two questions for R beginners

Previous Topic Next Topic
 
classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
96 messages Options
12345
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

two questions for R beginners

Patrick Burns
* What were your biggest misconceptions or
stumbling blocks to getting up and running
with R?

* What documents helped you the most in this
initial phase?

I especially want to hear from people who are
lazy and impatient.

Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
write off-list if you are just confirming what
has been said on-list.

--
Patrick Burns
[hidden email]
http://www.burns-stat.com
(home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Tal Galili
My biggest stumbling blocks to getting up and running with R was whenever I
was lazy and impatient.

The more you love R, the more it loves you back.

Tal




----------------Contact
Details:-------------------------------------------------------
Contact me: [hidden email] |  972-52-7275845
Read me: www.talgalili.com (Hebrew) | www.biostatistics.co.il (Hebrew) |
www.r-statistics.com (English)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 7:31 PM, Patrick Burns <[hidden email]>wrote:

> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?
>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.
>
> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
> write off-list if you are just confirming what
> has been said on-list.
>
> --
> Patrick Burns
> [hidden email]
> http://www.burns-stat.com
> (home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Ralf B
My biggest blocker was my misconception that R is extremely difficult
to start with. It is powerful and one can do very complicated things (
that consequently turn things  complicated) but it comes with very
nice defaults and one can produce great results with standard tasks in
very little time - especially if one has done programming and/or
scripting before.

I pushed it away for too long that way. I wish I would have used it
years ago and avoided SPSS altogether - must have wasted 100s of hours
doing repetitive tasks by click and partial scripts in SPSS. Not to
mention a horrible license policy and a visualization unit that is
simply embarrassing for a product that is in its 18th or 19th version.

Ralf

On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Tal Galili <[hidden email]> wrote:

> My biggest stumbling blocks to getting up and running with R was whenever I
> was lazy and impatient.
>
> The more you love R, the more it loves you back.
>
> Tal
>
>
>
>
> ----------------Contact
> Details:-------------------------------------------------------
> Contact me: [hidden email] |  972-52-7275845
> Read me: www.talgalili.com (Hebrew) | www.biostatistics.co.il (Hebrew) |
> www.r-statistics.com (English)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 7:31 PM, Patrick Burns <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>> with R?
>>
>> * What documents helped you the most in this
>> initial phase?
>>
>> I especially want to hear from people who are
>> lazy and impatient.
>>
>> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
>> write off-list if you are just confirming what
>> has been said on-list.
>>
>> --
>> Patrick Burns
>> [hidden email]
>> http://www.burns-stat.com
>> (home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide
>> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>
>
>        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Clint Bowman
I started using statistical software with the commercial product S+
when I obtained a new HP735 workstation.  We kept the S+ license
going for a number of years until I heard about R.  It was an easy
transition and because I have been proficient in fortran and perl,
the scripting came naturally--except for some syntax
similarities/differences between perl and R interacting with a
natural tendency towards dyslexia.

I especially like that I can slice and dice the data to ferret out
relationships e.g., concentration by hour of day, by month, by wind
speed, by wind direction--love those boxplots.

I also find that even the default settings produce some pretty
attractive plots that are useable in many settings--I've also
produced some pretty awful ones.

And the price always reminds me that I need to find every way
possible to contribute to the overall good--I've forgotten too much
of my fortran and C programming skills to contribute directly to
the R Project.

Clint

--
Clint Bowman INTERNET: [hidden email]
Air Quality Modeler INTERNET: [hidden email]
Department of Ecology VOICE: (360) 407-6815
PO Box 47600 FAX: (360) 407-7534
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

On Thu, 25 Feb 2010, Ralf B wrote:

