• Data.

    April 1, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    Dear reader,

    After much thought and arguments with myself, I've decided to quit data. It's been almost two years writing for FlowingData and almost four years as a statistics graduate student, and data never stops. I think I know what postal employees feel like. Every day is just more and more data. Gimme more. Everyone wants more - but to what end? There's too much of it. Sometimes I just want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my office and cry.

    Why do we need data anyways? It just makes life more complicated, and educated decisions are overrated. Guesswork is underrated. So - and it pains me to say this - I've decided to quit FlowingData and graduate school. I will be joining a traveling entertainment troupe that eats paper. I just need one of those sticks with the back on the end of it. You know, like the ones that they show on TV... with the hobos. Forget it, I can't remember. I'll just get a garbage bag.

    I hope you all understand. Like I said, I've given this a lot of thought, and this is really the best thing to do at this point of my life. Visualization, design, statistics, or computer science will never be able to handle all the data that are to come, so it's best I part ways now before it's too late. Keep an eye out for my paper-eating entertainment troupe. We don't have a name yet... and it's really just me, not so much a group. I also don't have any paper, or actually, I do have a few post-it notes. No, that won't be enough. Maybe I can be the used-napkin-eating person guy thing. I dunno. Well - keep an eye out. It will be the show to watch. Thanks everyone for reading and all of your support. Please do sign the guest book to stay up to date on the paper-eating napkin-eating troupe.

    All the best,

    UPDATE: Just to be clear - happy april 1 :)

  • Because It’s Friday: Correlation

    March 6, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    It's time like these I feel like one big nerd.

    [via xkcd | Thanks, Mickey]

  • Because It’s Friday: The Trilogy Meter

    February 20, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    Dan Meth plots out the trilogy meter - a series of charts that show his level of enjoyment of each movie in the trilogy:

    These are rated purely on my enjoyment level on each film and nothing else. Frankly I’m surprised by how many sequels were better than the original. And I’m not surprised that the 3rd movie is never the best.

    Perhaps more surprising is that Dan's actually seen so many full trilogies, especially after the second in a series sucking so bad.

    [via Dan Meth | Thanks, Chris]

  • Decide What to Do For Her On Valentine’s Day

    February 13, 2009  |  Miscellaneous

    Valentine's Day can be tricky. Do you get her flowers? Chocolate? Is it time for jewelry or a corn dog and a blow pop? This graph helps you decide what to do for your special someone tomorrow. Don't get stuck in the dog house this Valentine's Day. Follow the chart wisely. If you've got cash and care for her a lot, it's time for more than a matinee and Olive Garden.

    [Thanks, Jason]

  • Are You a Freelance Data Visualization Designer/Consultant?

    January 8, 2009  |  Forums, Miscellaneous

    I frequently get requests or propositions for data visualization projects, but I almost always have to turn them down - not because they're not worth my while, but because I've made a conscious decision to try really hard to finish my PhD. To that end, I always wish there was a list or resource that I could at least refer people to for their data visualization needs. I know of a few freelancers, but I'm positive there are many others. If you do visualization freelance (that includes BI, infographics, maps, graphs, charts, etc), post to this thread in the FlowingData forums (NOT this post), and hopefully, I can get a list going that I can point potential clients to.

  • Because It’s Friday: Escalators

    December 26, 2008  |  Miscellaneous


    [via xkcd | Thanks, Justin]

  • Top FlowingData Posts for 2008

    December 23, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone, but as I looked back on the FlowingData archives, it feels like ages since I wrote up some of these posts. I give you the most popular posts of 2008:

    1. 17 Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe
    2. Winner of the Personal Visualization Project is...
    3. Watching the Growth of Walmart Across America, Interactive Edition
    4. 21 Ways to Visualize and Explore Your Email Inbox
    5. 12 Cool Visualizations to Explore Books
    6. Showing the Obama-Clinton Divide in Decision Tree Infographic
    7. 10 Largest Data Breaches Since 2000 - Millions Affected
    8. 23 Personal Tools to Learn More About Yourself
    9. Watch the Rise of Gasoline Retail Prices, 1993 - 2008
    10. 40 Essential Tools and Resources to Visualize Data

    Thank You

    At the beginning of this year, on January 1, 2008, FlowingData had 126 subscribers. Compare that to the now... wow. Thanks again for sharing FlowingData, everyone. Thank you for the comments, the suggestions, contest entries, and forum topics. FlowingData is what it is because of its readers. Lastly, thank you to the FlowingData sponsors - , , and - who help me keep up with FlowingData's growth.

    Here's to an exciting 2009.

  • Vote for Open Government Data

    November 13, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    The title reads, "Barack Obama is going to appoint the nation's first CTO. What are the top priorities?" I don't know about you, but I'm putting in my vote for open government data. Who knows if anyone from Washington actually sees this (probably not), but can you imagine how fun it'd be to have APIs to data that defines the United States, or any country for that matter? Something more accessible than thousands of scattered Excel spreadsheets and PDF files? It's good to hope, or as my friend Andy Dufresne would say, hope will set you free. Yeah, that makes absolutely no sense. This is what happens when I stay up all night long.

    [via Boing Boing | Thanks, Georgina]

  • Wanna Work For Stamen Design?

