gtrends 1.3.0 now on CRAN: Google Trends in R

Sometime earlier last year, I started to help Philippe Massicotte with his gtrendsR package—which was then still ‘hiding’ in relatively obscurity on BitBucket. I was able to assist with a few things related to internal data handling as well as package setup and package builds–but the package is really largely Philippe’s. But then we both got busy, and it wasn’t until this summer at the excellent useR! 2015 conference that we met and concluded that we really should finish the package. And we both remained busy…


8 Ways to deal with Continuous Variables in Predictive Modeling

Let’s come straight to the point on this one – there are only 2 types of variables you see – Continuous and Discrete. Further, discrete variables can divided into Nominal (categorical) and Ordinal. We did a post on how to handle categorical variables last week, so you would expect a similar post on continuous variable. Yes, you are right – In this article, we will explain all possible ways for a beginner to handle continuous variables while doing machine learning or statistical modeling.


Beyond One-Hot: an exploration of categorical variables

In machine learning, data are king. The algorithms and models used to make predictions with the data are important, and very interesting, but ML is still subject to the idea of garbage-in-garbage-out. With that in mind, let’s look at a little subset of those input data: categorical variables.


The hidden benefits of open-source software

I’ve been having discussions with colleagues and university administration about the best way for universities to manage home-grown software. The traditional business model for software is that we build software and sell it to everyone willing to pay. Very often, that leads to a software company spin-off that has little or nothing to do with the university that nurtured the development. Think MATLAB, S-Plus, Minitab, SAS and SPSS, all of which grew out of universities or research institutions. This model has repeatedly been shown to stifle research development, channel funds away from the institutions where the software was born, and add to research costs for everyone. I argue that the open-source model is a much better approach both for research development and for university funding. Under the open-source model, we build software, and make it available for anyone to use and adapt under an appropriate licence. This approach has many benefits that are not always appreciated by university administrators.


Best of the Visualisation Web… September 2015

At the end of each month I pull together a collection of links to some of the most relevant, interesting or thought-provoking web content I’ve come across during the previous month. Here’s the latest collection from September 2015.
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