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Four short links: 31 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 31, 2014

Bolts — Facebook’s library of small, low-level utility classes in iOS and Android. Python Idioms (PDF) — useful cheatsheet. Michael Abrash’s Graphics Programming Black Book — Markdown source in github. Notable for elegance and instructive for those learning to optimise. …

Four short links: 9 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 9, 2013

Reform Government Surveillance — hard not to view this as a demarcation dispute. “Ruthlessly collecting every detail of online behaviour is something we do clandestinely for advertising purposes, it shouldn’t be corrupted because of your obsession over national security!” Brian …

Four short links: 27 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 27, 2013

CT Scanning and 3D Printing for Paleo (Scientific American) — using CT scanners to identify bones still in rock, then using 3D printers to recreate them. (via BoingBoing) Growing the Use of Drones in Agriculture (Forbes) — According to Sue …

Actions predict louder than words

By Brian d'Alessandro
October 22, 2013

Data isn’t just bigger these days; it is also fundamentally different than it was 10 years ago. The nature of this change is driving several innovations in the way marketing is done, particularly around targeting and measurement. From a predictive …

Four short links: 16 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 14, 2013

Scientific Data Has Become So Complex, We Have to Invent New Math to Deal With It (Jennifer Ouellette) — Yale University mathematician Ronald Coifman says that what is really needed is the big data equivalent of a Newtonian revolution, on …

Four short links: 11 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 11, 2013

Programming Synthetic DNA (Science Daily) — eventually enabling the reification of bugs. Schwartz — a shell for Quartz 2D with Python. The Slow Winter — best writing about the failure of Moore’s Law and the misery of being in hardware. …

Demographics are dead: the new, technical face of marketing

By Renee DiResta
September 3, 2013

Over the past five years, marketing has transformed from a primarily creative process into an increasingly data-driven discipline with strong technological underpinnings. The central purpose of marketing hasn’t changed: brands still aim to tell a story, to emotionally connect with …

Four short link: 27 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 27, 2012

Statistical Misdirection Master Class — examples from Fox News. The further through the list you go, the more horrifying^Wedifying they are. Some are clearly classics from the literature, but some are (as far as I can tell) newly developed graphical …

The promise of WebGL

By Mary Treseler
October 12, 2012

WebGL (Web Graphics Library) is a JavaScript API maintained by the Khronos group, a standards body responsible for other open standards including OpenGL. WebGL allows developers to display hardware-accelerated interactive 3D graphics in the browser without installing additional software — …

Four short links: 17 August 2012

By Nat Torkington
August 17, 2012

What Twitter’s API Anouncement Could Have Said (Anil Dash) — read this and learn. Anil shows how powerful it is to communicate from the perspective of the reader. People don’t care about your business model or platform changes except as …

Strata Week: Infographics for all

Strata Week: Infographics for all
By Audrey Watters
March 15, 2012 launches an infographic creation tool, San Francisco upgrades its open data initiative, and Stephen Wolfram offers a peek into more than 20 years of his personal data.

Strata Week: Infographics for all

By Audrey Watters
March 15, 2012 launches an infographic creation tool, San Francisco upgrades its open data initiative, and Stephen Wolfram offers a peek into more than 20 years of his personal data.

O'Reilly Radar Show 3/12/12: Best data interviews from Strata California 2012

O'Reilly Radar Show 3/12/12: Best data interviews from Strata California 2012
By Mac Slocum
March 12, 2012

Hadoop creator Doug Cutting discussing the similarities between Linux and the big data world, Max Gadney from After the Flood explains the benefits of video data graphics, Kaggle's Jeremy Howard looks at the difference between big data and analytics.

O'Reilly Radar Show 3/12/12: Best data interviews from Strata California 2012

By Mac Slocum
March 12, 2012

Hadoop creator Doug Cutting discussing the similarities between Linux and the big data world, Max Gadney from After the Flood explains the benefits of video data graphics, Kaggle's Jeremy Howard looks at the difference between big data and analytics.

Four short links: 13 February 2012

By Nat Torkington
February 13, 2012

Rise of the Independents (Bryce Roberts) -- companies that don't take VC money and instead choose to grow organically: indies. +1 for having a word for this. The Performance Golden Rule (Steve Souders) -- 80-90% of the end-user response time is spent on the frontend. Check out his graphs showing where load times come from for various popular sites....

Four short links: 25 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs's Best Quotes (WSJ Blogs) -- Playboy: We were warned about you: Before this Interview began, someone said we were "about to be snowed by the best."; [Smiling] "We're just enthusiastic about what we do." (via Kevin Rose) The Tao of Programming -- The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler. The...

Four short links: 5 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 5, 2011

NanoLumens -- flexible display technology, 2.6lbs/sq ft (that's 17 kilofrancs/kelvin in metric, I think). (via Fiona Romeo) The Noun Project -- a vast collection of free-to-use icons. (via Russell Beattie) VirtualBox -- Sun Oracle's open source virtualization product, trivial to run multiple VMs on your local box. VirtualBoxes has pre-built VMs for common OSes. Vagrant -- tool for managing...

