August 28th, 2008

Talks, talks, talks

Some of my upcoming events:

FIND08 workshop Sept. 03, Torino I am just preparing a presentation on the Content Landscape application I designed for SVA BizSphere based on my elastic lists. It is quite a massive Flex application for browsing and analysing thousands of resources. Details to come.

Biennale Sept. 09, Venice Watch out, we’ll show something beautiful. Details to come.

MACE conference Sept. 20-21, Venice The MACE project project goes in its final year – time to get connected!

VizThink 08 Oct. 13-14, Berlin I am proud to be one of the facilitators (~workshop leaders) at the VizThink Conference. I haven’t decided on a topic yet, but it might well be related to visualization(oho!) and the semantic web. I am really looking forward to this event, sounds like a great format and the facilitator list is quite impressive already.

Xtopia Nov. 17,18, Berlin I will give an introductory talk about visualization and information design at Microsoft’s Xtopia Conference for “Business, Web Technology, Design & UX”.

Busy times huh – let me know if you attend one of these events and want to meet up!

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August 26th, 2008

Running the numbers

Seeing Chris Jordan‘s TED talk (embedded below) just made me remember his great work in visualizing large numbers of things going wrong.

About his latest project, Running the numbers, he writes:

Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.
August 14th, 2008


David Huynh has recently joined the freebase team, after having worked on Exhibit and other SIMILE tools at MIT. His new project Parallax is obviously based on Exhibit (which followed mostly a faceted filtering paradigm) but demonstrates a really interesting “sidewards browsing technique” for navigating related sets of different types of entities.

As an example, you could start with a set of architects, then filter down to all modern architects, plot them on a map, a timeline etc. – quite nice already, but traditional facet browsing in principle. The catch however, is that you can explore related collections, like the buildings they designed, their birth places etc. in the same manner. Very interesting principle and nicely executed, yet a bit hard to explain.

In this screencast, David explains it himself:
Freebase Parallax: A new way to browse and explore data from David Huynh on Vimeo.

As a side remark: academically, I think the Humboldt paper by Georgi Kobilarov first presented this principle (but they also refer to an earlier prototype of David’s work). Unfortunately it was introduced under the name of pivot browsing, which is sort of reserved already for the quite related, but not identical principle introduced in dogear.

Any ideas for a good name? Sidewards browsing? Entity shift? Or just stick with parallax?