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February 17 2014

February 14 2014

Heat Maps Reveal Where People Run in Major Cities

Many people jog in places they consider beautiful, but these running maps look more like works of art themselves.

Statistician Nathan Yau, Ph.D., at FlowingData sampled public data records from workout app RunKeeper to map where people run in 22 cities across America, Canada and Europe. The result is a series of gorgeous and intriguing visualizations.

These maps reveal areas with the most foot traffic, indicated with thicker, darker lines. Other, less traveled routes are fainter and harder to see. It comes as no surprise that parks, waterways, and other more picturesque areas tend to be the most popular courses people take. Read more...

More about Data, Maps, Exercise, Data Visualizations, and Running
Global Mobile Data Traffic Set to Explode by 2018

The rise of mobile is still going strong, with cell tower-based data traffic growing 81% worldwide in 2013

In fact, last year's mobile traffic was nearly 18 times the size of the entire Internet in 2000, according to a new report from Cisco. As part of the company's Visual Networking Index, Cisco released its Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update/.

The report's main data point: average mobile traffic per user around the world will grow exponentially in the next five years. In 2013, mobile traffic per user averaged 356MB of data per month; that's expected to reach more than 3GB per month in 2018. Read more...

More about Mobile, Data, Tech, World, and Chart Of The Day

January 26 2014

Michaels May Be Latest U.S. Retailer to Suffer Security Breach

Michaels, a U.S. arts and crafts chain, is investigating fraudulent activity on some customers' credit cards, which the company says may be the result of a data breach.

"Michaels Stores, Inc. recently learned of possible fraudulent activity on some U.S. payment cards that had been used at Michaels, suggesting that the company may have experienced a data security attack," Michael Fox, a Michaels spokesperson, said in a statement to Mashable. "The company is working closely with federal law enforcement and is conducting an investigation with the help of third-party data security experts to establish the facts." Read more...

More about Credit Cards, Data, Retailer, Cyber Attack, and Business
Fitness Trackers Are Useless Without Real-Time, Personalized Analysis

No one has arms long enough to wear all of the activity-tracking wristbands currently on sale or awaiting release. These devices count your steps, measure your sleep and some even monitor your heart rate

But do you know how this information immediately applies to your lifestyle, or what you should do with it?

The services behind these trackers need to invest in immediacy by providing useful information, ideally in real time, so we can optimize our wealth of data into action.

For example, activity monitors commonly use an embedded accelerometer to measure how much a user tosses and turns in the night. Theoretically, that translates into the amount of time he spends awake, sleeping lightly or sleeping deeply Read more...

More about Gadgets, Fitness, Features, Data, and Tech

January 08 2014

These 10 Real-Time Visualizations Put the World in Perspective

It's a big world out there, which means information is constantly evolving — the only way to absorb its magnitude is to view it in real time

The best real-time data visualizations are informative and compelling at the same time. They work to break down aspects of the world in a way that words sometimes cannot, squeezing big ideas into small, embeddable packages, and putting the fast-paced nature of the world into perspective.

Here, we've found 10 of the most interesting and interactive real-time visualizations on the web. Feast your eyes on these awe-inspiring pages for a fresh look on what's happening on the planet right now. Read more...

More about Features, Data, Maps, Roundup, and Data Visualizations

December 30 2013

Signs Of Smartphone Maturity As Holiday App Downloads Slow

The era of exponential growth of smartphones and apps in the United States and other English-speaking countries is beginning to come to an end.

The fact of the matter is that almost everyone in the United States who wants a smartphone or a tablet already has one. The market for mobile devices is filling out at the edges between lower-income individuals and techno-holdouts who are now just getting onto the train to ubiquitous computing. The mobile market in the U.S. is mature.

What does that mean for app developers? On one hand, it means that the installed base of users to download their wares is massive. On the other hand, it means much more competition for user eyeballs, downloads, attentions and overall opportunity.

Data from mobile analytics company Flurry points this out through the lens of Christmas Day. The holiday is the biggest gift-giving day of the year for much of the English-speaking world and over the past several years has been the day with the most smartphone and tablet activations, as people unwrap their shiny new gadgets. In the past couple of years, these people would often be receiving their very first smartphone or tablet ever. The first thing they would do with those new devices would be to go to the various app stores and browse for cool and interesting things to use.

This practice still happens, of course, but not quite like it has in recent years. Many people receiving new gadgets for Christmas are not on their first ever device. Consumers are well familiar with these devices and what they can do. Hence, they likely already have a cadre of trusted apps and services that they will then re-install on their new devices. For instance, if you got a new iPad this year, there is a good chance you just went to iTunes and restored your device from your previous backups on from your old iPad. 

Downloads on Christmas day were 11% higher than they were in 2012, according to Flurry. That translates into about 364 million app downloads on Christmas, definitely the biggest day of the year for app developers. That being said, the rate was down from the 36% growth in download volume between 2011 and 2012.

