Late start

This blog is going to be mostly about my adventures with R, primarily using survey data, and usually somewhat related to my social science interests; for the fun of it, to share code and hopefully get feedback.

How it all started

General law of academia: The capacity for generating ideas is greater than the capacity of developing ideas into papers.

So why write a blog and not keep a diary or a plain text file sitting safely on your hard drive, kochanie?

Why people don’t participate in politics? Because they can’t, because they don’t want to, and because no one asked (Brady, Verba, and Scholzman 1995: 271).

Step 1. R

Probably the most useful thing I learned in grad school is that there is an R package for everything, from making interactive graphs and web apps, to dealing with labelled data, to exploring cocktails, getting colors from Dutch paintings, playing Pac-Man and - of course - blogging.

Step 2. On-line resources

Blogdown and Hugo have become so popular that there are countless resources to support newbies, including advice for using particular themes (especially Academic, but also others). Almost all of them refer at one point to blogdown: Creating Websites with R Markdown by Yihui Xie, Amber Thomas, Alison Presmanes Hill, which is where one of my favorite quotes comes from:

If you do not understand HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, and have no experience with Hugo themes or templates, it may take you about 10 minutes to get started with your new website … if you do have the knowledge and experience (and desire to highly customize your site), it may take you several days to get started. Hugo is really powerful. Be cautious with power.

What am I going to do with all this saved time?

Another trick is to look up GitHub repositories linked to blogs to see how the authors dealt with a particular issue. For example, Simply Statistics has an image as brand logo instead of a string. How did they do this if I keep getting errors? It turns out they changed one of the theme files, themes/blackburn/layouts/partials/brand.html, replacing safeHTML with markdownify.

Step 3. Done is better than perfect

The great thing about Blogdown and Hugo is that it is very easy to make something that works, and then tweak forever.

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