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Comment: R for Speed of Implementation, Python for Scale (Score 2) 143

There is a classical problem here. R is great for getting trained and productive VERY quickly. It has 4,600 packages that will do almost anything you need to and it does some very sophisticated statistical methods right out of the box. What can't be done out of the box (or from the core download since it's not really a boxed product) has likely been coded in a package -- even very complex biostatistical and bioinformatics methods. Also R has a lot of graphical data visualization functionality built in and extended by some awesome packages like ggplot2. Additionally, R does a great job with documentation as it can inject data, visualizations and code into markdown documents, which makes publication a whole lot easier. R's functional/imperative/quasi-object oriented approaches have their quirks (but then what language doesn't?). One thing to note however is that R is not in itself multithreaded and it requires that all the data it is working on reside in memory. For very large, very complex data sets that could be a bit of problem. So where R is great from a quick ramp up perspective, Python will probably scale better to huge datasets in the tera- and peta- byte range. It has come along way especially with scipy, numpy and other packages listed above. So if you anticipate having to scale in this way, then Python maybe a better long term toolset. I like them both and use them both. I choose which one I am going to use for a project (and stick with the toolset for the whole project) based on dataset size, statistical/visualization complexity and documentation requirements. R tends to win out a bit more often for me.

Comment: Crunching Lots of Messy Data? Use R (Score 1) 466

by manlygeek (#47245097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?
R is made for cleaning and analyzing mounds of data (though R requires all that data to reside in memory so there are limits). Its interpreted, RStudio is an AWESOME free GUI, and there are libraries (AKA packages) for just about any data task you'd like to do. You can do sophisticated things quickly in the REPL and writing short analysis scripts is pretty easy. It is a functional language (mostly) and sort of OOP (not really) but it'll get the job done for data tasks.

Comment: LGBT Thuggery Raises its Ugly Head (Score 1) 1116

by manlygeek (#46706753) Attached to: Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law
Brenden invented Javascript and has remained very active in that community. He has DEMONSTRATED the ability to engender an active ecosystem which is what Mozilla requires. To weigh that against a political contribution 6 years ago is insanity and nonsense. The strident call for his resignation bodes very poorly for the validity of LGBT concerns and suggests an underlying coercion that is coming to the surface now that they consider themselves in the ascendant.

Comment: Scope Creep and Scope Creeps (Score 1) 473

by manlygeek (#45168159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Hardest Things Programmers Have To Do?
I've been a programmer/aka software engineer/aka web developer/aka IT Director for 39 years and the hardest thing that programmers have to deal with are changing expectations which manifest themselves in scope creep and scope creeps (i.e. users who don't really know what they want or need but they need it like yesterday). I think Agile techniques have helped to channel this quite a bit but that requires the right corporate culture to be successful. The truth is that computational tools are still "magic boxes" to users and it's a rare project manager/agile team that can bridge the gap between the effort required in implementation and the user's perception of what they really need.

Comment: This is not the first of its kind (Score 1) 35

by manlygeek (#37762804) Attached to: GLORIA To Give Amateur Astronomers Access To Robotic Telescopes
I applaud the annoucement and access to so many scopes, but it's not a first. SLOOH is a service (i.e. you have to pay for it) that has access to some robotic scopes to do very short observing runs and capture some crude astrophotography. I'm sure that GLORIA will probably be much better but the question is, how are targets going to be prioritized. That's the problem with professionals getting time on scopes. Just imagine what a nightmare that will be for all us Amateurs.

Comment: That Depends... No actually, that's a no-brainer. (Score 1) 1002

by manlygeek (#36144336) Attached to: Do Developers Really Need a Second Monitor?
You can give developers slow, old computers with a single monitor, but they won't be nearly as productive. I actively develop in about 10 languages (computer, not human). Have you ever tried to keep straight all the different ways that an if statement can be coded? I look all that stuff up and/or test things on my secondary and tertiary monitors (the third monitor is hooked up to a second computer) and do my coding, compiling, scripting, administrating, email checking, etc on my primary monitor. I could do all that on a single monitor but then that's a lot of task window switching and when cutting and pasting example code, looking up the parameters of a function, etc. that will kill my productivity by 25% minimum. So a couple hundred bucks for a second monitor is paid for in a couple of days. Really, that's a no brainer. BTW, I'm writing this email on the third monitor/second computer, +50 Geek.

No problem is so formidable that you can't just walk away from it. -- C. Schulz