Data Visualization: Unusual and Unnecessary Terminology

March 19, 2019

I read “5 Reasons Why Data Visualization Fails.” Most of the information in the write up applies to a great many visualizations. I have seen some pretty crazy graphs in my 50 year career. A few stand out. The Autonomy heat maps. Wild and crazy radar maps. Multi axis charts which are often incomprehensible.

The problem is that point and click options present data. The “analyst” often picks a graph that keeps a general, a partner in a venture firm, or a group of rubes entranced.

The article touches upon other issues ranging from a failure to think about the audience to presenting complex visualizations.

I do have one major objection to the article. From my point of view, the “phrase data overload” or “large flows of information” express the concept of having a great deal of information. The article uses the phrase “data puking.” The phrase is unnecessary and off putting to me.

Stephen E Arnold, March 19, 2019

Big Data Answers the Question ‘Are You Happy?’

November 30, 2018

navigate to the capitalist tool and read “Mapping World Happiness 2015-2018 Through 850 Million News Articles.” Keep in mind that the write up does not explain what percentage of the “news articles” are fake news, the outputs of anti American interest groups, bots, public relations outfits like Definers, or marketing wizards chugging along in the search engine optimization game, and other interesting sources of the data. The write up is a bit of promotion for what is called the GDelt Project. The exercise reveals some of the strengths of open source intelligence. The idea is that collection and analysis can reveal trends and insights.The process involved some number crunching; for example:

Its sentiment mining system has computed more than 2.3 trillion emotional assessments across thousands of distinct emotions from “abashment” to “wrath.”

Google apparently contributed resources.

The question becomes, “Is this analysis an example of real news or is it more marketing?”

The Beyond Search goose has no strong “sentiment” either way. Just asking a simple question.

Stephen E Arnold, November 30, 2018

DarkCyber, May 29, 2018, Now Available

May 29, 2018

Stephen E Arnold’s DarkCyber video news program for Tuesday, May 29, 2018, is now available.

This week’s story line up is:

  • The “personality” of a good Web hacker
  • Why lists are replacing free Dark Web search services
  • Where to find a directory of OSINT software
  • A new Dark Web index from a commercial vendor.

You can find this week’s program at either www.arnoldit.com/wordpress or on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/272088088.

On June 5, 2018, Stephen will be giving two lectures at the Telestrategies ISS conference in Prague. The audiences will consist of intelligence, law enforcement, and security professionals from Europe. A handful of attendees from other countries will be among the attendees.

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Stephen will reveal one finding from our analysis of Amazon’s law enforcement, war fighting, and intelligence services initiative.

Because his books have been reused (in several cases without permission) by other analysts, the information about Amazon is available via online or in person presentations.

The DarkCyber team has prepared short video highlighting one research finding. He will include some of the DarkCyber research information in his Prague lectures.

The Amazon-centric video will be available on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. After viewing the video, if you want the details of his for fee lecture, write him at darkcyber333@yandex dot com. Please, put “Amazon” in the subject line.

Several on the DarkCyber team believe that most people will dismiss Stephen’s analysis of Amazon. The reason is that people buy T shirts, books, and videos from the company. However, the DarkCyber research team has identified facts which suggest a major new revenue play from the one time bookseller.

Just as Stephen’s analyses of Google in 2006 altered how some Wall Street professionals viewed Google, his work on Amazon is equally significant. Remember those rumors about Alexa recording what it “hears”? Now think of Amazon’s services/products as pieces in a mosaic.

The picture is fascinating and it has significant financial implications as well.

Enjoy today’s program at this link.

Kenny Toth, May 29, 2018

Plan a Hike or an Attack: Piece of Cake Now

May 26, 2018

Forget the utility of the procedure for outdoor hikers described in “Plot a Hike on Google Earth.” My first thought was, “What a Mother’s Little Helper” for those involved in military orienteering. I particularly liked the use of Strava, an application with data of some value to those eager to locate certain types of behavior patterns inadvertently created by joggers. I also liked the bouncing between a desktop / laptop computer and mobile devices. No problem for personnel operating from a semi fixed base station. Finally, the “fly around” functionality is helpful. My problem with these capabilities is that they are available to anyone. My personal view is that certain types of technology applications can be put to what I would describe as questionable uses. Why go through the hassle of joining the military or law enforcement, cope with the rigors of FLETC and other training program, and sharpen one’s skills in the field. Take a short cut and put the capabilities in whatever context one wants. Sorry. Too much information.

