Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spotted: how differences in cognition and personality affect visualization - Understanding Visualization by Understanding Individual Users,

Understanding Visualization by Understanding Individual Users

Visualization is often seen as a tool to support complex thinking. Although different people can have very different ways of approaching the kind of complex task that visualizations support, as researchers and designers we still rarely consider individual differences in creating and evaluating visualizations. This article reviews recent research on individual differences in visualization and human-computer interaction, showing that both cognitive abilities and personality profiles might significantly affect performance with these tools. The study of individual differences has led to the conclusion that advances in this important area in visualization will require more focused research. Specifically, we must isolate the cognitive factors that are relevant to visualization and the design factors that make one visualization more suited to a user than another. In doing so, we could increase our understanding of the visualization user and reshape how we approach design and evaluation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spotted: Well said! Experiential Media and Digital Culture

PrePrint: Experiential Media and Digital Culture

The role of digital media in our daily experiences is increasing, leading to the emergence of new forms of hybrid physical-digital knowledge via devices such as the smartphone. However, the lack of integration structures merging this knowledge into a coherent digital culture is hindering the development of unifying solutions to complex, societal problems. We believe that a broad integration of knowledge across engineering, arts, design, humanities and the social sciences is required. Additionally, a core value system and design approach that focuses on combining efficiency, reflection and quality of experience goals are necessary in fostering a true hybrid physical-digital culture.


Spotted: bsp-like depth sorting without splitting - Depth-presorted triangle lists

Worth a closer look. 

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Depth-presorted triangle lists

Ge Chen, Pedro V. Sander, Diego Nehab, Lei Yang, Liang Hu

We present a novel approach for real-time rendering of static 3D models front-to-back or back-to-front relative to any viewpoint outside its bounding volume. The approach renders depth-sorted triangles using a single draw-call. At run-time, we replace the traditional sorting strategy of existing algorithms with a faster triangle selection strategy. The selection process operates on an extended sequence of triangles annotated by test planes, created by our off-line preprocessing stage. Based on these test planes, a simple run-time procedure uses the given viewpoint to select a subsequence of triangles for rasterization. Selected subsequences are statically presorted by depth and contain each input triangle exactly once.

Spotted: indystate - why is android the majority in devices and the minority online? The Android engagement paradox

Because the online experience is worse. But why?

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The Android engagement paradox

IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark reported US Black Friday sales and the news is reasonably good. Overall online sales grew by 17.4% while mobile grew to make up 24% of traffic.
The data goes further to show the split between device types. I illustrate this split with the following graphs:

Of the 24% of traffic made up by mobile devices, phones contributed 13% and tablets 11% (or 54% and 46% of mobile respectively). Of the phone traffic, iOS devices were about two thirds of traffic and Android one third. Of tablet traffic, iPad was 88%, Kindle and Nook were 5.5% Galaxy Tab was 1.8% and other tablets were 4.4%.
Overall, iOS was 77% generated mobile traffic and Android (excl. Kindle, Nook) was 23%.

Spotted: Soft shadows with gpu ray tracing - Axis-aligned filtering for interactive sampled soft shadows

Axis-aligned filtering for interactive sampled soft shadows

Soham Uday Mehta, Brandon Wang, Ravi Ramamoorthi

We develop a simple and efficient method for soft shadows from planar area light sources, based on explicit occlusion calculation by raytracing, followed by adaptive image-space filtering. Since the method is based on Monte Carlo sampling, it is accurate. Since the filtering is in image-space, it adds minimal overhead and can be performed at real-time frame rates. We obtain interactive speeds, using the Optix GPU raytracing framework. Our technical approach derives from recent work on frequency analysis and sheared pixel-light filtering for offline soft shadows. While sample counts can be reduced dramatically, the sheared filtering step is slow, adding minutes of overhead.

CG still doesn't have a good image quality measure - New measurements reveal weaknesses of image quality metrics in evaluating graphics artifacts

And near as I can tell, they aren't great for compression either. 

