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Showing posts from May, 2009

Memorandum from the Synoptical Charts sysadmin

For readers with an interest in the nuts and bolts, here's a look at how we operate -- literally.
WORKING KIT FOR SYNOPTICAL CHARTS LLC

iMac 24" (OS X) - Big Mac
Acer Desktop (Windows Vista/Ubuntu Linux) -
Quarter Pounder
Dell Studio Laptop (Windows Vista) - Hamburger
Macbook Pro (OS X) - Cheeseburger
Macbook Air (OS X) - Filet o' Fish
Macbook (OS X) - McRib (retired)
Ubuntu Netbook (Ubuntu Netbook Remix) - Fries
XP Netbook (XP Home) - Milkshake

Software running:

Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint (Win/Mac)
Visio (Win)
OmniGraffle Pro (Mac)
NitroPDF Pro (Win)
PDFPen Pro (Mac)
Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop (Mac)
Adobe InDesign, Framemaker (Win)
Espresso (Mac)

Free and/or open-source apps (installed on all platforms)

OpenOffice
GIMP
Inkscape
Dia
Cyberduck (FTP/Mac)
Filezilla (FTP/Win)

We have a small flat aluminum case named To Go that holds our 3G USB modem, a 6ft length of Cat5, and a couple of USB drives with tools on them, including an Ubuntu boot disk on-a-stick that will boot e…

Infoviz for business: Fast Company
points the way

Michael Cannell asks on the Fast Company blog (formerly mentioned here): "Is Information Visualization the Next Frontier for Design?" I'm figuring that's a rhetorical question, since the subhed reads: "As design work shifts to infrastructure and problem solving, sexy infographics are part of the new skill set." Of course we at Synoptical Charts couldn't agree more.

He goes on to discuss infoviz as a discipline and mentions its many applications and its immense potential:
If we're going to live in a world driven by data, the thinking goes, we need a simple means of digesting it all. We are increasingly a visual society, and our understanding of the world is increasingly made possible by this new visual language....

Designers have historically excelled at finding insightful ways of looking at complex problems. Visualization will likely play a prominent role as design evolves beyond the consumer economy (selling $2,000 poufs and other high-end furnishings…