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February 09 2012

Four short links: 9 February 2012

  1. Weave -- web-based visualization platform designed to enable visualization of any available data by anyone for any purpose. GPL and MPL-licensed. (via Flowing Data)
  2. Flotr2 -- MIT-licensed Javascript library for drawing HTML5 charts and graphs. It is a branch of flotr which removes the Prototype dependency and includes many improvements. (via Javascript Weekly)
  3. What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong About Math Education Again And Again (Dan Meyer) -- nicely said: it's hard to test true understanding, easy to automate only part of the testing and assessment support for learners.
  4. mitmproxy -- GPLv3-licensed SSL-aware HTTP proxy which lets you snoop on the traffic being sent back to the mothership from apps.

October 24 2011

Four short links: 24 October 2011

  1. Tangle -- open source Javascript library for creating slider-type widgets in web pages, with built-in updating of other web elements. This is fantastic for exploring "what-if" scenarios. Check out the demos.
  2. Location-Based Security -- The researchers have created a customized version of Android controlled by a “policy engine” on a server. The Android devices use Bluetooth and near-field communications infrastructure to determine the location of the user, and what level of access they have to what kind of information, as well as the level of functionality of their device. Security, however, is defined not by what you can do but by what the bad guys can't do, and this seems very dependent upon external triggers (wifi and bluetooth) which are readily faked.
  3. Google Puts a Price on Privacy -- I'd never realized before that https and referer information are only loosely compatible: Google has to go to efforts to restore referer information because browsers don't pass the referer tag on when going from https (e.g., google.com) to http (e.g., your web site).
  4. Rocketcharts -- open source Javascript financial charting library.

September 01 2011

Four short links: 1 September 2011

  1. A Chart Engine -- Android charting engine.
  2. The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight -- we are driven to create and form groups and then believe others are wrong just because they are others.
  3. Urban Mapping API -- add rich geographic data to web and non-web applications.
  4. Tell Us A Story, Victoria -- a university science story-telling contest.

July 22 2011

Four short links: 22 July 2011

  1. Competitive Advantage Through Data -- the applications and business models for erecting barriers around proprietary data assets. Sees data businesses in these four categories: contributory data sourcing, offering cleaner data, data generated from service you offer, and viz/ux. The author does not yet appear to be considering when open or communal data is better than proprietary data, and how to make those projects work. (via Michael Driscoll)
  2. Interactive Touch Charts -- GPL v3 (and commercial) licensed Javascript charting library that features interactivity on touch devices: zoom, pan, and click. (via James Pearce)
  3. Solar Cutter, Solar 3D Printer -- prototypes of solar powered maker devices. The cutter is a non-laser cutter that focuses the sun's rays to a super-hot point. The printer makes glass from sand (!!!!). Not only is this cool, but sand is widespread and cheap.
  4. Synthetic Biology Open Language -- a language for the description and the exchange of synthetic biological parts, devices, and systems. Another piece of the synthetic biology puzzle comes together. The parallel development of DIY manufacturing in the worlds of bits and basepairs is mindboggling. We live in exciting times. (via krs)

February 04 2011

Four short links: 4 February 2011

  1. Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property (MIT Press) -- with essays by knowledgeable folks such as Yochai Benkler, Larry Lessig, and Jo Walsh. Available as open access (free) ebook as well as paper. I love it that we can download these proper intellectuals' intellectual property. (via BoingBoing)
  2. AwesomeChartJS -- Apache-licensed Javascript library for charting. (via Hacker News)
  3. Be Open from Day One -- advice from Karl Fogel (author of the excellent Producing Open Source Software, which O'Reilly publishes) for projects that think they may some day be open source: f you’re running a government software project and you plan to make it open source eventually, then just make it open source from the beginning. Waiting will only create more work. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
  4. MALLET -- open source (CPL-licensed) Java-based package for statistical natural language processing, document classification, clustering, topic modeling, information extraction, and other machine learning applications to text.

December 04 2010

Strata Gems: Quick starts for charts

We're publishing a new Strata Gem each day all the way through to December 24. Yesterday's Gem: Use Write your own visualizations.

Strata 2011If you're trying to summarize your data, you'll likely show it in a chart. It's easy to reach for a "standard" option, perhaps even the much-maligned pie chart: few of us leave education with a repertoire of more than a few chart types. Aside from giving your audience visual ennui, the usual suspects can be limited in what they convey.

This probably isn't news to you. You may be a disciple of Tufte, and have read the wealth of advice on creative effective charts, but where do you start? Here are a few ideas, spanning different toolsets and platforms.

Excel: Chart Chooser

Juice Analytics' Chart Chooser is a chart-style recommendation engine. Indicate the motivations behind your chart (one or more of comparison, distribution, composition, trend or relationships) and it'll suggest a chart type to use.

Going one step further than just recommendation, the chart chooser offers Excel and Powerpoint template files that you can alter and fill with your own data. Now there's no excuse for not understanding the vagaries of Excel chart controls!

Chart Chooser
Some of the 17 chart types available from Chart Chooser


R: Advanced Charts

If you're using the R statistical computing package, many chart types become available to you. D. Kelly O'Day has compiled many resources while documenting his personal journey into creating effective graphs and charts.

Initially reluctant to leave the familiarity of Excel and VBA, O'Day took the leap to learn R because of the availability of advanced chart types. His web site provides many visual examples of chart types, along with the R code to generate them, and enlightening and detailed blog posts about how to create the charts.

The Web: Tableau Public

Tableau is a leading visualization software package. The release of Tableau Public gives you a way to get started with Tableau and create publicly shareable visualizations that are interactive and render in standard web browsers.

Tableau's public edition is available for free and public use. Once data is published, anyone can see your visualizations or download the data and create their own visualizations from it. Take a look at Tableau's gallery of examples.

Tableau Public Screenshot


A screenshot from The Tale of 100 Entrepreneurs

Learn more at Strata

Naomi Robbins, author of Creating More Effective Graphs, will be presenting an in depth tutorial on Communicating Data Clearly.

August 23 2010

Four short links: 23 August 2010

  1. Open Buildings -- crowdsourced database of information about buildings, for architecture geeks. A sign that crowdsourcing is digging deep into niches far far from the world of open source software. (via straup on Delicious)
  2. Lego-Based Time Tracking -- clever hack to build physical graphs of where your time goes. (via avgjanecrafter on Twitter)
  3. Smoothie Charts -- a charting Javascript library designed for live streaming data. (via jdub on Twitter)
  4. The Big Lie (Chris Lehmann) -- why school is not only about workforce development: I think - I fear - that the next twenty or thirty years of American life are going to be difficult. I think we're going to have some really challenging problems to solve, and I think that we're going to be faced with hard choices about our lives, and I want our schools to help students be ready to solve those problems, to weigh-in on those problems, to vote on those problems. It's why History and Science are so important. It's why kids have to learn how to create and present their ideas in powerful ways. It's why kids have to become critical consumers and producers of information. And hopefully, along the way, they find the careers that will help them build sustainable, enjoyable, productive lives. Also read Umair Haque's A Deeper Kind of Joblessness which Chris linked to.

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