• News at a Glance with New York Times Article Skimmer

    February 26, 2009  |  Online Applications

    The New York Times homepage has a lot of news to report. While well-organized and well-designed, the Times recognizes that there's still room for improvement as seen in their article skimmer prototype:

    Here at The Times, we often hear a common story of usage from our customers: Reading the Sunday Times, spreading out the paper on a table while eating brunch. For many of our customers, this ritual is fundamental to their enjoyment of the weekend, and its absence would be jolting.

    With this in mind, we present an as-yet-unnamed article skimmer. Think of it as an attempt to provide the Sunday Times experience anytime. Of course, there are parts we can’t replicate: the satisfying crinkle of the paper; the circular stain of your coffee; the smell of newsprint.

    Article headlines and snippets are arranged by grid and divided by news categories. Jump to a specific category with the sidebar on the right or browse up and down with the arrow keys on your keyboard. I personally think it makes skimming easier. What do you think?

    [via NYT First Look via Waxy]

  • Open Thread: Is Google Latitude Dangerous?

    February 12, 2009  |  Data Sharing, Discussion, Online Applications

    Google recently released Google Latitude, which is an online application that lets you share your location with online friends:

    Of course when any application shares where you are at any given time, people start to feel like Big Brother is looming in the background ready to sneak up on us from behind a giant bush. Some call it a real danger, but is it really? I put this question out to all of you:

    Is Google Latitude a danger to anyone who uses it?

    My take on things is that people are already doing it anyways, so why not make it easier for those who are interested? Sure, if some stalker got a hold of your location, that could be bad, but that's true for a lot of data... credit card statements, cell phone logs, Twitter... As long as the proper security are put in place, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

  • Open Call to Designers: Visualizing Mozilla Community

    February 2, 2009  |  Online Applications

    The Mozilla group is starting to dig into visualization to participation within the active Mozilla community, and they're looking for some input:

    If you’re a visual designer, data visualization guru, student or just interested in hacking on a cool project, join us to generate concepts and prototypes that build upon the LizardFeeder, a cool feed aggregator released earlier this year by Les Orchard.

    As Les describes it, LizardFeeder brings together and archives different types of activity from across the far reaches of the Mozilla universe and spits them out in a single, dynamic stream. It’s pretty darn cool to watch on its own, but we’d love to further develop a design concept that is approachable, meaningful—or at least entertaining—to virtually anyone who sees it.

    Here's what the Lizard Feeder looks like now:

    So basically, there's a whole lot of data waiting for your ideas. Get to it. I am sure you'll get a lot of recognition in the process.

  • Tools You Need to Track Energy Consumption – WattzOn

    January 12, 2009  |  Infographics, Online Applications

    wattzon

    "Climate change is a global problem. But it's individuals who will create the solution." This is the WattzOn premise.
    Continue Reading

  • 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.

  • Magically Reformat Data to Get it How You Need it

    December 12, 2008  |  Online Applications

    One of the more painful parts of analysis or visualization is that you have to get the data in a proper format. Real data almost never comes how you want it. Magic/Replace from DabbleDB lets you reformat data via their spreadsheet interface and a few sprinkles of magic. The solution is really quite elegant.

    You copy and paste CSV or TSV from a spreadsheet and submit. You then see a column editor and a preview window. This is where the magic happens. In the column editor, you can edit a column so that it fits a certain format and Magic/Replace will show you a preview of what the others will look like. For example, say you have a column of phone numbers and they're in the (555) 555-5555 format, but what you really want is 555-555-5555. Change a single row, and voila, Magic/Replace does the rest. It really is "data cleanup for everyone" - not that the data were dirty to begin with.

    [Thanks, Jose]

  • Read Your Feeds Like a Newspaper with Tabbloid

    November 20, 2008  |  Online Applications

    Tabbloid is a free service that lets you receive your feeds in newsletter, or rather, tabloid form via email at a set time and frequency (as a PDF file). Above is my custom Tabbloid for today. This service won't be for everyone, but sometimes a morning coffee is best spent reading over paper and not hunched over a laptop. I could also see this being useful for travelers.

    [Thanks, Tim]

  • Google Visualization API Opens Up

    When Google first launched their visualization API, you could only use data that was in Google spreadsheets, which was pretty limiting. Yesterday, Google opened this up, and you can now hook in data from wherever you want. What does that mean? It means that developers now have access to all the visualization API offerings like before, but it's now a lot easier to hook visualization into data applications.

