"They say knowledge is power, but how do we make knowledge powerful? The challenge of communicating information becomes especially difficult when trying to convey a message full of complex data, which is often difficult to interpret quickly and clearly to the naked eye. This motion graphic looks at some of the many visual techniques used by Column Five to communicate information effectively to a large audience."
"The Guide evolved from the need to have an application that could organize information and ideas in a hierarchical, tree–like structure. Tree–based structures are frequently employed to manage information through a 'divide–and–conquer' approach, wherein each level of the tree represents a further level of specialization of the parent–level topic – the best example of this being a book.
The Guide is an application that allows you create documents ('guides') which inherently have a tree (which you can modify as you please) and text associated with each node of the tree. The text itself is of the rich–text variety, and the editor allows you to modify the style and formatting of the text (fonts, bold, italics etc).
For the initiated, the Guide is a two–pane extrinsic outliner. This concept is similar to mindmapping in some ways."
[While this tool is designed for authoring help guides –it is also very useful for re–structuring large text documents. Once complete the newly re–structured document can be exported as an RDF document (which are MS–Word readable).
Note that there seems to be something wrong with the MSI version of the installer –the EXE version is OK however.]
"The new series, called All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace, takes complicated ideas and turns them into entertainment by the use of the vertigo–inducing intellectual leaps, choppy archive material and disorienting music with which all Curtis fans are familiar. The central idea leads Curtis on a journey, taking in the chilling über–individualist novelist Ayn Rand, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, the 'new economy', hippy communes, Silicon Valley, ecology, Richard Dawkins, the wars in Congo, the lonely suicide in a London squat of the mathematical genius who invented the selfish gene theory, and the computer model of the eating habits of the pronghorn antelope.
You can see why Zoe Williams once wrote that, while watching one of Curtis's programmes, 'I kept thinking the dog was sitting on the remote. ...'
Now he has moved on to machines, but it starts with nature. 'In the 1960s, an idea penetrated deep into the public imagination that nature is a self–regulating ecosystem, there is a natural order,' Curtis says. 'The trouble is, it's not true–as many ecologists have shown, nature is never stable, it's always changing. But the idea took root and spread wider–people started to believe there is an underlying order to the entire world, to how society is structured. Everything became part of a system, like a computer; no more hierarchies, freedom for all, no class, no nation states.' What the series shows is how this idea spread into the heart of the modern world, from internet utopianism and dreams of democracy without leaders to visions of a new kind of stable global capitalism run by computers. But we have paid a price for this: without realising it we, and our leaders, have given up the old progressive dreams of changing the world and instead become like managers–seeing ourselves as components in a system, and believing our duty is to help that system balance itself. Indeed, Curtis says, 'The underlying aim of the series is to make people aware that this has happened–and to try to recapture the optimistic potential of politics to change the world.'
The counterculture of the 1960s, the Californian hippies, took up the idea of the network society because they were disillusioned with politics and believed this alternative way of ordering the world was based on some natural order. So they formed communes that were non–hierarchical and self–regulating, disdaining politics and rejecting alliances. (Many of these hippy dropouts later took these ideas mainstream: they became the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who decided that computers could liberate everyone and save the world.)...
He draws a parallel with those 1970s communes. 'The experiments with them all failed, and quickly. What tore them apart was the very thing that was supposed to have been banished: power. Some people were more free than others – strong personalities dominated the weak, but the rules didn't allow any organised opposition to the suppression because that would be politics.' As in the commune, so in the world: 'These are the limitations of the self–organising system: it cannot deal with politics and power. And now we're all disillusioned with politics, and this machine–organising principle has risen up to be the ideology of our age.'"
(Katharine Viner, 6 May 2011, Guardian)
Episode 1: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: Love and Power', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 23 May 2011
Episode 2: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 30 May 2011
Episode 3: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: The Monkey In The Machine and the Machine in the Monkey', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 06 June 2011
"Here are some of the techniques used by professionals:
Universe – knowing the complete vocabulary, so you know what categories are available
Synonyms – that one of the meanins of ultrasound is the same as sonography.
