Sexual Relations Graph – Best Use of a Visual

  Sexual Relations Graph 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul.

The best use of a visual at the Net2 conference so far IMHO was from Martin Kearns. This graph (to the right and here) is titled "Structure of Romantic and Sexual Relations." 

Staying with the sexual social networks metaphors, it is apparent that Kevin Bacon gets around.

In the diagram note the large cluster on the top left. That is called a spanning tree diagram. All it would take to add more of those lonely trees to the primary tree is one connection.

A quick google search leads me to believe this is the original study from Jefferson High School.

Net2, Save the World, And Some Self Serving Bastard

At the conference this week. Not much writing but plenty of posted photos in the overall net2 photoset.

The conference itself has had plenty of realistic content. More than a few challenging questions. And it is generally grounded. No fear of being overwhelmed by causes given with the diverse crowd everyone is into their own particular interest. The dialog is appropriately focused on where non profits and tech overlap and how the tech can help.

One panel I enjoyed was the social networking panel. This pre-panel post on social networks by Bob sums up social networking features of most of the popular sites from his perspective. It is clear there is plenty of room to improve! Again and again he points out the lack of mature content driven social networks as opposed to content driven sites with minor social networking capabilities.

And last but not least and a bit off topic, a link to some self serving bastard on the pretense of a link count. <grin>

Aesthetic Digital Picture Frame for Visualization

Walking from Sharper Image to zGallerie at the mall made me connect the Phillips Digital Picture frame with a large white frame with a small 8×5 phto area at zGallerie. Given visualization is one of our focus points this year, it quickly turned into a project to combine the two elements into a Primal Brand story.

This was a quick project, no plans, just sawdust and scraps from the get-go. Pretty much what happens when a geek has tools.

The end result is pictured at left. Of course the photos rotate. The active photo of the word "ELVIS" was taken at the Elvis car museum in Memphis last year.

The build process is illustrated in pictures as follows. I would like to issue a disclaimer on the drill visible in some of the photos. It is NOT my primarly drill. Like all good geeks I have a Dewalt professional.Zgalleriepictureframe40bucks But of course I leave it at work, so what you see is my antique hand me down Black and Decker with the old-world drill bit chuck. The death of an american brand….

The main point is onward to the project pictures!

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RSS to text (SMS) notifications on your cell phone

So you are an overworked public relations pro, programmer, dog walker, whatever. You need to know the latest NOW! You can do that if you have a cell phone.

From this article by  in mobileactive, by using a combination of RSS feeds and a service that sends a text message to your phone when things change. In geek parlance this is an RSS to SMS service like zaptxt. Zaptxt screenshot top right.

To surfers it means to take the current wave height and text me when I need to load up the van and head down to the surf. And RSS is not just human written data looking at the interesting new non-human sources of rss feeds coming online.

To Tendenci clients (disclaimerTendenci is our association software) it means you can filter the RSS feed of upcoming events looking for just your specific interests. Filter the PRSA Richmond RSS feed for the words "crisis communication" through the zaptxt zaptask interface. You would literally be the first to know of any related development through your cell phone with a brief text message.

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“We Suck” vs “We Suck! We Suck!”

Who gets to say we suck. Or we suck twice as bad. That is the question.

1) You get to say it if you have little risk of "we suck exposure" (WSE)

  1. web companies delivering software as a service
  2. software companies with EULAs that indemnify them against…well.. everything.
  3. companies low subscription rates or ad supported model
  4. companies selling low dollar stuff
  5. companies that don’t make a big juicy target for class action lawsuits
  6. people below the radar to the point that nobody listens anyway
  7. people with really good errors and omissions coverage
  8. small businesses
  9. anyone with a CEO about to retire
  10. Apple (at least after the protests start)
  11. … and plenty of others that generally fly below the big guns

People who do NOT get to say we suck, or those with high WSE (danger!)

