Enterprise Miner: The software for those with infinite time & no fish

A few days ago, I tried installing Enterprise Miner for, I think, the third time. The first time, I could not get it to work, saw we needed something called a planned install for which I needed a plan file which I was to get from my SAS administrator, who happens to be me and I did not have one. Since I did not really need Enterprise Miner, I went ahead, figured out how to do the basic install and got busy with other things.

The second time,  I really was interested in data mining and thought it might be nice to try to figure this out. I looked up a few documents on it but still did not have a planned file, even when I asked myself very nicely if I could have one. I found some things on standard plan files, tried downloading some stuff but it didn’t work and I got busy.

In between, I was copied on a couple of emails from someone else on campus complaining that they had never actually gotten it to work, but since it wasn’t directed to me, I was busy and the person writing the emails is an extremely experienced SAS programmer who I figured could get by fine without any help from me, I didn’t give it much thought.

Lately, though, three related events piqued my interest. First, a notice came across my desk that the department paying for Enterprise Miner was canceling the license. Second and third, two people in two completely different departments asked about using Enterprise Miner. So, having a little bit of time, I decided I would try to install it.

1. I could not install it from the DVDs we distribute for installation. I call the helpful people at SAS Tech support and they tell me that I need to install it from a SAS software depot. Unfortunately (long story  I will skip) we no longer have a SAS software depot and cannot download it again.

2. We want SAS 9.2 Maintenance release 2 anyway, so super-nice people in SAS contracts help me get a new download order and I download that. I decide to hedge my bets by installing this on the most stable computer I have, Windows Vista 32-bit, plain vanilla as they come. This is not a machine used for testing, it is one I actually do my work on. Yes, that was stupid of me.

3. I create a software depot and start to do a planned install, select what appears to be the appropriate plan file which is now included as a choice. Everything seems to be fine until the 10th step where it gives me a message about an error with the Object Spawner.  I decide to go ahead with the install anyway. After a few hours of downloading and installing, I have Enterprise Miner on my computer but it doesn’t work. Doesn’t work as in I can’t create a project.

4. There was a long interlude in here with me reading numerous documents and two and a half hours with an extremely kind and patient person from SAS Tech Support named Heidi Johnson, who deserves a raise for not screaming. In some extremely bizarre way, when I semi-installed SAS Enterprise Miner and related SAS stuff on my computer it revoked my administrator privileges so a lot of the reasonable suggestions made by Heidi have not worked. Also, SAS 9.2 which I need to do work no longer works on my computer, as in, when I try to import a file from Excel for example, it gives me an error message

After all of this my first thought was to either:

a. )  Delete everything with the word SAS in it off of my computer,

b.) Completely delete the virtual machine.

In an uncharacteristic burst of maturity, though, I realized that it would be difficult to be the SAS administrator on campus without using SAS, that although we do support Stata and SPSS also, dropping SAS because I was annoyed was probably not a justifiable decision to people who might ask me to justify it, besides which I had three questions that came in my inbox while I was on the phone regarding SAS programs. I already answered two of them. I suppose I could just tell anyone who calls tomorrow “I’m sorry we don’t support SAS on Thursdays. Call back on Friday.”

Unfortunately, I cannot uninstall the (non-working) software from my computer because I don’t have administrator privileges due to the software I cannot uninstall. That part, at least, I fixed. If for some unexplainable reason you have an urge to install Enterprise Miner and get stuck, here is what you can do.

Restart your computer in safe mode. Create a new account. Call it Administrator1 . Give it administrator privileges. Uninstall SAS, including Enterpriser Miner.

Now, when you start your computer again and log in as yourself you will once again have administrative privileges.

You may find that your uninstall did not completely uninstall SAS and when you try to reinstall it, you get some kind of error. At this point, you need to show your computer who is in charge.

1. Go to the add/ remove programs and remove everything with the word “SAS” in it.

2. Search on your computer and find if there is anything left with the word SAS in it. In the Program Files almost everything was still there in a folder labeled SAS. Apparently the uninstall in Windows did not uninstall. Move all that stuff to the recycle bin and empty the recycle bin.

After this, I re-installed SAS TS2M2 and it seemed to work. I am not 100% sure because as I was leaving the install just finished, without errors, but when I tried to import an Excel file nothing happened. It may be that I didn’t wait long enough.

fish1In all of this, my daughter, the perfect and patient Jennifer, had been sitting in the lobby downstairs for the past half hour waiting for me to give her a ride home. I realized that I had not fed my fish, which by this time was swimming against the side of the tank, trying to attract my attention.

So, I fed my betta fish, Beta,  along with Type I and Type II, the frogs in the other tank, answered a couple of questions on multicollinearity and how to code an infile statement to skip over hundreds of “header” lines, and headed out the door.

After spending so much time trying unsuccessfully to install Enterprise Miner (I will skip the previous problems with 9.1.3 ) I have a backlog of questions to answer on everything from the significance of increases in chi-square to how Stata processes large datasets (short answer: inefficiently).

I will only be in two days next week, as I am presenting at a conference in Minneapolis. The topic is analysis of ethics, an interesting enough subject to almost make me forget that I am going to be in Minneapolis in February.  Almost.

As for Enterprise Miner, I asked Justin The Hardware Guy to see if he could find me a computer running Windows XP since maybe it is that I have a virtual machine. Maybe it is that I am using Vista. Hell, maybe Enterprise Miner was designed by UCLA fans. All I know is that some people somewhere have it working, just no one here. He actually did have one computer running XP but it only had 512 MB of RAM so I can’t imagine that would work.

In a few weeks,I may try again, when I have caught up again, analyzed ethics data, found a Windows XP machine with a minimum of 1G RAM and thawed out, and when Heidi can see my name pop up on the caller ID again without being tempted to feign her own death to get out of talking to me. (I have actually done that. It helps that few people expect their statistician to be a Latina grandmother – Dr. De Mars ? No, he just left. You probably passed him on the way in – really old guy, white-haired, balding, pot belly, yeah, that was him.)

Too bad for Heidi I know what she sounds like now.  As for the people who asked me about Enterprise Miner, I will give them my honest opinion. In the last week, I have spent more time with this thing than my husband and he gives me money, helps raise the children, does the laundry and has sex with me.  Unless they expect Enterprise Miner to do more for them than that, it probably isn’t worth the effort. But, if I ever find out differently, I will let them know.

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  1. Hi – virtual introduction to follow – I’m Sara, a SAS user, not half as brilliant as you but enough so to appreciate yours 😉 LOVE your fishies and their names. Sorry re Enterprise Miner (I’ll skip it for now and stick to plain vanilla SAS via coding and not for mining). Oh, and yes, I know, my blog is neglected.D

  2. Wow, I just sent you an email asking how to install the Enterprise Miner yesterday!!!!!!!
    But one thing make me feel much better is that my desktop is an old school one with XP rather than Vista or Windows 7.

  3. I have had similar problems with EM & SAS 9.13. I agree that Heidi is the best. Your last paragraph is the best.

  4. I had a similar problem with the Object Spawner failing to initialize in Stage 10 when doing planned installation of Enterprise Miner. It only affected XP, Vista, and 7 32-bit, but it was due to me not properly setting the c:/windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts file properly. Instead of merely adding the computer name to the localhost entry, I needed to also append “.localdomain” to the computer name. I ended up with an entry that looked like “ foobar foobar.localdomain”. This was all it took to solve my Stage 10 Object Spawner issues. Maybe this will help someone else!

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