Four short links: 3 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 3, 2011

Just Say No To Freegal -- an interesting view from the inside, speaking out against a music licensing system called Freegal which is selling to libraries. Libraries typically buy one copy of something, and then lend it out to multiple users sequentially, in order to get a good return on investment. Participating in a product like Freegal means that...

Four short links: 1 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 1, 2011

paper.js -- The Swiss Army Knife of Vector Graphics Scripting. MIT-licensed Javascript library that gives great demo. TileMill for Processing -- gorgeous custom maps in Processing. (via FlowingData) Research Assistant Wanted -- working with one of the authors of Mind Hacks on augmenting our existing senses with a form of "remote touch" generated by using artificial distance sensors, such...

Four short links: 7 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 7, 2011

OMG Text -- a plugin for CSS framework Compass for directional text shadows. (via David Kaneda) Build a Cheap Bitcoin Mine -- some day it will be revealed that the act of generating a bitcoin token is helping the Russian mafia to crack nuclear missile launch codes and Afghan druglords built the Bitcoin system to destabilize the US dollar....

The future of technology and its impact on work

By Jonathan Reichental, Ph.D.
May 16, 2011

In this presentation, O'Reilly CIO Jonathan Reichental discusses a range of future technology trends and what it will mean for work and the workforce.

Four short links: 23 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 23, 2011

The Heritage Health Competition -- Netflix-like contest to analyze insurance-claims data to develop a model that predicts the number of days a patient will spend in hospital in the coming year. $3M prize. (via Aza Raskin) Historically Hardcore -- fantastic fake Smithsonian ads that manage to make the institution sexy. Naturally they've been asked to take them down. Another...

Never Give a Client Three Choices

By Spencer Critchley
November 24, 2010

In most design fields it's conventional wisdom that you should give a client three versions or "comps" of an idea, so they can choose their favorite, or maybe combine what they like best about two or all three of them....

Strata Week: Statistically speaking

Strata Week: Statistically speaking
By Julie Steele
October 21, 2010

In this edition of Strata Week: The London Stock Exchange moves from .Net to open source; learn how graphical scales can lie; the Euroean Central Bank president calls for better financial statistics; and we bid farewell to the father of fractals.

Four short links: 11 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 11, 2010

Design Thinking in Schools -- materials to help teach design thinking in schools and education. My favourite: Design MadLibs (though until they can include "fart" in the list of acceptable words, it won't be as interesting to my kids as the original MadLibs). (via Justine Sanderson) PaintbrushJS -- Open Source (MIT-licensed) Javascript library for client-side graphics effects (blur, gamma,...

Four short links: 5 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 5, 2010

Delicious Links Clustered and Stacked (Matt Biddulph) -- six years of his delicious links, k-means clustered by tag and graphed. The clusters are interesting, but I wonder whether Matt can identify significant life/work events by the spikes in the graph. Open Data and the Voluntary Sector (OKFN) -- Open data will give charities new ways to find and share...

Four short links: 10 February 2010

By Nat Torkington
February 10, 2010 -- The OSOR is a platform where public administrations can exchange information and experiences and collaborate in developing free and open source software. The platform has managed to bring together more than 2000 such open source software applications in just sixteen months after its launch. (via EUPractice and vikram_nz on Twitter) Inside Glitch -- writeup of behind-the-scenes during...

Easy Flex Skinning with Fireworks CS4

By Amy Blankenship
October 2, 2009

I'm as excited as anyone about the prospect of Flash Catalyst, but I recently discovered that skinning in Flex 3 is down right easy. When I first was learning Flex, I had Studio 8, so I managed to completely overlook...

Having Fun With Google Maps Flash API

By Andrew Trice
May 27, 2009

Here's a post that contains a trick combining graphics filters with Google maps for some interesting effects. They don't necessarily make it easier to read the maps, nor do they have a lot of value, but they look interesting, and are fun to play with. :-)

We Need to Teach Visual Critical Thinking

By Spencer Critchley
March 16, 2009

I was just looking at yet another vacuous presentation graphic, this one purporting to illustrate the SMART test for defining objectives. It looked something like this: This is of course rubbish. Infographics guru Edward Tufte would object strenuously to its...

The Official "visible vs alpha vs removeChild()" Showdown

By Colin Moock
November 22, 2008

Flash Player's display API offers three different tools for hiding display objects from the screen: the visible variable, the alpha variable, and the removeChild() method. All three tools achieve the same end result—hiding a graphic—but each tool serves a different structural need. Hence, there is no single answer to the question "Should I hide graphics with visible, alpha, or removeChild()?" Instead, developers must choose the approach that suits the task at hand based on a variety of factors. Before we consider those factors, let's take a look at visible, alpha, and removeChild() in action.

Skin Your Synth (etc.)

