Tagged: visualization

Bay area traffic visualization

Ever wondered how traffic in the bay area evolves during the course of a day? Here is a video that captures traffic in a part of the bay area on Friday, August 14th. The video starts sometime before the midnight of August 13th, and ends shortly after the midnight of August 14th.

Credits:

The video above is not the most interesting. But now that I have all the code in place, I’m looking forward to capturing the traffic during some more interesting events, and covering some more area.

Filelight alternatives for Windows


I was recently running Windows on my dual-boot laptop and realized that I was all but out of disk space. Now, granted that this is not a particularly monstrous partition, but I was still surprised that the 30 gigs was so close to exhaustion despite that the fact that I don’t have a lot of media (music, videos) or that many heavy applications (perhaps the biggest is Office).

[[http://www.methylblue.com/filelight/images/filelight-1.0.png|{{ http://www.methylblue.com/filelight/images/filelight-1.0.png?200x200}}]]

Faced with similar situation in Linux, I would immediately fire up [[http://www.methylblue.com/filelight/|Filelight]], an excellent utility that “creates an interactive map of concentric, segmented rings that help visualise disk usage on your computer.” So I went looking around for similar alternatives for Windows.

In the Windows world, it seems that [[wp>Treemap]]s are more popular than radial representation. I did find [[http://treepieblog.blogspot.com/|treepie]] but it wasn’t all that exciting. I then chanced upon [[http://windirstat.info/|WinDirStat]] and [[http://w3.win.tue.nl/nl/onderzoek/onderzoek_informatica/visualization/sequoiaview//|SequoiaView]].

[[http://floatingsun.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/sequoiaview_-_c-03272008-063441pm.jpg|{{ http://floatingsun.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/sequoiaview_-_c-03272008-063441pm.thumbnail.jpg}}]]

[[http://floatingsun.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/c_-_windirstat-03272008-063434pm.jpg|{{ http://floatingsun.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/c_-_windirstat-03272008-063434pm.thumbnail.jpg}}]]

Both the tools are extremely similar in functionality (and even visuals). SequoiaView seems to be an effort out of the University of Technology at Eindhoven (Netherlands). WinDirStat is almost a direct port (in features and user interface) of [[http://kdirstat.sourceforge.net/|KDirStat]]. In my limited testing, I found SequoiaView to be faster than WinDirStat, but WinDirStat had a better experience overall.

Thanks to these tools, I was quickly able to locate and eliminate the bloat.

What did you do last year?


Happy new year y’all!

The past couple of days my feed reader has been chock full of posts about one of the following: the year in review, predictions for 2008, reflections and introspections. So much so that I got tired of reading about the “new year” and never got around to writing MY end of the year post, but I’m sure the world didn’t miss much. But I did run into an interesting problem as I was thinking about what could have been my end of the year post: exactly what all did I do last year?

So I started by writing down all the months, the idea being that I would put down all the significant events that happened in any given month next to it. The hope is that there aren’t that many of them so the list should be fairly manageable. Now, I have always known that my memory is not that great, and that is why I tend to rely on tools to do the dirty book keeping for me: calendars, todo lists, reminders etc. But it was still a little shocking when I couldn’t immediately recall what I did in lets say May of last year. Of course I did remember things once I thought about it a little bit, often relying on context (what happened before May, after May etc).

The bottom line is that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. For some months, I actually had to go back to my email inbox and other digital archives to figure out the salient happenings. This got me thinking about **personal information analysis and visualization**. And the more I thought about it, the more excited I became.

I was actually surprised to find such little information on the web about this. With our increasing information overload, cheap storage, and tons of archived data (online and offline), I think this space has tremendous potential for both academic and commercial ventures. For instance, here’s a really simple thing I want to be able to do: for a given time period (say 2007), I want to analyze and visualize all of my emails so that I can quickly figure out:
* who did I communicate with the most?
* what were the main topics I wrote about?

I couldn’t find any open source tool to do even this. And my initial Googling hasn’t turned up much in commercial offerings either. The closest thing I could find was a project called [[http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~fviegas/projects/themail/study/index.htm|themail]] from MIT Media Labs, but there’s no code that I can download. Then there is [[http://carohorn.de/anymails/|Anymails]], but it seems just a cool visualization, and not a lot of information (specially the kind I want).

If you know about any free or paid tools that can do this kind of analysis, please drop a line in the comments. And while you are at it, try to think about what YOU did all of last year :-)