SPUG: Fwd: Extended Tableau Trial Now Available

Michael R. Wolf michaelrwolf at att.net
Fri Feb 20 11:17:06 PST 2009


I had originally composed this message as a personal message to Trevor  
and Gryphon, but thought it may be interesting to "data mungers" like  
you... like me.

The letter is a bit of a product endorsement, and a bit of my  
perspective on how primitive our data analysis tools and processes  
are.  (To wit, all the Perl that needed to be hand tweaked for Trevor  
to produce his heat map, and the limitations of not being able to do  
what-if-anaysis on it after the fact.  Not a criticism of him or his  
code, just an observation on the state-of-the-art/practice.)

If it appears too much like a crass product endorsement, please hit  
your delete key now.  I mean it to be a helpful pointer to a great  
tool, albeit one that's relatively expensive by Open Source standards  
(though an EXCELLENT value).


Here's a promo for the company I mentioned the other night at SPUG.  I  
got a trial a few months ago, and had a great time doing the what-if- 
analysis that can be so easy with this tool.  Saying that it's "Excel  
on steroids" is missing the point.  It's not a *better* Excel, it's a  
better metaphor for working with your data.  Even if you don't end up  
using it for the heatmap customer, it may be a good analysis tool to  
have in your belt (or set of services).  There are lots of geocoding  
applications built in.  Since they're a Fremont company, you can see  
some good Seattle data in some of their free videos online, even  
without getting a trial.

And who knows.  Maybe it's worth your while to play with it, become a  
data rock star, and get a following of heatmap groupies.


P.S.  I first noticed this company at PS SIGCHI (pssigchi.org), where  
I was on the board for about 3 years.  SIGCHI  => Special Interest  
Group in Computer Human Interaction (a SIG of the ACM).  Their  
graphical interface is awesome.  It takes some getting used to, but  
only because we've been held as slaves in the kind of Perl we saw at  
SPUG or the kind of VB we need to know in order to work with Excel.   
Without those terribly restraining computer languages, we're free to  
use our natural visual analyzing abilities to interact with the *data*  
instead of the *programs* that transform the data.  Tableau has gone  
to great lengths to take many "visual data analysis and design  
patterns" out of the programmer's head, encapsulating them (laziness- 
fashion) into a tool that we can re-use. Using it really had me  
realize that soooo much of what we saw this week at SPUG (and what  
I've done so many times over the years) is such digital ditch digging  
that we never really get to step back from the implementation to see  
the vision.

P.P.S.  OK.  Enough....  Can you tell I'm hooked?  If you bang it  
around, please let me know what you think.

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Tableau Software <visualanalysis at tableausoftware.com>
> Date: February 20, 2009 8:21:49 AM PST
> To: michaelrwolf at att.net
> Subject: Extended Tableau Trial Now Available
> Reply-To: Tableau Software <visualanalysis at tableausoftware.com>
> If your email program has trouble displaying this email, view it as  
> a web page +
> Free Your Inner Data Rockstar
> Hi Michael,
> An extended Tableau Desktop trial is now available.
> The longer evaluation is part of our Data Rockstar Viz Challenge.  
> The extra time provides an opportunity to master Tableau prior to  
> the March 2nd challenge kick-off.
> start your extended trial now
> Download the award-winning Tableau and get started in minutes. Your  
> evaluation includes training and support.
> Best regards,
> The Tableau Software Team
> 206.633.3400 x543
> P.S. - Here is a new report from our director of visual analysis  
> that examines the power (and limits) of human perception, and how we  
> can use data to tell stories. The paper may spark some ideas for  
> your viz challenge submission.
> Viz Challenge
> Achieve Rockstar Status
> On March 2nd data will be made available to slice and dice with  
> Tableau. Enter your best viz in the Data Rockstar Viz Challenge.
> Check out the viz challenge +
> Amazing Things
> See 18 amazing things you can
> do with data.
> Watch videos +
> Visual Examples
> Check out some fantastic examples
> of well-done visualizations. Interact
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> Be inspired +
> .
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Michael R. Wolf
     All mammals learn by playing!
         MichaelRWolf at att.net

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