Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: R Cookbook by Paul Teetor

R CookbookR Cookbook by Paul Teetor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A part of the cookbook series is expected to provide a multitude of examples of useful tasks. The R Cookbook does this, but also more. This provides more, teaching about R beyond what reference books and most tutorials.

One weakness of R compared to other data analysis environments and programming languages is it's lack of coherence that comes from a central design. Instead it seems like a set of constructs, each designed differently. As an example, the multiple packages for graphic. Every user of R soon picks up idioms from tutorials or trial and error. Book authors use their favorites. But the effect is that it is hard to know what you do not know. And one does not realize the realm of the possible.

The R Cookbook does this. In having multiple related recipes together what it provides are a number of closely related tasks, done in different ways. And using different idioms. And I have taken advantage of it, learning more ways of working with various data structures, the apply family of functions and other data transforms. This makes the R Cookbook even more valuable then the typical member of the O'Reilly Cookbook series. Well recommended.

I receive a free electronic of this book as part of the O'Reilly Blogger program.

More information on the book can be found at O'Reilly Press

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 10, 2011

PSO: A Sunday afternoon out in New Castle

[This post is originally published at Pittsburgh Symphony Blogs]

Candelabras in the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle, PA On a sunny Sunday in April, my wife and I went up to New Castle to see the Pittsburgh Symphony perform at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. And this ends a drought. We have not attended a concert live since the end of September. And that is one of the things that the adventure known as an introduction of parenting can do.

So Sunday was a carefully planned day. Sunday morning was spent on an outing with the three of us, to ensure that our son got hours of interaction time with us before the afternoon (and hopefully ready for a nap). Baby was fed and changed. Grandma and Grandpa took baby as he tired out to fall asleep. And we went.

We have been told that when we had our first child our lives will change forever. Of course, that same phrase is used at marriage and many other of life's milestones. And both of us for as long as we have known each other (and likely before that) have always been changing and growing (and we hope this will be true for the rest of our days). So we expect that in the course of events our priorities, our various relationships and how we use our time will change over time, and new interest come in and old ones fade away. But one thing (among others) that our friends have no expectation of fading away is our love and enjoyment of music. And so we have looked forward to this Sunday's concert, not for an expectation of brilliance, stunning performances, enchanting interpretations, or even the expectation to meet old friends (although all of this was present), but as a touchstone, that a part of our life has not faded away.

This post has been sponsored by the services of Grandma and Grandpa Babysitting  ;-)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Parenting: Month 5 - Time to be playful

Very happy baby by LugerLA
Very happy baby, a photo by LugerLA on Flickr.

The major development for the past month? No, no sleeping through the night (Q: how many times does he wake up each night? A: We don't count because it would be too depressing) But he is responding much more to people.

In particular, he likes to smile. And (being the unbiased father I am) I think he has a very good smile (note: only when he tries). This started a month ago when we took our little vacation. And walking around with him at the resort my comment was he was starting to have a smile that looks like someone was drawing a cartoon of a smiling baby. (i.e. draws a round face with a sideways 'D' for a mouth). Every day, we have a lot of fun getting him to make that smile again, starting when he first wakes up (meaning the first time he wakes up after sunrise). Sometimes, it works so well that he forgets that he was fussing at the time (only sometimes, not all the time)Laughing with mommy

Grandpa also notices that T is more responsive. In particular, T is getting much more fun to play with. And grandpa is much better at playing with baby than anything else, so he feels much more confident (he was always worried that T did not like him much).

Taking a walk on a sun-shiny day Now that it is warmer, we are trying to take him out more. Daddy takes him out of the house every weekend without anyone else to for a walk (usually it is at a mall, it is not that warm yet). And we are trying to walk around the neighborhood more. He is still very scared of strangers and crowds. We need to expose him to more people and go on more outings in public (or have more friends come and visit *hint* )

Major event for next month. Grandma and grandpa are leaving soon, after 6 wonderful months here. So we get to find out what real parenting life is like.