Tag Archives: Alan Levine

Not Worth GIFfing …

The Daily Create, tdc2007 offers up the Google Data GIF Maker as a tool for visualizing (and GIFfing) some data.

BEWARE!! The Data GIF Maker is not (yet) worth using to make a respectable data GIF.

When the Data GIF Maker first came out a month ago, I was intrigued and tried to get it to work. But the more I worked with it, the less impressed I was. While it generates something that looks nice, it does a VERY poor job of accurately visualizing data. Essentially, regardless of the data provided, it just wobbles back and forth and then stops with a 80:20 split in favour of the larger value. By way of proof — the GIF above was generated with data values of 99:1 — values which are in no way represented by the GIF produced. Despite what the interface may imply (values, comma-separated) it really only “compares” the two data points — all those fractional percentages shown during the wobble are made up and are completely non-existent in the real sense of the data. The final visualization of the actual data — 99% versus 1% — is completely bogus.

If you want to read bit more about it — check out the two posts I wrote on my blog:

Google Data GIF Maker: Not Ready for Prime Time?


Google Data GIF Maker: Not Sophisticated, Potentially Misleading?

Note that following on Alan Levine‘s (@cogdog, on Twitter) example of signing up for MOOCs and then allowing engagement to lapse, I did sign up for a MOOC on Data Visualization for Journalists back in 2012 (the mention of GIFs in the syllabus caught my eye) offered by Alberto Cairo (@albertocairo), and so I tagged both him and Simon Rogers (@smfrogersfrom Google News Lab  via Twitter in my second post to see if either could respond to my concerns about the misleading/misrepresentation offered by the current Data GIF Maker. It seems to me that if journalists are going to be visualizing data, it needs to be accurate and clear about what it is intended to be doing.

Here is our very limited exchange on Twitter — and sadly, no comments for either blog post.

Based on my findings and their very limited replies, I say stay away from this thing for now. It’s not even worth the wait it requires (several minutes) to generate a GIF.

Make a Data GIF on your own (using Photoshop, say) and know that you can accurately represent your data and communicate what the data means.

Chasing Down the Research Behind the 60000x Claim

“60000 Times Faster? Who Says That’s True?” animated GIF by @aforgrave

So there is a claim that has been floating around since the 80s that “we process visual images 60000 times faster than text.” The claim has appeared in numerous powerpoints and keynotes, but it seems to have very little concrete research to support it.

Alan Levine (@cogdog) has written numerous posts on the topic, and has even offered up USD$60 for evidence of the original source behind the claim — now doubled to USD$120 to encourage someone at the upcoming @nmcorg conference to take a little cross-town walk in support of a little detective work. Check out the full story with this series of posts on Alan’s blog.

Flex Your Creative Muscles with the Daily Create Summer 2017 T-Shirt

“The new Daily Create Summer 2017 T-Shirt,” design and GIF by @aforgrave

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since The Daily Create – Summer 2014 T-Shirt, but time flies when you’re having fun!

In response to Alan Levine’s (@cogdog, on Twitter) DS106 June 2017 30-Day Daily Create Challenge, I’m getting my creativity tools all splayed out on my desk in preparation for June, and the summer months beyond.

The Daily Create for today, June 1st, 2017 is #tdc1970, which revisit’s the skinny-kid-on-the-beach comic book ad and provides the prompt, “Charles Atlas, Charles Schmatlas. My Creativity is bigger than your muscles.”  The description continues with “Make this uncreative skinny kid a blossoming portrait of creative prowess! Show us your creative muscle, your photographic bicep, your video burpee (for the love of our eyes, do not take this literally, think metaphorically!)

Rather than re-visiting the old comic directly, I decided to get things in place with a newly updated T-Shirt that community members could wear while flexing their creative muscles (whether on a beach, or simple thinking about one).

The original 2014 shirt was a fun project because it gave me a challenge of selecting some appropriate icons from The Noun Project to use in representing the 5 create types — drawing, audio, photography, writing, and video.  I liked the clean design then, but was conscious that some new create types had emerged over the past three years, and relished the opportunity to source some additional icons for design, remix, and GIF.

The updated set of icons, representing eight different types of Daily Create categories, are presented on the back of the T-shirt, along with the newish URL which changed from to on September 3rd, 2015.

T-Shirt BACK graphic, with 8 icons representing 8 Create types, by @aforgrave

I also decided to update the front of the shirt, changing the message from “Keep Calm and Create On” to “Keep Calm and Make Art.”

T-Shirt FRONT graphic, with updated “Keep Calm and Make Art” text, by @aforgrave

I’ve posted the shirt design to The DS106 Zone store on Zazzle, where you can select a shirt fit and colour to suit your own tastes. The white-text is designed to reverse out of a darker coloured shirt, so you can’t have this on white, I’m afraid. Colour is more fun anyway!  There’s a GIF in the sidebar that shows some shirt styles in different colours, with links to guys and gal shirts to get you started. You can swap the shirt style to many different cuts and fits. Go wild! But Make Art!


A Different View to Car 106

"A Different View to Car 106" animated GIF by aforgrave (dedicated to @JimGroom)

“A Different View to Car 106” animated GIF by aforgrave (dedicated to @JimGroom)

Yesterday Jim Groom (@jimgroom, on Twitter) was writing about Silicon Valley (End the Domination of Silicon Valley) and the 1985 Bond film, “A View to a Kill,” when he came across Car 106. Having long sought an image of a police car bearing the 106 number, he captured the image and posted it.

Now I see image captures of 106 frequently in @cogdog‘s photostream. He seems to have a sixth sense in operation and he finds them all the time. He has over 106 of them! Me, I look periodically, but really don’t have a lot of success. I likely need to look harder.  Such images respond to Visual Assignment 35, “Cogdog’s Illustrate 106.”

But upon inspecting Jim’s image, I noticed that the number appeared to be a bit crudely positioned, and I wondered whether the image had been visited a Doctor (Oblivion). After all, creative juices are always flowing in the DS106 community, and a lot of Art gets made through the magic of image editing programs.

My curiosity piqued, I decided to go to the source, and a few moments later, determined a couple of things.

  1. catching sight of police car numbers during chase scenes in movies is tricky business.
  2. the numbers appearing on the cars in the film ARE crudely positioned — either hastily renumbered by the prop company, or just naturally messy.
  3. the car on the bridge is indeed numbered 106.

Not only that, the car perched on the edge of the bridge was ripe for GIFfing.

And so, as a token apology to Jim for doubting him, I dedicate the above GIF of Car 106 to him.  And thank him for creating the conditions for a little pause for creativity.  (And more profusely thank him for creating the conditions for a much larger community for creativity!)

#ds106  #4life

Daily Create Shirt – 2017

What Is Your Question Today?

#prisoner106 Summer 2015

#noir106 Winter 2015

ECOO 2014 #bit14

#ecoo14 #bit14 Bring IT Together

#wire106 Fall 2014

Bava/Nobody WIRE106 T-Shirt

3D Anaglyphs

3D Glasses_FLAT AnaglyphBADGE GREY fill BLACK

3D Glasses_FLAT Anaglyph-A-GIF BADGE GREY fill BLACK

The Daily Create T-Shirt


ds106 Spring 2014

#ds106 The DS106 Workplace

ds106 Summer 2013

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