August 17, 2011

(This article was first published on Statistics, genetics, programming, academics » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I’m at the useR! Conference in Coventry, UK, this week. It’s been every bit as inspiring, interesting and useful as I’d hoped.

Particularly interesting were the Lightning talks: a series of 5 minute presentations with one minute in between, with each presentation having 15 slides of 20 sec each, moved forward automatically.  It worked extremely well; more talks should be done this way!

And particularly interesting, among the lightning talks, was one by Tal Galili, who started the R-bloggers blog aggregator. He encouraged the R community to blog. A particularly important point, for me, was his emphasis on not feeling a need to blog at great frequency: even once per year would be worthwhile.

I had a blog in the past, but I felt a constant urge to be posting, and so felt guilty for not posting.  I have enough feelings of guilt in my life, and so I decided to just drop the blog.

Also, my previous effort focused largely on personal matters (particularly my experiences as a new parent).  It perhaps got a bit too personal.  Here, I’m going to focus on less personal things, or at least on things that might embarrass me but aren’t likely to embarrass my family.

And I’ve been thinking about blogging recently.  There are a number of blogs that I read regularly and quite enjoy, particularly those of Andrew Gelman, PZ Myers, Steven Salzberg, Jerry Coyne, and Jen McCreight.  (Apologies to Prof. Coyne; his is a web site, not a blog.)  I have strong opinions, I like to share them, and I’m not often asked to share them, and here I can share freely without prompting.

So: statistics (especially graphics and computing), genetics (especially recombination and QTL mapping), programming (particularly R), and academics (the mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learned).

Since I generally still feel like an amateur in all of these matters (and I like to say: “You know you’re an expert when everyone else’s work looks just as crappy as your own.”), I won’t worry too much about getting everything right. I certainly will want to avoid comparing myself to the people mentioned above.

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