    Headed for Googley Waters

    It also means we're about to see a boom in web applications that look very Googley. Motion charts (above) are going to spread like wildfire and ugly gauges will grace us with their presence. It'll be similar to the Google Maps craze, but not quite as rampant. In a couple months from now, I will have a long list of online places that use the Google visualization API. It's going to be interesting where online visualization goes from here.

    Going back to my original question, to what extent do you think the now-open Google Visualization API will affect visualization on the Web?

    [via ReadWriteWeb]

  • Compare Media Coverage of Presidential Candiates with Everymoment Now

    September 15, 2008  |  Online Applications

    I keep stumbling on rants about how media coverage of presidential candidates is uneven, biased, etc. Everymoment Now provides a way to see what's going on with the election from the coverage (and sort of statistical) standpoint. From Craig, the developer of Everymoment:

    In order to limit the scope I've decided to keep the focus (for now) on the 2008 US general election. It's a timely, pertinent and, I believe, quite fascinating topic to study under this sort of data visualization lens. When all is said and done, you'll be able to use this site to look back over the last 100 days leading up to the election and see how the shifts between candidates played out in the media. I think we all have a sense that things may get pretty nasty in the coming weeks. I feel that having a bird's eye, hindsight view of how things went down, which stories the media focused on and how that ultimately influenced the final outcome will be an invaluable resource.

    Check out spikes in coverage of the candidates or even events and locations. Lots of sparklines and lots of bar graphs very nicely organized.
    Continue Reading

  • See the World Through SimCity’s Eyes – One Up On OnionMap

    September 10, 2008  |  Mapping, Online Applications

    Michael comments, "Onionmap is nothing when compared to this Chinese site...They've practically mapped out the entire Shanghai (and quite a few other China cities) in a SimCity-like fashion! Amazing stuff!" He's completely right. Edushi maps Shanghai with great detail. While OnionMap looks like Google Maps with SimCity sprinkles, Edushi is just straight up SimCity.

    Unfortunately my three years of Chinese classes in high school did me no good, and I don't understand a thing on the site. Maybe someone can translate and let us know what Edushi is all about. Chinese CitySearch?

    [Thanks, Michael]

  • Keep Track of Presidential Race from Many Perspectives – perspctv

    August 28, 2008  |  Online Applications

    Keep track of what's getting reported about the presidential race in somewhat realtime with perspctv. It's a nicely done news dasboard that updates on its own showing updates from CNN, Twitter, and the Blogosphere. It also shows poll results, predictions, daily reach, and search volume.

    They've got charts (above); they've got maps:

    they've got timelines:

    and they've got widgets:

    In essence, it's a news aggregater, but it's a really good one and a great dashboard for you election junkies.

    [Thanks, Iman]

  • Tell Stories With Interactive Timelines from Dipity

    August 18, 2008  |  Online Applications, Visualization

    Timelines, much like calendars, can be used to show changes over time in a straightforward way. When you have a bunch of events that occurred at certain times, mark them on a timeline, and you quickly get a sense of what's going on. Take the timeline of 10 largest data breaches for example. You see breaches get more dense as time goes by.

    Wrap this idea into web application form, and you get Dippity. There have been similar timeline applications, but Dippity does it a bit better with a primary focus on telling stories with timelines and a good interface. Zoom in, zoom out, drag, and get alternative views as flipbook, list, and map.

    Below is a little bit of context to my gas price chart. Check out the full version for a better idea of what Dippity offers. Continue Reading

  • Many Eyes Adds Wordle to its Extensive Visualization Toolbox

    August 13, 2008  |  Data Art, Online Applications

    I'm sure you've seen Wordle by now, which puts an artistic spin on the traditional tag cloud. An application by Jonathan Feinberg, Wordle lets you put any text or RSS/atom feed in as input and get a cloud of words sized by frequency and arranged every which way. Above is a Wordle cloud of the current FlowingData feed.

    Many Eyes recently added Feinberg's visualization to their slew of other visualization tools.

    Wordle marks a departure from the more analytical visualizations on Many Eyes. Why bring a self-described “toy” to a site for social data analysis? People have reported finding value beyond entertainment in creating these word clouds. Teachers have used Wordles in classrooms as conversation catalysts; others have created them to express their identities, and scholars have used them to visualize the output of statistical explorations of texts.

