I tend not to appreciate computer technology. My life would be complete with TextEdit and Safari, and maybe Excel (since I do love a well organized spreadsheet), but I'm married to a Mac/Techie guy, so we have computers and software and stuff that I am *encouraged* to use. It's not that I can't figure out new programs, it's more that I don't particularly enjoy it. I think it has to do with impatience. The whole purpose of technology is that it can do what you want it to do better and faster than you ever could. So when it doesn't just magically work, I get annoyed. And by annoyed I mean I whine and complain until I've worked myself into a state of total frustration, all the while cursing so-called technological "advances" (for example, "They can put a man on the moon but strikethrough on my blogging platform doesn't work! What is WRONG with this thing? WHY WON'T IT WORK??)*. I pretty much carry on until my techie steps in and solves the problem in order to stop the big noisy fuss.
But it has come up that I need to use R, which is "a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics". You have to tell it what to do using commands in R code. No drop down menus, no point and click commands, no user-friendly interface. I've never really tried it, but I'm pretty sure I do not care for programming.
Being in that ever-elusive balance between career and motherhood, R has morphed into the Green Eggs and Ham of my existence, and I have become the yellow-cat-monster guy who insists on disliking it.
But R keeps popping up all over the place, and this time my techie can't save me. So after some resistance (which, in my defense, was mostly due to time constraints) I finally gave it a try, accepting that I'd have to eat the Green Eggs and Ham.
And guess what -- I do like R! It combines logic and creativity, and if you are so inclined (and capable) you can even strive for elegance. Plus, it's not annoying like certain programs (ahem, Word) because the user tells it exactly what to do. In other words, it won't try to auto format your work against your will or (incorrectly) predict your bullet alignment preference.
What can you actually do with R, you ask? Well, you can look at your dessert intake per week and compare it to that of your husband and average Joe.
We see here that I eat more chocolate and more cake than David, but David eats far more ice cream than I do. Both Dave and I consume significantly more desserts per week than average Joe.
You can also track your enjoyment of R over time. I started out not enjoying it at all, but now enjoy it quite a bit. That dip in my enjoyment represents the day I spent trying to figure out why I couldn't get a factor command to work due to a colon where there should have been a comma.
And the formatting possibilities... error bars, point size, x and y axis labels, color... Perhaps you'd like to see the same graph, but with a pink line? Here you go!
Say, I like R. I do! I would do it anytime...
*Please excuse the first world problem