Do you need to display and analyze a network graph but you don’t want to deal with difficult applications, arcane file formats, or techie programming languages? NodeXL may be what you’re looking for. NodeXL is a template for Excel 2007 and 2010 that lets you enter a network edge list, click a button, and see the network graph, all in the Excel window. You can easily customize the graph’s appearance; zoom, scale and pan the graph; dynamically filter vertices and edges; alter the graph’s layout; find clusters of related vertices; and calculate graph metrics. Networks can be imported from and exported to a variety of file formats, and built-in connections for getting networks from Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and your local email are provided.
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13 free tools to analyze, display data from the Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference: BusinessJournalism.org
The annual Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference that concluded in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday was extraordinarily rich in useful free tool for all sorts of data analysis and visualization, thanks to invitations accepted by computer scientists from Google, MIT, Stanford and the like. Here are links to 13 of these free tools that I found to be particularly useful for data analysis in journalism:
Whenever I feel nostalgic about my sons’ early years, Pokemon is always a large part of those memories. I can still see my one son, a vision of yellow, dressed as Pikachu for Halloween, or the excitement in his and his brother’s eyes when they each dug a pack of Pokemon cards from the toe of their Christmas stockings. The cards provided some of their few happy playground experiences interacting with their neurotypical peers due to the fact that all children shared the universal language of Pokemon. I recently discovered that like my sons, the creator of Pokemon is on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. Long thought to have Asperger’s Syndrome, Mr. Satoshi Tajiri has confirmed this information, yet does not speak of his condition in public. This reclusive and eccentric man, who is known to work twenty-four hours at a time, spawned the gaming phenomenon that took the world by storm through his special interest in insects.
At a project’s start, the possibilities are endless. That clean slate is both lovely and terrifying. As designers, we begin by filling space with temporary messes and uncertain experiments. We make a thousand tiny decisions quickly, trying to shape a message that will resonate with our audience. Then in the middle of a flow, we must stop and share our unfinished work with colleagues or clients. This typical halt in the creative process begs the question: What does the critique do for the design and the rest of the project? Do critiques really help and are they necessary? If so, how do we use this feedback to improve our creative output?
Helen Walters Helen Walters is a New York City-based business and design journalist with experience writing, editing and publishing content across multiple platforms, online and offline. The former editor of innovation and design at Bloomberg Businessweek, she is currently working as a writer, editor and researcher at innovation consultancy Doblin, part of Monitor Group.