Hierarchy – a Volvo is a kind of car, is a kind of transportation device.
So here are some ideas for how we could improve folksonomy software to make us better at this, without involving any editors.
Suggest tags for me. A Google Suggest–style interface will help familiarize people with the universe of existing tags, so you can use an existing tag rather than invent your own, when the existing tag applies equally well. It would also reduce typos and inconsistencies, like 'blog' vs. 'blogs', and it might serve as inspiration to get past the obvious tags. The pool of tags suggested from could be a weighted list of my own tags, my friends' tags, all tags, and tags other people have already used for this link.
Find synonyms automatically. In the browsing interface, Flickr is pretty good about showing related tags. Why not show these related tags when I am tagging a photo, thus making it easy for me to just add the ones that apply. They could even do a quick lookup on WordNet for more synonyms. Since the related tags in the browsing interface feeds off of tags used on the same images on the input side, this would also help make strong links stronger.
Help me know what tags other people use. When doing both the Google Suggest and the synonyms above, show the most used tags in a larger size than less used tags. There is value in people using the same tag for the same thing, and we want to encourage that, without in any way preventing people from choosing different tag if they want to.
Infer hiearchy from the tags. I have a habit of using multiword tags, so instead of saying 'socialsoftware' like you're supposed to on delicious, I say 'social software', which really makes it two separate tags. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. If this habit is generally applied, we could look at home many links that are tagged with 'social' are also tagged 'software', and maybe infer that 'social' is frequently used in conjunction with 'software', and thus might imply a special kind of software (or the other way around, that software is a special kind of social), thus offering the combined tag 'social software' to contain links that are tagged with both. A different example would be items tagged 'volvo car'. If most of the time something is tagged 'volvo', it is also tagged 'car', we might infer that volvo is a kind of car.
Make it easy to adjust tags on old content. If the above and other ideas work, people's tagging skills should improve over time. So why not augment the browsing interface so that it's very easy for me to add or remove tags from my iamges or links right there, e.g. from a list of suggested tags on the page, and I'm sure that sometimes, someone would use it. Another incentive to retag my content is if I'm searching for a link on Buenos Aires, but the link wasn't tagged with 'buenosaires', so I find it under 'argentina', say, it should be very easy to add the 'buenosaires' tag to that item."
(Lars Pind, 23 January 2005)
"When in 2003 I came across the KDE program KDirStat (http://kdirstat.sourceforge.net), I was fascinated and enthusiastic about it, as it is probably the same with many others. I had been thinking of writing a disk usage tool before, and saw: that's it!
SequoiaView (http://w3.win.tue.nl/nl/onderzoek/onderzoek_informatica/visualization/sequoiaview/) was around, but KDirStat's concept of coupling a tree list view with a treemap was unrivaled, and I didn't find anything equivalent for MS Windows. So I wrote WinDirStat, using Mark Bruls, Kees Huizing, Jarke J. vanWijk, and Huub van de Wetering's papers on squarified treemaps (http://www.win.tue.nl/~vanwijk/stm.pdf) and cushion treemaps (http://www.win.tue.nl/~vanwijk/ctm.pdf).
I didn't worry too much about the functionality but simply cloned KDirStat. The pacman is not my idea, the extension list is. I tried to size and position each GUI element optimally and to avoid modal dialogue boxes. The program should output much information while requiring few user input. When I thought it was complete, I gave it to my sister and watched her interaction with the software. That gave me another two weeks of work to do. This procedure, together with the testplan, secured WinDirStat's quality.
Meanwhile, a colleague of mine wrote Disc Inventory X (http://www.derlien.com/), a clone for Mac OS X.
That's the story so far. Oliver has taken responsibility for the project, many translations have been contributed. I've largely switched to Linux and observe WinDirStat's amazing download numbers. I hope we can provide some new version slowly but surely."
(Bernhard Seifert, 2010–07–28)