Writing

Controlled leaks and pre-announcements

This Wall Street Journal piece sounds a lot like a controlled leak:

Apple Inc. plans to begin producing this year a new iPhone that could allow U.S. phone carriers other than AT&T Inc. to sell the iconic gadget, said people briefed by the company.

The new iPhone would work on a type of wireless network called CDMA, these people said. CDMA is used by Verizon Wireless, AT&T’s main competitor, as well as Sprint Nextel Corp. and a handful of cellular operators in countries including South Korea and Japan. The vast majority of carriers world-wide, including AT&T, use another technology called GSM.

(Paranoid emphasis my own.) Apple (like any other major company) has been known to use leaks to their advantage, and there seems to be an uptick of next generation iPhone rumors (double-size screen, faster processor, thinner, Verizon) in the past week that seems to coincide with the announcement of several promising-sounding Android phones (big screens, fancy features, 4G and HSPA+ networks, thin, light, lots of providers). It doesn’t seem like Apple is terribly worried about Android, but aggressively keeping the Android platform from getting any sort of traction would makes good business sense.

I think this is the first time that I’ve seen such rumors appearing to coincide with Android launches (that you probably didn’t even hear about), which gave me some hope that Android might be going somewhere. (I use an iPhone and a Nexus One. I’m rooting for competition and better products more than either platform.)

Microsoft was always good at using pre-announcements to kill competitor’s products (“oh, I can wait a couple months for the Microsoft solution…”), which is of course different than just leaking. Microsoft often wouldn’t ship the product, or would ship a far inferior version to what was announced or leaked, but in the meantime, they had successfully screwed the competitor. I think it’s safe to assume that there will be a new iPhone (or two) in June like there have been the past several years.

And now, back to playing with data… rumors are clearly not my thing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | mobile, rumors  

Google Underwater

So that might not be the awesome name that they’ll be using, but CNET is rumormongering about Google cooking up something oceanographic along the lines of Maps or Earth. Their speculation includes this lovely image from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University.

underwatertiles_510.jpg

Unlike most people with a heartbeat, I didn’t find Google Maps particularly interesting on arrival. I was a fan of the simplicity of Yahoo Maps at the time (but no longer, eek!) and Microsoft’s Terraserver had done satellite imagery for a few years. But the same way that Google Mars shows us something we’re even less familiar with than satellite imagery of Earth, there’s something really exciting about possibility of seeing beneath the oceans.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | mapping, rumors, water  
Book

Visualizing Data Book CoverVisualizing Data is my book about computational information design. It covers the path from raw data to how we understand it, detailing how to begin with a set of numbers and produce images or software that lets you view and interact with information. Unlike nearly all books in this field, it is a hands-on guide intended for people who want to learn how to actually build a data visualization.

The text was published by O’Reilly in December 2007 and can be found at Amazon and elsewhere. Amazon also has an edition for the Kindle, for people who aren’t into the dead tree thing. (Proceeds from Amazon links found on this page are used to pay my web hosting bill.)

Examples for the book can be found here.

The book covers ideas found in my Ph.D. dissertation, which is basis for Chapter 1. The next chapter is an extremely brief introduction to Processing, which is used for the examples. Next is (chapter 3) is a simple mapping project to place data points on a map of the United States. Of course, the idea is not that lots of people want to visualize data for each of 50 states. Instead, it’s a jumping off point for learning how to lay out data spatially.

The chapters that follow cover six more projects, such as salary vs. performance (Chapter 5), zipdecode (Chapter 6), followed by more advanced topics dealing with trees, treemaps, hierarchies, and recursion (Chapter 7), plus graphs and networks (Chapter 8).

This site is used for follow-up code and writing about related topics.

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