Ethan Garner has been collecting data on rents in San Francisco based on craigslist postings since Aug 2006. Based on this data, he has created a lovely visualization of where the rental market is hot (via information aesthetics).

Garner claims to have created this project out of boredom, while a grad student in biochemistry at UCSF. I don’t believe it. He’s clearly got a passion for coding, and with the vast amount data out here on the internet easily mined or already collected, this guy will never be bored.

The Human-Computer Interaction Lab, University of Maryland, presents an interesting OpenLaszlo application for analyzing word frequency in a document (via David Temkin).

click to interact with FeatureLens

It took a bit of poking around to figure out where to start and what to do with this app. (You want to click the “load” button in the upper right.) I explored the “State of the Union” a bit…

Initially, we can see the frequency of words in the speech:

I also looked at words which decrease in frequency throughout the document. By selecting “budget” you can see a graph of how often that word is used through the course of the speech:

In looking at words that increase in frequency, we can see that “Iraq” is discussed more toward the end of the speech:

The selection of trends in the distribution of pattern frequencies allows collecting meaningful pieces of information about the text. FeatureLens is a “provocational” tool as it gives rise to new questions and hypotheses, as well as insights about the text.

I’m pleased to be invited to speak at Interaction08, the first annual conference of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) to be held in Savannah, Georgia, USA on February 8-10, 2008. I noticed that Dan Saffer, Conference Chair, has posted a call for submissions.

The call is for “Lightning Session” submissions. I love the idea — only 25 minutes, one or two speakers. A short session requires a very focused topic and a series of these promises to be quite interesting. I look forward to checking these out at the conference. There are 14 open Lightning Session slots. The deadline is Sept 15. Submission form is here.