The Email Group

 

I had a query and needed an answer pronto

I have an email group that reaches from Beijing to Toronto

People are real smart on that group and mostly help

Let me write an email and then sit back and delve

In my hurry and my enthusiasm

I made mistakes, kind of electronic spasms

CC-ed the wrong email list and now that is done

My query is unresolved but my e-ordeal just begun

 

Responder A says “too many links dude”

Are you on the payroll, or are you just rude

Responder B says “ you cant win too many pals”

By Emailing academics about corporate stalls

Responder S was the best, he said this is spam

With my e-reputation in tatters, I did a face-palm

Apologized, sent feel good notes, but people were still angry

Maybe they get too much spam daily, and now they get a chance to vent on me

 

Spam is the enemy, unwittingly I helped create.

And the nice (and verrry big) email group can sometimes be provoked to hate.

Sorry Guys, I promise to be careful when I write

Can you answer my question, or do you still want to fight?

 

Cloud Computing with R

Illusion of Depth and Space (4/22) - Rotating ...
Image by Dominic's pics via Flickr

Here is a short list of resources and material I put together as starting points for R and Cloud Computing It’s a bit messy but overall should serve quite comprehensively.

Cloud computing is a commonly used expression to imply a generational change in computing from desktop-servers to remote and massive computing connections,shared computers, enabled by high bandwidth across the internet.

As per the National Institute of Standards and Technology Definition,
Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

(Citation: The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

Authors: Peter Mell and Tim Grance
Version 15, 10-7-09
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Information Technology Laboratory
http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/cloud-def-v15.doc)

R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display.

From http://cran.r-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html#R-Web-Interfaces

R Web Interfaces

Rweb is developed and maintained by Jeff Banfield. The Rweb Home Page provides access to all three versions of Rweb—a simple text entry form that returns output and graphs, a more sophisticated JavaScript version that provides a multiple window environment, and a set of point and click modules that are useful for introductory statistics courses and require no knowledge of the R language. All of the Rweb versions can analyze Web accessible datasets if a URL is provided.
The paper “Rweb: Web-based Statistical Analysis”, providing a detailed explanation of the different versions of Rweb and an overview of how Rweb works, was published in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/v04/i01/).

Ulf Bartel has developed R-Online, a simple on-line programming environment for R which intends to make the first steps in statistical programming with R (especially with time series) as easy as possible. There is no need for a local installation since the only requirement for the user is a JavaScript capable browser. See http://osvisions.com/r-online/ for more information.

Rcgi is a CGI WWW interface to R by MJ Ray. It had the ability to use “embedded code”: you could mix user input and code, allowing the HTMLauthor to do anything from load in data sets to enter most of the commands for users without writing CGI scripts. Graphical output was possible in PostScript or GIF formats and the executed code was presented to the user for revision. However, it is not clear if the project is still active.

Currently, a modified version of Rcgi by Mai Zhou (actually, two versions: one with (bitmap) graphics and one without) as well as the original code are available from http://www.ms.uky.edu/~statweb/.

CGI-based web access to R is also provided at http://hermes.sdu.dk/cgi-bin/go/. There are many additional examples of web interfaces to R which basically allow to submit R code to a remote server, see for example the collection of links available from http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/StatCompCourse.

David Firth has written CGIwithR, an R add-on package available from CRAN. It provides some simple extensions to R to facilitate running R scripts through the CGI interface to a web server, and allows submission of data using both GET and POST methods. It is easily installed using Apache under Linux and in principle should run on any platform that supports R and a web server provided that the installer has the necessary security permissions. David’s paper “CGIwithR: Facilities for Processing Web Forms Using R” was published in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/v08/i10/). The package is now maintained by Duncan Temple Lang and has a web page athttp://www.omegahat.org/CGIwithR/.

Rpad, developed and actively maintained by Tom Short, provides a sophisticated environment which combines some of the features of the previous approaches with quite a bit of JavaScript, allowing for a GUI-like behavior (with sortable tables, clickable graphics, editable output), etc.
Jeff Horner is working on the R/Apache Integration Project which embeds the R interpreter inside Apache 2 (and beyond). A tutorial and presentation are available from the project web page at http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/RApacheProject.