Stephen E Arnold, May 26, 2018

Need Better Charts and Graphs?

October 27, 2017

If you want to move beyond the vanilla charts and graphs in Excel and PowerPoint, you will want to read “The 15 Best Data Visualization Tools.” Don’t forget to make sure the data you present are accurate, timely, and germane to the point your snappy graphic will make. (Keep in mind that some folks are happy with snazzy visuals. Close enough for horseshoes.)

Stephen E Arnold, October 27, 2017

Examples of Visualizations

November 20, 2016

If you want a quick look at what visualizations to use for use cases, you may find “An Overview of Text Mining Visualizations Possibilities with R on the CETA Trade Agreement.” The article focuses on trade agreement data, but  the graphics provide a darned good refresher about visualization options. One caveat: Some of the links in the write up do not work. Nevertheless, we found the illustrations and commentary helpful.

Stephen E Arnold, November 20, 2016

OpenText: Content Marketing or Real News?

September 18, 2016

When I knew people at the original Malcolm Forbes Forbes, I learned that stories were meticulously researched and edited. I read “Advanced Analytics: Insights Produce New Wealth.” I was baffled, but, I thought, that’s the point.

The main point of the write up pivots on the assertion that an “insight” converts directly to “wealth.” I am not sure about the difference between old and new wealth. Wealth is wealth in my book.

The write up tells me:

Data is the foundation that allows transformative, digital change to happen.

The logic escapes me. The squirrels in Harrod’s Creek come and go. Change seems to be baked into squirreldom. The focus is “the capitalist tool,” and I accept that the notion of changing one’s business can be difficult. The examples are easy to spot: IBM is trying to change into a Watson powered sustainable revenue machine. HP is trying to change from a conglomeration of disparate parts into a smaller conglomeration of disparate parts. OpenText is trying to change from a roll up of old school search systems into a Big Data wealth creator. Tough jobs indeed.

I learned that visualization is important for business intelligence. News flash. Visualization has been important since a person has been able to scratch animals on a cave’s wall. But again I understand. Predictive analytics from outfits like Spotfire (now part of Tibco) provided a wake up call to some folks.

The write up informs me:

While devices attached to the Internet of Things will continue to throw out growing levels of structured data (which can be stored in files and databases), the amount of unstructured data being produced will also rise. So the next wave of analytics tools will inevitably be geared to dealing with both forms of information seamlessly, while also enabling you to embed the insights gleaned into the applications of your choosing. Now that’s innovation.

Let’s recap. Outfits need data to change. (Squirrels excepted.) Companies have to make sense of their data. The data come in structured and unstructured forms. The future will be software able to handle structured and unstructured data. Charts and graphs help. Once an insight is located, founded, presented by algorithms which may or may not be biased, the “insights” will be easy to put into a PowerPoint.

BAE Systems’ “Detica” was poking around in this insight in the 1990s. There were antecedents, but BAE is a good example for my purpose. Palantir Technologies provided an application demo in 2004 which kicked the embedded analytics notion down the road. A click would display a wonky circular pop up, and the user could perform feats of analytic magic with a mouse click.

Now Forbes’ editors have either discovered something that has been around for decades or been paid to create a “news” article that reports information almost as timely as how Lucy died eons ago.

Back to the premise: Where exactly is the connection between insight and wealth? How does one make the leap from a roll up of unusual search vendors like Information Dimension, BRS, Nstein, Recommind, and my favorite old time Fulcrum Technologies produce evidence of the insight to wealth argument. If I NOT out these search vendors and focus on the Tim Bray SGML search engine, I still don’t see the connection. Delete Dr. Bray’s invention. What do we have? We have a content management company which sells content management as governance, compliance, and other consulting friendly disciplines.

Consultants can indeed amass wealth. But the insight comes not from Big Data. The wealth comes from selling time to organizations unable to separate the giblets from the goose feathers. Do you know the difference? The answer you provide may allow another to create wealth from that situation.

