Excel is such a handy tool for data discovery and analysis that it’s fair to ask, “Why bother with anything else, especially an arcane scripting environment like R?” The truth is that the transition from Excel to R is very much a green eggs and ham experience: decidedly unappealing at the outset, even for adventurous folk, but rewarding in the long run.  This post takes another look at the Titanic data set, this time using R to do the same analysis done last time in Excel. As before, the starting point is making readable text from the raw, coded data shown above on the left.  R provides a simple substitution function that simply specifies the filter conditions for the variable[…]

How do you use Microsoft and Open Source in the same sentence without creating an oxymoron? Answer: talk about the application, not the technology stack that runs it. The application is DotNetNuke, also known as the DNN Platform and Evoq. Originally bundled with the first release of Visual Studio .NET as a sample project, the “IBuySpy” portal has taken on a life of its own as DotNetNuke. Ten years, 7 million downloads and one million web sites later we have a thriving open source community. DNN is a portal for capturing and presenting web content. It provides a standardized framework for managing security, user access and page layout, and a set of modules that deliver discrete functions within each page.[…]

Last month I started talking about open source alternatives to SharePoint for document management and team collaboration. Before getting into the merits of any particular solution let me say a bit more about the business problem that’s behind the evaluation.  As a writer I read a lot and I accumulate material in the form of documents, articles, images, video clips, podcasts and web links, all of which serves as research for things I write about. As a consultant I also need to organize project files, provide the means to ensure that confidential files are maintained securely, to share documents with clients and provide them with a way to give feedback on in-process material. My ideal content management solution would make[…]

Managing electronic documents isn’t just a “big organization” problem. Small and mid-sized organizations need to be able to protect, organize and share electronic content just as much but they don’t have a $1 million+ budget to deal with the problem. Convinced that “making do” with file shares is not enough, a budget conscious buyer is likely to look in one of two directions, SharePoint or Open Source. While both options have plenty to offer, neither is a magic bullet. SharePoint is attractive, especially in organizations looking for a collaboration tool. For an group of even 500 people the infrastructure and licensing costs are affordable, but getting people to use SharePoint effectively can take a long time. Often, IT leads the[…]

Like a lot of people, I tend to view operating system upgrades as something to avoid. If forced to change I want the experience to be as simple and painless as possible. So, when the support lifetime ended for the Linux Mint version I had been running on my main desktop, there was a wee bit of angst over what to do. For 2 years Mint had served me well as a stable, functional environment on an older desktop machine from which I had retired a copy of Windows XP. Staying with Mint was a know quantity, and version 13 had just been released in April with a 5-year support plan. It looked like a OS I could stay with[…]