> My biggest blocker was my misconception that R is extremely difficult
> to start with. It is powerful and one can do very complicated things (
> that consequently turn things  complicated) but it comes with very
> nice defaults and one can produce great results with standard tasks in
> very little time - especially if one has done programming and/or
> scripting before.
>
> I pushed it away for too long that way. I wish I would have used it
> years ago and avoided SPSS altogether - must have wasted 100s of hours
> doing repetitive tasks by click and partial scripts in SPSS. Not to
> mention a horrible license policy and a visualization unit that is
> simply embarrassing for a product that is in its 18th or 19th version.
>
> Ralf
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Tal Galili <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> My biggest stumbling blocks to getting up and running with R was whenever I
>> was lazy and impatient.
>>
>> The more you love R, the more it loves you back.
>>
>> Tal
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ----------------Contact
>> Details:-------------------------------------------------------
>> Contact me: [hidden email] |  972-52-7275845
>> Read me: www.talgalili.com (Hebrew) | www.biostatistics.co.il (Hebrew) |
>> www.r-statistics.com (English)
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 7:31 PM, Patrick Burns <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>>> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>>> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>>> with R?
>>>
>>> * What documents helped you the most in this
>>> initial phase?
>>>
>>> I especially want to hear from people who are
>>> lazy and impatient.
>>>
>>> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
>>> write off-list if you are just confirming what
>>> has been said on-list.
>>>
>>> --
>>> Patrick Burns
>>> [hidden email]
>>> http://www.burns-stat.com
>>> (home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')
>>>
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> [hidden email] mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>>> PLEASE do read the posting guide
>>> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>>
>>
>>        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Patrick Burns
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Apparently I need to explain the "lazy and
impatient" comment.  No offence was intended
(quite the contrary).  The meaning of it is
that the higher your level of frustration,
the more valuable your comments are likely to
be to me.

On 25/02/2010 17:31, Patrick Burns wrote:

> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?
>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.
>
> Feel free to write to me off-list. Definitely
> write off-list if you are just confirming what
> has been said on-list.
>

--
Patrick Burns
[hidden email]
http://www.burns-stat.com
(home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Liviu Andronic
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
On 2/25/10, Patrick Burns <[hidden email]> wrote:

> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>  stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>  with R?
>
>  * What documents helped you the most in this
>  initial phase?
>
>  I especially want to hear from people who are
>  lazy and impatient.
>
I'm quite resilient so I don't think I got to the point of
frustration, but getting up to speed was a lengthy process. The
biggest stumbler was getting onto the console, and not knowing what to
do next. (My first encounter with stats was SPSS, so it was similar to
getting onto a UNIX virtual console after a life-long experience with
point-and-click windows: it's not very reassuring to know that there
are man pages.) I stayed in the what-do-I-do-next state of mind for
about 6-12 months (I learned R myself, and my professors were quite
reticent when I first introduced them to R).

Of particular help to making progress were JGR (arguments suggestions,
editor with syntax highlighting, object browser, etc.), Rcmdr (quick
access to examples for performing specific tasks, etc.) and Sweave +
LyX (for easy results transfer and report creation, without the burden
of learning LaTeX). For graphics, playwith latticist and rggobi come
in very handy. From the documentation, right now I can recall Quick-R
and "R for SAS and SPSS users". And of course, RSiteSearch (also via
the sos package), Rseek and the vignettes are a must.

Regards
Liviu

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Greg Snow-2
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Patrick,

I would add one more question:

* where did you look for help expecting answers, but did not find them?

If you add hubris to laziness and impatience, you have Larry Wall's 3 virtues of a programmer.

To new users of R who may not understand why Patrick is asking:

Patrick Burns is the author of some great tutorials/references on S/R and is probably looking for questions to answer in his next contribution.

Lately there have been a large number of questions on some fairly basic issues (and some rather complex issues that people expected to be simple/basic).  My initial response (and probably others as well) to some of these requests was to quickly think that the answer is obvious and that the obvious place to look is ..., but then I realize that I am a high school dropout who has been using S/R for over 20 years, majored in statistics but reads Shakespeare for fun, and have been known to saw people in half for the entertainment of others; so I am probably not representative of most beginners.  Fortune(89) probably applies here.  If R beginners will share their frustrations, where they looked but did not find answers (and why they looked there), what would have helped them, etc.  Then we (well probably Patrick mostly) can do more to help the next set of beginners.

It does not matter how good our answers are if they answer the wrong questions or are in places that the questioner never sees them.

"The best way to spread information is to tell someone that it is a secret, the best way to keep it secret is to put it in a manual."

