• Phew, FlowingData 10k Giveaway is Done!

    March 4, 2009  |  Contests

    Our 10k giveaway is now complete. Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to all of you who participated. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the entries, especially the reader introductions (nice to know you all are living, breathing humans :) and the data visualization definitions. It just goes to show how diverse FlowingData readers are.

    I also want to take one last chance to thank the 10k giveaway sponsors. They put up some really awesome prizes for all of you. Please do give them a visit if you get the chance. Here's a recap of all the prizes and where they came from:

    Again, a big thank you to all of you. Thank you for reading FlowingData and keep spreading the word - statistics is the new sexy and data visualization's future is bright :).

  • Four hours and then we’re done…

    March 2, 2009  |  Contests

    If you haven't won anything in our 10k giveaway yet, there's about 4 more hours to enter three remaining giveaways here, here, and here. Enter now, because you know there is no better price than free. That is all. Good luck. Ok bye.

  • Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is Next Up… Better Hurry

    February 27, 2009  |  Contests

    If you haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, you're gonna wanna do that. I mean, there's a reason this book was a national bestseller. Good thing the next prize up for grabs is... Malcom Gladwell's Tipping Point. This giveaway is a quick one. The deadline is Feb 27, 8pm EST.

    How to Enter

    Super easy. Leave a comment below. That's it! The winner will be randomly selected at the deadline. Good luck.

    UPDATE: This giveaway is now oooovvva. Thanks for participating, everyone! This is the last prize announcement in for our 10k giveaway, but there are still three giveaways still going on here, here, and here about to come to an end so get your entries in quick.

  • Win a One-year Subscription to SiSense Dashboards

    February 23, 2009  |  Contests

    Want some easy-to-use online dashboard software? The next prize up for grabs is for you then - a one-year subscription to SiSense. This one will be especially useful for anyone who runs a business.

    The deadline for this giveaway is Monday, March 2, 8pm EST.

    Prize Description

    A one-year subscription to a SiSense standard package - a $500 value - is up for grabs:

    SiSense Prism is a powerful, user driven business intelligence tool that takes only a few hours to learn and implement. Our visual interface lets you effortlessly create analytics, reports, graphs and dashboards. Setting up Prism requires no IT support. SiSense offers non-technical users the ability to dashboard and analyze using common terminology and a drag and drop interface. We connect to different data sources and present them to the user in a unified way.

    Using SiSense, you can connect to a data source and begin work immediately, relieving the need for IT to mediate between the business user and the data source. The results are easy to share with a workgroup or your superiors. Pricing ranges from a free version to tens of dollars per user month.

    How to Enter

    For a chance to win a one-year subscription to SiSense, simply find an example of a dashboard (the cooler the better) and leave a link to it in the comments below. Please only one entry per person. A winner will be randomly selected on March 2. Good luck!

    UPDATE: This giveaway's all wrapped up. Check your email, and thanks for participating.

  • Limited Edition Infographic Goodies Up for Grabs

    February 23, 2009  |  Contests

    I'm a WallStats fan, so I was especially excited when Jess put up two 389 Years Ago posters for the 10k giveaway. One is limited edition, and the other is really limited edition. Whoever wins these bad boys should thank their lucky stars. The deadline for this giveaway is Friday, Feb 27 at 8pm EST.

    Prize Description


    The 389 Years Ago Poster by Jess Bachman is a "typographic mashup of black history" and was inspired by Barack Obama's victory in November. It's a honker of a poster measuring in at 16" wide and 46" tall. It begins 389 years ago when the first slave ship landed in American colonies and then progresses to the first African American president, Barack Obama. There are only 389 of the above poster. One of them could be yours. On top of that, there is also a color variant of the 389 poster:

    There are only 44 of these, and one of them is part of this giveaway.

    How to Enter

    Post to this thread in the FlowingData forums. Introduce yourself, tell us what you're interested in, your favorite food, drink, animal, number, etc and where you will put the poster if you win it. Two winners will be chosen at random on Friday - one for the original 389 poster and one for the color variant. One entry per person please. Good night and good luck. That was a good movie.

    UPDATE: We've wrapped this one up. Thanks for participating, everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed all the introductions in the forums. Congratulations to our two poster winners! I'm jealous.

  • It’s Time for Another FlowingData 10k Giveaway – Quick Deadline

    February 20, 2009  |  Contests

    I majored in computer science. I hated it. I ran from it like the black plague. That was then though. This is now. It turns out that programming can actually be fun, and when you know how to program - if even just a little bit - it completely changes the way you deal with and visualize data, which is why Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art is next up on the giveaway.

    The deadline for this one is the end of today: Feb 20 at 8pm EST.

