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Rasmus Bååth's Research Blog

SPSS looked great! 20 years ago...

For some reason someone dropped a pamphlet advertising SPSS for Windows 3.0 in my mail box at work. This means that the pamphlet, and the advertised version of SPSS, should be at least 20 years old! These days I’m happily using R for everything but if I was going to estimate any models 20 years ago SPSS actually looked quite OK. In the early 90s my interests in computing were more related to making Italian plumbers rescue princesses than estimating regression models.

The pamphlet is quite fun to read, there are many things in it that feels really out of date and which shows how much have happened in computing in the last 20 years. Let me show you some of the highlights!

Here is a picture from the pamphlet of an SPSS session in action:

SPSS in action

Actually it still looks very similar to the SPSS I saw my colleague use yesterday, so maybe not that much have changed in 20 years… Well let’s look at the hardware requirements:

SPSS system requirements

Ok, I guess some things have changed in 20 years. Now, tell me, what are the benefits of being a True Windows Product?

SPSS, a true windows product

Multi-tasking, drop-down menus and dialog boxes. Great stuff! A big selling point seems to have been that dialog boxes prevented you from making errors. Here’s how the dialog box looked for linear regression:

SPSS linear regression

And here is a nice looking dialog for rotating a 3-D chart:

SPSS 3D chart

And when you produce some quality charts, why not print them out on reversal film?

SPSS 3D chart

“What about Big Data?” I hear you ask. No need to fear, SPSS had you covered!

SPSS, big data

Actually, I can’t imagine how it was to work with only 640k, so I guess it was quite a big thing to be able “smash” that barrier. Ok, so what was the ultimate reason to use SPSS 20 years ago?

SPSS, the right answer

Well, I guess the “right” answer is better than the “wrong” answer… Anyway, here are the full scans of the pamphlet. Enjoy!

Pamphlet front Pamphlet back

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