Blog Archives

Apple Watch users overwhelmingly satisfied, says a survey of satisfied users

July 27, 2016
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Apple Watch users overwhelmingly satisfied, says a survey of satisfied users

As word of plummeting sales of Apple Watch spread around last week, an entrepreneur went on Medium to sing a different tune: his survey apparently uncovered a "paradox" - Apple Watch users are "overwhelmingly satisfied, yet not recommending" the product. The "overwhelming" bit comes from this chart: This data portray a hugely successful product in which almost nobody expressed any negative feelings. This next chart is even more impressive. Apparently,…

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What if the RNC assigned seating randomly

July 21, 2016
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What if the RNC assigned seating randomly

The punditry has spoken: the most important data question at the Republican Convention is where different states are located. Here is the FiveThirtyEight take on the matter: They crunched some numbers and argue that Trump's margin of victory in the...

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What happened when I was forced to wait 30 minutes for the subway

July 18, 2016
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What happened when I was forced to wait 30 minutes for the subway: pondering how easy it is for data analysts to get fooled by bad data

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It’s more important to know the source than the value of a number

July 12, 2016
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Here we go again. ABC News reported that Ricky Williams, former NFL star, proclaimed himself as holding "the world record for most times drug tested". (link) He said he was tested 500 times. During this 11-year career, Williams failed the test four times. So there is one thing we know - the drug testing regime is not much of a deterrent. Since the athlete knows when he is juicing or…

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Confusion is not limited to complex dataviz

July 7, 2016
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Confusion is not limited to complex dataviz

This chart looks simple and harmless but I find it disarming. I usually love the cheeky titles in the Economist but this title is very destructive to the data visualization. The chart has nothing to do with credit scores. In...

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Ethical dilemmas in data science and analytics

July 5, 2016
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Ethical dilemmas in data science and analytics

About half a year ago, when my article on ethics in data science appeared on Harvard Business Review, the second half of the piece was dropped. In the omitted section, I had designed a poll inviting readers to opine on several ethical dilemmas facing real-world data analysts. In April, Manoj Chari read my HBR article and kindly invited me to speak on the subject at the INFORMS Analytics Conference, and…

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A Tufte fix for austerity

June 29, 2016
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A Tufte fix for austerity

Trish, who attended one of my recent data visualization workshops, submitted a link to the Illinois Atlas of Austerity. Shown on the right is one of the charts included in the presentation. This is an example of a chart that...

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Raining, data art, if it ain’t broke

June 22, 2016
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Raining, data art, if it ain’t broke

Via Twitter, reader Joe D. asked a few of us to comment on the SparkRadar graphic by WeatherSpark. At the time of writing, the picture for Baltimore is very pretty: The picture for New York is not as pretty but...

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Your emails are being read (though I also think this is a hoax)

June 20, 2016
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CNBC reports that Goldman Sachs flags employee emails based on a long list of "offending" phrases. If an employee types a profanity, apparently a window pops up to confirm that the person really truly wants to say that word. The other objective given is to detect fraudulent behavior. The list they published apparently came from 2008, so very aged, but I think it is a hoax. Many of the terms…

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What doesn’t help readers (on the chart) and what does help (off the chart)

June 16, 2016
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What doesn’t help readers (on the chart) and what does help (off the chart)

Via Twitter, Bart S (@BartSchuijt) sent me to this TechCrunch article, which contains several uninspiring charts. The most disturbing one is this: There is a classic Tufte class here: only five numbers and yet the chart is so confusing. And...

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