Rserve is a project actively developed by Simon Urbanek. It implements a TCP/IP server which allows other programs to use facilities of R. Clients are available from the web site for Java and C++ (and could be written for other languages that support TCP/IP sockets).

OpenStatServer is being developed by a team lead by Greg Warnes; it aims “to provide clean access to computational modules defined in a variety of computational environments (R, SAS, Matlab, etc) via a single well-defined client interface” and to turn computational services into web services.

Two projects use PHP to provide a web interface to R. R_PHP_Online by Steve Chen (though it is unclear if this project is still active) is somewhat similar to the above Rcgi and Rweb. R-php is actively developed by Alfredo Pontillo and Angelo Mineo and provides both a web interface to R and a set of pre-specified analyses that need no R code input.

webbioc is “an integrated web interface for doing microarray analysis using several of the Bioconductor packages” and is designed to be installed at local sites as a shared computing resource.

Rwui is a web application to create user-friendly web interfaces for R scripts. All code for the web interface is created automatically. There is no need for the user to do any extra scripting or learn any new scripting techniques. Rwui can also be found at http://rwui.cryst.bbk.ac.uk.

Finally, the R.rsp package by Henrik Bengtsson introduces “R Server Pages”. Analogous to Java Server Pages, an R server page is typically HTMLwith embedded R code that gets evaluated when the page is requested. The package includes an internal cross-platform HTTP server implemented in Tcl, so provides a good framework for including web-based user interfaces in packages. The approach is similar to the use of the brew package withRapache with the advantage of cross-platform support and easy installation.

Also additional R Cloud Computing Use Cases
http://wwwdev.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/rcloud/

ArrayExpress R/Bioconductor Workbench

Remote access to R/Bioconductor on EBI’s 64-bit Linux Cluster

Start the workbench by downloading the package for your operating system (Macintosh or Windows), or via Java Web Start, and you will get access to an instance of R running on one of EBI’s powerful machines. You can install additional packages, upload your own data, work with graphics and collaborate with colleagues, all as if you are running R locally, but unlimited by your machine’s memory, processor or data storage capacity.

  • Most up-to-date R version built for multicore CPUs
  • Access to all Bioconductor packages
  • Access to our computing infrastructure
  • Fast access to data stored in EBI’s repositories (e.g., public microarray data in ArrayExpress)

Using R Google Docs
http://www.omegahat.org/RGoogleDocs/run.pdf
It uses the XML and RCurl packages and illustrates that it is relatively quick and easy
to use their primitives to interact with Web services.

Using R with Amazon
Citation
http://rgrossman.com/2009/05/17/running-r-on-amazons-ec2/

Amazon’s EC2 is a type of cloud that provides on demand computing infrastructures called an Amazon Machine Images or AMIs. In general, these types of cloud provide several benefits:

  • Simple and convenient to use. An AMI contains your applications, libraries, data and all associated configuration settings. You simply access it. You don’t need to configure it. This applies not only to applications like R, but also can include any third-party data that you require.
  • On-demand availability. AMIs are available over the Internet whenever you need them. You can configure the AMIs yourself without involving the service provider. You don’t need to order any hardware and set it up.
  • Elastic access. With elastic access, you can rapidly provision and access the additional resources you need. Again, no human intervention from the service provider is required. This type of elastic capacity can be used to handle surge requirements when you might need many machines for a short time in order to complete a computation.
  • Pay per use. The cost of 1 AMI for 100 hours and 100 AMI for 1 hour is the same. With pay per use pricing, which is sometimes called utility pricing, you simply pay for the resources that you use.

Connecting to R on Amazon EC2- Detailed tutorials
Ubuntu Linux version
https://decisionstats.com/2010/09/25/running-r-on-amazon-ec2/
and Windows R version
https://decisionstats.com/2010/10/02/running-r-on-amazon-ec2-windows/

Connecting R to Data on Google Storage and Computing on Google Prediction API
https://github.com/onertipaday/predictionapirwrapper
R wrapper for working with Google Prediction API

This package consists in a bunch of functions allowing the user to test Google Prediction API from R.
It requires the user to have access to both Google Storage for Developers and Google Prediction API:
see
http://code.google.com/apis/storage/ and http://code.google.com/apis/predict/ for details.

