pivot tables

Goodbye desktop, we're off to see the web.

Both my students and I have been challenged this semester by the diversity of computer platforms, software versions, and unexpected bugs. Naturally, I turned to the world and my readers for help and suggestions. Some readers have suggested we could solve everything by using Linux. Others have convincingly demonstrated that Open Office ... Read more

I've been writing quite a bit this week about my search for a cross platform spread sheet program that would support pivot tables and make pie graphs correctly.

This all started because of a bug that my students encountered in Microsoft Excel, on Windows. I'm not personally motivated to look for something new, since Office 2004 on Mac OS 10.5 doesn't seem to have the same bugs that appear on Windows. However, I would like things to work for my students. Since I don't want to have to write instructions ... Read more

I think all of us; me, the students the OO advocates, a thoughtful group of commenters, some instructors; I think many of us learned some things that we didn't anticipate the other day and got some interesting glimpses into the ways that other people view and interact with their computers.

Some of the people who participated in the challenge found out that it was harder than they expected.

Lessons learned

Okay, what did we learn?

1. The community is the best ... Read more

Okay OpenOffice fans, show me what you can do.

Earlier this week, I wrote about my challenges with a bug in Microsoft Excel that only appears on Windows computers. Since I use a Mac, I didn't know about the bug when I wrote the assignment and I only found out about it after all but one of my students turned in assignment results with nonsensical pie graphs.

So, I asked what other instructors do with software that behaves differently on different computing platforms. I never did hear from any other ... Read more

Do different kinds of biomes (forest vs. creek) support different kinds of bacteria?

Or do we find the same amounts of each genus wherever we look?

Those are the questions that we'll answer in this last video. We're going to use pivot tables and count all the genera that live in each biome. Then, we'll make pie graphs so that we can have a visual picture of which bacteria live in each environment.

The parts of this series are:

I. Downloading the data from iFinch and preparing it for ... Read more

This is third video in our series on analyzing the DNA sequences that came from bacteria on the JHU campus.

In this video, we use a pivot table to count all the different types of bacteria that students found in 2004 and we make a pie graph to visualize the different numbers of each genus.

The parts of this series are:

I. Downloading the data from iFinch and preparing it for analysis. (this is the video below) (We split the data from one column into three).

II. ... Read more

What do you do after you've used DNA sequencing to identify the bacteria, viruses, or other organisms in the environment?

What's the next step?

This four part video series covers those next steps. In this part, we learn that a surprisingly large portion of bioinformatics, or any type of informatics is concerned with fixing data entry errors and spelling mistakes.

The parts of this series are:

I. Downloading the data from iFinch and preparing it for analysis. (this is the video ... Read more

For the past few years, I've been collaborating with a friend, Dr. Rebecca Pearlman, who teaches introductory biology at the Johns Hopkins University. Her students isolate bacteria from different environments on campus, use PCR to amplify the 16S ribosomal RNA genes, send the samples to the JHU core lab for sequencing, and use blastn to identify what they found.

Every year, I collect the data from her students' experiments. Then, in the bioinformatics classes I teach, we work with the chromatograms and other data to see what we can find.

This is the first part of a four ... Read more