One doesn’t need Big Data to market complex and often interesting software to folks who require a bus load of consultants to make it work. For Forbes, the distinction between giblets and goose feathers may be too difficult to discern.

My hunch is that others, not trained in high end Manhattan journalism, may be able to figure out which one can be consumed and which one can ornament an outfit at an after party following a Fashion Week showing.

Stephen E Arnold, September 18, 2016

Palantir Technologies Fancies Silk

August 15, 2016

Palantir Technologies has developed a fondness for Silk. Silk is an interactive data visualization company. You can read about the announcement in “CIA-Backed Palantir Just Bought This Entire Startup Team.” If the write up is correct, Silk is an “acquihire” play, not a product play. I learned:

Employees of the graph and chart-making platform will directly join Palantir, leaving the Silk platform behind running on its own. Meanwhile, the Silk team will “work on even bigger and more important data problems”

A British newspaper described Silk as a “Tumblr for data.” Silk’s technology allowed a person viewing an interactive Silk-generated visualization to point and click to explore the data. A Silk user can flip between a map or a traditional bar chart, also with a click.

Several observations:

  • Palantir wants to add to its secret sauce with some visual exploration spice. The wheel menu was hot years ago, but the shelf life of “wow” can be short
  • Palantir has designs on the commercial sector, which makes sense. Even though Palantir has government work, the banks and pharma companies may have a quicker buy cycle to go with their desire for instant analysis
  • Buying a company to get people is one way to deal with the shortage of certain types of technical and management talent.

Palantir competitors like IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook have been, in my opinion, less agile in moving their systems toward the burgeoning millennial decision makers.

Stephen E Arnold, August 15, 2016

Extensive Cultural Resources Available at Europeana Collections

May 17, 2016

Check out this valuable cultural archive, highlighted by Open Culture in the piece, “Discover Europeana Collections, a Portal of 48 Million Free Artworks, Books, Videos, Artifacts & Sounds from across Europe.” Writer Josh Jones is clearly excited about the Internet’s ability to place information and artifacts at our fingertips, and he cites the Europeana Collections as the most extensive archive he’s discovered yet. He tells us the works are:

“… sourced from well over 100 institutions such as The European Library, Europhoto, the National Library of Finland, University College Dublin, Museo Galileo, and many, many more, including contributions from the public at large. Where does one begin?

“In such an enormous warehouse of cultural history, one could begin anywhere and in an instant come across something of interest, such as the the stunning collection of Art Nouveau posters like that fine example at the top, ‘Cercle Artstique de Schaerbeek,’ by Henri Privat-Livemont (from the Plandiura Collection, courtesy of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalynya, Barcelona). One might enter any one of the available interactive lessons and courses on the history of World War I or visit some of the many exhibits on the period, with letters, diaries, photographs, films, official documents, and war propaganda. One might stop by the virtual exhibit, ‘Photography on a Silver Plate,’ a fascinating history of the medium from 1839-1860, or ‘Recording and Playing Machines,’ a history of exactly what it sounds like, or a gallery of the work of Swiss painter Jean Antoine Linck. All of the artifacts have source and licensing information clearly indicated.”

Jones mentions the archive might be considered “endless,” since content is being added faster than anyone could hope to keep up with.  While such a wealth of information and images could easily overwhelm a visitor, he advises us to look at it as an opportunity for discovery. We concur.

 

Cynthia Murrell, May 17, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

SAP: Statistics Need Sizzle

February 22, 2016

The underlying data? Important, yeah, but the action is Hollywood style graphics. Taking a page from the Palantir game plan, SAP is getting with the visual sizzle program. Navigate to “SAP Buys All the Pretty Data Firm Roambi.” The article states:

The data prettifier’s angle is it that displays data using deliciously slick and dynamically updating charts, graphs and sliders that are native apps for iOS and Android. Roambi’s front ends tap into back ends including Excel, SQL Server, Cognos, Box, Salesforce and – yes – SAP.

Special effects matter in videos, Web pages, and business analytics.

What if the analyst gets the underlying data out of joint? What if the person using the graphic output does not understand what analytic choices were made to give the visual some zing?

What? Who worries about details? It is the visual snap that crackles.

Stephen E Arnold, February 22, 2016

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