February 2009

Just an update on the Matlab situation. I recently did renew my maintenance fees, but dropped support for the optimization, mapping, and GARCH toolboxes as I never used this. The only thing I ever used the mapping toolbox for was calcultating distances, and that got busted at some point. The free m_map software is a far superior toolbox, and did I mention it was free?

Part of the decision was that all of the analysis for the last chapter of my dissertation was done in R. Some data mining was done with Python, oceanographic transects/profiles in Ocean Data View and maps in GMT, but all analysis was done in R. This was a revelation to me, mostly due to the change in not having to write an m-script full of loops. I know that some of this is due to my bad habits in Matlab (not using the vector operations and writing loops instead) but there are so many convenience functions in R that just do what I want, and I think that this reflects a change to a more statistically demanding anaylsis style that Matlab really just isn’t built for.

This isn’t to say that one is better than the other, but with the cost and difficulty in getting Matlab up and running on new machines, R is definitely more than a viable option, and a joy to work with.

Just wanted to add that I received the Macbook Pro back from Apple repair in less than 10 days. Nicely done! The computer is snappier than ever and all artifacts of the display not waking up after sleeping are gone!

On another positive note, I was successful in restoring the Super Duper backup in 20 minutes. Incredible software!