New measurements reveal weaknesses of image quality metrics in evaluating graphics artifacts

Martin Čadík, Robert Herzog, Rafał Mantiuk, Karol Myszkowski, Hans-Peter Seidel

Reliable detection of global illumination and rendering artifacts in the form of localized distortion maps is important for many graphics applications. Although many quality metrics have been developed for this task, they are often tuned for compression/transmission artifacts and have not been evaluated in the context of synthetic CG-images. In this work, we run two experiments where observers use a brush-painting interface to directly mark image regions with noticeable/objectionable distortions in the presence/absence of a high-quality reference image, respectively. The collected data shows a relatively high correlation between the with-reference and no-reference observer markings. Also, our demanding per-pixel image-quality datasets reveal weaknesses of both simple (PSNR, MSE, sCIE-Lab) and advanced (SSIM, MS-SSIM, HDR-VDP-2) quality metrics.

Find: Beautiful and meaningful - Watch the beauty of public transit unfold in New York, Boston, and other cities around the world

Watch the beauty of public transit unfold in New York, Boston, and other cities around the world

nyc traffic video

YouTube user STLTransit has a wonderful collection of videos that visualize the movements of the public transit systems of various locations — turning public transit data into a flowing display of a city's daily life. Each video shows the ebb and flow of traffic during a single day, with various transit systems like bus and rail shown in different colors. The result is a brief but exciting glimpse at our world — a satellite's view of a city's living protoplasm on the streets below.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Competition: apps for NC State EI's Silicon Valley trip due tomorrow

NC State EI (@ncsuei)

11/26/12, 10:01 AM

Don't forget! Applications to participate in the EI's Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley are due tomorrow at noon! tinyurl.com/d2cypox

Spotted: Lights and displays look brightest between 10 and 20 hz - good for lights, bad for displays

Need to look closer to find how much brighter. 

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Scientists discover ways to optimize light sources for vision: Tuning lighting devices could save billions
Vision researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery into the optimization of light sources to human vision. By tuning lighting devices to work more efficiently with the human brain, the researchers believe billions of dollars in energy costs could be saved.

Find: Kleiner Perkins adds Design Fellows program to promote design in technology

Kleiner Perkins adds Design Fellows program to promote design in technology

Coming off the success of the investment firm’s engineering fellows program, Kleiner Perkins is launching a Design Fellows Program on Tuesday that will give promising design students a three-month internship with top companies in Kleiner Perkins’ portfolio to hone their design skills. Kleiner Perkins’ decision to place design students in top tech firms puts a particular emphasis on the importance of connecting design and technology.

“The importance of design as a critical part of product development and a vital strategy for companies to win in the marketplace is increasing, and KPCB sees design as a key factor in evaluating today’s consumer digital investment opportunities,” the firm noted in a press release.

Kleiner Perkins Design Fellows will work with on “design challenges” with one of the company’s funded companies, including Coursera, Flipboard, Klout, Nest, One Kings Lane, Opower, Path, Shopkick, Square and Zaarly.

The company will also pair the Design Fellows with members of the Design Council, to provide mentoring and leadership opportunities. Design Council members include: Zach Klein, DIY; Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad; Elle Luna, Mailbox; Gentry Underwood, Mailbox; Marcos Weskamp, Flipboard; Wesley Yun, Samsung; and Matt Beebe, Tylr Mobile.

We’ve talked a lot this month about the importance of the marrying of good design and tech, particularly at our recent RoadMap conference, in the future of business and innovation in Silicon Valley:

But now that computers and connectivity are ubiquitous, design is a vital part of how the best hardware, software, services, and systems are created: good design is the difference between products that make our lives better and those that make our lives more difficult.

Kleiner Perkins has already offered a similar program with its Engineers Fellows program, now in its second year of accepting applications, providing promising engineering students with summer internships at Kleiner Perkins companies and funding to relocate for the summer.

The Design Fellows program will begin accepting applications on Tuesday and will run through January 31, 2013.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Find: Haha! Good idea - WTFlevel measures humanity's discontent in real-time by tracking profane tweets

WTFlevel measures humanity's discontent in real-time by tracking profane tweets

fire alarm bell stock 1024

Twitter is a gushing spigot of fleeting human experiences, ranging from angst over pumpkin spice latte outages, to life in modern warfare, to the wondrous aphorisms of an equine sage — and there's plenty of profanity amid all the sound and fury. Thankfully, web developer Colin Mitchell has created "WTFlevel:" a simple website that tracks and graphs the amount of swearing on Twitter in real-time. Mitchell says it's "mostly a humorous attempt to get an idea of how aggravated the planet is at any moment," and the system uses a color-coded threat level system ranging from "mostly polite" to "oh &@#?@&!" to convey the level of profanity being spoken on Twitter at any given time. The list of swear words is secret, but all of the usual seven...

