Category Archives: Data

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 9.38.33 PM

Blog Post Stats

I wondered about my blogging patterns given my recent increase in posts. I didn’t bother pulling out Jim Coe’s posts from back when this was a joint blog but the data is good enough for my purpose. Anyway, I started messing with it and am working towards a visual way to represent it in a way that makes sense to me.

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 9.38.33 PM
I’m totally unhappy with this graph. Totally. I messed with some color pallets etc. but it just didn’t do what I wanted at all.

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 9.38.58 PM
I then went to the opposite end of the spectrum and wanted to see what sparklines might show me. Sparklines are a favorite of Edward Tufte who is on the super minimalist side of the data visualization spectrum.1 At first I didn’t think there was enough data to make the sparklines work. I then tried compressing the horizontal axis and it improved things but it’s still not what I want.
Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 10.14.30 PM

wp_posts
Here’s another stacked year graph that I might work on some more. I ended up wandering into Adobe Illustrator and found out there are some interesting tricks for making graphs in there. I will explore it more in the near future. I’m learning a lot of things.

Here’s a messy (deliberately) stack of the graphs above with the opacity set to 20% or so. It gives a modified version of a stacked bar chart that I kind of like. It’s not a complete picture but, coupled with the source graphs, it starting to look like what I want.
Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 10.37.06 AM


1 There’s probably a happier middle ground but he has a number of good points. If you’re in HCPS and interested in checking out some of his books let me know and I’ll bring them in.

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 4.27.34 PM

More Storage Visualization

I have meant to play around more with the Google Chart API for a while and I wasn’t happy with what I made earlier to visualize the network storage differences among the schools and users. I thought a treemap would be a more powerful way to show just how much space a few teachers used vs the masses. Knowing your options and picking the right one to help illustrate your point is an important element of data visualization. After all, we aren’t ignorant savages who believe -Isn’t this about visualizations, basically a form designed for those who won’t (or can’t) read? Kinda like remedial explanation for the 99%.

You can see the Google example for this kind of graphic here. This is my first time messing with it so I started by copying their example into my text editor. Their example was pretty close to what I wanted in terms of the structure of the information. They had Location, Parent, Volume, Color as the main variables. I wanted something pretty similar.

Instead of ‘Global,’ ‘HCPS’ was my top category with the schools taking the place of the countries. Pretty simple but I sure didn’t want to write all that data by hand. I already had the basic data in Excel, I just had to come up with the right formula. In this case -

=”['"&C2&"',"&"'"&A2&"'"&","&D2&","&E2&"],”

It’s worth remembering how handy Excel is at doing stuff like this. Anything within double quotes is written as is and the rest is just plugging in the cell variables. From there I just needed to cut and paste the column in. Easy and quick.

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 4.27.34 PM

The only other small I change I made was to the color scale. It was red/green which tends to indicate pretty specific types of judgement. I wasn’t interested in that so I made a small switch there. Changing the minColor/maxColor variables indicated below. They are hexadecimal color values if you’re unfamiliar with them.

minColor: ‘#0033CC‘,
midColor: ‘#ddd’,
maxColor: ‘#fff‘,
headerHeight: 15,
fontColor: ‘black’,
showScale: true});

I’m still not sure about a couple of things. For instance, I can’t figure out why Glen Allen is darker than Tucker and Godwin on the main view. That seems to be similar to what’s going on the example but I’m not sure why. It’d also be nice if clicking on the parent piece after you drill down would take you back up a level. I think that’s doable.

You can see the full size example here if it amuses you. It’s crammed in below using an iframe which will let you put just about anything into an html page. The code used to embed it below is provided as an example.
[code]]czo5ODpcIjxpZnJhbWUgc3JjPVwiaHR0cDovL2Jpb25pY3RlYWNoaW5nLmNvbS92aXN1YWxzL2dvb2dsZV9hcGkuaHRtbFwiIHdpZHRoPXtbJiomXX1cIjY1MFwiIGhlaWdodD1cIjUwMFwiPjwvaWZyYW1lPlwiO3tbJiomXX0=[[/code]

Networked Storage Data

We have 668 high school teachers using at least .1 MB on a shared network volumes we’ve collectively dubbed “Virtual Share.”

