Recent Posts

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Announcements / Sliver 1.5 and DataTools 1.2.7 Released
« Last post by Ron D. on March 24, 2017, 11:39:12 PM »
Hi All,

Sliver v1.5 has just been released and is available at http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm. This significant release incorporates a number of new features.

Additional features rolled into this release include support for 2D scatterplots with point sizes based on another variable (also known as bubble charts), zooming of the PC Plot Matrix, timestamps/pop-ups/labels in Google Earth plots, mapping of values to strings in PC Plot mouse-overs and Google Earth plots, configurable automatic following of the icon when animating in Google Earth, and much more. You can see screenshots of a bubble plot and a Google Earth plot with timestamps, pop-ups and labels on the features page at http://www.sliversoftware.com/features.htm and details at either http://www.sliversoftware.com/versionchangelog.htm or more easily on page 3 of the updated user's manual.

A new version 1.2.7 of DataTools, a standalone data-munging application that mirrors the functions in the DataTools menu of Sliver, can also be downloaded from http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm. This version adds a function to remove commas in double-quoted strings in CSV files, which are treated as delimiters in Sliver. It also adds a function to extract rows that have an entered Boolean combination of values across multiple columns.

Thanks, everyone, for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions regarding this new release or Sliver in general.

Ron
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Tips and Tutorials / Other uses of range brushing only selected lines
« Last post by Ron D. on February 09, 2017, 11:32:50 PM »
Hi All,

Range brushing of selected lines seems to come up as useful in a surprising number of cases. When I did the plots of outgoing US flights from O'Hare in the Sliver User's Manual and the Features webpage, for example, I color brushed them by arrival delay. However, there were a very small number of them that were extremely delayed (one of them over 3 hours) and range brushing with these included pushed all the rest way down towards the blue end of the colors. So I selected lines in a reasonable range and range brushed those. Then I selected all the unbrushed lines and assigned them to the existing red color to include them in the upper red group.

Range brushing of selected lines is also useful when I want to make both extremes of a variable red, as when a good value is near zero but the values can go negative or positive. In this case I select lines in a range from zero to the positive maximum of the axis and range brush them. Then I invert the axis so the most negative value is at the top, select the unbrushed lines, and range brush those. Then I invert the axis again to return it to its original orientation, and now the blue end of the spectrum is centered at zero and the spectrum ranges outward to red at the extremes in both directions.

Ron
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Announcements / Sliver 1.4 and DataTools 1.2.5 Released
« Last post by Ron D. on January 17, 2017, 01:24:29 AM »
Hi All,

Sliver v1.4 has just been released and is available at http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm. This significant release incorporates a number of new features, most of which were previously leaked at

    http://www.sliversoftware.com/forum/index.php?topic=50.0

Additional features rolled into this release include new Google Earth Connections Plot options to connect pairs of ground coordinates with lines following the surface of the Earth along great circles, or by vertical parabolic arcs above great circles. There is also a brand new Google Earth Pillar Plot feature that draws vertical rods from ground coordinates with optional spheres on top--hard to explain, so please see the examples  :). You can see screenshots of these on the features page at http://www.sliversoftware.com/features.htm and details at either http://www.sliversoftware.com/versionchangelog.htm or more easily on page 3 of the updated user's manual.

A new version 1.2.5 of DataTools, a standalone data-munging application that mirrors the functions in the DataTools menu of Sliver, can also be downloaded from http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm. This version works better with data having leading zeros and with file paths containing a dot.

Thanks, everyone, for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions regarding this new release or Sliver in general.

Ron
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Tips and Tutorials / Range brushing with 16 colors creates beautiful displays
« Last post by Ron D. on December 09, 2016, 06:14:19 PM »
Hi All,

The Sliver 1.3 release increased the possible number of colors for range brushing from 8 to 16. The default was still set to 8 because it takes a practiced eye, really, to follow patterns in the non-transparent plots, and even the transparent plots, of more than 8 colors. However, that depends on the individual, and I generally now set the number of range colors to the maximum of 16, which is accomplished through the Options-->Plot Settings menu selection. I'm usually able, particularly with the transparent PC plot and exported PDF plots, to interpret the behavior of the data with this many colors.

