Google Visualization Tools Can Help You Build a Personal Dashboard

The Google Visualization API is a great way for people to make dashboards with slick graphics based  on data without getting into the fine print of the scripting language  itself.  It utilizes the same tools as Google itself does, and makes visualizing data using API calls to the Visualization API. Thus a real-time customizable dashboard that is publishable to the internet can be created within minutes, and more importantly insights can be much more easily drawn from graphs than from looking at rows of tables and numbers.

  1. There are 41 gadgets (including made by both Google and third-party developers ) available in the Gadget  Gallery ( https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/gadgetgallery)
  2. There are 12 kinds of charts available in the Chart Gallery (https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/gallery) .
  3. However there 26 additional charts in the charts page at https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/more_charts )

Building and embedding charts is simplified to a few steps

  • Load the AJAX API
  • Load the Visualization API and the appropriate package (like piechart or barchart from the kinds of chart)
  • Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded
    • Within the Callback – It creates and populates a data table, instantiates the particular chart type chosen, passes in the data and draws it.
    • Create the data table with appropriately named columns and data rows.
    • Set chart options with Title, Width and Height
  • Instantiate and draw the chart, passing in some options including the name and id
  • Finally write the HTML/ Div that will hold the chart

You can simply copy and paste the code directly from https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/quick_start without getting into any details, and tweak them according to your data, chart preference and voila your web dashboard is ready!
That is the beauty of working with API- you can create and display genius ideas without messing with the scripting languages and code (too much). If you like to dive deeper into the API, you can look at the various objects at https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/reference

First launched in Mar 2008, Google Visualization API has indeed come a long way in making dashboards easier to build for people wanting to utilize advanced data visualization . It came about directly as a result of Google’s 2007 acquisition of GapMinder (of Hans Rosling fame).
As invariably and inevitably computing shifts to the cloud, visualization APIs will be very useful. Tableau Software has been a pioneer in selling data visualizing to the lucrative business intelligence and business dashboards community (you can see the Tableau Software API at http://onlinehelp.tableausoftware.com/v7.0/server/en-us/embed_api.htm ), and Google Visualization can do the same and capture business dashboard and visualization market , if there is more focus on integrating it from Google in it’s multiple and often confusing API offerings.
However as of now, this is quite simply the easiest way to create a web dashboard for your personal needs. Google guarantees 3 years of backward compatibility with this API and it is completely free.

Software Review- BigML.com – Machine Learning meets the Cloud

I had a chance to dekko the new startup BigML https://bigml.com/ and was suitably impressed by the briefing and my own puttering around the site. Here is my review-

1) The website is very intutively designed- You can create a dataset from an uploaded file in one click and you can create a Decision Tree model in one click as well. I wish other cloud computing websites like  Google Prediction API make design so intutive and easy to understand. Also unlike Google Prediction API, the models are not black box models, but have a description which can be understood.

2) It includes some well known data sources for people trying it out. They were kind enough to offer 5 invite codes for readers of Decisionstats ( if you want to check it yourself, use the codes below the post, note they are one time only , so the first five get the invites.

BigML is still invite only but plan to get into open release soon.

3) Data Sources can only be by uploading files (csv) but they plan to change this hopefully to get data from buckets (s3? or Google?) and from URLs.

4) The one click operation to convert data source into a dataset shows a histogram (distribution) of individual variables.The back end is clojure , because the team explained it made the easiest sense and fit with Java. The good news (?) is you would never see the clojure code at the back end. You can read about it from http://clojure.org/

As cloud computing takes off (someday) I expect clojure popularity to take off as well.

Clojure is a dynamic programming language that targets the Java Virtual Machine (and the CLR, and JavaScript). It is designed to be a general-purpose language, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Clojure is a compiled language – it compiles directly to JVM bytecode, yet remains completely dynamic. Every feature supported by Clojure is supported at runtime. Clojure provides easy access to the Java frameworks, with optional type hints and type inference, to ensure that calls to Java can avoid reflection.

Clojure is a dialect of Lisp

 

5) As of now decision trees is the only distributed algol, but they expect to roll out other machine learning stuff soon. Hopefully this includes regression (as logit and linear) and k means clustering. The trees are created and pruned in real time which gives a slightly animated (and impressive effect). and yes model building is an one click operation.

