What makes a good graph? When faced with a slew of numeric data, graphical visualization can be a more efficient way of getting a feel for the data than going through the rows of a spreadsheet. But do we know if we are getting an accurate or useful picture? How do we pick an effective visualization that neither obscures important details, or drowns us in confusing clutter? In 1968, William Cleveland published a text called The Elements of Graphing Data, inspired by Strunk and White’s classic writing handbook The Elements of Style . The Elements of Graphing Data puts forward Cleveland’s philosophy about how to produce good, clear graphs — not only for presenting one’s experimental results to peers, but also for the purposes of data analysis and exploration. Cleveland’s approach is based on a theory of graphical perception: how well the human perceptual system accomplishes certain tasks involved in reading a graph. For a given data analysis task, the goal is to align the information being presented with the perceptual tasks the viewer accomplishes the best. Continue reading Good Graphs: Graphical Perception and Data Visualization
On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”
The frenzy of anticipation and opinion about “The Cloud” is so intense and so pointless it becomes “parody proof.”
Continue reading On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”
Today’s question is: “should your mom use Google search?” It it is a good thing that Google has directly told us that their motto is “don’t be evil,” as their systems are subtle and difficult to evaluate.
Microsoft is once again going to try its hand at retail stores (for example see the following CNET article). From my experience I think this is going to be horrible. But it does not have to be- Microsoft (if it had the will) could produce a great store that is profitable and improves the world. Here is my quick history and wish list.
How do you get access to current and historical research articles if you are not affiliated with a university or large research organization? Our second public service article discusses some useful online research archives. Continue reading Public Service Article: JSTOR and other Useful Research Archives
This is a public service article encouraging all of us to back up our data (which more and more is our lives). I sketch some methods and resources for doing this.
As more of our life becomes digital (work, finances, passwords, pictures, contacts,dairies,videos and email) we must be more diligent in backing up our data. If your hard drive fails at work you might lose some spreadsheets (and you might not lose anything if your IT department is on their toes) if you computer fails at home you lose your wedding album. Your hard disk will fail and try to take all of your data (life) with it- it is a matter of when not a matter of if. You want this to be an inconvenience, not a disaster. Become expert at backing up and take the time to help others.
Continue reading Public Service Article: Back Up
An interesting article on programming languages by Guillaume Marceau is making the rounds:
The speed, size and dependability of programming languages. The article points out very clearly what some of the differences in major programming languages are. The author uses benchmarking and graphs in an interesting way.
Continue reading Programs reduced to statistics