But I wanted to point out that PC plots range-brushed with 16 colors look gorgeous, so if you haven't increased the number of colors to 16 you may want to do that to see what you get when you range-brush different axes and different orderings of non-inverted and inverted axes. Kind of cool, and kind of an artistic way to display your data.

Ron
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Announcements / Preview of Upcoming Features of Sliver 1.4
« Last post by Ron D. on December 02, 2016, 01:37:10 PM »
Hi All,

I just wanted to give a preview of the main features that will be included in release 14 of Sliver, which introduces significant features. It is in the final stages of testing and performance tweaking and will be released around January 1, but since I've found the new features to be very useful I wanted to let you know to check back for this release!
  • Horizontal compression and expansion of groups of axes to spread out axes of interest while retaining all the data. This has been very helpful when inputting data of many variables.
  • K-means clustering and automatic brushing of the clusters, with a user-selectable number of clusters k and the number of those clusters to rainbow color brush (requires installation of the free R statistical software). Viewing the Transparent PC Plot Window after this function, which is automatic, provides immediate feedback on how well the values for k and the number of brushes worked, providing an iterative process for optimizing the clusters.
  • Export and automatic display of 3D plots in Matlab if installed to take advantage of its excellent interactive 3D plotting capabilities for data color-brushed in Sliver.
  • An option to display histograms and means along the axes, with a user-selectable number of histogram bins. I've found this extremely useful to help interpret overplotted data in concert with range brushing and plotting with transparency.
  • An option to center user-selectable axes on their means or on a selected line to show variations from a reference. This dovetails nicely with a new feature to thicken any selected lines in the PC Plot for easier viewing, where thickened lines when exported to PDF are drawn on top without transparency with a thickness specified in a new option in the PostScript/PDF Export Settings. To highlight specific lines in the PDF file previously required manually editing the intermediate PostScript file.
  • An option to manually enter the range for one or more axes. Having common ranges sometimes helps when comparing variables of the same type (race split times, etc.). This previously required a manual process of adding rows to the data.
  • A Google Earth Path Plot option to not connect a path between points lying farther apart than a user-selected distance. This prevents straight-line paths from being drawn between segments widely separated due to hidden brushes, which really helps when creating multiple KML files representing different layers of data. It is also useful for plotting discrete points with colored supports for data that doesn't represent a path but rather discrete geographic locations.
  • An update of the Count-Based Animation window to make the entries more intuitive. Also, including a Google Earth Path Plot in the animation no longer requires that the plot be created in the current session, and the optional line to a secondary set of coordinates can now be rainbow-colored according to yet another variable. Finally, the DataPlayer controls window is more intuitive, allows user-specified ranges on the row rate, and provides options for looping.
  • An option to select all unbrushed lines, which is helpful when brushing uninteresting lines and then hiding that brush.
  • There are no longer restrictions on certain functions that could not be performed after a Ctrl-Scroll zoom had occurred.
I will announce the release of Sliver 1.4 here soon.

Ron
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Tips and Tutorials / UPDATED: Enlarging the size of the Transparent PC Plot Window
« Last post by Ron D. on November 23, 2016, 03:16:55 AM »
UPDATE: Sliver v1.4 now provides a setting in the Options-->Plot Settings menu for specifying the size of the Transparent PC Plot Window.

The Transparent PC Plot Window is an excellent way to view the relationships in the data, as the alpha transparency provides something of an X-ray view that is crucial when dealing with "overplotting" of most datasets. (As a reminder, press H to view the keystrokes for adjusting the transparency and linewidth in that window). Although exporting to PDF using transparency provides a better result and takes much less time for large datasets, I use the fast and easy transparent window all the time.