The real time -live pruning is really impressive and I wonder why /how it can ever be replicated in other software based on desktop, because of the sheer interactive nature.

 

Making the model is just half the work. Creating predictions and scoring the model is what is really the money-earner. It is one click and customization is quite intuitive. It is not quite PMML compliant yet so I hope some Zemanta like functionality can be added so huge amounts of models can be applied to predictions or score data in real time.

 

If you are a developer/data hacker, you should check out this section too- it is quite impressive that the designers of BigML have planned for API access so early.

https://bigml.com/developers

BigML.io gives you:

  • Secure programmatic access to all your BigML resources.
  • Fully white-box access to your datasets and models.
  • Asynchronous creation of datasets and models.
  • Near real-time predictions.

 

Note: For your convenience, some of the snippets below include your real username and API key.

Please keep them secret.

REST API

BigML.io conforms to the design principles of Representational State Transfer (REST)BigML.io is enterely HTTP-based.

BigML.io gives you access to four basic resources: SourceDatasetModel and Prediction. You cancreatereadupdate, and delete resources using the respective standard HTTP methods: POSTGET,PUT and DELETE.

All communication with BigML.io is JSON formatted except for source creation. Source creation is handled with a HTTP PUT using the “multipart/form-data” content-type

HTTPS

All access to BigML.io must be performed over HTTPS

and https://bigml.com/developers/quick_start ( In think an R package which uses JSON ,RCurl  would further help in enhancing ease of usage).

 

Summary-

Overall a welcome addition to make software in the real of cloud computing and statistical computation/business analytics both easy to use and easy to deploy with fail safe mechanisms built in.

Check out https://bigml.com/ for yourself to see.

The invite codes are here -one time use only- first five get the invites- so click and try your luck, machine learning on the cloud.

If you dont get an invite (or it is already used, just leave your email there and wait a couple of days to get approval)

  1. https://bigml.com/accounts/register/?code=E1FE7
  2. https://bigml.com/accounts/register/?code=09991
  3. https://bigml.com/accounts/register/?code=5367D
  4. https://bigml.com/accounts/register/?code=76EEF
  5. https://bigml.com/accounts/register/?code=742FD

Interview Kelci Miclaus, SAS Institute Using #rstats with JMP

Here is an interview with Kelci Miclaus, a researcher working with the JMP division of the SAS Institute, in which she demonstrates examples of how the R programming language is a great hit with JMP customers who like to be flexible.

 

Ajay- How has JMP been using integration with R? What has been the feedback from customers so far? Is there a single case study you can point out where the combination of JMP and R was better than any one of them alone?

Kelci- Feedback from customers has been very positive. Some customers are using JMP to foster collaboration between SAS and R modelers within their organizations. Many are using JMP’s interactive visualization to complement their use of R. Many SAS and JMP users are using JMP’s integration with R to experiment with more bleeding-edge methods not yet available in commercial software. It can be used simply to smooth the transition with regard to sending data between the two tools, or used to build complete custom applications that take advantage of both JMP and R.

One customer has been using JMP and R together for Bayesian analysis. He uses R to create MCMC chains and has found that JMP is a great tool for preparing the data for analysis, as well as displaying the results of the MCMC simulation. For example, the Control Chart platform and the Bubble Plot platform in JMP can be used to quickly verify convergence of the algorithm. The use of both tools together can increase productivity since the results of an analysis can be achieved faster than through scripting and static graphics alone.

I, along with a few other JMP developers, have written applications that use JMP scripting to call out to R packages and perform analyses like multidimensional scaling, bootstrapping, support vector machines, and modern variable selection methods. These really show the benefit of interactive visual analysis of coupled with modern statistical algorithms. We’ve packaged these scripts as JMP add-ins and made them freely available on our JMP User Community file exchange. Customers can download them and now employ these methods as they would a regular JMP platform. We hope that our customers familiar with scripting will also begin to contribute their own add-ins so a wider audience can take advantage of these new tools.

(see http://www.decisionstats.com/jmp-and-r-rstats/)

Ajay- Are there plans to extend JMP integration with other languages like Python?

