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Archives: September 2009

The importance of real-life relationships

Between Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, the hundreds of thousands of online social networks, Skype, IMs, email, texts and of course Google, it’s easy to get a pretty clear picture of who a person is, what his or her interests are and a peek inside their personality.

Except it’s not.

There are so many ways to connect with a person online that meeting a person face to face, in real life, is becoming a less attractive last resort. Even with all the modern conveniences, there are some visual cues that can only perceived through face-to-face conversation.

It’s the twinkle of the eye or the arch of the eyebrow. The stammering speech or the blush of the cheek. Forgive the flowery prose, but that’s what makes humans so damn interesting: the little things that can’t be picked up through online interaction.

A big reason why I’m looking forward to this week’s Online News Association conference is that while I interact with hundreds of journalists, writers, techies and designers online, I have actually only met a small few in person. It is important to get the know the people behind the avatars and the tweets, to understand the personalities that make the web the fun and interactive place it is.

For journalists, it is especially important to get up from behind the computer and meet sources and be reminded of the people who make up the community you cover. There is no use in writing stories or developing applications for people who you only exist inside your head.

We’re all guilty of it and while I’m not encouraging anyone to toss out their Blackberrys, iPhones or laptops, consider what insight or information you may be losing by not interacting with a person, in person.

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5 Ways to take your map mashups to the next level

Quick ways to create a online map mashup have already been covered here, but as online maps become more sophisticated, so are the tools used to create them. The following are free tools that have additional functionality beyond point-and-click mapping, but are still relatively easy to use.


UMapper has some unique and outstanding features beyond the ability to embed custom Flash-based maps. Map makers can create a GeoDart game in which the user is tasked with pointing to a specific location on a map or use the site to create a map wiki that anyone can edit or share. One of UMapper’s more interesting features is the ability to extract geocoded locations from a block of text or web address. For example, by inputting the URL of the Washington Post’s travel page, UMapper instantly created the map below of all the places mentioned on the site.


Vidmap, previously mentioned here, lets users create maps that work in tandem with online video, displaying the location that appears in the video on an adjacent dynamic map.

The process to create a map is surprisingly easy: upload a video to Vidmap or use one already hosted on YouTube and click the map to create drag and drop markers. The result is a map that has an added layer of dimensionality and visual interest.

Batch Geocode

One of the seemingly daunting tasks about creating a map mashup is plotting a large list of addresses on a map. You could save an Excel spreadsheet as a CSV file and import it into any of the online tools that accept the data format…or you could just let Batch Geocode do the work for you. Simply copy and paste your addresses into the site, make a few selections and in seconds the site will list the latitude and longitude coordinates, which can then be imported into a spreadsheet. The site even maps the addresses/coordinates for you in a linkable map.


The great thing about MapBuilder is that while the site can be used to easily create a map in minutes, it’s also able to create extraordinarily complex maps that are no more difficult to create. Markers can include text, photos, video, links and HTML, which can be create using the site’s a user-friendly interface. Because the finished product is exported as an HTML/CSS file, the more tech-minded can add customized markers are change the entire look and style of the map by just tweaking a few lines of code.

Several 10,000 Words maps, including “U.S. Newspapers pick the president” were built with MapBuilder.


Developers looking for even more customization and flexibility should consider CloudMade, which can be used to create simple to turn-by-turn directions to complex web and mobile applications backed by programming languages such as Java, Python and Ruby. As an added bonus, designers who are tired of the same old maps available from Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, can choose from a wide range of map designs that are easy on the eyes.

Also on 10,000 Words:

5 Ways to create a Google Map in minutes

8 Beautifully Designed Maps

Explore the Earth with online maps

10 Mind-blowing maps (and 3 ways to create them)

The 99 Greatest blogs you aren't reading

What’s the best way to keep track of journalism and technology? Read non-journalism blogs.

When I am asked how do I find all the cool and innovative sites and tools featured at 10,000 Words, I quickly reply that I subscribe to more than 150 blogs, using Google Reader to keep track of them all. For the first time, here is a list of many of those blogs and sites, edited for relevance. Most of these blogs have little relation to journalism and cover everything from technology to design to photography and everything in between. You’ll find my absolute favorites and suggested reads at the top of the list and even more great sites following after.

1. Black Star Rising

Advice and opinion on the art and business of photography

2. Blogging Tips

Tips on how to become a better blogger


FFFFOUND! allows users to post and share their favorite images found on the web

4. FlowingData

FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization.

5. Google Maps Mania

A blog that covers all the cool new Google Maps mashups, tools and applications being created by people all over the world.