--
Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
[hidden email]
801.408.8111


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:r-help-bounces@r-
> project.org] On Behalf Of Patrick Burns
> Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:31 AM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [R] two questions for R beginners
>
> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?
>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.
>
> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
> write off-list if you are just confirming what
> has been said on-list.
>
> --
> Patrick Burns
> [hidden email]
> http://www.burns-stat.com
> (home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-
> guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Peter Dalgaard
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Patrick Burns wrote:
> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?
>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.

Can't be bothered with questionnaires and can't wait to see your next
book... ;-)

-pd


--
    O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Øster Farimagsgade 5, Entr.B
   c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     PO Box 2099, 1014 Cph. K
  (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph:  (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - ([hidden email])              FAX: (+45) 35327907

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Carl Witthoft
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Well, here goes...

I still wish there were a really good monograph on the use and
implementation of factors.

I had to do a certain amount of digging to learn that {assign, get,
eval, expression, call, parse, deparse} all existed and how they play
together.  Sometimes they are look like the C language's  indirect
addressing, *foo and &foo , and sometimes they don't. :-)

Remembering exactly what " y~x " can do and what it can't took a while.

Learning about, and watching for 'lazy evaluation,' especially in
variables passed to a function, was a bit of a surprise.

And to echo others, "R-inferno" has been invaluable, along with the
Zoonek manual.

Carl

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Albert-Jan Roskam
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
> "The best way to spread information is to tell someone that it is a secret, the best way to keep it secret is to put it in  > a manual."

==> Nice quote. ;-) The problem is not that there's too little information, rather there's so much. That's probably because R is so powerful, but it makes it tough to sieve out the relevant bits. Some of the info is way too technical to be practical. If I want to drive a car I do not necessarily need to know all the nitty gritty about engine technology.

> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?

==> That R can't deal very well with large data, which is not entirely untrue. Also, I was learning another language (Python) and I didn't want R to interfere with that. Finally, in a working
 environment, it;s almost impossible to justify the time 'lost' learning a new language. Managers generally don't give a %$# about the beauty and robustness of a language. They just want to get the job done asap.

>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
==> Many docs. CRAN documents (pdfs), other tutorials, Bob Muenchen's book. Many docs == many angles == a good way to learn things.

> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.
>
==> Lazy? n/a. Impatient? Yup, guilty as charged.

> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
> write off-list if you are just confirming what
> has been said on-list.

Cheers!!

Albert-Jan



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--- On Thu, 2/25/10, Greg Snow <[hidden email]> wrote:

From: Greg Snow <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [R] two questions for R beginners
To: "Patrick Burns" <[hidden email]>, "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 9:42 PM

Patrick,

I would add one more question:

* where did you look for help expecting answers, but did not find them?

If you add hubris to laziness and impatience, you have Larry Wall's 3 virtues of a programmer.

To new users of R who may not understand why Patrick is asking:

Patrick Burns is the author of some great tutorials/references on S/R and is probably looking for questions to answer in
 his next contribution.

Lately there have been a large number of questions on some fairly basic issues (and some rather complex issues that people expected to be simple/basic).  My initial response (and probably others as well) to some of these requests was to quickly think that the answer is obvious and that the obvious place to look is ..., but then I realize that I am a high school dropout who has been using S/R for over 20 years, majored in statistics but reads Shakespeare for fun, and have been known to saw people in half for the entertainment of others; so I am probably not representative of most beginners.  Fortune(89) probably applies here.  If R beginners will share their frustrations, where they looked but did not find answers (and why they looked there), what would have helped them, etc.  Then we (well probably Patrick mostly) can do more to help the next set of beginners.

It does not matter how good our
 answers are if they answer the wrong questions or are in places that the questioner never sees them.

"The best way to spread information is to tell someone that it is a secret, the best way to keep it secret is to put it in a manual."

--
Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
[hidden email]
801.408.8111


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:r-help-bounces@r-
> project.org] On Behalf Of Patrick Burns
> Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:31 AM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [R] two questions for R beginners
>
 

> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?
>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.
>
> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
> write off-list if you are just confirming what
> has been said on-list.
>
> --
> Patrick Burns
> [hidden email]
> http://www.burns-stat.com
> (home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email]
 mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-
> guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.



