RRC|BIOSTATISTICS

Matlab Rant

Aaaaaah, it was such a relief to finally check off several boxes on my “To Do” list that have remained subborn, huge and daunting for nearly 5 weeks. Since September I had to convert over 50 .xls spreadsheets into .txt files, then analyze those files with a Matlab program that took its sweet time getting the answer, extract and append frame-by-frame counts from millions of pixels (Go on, do the math: The pixel map is (38 x 41) x (400 x 3 x 6), where 400 frame counts times 3 sessions with 6 participants.)

Abandon Matlab

One night after over 3 hours of analyzing millions of pixels I got this lovely error message java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space1. Trying to troubleshoot Matlab lead me to this fantastic site called Abandon Matlab with ongoing rant and hilarious blog titles like “MATLAB can’t read plain text data out of a wet paper bag.” and “Errors and crashes and namespace inadequacies, just a typical day.”

The reason I even happened upon the site is because the getframe function was causing me alot of problems. getframe() ought to function as an independent process within the Matlab software. Compilation times ran about 25 minutes per movie, so I tried to be productive by reading up on Poisson distribution in the browser. I found that the text I typed started to show up in my running matlab program. Seriously? I can’t do anything on the computer while my image renders? SERIOUSLY?!

Turns out this issue was addressed in Abandon Matlab where he states that the company actually updated their documentation for getframe() based on his blog complaint to clarify that you need to turn off the screen saver and walk away from the computer “like it’s 1992.”. I’m not sure why its still considered acceptable in this day and age that getframe() requires the user to devote a single computer to function properly. Blasphemy!

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