Tag Archives: @cogdog

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.

What Happened In 31 Days

“The June 2017 30-Day Challenge for The Daily Create, Issued and Met,” image by @aforgrave

The Daily Create, tdc1999, asks that we tell a story in two images and two sentences.

The images are above. The sentences:

  • The June 2017 30-Day Challenge for The Daily Create was issued.
  • The June 2017 30-Day Challenge for The Daily Create was met.

The June 2017 30-Day Challenge for The Daily Create, issued by Alan Levine (@cogdog), has been completed. Over the past 31 days (it took me an extra day to finish up, and those in the know will understand why), The Daily Create prompts have pushed and pulled creativity in a variety of directions, and the resulting ride has been most exciting.

I have documented my creates here on the June 2017 30-Day Challenge – The Daily Create page. The page provides links to both the original prompts on The Daily Create site, as well as the corresponding posts here on de•tri•tus.

I would be remiss if I were to ignore the impetus offered by long-time #ds106 participant, @iamTalkyTina (@iamTalkyTina, on Twitter), who very early on in the month decided to offer a Certification badge for all ds106 folks who completed the 30-Day Challenge. The terms of the certification seem to suggest that as long as one was registered before the June 30th deadline, a small amount of leeway might be granted, and so I will trust that the work and documentation I have provided will put me in the running for the coveted badge. It will be interesting to see in the final tally who all managed to follow through and do all 30 Creates.

Thanks to all for such a fun experience!


Back in the Saddle?

“It’s My Bike!” photo by @aforgrave

The Daily Create, tdc1997 Show Us Your Bike has prompted me to get my bike out of storage, put some air in the tires, and take it out for a spin so that I could get a good picture. It was a great feeling to be moving on the bike again, and given that the summer break from school will officially be starting tomorrow, I am going to set myself a goal of getting out on the bike on a regular basis.

With this in mind, I locked the bike up outside, so that I can easily get at it and get on the road. My previous and most consistent experience (long, long ago, while I was still a student myself) was to go for long 30-40 km rides most evenings in the summer after work. I also took the bike with me on the road, and kept up my evening rides then, too. We’ll have to see how the next month unfolds as a trial.

A few small learnings from this evening:

  1. the seat is too low — I wasn’t getting a good stretch/push from my legs;
  2. I need to replace my cycling gloves — they reminded me of my sweat-disintegrated fencing glove of old;
  3. the bike-lock key that I have carried on my keychain for several years separated from the metal ring when I went to lock the bike. (Of course! As soon as I need to ensure I don’t lose the key, it detaches itself from my key ring!)

There’s a combination bike shop & coffee stop just down the street, The Brake Room (@thebrakeroom, on Twitter). Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll head down for a tune up. Nix that, they’re closed tomorrow. Some holiday or something, I guess.

I need a water bottle.


Keep Calm and Make Art

“Keep Calm and Make Art,” photo of my recently arrived t-shirts, by @aforgrave

So here’s a bit of a backstory.

When I entered grade 9 and had to select my courses, I filled up all of my available slots with courses but didn’t have any room left for Visual Arts. By the time I got to grade 13 and saw what a lot of my artist friends were doing — and when I learned of OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design — now OCAD University) — I was saddened that there hadn’t been room for art along the way. I’d managed extra credits in English, all of the maths, all of the sciences, 3 OAC credits in music, but no visual art. The next year, when I went away to university, there was no option for any practical music courses outside of the Faculty of Music. So at that point I got a sad face regarding that one, too.

However, as I reflect back, I did spend a chunk of my high school time dabbling in design work. It was all typewriters, white-out, letterset, scissors, and glue sticks back then, as there were no computers in the late seventies. I helped a friend publish a science-fiction fanzine in grade 10 (recalling the Gestetner and cor-flu) but most of my design time went towards supporting promotion materials for my work at the time.

All this to say that I believe that there is an artist inside everyone. We need to believe in that artist, and cultivate that artist, and let that artist express themself, even if our vocation takes us on a tangential path.

My thanks to the DS106 Community for providing a wonderful context within which to explore Making Art.

“Keep Calm and Make Art” are my entry for The Daily Create, tdc1989, five words to impress someone.

DS106 has made a real impression on me.


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.

Daily Create Shirt – 2017

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