Our first crop!

June 24th, 2013
Our first crop!

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http://worrydream.com/LadderOfAbstraction/ Thanks to Andrew for sharing this.

October 12th, 2012
http://worrydream.com/LadderOfAbstraction/Thanks to Andrew for sharing this.

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Simple, clear and with some humor…

September 13th, 2012
Simple, clear and with some humor…

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My first ball game ;) Red Sox vs O’s in Baltimore. Red Sox won.

August 17th, 2012
My first ball game 😉 Red Sox vs O's in Baltimore. Red Sox won.

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One press away from salsa…

August 14th, 2012
One press away from salsa…

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Creatures around us…

July 7th, 2012
Creatures around us…

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OpenCL introduction

November 2nd, 2011

After listening to a talk named “Fast Parallel Processing Using GPUs for Accelerating Image Processing” by Tom Reed from NVidia, I looked around to find more information about OpenCL. I recommend looking at the videos from MacResearch group : http://feeds.feedburner.com/opencl.

 

Picking a GoogleVoice phone number

December 13th, 2010

screenshotI decided to use Google Voice service. The first problem I had was to select the phone number I wanted to use. This screen shot shows how one can pick a phone.

There is a rudimentary search, but if one wants to have a phone that spells a word or a phrase, then this search dialog is not really helpful. You are also given only five phone numbers at a time and you can not filter these numbers. For example, I would like to ask for phone numbers that does not contain 0 or 1 (which do not have letters associated with them).

The brute force approach was to look at the current five phones, select ones that do not have 0s or 1s and paste them into a website that tries to match a phone number with words (I used dialabc.com). After repeating the process a few times I realized that it was way to slow…

screenshotSome time ago I cam across Sikuli and it seems that this was a job for this software. I quickly wrote a script (using their IDE) that found all radio buttons, selected phones next to them, copied them into Notepad, clicked “Next 5 >” button and repeated the procedure. Strangely enough, I did not see a direct way to copy/paste text in Sikuli, and that’s why I had to use keyboard shortcuts.

Once I got the phone numbers in the text file I wrote a trivial perl script to filter out ones that I wanted and create links to dialabc.com that would show what the numbers can spell. The list of links was opened in Firefox using Url lister plugin.

At this point all I had to do was to look at a web page with proposed words and if I did not like them I simply closed the tab, which presented me with the next opened tab. This way I was able to review many numbers quickly and pick the one that I liked.

Data Visualization at the New York Times

October 19th, 2010

I attended a talk by Amanda Cox (webcast) from New York Times. She highlighted some of the work that required data visualization published on New York Times website. Her presentation was done in an unusual style: each point of her talk was illustrated by one or more examples life from the New York Times website. The most memorable points for me were:

  • Good songs have good background singers (example). This means that providing background or relevant information can enhance overall data presentation.
  • Annotation layer is the most important thing that they do (example). This means that providing helpful information along with the visualization helps viewers to understand the information.
  • Amanda stressed that it is not yet clear how to balance story with an interactive presentations. I would say RPG games are haunted by this problem as well.

“Presenting data and information” by Edward Tufte

October 1st, 2010

I attended one day course by Edward Tufte. The course included four and a half hours of lecture and four books by E.T. I found the topic of the class very important and information useful. I did not find the presentation itself to be something very special. It was well done, but not as good as it could have been. After I actually read the books I will be able to comment if the class was adding anything to the books, because most of the class we were looking at some pages of the books. I will leave the discussion of what I think about the “class teaching method” to a later post. In this post, I will highlight some of the content of the class, mostly as a memo to myself. Word presentation is used as a loose term that can refer to a a plot, picture or actual presentation slide.

  • It does not matter how a presentation is done, or what methods are used, as long as the presentation is clear. Do not limit yourself by pre specifying the method of the presentation.
  • Annotate linking lines, because linking lines indicate causality. One needs to differentiate and specify these causalities in order to add meaning to the linking lines.
  • Boxes around text are always only add clutter. This is part of a general rule: if it does not add to the presentation, get rid of it.
  • Format should be invisible, content should be prominent.
  • Simple graphics use a small part of our visual processing capacity. Be aware of it.
  • Clutter and confusion are a failure of the design, and it is not failure of data or viewers.
  • Maps are examples of a very good design (no boxes around street names).
  • Your audience is more like you are than any other group of people (other than your family). This means they are as intelligent as you are.
  • A better way to do presentation (E.T. claims it saves 1/3 of time): provide super-graphics (high resolution data) before presentation to allow viewers to use their time to think about it, then follow up with a discussion.
  • Use smallest visual ques to indicate importance. This means that if making a word bold is enough, do not make it a bigger font as well.
  • Any symbol or mark must convey information. Be aware that an empty space can also be activated (negative space). This is another reason why boxes around text hurt the presentation. They create clutter and activate negative space, while not providing any useful information (text position itself indicates where it is).
  • Try to present all the data at once. Do not make people flip back and forth between the data plots if it is at all possible.
  • Order by substance not alphabetically.
  • Find a good design and copy it.
  • Provide evidence that testifies to your credibility. Viewers are looking for it, it will make them believe your presentation.
  • Bring real objects to your presentation. As an example E.T. brought first printed editions of books by Euclid (400 years old) and Galileo (also 400 years old).
  • No matter how beautiful an interface is, it could be better with less of it.
  • Show up early for your presentations.
  • Finish your presentation early.