Labs: NASCAR Update

11 Sep 2009

It’s been almost two weeks since I launched my labs, and I thought it was high time for an update. Even though the travel experiment is my most exciting one, I wanted to spend some time giving some love to NASCAR this week.

Labs: Flight Search Results

31 Aug 2009

Perhaps the crown jewel of the labs so far, I set out to right some wrongs that were inflicted on me during travel research for a trip out to the San Francisco area. I had such a hard time finding the information I needed among walls of text and advertising that I decided to try my hand what I think flight search results should look like.

Labs: NASCAR Leaderboard

31 Aug 2009

My wife’s been watching a lot of NASCAR lately, and I’m actually finding it quite interesting, in spite of my prior reservations. More importantly to the geek in me, though, NASCAR is a treasure trove of data just waiting to be viewed, and from the look of their leaderboard, this can be a painful task. So, I set out with my newly-acquired knowledge of the sport (hey, it’s no less a sport than horse racing) to identify the key interesting aspects of a race and figure out how they could be viewed more easily.

Labs: Golf Leaderboard

31 Aug 2009

The first thing I thought about when reading Wilson Miner’s article on accessible data visualization was that it shouldn’t be too difficult to do charts with bars going different directions. Doing so would allow a convenient way to represent values that could be either positive or negative, typically as compared to some other data point that remains constant throughout the entire data set. Thus, my first choice for applying this technique would be golf scores, since each hole is scored relative to par. Even though the value of par varies with the difficulty for each hole, the score relative to par is the important bit that’s recorded and used to compare the abilities of different players. So I set out to improve the efficiency and attractiveness of their leaderbord.

Introducing Marty Alchin Labs

31 Aug 2009

A few weeks ago, there began some discussion on Twitter about a few people who wanted to update their personal sites, and they gained a bit of attention from others who were interested in doing so. Thus they formed the site sprint, wherein all participants agreed to launch their redesigns on September 1. I rather like my current design, and I don’t have the energy to redesign it, but I had mulling about the idea of a “Labs” site for a while, so I thought I’d use the deadline as challenge to actually get it going. In all, 15 others also participated, and I eagerly await their results.

The Big “O”

2 Mar 2009

To the experienced programmers out there, the subject of this article will be immediately apparent. To others who are a bit more … excitable, it may seem rather risque. To those who watch a lot of television, it may simply be a reference to a certain warehouse retailer (I won’t bother giving them a Google boost). But, there are those of us who don’t have Computer Science degrees, and have never been told what the Big O notation is, and the Wikipedia article isn’t much help unless you’re a mathematician (I’m not). Thankfully, I finally had a big “Oh!” about the Big O, and I thought I’d share how I see it, for those of you who may not get what everybody’s talking about.

Google Chart API Revisited

7 Dec 2007

A comment on my previous post prompted me to do a little digging on what Google’s Chart API is and isn’t capable of, and what I found gives me reason to worry.

Google Chart API

7 Dec 2007

So, I was surprised to see my news this morning, when information aesthetics spread the news of the new Google Chart API. Looks like they’ve been reading my blog, and they decided to save me the trouble of installing matplotlib or anything.

Ohloh’s KudoRank

8 Nov 2007

Jonathan Buchanan recently joined Ohloh and gave me a Kudo and I noticed something fascinating: my KudoRank jumped about 88% all at once. Needless to say, that struck me as a little … odd.