StatTools.net is closing down
There are too many stattools sites on the Internet, some of which are commercial entities, and statstools is also already a registered trade mark of a large and successful corporation, so statstools.net is at risk of being closed down at short notice.
All statistics pages in statstools.net have been moved to the new company site at www.statstodo.com and all future developments and maintenance will be at the new site.
All pages other than a few administrative pages are now no longer available on StatTools.net. The urls are still there, but they merely offer links to similar pages in StatsToDo. This will provide continuity for existing users.
The domain registration for StatTools.net ends in August 2013 and will not be renewed. The current StatTools.net web site will then disappear.
While a Ph.D. student in 1973, statistical packages were few and expensive, and statistics were done with slide rules and hand held calculators. However, as a Ph.D. student I was able to attend a FORTRAN course. Statistical algorithms were good problems to write computer programs about, and programming made learning statistics easier. The two were synergistic, and I developed the capabilities for both.
Then, it quickly became apparent that there was a need for statistical support in clinical research, and there were requests for help and offers of collaboration once an ability to perform statistical calculations and a willingness to help became known. This encouraged further development of statistical applications, and a wide circle of collaboration. This resulted in a turbo boost to my academic career.
In 1982, I was appointed to the foundation chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the new medical school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In those early days there was a shortage of resources but we had a large clinical workload. The staff were also mostly clinicians, doctors and nurses who were keen on research but had no training to do so. We therefore focussed on clinical trials and epidemiology, encouraging our statistical interests.
To help the less experienced staff, I simplified the input/output procedures of statistical calculations, and provided how to use explanations and examples. This conceptualised statistical programs as a toolkit for clinical research rather than an academic subject. Although this approach was sub-optimal in terms of a thorough and proper grounding in statistics, it was less intimidating and more user friendly, particularly to the research beginner.
Increasing requests from other departments for help, and the development of web page technology encouraged the transfer of programs from desk top applications into web pages. There was a disagreement over which was the best way to do this, and for a while we had two streams of development, one based on JAVA applets, and the other using Microsoft's active server page.
The asp pages were by far more popular, as some departments considered JAVA applets a security risk and blocked its download. Java applets were eventually abandoned.
in 2002 I retired from Hong Kong and returned to Brisbane, so I was no longer able to maintain the programs in Hong Kong. The department matured, money became available, laboratory skills fluorished, research interest turned towards molecular and cellular biology, and epidemiology became peripheral. The web site remained, but no longer maintained or much used.
Between 2002 and 2007 I worked part time as Director of Research Support Centre at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane. We had sufficient resources for a statistician, so we were able to expand the number of programs. As the main concern of the researchers were on competetive grants, and clinical trials, most of the developments focussed on these, and we increased the number of programs concerned with sample size estimations and experimental models.
Most of the assistance we provided were face to face consultations, as we had difficulties accessing web technology. Because of the need to protect medical records, the hospital's priority was on security, and it was not possible to base anything on the hospital's server.
We looked at commercial servers, and found that there was a surcharge for using the asp server. We therefore revert to JAVA applets on the html platform, to be used mainly by colleagues in the same hospital. This remained problematic, as the hospital blocked JAVA applets as a matter of policy, so that colleagues mostly used the programs at home.
Research support was therefore mostly via personal contact, and the web based resources were used only by a few. Following my retirement from the Mater, the subscription to the commercial server service was terminated, and the non archived contents lost.
I have since 2008 rewritten all the programs on the php platform (which was what I should have done while at the Mater). This was much more logical as php servers are cheap to rent, all the calculations performed by the server, and the results served as html texts which poses no security risk. I placed these programs in a subdomain named StatTools on my personal site on a commercial server.
There were initially only few users, myself, and the few clinicians and statisticians I still worked with who knew about the site. Gradually I started to receive enquiries and requests for help, and the hit rate increased to several hundreds a week, so I created the stand alone domain of StatTools.net and migrated all my programs to it in 2010. I also learned how to attract attention and asked Google to inspect my new site.
There was a jump in the hit rate in February 2011 to about a thousand a week, then a thosand a day in July, 1500 a day by October. By March of 2012 it was 2000 per day, April, 3000, and September 4000. Enquiries and feedback remained pretty steady at about two a week.
This is the state of development at the end of October 2012.
Name : Allan Chang
Born 1940 in Shanghai China, migrated to Australia in 1951. Graduated M.B., B.S. from Sydney University, 1964. Ph.D., Monash University, 1977.
Specialist training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sheffield U.K., MRCOG in 1970, FRCOG 1984. Foundation Fellow of RANZCOG in 1978, HKCOG in 1988, and Hong Kong Academy of Medicine 1993.
After specialist training, private practice for two years, then Ph.D. 3 years. After Ph.D., was Lecturer then Senior lecturer, Queensland University, 1976 to 1982. Foundation Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1982 to 2000. While with the Chinese University, was convener of the Centre for Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Research and Clinical sub-Dean, both faculty appointments.
While in Hong Kong, Hospital Chief Executive of Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin, and Cluster Chief Executive of North Eastern New Territories 2001, 2002.
Retired from Hong Kong in 2002. Director, Mater Research Support Centre, Brisbane, 2002-2008. Retired from the Mater, March 2008.
Emeritus Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Chinese University, Hong Kong, since October 2008
Research interest during academic career : fetal acid base balance, fetal electrocardiogram, birth weight, clinical decision making