Plotting...

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WolvesOfTheNight
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Plotting...

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:03 pm

So, I need to do some plotting. Ideally on my mac at home (G4, OS 10.4). In this case, a pile of (X, Y) coordinates on a semi-log graph. And every occasion that I have to do this I run into the same problem: it seems that just about every program that I have to do it stinks.

When I attempted using a normal spreadsheet program (NeoOffice 2 and appleworks 5) they would refuse to take the data as (X,Y) points. Instead it would assume that each column is a data point with respect to the row number. I attempted using M$ excel 2007 (in a computer lab - thankfully I do not have my own copy), but it was highly un-cooperative. Not only did it have the above problem, but also it would do log on the Y axis, but not the X axis. Maybe it could be beat into submission, but I was not able to figure out how. It did not help that when I did a web search most of the results were for older versions of excel. Grrr...

Sometimes I use CricketGraph, which is a very old Mac program (late 80s) that does a good job for a lot of stuff. It even runs under classic on my G4! It does a great job for basic (X, Y) plots. But it does not do any log sort of plots.

Anyway, it seems like plotting is such a basic, easy, task that there should be lots of good applications out there to do it. If one exists, I would rather find and learn a good program. Hopefully one that is free/opensource, or at least does not cost much. Any suggestions?
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PymbleSoftware
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:08 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:So, I need to do some plotting. Ideally on my mac at home (G4, OS 10.4). In this case, a pile of (X, Y) coordinates on a semi-log graph. And every occasion that I have to do this I run into the same problem: it seems that just about every program that I have to do it stinks.

When I attempted using a normal spreadsheet program (NeoOffice 2 and appleworks 5) they would refuse to take the data as (X,Y) points. Instead it would assume that each column is a data point with respect to the row number. I attempted using M$ excel 2007 (in a computer lab - thankfully I do not have my own copy), but it was highly un-cooperative. Not only did it have the above problem, but also it would do log on the Y axis, but not the X axis. Maybe it could be beat into submission, but I was not able to figure out how. It did not help that when I did a web search most of the results were for older versions of excel. Grrr...

Sometimes I use CricketGraph, which is a very old Mac program (late 80s) that does a good job for a lot of stuff. It even runs under classic on my G4! It does a great job for basic (X, Y) plots. But it does not do any log sort of plots.

Anyway, it seems like plotting is such a basic, easy, task that there should be lots of good applications out there to do it. If one exists, I would rather find and learn a good program. Hopefully one that is free/opensource, or at least does not cost much. Any suggestions?


I didn't really read your post but ... GNU plot ...? r-lanuage ....?

http://www.gnuplot.info/
http://www.r-project.org/

One or both probably work on whatever platform you need and might even be in nekoware.
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby guardian452 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:13 pm

I use wolfram mathematica for this and... well everything. A computer without mathematica is not much of a computer at all. I'm pretty sure the student version is under $100 :?: I have and use version 7 on windows and also a couple classic versions for fun.

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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:16 pm

sybrfreq wrote:I use wolfram mathematica for this and... well everything. A computer without mathematica is not much of a computer at all. I think the student version is under $100 :?: I have and use version 7 on windows and also a couple classic versions for fun.


All the quants I've worked with think he (steven wolfram) is an idiot and hate mathematica.
I think the OP also said free or open source or mac or something.
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby guardian452 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:33 pm

I dunno, I like it. There's a bunch of similar programs out there so use what you are familiar with. If you are a college student it is (or at least used to be...) possible to get enough discounts and promotions so it is free.

Anyway, the OP also said he had access to a computer lab. Surely they have some sort of math system (maple, matlab, etc) and if you are lucky they will even be able to show you how to use it. Nothing good will come out of using excel; even if you get it to work right it will still look like crap.

