• your.flowingdata Update: Share Data and Set Reminders

    August 7, 2009  |  Projects

    It's been about three weeks since I announced the new version of your.flowingdata (YFD), and I'm pleased with how things have progressed. We've seen over 21,000 data points tweeted by all of you. Very cool.

    People are tracking lots of different aspects of their lives including diet, bodily functions, and bad habits. Someone is tracking their child's new words while another is recording who he meets up with. Some have written scripts to automate their data logging. It's beautiful, really. Tear.

    New Stuff

    This is of course still the beginning though. There are a lot of things in the works and many features planned. I've got a long to-do list.

    In this first set of updates we've got:

    1. Public and Private Custom Data Pages
    2. Reminders
    3. Detailed help section

    Share Your Data with Custom Pages

    Your data is still private, but now you can share some of it with others with custom pages. The way it works is you have access to modules that you can organize the way you want on your page. Make the page public and then share the URL.

    I've created a health page (above) for myself. Other users have made pages for caloric consumption, reading, t-shirt colors, glucose levels, morale and productivity, and drug intake among plenty of other stuff.

    Another benefit of custom pages, other than sharing, is that they let you create custom views into your data that you can check in on with a single click. You can make your pages private too.

    Remind Yourself

    I think reminders might be the most requested feature from new YFD users. Well, here you go. Data logging takes a little bit of getting used to in the beginning, so you can set reminders for yourself. Set the number of days you're allowed to go without tweeting any data. If you pass the threshold, YFD will send (DM) you a friendly reminder.

    More Help

    Finally, I've put together more help on how to use your.flowingdata, namely a searchable FAQ. I based a lot of the new help docs on questions and feedback you guys asked and left in the forums. Hopefully, it makes things much more clear.

    Get Started Now

    If you're interested in recording your life in data, it's easy to get started with YFD:

    1. Follow @yfd on Twitter
    2. Sign in to your.flowingdata with Twitter
    3. Start recording data following the directions in the quick start guide.

    (Hopefully Twitter has recovered from the denial-of-service attack by the time this post goes up.)

    As usual, all comments and questions are welcome below or in the your.flowingdata forum.

  • Collect Data About Yourself with Twitter – your.flowingdata is Live

    July 15, 2009  |  Online Applications, Projects

    your.flowingdata (YFD), a Twitter application that lets you collect data about yourself, is now LIVE!

    I feel like I've been working on this project forever, but it's finally at a place where I think it's ready for human consumption. And unlike the previous version, what you track is completely up to you.
    Continue Reading

  • Sneak Peek: New Version of your.flowingdata Coming Soon

    July 8, 2009  |  Projects, Self-surveillance

    The brand new version of your.flowingdata (YFD) is coming soon, and of course, as a FlowingData reader, you get the first peak. Newer readers might not know what I'm talking about. Well, it's an online application that lets you collect data about yourself via Twitter.

    Follow @yfd on Twitter to be the first to try it out when it's ready.
    Continue Reading

  • FlowingPrints: Posterizing the World’s Data, Plus FlowingData Newsletter

    May 27, 2009  |  Announcements, Projects

    For the longest time I've been obsessed with data visualization and infographics in print, specifically posters. Visualization on the Web is great, but there's a limitation with screen real estate, and data in print has always just felt so much sexier. I remember when I was at The Times and I saw my very first graphic online. It was cool, but it was even cooler when I saw it in the paper the next morning.

    Enter the newest and maybe my most favorite FlowingData project - FlowingPrints. Continue Reading

  • your.flowingdata: Collect Data About Yourself via Twitter

    March 10, 2009  |  Projects, Self-surveillance

    As many of you know, I've been working on a project that lets you collect data about yourself via direct messages on Twitter. It's called your.flowingdata (YFD). It started with just weight and sleep, but it's slowly growing. I recently added entertainment, potty time, smoking, mood, and something I call YFD pulse. You can now also download your data in CSV format.
    Continue Reading

  • Progress: A Graphical Report on the State of the World

    March 3, 2009  |  Infographics, Projects

    You might recall that the United Nations Statistics Division launched UNdata about one week short of a year ago, which was an improvement on the previous United Nations Commons Database. UNdata provides a gateway into 22 United Nations databases and 66 million records. Yeah, it's a lot of data, but what do we do with it? What does it mean? Progress: A Graphical Report on the State of the World is a modest attempt to make some sense of it all; and by all, I mean a small subset.
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  • Mapping and Animating Growth of Target Across United States