Spotted: Machines model our emotional response to art - Computers identify what makes abstract art move us

Computers identify what makes abstract art move us

Analysing images to find what aspects evoke which feelings could allow computers to create art that packs an emotional punch

Spotted: on why shadows and indirect reflection matter

Find: Good idea - iRotate grasp: automatic screen rotation based on grasp of mobile devices

Though maybe not the best implementation. 

iRotate grasp: automatic screen rotation based on grasp of mobile devices

Lung-Pan Cheng, Fang-I Hsiao, Yen-Ting Liu, Mike Y. Chen

Automatic screen rotation improves viewing experience and usability of mobile devices, but current gravity-based approaches do not support postures such as lying on one side, and manual rotation switches require explicit user input. iRotate Grasp automatically rotates screens of mobile devices to match users' viewing orientations based on how users are grasping the devices. Our insight is that users' grasps are consistent for each orientation, but significantly differ between different orientations. Our prototype embeds a total of 32 light sensors along the four sides and the back of an iPod Touch, and uses support vector machine (SVM) to recognize grasps at 25Hz.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Find: measuring visual online experience - How online video stream quality affects viewer behavior

a/b testing codecs and routers. Result: it matters a lot. 

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How online video stream quality affects viewer behavior

It may seem like common sense that the quality of online video streaming affects how willing viewers are to watch videos at a website. But until computer science researchers developed a way to rigorously study the question, no one had been able to scientifically test the assumption.

Spotted: Learning about MTurk and similar - Human computation, a survey and taxonomy of a growing field

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Find: How Obama used web & cloud tech - Deep inside Obama's campaign tech

Built to win: Deep inside Obama's campaign tech



The tech unit's sign, autographed by its members.

The reelection of Barack Obama was won by people, not by software. But in a contest as close as last week's election, software may have given the Obama for America organization's people a tiny edge—making them by some measures more efficient, better connected, and more engaged than the competition.

That edge was provided by the work of a group of people unique in the history of presidential politics: Team Tech, a dedicated internal team of technology professionals who operated like an Internet startup, leveraging a combination of open source software, Web services, and cloud computing power. The result was the sort of numbers any startup would consider a success. As Scott VanDenPlas, the head of the Obama technology team's DevOps group, put it in a tweet:

4Gb/s, 10k requests per second, 2,000 nodes, 3 datacenters, 180TB and 8.5 billion requests. Design, deploy, dismantle in 583 days to elect the President. #madops

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Job: Postdoctoral positions in personalized accessibility and healthcare at Harvard

Begin forwarded message:

From: Krzysztof Gajos <kgajos@EECS.HARVARD.EDU>
Subject: Postdoctoral positions in topics related to personalized accessibility and healthcare at Harvard
Date: 17 November 2012 11:30:25 AM EST

Harvard Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) has a number of postdoctoral fellowships available.  CRCS supports a number of topic areas of broad relevance to society.  For this community, I'd like to point out that we are specifically looking for people with HCI-ish backgrounds interested in personalized accessibility or healthcare.  More info at http://crcs.seas.harvard.edu/postdoctoral-fellowship/ and the full ad is also below. Please forward as appropriate.  Apply by Dec 16 (ideally).  Apply even if you are looking for faculty positions: a number of CRCS fellows already have faculty positions when they join, but they choose to defer for a year to build up their research agendas and connections at CRCS.
Yours,
Krzysztof

Monday, November 12, 2012

Spotted: how people choose summarizing phrases - Descriptive keyphrases for text visualization

“Without the clutter of unimportant words”: Descriptive keyphrases for text visualization

Jason Chuang, Christopher D. Manning, Jeffrey Heer

Keyphrases aid the exploration of text collections by communicating salient aspects of documents and are often used to create effective visualizations of text. While prior work in HCI and visualization has proposed a variety of ways of presenting keyphrases, less attention has been paid to selecting the best descriptive terms. In this article, we investigate the statistical and linguistic properties of keyphrases chosen by human judges and determine which features are most predictive of high-quality descriptive phrases. Based on 5,611 responses from 69 graduate students describing a corpus of dissertation abstracts, we analyze characteristics of human-generated keyphrases, including phrase length, commonness, position, and part of speech.

