by Joseph Rickert
I have been a big fan of R user groups since I attended my first meeting. There is just something about the vibe of being around people excited about what they are doing that feels good. From a speaker's perspective, presenting at an R user Group meeting must be the rough equivalent of doing “stand-up” at a club where you know mostly everyone and you are pretty sure people are going to like your material. So while user groups don't necessarily ignite R creativity (people don't do their best work just to present at an R User group meeting), they do help to shine the spotlight on some really good stuff.
I attend all of the Bay Area useR group meetings, and quite a few other R related events throughout the year, but I only get to experience a small fraction of what is going on in the R world. In the spirit of sharing the “wish I was there” feeling, here are a few recent user group presentations from around the globe that look like they were informative, entertaining and motivating.
Tommy O'Dell gave “Welcome to dply” talk to the Western Australia R Group (WARG) on September 10th. This is a very good presentation until near the very end when it becomes an absolutely great presentation!! Apparently, motivated by a desire to use dplyr with R 2.12, an older R version of R not supported by dplyr, Tommy deconstructed the dplyr “magic” to write his own package, rdplyr. This is a wonderful example of how curiosity and open source can open up many possibilities. The following slide comes from the section where Tommy explains some of the problems he encountered and how he worked through them.
On the 16th of September, Kevin Little gave a talk to MadR about how he recovered after “hitting the wall” in failed first attempt to interface to the SurveyMonkey API using the Rmonkey package. Kevin's description of how he worked through the process which included wading into some JSON scripting is a motivational case study. Kevin wrote a blog post that provides background for the project and has made his slides available here.
Also in September Jim Porzak, a long-time contributor to the San Francisco Bay Area R community, described a detailed customer segmentation analysis in a presentation to BARUG. The following slide examines the stability of the clusters.
Finally, there is a small treasure trove of relatively recent work at the BaselR presentations page. These include a presentation from Aimee Gott on the Mango Solutions development environment and one from Anne Kuemmel on using simulations to calculate confidence intervals in pharma applications. Also have a look at Daniel Sabanes Bove's presentation on using R to produce Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, and some thoughtful advice from Reinhold Koch on how to go about creating a lively R community within your company.
Let us all adopt this mindset!!