Daily Archives: October 19, 2013

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Infographic of the Week: Ngram Viewer with Google

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The concept of doing humanities research with analytical tools and databases has been around for a while. Google’s experimental feature, Ngram Viewer, addresses this concept through generating graphs of search terms showing the amount of times these terms have occurred in a corpus of books. The search is done on more than 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008 that Google has digitalized, and opens up new possibilities for researchers and users to understand the development of language, culture and society. Ngram Viewer survived Google’s recent spring cleaning campaigns and just yesterday, Google added new functions to it that allow for searches of inflections and capitalization styles.

Now let’s do a little experiment of our own and put our favorite word into the Ngram Viewer: entrepreneurship.

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 下午09.45.44There are a few turning points on the graph, which very much coincide with history of the term “entrepreneurship”: though loaned from French as early as in the 1850s, it was coined around 1920s, and has gradually become a buzzword in the last several decades. The drops in the 40s and early 90s also possibly indicate the effects of major economic events: the wartime controls during WWII that converted consumer-product plants to fill military orders, and the early 1990s recessions. Besides, the use of the term is also affected by more complex social and cultural factors that merit further analysis.

See what other people have used Ngram Viewer to learn about cocaine, Aristotle, and ketchup.

Increasing data accessibility and comprehension by the masses will be an ongoing trend for the 21st century. Let’s look forward to see what other unexpected changes data analysis and visualization can bring us!


Innovation Digest: UAV Delivery, Windows 8.1

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By Anshul Kumar Gupta

(Click on titles to read from the news sources)

UAV Delivery: It’s quite difficult to comprehend any benefits of a UAV drone, but people seem to have found one in Australia! A tech startup, Zookal in Sydney plans to deliver textbooks bought online using unarmed vehicles, drones! A test flight is slated for November, and if all goes according to plan, proper commercial deliveries will begin in March. The FAA will need first need to outline a clear policy for commercial drone usage before such a system can make its way to the US, something it hopes to do in 2015.

3D Scanning: 3D printing is everywhere! Considered the immediate future of technology by many, 3D printing is radically revolutionizing our perspective on seeing products take shape. Now, Makerbot is attempting to make a scanner to convert any object into a 3D computer image. The Digitizer is essentially a turntable, a webcam, and some lasers. It uses Makerbot’s conveyor app to control the motion of objects on the turntable and then scans the points generated by the laser during the rotation. It works best with light, matte objects like ceramics, clays, and non-glossy plastics, but with a little glare-reducing baby powder you can scan just about everything as long as its taller than two inches and small enough to fit on the platform. Unbelievable, don’t you think?

Windows Update: Windows 8.1, the latest iteration to the Windows 8 Operating System, was recently released by Microsoft but it failed to generate much buzz. Check out this article before upgrading your system! Windows 8.1 is an incremental upgrade to the operating system, which means it’s not a major overhaul but a tweak of the prior version. However, Microsoft added some key features sorely lacking in Windows 8. That includes a new, modified Start button, as well as the opportunity to boot the PC directly to the old-style desktop mode.

iPhone Woes? : The recent launch of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C excited a lot of loyal users. A colorful, cheaper new iPhone does seem attractive, but market trends indicate otherwise. The iPhone 5C, unlike its advanced version 5S, has failed to find the users, especially in the developing markets that Apple intended to target. As Apple reduces iPhone 5C production going into next quarter, it remains to be seen if this not-so-radical product will move off the shelves in the manner Apple intended it to.

Google Stock Soars: As one of the fastest growing companies in the world, Google has maintained its long established reputation of an innovator and quality content provider, reaffirming the faith of investors. Google’s Q3 2013 earnings report has propelled its stock back through the $900 barrier to ~$957 in after-hours trading. This stems from the increased focus on generating Ad Revenue and diverting attention to mobile platforms. What do you think about Google’s latest technical developments – are you surprised by this?