Kelci- We do have plans to integrate with other languages and are considering integrating with more based on customer requests. Python has certainly come up and we are looking into possibilities there.

 Ajay- How is R a complimentary fit to JMP’s technical capabilities?

Kelci- R has an incredible breadth of capabilities. JMP has extensive interactive, dynamic visualization intrinsic to its largely visual analysis paradigm, in addition to a strong core of statistical platforms. Since our brains are designed to visually process pictures and animated graphs more efficiently than numbers and text, this environment is all about supporting faster discovery. Of course, JMP also has a scripting language (JSL) allowing you to incorporate SAS code, R code, build analytical applications for others to leverage SAS, R and other applications for users who don’t code or who don’t want to code.

JSL is a powerful scripting language on its own. It can be used for dialog creation, automation of JMP statistical platforms, and custom graphic scripting. In other ways, JSL is very similar to the R language. It can also be used for data and matrix manipulation and to create new analysis functions. With the scripting capabilities of JMP, you can create custom applications that provide both a user interface and an interactive visual back-end to R functionality. Alternatively, you could create a dashboard using statistical and/or graphical platforms in JMP to explore the data and with the click of a button, send a portion of the data to R for further analysis.

Another JMP feature that complements R is the add-in architecture, which is similar to how R packages work. If you’ve written a cool script or analysis workflow, you can package it into a JMP add-in file and send it to your colleagues so they can easily use it.

Ajay- What is the official view on R from your organization? Do you think it is a threat, or a complimentary product or another statistical platform that coexists with your offerings?

Kelci- Most definitely, we view R as complimentary. R contributors are providing a tremendous service to practitioners, allowing them to try a wide variety of methods in the pursuit of more insight and better results. The R community as a whole is providing a valued role to the greater analytical community by focusing attention on newer methods that hold the most promise in so many application areas. Data analysts should be encouraged to use the tools available to them in order to drive discovery and JMP can help with that by providing an analytic hub that supports both SAS and R integration.

Ajay-  While you do use R, are there any plans to give back something to the R community in terms of your involvement and participation (say at useR events) or sponsoring contests.

 Kelci- We are certainly open to participating in useR groups. At Predictive Analytics World in NY last October, they didn’t have a local useR group, but they did have a Predictive Analytics Meet-up group comprised of many R users. We were happy to sponsor this. Some of us within the JMP division have joined local R user groups, myself included.  Given that some local R user groups have entertained topics like Excel and R, Python and R, databases and R, we would be happy to participate more fully here. I also hope to attend the useR! annual meeting later this year to gain more insight on how we can continue to provide tools to help both the JMP and R communities with their work.

We are also exploring options to sponsor contests and would invite participants to use their favorite tools, languages, etc. in pursuit of the best model. Statistics is about learning from data and this is how we make the world a better place.

About- Kelci Miclaus

Kelci is a research statistician developer for JMP Life Sciences at SAS Institute. She has a PhD in Statistics from North Carolina State University and has been using SAS products and R for several years. In addition to research interests in statistical genetics, clinical trials analysis, and multivariate analysis/visualization methods, Kelci works extensively with JMP, SAS, and R integration.

.

 

Occupy the Internet

BORN IN THE USA

Continue reading “Occupy the Internet”

Chrome

If you are new to using Chrome, there are many delightful features just beneath the surface.

If you are an Internet Explorer or Firefox or Safari or Arora or Opera or Sea Monkey browser user- this is one more reason to test, just test Chrome.

Ok so who Made chrome- (note the link i.e about:credits is what you type in chrome to see features)

