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How to (correctly) load a package

Adventures with R

The great Fela sang “Teacher no teach me nonsense” .

While taking a course in Machine Learning the other day, I came across this:

To find this kind of code on a course amazed even me, an R neophyte, as there is so much wrong with this function that is wrong and it really left me puzzled. What made it worse was that the course is being organised by a highly reputable software giant.

But please, if you’re loading (or more correctly, attaching) a package within a function, do not call library(); rather make use of require(). This blog by the author of the knitr package explains it better than I ever could.

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learn to code… code what?!


teaching kids to code has had about three stages in the world:

  1. computer classes or labs in primary schools, in the 20th century
  2. computers for developing nations initiatives like one-laptop-per-child
  3. the contemporary rasp-pi/mobile app stage

each of these stages was driven by significant changes in hardware; the first by the advent of the home (and school) pc, the second by the development of a radically inexpensive “netbook,” and the third by both smartphones and single-board computers (sbcs).

i grew up in the first of these, and taught myself to code at home. the question “code what?” was not important then; asking it would be like the j.k. rowling interview where a reporter asked: “what should kids read while waiting for your next book to come out?” a stunned rowling replied, “other… books?”

with logo, the question is answered before you start: logo lends itself most easily to making graphical designs…

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The Search Path: How R looks for stuff

Adventures with R

The good thing about sharing your knowledge with people is that you always find yourself strangely inspired. That’s what happened to me the other day in a meeting with colleagues where I were looking at some issues we were having with a reporting format we created in R Markdown. I was trying to explain to them in simple terms the little I knew about how R’s search path works and how it access objects along that path. I typed search() and got this all too familiar output

Because of the size of my console window that day, I suddenly had an analogy for them.

I asked them to imagine that they were sitting at a desk with two drawers and suddenly started looking for a particular document. What would they do?

A desk with drawers and a chair © mattbuck 2012

The first impulse would be to start from the tabletop first. This represents .GlovalEnv

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Rename a local and remote branch in git

I found this easy-to-read blog on renaming git branches and just had to share…
The code may not render properly on this page, so I suggest you hop on over there and read it.

Multiple States Knowledge Base

If you have named a branch incorrectly AND pushed this to the remote repository follow these steps before any other developers get a chance to jump on you and give you shit for not correctly following naming conventions.

1. Rename your local branch.
If you are on the branch you want to rename:

If you are on a different branch:

2. Delete the old-name remote branch and push the new-name local branch.

3. Reset the upstream branch for the new-name local branch.
Switch to the branch and then:

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My Secret for writing in the morning

I found this very useful advice and worth sharing here.

Ed Wilson Blog

SUMMARY: Ed Wilson talks about how he begins writing in the morning

One of the things that used to be a problem for me was getting started writing in the morning. I would wake up early, maybe have a cup or two of coffee or tea, and dutifully sit at my desk. I would then check email, check my stocks, read through news group postings, and generally waste the morning. After lunch I would do the same thing, and eventually, sometime near supper, I would get to work and begin writing. I might sit at my desk and work furiously until one or two in the morning, collapse, and then do the same thing the next day – always promising myself that I would be better the next day, and the next day would be a similar battle.

Two things changed that. The first was that I began traveling –…

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