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WolvesOfTheNight
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:32 pm

Ah, the classic Maple vs Mathmatica vs the not yet mentioned Matlab debate. I do indeed have access to these via a computer lab. I keep thinking that I should learn how to use them, but have not yet felt like taking the time to do so. Only if my long ago Calc 1 lab taught us that instead of making us solve worthless problems on graphing calculators, and then do group presentations on them. Anyway, maybe they are the best route. Though for what I am doing they feel a bit like sand blasting a soup cracker.

Anyway, the good news is that it turns out that CricketGraph actually let you do a log graph! I just had not figured out how... Funny how a little Mac graph widget written in 1988 works so much better than the latest M$ excell.

So, I guess I will get a tad more out of CricketGraph. But I still need to keep my eyes open for something newer.
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WolvesOfTheNight
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:33 pm

Oh, and I do need to give GNU plot and R-lang a poke.
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby josehill » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:16 pm

The original Cricket Graph remains one of the greatest, most elegant programs ever written. Seriously. I have yet to find a program that graphs as simply and intuitively.

(Note: Cricket Graph III, which was released after Computer Associates bought Cricket, was nowhere near as good as the predecessor, even if CG III did have more chart types.)

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WolvesOfTheNight
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:39 pm

It does a very good job of graphing intuitively. Probably because it is a good example of Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Sad to hear that they got eaten. Thought I had figured that something terrible had happened to them. I think that the best I have managed was v 1.3 from Macintosh Garden.
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porter
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby porter » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:43 pm

So what's wrong with digging out the old PET 8032 and HP GPIB plotter and cranking out the print# commands yourself? :)
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby josehill » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:30 pm

By the way, Mac OS X includes a fun little graphing application called "Grapher." It's in /Applications/Utilities . In addition to graphing equations, it can also plot data points and, much like Cricket Graph, generate interpolations based on those data points. To do so, create a new graph, selecting the appropriate graph type. Then, go to the Equation menu and select "New Point Set." Click on "Edit Points," and you'll be able to upload a comma-delimited file of x-y coordinates. Once your data is loaded, click on "Interpolation," and you'll have the same options as in the old Cricket Graph -- Affine (linear), Polynomial, and Exponential.

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WolvesOfTheNight
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:25 am

porter wrote:So what's wrong with digging out the old PET 8032 and HP GPIB plotter and cranking out the print# commands yourself? :)


What's wrong? Being a tad younger than said items, I don't have any to dig out, thats what.

-----
Ah, Grapher. Maybe I should fiddle with it some more. I took a brief look, but was unable to get it to do semi-log (just log & log-log). And its point-entering interface is a pain. But if it will take a CSV it could be usable.
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby dc_v01 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:17 am

I also loved Cricket Graph. And doing log plots is easy in MATLAB.

But really, this should be trivial in Excel - and I think you should probably figure out how to do this, since it's usually the easiest software to find. I can't speak for 2007 <and I know its new interface sucks> but it's no problem in 2003. You simply create your chart with the chart wizard - and be sure to select XY (Scatter) as the chart type, NOT line. I think the problem you describe is from making line graphs. Scatter plots can also have lines, just double click on the data and select a linestyle under the "Patterns" tab. I always put my charts as new sheets, don't think that makes a difference. Double click on the axis you want to make log (or single click, Format -> Selected Axis). Then select the "Scale" tab on the "Format Axis" dialog - check the box for "Logarithmic Scale". Do this for each axis you want to make log. Done!

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theinonen
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby theinonen » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:43 am

I would also suggest you try Excel again, plots like that should be easy to achieve. I am not a fan of Microsoft Office, but Excel is actually pretty decent program.

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irix313
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Re: Plotting...

Unread postby irix313 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:38 am

Grapher.app FTW. But if Apple didn't bundle grapher.app with 10.4, I'd try using GNU's matlab clone Octave. You can get it via Darwin ports. Octave uses gnuplot as it's plotting back-end, presumably giving you all gnuplot's features without its (IMHO) arcane syntax and annoying interface.
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