about:credits

Credits

David M. Gay’s floating point routines
dynamic annotations
Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR)
Network Security Services (NSS)
purify headers
google-glog’s symbolization library
valgrind
xdg-mime
xdg-user-dirs
google-jstemplateshow licensehomepage
Launchpad Translationsshow licensehomepage
Mozilla Personal Security Managershow licensehomepage
Google Toolbox for Macshow licensehomepage
ActiveX Scripting SDKshow licensehomepage
Almost Native Graphics Layer Engineshow licensehomepage
Apple sample codeshow licensehomepage
Google Cache Invalidation APIshow licensehomepage
Compact Language Detectionshow licensehomepage
OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guideshow licensehomepage
OpenGL ES 2.0 Conformance Testsshow licensehomepage
hunspell dictionariesshow licensehomepage
IAccessible2 COM interfaces for accessibilityshow licensehomepage
Chinese and Japanese Word Listshow licensehomepage
ISimpleDOM COM interfaces for accessibilityshow licensehomepage
modp base64 decodershow licensehomepage
NSBezierPath additions from Sean Patrick O’Brienshow licensehomepage
Cocoa extension code from Caminoshow licensehomepage
OTS (OpenType Sanitizer)show licensehomepage
Google Safe Browsingshow licensehomepage
XUL Runner SDKshow licensehomepage
and of course
so thats who made chrome.
  • Will Google be able to monetize Chrome the way it has monetized Android (Atleast by locking in both search,computing and browsing platforms)? I like the Adblock extension- and I would be happy to see more paid extensions. or even two versions one free and other freer (in choice) browsers for ads /security etc. maybe even a premium paid browser which has tor embedded in it , adblock enabled in it, and encrypted chat (like Waste Again) as an extension…. Hmm Hmm Hmm There is a SOCIAL version of Chromium called Rockmelt used ironically by Google Social Nemesis -Facebook (see http://blogs.ft.com/fttechhub/2011/06/facebook-partners-with-rockmelt-on-building-a-social-web-browser/)
  • Will Google share more revenue with open source contributors and thus create a new path in open source revenue generation just like it did with online advertising as an industry? Hmm Hmm Hmm. or Will Facebook continue to lead the way with extensions and applications (which did predate the mobile app place- so thats one innovation u gotta give to Zuk’s boys 😉
Back to Chrome-
To change settings- chrome://settings/browser
but to check what Autofill Data is stored within chrome (thats your credit card and your web form information)
chrome://settings/autofill and chrome://settings/content has all your content settings
Well Chrome is very very secure, or as secure as a browser can be in 2011.
You can set up Google Sync to keep all your data in the cloud, and it has an application specific password as well.
So hopefully you will have much more fun enjoying hacking Chromium 😉
See these

Interview Anne Milley JMP

Here is an interview with Anne Milley, a notable thought leader in the world of analytics. Anne is now Senior Director, Analytical Strategy in Product Marketing for JMP , the leading data visualization software from the SAS Institute.

Ajay-What do you think are the top 5 unique selling points of JMP compared to other statistical software in its category?

Anne-

JMP combines incredible analytic depth and breadth with interactive data visualization, creating a unique environment optimized for discovery and data-driven innovation.

With an extensible framework using JSL (JMP Scripting Language), and integration with SAS, R, and Excel, JMP becomes your analytic hub.

JMP is accessible to all kinds of users. A novice analyst can dig into an interactive report delivered by a custom JMP application. An engineer looking at his own data can use built-in JMP capabilities to discover patterns, and a developer can write code to extend JMP for herself or others.

State-of-the-art DOE capabilities make it easy for anyone to design and analyze efficient experiments to determine which adjustments will yield the greatest gains in quality or process improvement – before costly changes are made.

Not to mention, JMP products are exceptionally well designed and easy to use. See for yourself and check out the free trial at www.jmp.com.

Download a free 30-day trial of JMP.

Ajay- What are the challenges and opportunities of expanding JMP’s market share? Do you see JMP expanding its conferences globally to engage global audiences?

Anne-

We realized solid global growth in 2010. The release of JMP Pro and JMP Clinical last year along with continuing enhancements to the rest of the JMP family of products (JMP and JMP Genomics) should position us well for another good year.

With the growing interest in analytics as a means to sustained value creation, we have the opportunity to help people along their analytic journey – to get started, take the next step, or adopt new paradigms speeding their time to value. The challenge is doing that as fast as we would like.

We are hiring internationally to offer even more events, training and academic programs globally.

Ajay- What are the current and proposed educational and global academic initiatives of JMP? How can we see more JMP in universities across the world (say India- China etc)?

