I’ve been playing the some data driven visualization tools, Delicious replacements, and Dan Gillmor’s new downloadable book this week.

Playing with Visuals: Two data-driven visualization tools caught my attention:
  • Centuries of Books at a Glance: This week’s announcement of Google Books Ngram Viewer and the associated New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/books/17words.html.
    Google Ngram of technology, media, and machines

    Google Ngram of technology, media, and machines

    I have been playing with things like searching for the word “technology” and comparing it to the history noted in Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants book, where he notes how recent technology is as a social phrase.  Intriguing!

  • Who’s in School: I spent some time tinkering with the selectable visualization tool on demographics of U.S. undergraduates from The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/Who-Are-the-Undergraduates-/123916/. This reminds me of many aspects of U.S. education, including that most college students are white and in 2 year programs.  I also was fascinated by the comments, which included how obvious some of this was to some people (and not others).
Rumors and Alternatives: I also spent some time yesterday finding alternatives to Delicious, a social bookmarking tool.  The rumor of the demise of Delicious, which has been part of my own life since 2006.  Various articles and shout outs from competitors have arisen quickly.  I have been trying Licorize, Evernote, YourVersion, and Diigo as imports of my data.  I have exported all of my bookmarks for future alternatives that may surface.
Download or buy?: Dan Gillmor’s new book, Mediactive, is now available online and for purchase. I did the download, I sheepishly comment, and will be reading it this coming week.