When Jean-Michel and I left Berlin, a month ago, I really thought we were that close to sending the new edition of Bayesian Core. Alas, we are not done yet for a series of reasons: leaving for India did not give me enough time to complete the help manual, some codes from the original version did not seem to work any longer, apparently jeopardising a whole chapter!, and the package did not seem to compile. Yesterday, we met again and made progress that makes me much more confident. For one thing, the R code that “did not work” was an original spreadsheet of Bayesian Core that we turned into functions towards the completion of the bayess package. However, due to sloppy programming at the time, we had used global variables that were called inside functions without being (explicitly) declared as variables. When those R codes got turned into functions, variables defined inside those functions were no longer global and recognised by the other functions defined within those same functions… Silly me! Once this issue got spotted by Jean-Michel, as well as the use of a few && instead of &’s, the whole problem unravelled rather quickly and we got a compiled package by the end of the day, even though some of the demos (reproducing the outcome found in the text) are still bugged. Stay tuned!
Archive for book publishing
On Friday, I received the annotated copy of our book Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R with George Casella, from Springer Verlag. This means that a copy-editor went in a few weeks through the book, checking for consistency in the notations, the style and the spelling, correcting for the few typos and awkward sentences, and tracking all references. I always find this experience interesting in that it measures how far I am from writing in seamless English and also because it gives a style to the book. Going through the first chapters yesterday, I noticed some idiosyncrasies of the copyeditor: moving most “like” to “such as” and many “that” to “which”, all “situation when” to “situation where”, as well as inverting the location of “above” from adjective to adverb… An interesting fluctuation among copyeditors is whether or not “to allow” is systematically followed by “for”, the current one being closer to the French way of turning “to allow” into a transitive verb. The most frustrating part is the seemingly random removals and additions of comas! And repeated comments that show those copyeditors have no knowledge of LaTeX. But, overall, I am, as always, quite impressed by the quality of the work of those copyeditors who often spend time to explain in the margin why they suggest a particular change, such as why we should write “first four bits” instead of “four first bits”.: there only is one first bit… (I still remember the copyeditor of The Bayesian Choice who went to the extent of retranslating awkward sentences into French to try to understand my meaning!)
I hope to be done with this last correction within a few days am now done with this last correction after two days of non-stop typing and this will be the last and final step before the book goes to production. Yesss!!! We should soon get a cover and a publication date (March 1, 2010?). Of course, typos will remain (I found three yesterday in the two first chapters) but given that Springer Verlag is now operating a print-on-demand policy, correcting for those typos will be feasible on a continuous basis.