Example usage:

#This example requires you had previously created a bucket named data_language on your Google Storage and you had uploaded a CSV file named language_id.txt (your data) into this bucket – see for details
library(predictionapirwrapper)

and Elastic R for Cloud Computing
http://user2010.org/tutorials/Chine.html

Abstract

Elastic-R is a new portal built using the Biocep-R platform. It enables statisticians, computational scientists, financial analysts, educators and students to use cloud resources seamlessly; to work with R engines and use their full capabilities from within simple browsers; to collaborate, share and reuse functions, algorithms, user interfaces, R sessions, servers; and to perform elastic distributed computing with any number of virtual machines to solve computationally intensive problems.
Also see Karim Chine’s http://biocep-distrib.r-forge.r-project.org/

R for Salesforce.com

At the point of writing this, there seem to be zero R based apps on Salesforce.com This could be a big opportunity for developers as both Apex and R have similar structures Developers could write free code in R and charge for their translated version in Apex on Salesforce.com

Force.com and Salesforce have many (1009) apps at
http://sites.force.com/appexchange/home for cloud computing for
businesses, but very few forecasting and statistical simulation apps.

Example of Monte Carlo based app is here
http://sites.force.com/appexchange/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016cT9EAI#

These are like iPhone apps except meant for business purposes (I am
unaware if any university is offering salesforce.com integration
though google apps and amazon related research seems to be on)

Force.com uses a language called Apex  and you can see
http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/App_Logic and
http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/An_Introduction_to_Formulas
Apex is similar to R in that is OOPs

SAS Institute has an existing product for taking in Salesforce.com data.

A new SAS data surveyor is
available to access data from the Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) software vendor Salesforce.com. at
http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/whatsnew/62580/HTML/default/viewer.htm#datasurveyorwhatsnew902.htm)

Personal Note-Mentioning SAS in an email to a R list is a big no-no in terms of getting a response and love. Same for being careless about which R help list to email (like R devel or R packages or R help)

For python based cloud see http://pi-cloud.com

Amazon goes free for users next month

Amazon Web Services logo
Image via Wikipedia

Amazon EC2 and company announced a free year long tier for new users-you cant beat free 🙂

http://aws.amazon.com/free/

AWS Free Usage Tier

To help new AWS customers get started in the cloud, AWS is introducing a new free usage tier. Beginning November 1, new AWScustomers will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 Micro Instance for a year, while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWSdata transfer. AWS’s free usage tier can be used for anything you want to run in the cloud: launch new applications, test existing applications in the cloud, or simply gain hands-on experience with AWS.

Below are the highlights of AWS’s new free usage tiers. All are available for one year (except Amazon SimpleDB, SQS, and SNS which are free indefinitely):

Sign Up Now

AWS’s free usage tier startsNovember 1, 2010. A valid creditcard is required to sign up.
See offer terms.

AWS Free Usage Tier (Per Month):

In addition to these services, the AWS Management Console is available at no charge to help you build and manage your application on AWS.

* These free tiers are only available to new AWS customers and are available for 12 months following your AWSsign-up date. When your free usage expires or if your application use exceeds the free usage tiers, you simply pay standard, pay-as-you-go service rates (see each service page for full pricing details). Restrictions apply; see offer terms for more details.

** These free tiers do not expire after 12 months and are available to both existing and new AWS customers indefinitely.

The new AWS free usage tier applies to participating services across all AWS regions: US – N. Virginia, US – N. California, EU – Ireland, and APAC – Singapore. Your free usage is calculated each month across all regions and automatically applied to your bill – free usage does not accumulate.

 

Downloading your Facebook Photos

 

This UML diagram describes the domain of Faceb...
Image via Wikipedia

 

Here is a three step process for Downloading your entire Facebook Info-

1) Go to top right hand corner- Account.

2) Under Account- click on Account Settings

3)Under Account Settings -Click on Download Information

Facebook creates a ZIP file for downloading your information- and sends you an email when the info is ready.

