Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Football Data Gathering

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted an article on inclusion of sensors in footballs and gloves being done by the students at Carnegie Mellon University. The project is to input sensors & accelerometers in football gears so that data can be derived and transmitted wirelessly, so that further analysis can be made. Obviously, the first implication would the refereeing changes (much like when the NFL decided to use replays as a final resource to solve disputes), but that does not interest us as much as the analyzing possibilities both during and post games. Imagine how many visualizations could be done using the field as a map, how many widgets online we could have to measure and point the grip on the catch. We could compare grip versus strength in the pass to figure out who's to blame for the incomplete pass. We could have a graphic of how much tired the receivers, runners, QB's were by measuring the sprints, throws and catches...
Well, the possibilities are infinite and creativity will definitely change the way we see the game.
Let's hope for the best!

Seen on Flowing Data

PS: Oh, yeah... And watch out for referees being out of jobs and super athletes on the way... JK!

Delicious Del.iciou.us

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have yourself a merry little Christmas...

Happy hollydays everyone!
For this special ocasion, I've separated one of the most intuitive, yet, completelly original visualizations I've seen in the past few months, and here is the kick: IT WAS MADE BY FELLOW BRAZILIANS!
Angela Detonico and Rafael Lain, both brazilian, made this simple and wonderful "The World, justified" visualization. As a form of art, many interpretations, both philosophical, political and geographical can be made, yet since this is a very clever puzzle, I'll leave the thoughs run freely in your mind and limit my comments to:
Centralized Earth reminds me a little of Africa or a reflected South America. Given that thous are the most exploited continents of history, it's a bit strange that the concentrated land would that this specific form.
Wonderful job guys, and since we're all Brazilians here: Parabéns galera! Trabalho sensacional e palmas!!!

Seen on Strange Maps - Original: detanicolain.com

Delicious Del.iciou.us

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Recently I was given copies of a handful of books by a fellow colleague, Rafael.
So I'd like to take the opportunity and thank Rafael for the gifts and point out one of the best items in the collection: C# 3.0 Design Patterns published by O'Reilly.
Simply one of the greatest technical books I've come to get in touch with in the past couple of years.
Definitely a must read!

I'll be posting about a few of the chapters and reviewing the book in the next few days/weeks.

Delicious Del.iciou.us

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WPF Animation tools

Despite of the over analyzed possibilities from animating components on XAML, most of which are virtually impossible to create without Microsoft Expression Blend ($499 USD), there is the possibility of the storyboards (Example is in C#).

What you can do is create a Storyboard object (System.Windows.Media.Animation) and add some animations that use key frames, DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames, which creates an interpolation of double values to a target's property. Here is a simple example:

DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames dauk = new DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames();
dauk.BeginTime = new TimeSpan(0);
dauk.SetValue(Storyboard.TargetNameProperty, "myObject");
dauk.SetValue(Storyboard.TargetPropertyProperty, new PropertyPath("myProperty"));

What we did here was establish that my animation is going to start on time mark 0, will occur on the targeted object (myObject in this case) and will iterate the values of the targeted property (myObject.myProperty in this case).

Next step wold be to add a spline to our animation in order to actually define the values to iterate and the time it should take to do so. Here it goes:

SplineDoubleKeyFrame sdkf = new SplineDoubleKeyFrame();
sdkf.KeyTime = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(.2);
sdkf.Value = 250;

This spline sets the target value to 250 and interpolates the intermediate values for .2 seconds. Supposing that myObject is of type Image and myProperty defines the image width. What this spline will do is simply take the image from the current width and stretch/shrink it up/down to 250 pixels.

Now just add the dauk object to our storyboard object and start it (sb.Begin(this);).

And there you have it, your control can now be fully animated with no help whatsoever from Expression Blend!
Have a blast and make things move with WPF!

Delicious Del.iciou.us

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Recently released by the Washington Post, TimeSpace, an interactive post article, photos, global blogs, foreign policy, video and articles geographic visualization. In other words, an interactive map with A LOT of information! Interesting choice of color pallet, animated nodes and (particularly my favorite) custom slider makes it easy to find information and, the most fun and valuable part, trends!
For instance, in a few glances, you can find out which are the interests of the post when publishing worldwide information to it's readers. Sadly enough, you can also find out that all that matters to the post regarding my home country - Brazil - is soccer (and even worst, my soccer team came in second this year, loosing to São Paulo). You can also notice the lack of interest for global news. Summing up all the nodes, there are far more items in the various parts of U.S. than in the rest of the world altogether.

Here is a S.S. for Dec. 6, 2008 11:59 p.m. to Dec. 7, 2008 11:58 p.m.:

Delicious Del.iciou.us

Monday, December 1, 2008

On visualization...

Many visualizations have been made trying to make the product buying over the internet process, some trying to emulate physical book stores, others trying to incorporate visualization concepts in order to make it fun for users to find out information on the products, and some others... well some others have not made their point all that clear!
This week, I found out about Vizzl, a flex based tool for product searching on Amazon, eBay or even Youtube. This one falls into the second group: use of visualization concepts to enrich search processes. It's got animation and information well distributed and it keeps the UI simple. It's even got an introduction video to explain how it works, although not much explanation is needed.
There are some bugs and glitches, which I'm sure won't be there for long, and the idea is fairly simple and not that innovative. The most interesting part is the usage of Adobe Flex. In an era like this one, where we have so many options ranging from .Net & Silverlight, Java, Flex and so on, Flex does keep the application simple and light enough to make the user experience fast, somewhat robust and fresh.
The application is indeed fast and way more fun than searching Amazon itself, for instance, so check it out at Vizzl

Delicious Del.iciou.us