It’s all about me. Word clouds.

Like many of us I enjoy things that purport to tell me something about me, even if what they tell me does not seem right. I like fanciful things too. I take Facebook surveys – what color would I be if I was a color? I made that one up.

And I like data analysis and data visualization. Data visualization is the new way of saying that you make your data look like a picture – a chart, a graph, a map overlay, something. You visualize it. “Data” is (often) counts of something, by something – number of sales by product (the oblong widget, the square widget), month and year of the sale, area of the world. You can use metrics other than counts, such as averages. What is the average price of a pint of blueberries in Philadelphia, during July 2014? You get the idea.

A word cloud, also called a tag cloud, is a data visualization of all the words in a document or a web site. Wikipedia talks about this in some detail, and includes a formula – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_cloud. You do not do this manually; you use an application, a program that count up all the words, and displays the words differently, depending on how often they are used in your source. Words that are used more often are bigger and have more prominence on the page. You omit filler words such as “the”, “and”. The goal is to make a pretty picture that says something interesting about the document or web site.

I decided to use Wordle (http://www.wordle.net) to make a pretty picture of this blog. Wordle is free. You can put Worldle images on your site. Most importantly, the images it generates are attractive.

I could not find an easy way to grab all the words from this blog, so I carefully copied my blog posts into a document, eliminating administrative words such as “posted”, dates of the posts, and the words from the columns on the side of my posts. I wanted wordle to work on what the blog was about. I wanted to see what comes up. Will California still be important?

I generated my word cloud before the last two posts. My word cloud captures how my blog looks before July 19, 2014. I tried a variety of picture formats and took a screenshot of the one I liked.

Word cloud of amarez.com, generated by Wordle, June 2014

Word cloud of amarez.com, generated by Wordle, June 2014

Good news – California is still prominent in my word cloud! There it is, looking blue. You can also see that Wordle is not smart enough to figure out that some words are really one word, even if they look like two. I wrote about Palo Alto, where I lived, but Wordle breaks it up into two words, and distributes the words “Palo” and “Alto” on different parts of the picture.

Next, I wanted to see what my resume looked like, after it went through Wordle. I removed my name and address and let Wordle do its thing. Here it is.

Word cloud of my resume, generated by wordle, June 2014

Word cloud of my resume, generated by wordle, June 2014

From my readings, when you apply for a job, you are supposed to generate a word cloud of a job you like, and then a word cloud of your resume. Then you make the word cloud of your resume match the job as closely as possible. The idea is that your resume fits the job, and so people will want to interview you for the job. I do not know if this works, but I understand the reasoning. But here’s the thing – I am absurdly fond of my how my resume came out on Wordle. I can look at my resume and I see what I care about.  I would not want to change it.

It’s all about me.

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2010 retrospective. My online multiplayer world – I come for the parties

Lately I’ve been a very intermittent online gamer.   I come for the parties.  My plan next year is to actually play some games.  Until then, here’s my year in retrospective.

Swing party in the snow, Second Life, December 2009.

Second Life is a virtual world where you build things or go experience what other people build.  This was a party given by people in the Guild of Healers, a small group of people who played Uru and have a location in Second Life where they make things.   It’s a great group of people.  I always have a great time at their parties.   This was a swing party, as in…we swung on swings!  I liked the area so much I came back later and played around and took some pictures of my character, my avatar.  The people who own this piece of land in SL (yes, it’s thought of as property, as land) created this space specifically for the party.

People ask me sometimes if the parties are like parties in real life.  If you know the people from your virtual life, and if the people are sociable, it feels like a gathering.  Good virtual environments give you something to do, something that makes it seem like your persona is there.  There’s music.  There are activities such as dancing — click on something or type in a command and there you are, dancing on the screen.  Some online worlds and groups support the use of microphones, where your voice is heard.  This group tends to use text chat, mostly.  You can text chat either to the group, or privately to a person.

