One down, two to go. This is one of my final projects for my interactive studio. I figured I'd go ahead and document it before I forgot about it. Plus, I just got back a 42x30" poster and it's perty.
So this graph is the updated version of its little cousin. I just changed the proportions of the graph so it would fit in a traditional poster size (and was therefore cheaper to print), let the highest bars display off the chart so it was easier to see the smaller number of mentions, and rewrote the code a tad so it would display the number of mentions and the war mentioned on the actual bar as well as printing the months at the bottom of the print. I also removed the random opacity. It added a nice texture but it didn't really add any information. Instead, I made all the bars slightly transparent so it was possible to see other wars underneath it. Here's a close-up.
Yay! One project down. Two more to complete.
Labels: api, data visualization, interactive, print, processing, programming, school workWednesday, April 29, 2009 // 0 Comments
For our Interaction Scripting Studio final project, I am focusing on my data visualizations of war, films, media and probably death counts (or maybe just make puppy viewer work dynamically).
So tons of websites with large amounts of data are making APIs available to developers for application development and visualization (Flickr, Twitter, NYTimes, pretty much any next gen website, etc). There are also sites that provide visualization tools for you and encourage experimentation. The NYTimes Viz Lab is one of them. They provide a set number of datasets and a number of tools (like Wordle) and let people go crazy. Google also provides tons of tools including their Google Visualization API. IBM's Many Eyes takes it a step further and allows users to add their own data sets.
It's an exciting field and it makes my brain buzz. However, I found this article in SEED Magazine Getting Past the Pie Chart that talks about how, perhaps, the data viz explosion may not be making data any clearer. There is also a very real danger of making causal connections where none exist.
Still, data visualization done well can be a combination of design and science which becomes beautiful, meaningful and inspiring. I absolutely love it. Here is a screenshot of a project I'm working on. It's the further refinement of one of my original circle graphs. What I'd like to do is see if I can add some more stats to the graph without overloading it. In my head that means tilting the graph back to add a third dimension and perhaps including casualty data vertically from each war (and if I can find it, for each movie the films are about).
Labels: api, data visualization, graphs, interactive, processing, programming, school workSaturday, April 18, 2009 // 0 Comments
In the wilds of social media websites there's this thing. I wish these sites would stop using baby talk names, but that seems to be de rigueur these days. (Has somebody made a random web 2.0 startup name generator?) Anyway, in doing research for a non-school project (I welcome the approach of summer) I found this Dipity. As much as I try to keep up with every site I can sign up for–I seem to enjoy collecting site accounts–I only heard about this site now. I wonder how many aggregators of aggregators there are and a) who might end up being the umbrella organization or b) if there can even be one anymore. The interface is fun, however, and I like that you can zoom out 500 years.
Labels: dipity, social mediaFriday, April 17, 2009 // 0 Comments
The end of the semester is three weeks away. I have a game to program, a visualization or two to finish and a research paper and business plan to write. Yet for whatever reason, all I could do today was start making this thing. (For some context, Miss Trish is the name of a stray dog with a crazy under bite that I saw in a book called Street Dogs.)
So this is a tag search for the word "pomeranian" on Flickr. I wrote a Processing program that takes tag input, creates a url, sends it, parses the response and then spits out an html page. I spend such an inordinate amount of time looking at cute (and ridiculous) dogs on the internet that I thought it might be fun to see how many dogs I could handle looking at at once. A lot, apparently.
Anyway, it's in progress. If I have time I will figure out a way to add a web interface (so, perhaps if someone wants to look at tons of pictures of butterflies on flickr all at once, they need not go through page after page of scrollin'). Also, the images should probably link to the flickr page instead of just the image. Either way, I should probably get back to my school work, even though it doesn't involve hundreds of pictures of puppies.
Labels: api, flickr, interactive, processing, programmingSaturday, April 11, 2009 // 0 Comments
An assignment from my History of Media class:
Read 3 issues of a design magazine of your choice, cover to cover--including ads, articles, images. Analyze what the magazine is saying about "good design," design issues, and factors influencing design. Write up your analysis and summarize your key findings to present in class.
We were allowed to work in pairs and so my partner and I chose ReadyMade. We read the 2008 August/September, October/November and 2009 February/March issues of the magazine. One thing that struck us was the large number of things to buy in the magazine. Magazines–especially magazines targeted towards women–are often nothing but catalogs, listing page after page of an idealized world where entrance only requires the reader to consume, just a little, just this month, until the next issue comes along.
We did not expect a magazine devoted to "DIY" culture to fall into the same trap, but it did. Perhaps the magazine was not as trendy, buy-hungry when it was independently published and lacked nationwide ad sponsors. As it stands, we decided to highlight the advertisers to find out more about their perceived demographic (indie rockers), we went through and counted how many products there were for sale versus how many there were to make and we took notes on how much those products cost. Then I went crazy with creating graphs and slides with the data for our presentation.
As a magazine with a theoretical ethos of some kind, ReadyMade does have some nice aspects–most products for sale are under $100 and all the ads are front-loaded so you can read spread after spread of ad-free features. The media kit and advertising sales literature, however, highlights information such as:
Taken together, Gen X and Gen Y wield more spending power than any other group.
These are very smart and motivated consumers. They shop more, and buy higher-ticket items than previous generations.
It's creepy. I can't help but feel targeted (like a deer, not like a market) and manipulated. People often turn to "DIY" business because it supposedly represents independent and unique craftsmanship, a lack of consumerism and a vibrant community–things that are considered the anti-thesis of large corporate marketing campaigns. ReadyMade is essentially saying "hey, big companies, we have access to a market that doesn't trust you. Trust us and you can still take their money."
I should make it plain and say I don't think ReadyMade is evil. I think they (mostly) do the best they can while still trying to earn a buck. The creepy marketing speak is just that, the language of consumerism. Business has time and again taken the fruits of creative labor and independent thought and leveraged it as a strategic advantage against competition. Succeeding in business means destroying other companies because resources are scarce, money is scarce and getting ahead means getting ahead of other people. Is it natural? Sure. Is it creepy? Oh hell yes.
Labels: business is creepy, chihuahua in a jacket, diy, graphs, media, readymade, school workTuesday, April 7, 2009 // 0 Comments
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The quote at the top of this page is from the March 25, 1893 Newark Daily Advocate via Nick de la Mare..
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