This appeared at my door today. It's awesome.
As the publication of Data Points nears, I'm excited to hold it in my hands just like I was the first time. It feels weird to say that. In college, a 5-page report seemed like too much to handle, and I would hunt for fonts that took the most space and fiddled with margins to produce more pages, without making it look like I did. I guess a lot can happen in 10 years. Heck, a lot can happen in a few months.
I think the difference is that now I'm writing about something that's interesting to me — topics that I immerse myself in for fun — which makes the book-writing process fun.
Sure, it can be challenging at times, but in the best way possible. Here's my experience with Data Points.
For the past year, I've been working on Data Points: Visualization that Means Something, and you can pre-order it now.
Visualization has grown a lot in the 5-something years I've written for FlowingData. It's not just a tool for analysis anymore. Visualization is a way to express data, and it comes in the form of information graphics, entertainment, everyday interfaces, data art, and yeah, tools, too. Your approach to data and visualization changes based on application.
But even with all these (awesome) new applications, there's a constant across all of them: the data.
Data Points starts here, and takes you through the process of understanding data, representing it, exploring it, and designing for different applications. Whereas Visualize This was about getting your feet wet with lots of code examples, Data Points is code-independent and is a perfect complement that helps you understand and allow others to understand data better, which is sorta the whole point.
The manuscript is written, the 240 graphics (by me and many of your favorites) are set, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.
It'll officially be out late March or early April. Crazy, nerve-racking, and exciting all at the same time.
More details to come. Until then: pre-order the book today.
My central air conditioner started to suck about a month ago, so I called A/C repair. It took them five appointments, four to assess the problem and one to fix it. The trouble was that for each appointment they'd give me a four-hour window, and every time except the last, they arrived about a half an hour outside the window.
I think they might need to tweak their scheduling system, unless their end game is to set expectations so low that an on-time arrival seems amazing. If that's the case, well, I slow clap in your direction, A/C repair.
3-D pie charts are never a good idea? Ha. You just got served.
A couple weeks ago, I looked at gender pay gap data to see how the differences have changed over the past nine years. This was after seeing Narrow the Gapp by Gina Trapani and then a Time Magazine cover story on how more women are becoming the main earners of households. A little after that, Mike Bostock posted his D3 port of GapMinder's well-known Wealth & Health of Nations, and the New York Times interactive by Hannah Fairfield and Graham Roberts from 2010 came to mind. My idea was to combine the two as a recreation of the latter, with a couple of my own interactions. I went to work on a bunch of horrible government PDFs and then pulled it all together.
(I was mostly interested in what the data looked like. I was hoping to see a counterclockwise turn towards the equal pay gap line, but of course, it's never that simple.)
At some time late at night, I put up the graphic and hastily posted about it. I wrote in the footer of the graphic that it was an update to the NYT version that made use of Mike's D3 and left it at that. And that was fine. There were some good comments, and I was happy that Graham and Hannah shared it on Twitter.
But then there was confusion when my graphic went up on CNNMoney a few days later without a nod to NYT. That's when I got my first taste of online bitter. It tastes bad, and it's kind of scary how quick people are to think the worst.
However, it was an honest mistake by both CNNMoney and me. They didn't catch the note in the footer, so they didn't realize I had recreated the NYT graphic. They were quick to act when they found out though, so good on them.
As for me, I live in a bubble where I share whatever I want on FlowingData and all the mini-projects I work on simply come out of my own curiosities. I didn't even think about possible conflicts when I was asked if it was okay to share the graphic. We did something similar with the Walmart map a while back, and the contrast between comments from CNN's general audience and FlowingData's was fun to see. So I just said sure. I should have thought a little harder.
Anyways, I've learned my lesson. I'll make recreations more clear — if I do them at all at this point — and no more hasty posts late at night.
Many people aren't happy with their face or body, and a proportion of those turn to plastic surgery to try to alleviate their displeasure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual report shows just how many have opted for cosmetic surgical procedures. There were nearly 1.6 million of them performed in 2011, along with 12.2 million minimally-invasive procedures.
The above chart compares the distributions of the former from 2000 (shown in green) to 2011 (shown in blue). The two years are overlaid, and procedures are roughly organized by spot on the body. Breast augmentation led the way in 2011 with about 307,000 performed.
After seeing Tristan Louis' list that tallied the streaming availability of 2011's top 100 box office hits, I was curious what it looked like graphically. So I put together this little number. Blue means available, yellow means not, and gray means it's only available for purchase. The last column for DVD simply means it's available (since DVDs are of course not streaming).
Netflix streaming still isn't a place to find the big movies (as any Netflix customer can tell you), with only five of the top 100 available. There is greater streaming availability from iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu, but those of course aren't fair comparisons to Netflix, given that the latter is subscription-only.
My main takeaway is that if you're deciding between the non-subscription services, it looks like price is the main thing to look at, since there doesn't seem to be much variability in availability (although it could be different for smaller movies). As for Netflix, subscribe for the television and for the movies less so.
Quick announcement: I have a handful of signed Visualize This copies available in case you're looking for a gift for that data geek cousin or you're up for some learning over the holidays. I only have a limited supply, so grab a copy before they're gone. And of course, you can still get an untarnished version at the major booksellers.
I didn't know price changed so much — although I'm not surprised — I'm guessing based on a number of factors such as third-party prices, competitors' prices, and sales. The Kindle version (not shown) changed a lot in the beginning, costing more than the paperback, but I don't think it's changed since it came down to the current price. You can see the changes, as reported by price tracking site Tracktor (just try to ignore the weird vertical scale).
The used price is not completely accurate since there weren't any used copies available before the book was released in July.
Also, I'm not entirely sure about the listings for used books on Amazon, as all of them are from resellers with thousands of ratings. Four copies are listed for above retail, and one of those is more than four times as much. That expensive copy must be a special edition that I haven't heard about.
There are many brands on Twitter that exist to uphold an image of the company they represent. As consumers, we can communicate with these accounts, voicing praise or displeasure (usually the latter). Using a simple sentiment classifier1, I scored feelings towards major brands from 0 (horrible) to 100 (excellent) once a day for five days.
The above for example, shows scores for Netflix, Hulu, and Redbox. Netflix had the lowest scores, whereas Redbox had the highest. I suspect Netflix started low with people still upset over the price hike, but it got better the next couple of days. Then on Saturday, there was a score drop, which I'm guessing was from their downtime for most of Saturday. Hulu and Redbox, on the other hand, held more steady scores.
Last week I announced the release of Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics, and I have to admit: I was addicted to the listing on Amazon, which shows sales rank, that day. At its peak, it broke the Amazon overall top 100, all the way up to #77. Of course the dust has settled, but it's still been doing well. I can't thank you all enough for the support.