    January 30, 2009  |  Projects

    After I produced a map that shows the growth of Walmart, there were tons of comments that were along the lines of, "I would love to see this for insert company here." I was happy to see the enthusiasm, but the hard part is getting the data for all store locations and opening dates.
    Continue Reading

  • Visualizing Twitter as Barack Obama Became the 44th President

    January 22, 2009  |  Mapping, Projects

    inauguratino

    On Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12pm, Barack Obama officially became the 44th president of the United States of America. As we all watched Obama being sworn in front of the massive crowd, Twitter was abuzz with excitement. Just how excited was the Twittersphere? Watch for yourself. The map starts early Monday morning. As the day moves on more people wake and tweet at a steady rate with increasing volume as the time comes nearer. Europe gets in on some of the action when the US goes back to sleep. Tuesday morning comes in with a new beginning in the air. Then boom, it's time, and Twitter bursts with excitement.

  • Discover Your Future for 2009 – CookieSays Fortunes

    January 6, 2009  |  Online Applications, Projects

    First off, happy new year! I'm back from my short hiatus from blogging and school. I trust everyone had a good holiday week. I saw a couple of good movies: Slumdog Millionaire, which was one of the best movies I've seen in a while, and Benjamin Button, which was good, but not as great as Slumdog. I also played a ton of NBA 2K8 on Xbox 360. I'm not much into video games (I really suck), but the plasma HDTV I got for my birthday/Christmas almost makes me feel like I'm in the game.

    Rate and Tweet Your Fortune Cookies on CookieSays

    During the last few days of break I put together CookieSays. It's a toy Twitter application that lets you tweet fortune cookie fortunes and rate others. The point? Good ol' fashioned fun, of course. I don't know about you, but whenever I crack open a fortune cookie, that little piece of paper never fails to amuse me and everyone else at the table - no matter how ridiculous or incoherent. Now you can share them on CookieSays! Plus, it seemed fitting for the new year and all.

    How to Tweet Your Fortunes

    It's really simple. Just follow @cookiesays on Twitter and post your fortunes in the following format:

    @cookiesays You will make a million dollars tomorrow.

    That's it! Your fortune will appear here in about 10 minutes or so. In the meantime, rate other people's fortunes or just sit back and let the fortunes change on their own. Have fun! It was fun making it.

    Now - back to work on my more serious project.

  • Understand Your Behaviors with Twitter – Testers Needed

    December 3, 2008  |  Projects, Self-surveillance

    I started tracking what I eat and my weight using Twitter in an effort to shed 10 pounds and consume less. It's already been (a really fast) two months since I started this experiment — I've lost 7 pounds so far. While there are a number of factors that can contribute to weight loss (and gain), I think the simple act of tweeting raised my awareness just enough to make me feel guilty for eating that bag of chips in the middle of the afternoon.
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  • Tracking Weight and What You Eat with Twitter

    October 30, 2008  |  Projects, Self-surveillance

    I'm sure this will come as no surprise to all of you, but personal data collection fascinates me. I love playing with data and when it's about me, all the better. Daytum and mycrocosm are two applications that let you do this; although each have somewhat different goals. Daytum is sort of like a financial report for your life (ala Feltron) while mycrocosm is more of an experiment in communication and social media. They do both, however, have an underlying goal, whether implicit or explicit, of understanding yourself better. Do Daytum and mycrocosm help you understand yourself better? At some level, yes, but both have room for improvement. Here is my attempt #1 to improve on these existing systems.
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  • Code For Walmart Growth Visualization Now Available

    October 21, 2008  |  Projects

    It took me three months to do it, but the code to visualize the growth of Walmart is now available under a BSD license (that means free and open like a leaf in the wind):

    Download Walmarts.tar.gz

    I've included the Actionscript and the Walmart openings data, which should be all you need to create your own Walmart growth visualization, or if you're more industrious, some other type of growth in the world. Let me know if you're able to improve upon my code as there's definitely a few areas that wouldn't mind some improvement.

    So go wild, have fun with it, and let me know if you apply the code to another dataset. (I also wouldn't mind if someone wrote some documentation.)

    UPDATE: I am no longer supporting this code.