    No doubt Many Eyes, with Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas (who know a thing or two about design) at the helm, recognizes that data visualization isn't always about analytics and exactness. Sometimes visualization is just about getting people to think.

  • Google Releases Insights for Search – India Likes Data

    August 6, 2008  |  Online Applications

    google-insights

    Google announced Insights for Search yesterday. Think Google Trends but with more information and more useful. Type in some search terms and get the rundown on interest over time based on search volume, regional interest, and related searches. It's geared towards advertisers using AdWords, but it can still be interesting to outsiders.

    For example, I put in a search for data + visualization + design + statistics and got the above. Apparently interest for all of those subjects (i.e. FlowingData) is on the decline and India sure loves its data. I'm packing my bags to India as we speak.

    [via TechCrunch]

  • Discover, Share, Publish, Distribute, and Subscribe to Data With blist

    May 12, 2008  |  Online Applications

    blist logoToday, Kevin Merritt, founder and CEO of blist, provides some background on putting data in the hands of mainstream users.

    blist is not a company of modest ambitions. We want to democratize working with data much as PowerPoint and Visio have empowered mainstream users to create their own presentations and diagrams. Before these breakthroughs in innovation, mainstream users sketched free hand and asked professionals in central resource pools (art departments and engineering departments) to turn drawings into foil transparencies and blueprints.
    Continue Reading

  • Your Notes, Snapshots, and Memories Accessible From Everywhere – Evernote

    April 2, 2008  |  Online Applications

    I just signed up for an EverNote account, which lets you store all of your notes online from all of your devices - tablet, paper, mobile phone, laptop, PDA.
    Continue Reading

  • Facebook Security Upgrade Rendered Useless – Private Photos Leaked

    March 25, 2008  |  Online Applications

    Leaky Faucet

    Just when you thought it was safe to upload those photos from that wild Friday night to Facebook, this happens:

    A security lapse made it possible for unwelcome strangers to peruse personal photos posted on Facebook Inc.'s popular online hangout, circumventing a recent upgrade to the Web site's privacy controls.

    The dumbest part is how easy it has been all this time to find private photos. All it took was a modified URL with a photo ID to "hack" into Paris Hilton, Mark Zuckerberg, or anyone else's private albums. I don't know the whole story, but given Facebook's excellent reputation, you'd think that they would know better. The security hole has been plugged for now, and I am sure the Facebook group is working hard to make sure there are no other leaky areas.

    This leak probably couldn't have been more poorly timed for Facebook with the release of their new security measures as well as MySpace's not so distant and a bit too familiar photo breach.

    This really makes you wonder - what's next?

    Photo by Meredith Farmer

    [via ReadWriteWeb]

  • toolbox-thumb

    Putting Analysis Online With StatCrunch and Covariable [Review]

    Are online statistical tools sufficient to analyze our complex datasets?
  • Stamen Design Puts Out Another Good One in Digg Pics

    January 8, 2008  |  Online Applications

    digg-pics

    In the usual fashion that we've come to expect from Stamen Design, Digg Pics shows us what pictures are being dugg as well as provides an opportunity to discover new pictures. As with its Digg Labs siblings, Digg Pics offers three streams -- popular, newly submitted, and all activity.

    I always like to read posts that discuss the experimental phases and how a viz came to whatever it is; it's kind of like when you know the history of a piece of art, you can appreciate it more. Eric goes into the design process at the Stamen blog. There's screenshots of Stamen's experimental layouts, and from what I see on Digg, I'd say everything came together quite nicely.

    The picture streams are split up into Digg categories where the number of times a picture is repeated represents the number of times the picture was recently dugg. The display is clean and smooth, and of course the interaction is quite nice (and useful).

    Another good one, Stamen!

  • YouTube Releases Visualization for Related Videos

    December 18, 2007  |  Online Applications

    youtube-viz

    YouTube (or should I say Google), released their visualization for related videos. It's essentially a ball and stick graph without the sticks. The above is a screenshot of the videos related to Marty McFly playing Johnny B. Goode in Back to the Future, the greatest movie of all time.

    Some of the video bubbles that circle around the Marty clip are the same as those in the "Related Videos" section of the usual page while others are not. Place the cursor over a bubble for about two seconds, and related videos for the one you have your mouse over will bubble up.

    I'm not sure if the distance between the bubbles have to do with similarity level. So far it seems not, because I've refreshed the Marty visualization a few times and the bubbles' initial positions have always been different.

    Continue Reading

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