[R] Plotting the ASCII character set.

Rolf Turner r@turner @end|ng |rom @uck|@nd@@c@nz
Sat Jul 3 04:02:59 CEST 2021

I have (used to have?) a function plot_ascii() which would display the
ascii character set in a graphical display.  It simply used text() to
place the symbols on a 16 x 16 grid.  The labels used by text() were
taken from a character vector that I called "all.ascii".  According to
my notes, the entries of this vector were obtained from a posting to
R-help made by the redoubtable Martin Maechler back in 2002.

This function *used* to work!  Now it doesn't.  When I invoke
plot.ascii() I get an error:

> Error in text.default(tmp, labels = all.ascii) : 
>   invalid string in PangoCairo_Text

To give a simple example, just looking at *one* of the characters,
which comes from the string "\260" in my data file:

    a <- "\260"

Same error.  If I type the name a I get "\xb0", which I don't
understand.  Can't get my head around character encoding.

If I do


then I get the degree symbol plotted; I guess that b0 is the hex
encoding of the degree symbol; apparently 260 is the octal encoding of
this symbol.

Can anyone suggest how I might get my plot_ascii() function working
again?  Basically, it seems to me, the question is:  how do I persuade
R to read in "\260" as "\ub0" rather than "\xb0"?

I hope for enlightenment! :-)


Rolf Turner

P.S. My sessionInfo() may be relevant:

R version 4.1.0 (2021-05-18)
Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit)
Running under: Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS

Matrix products: default
BLAS:   /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/atlas/libblas.so.3.10.3
LAPACK: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/atlas/liblapack.so.3.10.3

 [1] LC_CTYPE=en_GB.UTF-8       LC_NUMERIC=C              
 [3] LC_TIME=en_NZ.UTF-8        LC_COLLATE=en_GB.UTF-8    
 [7] LC_PAPER=en_NZ.UTF-8       LC_NAME=C                 
 [9] LC_ADDRESS=C               LC_TELEPHONE=C            

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base     

other attached packages:
[1] brev_0.0-5

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
 [1] magrittr_1.5      usethis_2.0.1     devtools_2.4.2    pkgload_1.2.1    
 [5] R6_2.4.1          rlang_0.4.11      mixreg_1.0-1      fastmap_1.0.1    
 [9] tools_4.1.0       pkgbuild_1.2.0    sessioninfo_1.1.1 cli_2.5.0        
[13] withr_2.4.2       ellipsis_0.3.2    remotes_2.4.0     rprojroot_1.3-2  
[17] lifecycle_1.0.0   crayon_1.3.4      processx_3.5.2    purrr_0.3.4      
[21] callr_3.7.0       fs_1.5.0          ps_1.6.0          testthat_3.0.3   
[25] memoise_2.0.0     glue_1.4.0        cachem_1.0.5      compiler_4.1.0   
[29] desc_1.3.0        backports_1.1.6   prettyunits_1.1.1

Honorary Research Fellow
Department of Statistics
University of Auckland
Phone: +64-9-373-7599 ext. 88276

More information about the R-help mailing list