I really wanted to disagree with Tufte here.  I wanted to end the readings with a verbal asskicking in presenting and why Tufte is being a posh “ooooo, look at me and my abstract thoughts!” jerk.


But I can’t.

Well, yes I can, a little bit.  I disagree with his point of Powerpoint being a wash (he credits 10% of people for using it correctly).  However, if you’ve ever been in a class with mandatory presentations (here’s a hint: you’re in one now), you’ve suffered through presentation nightmares.


The point where I disagree with Tufte: Powerpoint is a tool that is overused and under-utilized.


What I mean by that is it’s a great tool to aid a discussion and connect ideas in and guide a presentation.  But what many people miss is that “aid” part and turn their Powerpoint into a group read-along with lots of clipart and colours.


I break down presentations into these genres:


The Reader: A person who uses Powerpoint as a way to read their notes.  Everything they say is read verbatim to what is on the slide.


The Cliparter: This person doesn’t know how to handle negative space.  They need to fill their Powerpoint with pictures because they feel no Powerpoint is complete without them.  Hopefully, the images kind of tie-in.  Usually clipart because Stock Images are expensive.


The Inconsistent: This presenter wants you to know that they have a lot of different fonts, colours, and backgrounds they can use.  However, they think you might disagree, so they prove it to you without asking.  One slide is solid yellow with orange text, the next is a nice picture from the time they went to the beach.




Mr./Mrs./Miss Sound Effects: Realizing that you can add music and sound effects, this presenter decides to use these to their great (dis)advantage.  Usually for atmosphere or comic relief, this type of presenter just doesn’t get it.


The Dependent: This person uses a minimal style without substance.  In these presentations, the slides act as cues for questions that the presenter then waits on the audience to answer.  The slides serve no purpose, and usually lead to no answers.


The Professional: These presenters get it.  They recognize that Powerpoint is one of many tools for communicating.  They understand that the presentation really depends on the presenter.  They’re probably dash handsome and have lots of boyfriends/girlfriends.


Tufte doesn’t completely condemn Powerpoint, but he nearly does.  I don’t think a layout program (Indesign?) would help, rather I’d like to see classes on making good presentations.  However, they need to be early on in the college career… for all of our sanity.

For an example of bad-powerpoints, here is a great one I found online (copy and paste this link): http://www.elmhurst.edu/~jacobh/WorstPresentationEverStandAlone.ppt


We were talking about this in class. The distance between planets cannot be shown in text books for scale/distance. Here’s why.

Video  —  Posted: April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

This week’s text: TL; DR

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

Our reading today discussed scientific visuals.  A look at their effectiveness and accuracy.


I disagree that these ideas must be equally represented and feel it depends on the larger purpose of the text.  In his research on influence and reason, neuroscientist Sam Harris discusses the importance of metaphor in creating a genuine understanding.  Whilst I understand the importance of having accurate models, concepts are more important.  My favourite example of this is that of the atom.  We know how an atom functions, its parts, and its shape is iconic…


An atom... right?

An atom… right?

… except it’s not.  Electrons don’t circle the nucleus of an atom.  They move around it in a cloud.


Enjoy atoms

Enjoy atoms

That’s the sound of you unlearning the model you’ve always known.


But that doesn’t make a difference.  Why? Because it doesn’t change your understanding of how the atom works and how the parts function.


Now I should take time to note the importance of clarity in specific fields.  You don’t want to go in for heart surgery and notice a game of operation sitting by your bed and tell yourself, “wait… his degree was from Mlton Bradley University? Nnnnnnnnoo….” Those would be horrible final thoughts.  The context of the image and what it’s trying to convey set the stage for the effectiveness of the material.


I rather enjoyed this section on Type-Faces.  Mainly because I think of how much of an over-sight they play in our writing.  And whilst I did appreciate the sections in the reading about the printing press, it was the bits about the lettering that I liked the most.