Skin Your Synth (etc.)
By David Battino
September 26, 2008

I have exactly one yellow musical instrument, and since the moment I unboxed it, I've dreamed about somehow painting it a different color without damaging the controls. Now comes something much slicker. At, you can design your own adhesive vinyl skin for a variety of music gear....

Making Peace with GIMP

By Todd Ogasawara
August 27, 2008

I sorted through the various versions of the GIMP bitmap editor available for the Mac last week. This week, I report on what I found after playing with GIMP on my slightly underpowered Macbook. The results were good. In fact, very good IMHO.

Free Statistics Package for Your Mac: The R Project for Statistical Computing

By Todd Ogasawara
June 25, 2008

The R Project for Statistical Computing is a free multi-platform Open Source statistical and graphical programming platform. It provides a Mac friendly R Console for all the statistical and graphical work you can throw at it. Version 2.7.1 was released earlier this week.

VectorDesigner 1.3

By Todd Ogasawara
June 17, 2008

VectorDesigner 1.3 is a low-cost vector drawing application that looks like a good tool for even design challenged people like me. I took a photo and a hand drawn sketch through the bitmap to vector conversion process and got what seems like good starting points for a new project of mine.

Fun With PaperVision3D & Graphics Filters

By Andrew Trice
June 13, 2008

Since diving back into PaperVision3D in my last post, I've been having some fun playing with 3D concepts. I forgot how cool 3D visualizations can be, but at the same time, they can get really confusing and really complicated very quickly. At the same time as they are getting complicated and confusing, they also start creating abstract shapes that are intriguing.

Back To Filters...

By Andrew Trice
May 23, 2008

With all this talk about Astro, and PixelBender, it made me think more about graphics filters. So, I thought I'd revisit them. A few months back, I did a series on graphics tricks. This time, I'm sticking to the good old filters (not the shiny new ones in PixelBender), and decided to focus on displacement map filters. Basically, the displacement map filter displaces the pixels of a component, based on the bitmap data that is passed into the filter.

An Introduction to Degrafa

By Juan Sanchez
May 5, 2008

One of the most important aspects of delivering a rich user experience is what a user sees and interacts with on the screen. Graphics, whether static or dynamic, comprise the face of an application. Static graphics can definitely suffice for creating the necessary visual parts of an application, but to change them you must replace them with other static graphics. Dynamic graphics, created with programmatic drawing are very powerful because it can be manipulated at run-time, but it can involve more advanced knowledge of the Drawing API. Degrafa is a declarative graphics framework that aims to offer the best of both worlds.

Using Graphics Filters to Extend Basic Components

By Andrew Trice
April 24, 2008

I've discussed graphics filters previously, and here's a trick to use them to extend the capabilities of basic Flex controls. In this example, graphics filters will be used to alter the appearance of a basic tree control. I've run into this scenario numerous times... How can you change the appearance of tree folder icons to imply meaning to the branches of the tree?

Degrafa + Datagrids = Visual Display of Data

By Andrew Trice
March 27, 2008

If you are a Flex developer, and you haven't checked out Degrafa yet, you should. Degrafa is an open source declarative graphics framework for Flex. It allows you to easily create complex shapes, patterns, skins, gradients, strokes, etc... without intimate knowledge of the drawing API. The framework allows you to do some really cool things, without a lot of code. Here's a quick example of what can be done with a Flex datagrid, Degrafa, and some time to kill.

Essential Silverlight 2 Beta 1 Downloads

By Christian Wenz
March 10, 2008

At MIX08 in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced and released a couple of new products, including Beta 1 of Silverlight (and O'Reilly announced and released Essential Silverlight 2 Up-to-Date). Silverlight, however, comes in several downloads, and it is a bit difficult to keep track of all of them, so we'll have a look at what you can and what you should download.

Introducing Silverlight Tools

By Christian Wenz
March 4, 2008

An XML editor would be enough to create Silverlight applications…but who would want to do just that? Instead, we'll examine three different kinds of Silverlight tools: XML editors, vector graphics editors, and Silverlight IDEs. Introducing Silverlight Tools is a chapter from O'Reilly Media's Essential Silverlight 2 Up-to-Date by Christian Wenz, released this week.

Making Things More Interactive

By Andrew Trice
February 27, 2008

One of the key concepts for a RIA is that it has to be rich. This could be rich content, rich interactivity, or a combination of the two. The extent of the richness of the application directly ties to an emotional response when using the application. We always want that to be a good response, otherwise that application that you spent a lot of time and effort creating will be dead before you know it.

Flex Graphics Tricks Part 3: Graphics Filters

By Andrew Trice
February 20, 2008

Here's the third installment of my mini-series on Flex graphics tricks. These do not only apply to Flex, they apply to Flash as well. My particular focus here is using graphics filters within a Flex application. Graphics filters allow you to perform bitmap-level effects on any DisplayObject... thus any object that can be displayed in Flex. Filters enable everything from blurs, glows, and dropshadows all the way to color processing, sharpening, and edge detection. This sounds very daunting, however they are really pretty easy to get started with.

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