  1. big companies
  2. anyone with deep pockets

The biggest challenge with We Suck is that IT IS GOOD PR! Americans love a stand up guy who apologizes. Although it is usually a past tense as in "I previously sucked but have changed my ways." Martha Stewart vs Ken Lay. It is the low WSE companies that go against good PR tractics and do not admit wrongdoing and liability because of exposure.

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Flickr Tag Visualization Over Time

This visualization from Yahoo research is very interesting. I attended a talk at eTech where the speaker diss’ed the famous Minard’s Napoleon’s advance graph saying "but it didn’t help Napoleon make a single decision." The audience of course vehemently protested, echoing Tufte in a manner like Trekkies quote Spoc, "but it wasn’t designed for that! It was a antiwar protest poster!"

My vote? The Yahoo flickr tag visual is data as art and not designed for decision making.

Reading the comments on the digg story, the best part is the link to the paper explaining the technique used. Data mining such a large time sensitive data set is not easy. I like the fact they explained how they did it.

Via some guy via digg.

4 Questions Answered on NetSquared Site

After putting it off for a month I finally posted my answers to the four questions on the NetSquared site.

Visuals are Worth a Thousand Words Particularly if People Can’t Understand the Words

Visualization is
really new. Google has had data for years but it only recently offered
up a way of translating that data into graphs that make sense to
humans. No doubt in response to the graphs at Technorati  (  and Blogpulse  ( already. For the first time we can see where the issues are with tools like frappr, map things easily with APIs to google and yahoo maps.


Also note the June Houston Netsquared Meetup is posted, as are July and August.

Texas City Ego Searches

There are many times when I research stuff, put a lot of thought into it, and post what I hope is meaningful contributions to the conversation. This is not one of those times.

My point here is, oh ya, Dallas eat our dust! Houston completely rules in Google trends.

This is of course a far less meaningful follow up to a relevant post in Micro Persuasion. If you aren’t a believer in visualization perhaps try adding a few graphs from google trends, technorati or blogpulse to your next sales proposal.

I’ll see you on the ego side!

Consumer Generated Violence – Agg Townz Fights Part 2

Skipcheathamhiphopradiodj Finished the Chronicle article on Agg Townz Fights Part 2. This was right after reading Scott’s post Violence is the Real Pornography. Unfortunately I clicked the link to the stupid mag, which currently doesn’t have much content. What is most disturbing at the top is the graphic that says “send us your videos!” Shocking violent videos submitted a la America’s Funniest Home Video style.

Is this Consumer generated violence (CGV)?

Street-fight video horrifies Arlington

Youth brawls set to rap music were being sold on DVD

The short version is *willing* participants get in fights that are video taped. They beat the crap out of each other. The young entrepreneur behind it then sells the DVD online and promotes it by texting, my space, but mostly word-of-mouth marketing. Like extras in a movie surely all of the participatory-victims purchase a copy. Can you say up fronts?

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Voter Fatigue Skews Search Engine Results for the Aristrocracy

Voter fatigue, in political science parlance, refers to people literally getting tired of voting. Of if they vote, perhaps they vote the major ticket but block vote the rest because who the heck knows there the 2nd District Court is anyway, right?

David Berkowitz in today’s SearchInsider argues this phenomenon is coming to search. From the MediaInsider article "The Aristrocracy of Relevance" (reg required unfortunately)

the search engines and their hundreds of
millions of users will soon find themselves subjugating to a new ruling
class: the Aristocracy of Relevance. The whole search engine marketing
business was much easier when the search engines were the arbiters of

and it continues

Now, we have tagging. With the engines’ new services, anyone can label
a search result as he or she sees fit, and the search engine recognizes
the categorization (within reason). The old model might be viewed as a
benevolent dictatorship or even as enlightened absolutism; the new
model is a democracy–power to the people. Yet most people won’t take
advantage of this power.

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Speaking of Ahead of the Curve – I want to “Digg” to

In a world of G/Localization, I want to be able to digg by geographic region to a local news source. Yes digg for content that is globally interesting, but also digg specifically to if a story of local interest breaks. Or both.

