R is a great free statistical software package. I'm trying to use it frequently enough to get comfortable with the basic commands and data objects, so that I don't have to dig through the help manual every time I want to do some small thing. I'm trying to break my Excel habit - if you want real statistics, you don't use Excel, right?
I'm writing my paper, and need to make a simple bar graph. The basic kind, with error bars, which you see in every single issue of every science journal published today. In about 1 minute I can make one, using Excel:
I'm thinking, 'wow, that was easy in Excel, but I should really learn to do it in R.' Of course in R, 35 minutes later, I still haven't figured out how to get the chart to look the way I want. So I go to the trusty R Help mailing list, confident that someone else has shared my frustration. And there I learn that statisticians hate these charts. Do we need any more evidence that statisticians are insane?
(I understand their point, but in most cases - come on! Bar charts are great!)