    Prize Description

    Processing is a programming language that can help beginners do stuff with code they never thought possible. The learning curve is pretty shallow, and you get a lot of bang for your buck with surprisingly very little effort. That doesn't mean it's limited in what it can do though. Built on top of Java, Processing lets you do pretty amazing things when you know what you're doing.

    Processing: Creative Coding and Computation Art will help you in your path to coding enlightenment. "Create code, art, visualizations, and interactive applications with this powerful yet simple computer language and programming environment / Take a creative and fun approach to learning creative computer programming." I think that sums it up nicely.

    How to Enter

    Leave a comment below that answers this question: What is data visualization? Make your answer an essay, a paragraph, a sentence, a word, a picture... OK, pretty much anything. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of today. Good luck.

    Find giveaways still in progress here, here, and here.

    UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be receiving an email shortly. Thanks for participating all. Keep watch for more giveaways on Monday.

  • WallStats’ Death & Taxes Poster – Three Chances to Win!

    February 19, 2009  |  Contests

    Where does all of our tax money go? Well, here's your chance to find out. Graphic designer Jess Bachman from WallStats has kindly put up three Death and Taxes posters for our 10k giveaway. This one ends Sunday, Feb 22 at 8pm EST.

    Prize Description

    After the popularity of the 2008 Death and Taxes poster, naturally there had to be a Death and Taxes: 2009.

    "Death and Taxes: 2009" is a representational poster of the federal discretionary budget; the amount of money that is spent at the discretion of your elected representatives in Congress. Basically, your federal income taxes. The data is from the President's budget request for 2009. It will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress by October 1st to begin the fiscal year.

    The poster provides a uniquely revealing look at our national priorities, that fluctuate yearly, according to the wishes of the President, the power of Congress, and the will of the people. If you pay taxes, then you have paid for a small part of everything in the poster.

    Here are a couple of shots:

    Check out the full, zoom-able, pan-able version to get the full effect. Jess goes into tremendous detail on how our tax money is spent and it's one of those posters where you'll see something new every time you look at it. It was even featured on Martha Stewart:

    How to Enter

    Like I said, there are three posters up for grabs in this round of the giveaway. All you have to do is promise that you will tell at least one person about WallStats in the comments below. Easy enough. Three winners will be randomly selected at the end of Sunday. Needless to say, make sure you enter a valid email address so we can contact you when you win. Good luck!

    Stay tuned. There are some book giveaways coming up.

    UPDATE: Finito. If you haven't received an email from me yet, keep an eye out for more giveaways this week. The other WallStats poster, 389 Years Ago, is coming up very soon.

  • Visualize This: 10k Giveaway Edition – FusionCharts Licenses Up For Grabs!

    February 18, 2009  |  Contests

    This is a special edition of Visualize This. Why? I'm glad you asked. Since our FlowingData 10k giveaway is now underway, it seemed fitting that we put up some prizes this time around. InfoSoft Global has generously donated three FusionCharts Professional Licenses valued at $499 each. This Visualize This will go the length of the 10k giveaway, so you've got lots of time to enter. Get your entries in by March 3, 8pm EST for your chance to win a FusionCharts Professional license.

    Prize Description

    FusionCharts lets you create animated and interactive Flash charts for online or desktop. Couple FusionCharts with InfoSoft's other products like FusionWidgets and FusionMaps, and you've got yourself the necessary tools to create a very worthwhile information dashboard. Use it in your web applications, personal data collection, in your business, or anywhere else you need to visualize data. FusionCharts can be integrated with just about all the major web technologies (e.g. ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, JSP, ColdFusion, Ruby on Rails, Python, HTML, MS SQL, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, CSV...) and the FusionCharts group has aimed to make things easy with very little code. Is that enough to whet your appetite? You're good? OK.

    How to Enter

    Unlike previous Visualize This projects, I'm not going to post a specific dataset. Instead, create a dashboard using the no-restriction trial version of FusionCharts on the theme of education and then post a link to to your entry to this thread in the FlowingData forums. If you haven't registered in the forums yet, you'll want to do that first.

    The trial version of FusionCharts has all the same functionality as the licensed one, so go wild. You are also welcome to use any of other of the InfoSoft products in your dashboard. Make it clean, make it sexy, and most importantly, make it informative.

    Feel free to focus on education data for just your area or make a dashboard for your entire country. Look at elementary schools, colleges, private schools, or all of the above. The key is to make a dashboard for a branch of education that interests you.

    Here are some education data sources to get you started:

    Got any others? Please post them in the comments.

    The three best dashboards (chosen by me and readers) will each be awarded a FusionCharts Professional License. Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing what you all come up with (and can we please make it more active than the last one?? By the way - thanks, Hadley).

    Download the trial version of FusionCharts here.

