Github: alt.sources.* rides again, on steroids.

It’s back to he days of alt.sources.*.   With the advent of github, I seem to be building my favorite tools  from sources again most of the time.   They work better, faster with no waiting on packagers or vendors.

For something I was working on, I wound up having to clone part of a git tree into a new repository, which turned out to be surprisingly hard. This helped:

But it lead to  pulling the source for for git itself to have git-subtree work

and I’ve already decided that building  with the demise of Damien Cassou’s emacs snapshots, the best route is to build emacs from the latest sources, and for various reasons the same goes for org-mode

Things seem to have come full circle.   Back before RPM and apt-get we used to pull the latest source out of the local alt.sources.* Usenet archives and build everything (to this day I have a ~/src/ or ~/build/ directory on many  systems, but it’s migrating to ~/git/${GITHUB_USERNAME}/package

When an emacs user calls something aRcane…

I’m working through an online course on the R language

I’m finding it quite arcane, retro, baroque. Just a few examples:

  • length(x)=5, assigning to a function to to set the length of an object? really ?
  • “1” based array index (FORTRAN, anyone?)
  • complete textual orientation (OK, not a problem for an emacs user)
  • Having to think about the size of objects being read in (echos of the days before virtual memory)

On the other hand, I was able to generate a heatmap in 3 lines of code (thanks to Bronwyn Woods for the pointer). I spent hours messing around with Python and JavaScript versions, but the R version Just Worked. Three lines. Amazing.

data <- data.frame(x=c(1,2,3), y=c(1,2,3), count=c(10,10,5))
levelplot(count ~ x*y, data=data)


Figure 1: Simple heatmap generated by R