I was a bit overzealous in my first semester as a MALS student and I am taking Prof Lev Manovich’s Data Visualization class. I saw his name in the course scheduling and I had a mini heart attack. “I COULD TAKE A CLASS WITH LEV MANOVICH!!!” this was my reaction. I had to do it. What if the course was not offered another semester and this was my only chance?!?! I have been reading his work 4ever.
I am learning R but mostly it feels like I am having mini panic attacks when I cannot get the console to respond to anything I type in, then I get so excited when I make anything work I think I have conquered the world, then I got to class and all the computer science boys have made these beautiful amazing visualizations, and I am back to panic attack mode. soooo get excited! this could be your future 2!
As a side note, as we move forward I would like to have an in person R working group that involves drinking and swearing. srsly. email me.
One data set we are working with is a very rough data set of Instagram uploads for last years month of may. It has over 2 million entries so your computer has to have lots of memory or it will not even look at the data. Data in R can be numeric (12) or it can have characters like “spring time.” Sometimes R can read numbers as characters and count characters as numbers. So yeah. blarg. This particular data set only has two numerical values latitude and longitude. It also has instagram usernames, URL’s for the pic posted, #’s, Instagram Id’s, and date and time posted (but not numerically instead as a character string).
I am still struggling with the most basic logical arguments in R. Assigning data to variables and then accessing those variables and gathering information in various formats that can turn into graphs. I spent about an entire week unable to even load the data into R. That felt very dumb. gradually I realized my 7 year old macbook pro did not have the space or steam for these 2 million datas. Then I rented a clunky old dell from my library, I struggled more with uploading my data into R until I realized that directories in mac computers have / forward slashes and directories from windows machine have \ backslashes so I was literally just writing the wrong file name a million times. AHHHHH
Next thing to do; stay home from work to watch a million youtube videos because I do not want to email people about my problems with R I need to listen to them explain to me how to do things (hence my desire for an In person drinking R group). learning this language is pretty interesting in itself, I realize that lots of learning I do is all a similar kind of learning, but sometimes you really have to examine how you absorb information best when you are taken back to that awful feeling of childish bewilderment.
Right now I can only make R look at the numerical parts of the data. I am confused about how to command counting of the character data and then graphing that counted character data. For example a lot of the images probably have a #NY associated with the data. If I could count this and then associate it with the latitude and longitude I could graph it. I will figure this out.
I am instructed to be creative, but I feel like a bit of a moose fumbling around in this R language, it is difficult to be creative when I am still trying to type sensical strings of commands in R that don’t just bring back error messages.
Here is a mediocre graph. I have plotted the lat long of a sampling of 20,000 Instagram uploads. the third variable I have added to my graph is the type of upload, image or video. This graph is not very creative. But Instagram uploads make the shape of Manhattan! We are our geography!