Monday, July 19, 2010


I decided to download the new Office 2010 over the weekend since we get a great employee discount on the software. I wanted to try out the new visualizations in Excel 2010 to see if there was as big an improvement from 2007 to 2010 as there was from 03 to 07. While the graphics look about the same across versions, I did notice they added sparklines to Excel 2010, so I decided to give them a try.

Below I loaded the number of wins by teams in the Big 12 for the last 3 years and then created a projected win total for this year based on those trends. I added 2 new sparklines to the table to visualize the data. While I doubt that Iowa State will have more wins than Oklahoma, it was pretty interesting to have a small visualization of how the teams have been doing over time and made it easier to understand the trends, which would be more useful if I had a bigger data set. I will continue to play around with the new visualization aspects and let you know what I find. I also downloaded PowerPivot and will see how that works with Excel 2010 as well.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LBJ Survey Results

Do You Like Forms?

This one looks like fun to fill out!! In honor of the Worst Web Design Ever post this week, the Worst Form Ever:

A Not-Totally-Unrelated Tie to Current Events!

In order to complete a full multi-channel, Web 2.0-ish discussion of the current Lebron James news* (also discussed over Twitter! Phone! IM! E-mail! Something called face-to-face discussion!), here is a fitting posting to add "Blogging!" to the list. LBJ popularity over his NBA career, as measured in totally fictional national opinion polls:

*Note that the news is he is a sniveling egomaniac who totally deserves all of the hate he's getting right now.... And this doesn't necessarily reflect the opinion of this site as a whole, but it should!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Web Design Fail?

We don't talk much about web design as a whole. But this one's worth some kind of prize:

I don't know if it's real, but it is fantastic!

SPSS Viz Designer Is No Match For Tableau

SPSS recently released their new Viz Designer, a visualization engine built on Leland Wilkinson's work (The Grammar of Graphics and nViZn). The comparison with Tableau is unavoidable since both are based on the same underlying ideas. Right now, Viz Designer does not look good in that comparison.

In fact, it would be easy to slam the program. The user interface has a certain engineering look to it that reminds me of early GUI programs. There is also very little exploration and basically no interaction with the created graphics. There is also very little intelligence about the data, like detection of categorical vs. continuous dimensions. But then, the program is built on a very powerful basis and there is a large enough organization behind it to carry it over the first few, rough, releases. And there is also room for a different approach than Tableau, even though I think they're doing a lot of things right.