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.

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I had been having trouble upgrading to the latest ipython (0.9.1) through macports. In fact, at this point I can’t even access the site, so I’m not sure what’s up. At any rate, the upgrade would fail only because the file ipython-0.9.1.tar.gz couldn’t be downloaded (well, I guess the source file is somewhat important!). So to get it to work I kind of had to brute force it by manually downloading the file (I googled it) and putting it in /opt/local/var/macports/distfiles/python.

Then I ran:

sudo port upgrade py25-ipython

and it went just fine.

At this point just a small update to say that since the activation fiasco, I have not used Matlab at all. Everything that I have done for the last four presentations has been done with R and Python, and I am both the happier and wiser for it.

I have been playing with JMP a bit, but honestly, it’s a bit too “high level” and while it’s neat for data exploration, it really made me nuts that two weeks after I got a license, they were *offering* me a special deal on the impending upgrade. Nothing like dropping a bundle on instantly outdated software. Way to go guys.

So for me, it’s been a pleasure to use R, Python (with iPython of course), and ferret on my Mac Pro. If I ever take a break from playing on the computer I’ll post up what I installed on the new Mac in terms of scientific software.