I met these people when I was playing Uru.  The concept of a guild, a group of people with a shared goal, is common to online games.  This guild came from the idea of expanding the traditional guild structure in Uru.

I’m the figure with the cropped pants, flat shoes, and wings, because why would you not have wings?  Even without wings, in Second Life you can fly.

People change their looks in Second Life a lot. It’s a costumey place.  I tend to keep my look the same, now that I found something that suits me.  I got some free clothes (people give things away) and paid a small amount of money to get my hair style and my wings.

Swing Party, Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009

Swing Party. You had the option of wearing a snowman head, a fun if surreal experience. Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009

Amarez, my avatar in Second Life, swinging by herself. Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009

Meditation, Guild of Healers, Second Life, December 2009

I’m not much for meditation, but the group is so nice that I wanted to check this out.  I could use some peace in my life.  In this event, the person leading the meditation used a mike to conduct the meditation.  We sat on cushions in the lovely space, and the sky changed from night to day.  I enjoyed being with the people, but I got distracted.  I’m still not much of a meditation person.  As I stated before, this space was created by the people who own this “land” in Second Life.

Meditation during the Second Life night, Guild of Healers retreat. Second Life, December 2009.

Dawn, Guild of Healers retreat. Second Life, December 2009.

The meditation continues. Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009.

Retirement party for Lord Chaos, Second Life, December 2009

Lord Chaos, also known as Ktahdn (game names) took early retirement from his job.  Sometimes organizations will offer economic incentives for people to retire earlier than they had planned.  It can be a very good deal for the person.  The Guild of Healers had a retirement party in Second Life.  We started in an indoor building in a festive space, then ended up outside.  As the party progressed and we greeted the Second Life day, we got quieter, more reflective.  Changes in your life will do that to you.

Retirement party. We talk and are festive. Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009.

Retirement party. We move outside. Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009.

Retirement party. We greet the day. Notice the whimsical elements. Guild of Healers retreat, Second Life, December 2009

Fifth anniversary radio show by Lord Chaos, Uru, June 2010

Uru is an online multiplayer game.  You cannot create your own content in Uru.  This means that you cannot do any customization for an event.    It is, however, a beautiful space, so people have events and parties in Uru, because they want to.   I’m rarely in Uru, nowadays, but I made sure to attend the fifth anniversary radio show given by Lord Chaos.  Lord Chaos is his game name.

Online radio shows are a feature of the internet world.   People create their own radio shows, their own playlists and private music streams for friends.  Some people provide their own commentary, like a true DJ.   Lord Chaos does that, a mixture of music and commentary. Since you can’t change the music in Uru, you turn the music in the game off, and then stream the radio show from an internet site.

Lord Chaos has great musical sensibilities, eclectic and melodic.  Some shows are dance oriented, some are more reflective, and some are a mixture of both.  It’s always a great musical experience.

Fifth anniversary radio show, Lord Chaos. The Watchers Sanctuary, Uru. June 2010

Fifth anniversary radio show, Lord Chaos. Minkata, Uru. June 2010.

Fifth anniversary radio show. Lord Chaos. At the bottom you can see we are talking, text chat. Minkata, Uru. June 2010.

Silk Road Journey, revisited, Second Life, June 2010

The Silk Road is a collection of trade routes that were used to connect China and the Mediterranean.  (http://www.ess.uci.edu/~oliver/silk.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road, there are many, many other references).

In a previous post, I talked about a radio show described as musical journey along the Silk Road.  https://amarez.com/2009/06/14/second-life-the-silk-road-a-virtual-journey/.

Lord Chaos has done a series of radio shows about the Silk Road.  The radio show is structured as a journey, a trip.  During breaks in the music, Lord Chaos talks about where we are on the journey, the time of day, the weather and how we are feeling.  It’s an interesting experience, very evocative.  It has the feeling of an actual journey.  This was a very long radio show, eight hours, but not everyone stayed for the whole show, and we had breaks in the music for talking and (virtual) dancing.   Second Life is a good venue for this – a virtual stage for the musical journey.  I had a fantastic time.