     
        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]


______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Sharpie
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Patrick Burns wrote
* What were your biggest misconceptions or
stumbling blocks to getting up and running
with R?
R was the first scripting language that I *really* invested time in learning.  Prior to R I had a few years experience programming in Fortran and had worked on a few projects using Matlab.  Because most of my programming experience was with Fortran, the toughest thing to get my head around was definitely lexical scoping and that unlike Fortran subroutines, R function results had to be assigned to something in order to persist outside of the function.

Patrick Burns wrote
* What documents helped you the most in this
initial phase?
Definitely the "An Introduction to R" manual that ships with the core distribution.  It helped me translate my knowledge of programming concepts to the R language very quickly.

Patrick Burns wrote
I especially want to hear from people who are
lazy and impatient.

Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
write off-list if you are just confirming what
has been said on-list.

--
Patrick Burns
Charlie Sharpsteen
Undergraduate-- Environmental Resources Engineering
Humboldt State University
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Richard M. Heiberger
In reply to this post by Carl Witthoft
On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:39 PM, Carl Witthoft <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Well, here goes...
>
> I still wish there were a really good monograph on the use and
> implementation of factors.

To get a good handle on factors, and the sets of contrasts they encode,
it is really necessary to study a good statistics book.  I recommend mine

Statistical Analysis and Data Display, An Intermediate Course with
Examples in S-Plus, R, and SAS,
Richard M. Heiberger and Burt Holland, Springer 2004

But I will acknowledge that other books are available.

Rich

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Saeed Abu Nimeh-2
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 9:31 AM, Patrick Burns <[hidden email]> wrote:
> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?

1- Compared to other programming languages it is hard to learn R by
example, because it is hard to find code on the web that will do the
exact thing you are looking for, sometimes you might get lucky though.
By contrast, take Perl for example, it is an easy language to learn by
example.

2- The R mailing list. Beginners get frustrated after they struggle
for a long time to solve a problem and the easiest thing then is to
send an email to the R mailing list. I did this in the past. The best
thing that happened was that my request was neglected and I had to
spend more time on the problem and find a solution by myself
eventually. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that the mailing list
is bad, but it should be more organized. Maybe broken down into couple
of other mailing lists. This might bring up a good discussion thread.

>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?

An Introduction to R by Venables
simpleR – Using R for Introductory Statistics by Verzani

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Dieter Menne
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Patrick Burns wrote
* What were your biggest misconceptions or
stumbling blocks to getting up and running
with R?
(This derives partly from teaching)

The fact that this xapply-stuff was not idempotent (worse: not always) and that you need a monster like do.call() to straighten this out. Nowadays, plyr comes close.

The concept of environment. With S it was worse, though.

That you cannot change values "passed by reference". I noted that the latter is no problem for students who have not worked with c(++/#) before. That there is only one return-result in functions.

"[" and the likes as an operator.

10 years ago, when I started, the message was: S4 is the future, S3 is legacy. So I learned S4. Only to never use is in self-written code later. Might be different for BioConductor people.

That sometimes you can use vectors not in data= (lattice), and sometimes not (ggplot2). Still a VERY confusing inconsistency.

The "why-does-this-not-print" FAQ.

Why does par(oma..) not work with lattice?

Dieter

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Ivan Calandra
Since you want input from beginners, here are some thoughts

I had and still have two big problems with R:
- this vectorization thing. I've read many manuals (including R
inferno), but I'm still not completely clear about it. In simple
examples, it's fine. But when it gets a bit more complex, then...
Related to it, the *apply functions are still a bit difficult to
understand. When I have to use them, I just try one and see what
happens. I don't understand them well enough to know which one I need.
- the second problem is where to find the functions/packages I need.
There are many options, and that's actually the problem. R Wiki, Rseek,
RSiteSearch, Crantastic, etc... When you start with R, you discover that
the capabilities of R are almost unlimited and you don't really know
where to start, where to find what you need.

