Sparklinkes Web Service
June 24, 2005 9:48 AM   Subscribe

A Bright, Shiny Service: Sparklines A web service implementation of Edward Tufte’s sparklines idea, in Python.
posted by signal (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oooooh! That is so cool. Tufte's coming to Seattle and Portland in July. I wanna go. Here's FatLama's earlier post. [with links to yet earlier posts]
posted by warbaby at 10:08 AM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Tufte kicks ass.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2005

Here's an implementation in PHP for those inclined.
posted by gwint at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2005

Tufte kicks ass.

Can somebody explain the appeal? It's almost cultish. Once, pre-internet, I attended one of his powwows. I wasn't impressed. (I wasn't unimpressed, either — just felt "meh...") What's so great about Tufte and his ideas?
posted by jdroth at 10:40 AM on June 24, 2005

Tudte speaks to data lovers, and tells them that graphs can and should be used to display more and richer data. He speaks to usability lovers, and tells them that graphs can make it easier for readers to extract the relationships in the data. He speaks to graphic designers, and tells them that these graphs will also be beautiful in their economical way. He also speaks to those who have data which they would like to use to convince others, telling them that if they follow his principles, they can sway the minds of others, because it will be so obvious what the data means.

Tufte is about creating a science of visual communication. He applies a lot of psychology and a lot of knowledge about the visual system and its strengths (though I wish he used even more, and explained the connections better). He's cultish because he has a unique message, and he's a very good communicator.
posted by breath at 10:51 AM on June 24, 2005

Tufte manages to convey a lot of information in simple graphics where most people would resort to a block of text. I find it amazing, but I also realize that you have to understand the key before you can make sense of the graphic. Some of the stuff is intuitive as long as you know what's being done (is the squigly line leading to glucose JUST a graphic or does it convey information?) but once you're keyed into it it makes easy sense.
Is it amazing? I'm not sure. Am I impressed? Yup.
posted by substrate at 10:53 AM on June 24, 2005

Thanks, Nyrath. Warbaby and others: is he a pretty good speaker?
posted by fatllama at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2005

I saw him speak several months ago, I really enjoyed it and I felt like I learned a few things that I could apply to my work. However, I should say that I'm a data-obsessed math & computer geek working as a designer, so I'm pretty much the choir he's preaching to.
posted by patgas at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2005

I've seen him three times, and loved it each time, even though the lecture's basically the same. He's got the same kind of easy, approachable public speaking style that I've seen in other top-level university professors (he used to teach at Yale). He shows his copy of the first English translation of Euclid's Geometry (which was previously owned by Shakespeare's contemporary, Ben Jonson), and his manner seems modest to me, more like "isn't this neat?" than "I'm so cool for owning this."

Two of his examples made a big impression on me: his explanation of Minard's map of Napolean's Russian campaign, and his visual resdesign of the data that Morton Thiokol's engineers presented to NASA before the launch of Challenger. (His redesign makes it clear that the launch was too risky at the expected launch temperature.)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:36 PM on June 24, 2005

His visual redesign of the O-ring data is extrapolated entirely from one (two if you're feeling generous) data points. WTF, mate?
posted by jewzilla at 10:32 AM on June 25, 2005

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