Sunday, 24 October 2010

Girl of her time

    One of the more entertaining diversions among my workload has been investigating visualisation techniques for large data sets. Without going in to too much detail we have a very large and very dry heap of stuff that can be rather interesting if you pore over it for a while, and part of my brief has been to find ways to bring it alive and engage people with it.
    So I've been browsing the world of data visualisation. And wow, there are some amazingly clever designers out there coming up with extremely cool ways to present data. For the curious, try Infosthetics, ChartPorn and Information is beautiful. They won't change your world, but they might change the way you look at some of it.
    On my travels I happened on the Baby Name Wizard. 130 years of baby name statistics very neatly searchable in graph form. Want to know how old-fashioned a name is? Here's the tool to do it. Jemima? Don't even go there!
    I've read more than one account from bloggers in this sphere as to how they chose their names. This isn't mine, because I didn't really choose my name. Well, I suppose I did, but I didn't choose it, a sub-five-year-old me did. Jenny wasn't such a bad choice I guess, to my pre-school self she represented everything that at the time I wasn't. But just think, had I left it until adulthood, how much more cool a name could I have had as a girl?
    The Baby Name Wizard delivers its verdict on my choice with devastating accuracy. I wonder if you can guess which decade I was born near the beginning of?


  1. I see that my name fell off the radar at around 1890... have you encountered Edward Tufte? -someone pointed me in his direction when I posted up one of my illustrated maps on Flickr once

  2. Lowest ever popularity and unknown! Oh well, they are my names.

    Love the visualisation sites and have bookmarked them for later amusement. Still searching for myself on the relationships chart.

    Strange since this is the way my brain works.

    Caroline xxx

  3. Hmm, both of mine seem to have dropped of off the radar as well. Peaking in the 1960's ad 1970's.


  4. I think the biggest mistake Tgirls make is in choosing a name which would not normally have been in vogue at the time of their natal birth. Names by and large come and go with each generation but some names never go out of style, Mary being one example. I am not sure how I chose my name Shirley Anne. I think it was early last year I came across my names on key-ring fobs and after reading what they said (written on the rear) I bought them. The description for both names was an accurate reflection of who I am. A coincidence I feel but nevertheless true in my case.

    Shirley Anne

    PS I have their description written down on my Blog 'Minkyweasel World' on page a. Shirley Anne

  5. My name peaked in popularity in the 70's and has been in steady decline ever since. Surprisingly, it was barely known in the decade I was born.

    Melissa XX

  6. Seems I was lucky in picking an age-appropriate name for a child of the seventies then. No method in it I promise.

    Was I the only one who sat for twenty minutes trying the names of everyone they knew?

    Edward Tufte? I'll say so, sparklines and Powerpoint! Hadn't found his site though, thanks for that!

  7. my name kind of fell on me. Never really thought much about other ones...

  8. Ooh! What fun! I just spent far too much time playing with this. So what if Jemima dates back to the 1800's? I still like it.

    Couldn't find any "Calie's", with one L, but it appears that two "L's" are widespread over time and the name was used by both girls and boys. It was quite intentional, btw, for me to spell it with one L, even though some of my best friends have yet to catch on to that.

    My parents had told me that if I had been born a girl, my name would have been Sandra. The name, according to the chart, somewhat predates my birth date, but is still relevant for the period in which I was born.

    Really cool, Jenny!

    Calie xxx

  9. My only superpower: the power to make people waste time 6000 miles away! :)

  10. Both my male and female first names peaked in the decade of my birth. My gender may be all wrong, but at least I'm not anachronistic!

  11. I never thought Leslie had eight legs!

    Caroline xxx