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By Virgilio Gómez Rubio, Spanish R Users Organizing Committee

As every autumn since 2009, Spanish R users gathered at their annual meeting. It is organised by Spanish R users group ‘Comunidad R-Hispano’and took place in 5-6 November in the historic city of Salamanca. The 7th Meeting of Spanish R Users attracted more than 100 R entusiasts and provided a mix of tutorials and contributed talks within the quarters of the University of Salamanca.

One of the themes of the Christmas movie classic Love Actually is the interconnections between people of different communities and cultures, from the Prime Minister of the UK to a young student in London. StackOverflow's David Robinson brings these connections to life by visualizing the network diagram of 20 characters in the movie, based on scenes in which they appear together:

Happy New Year everyone! It's hard to believe that this blog has now been going since 2008: our anniversary was on December 9. Thanks to everyone who has supported this blog over the past 7 years by reading, sharing and commenting on our posts, and an extra special thanks to my co-bloggers Joe Rickert and Andrie de Vries and all the guest bloggers from Microsoft and elsewhere that have contributed this year.

It's been a banner year for the R project in 2015, with frequent new releases, ever-growing popularity, a flourishing ecosystem, and accolades from both users and press. Here's a roundup of the big events for R from 2015. 

by Andrie de Vries

A week ago my high school friend, @XLRunner, sent me a link to the article "How Zach Bitter Ran 100 Miles in Less Than 12 Hours". Zach's effort was rewarded with the American record for the 100 mile event.

by Matt Parker, Data Scientist at Microsoft

One of the great advantages of R's openness is its extensibility. R's abundant
packages are the most conspicuous example of that extensibility, and
Revolution R Enterprise is a powerful example of how far it can stretch.

Despite the ggplot2 project — the most popular data visualization package for R — being in maintenance mode, RStudio's Hadley Wickham has given the R community a surprise gift with a version 2.0.0 update for ggplot2. According to Hadley this is a "huge" update with more than 100 fixes and improvements.

On this Christmas Day, allow me to share a couple of interesting takes on Mariah Carey's modern Christmas classic, All I Want for Christmas is You. (Unlike most pop songs, Carey wrote the melody and lyrics herself.) If you've somehow managed to avoid hearing the song over the past decade, here it is lip-synced in 2011 by the Royal Navy crew of HMS Ocean:

 

by Joseph Rickert

The following map of all of the R user groups listed in Microsoft's Local R User Group Directory is good way to visualize the R world as we rocket into 2016. As a member of the useR!2016 planning committee, foremost in my mind right now is that in just a few months people will be coming to Stanford from all points plotted and almost everywhere in between.

by Andrie de Vries

Have you noticed that most R help does not contain any images? Historically, this was for a good reason: most programming language help assumes that you use the system on a text-only system, e.g. a headless linux server. If your system has no graphical capabilities, but the help contains images, then the help itself can become confusing.

That said, most R users use their help on a system with full graphical capabilities. Thus the R core team updated R itself in version 2.12 to have the ability to include images in your help.