As noted in earlier posts, the mailing list is really great, but some
people are really hard with beginners. It was noted in a discussion a
few days ago, but it looks like some don't realize how difficult it is
at the beginning to formulate a good question, clear, with
self-contained example and so on. Moreover, not everybody speaks English
natively. I don't mean that you must help, even when the question is
really vague and not clear and whatever. I'm just saying that if you
don't want to help (whatever the reason), you don't have to say it
badly. But in any cases, the mailing list is still really helpful. As
someone noted (sorry I erased the email so I don't remember who), it
might be a good idea to split it.

Hope that's what you wanted
Ivan


Le 2/26/2010 08:39, Dieter Menne a écrit :

>
> Patrick Burns wrote:
>    
>> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>> with R?
>>
>>
>>      
> (This derives partly from teaching)
>
> The fact that this xapply-stuff was not idempotent (worse: not always) and
> that you need a monster like do.call() to straighten this out. Nowadays,
> plyr comes close.
>
> The concept of environment. With S it was worse, though.
>
> That you cannot change values "passed by reference". I noted that the latter
> is no problem for students who have not worked with c(++/#) before. That
> there is only one return-result in functions.
>
> "[" and the likes as an operator.
>
> 10 years ago, when I started, the message was: S4 is the future, S3 is
> legacy. So I learned S4. Only to never use is in self-written code later.
> Might be different for BioConductor people.
>
> That sometimes you can use vectors not in data= (lattice), and sometimes not
> (ggplot2). Still a VERY confusing inconsistency.
>
> The "why-does-this-not-print" FAQ.
>
> Why does par(oma..) not work with lattice?
>
> Dieter
>
>
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Mario Valle
My difficulties:
1) Statistics :-) well, I'm learning.
2) Understand what is available *per subject area*. Something like the task view for
packages, should be compiled for basic commands/functions. Like: all things related to
string manipulation, all things related to number formatting, all *apply things, and so
on. Something similar is available for C runtime library functions (like in
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/2aza74he(VS.71).aspx ) and is really useful, also
to expand the number of functions known.
3) The Diktakt-like: "avoid for loops!" without clear examples of alternatives. I have
found them later in the maillist, but at the beginning it is not simple, especially coming
from C/C++.
4) for statement behavior different from C/C++: for(i in 1:0) counts backward instead of
stopping.
5) missing small things like ++var

On the positive side:
- it is not too difficult to setup something simple to create a decent chart.
- it is possible to use for loops without feeling guilty. :-)
- documentation is very well done. Maybe some page are still clear only to who already
know the argument.
- there are zillions of courses/papers/tutorials to read
- after studying R by myself, now I'm becoming the local R expert, that from a workplace
point of view is not bad...

Hope it helps.
Ciao!
        mario


Ivan Calandra wrote:

> Since you want input from beginners, here are some thoughts
>
> I had and still have two big problems with R:
> - this vectorization thing. I've read many manuals (including R
> inferno), but I'm still not completely clear about it. In simple
> examples, it's fine. But when it gets a bit more complex, then...
> Related to it, the *apply functions are still a bit difficult to
> understand. When I have to use them, I just try one and see what
> happens. I don't understand them well enough to know which one I need.
> - the second problem is where to find the functions/packages I need.
> There are many options, and that's actually the problem. R Wiki, Rseek,
> RSiteSearch, Crantastic, etc... When you start with R, you discover that
> the capabilities of R are almost unlimited and you don't really know
> where to start, where to find what you need.
>
> As noted in earlier posts, the mailing list is really great, but some
> people are really hard with beginners. It was noted in a discussion a
> few days ago, but it looks like some don't realize how difficult it is
> at the beginning to formulate a good question, clear, with
> self-contained example and so on. Moreover, not everybody speaks English
> natively. I don't mean that you must help, even when the question is
> really vague and not clear and whatever. I'm just saying that if you
> don't want to help (whatever the reason), you don't have to say it
> badly. But in any cases, the mailing list is still really helpful. As
> someone noted (sorry I erased the email so I don't remember who), it
> might be a good idea to split it.
>
> Hope that's what you wanted
> Ivan
>
>
> Le 2/26/2010 08:39, Dieter Menne a écrit :
>> Patrick Burns wrote:
>>    
>>> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>>> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>>> with R?
>>>
>>>
>>>      
>> (This derives partly from teaching)
>>
>> The fact that this xapply-stuff was not idempotent (worse: not always) and
>> that you need a monster like do.call() to straighten this out. Nowadays,
>> plyr comes close.
>>
>> The concept of environment. With S it was worse, though.
>>
>> That you cannot change values "passed by reference". I noted that the latter
>> is no problem for students who have not worked with c(++/#) before. That
>> there is only one return-result in functions.
>>
>> "[" and the likes as an operator.
>>
>> 10 years ago, when I started, the message was: S4 is the future, S3 is
>> legacy. So I learned S4. Only to never use is in self-written code later.
>> Might be different for BioConductor people.
>>
>> That sometimes you can use vectors not in data= (lattice), and sometimes not
>> (ggplot2). Still a VERY confusing inconsistency.
>>
>> The "why-does-this-not-print" FAQ.
>>
>> Why does par(oma..) not work with lattice?
>>
>> Dieter
>>
>>
>>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

