SPUG: Fwd: Extended Tableau Trial Now Available

Ted Larson Freeman freeman at stanfordalumni.org
Fri Feb 20 11:54:24 PST 2009

Thanks, Michael. I hadn't heard of this product before.

There are many reasons that people who do data analysis for a living
choose a tool that was designed for that purpose. Perl is simply not
in that product space. As just one example, the R environment has
become a standard in the statistics community because it provides both
a powerful programming language and excellent graphics. Creating heat
maps is simple in R.

Try it yourself. It'll take you about 5 minutes.
1. Install R: http://www.r-project.org/
2. Copy and paste the example code from the bottom of this page into
the R console: http://sekhon.berkeley.edu/stats/html/heatmap.html
(there are several distinct examples there--if you copy the code line
by line you'll see how it works.)


On Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 11:17 AM, Michael R. Wolf <michaelrwolf at att.net> wrote:
> 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).
> Gryphon,
> Trevor,
> 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.
> Michael
> 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 +
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> Michael R. Wolf
>     All mammals learn by playing!
>         MichaelRWolf at att.net
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