I’ve been working on a script for Linda; a bit of code to process her data. Unfortunately, I found myself drawn down the rabbit hole.

The idea is pretty simple, process data within an Excel spreadsheet and spit out the processed data and plots. The execution, however, has proven to be a pain in the butt. There’s a whole slew of ways to accomplish this task, but I think my stubbornness has gotten the best of me. For whatever reason, I decided that I should do it in MATLAB.

Bad idea. Reading an Excel spreadsheet in MATLAB on OSX is limited at best. For one, I can’t get MATLAB to read specific worksheets within an xls file. My workaround involves cutting and pasting data into separate csv files, that is, have the user do more work.

Nobody wants this. If it’s a pain for the user, why bother? Then I thought, maybe I should make a GUI to soften the blow. I’d fill it with lots of information to inundate her and let her know whether or not the MATLAB script is working.

It’s a silly idea, masking a fundamental flaw with a shiny overlay. But at the end of the day, a polished ball of poop is still just that, poop. So I’ve given up on this MATLAB GUI.

Then I thought, what about Python? I’ve only heard good things about Python and it’s supposed to be easy to just “throw things together”. Google’s even put together a great lecture series on YouTube which goes over Python basics.

And so, I started poking around in Python, writing simple scripts and generally having fun. But then I realized, unlike OSX, Python doesn’t come standard on Windows machines. She would have to install Python wherever she wanted to run this script, shooting this idea down before it got very far.

Now here I am, two weeks later and nothing to show for it. Sure, I learned how to craft a GUI in MATLAB and how to print “Hello World” in Python. But the task at hand still looms, unfinished. Really, from the get go, I should’ve just written a VB script and been done with it.

It’s funny because my first inclination was to do just that. However, when I realized that I couldn’t develop it on my Macbook, on OSX, I immediately went for something platform agnostic: MATLAB. It’s just a thinly veiled Apple vs. Windows argument, and I was cheering for Apple when it would’ve been easier to just cross the lines from the get go. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I fall down this hole.