--
Ing. Mario Valle
Data Analysis and Visualization Group            | http://www.cscs.ch/~mvalle
Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)      | Tel:  +41 (91) 610.82.60
v. Cantonale Galleria 2, 6928 Manno, Switzerland | Fax:  +41 (91) 610.82.82

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Patrick Burns
In reply to this post by Saeed Abu Nimeh-2
Saeed,

If the R-help list were split, what do you
see as the pieces?

Pat

On 26/02/2010 01:53, Saeed Abu Nimeh wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 9:31 AM, Patrick Burns<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>> with R?
>
> 1- Compared to other programming languages it is hard to learn R by
> example, because it is hard to find code on the web that will do the
> exact thing you are looking for, sometimes you might get lucky though.
> By contrast, take Perl for example, it is an easy language to learn by
> example.
>
> 2- The R mailing list. Beginners get frustrated after they struggle
> for a long time to solve a problem and the easiest thing then is to
> send an email to the R mailing list. I did this in the past. The best
> thing that happened was that my request was neglected and I had to
> spend more time on the problem and find a solution by myself
> eventually. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that the mailing list
> is bad, but it should be more organized. Maybe broken down into couple
> of other mailing lists. This might bring up a good discussion thread.
>
>>
>> * What documents helped you the most in this
>> initial phase?
>
> An Introduction to R by Venables
> simpleR – Using R for Introductory Statistics by Verzani
>

--
Patrick Burns
[hidden email]
http://www.burns-stat.com
(home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Odp: two questions for R beginners

PIKAL Petr
In reply to this post by Patrick Burns
Hi

It was class, mode or type.of imported data which I usually believed they
are something but actually they were something else until I learned that
when something does not look as I would expect I shall blame myself for
wrong expectation.

For the time being I would say that reshape and factor ordering especially
with groupedData objects from nlme are still giving me a headache and many
trials and errors to get desired result. And of course regular expressions
but they are not related with R but with my laziness to learn it due to
fact that on this list there are many clever experts which can solve the
problem for a fraction of time I could do it myself.

For documents in the beginning I would vote for Paul Johnsons Rtips. About
10 yars ago it was nice collection of several useful Howto's.

Regards
Petr


[hidden email] napsal dne 25.02.2010 18:31:19:

> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
> with R?
>
> * What documents helped you the most in this
> initial phase?
>
> I especially want to hear from people who are
> lazy and impatient.
>
> Feel free to write to me off-list.  Definitely
> write off-list if you are just confirming what
> has been said on-list.
>
> --
> Patrick Burns
> [hidden email]
> http://www.burns-stat.com
> (home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Patrick Burns
In reply to this post by Greg Snow-2
On 25/02/2010 20:42, Greg Snow wrote:
> Patrick,
>
> I would add one more question:
>
> * where did you look for help expecting answers, but did not find them?
>

Yes, an excellent additional question.

Pat

> If you add hubris to laziness and impatience, you have Larry Wall's 3 virtues of a programmer.
>
> [...]