December is one of the biggest download months of the year for developers, but download spikes for the average December day were only 25% greater than the year before, down from 97% between 2011 and 20112.

Flurry’s Mary Ellen Gordon writes:

The biggest growth in mobile now is coming in countries where Christmas is a less significant holiday or not celebrated at all, so new device activations and app downloads come at different times of the year in those places. And because those high-growth areas are joining an already large global market, overall growth rates are less striking than when the mobile market was new.

The biggest lesson here is that the end of the year is still a big target for mobile developers. The Christmas Day spike will continue to be a very real and very relevant day for app developers. But the maturation of the market and the behavior of consumers is beginning to streamline in such a way that it is harder to break through the clutter at any time of the year. As ReadWrite noted late in 2012, the smartphone app gold rush is basically over. 

That does not mean there is not opportunity for developers to carve out a niche in the app stores. But just like the gold rush in the U.S. in the mid-to-late 1800s, the opportunities are fewer and further between, sandwiched among entrenched interests that got their first and made their mark. 

Lead image courtesy Shutterstock

Tags: Data

December 23 2013

The Average Business Traveler Checks Her Phone 34 Times Per Day

To a commuter, a fully charged smartphone is a pocket haven, freeing her from the world of the obnoxious laughers in row 32, the crying baby next to her. It keeps him tranquil in his universe of Candy Crush and Pandora

No matter how or why you travel, your smartphone is likely the most useful tool on you at any given time.

Considering how glued we are to our phones while on the move, we use up a hefty amount of data. This infographic by Mophie examines exactly how — and how much — data we use while we're traveling.

Obviously, our data usage changes depending on our trip's length and our purpose for traveling in the first place. For instance, 82.6% of leisure travelers use their smartphones "all the time," on vacation. The average business traveler checks his phone about 34 times per day, and 59% say they'd feel distraught, even lonely, without their smartphone pals. Read more...

More about Mobile, Smartphone, Features, Business, and Data

December 18 2013

Making London's Streets Safer for Pedestrians, Cyclists

Five cyclists were struck and killed by motor vehicles on the streets of London in early November. The deaths occurred within a nine-day period, raising the total number of biking fatalities to 13 for the year

In protest, a large number of the city's bicyclists staged a "die-in" last week outside the offices of Transport for London. They lit candles, painted their faces in fake blood and — essentially — played dead on the roads.

Some have argued the recent deaths have to do with the city's bike lanes: narrow, blue-painted lines on the sides of the streets that, like most cycling paths, don't offer any real separation between those in vehicles and those on bikes. Others, like Mayor Boris Johnson, say reckless bicycling is most likely to blame. Read more...

More about Features, Data, Cities, Big Data, and Global Innovation Series

December 14 2013

Under Armour Used Real-Time Data, Display Ads to Drive Holiday Sales

Under Armour has become a sports apparel giant over much of the past two decades. The Baltimore-based company, which has sponsored some of the world’s biggest athletes, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, has tapped into data — and display media — to promote winter sales leading up to Christmas.

Jason LaRose, Under Armour’s new senior vice president of ecommerce, wanted to generate excitement for its product lines by creating “highly relevant and engaging” holiday advertisements that reached far beyond UnderArmour.com.

Days before Black Friday, Under Armour launched an 18-day promotion for its full holiday gift guide using Google’s lightbox ad format — a type of unit that expands into a full-page takeover ad — to attract interest in the brand. Read more...

More about Ecommerce, Data, Under Armour, Business, and Advertising

December 11 2013

Netflix Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Some businesses would love to get basic information like your name, age and gender to better understand how to market to you in the futureNetflix could care less

Netflix used to place an emphasis on collecting these types of biographical details about its users, but it eventually decided the data wasn't particularly useful. "It really doesn't matter if you are a 60-year-old woman or a 20-year-old man because a 20-year-old man can watch Say Yes To The Dress and a 60-year-old woman could watch Hellboy," Todd Yellin, VP of product innovation at Netflix, told Mashable in an interview this week

In recent years, the video streaming and delivery service has instead focused on tracking the kind of data that users wouldn't even think to provide themselves. It tracks what you like and just as importantly, it increasingly tracks what you don't like Read more...

More about Netflix, Data, Business, Media, and Video

November 06 2013

Internet Archive Burns Down, Data Survives

Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library that archives websites and keeps electronic forms of cultural artifacts, lost one of its 30 scanning buildings to a fire at around 4 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 6, in San Francisco's Richmond District.

The fire did not spread to any other archive buidings, Brewster Kahle, the founder and digital librarian at Internet Archive, told Mashable. It did damage a church, business and residence, though, and eight people were displaced as of this morning.

