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  Monday, August 9, 2004

CMP's TechWeb, repurposed by Yahoo! News, is running a series of articles by Stephen Few on good and bad ways ot presenting data. Few references Tufte, of course, but aims directly at the presentation of business information.  See "The Information Cannot Speak for Itself," and "Common Mistakes in Data Presentation."

My favorite quote: "If you can communicate your message clearly, efficiently, and with the desired impact in a simple sentence, that's what you ought to do." In other words, don't graph it if you don't have to.

Every week I see a poor example of data presentation. It's a pie chart representing the proportion of new, in process, and completed incidents (bugs, features, enhancements) in a particular software release. What's weird is that it's a pie chart, representing the portions out of the 100% complete pie -- but the number of incidents making that 100% changes every week. So, to be really useful, the size of the pie should change weekly, but it doesn't. And it doesn't show change over time, either. I find it misleading, but some executive somewhere thinks it's wonderful, because he expects to see 100% complete at the end of the release. Here's the worst part: it's in 3D! That third dimension is meaningless. I've pointed out the discrepancies several times, to no avail.

8:24:31 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

The Interaction Design Group, IxDG, has announced their website,

My first reaction on visiting the site is: "Who chose those colors, and what were they smoking?"

This is the group that grew out of Bruce Tognazzini's "we don't get no respect" spiel last year, which generated a prolific mailing list. I subscribed for awhile, then realized most of the discussion was over my head and I didn't have time to absorb even 1% of it. But now they're working on local coordinators, including one for Silicon Valley, so I'll look to see if we can start coordinating between IxDG, UXNet, BayDUX, BayCHI, and Silicon Valley STC.

5:52:15 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Nixon's resignation was effective at noon today, 30 years ago. Some perspective from NPR. A few weeks later, I was in Washington, D.C., on the day that President Ford pardoned the old s.o.b. I made a point of having breakfast in the restaurant of the Howard Johnson's across from the Watergate, where Gordon Liddy was sitting when he learned his "plumbers" had been caught.

The second atomic bomb (a plutonium implosion model) detonated in war devastated Nagasaki today in 1945. Documents on the decision to drop the bombs at Atomic Bomb: Decision.  More background at the Atomic Archive.

1:21:33 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Fay Wray, the beauty who won King Kong's heart, died yesterday.

12:51:25 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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