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Information

The Etiquette of File Naming

My company has a public network that is open to all employees and is used to store shared information. The number of folders is quite large and — in an effort to make the search for a particular folder easier — a few people have started adding exclamation points to the front …

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Information

Relearning an Old Lesson

Anyone who’s ever used a computer has — at some point — lost a carefully-crafted sequence of ones and zeros to the unforgiving gods of the digital realm. Every time it happens, you mourn, you rage against the sky, you re-write and you move on. Each time, you add another …

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Information

A Quick Look at Timeline Software Tools

I was looking at an online timeline development application from xTimelines but I couldn’t get the embedding feature to work on this site. A quick search for similar tools led me to my alma mater, of all places, where they had done a nice evaluation of alternative timeline applications. Here’s …

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Design
1

Nudge, Nudge

A recent Wired article discussed the dangers of trying to influence users through nudging — the practice of structuring a person’s choices in such a way as to get a desired result. It highlighted one of the key dynamics facing today’s high-tech companies as they shift from relatively independent creators of “whiz-bang” …

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Information

The Problem of Information Obesity

The folks over at bloggingheads.tv introduced me to my new favorite term today: information obesity. In the video segment, Lev Grossman talks about the addictive component of data: … we evolved — our brains and our bodies and everything in our society evolved– for an environment of information scarcity … and that our environment …

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Information
2

Who’s Your Filter?

One of the ways in which people deal with information overload is to use a filter to screen out unwanted information and eliminate the amount of time spent on non-essential topics. Filters can take many forms but one of the most common is simply the “trusted source” — a person …

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Information

In Search of the Right Metric

The Wisconsin DNR just kicked off its PR campaign for Operation Deer Watch this week. This program is designed to collect data about the state’s deer herd and it is used primarily to keep tabs on the overall deer population. This is serious business for folks who live in America’s …

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Design
Discovering New Opportunities for Urban Design in American Cities

“What a city has to say must find expression in its architecture.” Walter Wallmann, Lord Mayor of Frankfurt/Main Here in the U.S., we tend to think of our built environment –- our cities and towns — as mostly finished. Sure, we might tear down a few old buildings or add …

Favorites
What Does the Average Biker Dude Look Like?

CNN published the mugshots of all of the biker gang members who were arrested after the recent shootout in a Waco, TX restaurant. There were a total of 171 pictures, all in the same standard pose and most in the same standard orange jumpsuit: Seeing all of these pictures got …

Design
2
A Force Node Diagram of the U.S. Interstate System

There’s nothing too complicated about this post. I’ve been interested in creating an illustration of the U.S. Interstate system for awhile but my initial concept of a “subway-style” diagram of the network had already been done. After some recent experimentation with the D3 Javascript library, I decided that it might …

Favorites

What Does the Average Biker Dude Look Like?

CNN published the mugshots of all of the biker gang members who were arrested after the recent shootout in a Waco, TX restaurant. There were a total of 171 pictures, all in the same standard pose and most in the same standard orange jumpsuit: Seeing all of these pictures got …

Design
2

A Force Node Diagram of the U.S. Interstate System

There’s nothing too complicated about this post. I’ve been interested in creating an illustration of the U.S. Interstate system for awhile but my initial concept of a “subway-style” diagram of the network had already been done. After some recent experimentation with the D3 Javascript library, I decided that it might …

Design
5

Most Popular Word Roots in U.S. Place Names

My family visited Washington D.C. last year for Spring Break and, during our 12-hour drive, I remember noticing a subtle change in the names of the cities and towns we were passing through. In the beginning, the place names had a familiar mid-western flavor; one that mixed Native American origins …

Favorites
114

Visualizing English Word Origins

I have been reading a book on the development of the English language recently and I’ve become fascinated with the idea of word etymology — the study of words and their origins. It’s no secret that English is a great borrower of foreign words but I’m not enough of an …