I (Meaghan) have spent a lot of time in R. Like, a LOT. Not really accomplishing lots and lots, mind you, but just kind of fucking around hopelessly most of the time. Meaghan of 3 months ago looked at R and thought "is there any way I can avoid using that program?" while Meaghan of today thinks "is there anything I can do with that program that will permit me to feel useful while procrastinating on something else?" As it turns out, there definitely is: Meaghan of today will now be presenting a wonderful R tutorial on how to scatterplot some shit and then make it pretty without getting entangled in ggplot2 (which is another code word for the bowels of hell).
One of the beautiful and fucking awful things about R is that for any one way of doing something, there's about 60 others. I'm going to tell you how to do things that you could probably do in other ways. These ways make sense to me, but if they cognitively don't work for you I'm sure you could find another 6+ ways of accomplishing the same goal. Also, everything I'm reporting here comes from a place of necessity: I'm sure there are other useful things we could talk about with scatterplots, but since I didn't have to think about them…. I'm not going to talk about them!
R: the very basics
It's free and available on the internet, and very powerful. It isn't user-friendly, unless your user is the Lorax of computer programming.