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sudo make me a visualization!

The title of this talk is inspired by an xkcd comic in which someone persuades the other to make him a sandwich by using sudo. On Linux, Mac OS X, and related operating systems, the command sudo temporarily gives you superpowers. It allows you to execute commands for which you need administrative rights, such as installing software and formatting a drive. Contrary to what the comic illustrates, sudo cannot be used in real life, nor can it be used for making (data) visualizations.

Good data visualizations can make us smile, give us insights, and even inspire us. Being able to turn data into visualizations is an amazing skill, but it also requires a lot of work. Much effort usually goes into obtaining, scrubbing, and exploring the data. The *nix command-line, although invented decades ago, remains a powerful environment for such tasks.

The outline of the talk is as follows:
  1. Introduction (show xkcd comic)
  2. A visualization is not (un)like a sandwich
  3. Visualizing and processing data is difficult
  4. Don’t be afraid of the command-line
  5. Some tips and best practices for processing data

By the end of the talk I hope that (1) everybody understands that data visualizations require a lot of hard work and (2) data scientists will consider using the *nix command-line for their next data adventure.


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