Blog Archives

A book about some important bits of R

September 27, 2014
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I see that Hadley Wickham’s new book, “Advanced R”, is being published in dead tree form and will be available a month or so. Hadley has generously made the material available online; I quickly skimmed the material a few months ago when I first heard about it and had another skim this afternoon. The main

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Creating a map showing land covered by rising sea levels

September 15, 2014
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I joined the Geekli.st climate Hackathon this weekend at the Hub Westminster (my favorite venue for Hackathons). While the organizers had lots of enthusiasm they had very little in the way of data for us to work on. No problem, ever since the Flood-relief hackathon I have wanted to use the SRTM ‘whole Earth’ elevation

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An ISO Standard for R (just kidding)

July 24, 2014
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IST/5, the British Standards’ committee responsible for programming languages in the UK, has a new(ish) committee secretary and like all people in a new role wants to see a vision of the future; IST/5 members have been emailed asking us what we see happening in the programming language standards’ world over the next 12 months.

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Oh, I did not know that [about R]

May 20, 2014
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I recently saw a post about something called ValidR and as somebody with a long standing professional interest in language validation immediately read the article and referenced links. I was disappointed to find that what was being validated was the installation, not the behavior of the implementation. In the context of what I understand ValidR’s

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Hack, a template for improving code reliability

March 24, 2014
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My sole prediction for 2014 has come true, Facebook have announced the Hack language (if you don’t know that HHVM is the Hip Hop Virtual Machine you are obviously not a trendy developer). This language does not follow the usual trend in that it looks useful, rather than being fashion fluff for corporate developers to

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By now I ought to feel more knowledgeable about R

March 18, 2014
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I was surprised to find recently that there are now over 15,000 lines of R code in the book I am working on. If I had written that much code in another ‘newly’ acquired language I would probably feel a lot more knowledgeable about it than I currently feel about R. Why don’t I feel

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Performing a non-local return in R

February 23, 2014
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Performing a non-local return in R

In most languages return is a statement, but in R it is a function (in fact R does not really have statements, it only has expressions). This function-like behavior of return is useful for figuring out the order in which operations are performed, e.g., the value returned by return(1)+return(2) tells us that binary operators are

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Converting graphs in pdf files to csv format

December 19, 2013
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Converting graphs in pdf files to csv format

Looking at a graph displayed as part of a pdf document is so tantalizing; I want that data as a csv! One way to get the data is to email the author(s) and ask for it. I do this regularly and sometimes get the apologetic reply that the data is confidential. But I can see

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Ordinary Least Squares is dead to me

November 28, 2013
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Most books that discuss regression modeling start out and often finish with Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) as the technique to use; Generalized Least Squares (GLS) sometimes get a mention near the back. This is all well and good if the readers’ data has the characteristics required for OLS to be an applicable technique. A lot

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R now has its own shelf in Dillons

November 24, 2013
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R now has its own shelf in Dillons

I was in Dillons, the one opposite University College London, at the start of the week and what did I spy there? There is now a bookshelf devoted to R (right, second from top) in the programming languages section. The shelf would be a lot fuller if O’Reilly did not have a complete section devoted

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