The Silk Road, a musical journey. We gather around the campfire. Notice the map in the background. Second Life, Guild of Healers, July 2010.

The Silk Road, a musical journey. The setting for the journey. Second Life, July 2010.

The Silk Road, a musical journey. We start to dance. Second Life, July 2010.

The Silk Road, a musical journey. Amarez, my avatar, is dancing. Second Life, July 2010.

Ktahdn dance party, Second Life, July 2010

I went to a dance party in Second Life, at the Guild of Healers retreat.  Lord Chaos/Ktahdn (game name) was the DJ.  We danced from Second Life night to dawn!  To be fair, the day night cycle is speedy, not a twenty four hour cycle, so that’s easy to do.

Ktahdn dance party, Guild of Healers. I’m in the front, the one with the wings. Second Life, July 2010.

Ktahdn dance party. We danced through the night! Second Life, July 2010

Ghaelen’s graduation party, Second Life, November 2010

Ghaelen (game name) completed her dissertation for her PhD.  So, the Guild of Healers had a party.  It was wonderfully festive.

Ghaelen’s graduation party. Ghaelen is in the back, wearing a graduation robe. Second Life, November 2010

Ghaelen’s graduation party. Dancing the night away. Second Life, November 2010

Ghaelen’s graduation party. As we dance, we float! Second Life, November 2010.

There will be another party before the end of the year, but I’ll save that  for next time.

My avatar, Amarez, in the Guild of Healers retreat. I can fly! Second Life, December 2009

Second Life, The Silk Road, a Virtual Journey

In an online world people have concerts or parties in a virtual space.  Your character, your avatar, sits or stands in the space, walks around, dances.  People text chat, which is much less intrusive than talking during a concert!
 
On Saturday I went to a music show described as a virtual journey, in Second Life.   I’ve listed selections from a post on the Myst Online forum , describing the event – http://mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=17608

 

The (travelling) Guild of Healers invites you on a metaphorical caravan………..

through desert and mountain, climbing and descending, to the Mediterranean Sea following the interwoven complexities of the Silk Road. We’ve chosen to meet in Second Life in new facilities provided by the kind folks there, but the music can be heard anywhere people want to meet.

We met in Second Life, an online world where the members design and create the places in the world.  We met in an Uru themed location. Uru is a multiplayer game that was cancelled but still has a fan following.   We sat around a fountain. There was a map of our route on the wall. 

What followed could best be described as a virtual journey in a virtual space.  The creator of the event played music and talked to us as if we were on a journey – “the day is getting warmer”, “the camels are tired”.  The music had an evocative theme – think of a combination of a Hearts of Space radio show (http://www.hos.com) and the music of  Loreena McKennitt. The event creator text chatted, moving us along the route.  The participants also text chatted.  Sometimes the participants text chatted as if they were on the journey.  Sometimes they texted as if they were sitting around the fountain.  Sometimes they texted as if they were in front of their computer.  People welcomed other people, asked about something, made a comment on the journey, said they had to leave to do something in the real world, made a joke, talked about technical problems in Second Life (“sorry, I crashed”).  This is my favorite way to act in a virtual space, a way that seems most natural.  You act as if you are in a virtual space, but you also act as if you aren’t.

This type of event is very difficult to do well.  Aside from it being a pretend journey in a pretend space, the event was designed to be serious, which is hard to do well. It could have been a pretentious disaster.  It could have been boring.  It wasn’t either – it was spectacular!  In some way it felt like you were both sitting around a fountain and on a magical journey in a caravan on the Silk Route.

Here are some pictures.

Second Life - The Silk Route Musical Journey, June 2009

Second Life - The Silk Route Musical Journey, June 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Second Life - event view from further away, June 2009

Second Life - event view from further away, June 2009