Author: gregkroleski

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Cribbage Board

The last few Tuesday nights I’ve been working on a visualization about the history of the NFL. This week, however, I don’t feel like fidgeting with javascript, so I’m going to do something different and work with my hands. Innovations Sessions are at their heart about solving problems. Tonight’s problem is that I don’t own a cribbage board. I could certainly buy one, but the pop-out, machine-painted boards don’t seem up to the caliber of my tastes. A cribbage board reflects a lot about a person and so to adequately represent myself, I need to make mine by hand. If you’re not familiar with cribbage, take a second to read up on it. Design Before I start anything I look for inspiration. I found a lot on etsy and was also impressed by this wood burned piece. Being a surfer I also checked for any surfboard flavored pieces and found these two.

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: The History of NFL Win Percentages – Part 2

I’m going to pick up where I left off two weeks ago working on my chart of NFL team win percentages over time. Last week I focused on getting the infrastructure setup, which was much easier than I thought, and walking through a basic tutorial to get a line graph working in D3. This week I’m going to do some customization. Wins, Losses & Ties To get the chart working last week I simply calculated the win percentage for the Falcons for a few seasons and plugged this in. Realistically that isn’t scalable, I’ll want to be able to input data in the form of a W-L-T season record and have it render. To calculate a win % I will count each win as 1 point, loss as 0 points and tie as .5 points. I’ll then divide the sum by the total number of games to get a %.

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: The History of NFL Win Percentages

Tonight I’m going to start working on an idea I had for an interactive chart of NFL win percentages. The idea came to me when thinking about the Detroit Lions and how bad they are. I wondered if they had always been this bad or if it was only recently. (Hint: Always) So I thought it would be cool if I could look and see every team’s win percentage for each NFL season going back in time. This would be something easy to do in Excel or a static charting library, but I’m going to use it as an excuse to play with/learn an interactive data visualization library called D3.js. This is the javascript library that drives many of the webs coolest visualizations, like this New York times feature on NBA shot percentages. I’ll have to get it working first, but once I do I’ll be able to add interaction

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: The Kroleski Family Adventure Mobile – The Sleeping Platform

Last week I wrote about turning my 2002 Nissan Frontier into an adventure mobile – if you haven’t read that post yet, you can go back & do that. This week I will finish working on the raised sleeping platform/storage area. I was able to finish everything over the holiday weekend and even got a chance to test it out. I decided I’d rather work on it during the daylight hours instead of my usual Tuesday night slot. My neighbors probably appreciated that on account of the power tools. I hinted at a design last week and thought I had a good one. Like always I ran into complications and had to adjust as I went. The first requirement was that it be versatile. I didn’t want to build a permanent frame and get stuck with one design. The life of an adventurer is not often predictable. Currently, I use

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: The Kroleski Family Adventure Mobile

I’ve started a new project – I am turning my 2002 Nissan Frontier into a full fledged adventure mobile. This is one of those projects that has a clear starting point but won’t likely have an end. Perfect for more than a few innovation sessions. Though my truck isn’t yet an official adventure mobile, it’s life has hardly lacked adventure. I got it when I was 16. I’ve driven it across the country a few times so it’s been everywhere from San Diego to New Hampshire and to more national parks than most Boy Scouts. It has hauled dirt bikes, surfboards, camping gear, furniture and everything in between. It’s had a good life as far as trucks are concerned, but we’re just getting started. The goal of having an adventure mobile is simple – it should make it easy for our family & gear to get to places where we can

Yearly Focus

Surf Mavericks: Update 4

Stoked! I cracked the four minute mark this week.   Most of my improvement has come from better oxygen conservation. I have been focusing on relaxing to minimize the oxygen I use per minute – thus letting me last longer on one breath. To do this I’ve been working on lowering my resting heart rate and slowing everything down. I think relaxing my brain is the hardest part, so I’ve been counting in my head really slow. I think that helps pace my body a bit as well. I haven’t been able to push any further on the discomfort scale – once my vision starts to go blurry I stop. I think that is probably safer for training, but I’d like to try blacking out a few times so I’m familiar with it in case I ever get to that point under water. Finally, this week I heard of a

Boardgames & Math

Boardgames & Math – Liar’s Dice

For tonight’s Innovation Session I’m going to make a Liar’s dice cheat sheet. This will hopefully be a simple and beautiful way to remember what the odds of a certain bet are at any point in the game – even if it’s been a long night. Liar’s dice is a simple game. Each player starts with five dice, everyone rolls and you take turns guessing the combined dice of everyone, even though you can only see your five. The bidding has to increase so eventually someone gets called a liar and everyone shows. Either the liar or the person that called them one loses and must discard a die. The game then repeats, now with one less die. See the full rules here. Most of the game revolves around bluffing, second guessing and such. But, at the end of the round, someone has to be right and that is always

Innovation Session

Update: Innovation Session Goals

A few weeks ago I wrote about my Innovation Sessions and listed three benefits/goals: train my innovation skills by introducing my mind to new and diverse problems, racking my brain for solutions and to exposing the resulting solutions to public criticism. explore ideas I have for products, visualizations or tools learn new skills and hone others that I do not use as regularly in my day job I forgot a fourth one which in many ways outweighs the other three: meeting cool people. Over the past month I have had lunch, coffee, beers or gone surfing with about a half dozen cool people that I met because of my Innovation Sessions. They shared a common interest, saw an idea of mine posted and were kind enough to reach out. Because of those meetings, some of the ideas might turn into realities. Even when they don’t, which will most often be the

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: The Most Normal State – Part 2

In January I described a project idea for finding out which state is the most normal. Tonight I will pick up where I left off. Data Collection I am going to start by gathering data for each of the 50 states in a CSV – I also posted it as a google doc if you want to follow along. Eventually I suspect I will have to translate this into JSON before loading it into the visualization – but this is an easy way to get started. The first place I am going to try to get data is the US Census. Thankfully they have an API that I can use to get some population & demographic facts: http://www.census.gov/developers/ Unfortunately, the existance of an API is the only thing to get excited about. I got nowhere tonight. The US Census API is horrible to work with. I could be blind, but it took me an

Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Evaluating My System for Gathering Data on Myself

Last December I started measuring a few things about myself every day. Now, four months in, I’d like to take a look at how it has gone and what that data has shown me so I can improve upon the system. Success of the System Over 102 days I completed the survey 80 times. Based on that I would deem the method a success. Any system that is able to remind me to do something and succeed in getting me to do it ~80% of the time is doing pretty well in my book. Pivoting my completion percent by the day of week gave me the following.   The astute reader will notice that my completion rate was >1 on Wednesdays. I thought there might be a bug or double logging errors in my system. When I looked into it I realized that a few of those were actually my