Welcome to Data Imaginist!

September 18, 2016

I have tried - real hard (really) - to get this site going for some time now. It probably all boils down to not having a lot of time and having way to many projects, which I think we can all relate to. I’d rather spend time developing a tool than telling the world about it (safe for 140 character advertisements on Twitter). Still, there is something alluring about having a bit more room to explain yourself and make your points and I have always been impressed by the likes of David Robinson and Oliver Keyes and how they simply just throw inspiring prose at you, so the wish to try it out for myself has persisted.

But why now? Well, the short answer is that someone (@nj_tierney) asked my whether I had a blog and I had to admit that I had purchased a domain and nothing more (which seemed very silly to me). I knew why I hadn’t moved along with the blog after I purchased the domain. I’m a serial perfectionist when it comes to making stuff and I had all these grand visions of a beautiful custom made design, with an animated logo and all sorts of niceties. Niceties takes time to build and I couldn’t really see myself investing that sort of time right now so the domain laid dormant. I’m pretty sure that the above description is the prime reason for things not getting done by people like me - I couldn’t sit down for one hour and write a post because that would require me to spend a month building the perfect orchestration of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript that my visions required… The thing is, I will never have time for that. I already have ideas to fill my lifetime and new ones coming in every week, so there will always be a backlog of things to do before I can sit down and design my webpage.

So this is me trying something new. I’ve grabbed a theme I liked from http://jekyllthemes.org (HT to Nick Balestra for Kactus) and started writing, ignoring for the moment how to properly set up RSS feeds, and disqus and integrate with R-bloggers, and… I do hope that I will be able to move the design and functionality gradually towards my vision, but the keyword is gradually. Also, you might find leftover template text somewhere - revel in my imperfection! It might stay there for years to come while I do something more important, tainting the overall impression of my blog - this is the cross I’ll have bear to get any content on the site in my lifetime…

So what will I put here, now that I’ve broken the writers block by accepting meritocracy (btw this theme is probably way better than anything I could ever have done…)? You probably wont see my writing tutorials on how to use R, ggplot2, d3.js etc. The web is flooded with high quality tutorials and if I ever feel inspired to describe how something works I should probably use that drive to improve the documentation of one of my packages. I probably also wont show enthralling data analyses underlining that Donald Trump is way worse than his staff - better people than me have that covered. Honestly, I have no idea if there is an overarching plan to what I’m going to put in here and this is not a manifesto - I might end up writing tutorials for how to analyse tweets for all I know.

Do expect this blog to mostly concern data visualization and programming (in R and JavaScript), maybe sprinkled with a bit of computational biology so if that is your thing, you’ll be in for a treat. I do hope to also add some pages for my major projects (sort of beefed up GitHub README.md) that goes into some more details with their use and philosophy but if and when that happens I do not know…

If you made it this far through my incoherent ramblings it’s safe to say that you do have some interest in what I have to share. So to you, that one guy over in the corner: “Welcome to my very imperfect blog!”