--
Patrick Burns
[hidden email]
http://www.burns-stat.com
(home of 'The R Inferno' and 'A Guide for the Unwilling S User')

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: two questions for R beginners

Paul Hiemstra
In reply to this post by Ivan Calandra
Ivan Calandra wrote:

> Since you want input from beginners, here are some thoughts
>
> I had and still have two big problems with R:
> - this vectorization thing. I've read many manuals (including R
> inferno), but I'm still not completely clear about it. In simple
> examples, it's fine. But when it gets a bit more complex, then...
> Related to it, the *apply functions are still a bit difficult to
> understand. When I have to use them, I just try one and see what
> happens. I don't understand them well enough to know which one I need.
> - the second problem is where to find the functions/packages I need.
> There are many options, and that's actually the problem. R Wiki,
> Rseek, RSiteSearch, Crantastic, etc... When you start with R, you
> discover that the capabilities of R are almost unlimited and you don't
> really know where to start, where to find what you need.
>
> As noted in earlier posts, the mailing list is really great, but some
> people are really hard with beginners. It was noted in a discussion a
> few days ago, but it looks like some don't realize how difficult it is
> at the beginning to formulate a good question, clear, with
> self-contained example and so on. Moreover, not everybody speaks
> English natively. I don't mean that you must help, even when the
> question is really vague and not clear and whatever. I'm just saying
> that if you don't want to help (whatever the reason), you don't have
> to say it badly. But in any cases, the mailing list is still really
> helpful. As someone noted (sorry I erased the email so I don't
> remember who), it might be a good idea to split it.
Hi everyone,

My 2ct about the mailing list :). I understand that beginners have a
hard time formulating a good question. But the problem is that we can't
answer the question when it is unclear. So either I:

- Don't bother answering
- Try do discuss with the author of the question, taking lots of time to
find out what exactly is the question.
- Send a "read the posting guide" answer

I mostly do the first, as I have to get things done during my PhD :). So
this leaves us with kind of a problem, the person mailing the list
doesn't have the knowledge to ask the right question, the list can't
answer properly and consequently, the person mailing the list still
doesn't get the information he/she needs. We could start an R-beginner
mailing list, but this would also suffer from this problem. What do you
guys think?

Maybe the mailing list is not the right medium for really basic stuff.
For that I would recommend a good R-book or (better) a course in R or
(even better) some colleagues who work with R that you can ask questions to.

cheers,
Paul

>
> Hope that's what you wanted
> Ivan
>
>
> Le 2/26/2010 08:39, Dieter Menne a écrit :
>>
>> Patrick Burns wrote:
>>  
>>> * What were your biggest misconceptions or
>>> stumbling blocks to getting up and running
>>> with R?
>>>
>>>
>>>      
>> (This derives partly from teaching)
>>
>> The fact that this xapply-stuff was not idempotent (worse: not
>> always) and
>> that you need a monster like do.call() to straighten this out. Nowadays,
>> plyr comes close.
>>
>> The concept of environment. With S it was worse, though.
>>
>> That you cannot change values "passed by reference". I noted that the
>> latter
>> is no problem for students who have not worked with c(++/#) before. That
>> there is only one return-result in functions.
>>
>> "[" and the likes as an operator.
>>
>> 10 years ago, when I started, the message was: S4 is the future, S3 is
>> legacy. So I learned S4. Only to never use is in self-written code
>> later.
>> Might be different for BioConductor people.
>>
>> That sometimes you can use vectors not in data= (lattice), and
>> sometimes not
>> (ggplot2). Still a VERY confusing inconsistency.
>>
>> The "why-does-this-not-print" FAQ.
>>
>> Why does par(oma..) not work with lattice?
>>
>> Dieter
>>
>>
>>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.


--
Drs. Paul Hiemstra
Department of Physical Geography
Faculty of Geosciences
University of Utrecht
Heidelberglaan 2
P.O. Box 80.115
3508 TC Utrecht
Phone:  +3130 274 3113 Mon-Tue
Phone:  +3130 253 5773 Wed-Fri
http://intamap.geo.uu.nl/~paul

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
12345