Using ESS for Datascience

RStudio is a formidable IDE to work with and offers an environment to seamlessly work with multiple languages beyond R. It is especially convenient for tasks involving frequent visualisation of data frames and plots, and for use with Shiny app development. However, the text (i.e code) editing capabalities are still significantly lacking compared to the likes of Emacs and Vim. Besides this, it does not offer a seamless interface integrating task, time management and multi-language programming environments to the extent available within Org-mode via Emacs.

Incremental improvements can lead to significant gains

While reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, I was reflecting that my choice of embracing Emacs and progressively gaining mastery over it was intimately connected with the philosophy preached in the book. My efforts initially started out with a craving for a system to quantify and manage my tasks, habits, notes, blog writing, job applications and projects in a custom environment, and to be able to build toolkits of code to perform repetitive tasks.

Nteract : An interactive computing environment

A slide deck from Netflix, mentions using Nteract as their programming notebook, and prompted a mini exploration. This blog post by Safia Abdalla, (a maintainer/ developer of Nteract) introduces Nteract as an open source, desktop-based, interactive computing application that was designed to overcome a bunch of limitations in Jupyter Notebook’s design philosophy. One key difference (among many others) is the ability to execute code in a variety of languages within a single notebook, and it also appears that that the electron based desktop app should make it easier for beginners to start coding.

Literate Programming - Emacs, Howard Abrams and Library of Babel

I’m an admirer of Howard Abrams, especially because his posts and videos show the awesome power of doing things in Emacs, and the importance of writing clean and logical code. Watching his videos and reading his posts make me feel like I was born yesterday and I am just getting started. But more importantly, they also fire up my imagination regarding the possibilities out there and the potential to create glorious workflows.

My Emacs + Scimax configuration

Introduction This is my literate, Org-mode based configuration for Emacs, which are essentially customisations built on top of the starter-kit Scimax. View a nicely rendered version with easy navigation on my website, or if you prefer: on github. Scimax - Awesome editing for scientists and engineers. Scimax is an Emacs starterkit for scientists and engineers. It provides a comprehensive configuration of Emacs for scientific programming and publishing. John Kitchin

An SSD can breathe life into old computers

It’s a well known trick that installing a SSD in place of the conventional Hard disk can breathe new life into very old machines. My mid 2010 Macbook Pro is one such example, being over 8 years old. In particular, within Emacs - mu4e responds much more quickly and there is significantly less lag in searching / accessing emails and HTML rendering. The other advantage of using a Mac over Linux is that installation and setup instructions are more often available out the box for the Mac OS (though this is changing).

Getting productive - an exploration into holistic task management

Introduction To integrate tasks, reminders, notes, coding workflow into a single framework is no easy challenge. Org mode and Emacs help you do just that. After trying out several tools, IMHO : Todoist offers the best bang for your buck, especially with it’s natural language parsing ability, smooth and reliable sync as well as its multi-platform availability. Many describe Omnifocus to be the king of task management tools, with dedicated apps for different purposes and probably well integrated.