Excel. I speak as someone with no love for Microsoft or their handiwork.

    You can learn enough in a day to perform valuable and time saving tasks. The payback is considerable.

  39. One problem is that really expert IT support – the sort of person who knows off the top of their head where the customisations to the Excel ribbon are stored and can work out what’s going wrong with them from there, or, worst case, can back up your customisations so they can be restored – has nearly disappeared as being too expensive.

    I used to be that person for Word and now I’m a .NET programmer because it pays about 50% better. Once in a while I bail out our support team when they have a properly gnarly problem – but the user’s usually been waiting a fortnight before it gets to me.

    I can play the tune in Excel, but I know what real expertise is – and I’m not a real Excel expert.

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