    Stay tuned. Awesome infographics posters coming up tomorrow.

    UPDATE: The 10k giveaways is no finito. Thanks for participating everyone.

  • First Giveaway… a Tableau Software Personal Edition!

    February 17, 2009  |  Contests

    It's time for the first competition of our 10k giveaway. Not only is this first prize super awesome, but we've made it extremely easy to enter to win. This one's going to be open until March 2, 8pm EST, so you've got PLENTY of time to enter.

    Prize Description

    Tableau Software aims to make "databases and spreadsheets understandable to ordinary people" with an emphasis on statistical visualization and visual analysis. It's won a number of awards and has applications in business intelligence, web analytics, database marketing, university statistics, data analysis, and the occasional FlowingData Visualize This challenge. Also, one of the co-founders was a founding member of Pixar. Need I say more? Take a look at what you can do with Tableau in their Visual Examples section. The Tableau Personal Edition is valued at $999.

    How to Enter

    This is super easy. First, follow Tableau on Twitter. Second, go to this page. How many days is the Tableau trial version functional for? Send the answer and oh what the heck, your favorite color in an @reply to Tableau on Twitter in the following exact format:

    "@tableau @flowingdata 10k giveaway answer: <some number> <favorite color>"

    Of course replace <some number> and <favorite color> appropriately. Please only send your answer once, and it has to be via Twitter. Don't post your answers here. On March 2, a winner of a brand-spankin' new Tableau Personal Edition will be randomly selected. Good luck!

    UPDATE: That's a wrap! Thanks for participating, everyone.

  • $3,000 FlowingData 10k Giveaway – Prizes and Sponsors

    February 17, 2009  |  Contests

    Alright, let's get this giveaway going. I hope you're all as excited about this as I am. Below are the prizes that will be given out over the next two weeks in no particular order - most provided by generous sponsors and a few books thrown in by myself.

    The contest sponsors were very generous to donate all these prizes, so I hope that you will return the generosity and give them a big, fat thank you by visiting them.

    The Prizes

    Again, thank you, FlowingData readers for spreading the word, leaving comments, and participating in forum discussions. I'm proud of the community that we've developed together, and look forward to whatever it is to come. Also, thank you to FlowingData sponsors for helping FlowingData reach its full potential.

    Let the games begin! Don't forget to subscribe to the FlowingData feed to stay updated on the giveaway.

  • $3,000 Worth of Prizes in FlowingData 10k Giveaway!

    February 16, 2009  |  Contests

    Earlier last week, FlowingData reached a long-awaited milestone - 10,000 subscribers. This obviously wouldn't be possible without FlowingData readers (b/c uh, then there would be zero subscribers), so over the next two weeks, as a big thank you, I'm going to give away over $3,000 worth of prizes in the FlowingData 10k giveaway!

    Yeah, $3,000. Some really great prizes have been donated by generous sponsors to help me celebrate the occasion, and every item is going to you. What's got me most excited is that I would be thrilled to get any one of the items up for grabs - and that's saying something. Prizes range from books to limited edition posters to valuable visualization software licenses. Definitely worth getting excited about.

    How it's gonna go down...

    First thing's first. You'll want to make sure you're subscribed to the FlowingData RSS feed. This isn't a requirement to win, but it'll keep you up-to-date on the prize & competition announcements. Secondly, you'll want to register in the FlowingData forums since a few of the competitions will involve posting to a thread. Don't worry, it's easy.

    The details:

    • Prizes will be won in a series of competitions over the next two weeks that will range in criteria. For example, it could be a simple post to a thread in the forums or something like creating your own visualization dashboard.
    • The giveaway will officially start tomorrow. I will announce the prizes and sponsors and post the rules for the first competition.
    • Some competitions will be really quick, lasting only a few hours, while others will last for the whole two weeks.
    • To keep things fair and to make sure as many people as possible win something, you can only win one prize.

    That's all for now. Keep an eye out for tomorrow's post on the prizes up for grabs and the start of our first competition!

    Subscribe to the FlowingData feed to stay up-to-date on everything to come, and if it isn't too much trouble, please share this link via Twitter, del.icio.us, email, etc. with anyone who you think would be interested in FlowingData. Thank you :)

  • FlowingData Takes A Break

    December 24, 2008  |  Announcements

    FlowingData posts will slow down this holiday week. I'm going to be busy watching all the movies coming out this Christmas and eating a lot of food that will inevitably cause extended hours of sleep. I hope all of you get to do the same or something similar. Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

    Regular posting will resume on January 1, 2009 to satisfy your data visualization needs. Try not to take it too hard, but if it's too much to handle, try the FlowingData archives. There's lots of good stuff in there.