Dwight – you have gotten the chronicle to be the top blogging newspaper. Now, can we digg it? (yes I just made that a verb – but you know what I mean).

Also note I am not talking about trackbacks or even cross posting of blogs, but nominating blog posts for professional journalist review locally. A subtle difference I guess, but I think direct is better than assuming reporters are trolling geographic filtered feeds of furl from blogs or similar. This would take someone specifically nominating in a geographical area of interest.

For example, I’d like to bring this post to your attention. But I can’t trackback unless I stretch it and somehow relate to the innovation in porn post. OK, I did that.

Quote of the Day – Newspapers – Walter Lippman 1922

Rereading Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann. The Lippmann quotes below on newspapers were written in 1922 (yes, that long ago). What is interesting to me is wondering how they relate to citizen media.

The insistent and ancient belief that trust is not earned, but inspired, revealed, supplied gratis, comes out very plainly in our economic prejudices as readers of newspapers. We expect the newspaper to serve us with truth however unprofitable the truth may be. – pg 203

The citizen will pay for his telephone, his railroad rides, his motor car, his entertainment. But he does not pay openly for his news. – pg 204

Circulation is, therefore, the means to an end. It becomes an asset only when it can be sold to the advertiser, who buys it with revenues secured through indirect taxation of the reader. The kind of news the advertiser will buy depends on what he has to sell. It may be "quality" or "mass." – pg 204

Therefore, whenever you find a newspaper betraying its readers for the sake of an advertiser, you can be fairly certain either that the publisher sincerely shares the views of the advertiser, or that he thinks, perhaps mistakenly, he cannot count up on the support of his readers if he openly resists dictation. It is a question of whether the readers, who do not pay in cash for their news, will pay for it in loyalty. – 206

Citizen journalists are writing articles to post on their sites, posting on blogs, watching their traffic and counting their adwords revenue. Are they not also, are we not also, trying to please our unpaying readership? Do I digg my own articles? – that is the question.

Walter Lippman image from cspan.

Hispanic Advertising – Using Sketchup To Extrude 3D Advertising Graphics

We recently closed a client in the Hispanic advertising space so I was reading the AdAge Hispanic Fact Pack. This, crossed with recently going through the initial tutorial in Google Sketchup made me want to play with the pie chart as a 3D infographic for better visualization.

I did not do that. By no stretch does this graphic do a better job of conveying the information than the flat pie chart. This is just a proof of concept.

But, it was a fun journey and I thought it might be helpful to explain the process of converting a pie chart into a 3D visual using Sketchup.  Here are two proofs of concept.


After the jump you can see the step-by-step process used and download the source files to continue editing it. Feel free to extend and improve.

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NetSquared – Kelsey Ruger of The MoleSkin

We have about 13 folks signed up for NetSquared tomorrow in Houston. We would love to have YOU attend. The Houston netsquared meetup is an offshoot of the main Netsquared efforts in San Fran through compumentor. —> REGISTER HERE

TOMORROW: Houston NetSquared Meetup Group

Social changemakers and technological forerunners come together at Net Tuesday events to mix, swap stories and ideas, build new relationships, and reinforce the online NetSquared community.

Group Photo

The Houston NetSquared May Meetup
Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 7:00PM

It’s another Meetup for The Houston NetSquared group!Our past two events have been *great* forums for discussion on Houston-area technology projects, emergency tech preparedness and non-profit group needs.This month we’ll be talking with Kelsey Ruger ( about some great local technology efforts that are taking place in the Houston-area. Refresh Houston, Air Houston and more – great stuff!Kelsey will also touch on the first Barcamp Houston (June 10th at HTC) that will be held on Saturday June 10th, 2006. Are you going!? Do you have any great ideas? What can you learn to bring back to your organization? Look forward to seeing everyone there!