6. information aesthetics

Collects projects that represent data or information in original or intriguing ways


The best linkblog on the net

8. Mashable!

Social media news blog covering cool new websites and social networks

9. Neatorama

Blog full of random interesting tidbits about life, the world and the internet

10. Read/WriteWeb

Provides analysis of web products and trends

11. Smashing Magazine

Useful and innovative information about the latest trends and techniques in web development

12. The Next Web

Reports about everything that influences the future of the Web

The best of the rest…

13. 1stwebdesigner

A design blog that focuses on web design, graphic design, tutorials and inspirational articles

14. a beautiful revolution

Insightful doodles from Andre Jordan

15. Advertising Lab

Follows the future of advertising technologies and media

16. AisleOne

An inspirational resource focused on graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism

17. Barry’s Best Computer Tips

Computer tips, internet tools and software news

18. Blog To Great

Tips and help for creating and maintaining successful, profitable, great blogs

19. Blog.SpoonGraphics

Design tutorials, graphic design articles and free vector downloads

20. Cartogrammar

A blog about maps and the technology and design that fuel them

21. Chip Chick

Tech and gadgets from a woman’s perspective

22. CinemaTech

Focuses on how new technologies are changing cinema – the way movies get made, discovered, marketed, distributed, shown, and seen.

23. Consumerist

The best blog dedicated to consumer affairs

24. Cool Material

The latest in men’s fashion and style, gear, tech, gadgets, and media


A site dedicated to the craziest gadgets, gizmos, toys, technology, and design.

26. Creattica Daily

Design and creative news

27. currybetdotnet

Search, media, and newspapers on the web

28. CyberNet News

Technology news and productivity tips

29. Death by Kerning

Typography and design

30. Design You Trust

Design blog dedicated to latest trends

31. designfeedr

Design inspiration from a variety of media

32. Digital Amy

A collection of awesome journalism technology tips

33. Digital Inspiration

Technology blog focused on software, tools and web technologies

34. Dinosaurs and Robots

Unique blog that focuses on objects as design inspiration

35. Dirty Mouse

Blog focused on graphic design, web design, illustration, photography, interior and product design

36. Dzineblog

Design inspiration and creativity

37. Fuel Your Creativity

Graphic design blog that provides news, articles and resources for all types of design

38. geeksugar

Technology and gadgets blog geared toward women

39. Gizmodo

Online review dedicated to gadgets, gizmos, and cutting-edge consumer electronics

40. GOOD Blog

Weblog of GOOD Magazine, one of the best resources for infographic journalism

41. Graphic Design Blog

The name says it all

42. Haga clic para continuar

Infografía interactiva y mucho más


Online tips for tech users, designers and bloggers

44. Horses Think

Blog filled with random visual stimuli

45. Information Design Watch

Information visualization and design blog

46. Inspire me, now!

Szymon Blaszczyk’s inspiration log


Showcases design trends in web, graphic design, logos and business cards

48. Interesting Pile

A librarian posts links to things he thinks are interesting, such as lists, games, quizzes, book reviews and neat sites

49. Ironic Sans

Featuring innovative ideas, short films, observations on design, and an ongoing look at New York City in animation

50. Journalism 2010

Where journalism, innovation and entrepreneurship collide

51. Kitsune Noir

A visual collection of random bits related to art, design, fashion, films and music

52. Lifehacker

Tips for making life easier

53. LikeCOOL

The best in gadgets and design

54. LostInTechnology

Online guide to helpful tools and software


Cool websites, software and internet tips

56. Map Hawk

Watching how the media communicates with maps

57. mental_floss

Blog on trivia and interesting facts

58. Ministry of Type

Typography, lettering, calligraphy and other related design elements

59. Motionographer

Showcases inspiring and outstanding motion design, graphic design, animation, visual effects, graphic design and digital filmmaking.

60. MyInkBlog

A resource for all things graphic and web design

61. Nerd Approved

Sometimes ridiculous gadgets and gizmos

62. NiceFuckingGraphics!

Diseño gráfico, ilustración, tutoriales y más

63. NiemanLab

Killer blog about journalism in the digital age

64. Positive Space

A graphic design blog that covers website design, the business of design, design and technology, and sources of inspiration

65. Preik

Design aggregation blog

66. Pro Blog Design

How to design a better blog

67. ProgrammableWeb

Information on APIs, mashups and the Web as platform

68. Quick Online Tips

Technology news, blogging tips, free software, Web 2.0 and how to make money online

69. Random Good Stuff

Random good stuff.

70. SacredFacts

Linkblog dedicated to journalism, technology and new media

71. shiner.clay

Essential tidbits about what’s going on in the music, web 2.0 and design community

72. Simple Complexity

Discussions of data visualization, data integration, business intelligence, and knowledge management

73. SlyVisions dot Com

Blogging and internet marketing tips

74. Smashing Apps

Free and useful online resources for designers and developers

75. Smiley Cat

Articles, tips and tutorials about web design, CSS, usability, search engine optimization and other web design-related topics.

