IBM and Sluggish Visualizations: Many-Eyes Disappointment

September 1, 2008

IBM’s Boston research facility offers a Web site called Many Eyes. This is another tricky url. Don’t forget the hyphen. Navigate to the service at http://www.many-eyes.com. My most recent visit to the site on August 31, 2008, at 8 pm eastern timed out. The idea is that IBM has whizzy new visualization tools. You can explore these or, when the site works, upload your own data and “visualize” it. The site makes clear the best and the worst of visualization technology. The best, of course, is the snazzy graphics. Nothing catches the attention of a jaded Board of Directors’ compensation committee like visualizing the organization’s revenue. The bad is that visualization is still tricky, computationally intensive, and capable of producing indecipherable diagrams. A happy quack to the reader who called my attention to this site, which was apparently working at some point. IBM has a remarkable track record in making its sites unreliable and difficult to use. That’s a type of consistency I suppose.

Stephen Arnold, September 1, 2008

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