In my breif stint as a graphic design major, I worked on some logo design for myself and some “clients.”  My clients were really friends and friends of friends, but I got money from them, so take that.  I am an active gigging musician across the valley, and as such, I come across a lot of interesting logos for groups, bands, and other companies.  The BEST one (and by best I mean worsts) are the bands all about being heavy and brutal dudes.  I was always taught that a good logo is readable and/or recognizable from a distance OR when printed small.  Let’s stick strictly to text-based logos.   The U for our school is a great example.  BMW, McDonalds, Lay’s, Coke, The Beatles… we can read these even when printed small, like on a menu.  Keep those in mind when you click this link —>  http://www.rottentomatoes.com/quiz/the-most-unreadable-metal-band-logos/


Haha, oh yeah.  Those are some GREAT type faces.


Readability is important as it catches the eye.  Being distinct plays a role along side readability.  That’s why I am glad Garfield discussed the Men are from Mars book.  The type faces are used to give the fonts gender, but it doesn’t take away from what the text is saying.  At the same time, these type faces are distinct.  We don’t notice the ways the letters are shaped and think “OH, I got this confused for Janet Evanovich/Dean Koontz/The Bible, stupid generic type-face!”  We see the lettering and instantly recognize the book.


We have these ideas of how text should function based on how it looks.  Serif fonts, like Times New Roman, create almost an underline to the words.  This allows the eye to follow it much easier, hence its use in books and articles.  Sans Serif is less formal, and not used much in formal writing.  But what happens when these expectations are violated?


In his now famous letter, NBA owner Dan Gilbert typed a letter to fans of the team in the summer of 2010.  That was when his Super Mega Star player LeBron James left the team (without warning) in an over-the-top fashion (prime time on ESPN)  to play for another team.  The letter received the most criticism for A) Being Rude, B) Poor Language, C) All of the Above, D) The Type Face was Comic Sans?

Well, I’ll let you decide. http://www.geekosystem.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/dan-gilbert-letter.gif

A bit from my project

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

My project will be looking at major releases (both physical copies and downloadable games) for the X-Box 360, PS3, Wii/WiiU, and PC from Oct 2012 – Dec 2013.  I’ll be looking at how many games were released during that time, what types of games, and finally, which ones are exclusive to that console.


I have a lot of friends who argue about “what next gen consol” is the best one for the buy, Playstation 4 (PS4) or the X-Box One.  There are many ways to debate this topic (price, additional features, product longevity), but I wanted to look at what makes video game consoles what they are: games.  It seems that my friends (and their friends) don’t take into account the other two major gaming platforms (Nintendo’s Wii and WiiU and gaming on computers), nor do they discuss the types of games that are on the systems.  So I wanted to find some data to answer my own curiosities.  Using the Wikipedia page on 2012 and 2013 gaming releases as a start, I got the games’ genre and consoles (as well as additional release data) via IGN and Metacritic, as well as the console’s websites, respectively.


This information was collected using Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word.  The titles were collected and colour coordinated in word and then put in Excel by genre.  Then, they were sorted by exclusive titles.  Once this was done, Photoshop was used to layout the boxes and creates the various slides the data is presented on.


The visual compares several things.  First, it compares all original releases (major downloads and physical games) for the four consoles over a fifteen month span.   X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 releases as it would present more data (PS4 and X-Box One were released in the last quarter of 2013, respectively).  In grabbing the total number of releases, names were dropped and substituted with genres (based on their categorizing by IGN first and Metacritic).  This created a total of twelve genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, First Person Shooter, Party/Music, Platformer, Puzzle/Strategy, Racing, Role Playing Game, Simulator, Sports, and Third Person Shooter.  Then, genre and total releases for each console and compared them to each other, finding which games were exclusive to their respective console.


Each genre has a colour that correlates with it in an interlocking pattern for the total releases, creating a contrast between the pieces.  The colours are consistent for the consoles (e.g. red always represents action games, no matter what console).  Colours were chosen at random for the best way to avoid a rhetorical choice outside of randomness, and the proximity of the boxes of the same colour (genre) are chosen at random.  For the exclusive releases, the boxes are chosen randomly within the existing structure.  The individual consoles are shrunk down to fit within a given area, whereas on the larger comparison they are representative to their total releases for a visual comparison.


Each piece of data includes a key for reference to the style throughout the animation.  When breaking down the individual consoles, each genre has its corresponding colour and number of releases to aid the visual for both total releases and exclusive releases.  When doing the comparison of all consoles, the number of individual genre releases is dropped, and instead I display the total number of releases (to avoid word/number clutter).  However, the colour key is still represented for easy reference.


