Follow the legend – Graphic ideals for displaying data

I really enjoyed this post about how to convey information in graphs. Taking a simple Excel and changing it so that it conveys information more clearly. 

To accelerate that understanding, upgrade your line graphs to be efficient and truthful. Some broadly applicable principles should guide you to the right neighborhood.

http://www.eugenewei.com/blog/2017/11/13/remove-the-legend

Read the whole article for more. Perhaps Microsoft can upgrade this graphic capability for charts in the future in Excel.

Abandoned drum kit 

Helsinki , Finland -02 November 2016 

The snow has arrived in Helsinki for the first time this winter . I was biking home when I saw this drum kit just standing out in the open . I found it surreal . 

Brexit may not happen.

Gideon Rachman in The Financial Times on why Brexit may not happen.

And what kind of new concession should be offered? That is easy. What Mr Johnson would need to win a second referendum is an emergency brake on free movement of people, allowing the UK to limit the number of EU nationals moving to Britain if it has surged beyond a certain level.

In retrospect, it was a big mistake on the part of the EU not to give Mr Cameron exactly this concession in his renegotiation of the UK’s terms of membership early this year. It was the prime minister’s inability to promise that Britain could set an upper limit on immigration that probably ultimately lost him the vote.

Sounds logical to me.

Mongolia about to use the most advanced location system in the world for its postal system.

Who knew that Mongolia would be the first country in the world to adopt the most accurate location system in the world for its postal service?

Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its national post office starts referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.

The new system is devised by a British startup called What3Words, which has assigned a three-word phrase to every point on the globe. The system is designed to solve the an often-ignored problem of 75% of the earth’s population, an estimated 4 billion people, who have no address for mailing purposes, making it difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in an emergency. In What3Words’ system, the idea is that a series of words is easier to remember than the strings of number that make up GPS coordinates. Each unique phrase corresponds to a specific 9-square-meter spot on the map.

Silicon Valley

I love the TV show “Silicon Valley”, especially the way it takes the piss out of some of the most ridiculous practises it finds. This is a really enjoyable article in the New Yorker about the parallels between real-life Silicon Valley and the tv show.

“I’ve been told that, at some of the big companies, the P.R. departments have ordered their employees to stop saying ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ specifically because we have made fun of that phrase so mercilessly. So I guess, at the very least, we’re making the world a better place by making these people stop saying they’re making the world a better place.

Frank Kelly RIP

Frank Kelly has been a cultural presence almost all of my life. He was a character on Hall’s Pictorial Weekly in the 1970’s slurping tea from a saucer with Eamon Morrissey. If I was too young to understand the political commentary behind the sketches, it was memorable to an impressionable young boy with only one television channel to watch.
Later on, there was Father Ted of course.
But one of my favourite performances of Frank Kelly is in the short film where he has a small cameo part Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom

How to read a book a week

Useful tips on reading non-fiction books from the Harvard Business Review

  1. Start with the author. Who wrote the book? Read his or her bio. If you can find a brief interview or article online about the author, read that quickly. It will give you a sense of the person’s bias and perspective.

  2. Read the title, the subtitle, the front flap, and the table of contents. What’s the big-picture argument of the book? How is that argument laid out? By now, you could probably describe the main idea of the book to someone who hasn’t read it.

  3. Read the introduction and the conclusion. The author makes their case in the opening and closing argument of the book. Read these two sections word for word but quickly. You already have a general sense of where the author is going, and these sections will tell you how they plan to get there (introduction) and what they hope you got out of it (conclusion).

  4. Read/skim each chapter. Read the title and anywhere from the first few paragraphs to the first few pages of the chapter to figure out how the author is using this chapter and where it fits into the argument of the book. Then skim through the headings and subheadings (if there are any) to get a feel for the flow. Read the first sentence of each paragraph and the last. If you get the meaning, move on. Otherwise, you may want to read the whole paragraph. Once you’ve gotten an understanding of the chapter, you may be able to skim over whole pages, as the argument may be clear to you and also may repeat itself.

  5. End with the table of contents again. Once you’ve finished the book, return to the table of contents and summarize it in your head. Take a few moments to relive the flow of the book, the arguments you considered, the stories you remember, the journey you went on with the author.

Designing for Average doesn’t fit anyone

From  thestar.com a story of how the US Air Force discovered a design flaw

It is an excerpt from a new book The End of Average by Todd Rose.

Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all 10 dimensions. One pilot might have a longer-than-average arm length, but a shorter-than-average leg length. Another pilot might have a big chest but small hips. Even more astonishing, Daniels discovered that if you picked out just three of the ten dimensions of size — say, neck circumference, thigh circumference and wrist circumference — less than 3.5 per cent of pilots would be average sized on all three dimensions. Daniels’s findings were clear and incontrovertible. There was no such thing as an average pilot. If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one.

This is similar to material that I have read in some copy-writing books recently. Target a specific person and not to a general audience for a product.

Here is the book mentioned.