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In Which I Showcase My Spouse's Work

Josh Peek, my husband and astronomer extraordinaire, has also been learning Processing. While I'm thinking about how to use visualizations to share data with readers, Josh's goal is to use it to actually do science. Here's a graphing widget he made for some nearby galaxies. The hydrogen in those galaxies was observed with the VLA.

things_sc.gif[Click to actually play with the data.]

My Flash Clock

As an exercise in — something (futility? fastidious-ity?), I re-created my Processing clock using Flash. Lo:

Because Flash is similar to Illustrator, I had more power to make the clock look exactly as I wanted it. In Processing, the power was there, but it required a bit more work to, say, make the slices out of my rings wider than 10 pixels. Sometimes it's useful to be able to grab an object and drag it around, as Flash allows.

Second, like Processing, the animation scripts in Flash are Java. Hooray that whatever ninja-ry I learn in one will be applicable to the other.

I swear that one of these days I'm going to use these tools to tell a science story.

My Processing Clock

A clock seems to be the "Hello, World" of Processing, I have surmised from Anthony Mattox, twice. So I tried creating my own humble timepiece:

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Bookmark this for when you need to know what time it is. Or what day it is. See? Useful.

(Download an app for the Mac of this.)
After the initial palaver over Apple's iPad announcement in January, gadget-watchers seem to be settling in to their opinions about what the device will actually be able to do. As they figure out what the iPad's capabilities are, I have a very specific question for the blogosphere: will I be able to write interactive multimedia books for this device?


In the keynote, Apple showed off its new bookstore, but e-readers for print are old news, and not particularly what I'm interested in. (Call me old-fashioned, but I'd rather read my Jane Austen on paper.)

A web designer over at Soro Book Design, Jeff Barry, has what I'm feeling nailed. Something new! Something fresh! Something that uses the capabilities of the device!

Barry has concluded that the only way to achieve that publishing vision is to develop an app, and after digging through press on the iPad, I'm inclined to agree. 

Apparently there's a non-disclosure agreement associated with downloading the iPad's developer kit, so it's tough to tell from the outside exactly what it's capable of (apart from the no Flash thing). But designing my own interactive book app sounds pretty wonderful.

How one funds such an endeavor, however, is another matter entirely. Somehow I doubt the App Store is going to pay my book advance.

Circles That Bounce

I had a go at Ben Fry's data sketchbook Processing. I made some circles.

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Not bad, huh? 

The weird Brownian-motion-style jiggling is because of the algorithm I made up to keep the circles from overlapping. It was only so successful. Still, a good first crack, methinks, for someone who didn't really know Java either.

About this site

    Katie Peek is a science writer and astronomer who is figuring out how to give voice to information and data. This web site is a log of her voyage.