The text within the document is used to help aid the visual. Since bar graph or pie chart form is not being used, the visuals include the numbers of the releases to help frame the colour pieces.  The type face is consistent, and not meant to give an underlying meaning.  It’s meant to be easy to read only.



Want a view of one of the many slides I’ll be using? K, you got it.

Wii/WiiU offers lots of colours and some strange tasting chocolate

Wii/WiiU offers lots of colours and some strange tasting chocolate


These are all rough, and I will rework the slides.  However, I am prone to post stuff, so I am doing it now.


Two posts in one

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

I didn’t think we had to post our topic after talking to Dr. Stillman Web after class the other day.  However, it looks like we do.

My project will look to answer the question “Which next gen game system is right for me?”  I have lots of friends who fight over what new gaming console is the best one, so I am looking at the releases of the X-Box 360, PS3, Wii/WiiU, and PC (Including downloadable major releases (not games from the prior consoles in the line.  For example, it will not count the ability to download Super Mario World from the SNES on the Wii) from Nov of 2012 – Dec 2013 (as of now.  I will probably be adding more throughout the weeks) in order to try and find the console’s nitch, or, at least, original content.   I will have them split into twelve categories (Action, First Person Shooter, RPG, Sports, etc).  Then, within those graphs, I will include what games are exclusive to the console.  Much like the bit from the McCandless graph where he had “what we expected the war to cost” within “what the war cost.”

My Data is all in Excel as I have been using several sites to pull it together.  So enjoy the Playstation 3 sheet.  Along the top is an ongoing count of the number within the genre as well as the total (then, for my own curiosity, the average releases per genre as well as a happy little pie chart).

Nov 2012-Dec 2013 PS3 Releases

Nov 2012-Dec 2013 PS3 Releases

Read the rest of this entry »

If you notice the pretty lines at the beginning of the 2nd chapter of Tufte and don’t know what they are, here ya go. They are used to represent music in lines (height represents the note, length represents duration. Colour doesn’t mean anything except as a form of labeling). This song is from my favourite composer, and you’ll probably recognize it.

the program, if you are curious, is called Synthesia. However, many recording programs that recognize MIDI will produce the same effect (Cubase, Sonar, etc).

Video  —  Posted: February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Inactive Human Motion Science Link of Science

This chapter, I must admit, was not all that interesting… until I got to page 30.  Whilst I cannot quote the page, the images are rather interesting.  Making shapes out of human form dates back to about the age of A Long Damn Time Ago.  Egyptians, Mayans, Sumerians… just to name a few. However, the process of doing dates back to longer than that… by millions of years.

Some more modern examples we can think of would be via motion capture balls.  They are used regularly in video games, as seen here with the creator of Metal Gear using it for his own game –> http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18vnfqq9bryg9jpg/ku-xlarge.jpg .  Film is also another medium that uses this technology, even though it seems to be on the way out for special suits with patterns on them instead. Here is Andy Serkis in his suit as Gollum –> http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/gollum-serkis.jpg

Here is where the link I posted comes into play!  Humans naturally make these connections, and as seen in the link, we can give characteristics to the figures we make out of the dots based entirely on their collective movement.  If you want to really enhance this illusion, click and hold the mouse down and swing the character around.  Then, pick a ball at random.  The ball will seem to move in a random pattern until you slowly beginning to contextualize.

The science behind the pictures on page 30?  We are programmed to see symmetrical patterns.  You’ll notice that the anchor points are never uniform (that is to say they vary from figure to figure). However, most of them follow a uniform pattern (Very few are not symmetrical).  I have dropped the science, you can pick it up here –>  http://www.ski.org/CWTyler_lab/CWTyler/Art%20Investigations/Symmetry/Symmetry.html .  The TL; DR version of this looks like this.  Humans want to make order of images.  The common way we do it is symmetry, so the images we make follow this pattern.  When presented with images of symmetrical shapes, we have larger activation in the back of the brain (occipital lobe) that works with fine detail from visuals.

Yeah, Mr. White!  Yeah, Science!

