Monday, March 31, 2008

Heatmap: Facebook Users by State

What with Google's Chart API coming out, and then more recently getting an update to include neat map visualizations, I decided to give it a go and see what I could do with it.

This was what I could do with it:

This is a heatmap of Facebook's popularity by state, based on number of Facebook users in each state (gleaned from Facebook's targetted ads page, as before) per the state's population (2007 estimate courtesy of Wikipedia). Raw data is in this Google spreadsheet.

The top state is Massachusetts (nearly 1 in 7 people!), not surprisingly, but it's interesting to see mostly plains states rounding out the top five (Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota and Missouri).

Honestly, I expected a lot more "heat" along the coasts, and not nearly so much in these generally "red states."

I guess it's the crippling tedium of these plainest of states that entice people to go online to find entertainment. What do you think?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Idea: Gold Mining Cereal

Note: I've been reading Ironic Sans by David Friedman for some time now, and I almost always enjoy his Ideas posts -- they range from really cool and useful to mildly entertaining and quaint, with a few stops at wacky and your local mall along the way. But they're always thought-provoking and/or clever. I humbly submit, my best attempt at reproducing this type of post.

I used to eat a lot of cereal as a kid. By far my favorite cereals as a kid were the ones that included the dehydrated marshmallow bits in them -- Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, etc., because what kid in his right mind doesn't want to eat marshmallows for breakfast?

Now, obviously, there's no way a cereal made entirely of marshmallows would make it to shelves, let alone be bought by sane, loving parents who would have to pay for fillings. So marshmallow cereals have to include some mix of grainy bits, much to the chagrin of sweet-toothed third-graders.

I realized this sad fact as a kid, and thought to myself, if only there was an easier way to separate the good tasty marshmallows from that crappy probably-healthy grainy part, then I'd be in marshmallow heaven surrounded by seven marshmallow unicorns.

So eventually I would either start a bowl of cereal by immediately hunting out the marshmallow bits only to be left with a bowl of soggy grain crap, or more likely, I would bite the bullet and eat the crappy grain part first, so that eventually all that was left was a bowl of those delicious marshmallows. Because there's no better way to start your day than at some point to see a bowl full of marshmallows. If only there was an easier way to fulfill this dream...

To that end, I have designed what could become the greatest kids cereal in the history of kids cereals: Prospector Bob's Gold Mining Adventure Cereal

The basic premise is this: all the grainy bits of the cereal are about half the size of the marshmallows (which are colored gold), and the box will come with a cardboard tear-off panel that has holes cut in it that are slightly bigger than the grainy bits, but smaller than the marshmallow bits.

Before pouring a bowl, the kid pours the cereal onto the sifter, and starts shaking it lightly over the bowl. The grain bits fall through the holes into the cereal, and when he's done sifting, the kid is welcome to empty the bowl into the trash eat the nutritious meal that is before him, knowing full well what awaits him when he's done choking it down: a nice heaping bowl of pure marshmallowy goodness.

Parents are happy because the kid's not talking for five minutes eating his grains, and the kid's happy because he's learning about the economy gorging himself on sugar at 7:30am. It's win-win.

Now obviously there will be kinks to work out, but I think that overall this has potential. I'll tell you this, if I see Gold Miner Bill's Sifting Bonanza on the shelves in a couple months, believe me, I'll know it was you. And I'll be pissed.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Back in New York

So I'm back in New York. I've been here for almost a week now, and I'm finally starting to get the hang of things. Wake up, go to work, come home from work, lather, rinse, repeat. I promise it's not as boring as that sounds, but not by much.

In other news I've taken quite a liking to walking around a lot (speaking of boring things). I think it'll be good for me; It's exercise, it's time to think about stuff, it gets me accustomed to my surroundings, it's time to myself or more accurately on the phone with Lauren. Maybe, just maybe, if I keep this up, I'll start losing weight or something. It's got all kinds of benefits.

On one of my walks today I decided to start documenting my walks around the city in a Google My Map. I figure it might be interesting to take a look at it after a while and see how much of New York's hundred bazillion streets I've been down, and stuff like that. Also, it tells me how long each walk was, which is pretty useful.

And since I'm making the effort to produce this information, the least you could do is consume it, right? So if you want to see it, you can either see it here or just scroll down to see the iframe'd version.

Maybe if I get adventurous I'll make my walks spell out words or something.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007


And it comes with Living Will '08!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More fun Facebook facts

For whatever reason, Facebook Flyers Pro stopped showing user counts for most of the last couple days. But now it appears to be back in action, which means more probably-useless data about Facebook users!

Popular TV Shows

US, UK and Canadian Users by Age Range

For all three countries, user counts hit their peak at 19 (don't we all), but it looks like Canada and the UK have a lot more older users in their ranks compared to the US. Nearly a quarter of Canada's users are over 33. Also of note is the relatively small amount of 13- to 17-year-old users in the UK.

Users in Major Cities in US, UK and Canada

Next I did a little comparison of Facebook users in major cities to the population of those cities.

America's most Facebook-y city is Philadelphia, with 18.1% of residents using Facebook. Second is Chicago at 16.4%, then Dallas at 15.8%. In all, however, only about 6.6% of America is on Facebook.

About 10.6% of UK residents are on Facebook. I also found that there are more Facebook users from the city of Manchester than there are residents of the city proper itself! This is probably due to the fact that a lot of people consider themselves from Manchester without actually technically living there, instead being counted in the Greater Manchester Urban Area. The UK handles cities in a weird way (see here). Aside from this, the city of Sheffield boasts a 45.9% adoption rate, which is pretty impressive.

But that's nothing compared to Canada. 58.9% of Vancouverites, 53.0% of Torontonians and nearly 50% of Edmontonians are Facebook users. 22.3% of the entire country is on Facebook. Way to be, Canada.

As before, you can view/export all of the data used (and some that wasn't) right here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wikipedia: The (really creepy) eyes have it.

I'll admit, I spend an inordinate amount of time on Wikipedia every day. I literally re-enact this comic at least twice a day. And today's Wiki-wandering promptly in a cold sweat shortly after I saw the following fundraising banner:

Seriously, though, click to donate

No, no, it's not the fact that only three people have donated so far (and one of them German!). It's the video that plays when you click on it. See it here but be warned -- wiki-founder Jimmy Wales' petrifying stare lurks within.

Here's what it looks like to have your soul pierced.

And here's what it looks like to have the guy to your right's soul pierced.


I think it's some sort of veiled threat: Donate, or experience his steely green wrath.

By the way, two posts inside of two hours. Now I don't have to post for months!

Update: Now in hi-res for all your Halloween mask needs.