We have had a fire in a scanning center. No one hurt. Our data and main building are safe, and website back soon.

— Internet Archive (@internetarchive) November 6, 2013

More about Data, Fire, Internet Archive, Dev Design, and Us World

October 24 2013

It's Your Data — But Others Are Making Millions Off It

It’s hard to mandate laws around privacy. Privacy is a right as well as a preference, but when you’re in public, precedents have been set as to where you can be photographed, recorded or otherwise tracked. Similarly, online we’re used to signing terms and conditions to quickly utilize a service, not fully comprehending how our data will be seen and by whom.

But what about identity? What are the ownable characteristics of your digitized life? We’re approaching an era when the current Internet economy, based on the "freemium" exchange of data for services, is coming to an end. The evolution is being fueled by privacy, but will manifest in regards to identity. Read more...

More about Advertising, Features, Data, Augmented Reality, and Big Data

September 14 2013

How Online Dating Sites Use Data to Find 'The One'

More couples are finding love on online dating sites, and it makes sense: coupled with the convenience of finding a mate in the comfort of your own home and schedule, these platforms are getting smarter. Way smarter.

Dating platforms are collecting an enormous amount of data about how people look for a partner and what they say they want, especially compared to who they actually want and pursue

And it's only going to get more sophisticated from here — in fact, Match.com has its sights set on using facial recognition technology in the future, which could allow users to highlight the features they are most attracted to so the company can provide them with matches most in tune with their preferences. Read more...

More about Features, Tech, Data, Online Dating, and Match.Com

August 16 2013

Researchers Teleport 10,000 Bits of Information in 1 Second

For the first time, researchers have teleported 10,000 bits of information per second from point A to point B across a distance of about six millimeters and inside a solid state circuit, similar to a computer chip.

Although the accomplishment differs from teleporting mass, like a person — such as that seen on science fiction shows like Star Trek — the remarkable feat demonstrates what could be possible with a quantum computer. The scientists, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, report their findings in this week's issue of Nature.

In their experiment, the team spaced three micron-sized electronic circuits on a seven-by-seven-millimeter computer chip. Two of the circuits worked as a sending mechanism, while the other served as the receiver. The scientists cooled the chip to near absolute zero and ran a current through the circuits. The image above depicts the size of the macroscopic electrical circuits they used in the experiment relative to that of an ant Read more...

More about Information, Data, Computers, Teleportation, and Tech

July 07 2013

Kanye's Baby 'North West' Is One of Thousands Named After Directions

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's newborn daughter, North West, is not alone. Records dating back to 1790 show thousands of parents have named their kids after a cardinal direction — one boy even got South East as a first name and West as a last name.

Sixty-two people have been named North West with the first known occurrences happening in the 1830s, according to U.S. records Mashable obtained from FindMyPast.com.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 10.54.43 AMClick to enlarge text

The family history website also identified a surprising number of occurrences for each direction:

  • North: 3,479 as of July 2013

  • West: 25,993

  • East: 639

  • South: 833

More about Celebrities, Data, Baby, Records, and Babies

June 18 2013

Yahoo Received 12,000+ Requests for User Data from Agencies in 6 Months

Following in the footsteps of Apple, which released a statement about privacy yesterday, Yahoo now released a similar statement, disclosing the number of requests for user data from government agencies the company has received

According to Yahoo, law enforcement agencies made between 12,000 and 13,000 requests for user data between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013. The most common of these requests, claims Yahoo, concerned "fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations."

Yahoo also vowed to issue its first "global law enforcement transparency report" later this summer. The report will be refreshed with current data twice a year Read more...

More about Yahoo, Privacy, Data, Prism, and Business

June 03 2013

Building a Better Pinterest Through Data

"Big Data" is as much a terrifying term as it is a ubiquitous part of daily life. It wasn't always so, however. Until we developed and learned how to use technology that could process and finesse massive amounts of data, we lived in the dark.

And once we could gather that data, we needed more and more people to interpret it

Meet John Rauser, a data scientist at Pinterest. He engineers systems that organize and funnel data through the most efficient company channels possible. Then, he translates the most valuable data into meaningful discussions, essentially breaking down technical stats and interactions into layperson language Read more...

More about Social Media, Features, Business, Data, and Big Data

March 29 2013

Doctors Use Big Data to Improve Cancer Treatments

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is looking to further personalize and improve cancer care by tapping into data from millions of patients around the nation

The organization completed the prototype for CancerLinQ, a "learning health system" that collects and analyzes anonymous patient information to provide immediate feedback and guidance for physicians

Very little is known about most people's experiences with cancer because information is locked in unconnected servers and paper files, says Sandra M. Swain, president of ASCO. Only 3% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials, but that small percentage isn't reflective of patients doctors see every day Read more...

More about Health, Data, Cancer, Lifestyle, and Health Fitness

August 07 2012

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