Link  —  Posted: February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Graph for Thurs

This is my graph. I got it from the article “Please design a logo for me. With pie charts. For free.” from David Thorne. Here is the web URL: http://www.27bslash6.com/p2p2.html

Image  —  Posted: February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

If I don’t, enjoy it anyway.  NOTE, I had to delete my older post as I came to realize the sentences ran together.  Thanks, copy and paste…

Paragraphs can be a dull topic. Rather than explaining what makes one look sexy and good, I’d rather look at bad examples.  Visuals are hard to produce, so I included the texts I want to discuss.  Visually, they are confusing in their unique way (too much and too little detail).

First, I want to share an excerpt from Hubert Shelby’s book Requiem for a Dream. This example isn’t bad in context: its use fits the over-all theme of the piece (drug use).

Sheeit. You aspect me to ride them mutha fuckin subways with allthem poiverts and winos? Damn. You outta your mine. They rip you off  before you gets anywheres. Hey man, dont go pulling that lazy ass ol black  joe shit on me. Tyrone chuckled, Man, if ah gotta do some travel in then let me call mah man Brody and see what he got. Gimme a dime. Goddamn it man, since when do you need a dime to make a call. Hey baby, ah dont fuck with no phone company. Harry leaned against the phone booth as Tyrone hunched himself around the phone and spoke conspiratorially. After a minute or so he hung up the phone and stepped forth from the booth, a huge grin o nhis face. Hey man, close ya mouth, its hurtin my eyes. You pale-assed muthafucka. You shure wouldnt make it in no cotton fields. Tyrone started walking and Harry fell in alongside him. So whats happenin? Mah man got some dynamite shit baby an wes gonna get us a spoon. They walked up the stairs from the subway separately. Harry looked around for a moment as Tyrone continued down the street, then went to the coffee shop a few doors away.The neighborhood was absolutely and completely black. Even the plain-clothes men were black. Harry always felt a little conspicuous in the coffee shop sipping light coffee and eating a chocolate doughnut. This was the only drag about copping from Brody. He usually had good shit but Harry couldnt go any further than the coffee shop or they would blow the whole scene, or what was almost as bad, he might get his head laid open. Actually the smart thing to do, the really smart thing to do, would be to stay uptown, but Harry couldnt bear to be that far away from the money and the shit. It was bad enough sitting here feeling his stomach muscles tighten and that anxiety crawl through his body and the taste twitch the back of his throat, but it was a million times better than not  being here.

Did you make it all the way through?  Congratulations if you did, that’s a tough piece to read when out of the flow of reading the book.  Also note that there are pages that go on like this.  One paragraph for eight pages, my friends.  The ideas are so crammed together, it is hard to tell where one idea ends and the other begins.  Poor spelling aside (used to create dialect to distinguish the characters), it’s hard to pick-out where Harry stops speaking and Tyrone begins.  Imagine reading an article written like this for a class and needing to pick out specific examples.  The reading states “Well-written paragraphs facilitate quick skimming and help readers stay focused on main ideas…”  Try finding ideas from this book for a book report in a timely fashion. Yes, that was  a dare.  But not quite a double dog dare.

On the other side, if you’ve read sports articles online you’d be hard-pressed to find some good examples of paragraphs as described with Supporting Sentences.  Here is an article from ESPN on a player surprised that his own teammate gave him a good hit in the NFL’s All-Star game (known as the Pro-Bowl):

Johnson evidently was not concerned about hitting Charles less than a month removed from his concussion.

“If you stand back, he’s going to make you look pretty bad,” said Johnson, who had nine tackles in the game. “So I had to go out and really give it to him.

“I would never try to hurt my teammate at all, but compete a little bit.”

Johnson took to Twitter later Sunday night, expressing no remorse for his hit on Charles.

Johnson and Team Rice defeated Charles and Team Sanders 22-21 in the first schoolyard-style Pro Bowl.

Charles, who rushed for 43 yards on five carries, and Johnson both were appearing in their third Pro Bowl.

Completely different from the Hubert Shelby example, and not just for language.  If articles were written like this, skimming would be a nightmare.  Each sentence would contain a completely different idea, and could be placed almost everywhere.  These paragraphs read more like lists of trivia rather than paragraphs.

Retreived from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/81091563/Requiem-for-a-Dream-by-Hubert-Selby-Jr-Excerpt