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4 Release 2.0

  Much of making smart business decisions is deciding most decorative are often which data sources are trustworthy and which visualizations of those data sources tell stories that clarify and reveal what’s behind the always-moving, Matrix-like the ones that yield the least walls of numbers. Notable among these eye-opening opinion-shifters are Ingo Gunther’s World Processor(http://worldprocessor.com), which maps statistics onto the globe (e.g., violence, water reserves, debt, per-capita income), and Bruce Mau’s Massive Change (http://www.massivechange.com/exhibition), which uses a wide variety of techniques and media in physical installations to make palpable the size and scale of pressingglobal issues.

Do you want to understand what an avalanche of data is trying to show you? Chance are you have to find a clever way to look at it

  Much of making smart business decisions is deciding most decorative are often which data sources are trustworthy and which visualizations of those data sources tell stories that clarify and reveal what’s behind the always-moving, Matrix-like the ones that yield the least walls of numbers. Notable among these eye-opening opinion-shifters are Ingo Gunther’s World Processor(http://worldprocessor.com), which maps statistics onto the globe (e.g., violence, water reserves, debt, per-capita income), and Bruce Mau’s Massive Change (http://www.massivechange.com/exhibition), which uses a wide variety of techniques and media in physical installations to make palpable the size and scale of pressingglobal issues.

Remember your first PowerPoint?

  Knowing which type of visualization to use, and when, remains more of an art than a science, but we’re getting better at it, much as we learned not to mixevery font available in early word-processed documents, not to use eight-point type on PowerPoint slides, and not to use <Blink> tags on Web pages. This has made me think of the relationship between several name spaces that are important to me: my Brain’s, the wikis I use (each of TheBrain if I had to agree which has its own page name space), and semantic tag name spaces (again, each with others on how to of which is separate from the others, as del.icio.us is separate from Flickr).

The same Web 2.0 properties that make mashups easy can help here, but their between them

  Although APIs and RSS feeds are extremely useful, even the more advanced features of HTML and CSS today can’t match the visual flexi-bility and power of Adobe’s Flash or Sun’s Java (and Microsoft’s new Silverlight). The goal is to define an environment within which a rich variety of visualiza- tions can coexist, but which allows for easy connections to occur between them.

Application interoperability

  The baling-wire-and-twine way is to write some prose in a blog entry or Web essay, then salt the entry with links to the various visualizations. What if the working environment, the platform atop which we built applica- tions and illustrations, allowed us to link things together internally the way Gliffylets you chain together Web graphics (http://www.gliffy.com), and the end prod- uct could look as elegant as one of Scott McCloud’s sequential art pieces createdfor the Web (http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/comics.html) ?

Data interoperability

  One of the major hurdles to strong data interoperability lies not in the tech- nical data-interchange standards, but instead in the consistency of the nomen-clature used to describe the data. The desire to collaborate over visual artifacts quickly crosses into a part of the old groupware space that has not been subsumed by the moniker “social media.”It’s the screensharing and collaborative annotation tools that have mostly survived in the market as paid offers, including WebEx, GoToMyPC, Breeze, and Glance.

The fourth path is emergent and user-powered

  As a result of this grassroots effort, a deep resource of useful data is now available free of charge, and it is moving to other countries. In this role, I’m often asked by my clients to evaluate the potential of search engines, content management systems, and other software to support theiruser experience strategy, and it’s not uncommon in this process for naïve views about InfoVis to surface and cause trouble.

To grok or not to grok

  For instance, Grokker is a “web-based enterprise search management platform that leverages the power of federated content access and visualization to maxi-mize the value of information assets.” Even better, Grokker has a clustering engine that “combines common phrase discovery with latent semantic indexing to extractkey concepts.” In other words, Grokker combines AI and InfoVis to automagically categorize and visually represent search results. Even Grokker now defaults to theOutline View, a rough approximation of the highly successful Guided Navigation model pioneered by Endeca, which relies on hybrid human-computer solutionsto taxonomy and metadata development, content categorization, and search.

Unknown unknowns

Using vision to think

  We are the ones sitting in the back of the room, seeming to stare apprecia- tively at how you’ve managed to get quarterly sales data correlated with theprime rate, the periodicity of movies about inspiring but doomed teachers, and the movement of corpuscles through hardened arteries, all expressed as a set ofdental X-rays. We thought we had the gist of it until you announced that the base isn’t zero, it’s 190, the scale is logarithmic, and the up axis—is that the X or the Y?—measuresdifferent things on the left than on the right.

What book sales reveal about Vista because of bugs

  Wilcox reports that at a 2003 developers’ conference, when Microsoft was just rolling up its sleeves on Vista development, Bill Gates said he expected thestandard PC configuration in 2006 to include a processor of at least 4 GHz, memory of at least 2 G bytes, and a hard drive with a terabyte of storage. Your annual Release 2.0 subscription costs $495 per year, and includes both the print and electronic versions of six every-other-month issues, access to the complete Release 1.0 andRelease 2.0 archives, a discount on attendance to O’Reilly conferences, and full access to our website, http://r2.oreilly.com.name titlecompany addresscity state zip country telephone faxemail (personal email required for electronic access) urln My colleagues should read Release 2.0, too!

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