In this edition of People Power, let's learn more about SAS Principal Software Developer Larry Dowty (aka ledfoot), author of the popular tip, How to Migrate SAS® Enterprise Miner™ Projects to a New Operating System.
What do you do?
I’m a member of the development team for data mining and machine learning technologies at SAS. But, I’m not a big wheel or important cog in the process. I’m more like a high detergent lubricant and filter. I keep the important cogs and gears from getting gummed up by the minute particles of weird matter that always seem to be churned up.
What surprises you most about your job?
I’m basically a jack of all trades. As a result it is a rare day that I actually get to do what I planned to do. Weird matters seem to crop up all the time. One day it could be “how do I compile Java code” the next it could be “how do I set node properties” or “why are my results different when I score in the database”. It is never dull.
What aspect do you like best? Worst?
I am often the first level of development support for scoring issues. I really enjoy helping customers understand how to do what they want to do.
Fill-in-the-blank: Because of what I do ...
I’d like to think that in some small way, because of what I do, SAS Enterprise Miner continues to grow and improve, giving customers better and more efficient tools to turn their data into knowledge.
1. The first time I met the girl who is now my wife.
2. The birth of my children.
3. The first time each of my kids landed a big fish.
4. Every time a director comes into my office and says “You are the most important person at SAS right now!”
What is your fantasy job?
I think is was Odysseus in The Odyssey that said “Each man delights in the work that suits him best“. SAS is I think my 42’nd paying job and programming is actually my third career. What can I say, it took me a while to find something I liked. Now, I can say I have my fantasy job. I enjoy the work and the people I work with. If SAS wasn’t here I think my choice for a great job would be fishing guide. As I said, I really enjoy helping customers understand how to do what they want to do.
What’s your favorite SAS/coding trick?
Although some people find the learning curve too difficult for complex programs, SAS Macro is amazing and worth the effort.
What is your ‘pick’ – from technology to movies to music, what are you into these days?
I have long worked with wood as a hobby. I’ve recently been experimenting with aluminum fabrication. Its low weight, high strength, and excellent corrosion resistance make it an interesting material to work with. Traditional woodworking operations, such as turning, milling, boring, tapping and sawing, are easily performed on aluminum. It often requires no finish but can be polished, painted or electroplated. It’s fun stuff if your are bent that way.