Plotting Symbols, Line Types and Colors in R

When using R, there are 657 named colors, 25 named plotting characters, and 6 named line types. How is a person supposed to remember what they are? I can't, which often results in trial and error in finding something to plot reasonably. Jason Bryer has put together some useful plots, based on previous work by John Mount, for easing the cognitive burden associated with remembering these items. The plots are shown below. The R code to create these directly in R is presented on Jason's website.

Twenty-five named plotting characters in R. For example, pch=16 will plot using filled-in circles.
Six hundred fifty-seven named colors in R. For example, col=657 will use the color "yellow green". Use colors() to see the actual color names.
Six named line types in R. For example, lty=2 will plot using a dashed line.


Twins `Improvement'

Have the Twins improved this year? Perhaps. Joe Mauer looks better (hard not to though to be fair). Compare the spraycharts for games at Target Field for 2011 (left) and 2012 (right). The red dots show outs and the blue dots show hits (dots are sized to indicate whether the hit is a single, double, triple, or homerun.

Wow! Even a homerun in 2012! Way to go Joe. Most of his outs are still in the infield and left field. As he himself pointed out, he needs to pull more pitches to right. How about Justin Morneau–Canadian Wonderlad?

Justin doesn't pull the ball much at all...at least not with any power. He does seem to be hitting with a little more power in general this year (at least the balls are, in general, going further from home plate).

 Josh Willingham is the bomb.


My Feelings Exactly

In a recent issue of Forbes, Larry Downes points out the reasons that he believes that Best Buy is going to gradually go out of business [read article]. I have made this point repeatedly to almost anyone that will listen, generally after I have just visited a Best Buy retail store. Downes, who undoubtedly wrote the article after going to Best Buy writes,

To discover the real reasons behind the company’s decline, just take this simple test. Walk into one of the company’s retail locations or shop online.  And try, really try, not to lose your temper.
There is no better place to lose your cool than inside of this craphole. My latest trip there (why did I go again..I never fail to amaze myself at how much I want something to change) resulted in the following exchange:

Me: Can you direct me to the section in your store in which I might find audio cables.
Best Buy Guy: Well....why do you need them.
Me: I need to hook my home audio/video Mac up to a digital receiver. (in head I am instantly regretting imparting this information)
BBG: You can't do what you want to do.
Me: Yes you can.
BBG: Well maybe with a $300 box.
Me: You don't need that. Where are your cables?
BBG: You will definitely need Monster cables.
Me: %#$$Q*&#%&

My friend Tom says that Best Buy is needed for people like his mom who are too scared of MicroCenter. While I kind of agree with his point, the people at MicroCenter are actually quite helpful even for folks like Tom's mom (and my mom). Even more accessible are the good folks at Apple. These samaritans spend several hours working in small groups with people who make my sister look like she is a techno-genius. So, if Best Buy fails, someone will be there to pick up the slack.