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January 21 2013

Four short links: 21 January 2013

  1. School District Builds Own SoftwareBy taking a not-for-profit approach and using freely available open-source tools, Saanich officials expect to develop openStudent for under $5 million, with yearly maintenance pegged at less than $1 million. In contrast, the B.C. government says it spent $97 million over the past 10 years on the B.C. enterprise Student Information System — also known as BCeSIS — a provincewide system already slated for replacement.
  2. Giving a Presentation From an Apple ][A co-worker used an iPad to give a presentation. I thought: why take a machine as powerful as an early Cray to do something as low-overhead as display slides? Why not use something with much less computing power? From this asoft_presenter was born. The code is a series of C programs that read text files and generate a large Applesoft BASIC program that actually presents the slides. (via Jim Stogdill)
  3. AirBnB TechTalks — impressive collection of interesting talks, part of the AirBnB techtalks series.
  4. Gawker’s Realtime Dashboard — this is not just technically and visually cool, but also food for thought about what they’re choosing to measure and report on in real time (new vs returning split, social engagement, etc.). Does that mean they hope to be able to influence those variables in real time? (via Alex Howard)

November 28 2012

April 19 2011

Four short links: 19 April 2011

  1. Lines (Mark Jason Dominus) -- If you wanted to hear more about phylogeny, Java programming, or tree algorithms, you are about to be disappointed. The subject of my article today is those fat black lines. Anatomy of a clever piece of everyday programming. There is no part of this program of which I am proud. Rather, I am proud of the thing as a whole. It did the job I needed, and it did it by 5 PM. Larry Wall once said that "a Perl script is correct if it's halfway readable and gets the job done before your boss fires you." Thank you, Larry.
  2. PHP Clone of Panic Status Board (GitHub) -- The Panic status board shows state of downloads, servers, countdown, etc. It's a dashboard for the company. This PHP implementation lets you build your own. (via Hacker News)
  3. The Management Myth (The Atlantic) -- a philosophy PhD gets an MBA, works as management consultant, then calls bullshit on the whole thing. Taylorism, like much of management theory to come, is at its core a collection of quasi-religious dicta on the virtue of being good at what you do, ensconced in a protective bubble of parables (otherwise known as case studies). (via BoingBoing)
  4. Obsolete Technology -- or, as I like to think of it, post-Zombie-apocalypse technology. Bone up on your kilns if you want your earthen cookware once our undead overlords are running (or, at least, lurching) the country. (via Bruce Sterling)

March 22 2011

Dashboards evolve to meet social and business needs

screenshot_dashboard2.pngDashboard design is adapting. What once was simply an interface between the user and a dataset has now evolved into a full-fledged platform, and in some cases dashboards have become complete enterprise products.

Socialtext, for example, has developed a dashboard that some companies are opting to use in place of a stagnant corporate intranet.

This kind of enterprise integration also is being combined with a more user-centric design, as seen in the latest update from Google Analytics. By building dashboard tools with users in mind from the start, Google has developed a more flexible dashboard solution. In a recent post for Search Engine Land, Daniel Waisberg noted:

This is probably one of the biggest hits of the release: the capability to create multiple dashboards, each containing any set of graphs. This is a much wanted feature, especially for large organizations, where employees have very different needs from the tool. Now dashboards can be set by hierarchy, department, interest or any other rule.

Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2011, being held March 28-31, will examine key pieces of the digital economy and the ways you can use important ideas for your own success.

Save 20% on registration with the code WEBSF11RAD

Ken Hilburn, VP of community enablement at Juice Analytics, broke down the basics of great dashboard design in an interview at Strata. He said the key is to combine three basic tiers of function and then socialize them:

Dashboards are in an evolutionary phase right now. I think that the top level is sort of high-level key indicators that bring focus and draw attention, letting the user know that they need to pay attention. Beneath that, there's dimensions and measures that give context to those metrics — do I want to know more about sales, more about global warming, or temperature increases — including the context around that and what those key metrics mean. The third layer would be detailed data for further exploration and communication.

Then, you can wrap those components into a dashboard. You want to have things like global filtering. You want to have the ability to socialize that — you want to be able to take a snapshot or annotate it, or be able to ask people what they think and communicate back and forth.

You can watch the entire interview with Hilburn in the following video:


January 28 2011

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