Digg reader is shutting down, giving Twitter a try

I’ve used RSS feeds for quite awhile now to keep up with blogs I enjoy. I also use it to follow scholarly journals of interest. Unfortunately, my current feed reader of choice (Digg Reader) is shutting down.

This is the second time my feed reader has shuttered (I used Google Reader before that shut down as well). Another particular problem I never really solved was link rot. Google reader has some metrics where you could see old feeds that have not had any new posts for awhile. Digg had no such service, and I tried my hand at writing python code to do this myself, but that code never quite worked out.

To partially replace this service instead of migrating to another feed reading service I will give Twitter a shot. Twitter is a bit chaotic from what I can tell — I much prefer the spreadsheet like listing of just a title to peruse news and events of interest in the morning. I had been using Google+ and like it (yes, I know I’m one of those nerds), but it is a bit of a ghost-town. So I will migrate entirely over to Twitter and give it a shot.

Presenting at ASC this fall

The preliminary program for the American Society of Criminology meeting (this November in Atlanta) is up and my scheduled presentation time is 3:30 on Wednesday Nov. 20th. The title of my talk isĀ Visualization Techniques for Journey to Crime Flow Data, and the associated pre-print is available on SSRN.

The title of the panel isĀ Spatial and Temporal Analysis (a bit of a hodge podge I know), and is being held at Room 8 at the international level. The other presentations are;

  • Analyzing Spatial Interactions in Homicide Research Using a Spatial Durbin Model by Matthew Ruther and John McDonald (UPenn Demography and Criminology respectively)
  • Space-time Case-control Study of Violence in Urban Landscapes by Douglas Wiebe et al. (Some more folks from UPenn but not from the Criminology dept.!)
  • Spatial and Temporal Relationships between Violence, Alcohol Outlets and Drug Markets in Boston, 2006-2010 by Robert Lipton et al. (UMich Injury Center)

So come to see the other presenters (and stay for mine)! If anyone would like to meet up during the conference, feel free to shoot me an email. If I don’t cut my hair in the meantime maybe me and Robert Lipton can start a craziest hair for ASC award.

Note, I have no idea who the panel chair is, so perhaps we are still open for volunteers for that job.

My experience blogging in 2012

I figured I would write a brief post about my experience blogging. I created this blog and published my first post in December of 2011. Since then, in 2012, I published 30 blog posts, and totaled 7,200 views. While I thought the number was quite high (albeit a bit dissapointing compared to the numbers of Larry Wasserman), it is still many more people than would have listened to what I had to say if I didn’t write a blog. When starting out I averaged under 10 views a day, but throughout the year it steadily grew, and now I average about 30 views per day. The post that had the most traffic in one day was When should we use a black background for a map?, and that was largely because of some twitter traffic (a result of Steven Romalewski tweeting it and then it being re-tweeted by Kenneth Field), and it had 73 views.

I started the blog because I really loved reading alot of others blogs, and so I hope to encourage others to do so as well. It is a nice venue to share work and opinions for an academic, as it is more flexible and can be less formal than articles. Also much of what I write about I would just consider helpful tips or generic discussion that I wouldn’t get to discuss otherwise (SPSS programming and graph tips will never make it into a publication). One of my main motivations was actually R-Bloggers and the SAS blog roll; I would like a similarly active community for SPSS, but there is none really that I have found outside of the NABBLE forum (some exceptions are Andy Field, The Analysis Factor, Jon Peck and these few posts by a Louis K I only found through the labyrinth that is the IBM developerworks site (note I think you need to be signed in to even see that site), but they certainly aren’t very active and/or don’t write much about SPSS). I assume the best way to remedy that is to lead by example! Most of my more popular posts are ones about SPSS, and I frequently get web-traffic via general google searches of SPSS + something else I blogged about (hacking the template and comparing continuous distributions are my two top posts).

Also the blog is also just another place to highlight my academic work and bring more attention to it. WordPress tells me how often someone clicks a link on the blog, and someone has clicked the link to my CV close to 40 times since I’ve made the blog. Hopefully I have some pre-print journal articles to share on the blog in the near future (as well as my prospectus). My post on my presentation at ASC did not generate much traffic, but I would love to see a similar trend for other criminologists/criminal justicians in the future. My work isn’t perfect for sure, but why not get it out there at least for it to be judged and hopefully get feedback.

I would like to blog more, and I actively try to write something if I haven’t in a few weeks, but I don’t stress about it too much. I certainly have an infinite pool of posts to write about programming and generating graphs in SPSS. I have also thought about talking about historical graphics in criminology and criminal justice, or generally talking about some historical and contemporary crime mapping work. Other potential posts I’d like to write about are a more formal treatment about why I loathe most difference-in-differences designs, and perhaps about the sillyness that can ensue when using null-hypothesis significance testing to determine racial bias. But they will both take more careful elaboration on, so might not be anytime soon.

So in short, SPSSer’s, crime mapper’s, criminologist’s/criminal justician’s, I want you to start blogging, and I will eagerly consume your work (and in the meantime hopefully produce some more useful stuff on my end)!

CJ blog watch! Any ones I’m missing?

I follow alot of blogs. Although I don’t personally write alot about criminology or criminal justice related matters (maybe in the future when I have more time or inclination), but I figured I would share some of my favorites and query the crowd for more recommendations.

So a few with general discussion related to criminology and criminal justice matters are;

Both sites are well known criminologists/criminal justicians. I am aware of a few blogs written by current/former police chiefs;

  • Tom Casady’s The Director’s Desk. Tom Casady is currently the director of public safety for Lincoln, Nebraska and was previously the Police Chief at Lincoln’s department for quite some time. Tom is also very active in a variety of criminology/criminal justice organizations (so if you go to a related conference there is a good chance he is around somewhere!)
  • Chief’s Blog by Chief Ramsay of the Duluth Police Dept in Minnesota.

There are also a few that are highly focused on crime mapping & analysis;

  • Location Based Policing by Drew Dasher. He is a crime analyst for the Lincoln Nebraska PD.
  • Saferview – crime, fear and mapping: A blog by a retired police officer who is a student at University College London.
  • Diego Valle-Jones: Although his blog has a wider variety of topics, he has a series of very detailed posts and analysis on violence in Mexico and central american nations. I know crime stats are frequent fodder for generic statistical demonstrations, but this is real insightful analysis. My favorite is his investigation into the validity of homicide data statistics.

Are there others I am missing out on or should know about? Let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions.

FYI – the title of the blog post was motivated by Hans Toch’s new book, Cop Watch.

Connect with me!

In taking the advice of this question on the Academia stack exchange site, Is web-presence important for researchers?, I’ve created this blog and joined several other social networking sites. If you are interested in my work, or think I would be interested in yours, feel free to connect with me in any of these following venues.

Are there any other sites I should be joining? Let me know in the comments.