Why should you download your Facebook Info-

1) As a local backup of your profile

2) To move to Orkut – or better to share Photos on Picassa or Flickr to your non Facebook friends. Note FB does have a unique URL under each Photo that you can copy and paste and share, but its not really convenient besides being huge and not a small URL at all.

3) In case you want to delete your Facebook account but dont want to lose your memories and friends.

Nice step from FB- they are taking user privacy and empowerment more seriously and at 500 Million users can afford to be a bit more generous.

BI Software

Here is the brand new release from Jaspersoft at a groovy price of 9000$. Somebody stop these guys!

It’s a great company to watch for buyouts as well- given their expertise in REPORTING and clientele- especially for anyone looking to im prove thier standing in both open source world and reporting software branding.

From AOL owned Arrogantion’s site http://www.crunchbase.com/company/jaspersoft

 

Total $24.5M
Series D, 8/07 1
Scale Venture Partners
SAP Ventures
Doll Capital Management
Partech International
Morgenthaler Ventures
$12M
Unattributed, 12/08 2
Adams Street Partners
Red Hat
Morgenthaler Ventures
Doll Capital Management
Partech International

 

 

The news-

Announcing JasperReports Server Professional

More Resources

Webinar: Introducing JasperReports Server Professional

Thursday October 14

In this live webinar, learn how a new solution from Jaspersoft combines the world’s favorite reporting server with powerful, mature report server functionality—for about 80% less.

  • Date: Thu, Oct 14
  • Time: 10:00 AM PDT
  • Duration: 60 minutes

The World’s Most Powerful and Affordable Reporting Server

Limited Time Introductory Offer: Starting from $9,000 (restrictions apply)

JasperReports Server is the recommended product for organizations requiring an affordable reporting solution for interactive, operational, and production-based reporting. Deployed as a standalone reporting server or integrated inside another application, JasperReports Server is a flexible, powerful, interactive reporting environment for small or large enterprises.

Powered by the world’s most popular reporting tools in JasperReports and iReport, developers and users can take advantage of more interactivity, security, and scheduling of their reports.

Key Benefits:

  • Affordable: Unlimited reports for unlimited users starting at $9,000
  • Powerful: Report scheduling and distribution to 1,000s of users on a single server
  • Flexible: Web service architecture simplifies application integration
  • Secure: Centralized repository authenticates report access
  • Interactive: Easy to interact, self-serve parameterized-based reports
  • Visual appeal: Flash-based charts and maps engage users and enhance applications
  • Open: Access to any data source including relational, XML, Hibernate, EJB, POJO, and custom

 

Speaking of videos -here is a great video on BI from good ol Tennessee-a great 27 min tutorial on BI for newbies

 

Blog Update

Some changes at Decisionstats-

1) We are back at Decisionstats.com and Decisionstats.wordpress.com will point to that as well. The SEO effects would be interesting and so would be the Instant Pagerank or LinkRank or whatever Coffee/Percolator they use in Cali to index the site.

2) AsterData is no longer a sponsor- but Predictive Analytics Conference is. Welcome PAWS! I have been a blog partner to PAWS ever since it began- and it’s a great marketing fit. Expect to see a lot of exclusive content and interviews from great speakers at PAWS.

3) The Feedblitz newsletter (now at 404 subscribers) is now a weekly subscription to send one big big email rather than lots of email through the week- this is because my blogging frequency is moving up as I collect material for a new book on business analytics that I would probably release in 2011 (if all goes well, touchwood). Linkedin group would be getting a weekly update announcement. If you are connected to Decisionstats on Analyticbridge _ I would soon try to find a way to update the whole post automatically using RSS and Ning.com . or not. Depends.

4) R continues to be a bigger focus. So will SPSS and maybe JMP. Newer softwares or older softwares that change more rapidly would get more coverage. Generally a particular software is covered if it has newer features, or an interesting techie conference, or it gets sued.

5) I will occasionally write a poem or post a video once a week randomly to prove geeks and nerds and analysts can have fun (much more fun actually dont we)

Thanks for reading this. Sept 2010 was the best ever for Decisionstats.com – we crossed 15,000 + visitors and thanks for that again! I promise to bore you less and less as we grow old together on the blog 😉