Anne-

We view colleges and universities both as critical incubators of future JMP users and as places where attitudes about data analysis and statistics are formed. We believe that a positive experience in learning statistics makes a person more likely to eventually want and need a product like JMP.

For most students – and particularly for those in applied disciplines of business, engineering and the sciences – the ability to make a statistics course relevant to their primary area of study fosters a positive experience. Fortunately, there is a trend in statistical education toward a more applied, data-driven approach, and JMP provides a very natural environment for both students and researchers.

Its user-friendly navigation, emphasis on data visualization and easy access to the analytics behind the graphics make JMP a compelling alternative to some of our more traditional competitors.

We’ve seen strong growth in the education markets in the last few years, and JMP is now used in nearly half of the top 200 universities in the US.

Internationally, we are at an earlier stage of market development, but we are currently working with both JMP and SAS country offices and their local academic programs to promote JMP. For example, we are working with members of the JMP China office and faculty at several universities in China to support the use of JMP in the development of a master’s curriculum in Applied Statistics there, touched on in this AMSTAT News article.

Ajay- What future trends do you see for 2011 in this market (say top 5)?

Anne-

Growing complexity of data (text, image, audio…) drives the need for more and better visualization and analysis capabilities to make sense of it all.

More “chief analytics officers” are making better use of analytic talent – people are the most important ingredient for success!

JMP has been on the vanguard of 64-bit development, and users are now catching up with us as 64-bit machines become more common.

Users should demand easy-to-use, exploratory and predictive modeling tools as well as robust tools to experiment and learn to help them make the best decisions on an ongoing basis.

All these factors and more fuel the need for the integration of flexible, extensible tools with popular analytic platforms.

Ajay-You enjoy organic gardening as a hobby. How do you think hobbies and unwind time help people be better professionals?

Anne-

I am lucky to work with so many people who view their work as a hobby. They have other interests too, though, some of which are work-related (statistics is relevant everywhere!). Organic gardening helps me put things in perspective and be present in the moment. More than work defines who you are. You can be passionate about your work as well as passionate about other things. I think it’s important to spend some leisure time in ways that bring you joy and contribute to your overall wellbeing and outlook.

Btw, nice interviews over the past several months—I hadn’t kept up, but will check it out more often!

Biography–  Source- http://www.sas.com/knowledge-exchange/business-analytics/biographies.html

  • Anne Milley

    Anne Milley

    Anne Milley is Senior Director of Analytics Strategy at JMP Product Marketing at SAS. Her ties to SAS began with bank failure prediction at Federal Home Loan Bank Dallas and continued at 7-Eleven Inc. She has authored papers and served on committees for F2006, KDD, SIAM, A2010 and several years of SAS’ annual data mining conference. Milley is a contributing faculty member for the International Institute of Analytics. anne.milley@jmp.com

Nice BI Tutorials

Tutorials screenshot.
Image via Wikipedia

Here is a set of very nice, screenshot enabled tutorials from SAP BI. They are a bit outdated (3 years old) but most of it is quite relevant- especially from a Tutorial Design Perspective –

Most people would rather see screenshot based step by step powerpoints, than cluttered or clever presentations , or even videos that force you to sit like a TV zombie. Unfortunately most tutorial presentations I see especially for BI are either slides with one or two points, that abruptly shift to “concepts” or videos that are atleast more than 10 minutes long. That works fine for scripting tutorials or hands on workshops, but cannot be reproduced for later instances of study.

The mode of tutorials especially for GUI software can vary, it may be Slideshare, Scribd, Google Presentation,Microsoft Powerpoint but a step by step screenshot by screenshot tutorial is much better for understanding than commando line jargon/ Youtub   Videos presentations, or Powerpoint with Points.

Have a look at these SAP BI 7 slideshares

and

Speaking of BI, the R Package called Brew is going to brew up something special especially combined with R Apache. However I wish R Apache, or R Web, or RServe had step by step install screenshot tutorials to increase their usage in Business Intelligence.

I tried searching for JMP GUI Tutorials too, but I believe putting all your content behind a registration wall is not so great. Do a Pareto Analysis of your training material, surely you can share a couple more tutorials without registration. It also will help new wanna-migrate users to get a test and feel for the installation complexities as well as final report GUI.