    November 11, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    I don't normally put up job postings, but this opportunity is too cool not to. Stamen Design, in San Francisco, has an opening for a full-time developer to "make their ideas feasible." If you follow visualization on the Web, no doubt you've come across some of their work - somewhere in between analytical and art. There's the Digg Labs stuff, Trulia Hindsight, Twitter Blocks, Cabspotting, and plenty of other fun stuff.

    Here's part of the job description:

    You'll be working with a small team of designers and engineers who will be looking to you to make their ideas feasible. You're excited by the possibility of cutting and bending data to fit it through the thin straw of the internet. You can look at a source of information and model it as resources, rows and columns, messages and queues. You have the programming experience necessary to write data processors and servers, the system administration experience to inhabit and actively guide a constantly-shifting technical environment of free & open source software, and the patience & grace to grant that PHP and spreadsheets might be appropriate tools when circumstances require the quick and the dirty.

    You must have the willingness and ability to discuss the finer points of HTTP, SQL, RESTful API's, response formats and resource consumption. You understand that the perfect is often the enemy of the good, and your pragmatism & flexibility show themselves in functional systems. You can see the connections between technical infrastructure and the interactive design & visualization it supports.

    We're less concerned with how long you've worked than with how good you are. You will need to have been paid to do good work; the skill that comes from delivering work for money can't be learned in any other way. You maintain a state of constant learning to keep up with new work in your field, participate in communities of practice connected to your expertise, and experiment with new techniques in personal projects.

    Go here for the complete details.

    [via teczno]

  • Reminder: It’s Election Day

    November 4, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    A quick reminder -- it's election day in the United States. If you're registered to vote, take the few minutes out of your day and go put in some ticks at your nearest voting place. If not for the presidency, at least go vote for your local candidates and propositions.

  • Download Your Free FlowingData Wallpaper

    October 23, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    I don't remember when I made this desktop wallpaper, but it was probably during one of those nights when there was nothing good on TV and I had nothing better to do. Anyways, it's my current desktop wallpaper, and thought I'd make it available to all of you just in case someone wanted to flaunt their love for FlowingData.

    Here it is in the metallic gray variety. Enjoy. Click on the images to get the full-sized versions:

  • Highlights from Wired NextFest in Chicago

    October 6, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    I was in Chicago last week for Wired NextFest – it was impressive, beautiful, engaging, and imaginative. While I had fun presenting some of my own work, it was even more entertaining looking at (and trying out) the other exhibits. Here are some of the highlights of the event.
    Continue Reading

  • Pie I Have Eaten and Pie I Have Not Eaten

    September 19, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    Gotta love Fridays. Have a good weekend everyone. Go have yourself a slice of pie.

    [via Zoomdoggle | Thanks, Canna]

  • Google Results for X Girls, Y Cups

    August 30, 2008  |  Miscellaneous


    Some will find this amusing while others won't get it at all. If you don't get it, consider yourself lucky. Have a good weekend, everyone.

    [Thanks, Canna]

  • Why is MC Hammer Talking About Analytics?

    August 22, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    "Analytics, at the end of the day, is going to be the engame." Ok, MC Hammer. If you say it is, then I will believe you. Have a nice weekend everyone, and remember, despite what you've heard, you're never too legit to quit.

    [via Juice Analytics]

  • LEGO-powered Project Time Management

    August 20, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    Speaking of physical graphs, looks it's time management with my favorite childhood pastime - LEGOs! Each row represents an hour and each color indicates a different project. I'm gonna go out by myself a big, red bucket of LEGOs now.

    [via infosthetics]

  • Beginner’s Guide to FlowingData – A Guided Tour

    August 4, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    Our FlowingData community went up from 2,641 subscribers last month to about 4,100, so more than a third of you are new. Welcome (and thanks to the those of you who have obviously been spreading the word :). As a new reader, you might not know where to begin, so let me show you around.
    Continue Reading

  • Will Dark Knight Beat Titanic for Biggest Movie of All Time? [POLL]

    August 1, 2008  |  Miscellaneous, Polls

    Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger, has been breaking records left and right. After only 10 days, the movie passed the $300 million mark - faster than any move before it. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was the previous record holder. Pirates did it in 16 days.

    So the next record that everyone's wondering about is -- Will Dark Knight make more than $600 million to beat Titanic as the highest grossing film of all time? So far it's been 12 days and has grossed $333,929,159. Punch your answer in the poll below.


    How much do you think Dark Knight will make (domestically)? I say it won't do it -- $525 million tops.

  • A Taxi Cab Exploded in My Driveway

    July 29, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    Through the Internet, sharing data has -- you know what, I'm not even going to try to make this relevant. A car exploded in my driveway!!!!

    It was 6am and I was laying in bed. There was a continuous honking horn that was annoying the crap out of me. I figured someone was trying to get someone else to move their car so that they could pull out, but after a minute of one long honk, there was a huge BOOOOMMMM!

    I ran to my office window, and I saw a car on fire!! I managed to get some of it on camera:

    It was quite the sight - and now my apartment smells like smoke. Luckily no one was hurt.

  • My Ugly Experience with the JetBlue Kiosk

    July 13, 2008  |  Miscellaneous

    Photo by TR4NSLATOR

    As I write this, I'm waiting for my connecting flight to New York on the way to Berkeley for the workshop on Integrating Computing into the Statistics Curricula. I'm taking JetBlue, which I normally only have good things to say about, but right now I'm very displeased with their service. Here's why I might consider a different airline next time and the design lesson I got out of it.
    Continue Reading

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.