76. TechCrunch

Preeminent blog about technology start-ups

77. TechCult

Internet, hardware, software, mobile and gaming news

78. technabob

Gadgets, technology and home entertainment

79. Technologizer

Personal technology blog


Personal computing and technology

81. TechXav

A technology blog run by a group of tech-savvy teenagers between the age of 14-15

82. The Art of the Title Sequence

Features opening title design for film and television

83. The Big Picture

Amazing photography blog

84. The Design Cubicle

Print design, web design, logo design, branding, adve
rtising & marketing and more

85. The Map Room

Maps, map collections, map-related resources, and material about maps on the web

86. The Popcorn Trick

Interesting links and awesome tweets

87. The Presurfer

Technology news and examples

88. The Raw Feed

Technology and culture blog

89. Twitter: @AudioJungle

Awesome links from audio sharing marketplace AudioJungle

90. Twitter: @brainpicker

Awesome links from creative strategist Maria Popova

91. Twitter: @johnsonLAB

Awesome links from Berlin-based media strategy firm johnsonLAB

92. Twitter: @dujourno

Awesome links from writer R. Trentham Roberts

93. Twitter: @SteffanAntonas

Awesome links from blogger Steffan Antonas

94. Web Design Ledger

Design inspiration, tips and tutorials

95. WebUrbanist

Urban design, culture, travel, architecture and alternative art


Cool web applications

97. Word Bang

Copywriting for the web and elsewhere

98. wordboner

Clever musings expressed through unique typography

99. Yanko Design

Explores the future of technology

Congrats, you made it to the end of the list! Be sure to also check out the blogroll in the left sidebar for more journalism and multimedia-themed blogs.

UPDATE: Here’s an OPML file of the above blogs so you can easily upload them into your RSS reader (created with OPMLBuilder)

Have favorites that aren’t on this list? Want to pimp your own blog? Share it with everyone in the comments.

Also on 10,000 Words:

30 Amazing photoblogs (and a few tips for creating one)
Steal This Blog!
The tools I actually use
How to stay interested in blogging

7 Amazing Twitter visualizations


This stunning video visualizes Twitter users around the world who tweeted the phrase “good morning.” Approximately 11,000 tweets in various languages were collected for the project and are color-coded by time of day. Find out more about how it was created here.

Information creation & circulation, after Twitter

It’s no secret that Twitter has challenged mainstream news media when it comes to breaking news. Exactly how far behind do television and newspapers lag? About two hours and 8 hours, respectively, according to this chart.


An oldie but goodie, Twittervision maps recent tweets on a Google map mashup. The result is both striking and hypnotic.

More Truth About Twitter

If the Twitter community were 100 people, 50 would be lazy and 20 would be dead, according to this visualization based on recent Twitter studies. Subsequent charts reveal that on average 40% of tweets are “inane” and Monday is the peak day for retweets.


Twitter’s public timeline never looked this good. Keep track of trending topics or your own search terms with this online tool that presents recent tweets as a never-ending cascade.

Just Landed

This video piece visualizes Twitter users who have just landed or arrived in locations around the world with streams that plot both their home location and the location where they arrived.


Twitter users can be an emotional bunch and nowhere else is that more clearly visualized than twistori, which sorts and streams tweets by various sentiments, including love, hate and believe.

Also on 10,000 Words:

How to analyze your Twitter followers and friends
Be inspired! 12 ways to find the best in data visualization
8 Ways of visualizing the news
Databases and polls: When numbers are the news
10 Journalists you should follow on Twitter

Where to find the best online interactive maps

With a wide range of ways to create online maps, many more news organizations are using these tools to create interesting and unique online maps. Some media companies like the ones featured below are consistently producing good maps that are both visually engaging and educate readers.

The Toronto Star’s online iteration produces maps using a combination of the Google Maps API and layers, tools that anyone can pick up and learn. What makes the Star exceptional is its chosen subject matter and the simplicity in which complex data is presented. These unique maps visualize a wide range of topics, including obesity, murder, and of course, chlamydia.

Stamen Design

Stamen Design, a technology and design studio based in San Francisco, has produced some of the most visually arresting yet informative maps of anyone outside of the traditional journalism sphere. The company has a long list of clients and an impressive body of work, including Oakland Crimespotting and San Francisco Crimespotting two incredibly detailed, Flash-based interactive maps, and its latest offering the California Stimulus Map, a searchable, visual index of economic recovery funds.

The Wall Street Journal

The Journal has covered a number of news subjects using interactive maps, including regional violence in Afghanistan. The paper, however, sets itself apart from other online maps by making raw data available immediately below its maps. The sortable tables of data can be found alongside projects like “Failed Banks,” “Pressure on the Presses,” an examination of declining newspaper circulation, and “Stimulus Spending by State.”

The New York Times

The work of the New York Times has been featured a gajillion times on this blog for good reason — its interactive online journalism is in a league of its own. The Times staff has produced a lot of outstanding maps over the years, including its recent work on immigration, local homicides and water pollution.

Las Vegas Sun

The attributes all of the aforementioned content producers have in common is a unique approach to existing mapping technology and the ability to visualize information in a way that is clear and understandable to the viewer. The Las Vegas Sun is all this and more, creating a wide variety of maps including a searchable database/Google Map mashup of local crimes, a clever mashup of restaurants open at any given time, an interactive visualization of flight delays around the country and a Flash-animated map of the history of the Las Vegas strip and beyond.

There are some incredible online maps featured here, but there are a great many more that are not. Seen a great online interactive map lately? Share it in the comments!

Also on 10,000 Words:

5 Ways to create a Google Map in minutes
10 Mind-blowing maps (and 3 ways to create them)
5 Online tools for getting more out of maps
5 Interactive maps that connect communities