How to make Professional Looking Plots for Journal Publication using Matlab R2014b

Matlab R2014b R2014a Graph Plot

Out of the box, Matlab is a powerful tool with many great built-in features. Suffice to say, however, their default 2D plots leave a lot to be desired. While meat-and-potatoes graphs are fine on most days, when it comes time to publish that data however, something must be done. The good news is, contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to export your data into some other graphing software; in fact, I have serious doubts that any so-called professional graphing program can provide the features built into native Matlab. The best part is, once you code your plotting script/function, you can use it again-and-again making minimal changes to the script. The plot above was generated in matlab; I’ve pasted my code for this graph below. Some day when I have a few spare minutes, I’ll cull and format the code for universal use (and post on matlab file-exchange. For now though, WYSIWYG. I’ll be happy to address your questions though – leave them as a comment below. (P.S. You will also need the boundedline.m function, which can be acquired here on file exchange)


Here’s one last example, using the above code and subplotting on four different axes in the same figure instance.


My Mac Hardware Upgrades and OSX Tricks (Part 2)

I’m going to go over two hardware upgrade moves. One’s a new spin on a long-time classic; the other is somewhat new-age (think GhettoTech not Steampunk). Let’s begin…

The Classic RAM Double Upgrade

I recently upgraded my Macbook Pro RAM… for the 2nd time on the same laptop. Yep. The first time was just a few days after buying the laptop, I swapped out the standard 4GB (2x2GB sticks) with 8 GB (2x4GB). That worked for a while, but after upgrading to Yosemite it seemed like 8 GB of RAM wasn’t cutting it. Sheesh right? So I went to to check what the max supported RAM was for my unibody and it turns out Apple officially supports up to 8 GB in my current macbook pro. However, it mentions that, unofficially, people were getting 16 GB of RAM to work in this model. In fact, after some deep googling, there was enough anecdotal evidence to convince me that I could get 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM to work (as opposed to the supported 1333 MHz RAM). Guess what, 16GB of 1600MHz Corsair Vengeance Performance DDR3L RAM does work!

Corsair Vengeance Performance 16GB DDR3L 1600MHz CL9
Corsair Vengeance Performance 16GB DDR3L 1600MHz CL9

After installing the RAM, I checked the system profiler and yay it recognized all 16 GB…

Though, just to make sure my laptop could actually use all 16 GB (instead of just telling me “Yes, you’ve installed 16 GB, good luck.”). I ran the memory through a few of memory tests tests (e.g. the built-in one) and everything checked-out just fine. All 16GB of RAM were humming…

The New-School “Hashtag, Holy Shit I Should Have Gotten A #Solid-State Drive (#SSD) Sooner”

In the spirit of Generation Born-Post-Y2K (or whatever the hell they’re called), I’m gunna be tweet-style brief about this. Here’s all you need to know.
I’m not easily impressed by tech upgrades; I’ve been doing them for a long time, and typically know what to expect. Ya get what ya pay for man. A few days ago though, I must admit, this upgrade made me slightly aroused. I installed a 1 TB Samsung SSD (from Amazon) into my Macbook Pro. It’s a painless transition if you use Carbon Copy to clone your current HDD to the SSD. After installing the SSD I booted her up. Whoa… Ok, pretty good, pretty neat. But after seeing 50 youtube vids about the SSD boot-time miracle I was already expecting that to be fast. No surprises there. Let me just launch a cold app like MatLab (*click*) and see what…

# O. M. G.

Hashtag, Holy Shit I Should Have Gotten A #Solid-State Drive (#SSD) Sooner”


Samsung 1TB SSD Evo

My Mac Hardware Upgrades and OSX Tricks (Part 1)

PowerBook G4

When it comes to buying a new computer, here’s how to play it… If you want a desktop build your own PC (it’s easier than you think); but if you want a laptop, get an Apple.

