Visual thinking

I like to read and I like to write. But I have admit something. I’ve always tried to solve problems and explain complex issues by using images and visual aids. I love comics and I love photography. I try to follow Seth Godin’s rule of “no more than six words pr. slide” when making presentations. I try to tell myself: “don’t tell it, show it”.

I’m also deeply fascinated by physics and mathematics. The first thing I did when I learned to code was to make software that visualized the mathematical problems we tried to solve at school.

So I’m not surprised of the fact that I love data visualization and ways to show complex patterns and huge amounts of data visually.

And here are two of my best resources:

Information Aesthetics.

“Inspired by Lev Manovich’s definition of “information aesthetics”, this weblog explores the symbiotic relationship between creative design and the field of information visualization. More specifically, it collects projects that represent data or information in original or intriguing ways.”

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An example from Information Aesthetics
An article about Open Street Map and a visualization of how people have edited the growing database of maps in their open and free to use database.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2598878&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=01AAEA&fullscreen=1
OSM 2008: A Year of Edits from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

A wonderful visualization of the collective force behind a site like openstreetmap.

Flowingdata.com

FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization.

what-i-want1

An example? How about “5 Best Data Visualization Projects of the Year“?

And of course. I can’t write anything about data visualization without mentioning Hans Rosling and his amazing presentations.

So what’s your favorite data visualization sites?

Visual thinking

Five seconds in 5 seconds

An excellent parody of my “One year in 40 seconds“.

Direct link to the video on YouTube.

And if you dare, you might want to have a look at this version as well.

I’m also working on a couple of articles about my experience around having a video roam around the internet. With millions of views and thousands of comments. I’ll give you statistics, and helpful advice on what to do and what not to do.

And by the way: I’ll never overwhelm you with articles here, so I can safely recommend subscribing to my RSS-feed or email update.

Update:
I’ve also had several questions about adding music to my video. Here’s one example.

Five seconds in 5 seconds

Dear Canon, please opensource your firmware

Canon 5D Mark II Firmware Update from 1.0.6 to 1.0.7

I just updated the firmware on my new 5D Mark II. The firmware is the operating system in my camera. The software that decides how the menus on the screen should look, what the buttons do, and basically everything about how my camera handles the data from the CMOS that sits in there, collecting light when I snap images.

I didn’t get any extra functionality, but two issues that I never had problems with are now fixed.

Yes, it works fine. But we want more functionality. We want 25p and manual controls for video recording. And in this world of software it is possible for people to make that functionality. For you. For free. Either by hacking the whole camera. Or if you provided an API. Or even better, if you simply published the development tools and software.

Your revenue is based on selling excellent cameras and excellent lenses. And I guess Nikon and your other competitors have hacked and examined your firmware in detail already.

Open your firmware and you’ll see 25p on the 5D MkII before you can say “development kit”. And you’ll see all kinds of stuff that you and your competitors never thought of.

Update:
And you know what? People will improve the 5D Mark II firmware anyway. If you help them they will make better solutions.

You’ll be a pioneer. Bringing digital photography to the next level. Do it before your competitors!

I updated this article with a link to canonhack.com. After a hint from @urke.

And because I’ve made the links in this article pretty non-explaining I’ll repeat the link to CHDK as well! A very interesting project that already has enhanced the Canon firmware on a couple of cameras.

Dear Canon, please opensource your firmware

Making miniatures of your images

Tilt-shift miniature faking has been around for a while. But I hadn’t seen Tiltshiftmaker before. And decided to give it a go. It’s a web site where you can upload an image or give it the URL of an image. Then it adds a simple blur effect and adjust the color to make the illusion of a miniature model. Works pretty good.

The miniature:
Quick test of tiltshiftmaker

The original:
IMG_6714

Pretty cool.

And by the way. The image is from Ljubljana in Slovenia. Fantastic city.

And if you want to do it with photoshop you can try one of the many tutorials out there.

Making miniatures of your images

Happy new year!

Snowman

Welcome to a whole lot of new readers and followers on Twitter. Due to the overwhelming success of my video showing 2008 in a couple of seconds.

So far the video has been viewed 1,087,240 times on YouTube. 10,312 ratings and 9,579 comments. On Vimeo it has 314,193 views. It has been aired at ABC in San Francisco and been featured on countless web sites and blogs. I’ll get back to the details about that video later. I’m learning a lot by following how it spreads through the net, what people comment about, how people use it an so on. Tuesday 30th was most busy. Giving 28,350 page views and 20,708 unique visitors to this blog. I cranked my Dreamhost PS up to 4 GB RAM for this period of time and it handled the traffic fine.

Wrapping up 2008 on eirikso.com. 252,828 Absolute Unique Visitors spending 1 minute and 40 seconds in average on my site. Since I started using Statcounter back in 2005 a whopping 2,090,757 people have visited eirikso. And according to Google Analytics this is my most popular articles in 2008 (you find the 2008 page views in parentheses):

1. The Media Center Software List (169,361)
2. Direct hit to eirikso.com (35,709)
3. Free high quality streaming of movies and tv shows (30,584)
4. One year worth of images give some amazing videos (21,457)
5. Test clips from panasonic hdc sd5 (13,079)
6. How to program the buttons on your mce remote (12,593)
7. HTPC frontend roundup (12,481)
8. Pandora plugin for windows media center (9,349)
9. How to completely reset your series 60 nokia mobile (7,880)
10. They stole an image of my son and just had to pay $4000 (6,467)
11. HDR-photography (6,239)
12. An impressive yet simple photographic effect (5,649)
13. Perfect adjustment of your LCD (5,600)
14. TVedia an amazing networked media frontend (4,922)
15. Home theatre PC links roundup (4,893)
16. Web browser for media center edition (4,824)
17. Record your pandora streaming radio (4,674)
18. Canon EOS 400D – experience after one week (4,418)
19. Highpad media control pda remote for windows media center (3,867)
20. Silencing an XFN GeForce 6600gt with a Zalman VF700cu (3,696)
21. How to make illustrations even if you can’t draw (3,635)
22. Test clips from Canon HF10 (3,563)
23. Recommended HTPC hardware (3,299)
24. HDR from one single image (3,275)
25. Time stopped at 10:09 (3,255)

What does this tell me? That pretty boring articles about Home Theatre PCs (HTPC) will give you traffic from Google for years…

Anyway, this is a nice place to give me directions for 2009. What do you want more of? Less of?

Happy new year!