MIT’s New ‘DATA U.S.A.’ Website presents U.S. Data visually to make it “easier to sift through” AND to ENJOY.




Warning: A new online project from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) may just blow you away!

DATA U.S.A: THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE VISUALIZATION OF U.S. PUBLIC DATA” came out on Monday and was announced in the NY Times.  The story is titled, “Website Seeks to Make Government Data Easier to Sift Through“. It does, indeed! The article goes on to show you how it works…

Type “New York” into the Data USA search box, and a drop-down menu presents choices — the city, the metropolitan area, the state and other options. Select the city, and the page displays an aerial shot of Manhattan with three basic statistics: population (8.49 million), median household income ($52,996) and median age (35.8).

Lower on the page are six icons for related subject categories, including economy, demographics and education. If you click on demographics, one of the so-called data stories appears, based largely on data from the American Community Survey of the United States Census Bureau.” (Source: NYTimes.com)

The Website pulls off a major feat in that there is so much to look at (in a good way – you’ll WANT to look at more) but it is never cluttered.

One cool feature is that a small number of ‘suggested’ searches scroll across the search field every 4 seconds ago – if interested in one, simply click on ‘Search’ while the keywords are in the field. For example, ‘computer science’ scrolled across the field for me. That was of particular interest to me because #1 I love computers and #2 my son is majoring in computer science. Here is a search on ‘computer science’.

On the left are other links you will want to look at (if the list disappears, click on the ‘hamburger’/3 horizontal lines)




I typed in 28405, a zip code from Wilmington, N.C. and it brought me to a page that looked like this (cropped here) –

http://datausa.io/profile/geo/new-hanover-county-nc/

Thanks to ResearchBuzz.com for the heads up on this!

Are you a ‘SLACK’er? Not yet? Maybe it’s time to become one. : )




Slack is considered to be ‘Team communication for the 21st century’. THAT ‘team’ may be at work, at school or it may be just friends or family.

Slack is a messaging system which has some similarities to Facebook Messenger or Google+ but it is much more useful.

Add in ScreenHero and you have one incredible tool providing voice, video and screen sharing features!

Here is a brief video that will give you an overview –

Some key features:

  • You can organize your team’s conversations in channels – one for a project, one about a topic, or anything. Everyone will be able to see what’s going on.”
  • You can create ‘private channels’ and invite only a few team members. Everything on the channel will be kept private among that team and in that channel.
  • You can ‘direct message’ a team member directly privately and securely.”
  • You can use your browser, use an App on a PC or Mac desktop, or use a mobile app.
  • You can easily upload files to Slack to securely share them with a colleague, a channel, or a group.
  • You can set a ‘Do Not Disturb

Mentioned earlier, ScreenHero adds a really cool feature! You and another person can share computer screens – I can show you mine and you can show me yours. This is a great tool that can be used for effective ‘Desk Help’, troubleshooting, or for teaching computer skills to another or to each other.

“Slack is a team communication tool that’s not just powerful and easy to use, it’s actually fun.”

Learn more about ‘Slack’ and become a ‘Slack’er!

The SLACK Website

25 Weird & Wonderful Slack Integrations You Need to Try 




Have You Filed your Taxes Yet? You may have longer AND more options than you thought.

Filing Taxes Online - Flickr

Filing Taxes Online – Flickr

Did you know that Taxes are to be filed for 2015 tax year by Monday, April 18th, rather than the traditional April 15th. Here is the reason:

Emancipation Day is an official public holiday in the District of Columbia. It usually falls on April 16, but when April 16 is a Saturday – which it is in 2016 – then Emancipation Day moves to the previous day (Friday). (Source: IRS.gov )

TheFiscalTimes.com lists ’10 Important Tax Dates for 2016′. 


 

It used to be that you had two options – use a tax preparer OR use tax software. Before that you either used a tax preparer OR you wrote down your taxes on forms you picked up from the library or post office.

Now you have all kinds of options! You can still use a tax preparer (a CPA, an accountant, H&R Block, Jackson Hewett, Liberty Tax Service, etc.) OR you can…

I’ve used H&R Block Tax preparation service and have been pleased with the service. For one thing, it helps to have someone working with you rather than you feel all alone in the process. The price for a service can be steep though.

I’ve also used both online and software versions (mostly TurboTax). Each year they seem to get better and better and easier and easier. I’ve actually used the software the same year that I’ve used a service and the results of both were very similar.

I have not used APPS and probably won’t but if someone has very easy taxes, it might work out great.


 

Security, of course, is an issue with any of the choices but what are you going to do. It seems to me the risk is about the same with all the choices, although the risk in each is different.


 

Good luck on those taxes! YOU CAN DO IT!

The Many Colors & Options of GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH

Have you noticed the colorful changes to Google Image Search? Now when you do a search, you’ll see bars or buttons of colors across the top. These are clickable filters that you can select to get more precise search results. (Source: SearchEngineLand.com)

Here is an example:  See the image below AND click here for the actual search.

Google Image Search with color filters

Take a second look at the example above. Another set of very useful features you probably have never used lie beneath the button ‘Search tools’. Options include:

  • Size selection
  • Color selection
  • Type (Face, Photo, Clip Art, Line Drawing or Animated)
  • Time (date which image was posted OR found)
  • Usage rights
  • More tools (currently includes ‘show size’)

One more thing…did you know that you do a ‘reverse image search’ by uploading a picture. To be successful in finding a similar image, it has to be a basic picture without a lot of background and details. It isn’t easy to find a match but give it a try – what have you got to lose!

New Online Map showing NYC Historical Landmarks

ResearchBuzz.me is absolutely the best source of interesting information! I can’t wait to read what Tara Calishain shares each day. Sign up for their email alerts and/or follow them on Twitter 

Here is a great one just posted…

“All of New York City’s historical landmarks (article about it >) are now available on one big map. “There are tens of thousands of officially-designated landmarks in New York City, and today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission launched a fun new tool that lets you explore all of those protected sites.”

Here is a link to the map itself . It is searchable by address.

Enjoy!

Here is an example of an ENLARGED section. Click on a dot or pin for information. (the actual will have clear text)

NYC Landmark Map - 'Statue of Liberty'