  • Buy a refurbished Macbook Pro from the official apple store – the one with the 2nd fastest CPU currently available (super important note: none of this info applies to the new Retina models, because they’re impossible to upgrade – everything is soldered together) . After building my own computer I’ve gleaned that the price for computer parts scales linearly with performance, up until the “#1 best” part, which is always significantly more expensive than the 2nd best. For example if intel’s current line of CPUs included a 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, and 2.5 GHz i7 CPU, the prices will be something like $100 $140 $180 $500. Don’t pay the “rich person” tax just to have the best one currently available – in a few months it will be 2nd best anyway. Instead, save that money and invest it in upgrades (described in the next post) that will make an actual difference in your laptop performance – I’m talking huge friggin differences. That said, definitely get the 2nd best CPU available (or the best one you can afford), it is the workhorse of your computer and it can’t be upgraded.
  • When you’re shopping for a new laptop only focus on two things: the CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit). Apple, Walmart, BestBuy, Fry’s, they are all guilty of it – their ads and employees make every effort to draw your attention away from these specs, and instead make you focus on things that don’t matter to us, like RAM and HDD (memory and hard disk drive storage) capacity. I think it’s amusing that computer ads never list the CPU or GPU specs (just: “Intel i5!“); instead they try to sell you on the RAM and HDD specs: Frys Computer AdThe reason they do this is because memory is cheap while CPU speed is expensive. So if they can convince you that a computer is worth $200 dollars more because it has a 750 GB HDD instead of a 500 GB HDD, they just scammed you out of $150 bucks. At the same time, they try to make you think an Intel 2.1 Sandy Bridge CPU is almost the same as an Intel 2.4 GHz Haswell CPU (in fact, they will never even mention the microarchitecture). Ohhh but they will indeed try to scam you. Walk into BestBuy, and ask Brendan to help you pick out a computer (there will be a BB employee named Brendan). Odds are, he’ll say something like “Hey man, think about it, 2.1 and 2.4 GHz is only 0.3 different so don’t even worry about that man, they’re basically the same. This other computer though, it has 250 gigabytes more memory, that’s a lot more bro! Do you like pictures? Yes?! Sir, trust me, you will need the one with more memory“. I of course, do the exact opposite of what Brendan suggests. In fact, when buying a laptop I care 0% about the amount of RAM and HDD capacity it has, and shop solely based on CPU and GPU specs. Why? Because I know I’m being overcharged for RAM and HDD capacity from the retailer, and will likely be upgrading both of those things anyway. So, the less RAM and HDD space it has off-the-shelf, the better; and the more cores and faster clock speed the CPU has and GPU have the better. Here’s my equation homebrew equation to help with this comparison – we’ll call it Brads Bang For Buck ( BBFB) score:

BLBB = (CPU + GPU) / (RAM * HDD)

To calculate the “BBFB” for the laptop you’re thinking about getting, first, you’ll need to look up the benchmarks for the GPU and CPU you’re considering. Go to and get the 3DMark06 Score for the GPU. Then head over to cpubenchmark and get the CPU PassMark score. Write those scores down here (along with the RAM and HDD capacity):

GPU 3DMark06: _________

CPU Passmark: _________

RAM Capacity: _________

HDD Capacity: _________

We’re looking to get a “BBFB” above 1.0 and the higher the better. Say you’re looking at a laptop with an Intel Core i7-4710MQ 2.50GHz CPU and an AMD Radeon HD 6770M GPU. Those scores would be …

GPU 3DMark06: __8023___

CPU Passmark: __10056__

RAM Capacity: ___12____ GB

HDD Capacity: ___750___ GB

Now we can finally calculate the BBFB using the standard equation:

BBFB = (CPU + GPU) / (RAM * HDD)

BBFB = 18079 / 9000

BBFB = 2.0

Finally, how interpret this value… If you’re looking at two different laptops, and they are both roughly the same price, get the one with the higher BBFB score! You’ll be glad you did.