Spotted: a good read for architecture aware improvements? Scalable ambient obscurance

Luebke and McGuire always do good work. 

Scalable ambient obscurance

Morgan McGuire, Michael Mara, David Luebke

This paper presents a set of architecture-aware performance and integration improvements for a recent screenspace ambient obscurance algorithm. These improvements collectively produce a 7 x performance increase at 2560 x1600, generalize the algorithm to both forward and deferred renderers, and eliminate the radius- and scene-dependence of the previous algorithm to provide a hard real-time guarantee of fixed execution time.

Spotted: Again, thought provoking - Power efficiency for software algorithms running on graphics processors

Akenine Moeller chooses problems well. 

Power efficiency for software algorithms running on graphics processors

Björn Johnsson, Per Ganestam, Michael Doggett, Tomas Akenine-Möller

Power efficiency has become the most important consideration for many modern computing devices. In this paper, we examine power efficiency of a range of graphics algorithms on different GPUs. To measure power consumption, we have built a power measuring device that samples currents at a high frequency. Comparing power efficiency of different graphics algorithms is done by measuring power and performance of three different primary rendering algorithms and three different shadow algorithms. We measure these algorithms' power signatures on a mobile phone, on an integrated CPU and graphics processor, and on high-end discrete GPUs, and then compare power efficiency across both algorithms and GPUs.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Find: OpenNews - the future of reporting is at the growing intersection of news, storytelling and web tech

OpenNews: looking back, moving forward.

This is the second of three posts about the state of development in journalism, where we’re at with the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, and where we’re going. It caps off on Thursday with the announcement of the 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellows, an announcement that then launches us into the Mozilla Festival in London, starting Friday

With the Mozilla Festival approaching in just two days, and the announcemnet of our 2013 Fellows happening tomorrow, it’s a nice moment to reflect on how far the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project has come in 2012 and where we’re going in 2013.

Writing this in the looming shadow of a trans-Atlantic flight to London for the Mozilla Festival, it’s actually pretty overwhelming just how far our project has transformed since I “thought out loud” about opportunites in the intersection of journalism and tech prior to last year’s Mozilla Festival. So it’s time for a little more thinking out loud, both about where we’ve been this year, and where we’re going next.

OpenNews 2012: there and back again

Back in February, we announced a new name and an “evolved” focus for the newly-christened Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project. The idea was to keep our Fellowship program intact, but to build out a much larger program dedicated to growing the community around coding and journalism. Here’s how we did:

Hack Days: We went into 2012 with a new initiative to sponsor, promote, and support hack days around the world that adopted journalistic themes. I firmly believe that if you want to grow the community around tech and journalism, you need to engage people in a way that demonstrates this is a place hackers, developers, and engineers want to play. Hack days are incredibly effective in doing that, and here as we approach the end of year, we will have helped sponsor more than 20 hack days around the world, with over 2000 participants.

Source: Throughout 2012, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with the talented Erin Kissane and Ryan Pitts to create Source, a website designed to be a centerpoint for the journo-code community. Launched last month after being in a public beta since the Summer, we’ve been able to collect looks at how news devs reacted to Hurricane Sandy, dis...

Friday, November 09, 2012

Find: milestone - Qualcomm surpasses Intel as most valuable chip firm

There's the -- that was the mobile train going by. Q is smart: their wireless chips are in both apple and android devices. They have a local r&d office, too. 

Qualcomm surpasses Intel as most valuable chip firm

Qualcomm technology powers e-reader screen.Booming smartphone and mobile device demand drives value of Qualcomm past that of Intel as PC market lags.

Find: milestone - Qualcomm surpasses Intel as most valuable chip firm

There's the -- that was the mobile train going by. Q is smart: their wireless chips are in both apple and android devices. They have a local r&d office, too. 

Qualcomm surpasses Intel as most valuable chip firm

Qualcomm technology powers e-reader screen.Booming smartphone and mobile device demand drives value of Qualcomm past that of Intel as PC market lags.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Find: HUB Raleigh Contributes To The Evolution of Co-working in Downtown

When you turn your idea into a startup....