See the full event details for Houston netsquared, including location, at

Peer to Patent Review of Patents: The Best BoingBoing Post Ever

Via BoingBoing, this one is important: Patent office will ask the public to "peer review" inventions

<rant>This is important before we all lose our rights to go to the bathroom. Interesting that private interests in the form of patent abuse are one of the greatest challenges to personal rights today. Be careful before you say that brand name out loud! From the BB post:

Cory Doctorow:
The US Patent and Trademark Office has launched "Peer to Patent," a
community patent peer review project. The USPTO is overloaded with
patent filings, so it does little or no investigation into patnets
before rubber-stamping them, expecting that the courts will sort out
who invented what. This changes the patent system from something that
promotes invention to something that rewards companies who aggressively
sue inventors.

Peer to Patent aims to address this by encouraging the public to review
patents, to determine whether they are valid based on the at-large
expert knowledge about what has already been invented and what is a
new, useful, nonobvious invention. IBM has agreed to have its patents
vetted by the public as a guinea pig in the project.

Now, before assuming I have gone nuts, yes I think Cory is over the top. Hell, even HE thinks he is over the top (his blog IS called "craphound"). But we need Ying to counter Yang, and we definitely need software patent reform to level an uneven playing field in the global economy.</rant>

I just hope this means we don’t lose out on those informative /. rants on patents. Now that would be a shame.

Crouquet – 3D Spreadsheets?

Staying with the visualization theme, (link via Scoble) Open Croquet’s 3D virtual environment built on P2P looks amazing. Hopefully we’ll get a youTube version soon.

Of course this also begs the question of if we WANT to work in 3D space. Play? Absofreakinlootly, but work? I really don’t know as I haven’t had the opportunity yet and only if it can be configured to expand horizontal adjacency.

Now if we can clean up 2d excel charts, can we come up with a way to clean up 3d charts with integrated visuals? Check out the croquet site for more screen shots.

Great Visualization Tools Enable Reasoned Decision Making

In between witty binary to text email conversations today (it IS both Friday and Cinco de Mayo), I was sent a link to  Fixing Excel charts”¦Or, why cast stones when you can pick up a hammer. This is just brilliant.

The short version is you get an option in Excel that says "clean chart" and your Excel charts look better. Here is a visual of what the most basic Excel bar chart looks like before and after running the "clean" command.


This may seem like a slight difference, but it saves a HUGE amount of time cleaning up difficult visuals. My hat is off to the brilliant folks behind this excel charts visualization plugin! Visit that last link for the downloads and installation instructions. Really, wow.

And before I forget, 01010100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01101011 01110011 00100000 01001011 01100001 01110100 01111001 01100001 00100001

Ad Agencies: Join the Conversation or Limit Your Options Later

Adage is running a nice round up article on the bru-ha-ha regarding the Maine Web Report and a lawsuit filed against them by an ad agency. The lawsuit was filed by a 40m advertising agency named
Warren Kremer Paino Advertising in New York. Everyone has already pilloried the ad agency for filing the lawsuit but in the name of context here is a recap:

Published: May 02, 2006

NEW YORK ( — An ad agency that specialized in travel
advertising is suing a Maine-based blogger for defamation after he
began to post regularly about the work the agency was doing for its
client, the state of Maine.

If you are in an agency, what can you DO about this? Note at the end of the adage article Steve Rubel, the de facto PR spokesperson for the planet, offers four pieces of advice. Note number 4! Rubel’s plan for a response to negative comments in a blog is:

  • The first step is to contact the blogger and discuss the issue in a nonthreatening way. See if an agreement can be reached.
  • Second,
    you might have to accept what you cannot change. It’s the bloggers’
    rights to communicate their opinions as long as the information was
    obtained through legal channels.
  • Try to find a third party to broker a discussion between you and the blogger.
  • Blog back, but only if you already have a blog.

Emphasis added. What this means if you are an ad agency is that you really can’t respond if you don’t already have bloggers on your team.

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