The transparent window becomes even more useful in Sliver v1.4 (released soon), which offers a menu option to perform K-means clustering and color brushing of the clusters in the data. This feature provides a way to color brush the data clusters other than color brushing using the Grand Tour, which is limited to 9 variables anyway. The transparent plot can be used to view the resulting brushed clusters and to refine the number of clusters k and the number of those clusters to color brush, which are user input values. This clustering process often requires an iterative process of choosing these values and viewing the results in the transparent window.

Anyway, I just rediscovered something I had forgotten about, and it's not in the User's Manual yet so I thought I'd mention it here. The Transparent PC Plot Window is sized just smaller than the main PC Plot window. So if you want a larger transparent window, just make the PC Plot window larger or full-screen and then create the transparent plot. A larger transparent plot can make a big difference in revealing inner structure.

Ron
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Tips and Tutorials / NEW way to set custom axis ranges Re: Setting custom ranges on axes
« Last post by Ron D. on November 23, 2016, 02:55:17 AM »
Hi All,

Starting with Sliver v1.4 (released soon), there is a new menu function to manually enter a minimum and maximum value for one or more axes, which significantly simplifies assigning custom ranges to the axes. The ability to shift lines off the top and bottom of an axis with hotkeys remains and is still useful for fast investigation and selection of data.

Ron
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Announcements / Sliver 1.3 and DataTools 1.2.4 Released
« Last post by Ron D. on October 29, 2016, 11:34:45 PM »
Hi All,

Sliver v1.3 has just been released and is available at http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm. This release incorporates a number of features that I think you will like. These new features are described in detail at http://www.sliversoftware.com/versionchangelog.htm.

A new version 1.2.4 of DataTools, a standalone data-munging application that mirrors the functions in the DataTools menu of Sliver, can also be downloaded from http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm. This version adds a "Sort Rows by Column Value" function to sort a data file by values in a selected column. Sorting can be performed in Numeric, ASCII or Dictionary order, either increasing or decreasing. These order types are described in the Sort function window.

Thanks, everyone, for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions regarding this new release or Sliver in general.

Ron
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Announcements / Sliver 1.2.2 and DataTools 1.2.3 Released
« Last post by Ron D. on July 11, 2016, 12:33:31 AM »
Hi All,

Sliver v1.2.2 has just been released and is available at http://www.sliversoftware.com/download.htm.

The updates include:
  • When selecting variables to load from an input file, users can now save the selections to a file, or load the selections from a previously saved variable selections file through new buttons in the variable selection window. This eliminates the need to manually check off the same set of variables each time a file is loaded. The selections file format is identical to that of the standalone DataTools application, so these variable selection files can be shared.
  • When loading or saving a file, the file browser window now defaults to the directory of the last input or saved file, even across sessions, rather than always starting in the Sliver directory (hooray!).
  • DataTools functions are updated to the latest standalone DataTools v1.2.3, which fixes slow viewing of min/max values, makes sure the functions terminate when returning to the main window, adds new options to some functions, and improves validation of input values.
  • Minor cosmetic and usability updates are incorporated.

For convenience the functions in the DataTools menu of Sliver are also now available in a standalone DataTools application that can be downloaded from the same download page and used for all your data manipulation needs. In addition to the changes listed above, by popular demand the standalone version now allows you to return from a function window to the main window by clicking on the X in the upper corner of the window.

Ron
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Bugs and Errors / Command keys occasionally not recognized in Grand Tour window
« Last post by Ron D. on May 18, 2016, 01:28:22 AM »
Hi All,

I have noticed that occasionally when the Grand Tour animation is launched, the keyboard commands are not recognized in that window so there is no way to control the parameters of the animation. It seems to occur only intermittently, and on only one of my machines. Exiting the animation and performing a mouse-related operation on the parallel coordinate plot restores the keyboard functionality, after which the Grand Tour can be re-initiated for another attempt. Even then, it should work most of the time. It appears that clicking the mouse on the Grand Tour window prior to using the keyboard may help mitigate this situation. I hope I'm the only one who has experienced this.

Ron
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