Beautiful Data
Beautiful Data

Author: Toby Segaran & Jeff Hammerbacher
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2009
Pages: 480
ISBN: 978-0596157111
Aimed at: Those with an interest in data presentation
Rating: 3
Pros: Lots of varied content
Cons: Little of it either inspiring or essential
Reviewed by: Mike James

This is a very mixed bag and how you react to it depends on what you think a book called “Beautiful Data” might be all about. Given the subtitle of “The Stories Behind Elegant Data” you might expect that its focus would be on data structures or perhaps elegant database design. If so you would be disappointed because most of the book is about data visualisation or some other strange aspect of interacting with data.

If you are interested in data presentation then some of the stories will be worth reading – however none of them make it into the category of generalisable techniques. As a result the main reason for reading this book is for fun or to gain some insight into how a fairly random group of people tackled a fairly random group of projects.

We have something about using GPS data to allow people to log what they are doing and see their effect on the environment. Then something about data collection which proposes the obvious truism that customisable forms are better. Then some thing very technical – embedded image data processing on Mars – great fun but how many of us are going to have the chance to design anything like it. Then we tackle cloud storage, encounter an essay on the role of the “data scientist”, together with chapters about presenting geographic data, indexing form data, capturing real time movement, visualising urban data, interactive visualisation, data and statistics, natural language exemplar data, DNA, data cleaning, data mining the web, presenting housing data, presenting political data and how the semantic web/AI can break down data silos….

As promised the book is a considerable random walk through the less technical aspects of data. If you are new to any of the topics then you might find the comments useful, but if you know your stuff you will probably find the level on the low side. Either the authors are not expert enough to present us with an overview or they are expert enough and try to present an overview in too few pages.

The irony is that for a book on beautiful data it is also spoiled by poor print quality, including in the the colour plates bound into the middle. Beautiful data should at least be presented beautifully. The bottom line is that this isn’t an inspiring book and it isn’t an essential book – it has some entertaining chapters but they suit a magazine format rather better than a book.

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Making Sense of NoSQL

Authors: Don McCreary & Ann Kelly
Publisher: Manning
Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-1617291074
Aimed at: Software architects and technical managers
Rating: 3.5
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank

NoSQL is getting a lot of attention. What exactly is it? Where does it fit in?



D3.js By Example

Author: Michael Heydt
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-1785280085
Print:1785280082
Kindle: B014T58NE6
Audience: Newcomers to D3 data visualization
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Stirk 

This book aims to introduce the popular D3 data visualization framework by means of exa [ ... ]


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 10 April 2010 )
 
 

   
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