Those 668 high school teachers use 2019.7 GB or 2.02 terabytes of storage. What’s particularly interesting to me is the disproportionate usage between teachers.

The top user, a single person, uses 180 GB or roughly 17% of the total.1

The top 10 users use 733.2 GB of storage.

The top 20 users use 993.6 GB of storage or almost 50% of the storage is used by roughly 3% of the users.2

These are just embeds of the data from Google Spreadsheets. Nothing fancy, not much control but I think it does paint a decent picture of the extreme differences in resource usage. I do continue to have trouble with the interactive chart embeds outside of the spreadsheet. I do like the unintentional psychedelic effect on the pie chart.


1 No judgements on quality of use, just amazement that they are so far out there.

2 Makes me reconsider the whole 1% thing as even more screwed up.

Why I Talk This Way

I spent quite a lot of time with my wife and oldest son looking at the dialectic survey map1 and trying to figure out which one of us said a particular phrase or pronounced a word a certain way. About half the time I answered “all of the above” while my wife was tried and true Massachusetts for just about every one.2

I figure my wandering ways are to blame so I figured I’d take a shot at visualizing that. I did recall that Google Spreadsheets would let you visualize spreadsheet data on map with no trouble at all. It’s an option under “insert chart.” All I needed was a location in the first column and the numerical value for the circle in the second column (years in this case). Said and done.3 Too easy. Mine is immediately below and is followed by my wife’s map. Turns out it has a rough time with two different data sources from one document- even if they’re on different sheets. I could have made an additional spreadsheet but I don’t like this enough. Easy-ish but not much control. I’m going to look for some other options.

Image Version

Turns out I’m starting to hate these as there are more issues than they’re worth. I don’t know how to allow access to the interactive version as I’ve published everything I can.


1 It was a good time and I’ll not apologize for it.

2 For the record, Massachusetts says just about everything wrong. It’s really sad.

3 Well, not quite. Turns out you can only have two columns of data or the whole thing errors out even if you only had two columns chosen for the chart (which works within the spreadsheet but not on the embed).

English in the Wild and Mapping Thoughts

Word Games/English in the Wild

I made a blog focused on the idea of English in the wild. The goal is to look at language and how it works outside of school, to capture the things people find interesting, odd, or broken about English as they interact with it. Essentially, I keep finding things that are interesting (at least to me)- strange phrases, interesting sentences, games comedians play with words1, even a little Scottish poetry recently.2 I thought it might be useful to aggregate content like this. Naturally, it’s just me at this point but I’ll invite/beg some people to join me at some point and hopefully it’ll map out to students as well. This content can then become fodder for all kinds of reuse.

I see aspects of it falling short of the weight of Defective Yeti’s book review posts but containing elements of them. His structure would make a grate template for larger scale project and I like his “Words I Looked Up” at the bottom of the post and his neologisms (and I had to look neologism up). So between neologisms and paraprosdokian you have some unfortunate names but interesting items.

This idea may be something that was submitted Henrico 21 at one point. Gaynell remembers it but hasn’t provided me with proof yet. I went through a huge chunk of our H21 lessons tagged English and found many interesting things but couldn’t find this.

Quantified Self

I need to be more intentional about tracking things about myself and trying to be intentional. I’m going to do something about this as part of the data visualization thing we’re doing (a major part of this thing for me is constructing a sustainable workflow for the process).

This could play a really interesting role in the idea of student efficacy and metacognition in a way we don’t even come close to currently (workflow would be key, as would at least some degree of interest but digital environments might make harvesting data interesting- especially interconnected activities like twitter/social bookmarking etc.). You should watch this video if that kind of thing appeals to you at all.

The video is from quantifiedself.com and Amy Robinson is a very interesting person in general.


1 I don’t have satellite radio but VA Beach has an AM comedy station (Funny 850) I can pick up most of the time and it inspired the Sklar brothers post the other day and has me watching Netflix standup as well.

2 Na Day Sae Dark – make sure you play the audio