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July 15, 2009

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The morning talks were excellent. I'd recommend also taking a look at the talks on conceptualizing risk, time series and ManyEyes as well. Irene Cox had some interesting points about Data Mirrors: how visualization can be a personal, creative enterprise (and that many of ManyEyes' users use it for this purpose). She also had a great line about the lines of, for a website to be great, it should be able to handle a war and also be able to handle cute kittens (for example: YouTube and Twitter; ManyEyes also seems to qualify). The morning storytelling talks had a very strong appeal to me; the afternoon mapping talks were fine, but seemed to be more methodology than vision.

Regarding Amanda Cox's talk in particular, she described her role as often being that of a bus driver, taking people along a path and guiding them to understanding--then in the end, handing them the keys to the bus. :) She said this in a self-deprecating way, but I think it's actually a pretty important thing to do. She also mentioned, when asked, that she likes to use R because it's very good at points and lines. I rather agree, actually--one of the nice things about R is how easy it is to quickly see things in scatterplots, timeplots, and more general models. Finally, I thought it was great that she made the last slide "a thank you slide that looks like a bar chart".

Also--I believe the talks are being webcast, so you may be able to watch remotely tomorrow.

(Of course, I had to get ahead of myself and mistype; Irene Ros was the speaker from IBM on Many Eyes, of course.)

Many thanks for the report and the pointers to those other talks, Thomas!

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