  • United States Poverty Rates From 1980 to 2007

    October 15, 2008  |  Mapping, Projects

    Thousands of bloggers are taking the time to discuss a single topic today - poverty. As we sit in our cozy homes, go out to eat, watch movies, or simply read the news on a computer, it's easy to forget that there are millions of people around the world who aren't so well off. Blog Action Day is an opportunity to remember and to perhaps help out in some way.

    Mapping Poverty Rates

    I of course took the visualization route. What better way to get the facts than through data? The US Census Bureau provides lots of poverty estimates, so I took their data and mapped it over the last 27 years. I found it alarming to see that some states had a poverty rate over 20%. I clearly live in a cozy bubble. What does your state look like?

  • How to Create a Real-Time Web Traffic Map for Your Site

    September 3, 2008  |  Mapping, Projects

    I was exchanging email with Rob a few days ago, and he brought up that I might see a slight boost in traffic from Australia because he had spread the word (thanks!) at a statistics conference. I immediately went over to Google Analytics, and indeed, there was an increase in traffic from the land down under.
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  • Watch the Rise of Gasoline Retail Prices, 1993 – 2008

    August 8, 2008  |  Projects, Statistical Visualization

    Gas prices have been pretty crazy lately. I'm not used to paying over $45 for a tank of gas in my fuel-efficient Honda Civic. I mean, come on, what the heck?

    So naturally, we want to know, "What do the data look like for gasoline prices?" The Energy Information Administration has this data available for download. They have historic gas prices for certain states (not all, unfortunately) as well as for U.S. regions. Check out the animation showing the rise and fall... and rise.. and fall and rise of U.S. gas prices from 1993 up until now. Things started going crazy in 2006.
    Continue Reading

  • Watching Our Twitter World – twittervision Redux

    July 28, 2008  |  Mapping, Projects, Software

    I've always liked twittervision. I'm not sure what it is, but it's strangely mesmerizing, getting a tiny peak into others' lives. This weekend, I recreated twittervision with a little bit of style for good measure. Say hello to Twitter World.

    The Data

    Twitter World shows updates from the Twitter public timeline, and makes use of the twittervision API for location. Until I get whitelisted for the Twitter API, I'm polling Twitter and twittervision every six minutes to keep things fresh. Hopefully neither putters out.

    The Implementation

    Like my visualization showing the spread of Walmart, I used Modest Maps (+ OpenStreetMap) to map things out, and I used TweenFilterLite to animate. I had all the gears in place and everything working nicely a couple of hours in - but that was with a flat XML file. The hard part was feeding the thing live data and then making sure everything was synchronized. That took, um, too much time.

    In any case, not bad for a weekend project.

    PS. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter :)

  • Watching the Growth of Walmart Across America, Interactive Edition

    July 10, 2008  |  Projects

    Like what you see? Subscribe to the feed to stay updated on what's new in data visualization.

    When I saw Toby's Walmart growth video a while back, I was intrigued by what other time-location data Freebase had. A few commented on how it'd be interesting to map the spread of Starbucks along with Walmart and other businesses. I agreed. So I looked, but as it turns out, there's not a whole lot of opening dates for business other than Walmart. In fact, about 2/3 of the Walmart locations don't even have dates. Sigh. Maybe another day. Instead, I used the Walmart data as a learning exercise.
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  • What Do People Want to Do With Their Lives?

    June 17, 2008  |  Data Sources, Projects, Visualization

    43things-viz

    43 Things is a goal-setting community where people set goals, cheer each other on, and connect with others who are trying to achieve the same thing. Even if you're not setting goals yourself, it's still interesting and often amusing to see what others have set out to do e.g. go skinny dipping, have a one night stand, and be myself.
    Continue Reading

  • Human Flows Protoype is Online Now

    December 5, 2007  |  Economics, Projects

    I made a few tweaks and our humanflows visualization prototypes are now online. There's a bit of information on how humanflows came about, who was involved, and a day-by-day recap of the design process. Once you get to the prototypes section, give the applets a few seconds to load and hopefully you're not disappointed. The interaction is pretty intuitive. All you have to do is click and hold to browse the flow lines and the map. Also, if you can, go full screen on your browser. It looks much better that way (and how it was intended to be shown).

    Again, I'd like to thank Miguel, Iman, and Monica for making my trip to Spain and the Visualizar workshop a memorable experience. Thank you!

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