Emerging QT/KDE On Gentoo

If you are having linking issues with building QT on Gentoo [similar to filexyz.o can not link] don’t forget to remove references to pipe in the CXXFLAGS, and the multiple processor arguments on the OPTIONS flag. (-j3 etc).

If you are having issues with getting KDE to recognize the battery status, or react to any hardware, check your D-BUS and HAL configuraiton. Make sure the services are started and added to boot time.

Why Data Visualization is the Wrong Solution and How to Fix It

Data visualization is a very useful tool for summarizing, and sometimes interacting with, complex datasets. It shifts a dataset from being a detail oriented process into a more comfortable visual process. Throughout evolution humans have had a great use for visual information. Being able to see the world and recognize its patterns has enabled us to spot the approaching danger, and choose healthier mates. It’s essential for the preservation and production of life. Granted, comparing the difference between data visualization and textual data is not the difference between life and death.

Despite the benefits data visualization is a methodology that presents itself as a panacea. It is presented as a technique that is “better than the alternative.” The issue with visualization is that it is rarely ever shown in context of the application that is requesting its services. It is the person that shows up to a Christmas party in their Halloween costume. The treatment of a visualization component typically attempts to dominate other modes of understanding on the screen. For example, when a visualization is displayed on a web page in the main content area it typically takes the eye away from any other descriptions within the content area or navigation options of the page. Descriptions of the visualization of the context of the visualization are more important than the visualization itself. The descriptions of the visualizations instruct the reader on what the visualization is summarizing and how to read the graph.

Since most visualizations are not contextually relevant the visualization tends to stand out from its surroundings. The goal of any visualization, unless it itself is the application, is to complement surrounding data give a visual overview. If the visualization is taking the eye away from the surrounding content the visualization moves from information to only data. Additionally, due to the lack of context, the user may become confuse or may underestimate the data behind it. This problem is amplified when the user is seeing the visualization for the first time. By creating more obstacles with the visualization the overall meaning becomes lost or ineffectively communicated. Additionally, differences in cultures may add another layer of complication in effectively communicating the data through visualization.

For the academic studying visualization, the issue of context of the application surrounding the visualization is not a main focus. The context disregarded as “window dressing.” After all, the academic has already had training on what the visualization is, what types of data that it’s good for, and possibly how to interpret the graph. However, they are not taught how to interpret the data from the graph. To effectively interpret the data from the graph, one has to have context.

News papers typically do not have the issues that I have outlined above. They do not have these issues because the focus of the article is not the visualization. Additionally, if a new article has a visualization, the visualization is non-interactive and takes up a very small percentage of the article it accompanies.

Some thoughts on how to improve existing visualization:

  • Involve Human Computer Interface researcher/specialist to fix issues with interactivity
  • Involve editors to fit the visualization within the context of the page and audience.
  • Get graphic designers involved in the design of the visualization, and to have it fit the application.
  • Maintain Constancy throughout the application/website
  • Make the visualization very simple to use
  • If the visualization is not common (most aren’t, and it is typically assumed they are)
  • Give the user a preview of the visualization before they use it. This gives the user time to process the visualization as “I’m looking at something new here, time to switch to right brain.”
  • If the visualization will not fit in the context of the application, then allow the user to open it in a new window.

Restaurant Review: The Thai House of Charlotte

The Thai House is a great example of how a restaurant should be run. The food is memorable, tasty, and is unique from the competition of the area. I ordered an appetizer of beef Satay, and a main entrée of Red Curry. The appetizer came with small chunks of cucumber, shreds of carrot and peanut sauce. My main entrée consisted of very thin chicken, peas, bamboo shoots, and curry ingredients. The appetizer, although very flat, was tasty and had a smoky grilled taste to it. The main entry was flavorful, just a tad under spicy, and plentiful. Additionally, it came with rice.

To those who have been to the Thai House with me before know, I liked this place. This review is nothing new. I believe this is the fifth time that I have been to the Thai House restaurant. The Thai House restaurant is a small group of restaurants owned by a family in Charlotte. They have places open in South Charlotte, the University, and Gastonia. According to their website, they are currently looking into opening a new restaurant in the Epicenter. I would love to see a proper Thai restaurant in downtown Charlotte. A good Thai restaurant in the area of average Chinese and Japanese places stands out. It’s the difference between spring and winter.

The bad: There isn’t much to say for this section. However, I was a little disappointed after consuming 90% of the curry. After eating all the bamboo shoots, peas, and chicken there was some gritty edible substance in the bottom. It could have been larger spices, parts of bamboo shoots, etc. I found this to be a little disappointing, but it did not take away from the meal. If the restaurant wishes go for fine dining a quick filtering of the liquid in the curry would be essential before serving.

For those who are interested in their website or visiting.

Privacy Activists, Rejoice! ZeoDecoderViewer is in alpha!

Privacy Activists, Rejoice! ZeoDecoderViewer is in alpha!.

As many of my acquaintances know, I am typically very skeptical of corporations. However, there occasionally comes a company or so that stands out. I believe that this is one of them.  Recently, I have purchased a Zeo. I’m quite pleased with it, and I am even more pleased to see the additional “value” added to the product. This software could have easily been dismissed at a company meeting for being something that doesn’t directly bring value to the device, or serve the immediate customers, or future customers. Additionally the software could have easily been released as a downloadable application that one could not change the source. To me this gives Zeo more credibility as a business.

For those who are interested in purchasing a Zeo or reading more click here. Yes this is a commision based link, but it does give you a $15 discount and free shipping.

What’s to come

This page is more of an page to say what’s to come on this blog.

Some of the things I’ve got queued up to write for this blog:

  1. Lots of reviews (Tea, Books, Sites)
  2. Musings and rants (this is a blog)
  3. Software reviews
  4. Interesting Software Engineering Tidbits
  5. I’ll try to minimize this as much as possible, but some political related observations..

Lastly, I intend on reviewing the “Zeo Sleep Monitor”

fist psot!

Hello,

This is the first post of this blog, so don’t be disappointed with the lack of content or substance to this post. This blog is intended to be a collection of some of the interesting things that I’ve come across, read about, or are currently investigating. This blog may include “neat tips/tricks”, book reviews, progress in skill acquisition [I will get to this more in the blog].

If you wish to add something to this blog, write for this blog, or make constructive criticisms, do not hesitate to make a comment. Spam, and nonconstructive criticisms will be ignored, and fed to my pet alligator.