Here, in no particular order, are a few questions people frequently ask me.
- What kind of work do you do?
- Can you recommend an introductory statistics book?
- What programming language do you use?
- Why do you prefer Python to R?
- How do you charge for consulting?
- How do you run your Twitter accounts?
- Why don’t use you XeTeX?
- Can I use your code?
- How can you test a random number generator?
- How do you type math characters in HTML?
- How can I contact you?
I’m a consultant working in math, statistics, and computing. Sometimes this means modeling, coming up with a mathematical description of a problem and seeing what I can learn from it. Sometimes this means seeing what can be learned from a set of data and determining what to do next, what decisions to make, what data to collect next, etc. Sometimes this means developing software, especially coming up with algorithms to implement math models efficiently.
I also teach. I’ve taught undergraduate and graduate courses in math and statistics. I’m not doing any classroom teaching these days, but teaching is a component of my consulting. Sometimes I serve as an interpreter, helping non-technical people digest technical material, and sometimes people ask for technical mentoring. I’ve also done some expert testimony, which is kind of a form of teaching.
I’d rather do math in a general-purpose language than do general-purpose programming in a math language.
R is designed for interactive statistical computing, and it’s good for that. But I do a lot more than interactive statistical computing. Even on a statistical project, there’s usually non-statistical work to do, such as munging text files or creating a user interface. The statistical software may just be one component in a larger system. It’s easier to do general programming in a language designed for general programming.
I like using Python for convenience or C++ for speed.
My first choice is to charge by the project if a project is well-defined. But if that’s not possible, or if a project is open-ended, I’ll charge by the hour.
I use my personal account live and I mostly schedule my daily tip tweets in advance.
This may seem like an odd question, but it’s actually one I get very often. On my TeXtip twitter account, I include tips on how to create non-English characters such as using
\AA to produce Å. Every time someone will as “Why not use XeTeX and just enter these characters?”
If you can “just enter” non-English characters, then you don’t need a tip. But a lot of people either don’t know how to do this or don’t have a convenient way to do so. Most English speakers only need to type foreign characters occasionally, and will find it easier, for example, to type
\ss than to learn how to produce Å or ß from a keyboard. If you frequently need to enter Unicode characters, and know how to do so, then XeTeX is great.
Here’s a book chapter I wrote on that.
See this page. I prefer writing math in LaTeX, but when I’m writing HTML I like to stay in HTML if I can. I’ll use LaTeX for displayed equations, but I try to stick to HTML inline so the page doesn’t look like a ransom note.
See this page.
By the way, if you send a message to one of my daily tip Twitter accounts, I might not see it. I get more responses there than I can read. It’s better to send me email.