HUB Raleigh Contributes To The Evolution of Co-working in Downtown

Office space at HUB Raleigh


Last week, HUB Raleigh had its official grand opening. This co-working space on Hillsborough Street adds to the growing startup scene and Innovate Raleigh initiative that continues to spread around downtown Raleigh. The space is set up for established startups in the area to work from so that they can tap the greater HUB network for future growth. I went to the packed grand opening party and returned the next day for a visit.


We’ve talked about co-working before and while I myself do not work for a startup, the community aspect around a co-working space is a natural fit for downtown. Both sides can benefit from the social aspect at HUB and the close proximity to the services in the downtown districts.


I like to compare co-working to the idea of our “third place.” There’s where you live, (first) where you work, (second) and your regular place to socialize. (third) This is a theme that is very alive and true for downtown regulars. With co-working, the community aspect of a third place is weaved into the work aspect of the second. For most, this creates relationships, personal and business, that really help create new businesses and bring ideas into creation.


Others just want to get out of the house and that’s fine too.


Grand opening party at HUB Raleigh

Grand opening party at HUB Raleigh


HUB Raleigh is slowly trying to create that community between visitors and users. For example, they have a calendar where anyone can post an event from business to social. The Click Cafe is the HUB’s on-site gathering space for breaks over food and drinks. And as community goes, HUB has members that are active in Durham’s startup scene and other places around the triangle. HUB contributes to what is going on in the triangle rather then compete and possibly take away.


I mentioned the HUB network that members are a part of. HUB is part of a 28 location network, mostly with locations in North America and Europe, where members have access to those locations and the community around it. If a startup in Raleigh decides to work in San Francisco, HUB San Francisco is now a place for them to reach to if needed. This network helps startups ease into different areas and HUB Raleigh helps visitors ease into here.


Growing startups like The ...

Find: HUB Raleigh Contributes To The Evolution of Co-working in Downtown

When you turn your idea into a startup....

HUB Raleigh Contributes To The Evolution of Co-working in Downtown

Office space at HUB Raleigh


Last week, HUB Raleigh had its official grand opening. This co-working space on Hillsborough Street adds to the growing startup scene and Innovate Raleigh initiative that continues to spread around downtown Raleigh. The space is set up for established startups in the area to work from so that they can tap the greater HUB network for future growth. I went to the packed grand opening party and returned the next day for a visit.


We’ve talked about co-working before and while I myself do not work for a startup, the community aspect around a co-working space is a natural fit for downtown. Both sides can benefit from the social aspect at HUB and the close proximity to the services in the downtown districts.


I like to compare co-working to the idea of our “third place.” There’s where you live, (first) where you work, (second) and your regular place to socialize. (third) This is a theme that is very alive and true for downtown regulars. With co-working, the community aspect of a third place is weaved into the work aspect of the second. For most, this creates relationships, personal and business, that really help create new businesses and bring ideas into creation.


Others just want to get out of the house and that’s fine too.


Grand opening party at HUB Raleigh

Grand opening party at HUB Raleigh


HUB Raleigh is slowly trying to create that community between visitors and users. For example, they have a calendar where anyone can post an event from business to social. The Click Cafe is the HUB’s on-site gathering space for breaks over food and drinks. And as community goes, HUB has members that are active in Durham’s startup scene and other places around the triangle. HUB contributes to what is going on in the triangle rather then compete and possibly take away.


I mentioned the HUB network that members are a part of. HUB is part of a 28 location network, mostly with locations in North America and Europe, where members have access to those locations and the community around it. If a startup in Raleigh decides to work in San Francisco, HUB San Francisco is now a place for them to reach to if needed. This network helps startups ease into different areas and HUB Raleigh helps visitors ease into here.


Growing startups like The ...

Job: Sas needs c++ graphics programmer

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Himesh Patel
Date: Monday, October 29, 2012
Subject: Looking for candidate...

Hi Ben,

 I have an open position coming up, I am looking for someone with strong objective C , and/or c++ programming knowledge with graphics. Let me know if you have any one. I will email you the full requirement soon.

Thanks

Himesh

Data Visualization R&D

 

Job: Sas needs c++ graphics programmer

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Himesh Patel
Date: Monday, October 29, 2012
Subject: Looking for candidate...

Hi Ben,

 I have an open position coming up, I am looking for someone with strong objective C , and/or c++ programming knowledge with graphics. Let me know if you have any one. I will email you the full requirement soon.

Thanks

Himesh

Data Visualization R&D