  • Win Free iPod Touch – SiSense Dashboard Challenege

    December 15, 2008  |  Contests

    SiSense is running a dashboard competition, and a free iPod Touch is up for grabs. All you have to do is create the best dashboard using SiSense -- which is free to try for 30 days. You've got until December 22 (that's one week away) to enter, so you better jump on it.

    Here's your motivation:

  • Winner of Tufte Books and Many Other Good Entries

    December 11, 2008  |  Contests, Statistical Visualization

    I ran a contest last week to improve a graph from Swivel that showed immigration to the United States. FlowingData readers sent in lots of different approaches (that took me forever to get organized for this post), and I still stand by my statement that there's always more than one way to skin a dataset.
    Continue Reading

  • Keep Your Fingers Crossed

    December 8, 2008  |  Announcements

    FlowingData will be transferred to a bigger and better server tonight between 10pm and 2am, during which the site will be down for about 30 minutes. Hopefully everything goes as planned, but in case you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know why. Keep your fingers crossed.

  • Last Chance to Win 2 Free Tufte Books

    December 4, 2008  |  Contests

    Just a quick reminder that the deadline to submit your entries to our graph contest is comin' up. Get your entries in by Friday, December 5, 8:00pm EST for a chance to win two free Edward Tufte Books - The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Visual Explanations. There have been some really good entries so far, and I'm looking forward to what else you all have in store (and to showing what FlowingData readers have come up with).

  • Contest: Win TWO Edward Tufte Books – Enter Now

    December 1, 2008  |  Contests

    It's December 1. 'Tis the season for giving, so guess what - it's time for a FlowingData contest! Jodi has kindly offered two free Edward Tufte books for one lucky FlowingData reader. She's getting ready to move and simply wants to find these books a good home. The two books up for grabs:

    Both books are used, but I don't think that matters. They still have the same pretty content as they did when they were new. You know - like a fine wine. There's nothing better than a bottle of aged Tufte.

    How to Win

    Below is a graph that shows immigration to the United States by country of origin. Can you make a better graph using the same data source?

    Immigration by country of origin

    To the person who submits the best remake of the above immigration graph will win both Tufte books. Email me your entries to nathan [at] flowingdata DOT com with "Graph Contest" in the subject line by Friday, December 5, 8:00pm EST. Jodi and I will judge based on informativeness (is that even a word?), aesthetics, and creativity. I will announce the winner later next week as well as post everyone's work like I've done in the past. The books can only be shipped to those with a U.S. mailing address, so any international entries will have to be for pride.

    Good luck. We're looking forward to seeing what you all come up with.

    P.S. Don't forget to thank Jodi for her generous donation!

    UPDATE: I should've mentioned this. You can submit up to two entries, and I will greatly appreciate it if your entries are in image format e.g. JPG, GIF or in PDF format rather than an Excel spreadsheet. Although it's not a requirement. Lastly, as you design your improved graphs, you might want to take a look at some of the data design tips I've posted.

  • Happy Thanksgiving

    November 27, 2008  |  Announcements

    Happy Thanksgiving! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 45 million turkeys will be consumed today. I hope you're contributing to the count. Dibs on wing.

  • Giveaway: Win a Free Subscription to GOOD Magazine

    November 26, 2008  |  Contests

    I subscribed to GOOD Magazine a while back. They describe themselves as the magazine for people who "give a damn." I initially subscribed because of their transparency section - a series of fun infographics on some topic - in each issue, but it turned out the articles were interesting too. GOOD also gives 100% of their subscription fees to the non-profit of your choice.

    Drawing for Free Subscription

    Anyways, I never got around to renewing my subscription, so I got a 3-for-1 email offer the other day. I get 2 free subscriptions to GOOD with my renewal, so I thought, "Hey maybe a couple of FlowingData readers might enjoy a free subscription." Anyone? I'll make this easy on you all. If you'd like to win a free subscription, just leave a comment on this post that promises you'll tell one person about FlowingData. One entry per person, please.

    I'll choose two winners at random Friday afternoon. If you win, you'll hear from me then. If not, I'd encourage you to subscribe anyways. It's only $20, and it all goes to charity. Make sure you leave a valid email address so that I'll be able to contact you.

    P.S. FlowingData's got a contest involving two free Tufte books on the way. Keep an eye out.

    UPDATE: Congratulations to our two winners drawn at random - Griffin and Brett! Thanks all for participating and helping our community grow.

  • A Small Favor

    November 20, 2008  |  Announcements

    I had to install a new caching implementation a few days ago to appease the hosting gods. Since then I've gotten a few emails reporting garbled text instead of an actual page. However, I haven't been able to repeat the problem, and those nice enough to notify me said it went away after a few clicks. I tweaked a little bit and think it's not an issue anymore, but if anyone sees garbage, please do let me know. Thanks.

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