The View From 32


APRIL 16, 2007   More below: FLASH CHALLENGER 

What's wrong with this picture?

Plain Dealer graphic on tax auditsA better question might be what's right?

This graphic from Monday's Plain Dealer accompanies an article that explains how new IRS policy makes it more likely that a middle-class taxpayer will be audited.

The left-hand column shows numbers from the year 2000, with the 2006 numbers shown in the right-hand column. So, quick what does the graph show?

Sure looks like everyone's chances of being audited have gone down. But that's not what the article says—it says they have gone up. What this clumsy attempt at infographics tries to show is that your chances have gone from 1 in 377 in 2000 to 1 in 140 in 2006.

The credit at the bottom says New York Times, which shocked me, since NYT news graphics are usually extremely clear and thoughtful. I went online to see the article, thinking maybe the PD had only used one part of a multi-part graphic. Strangely enough the online article has the same numbers but no graphic, leading me to believe that the PD created this disaster, not the Times. It wouldn't be the first time.

[Added April 17] An email from the editor of the Plain Dealer explained that this is, indeed, a NYT graphic that originally ran on pg. C2 of Monday's print edition of the Times. My apologies to the PD for blaming it on them. Still not a great idea to run it.


Adobe vs. Microsoft Death Match?

Since Adobe bought Macromedia it may seem inevitable that Flash will rule the Web in the same way that Photoshop rules the digital imaging world. But both of these applications are being challenged by new Microsoft applications.

Silverlight is the name of Microsoft's new "Flash-killer." An initial MS press release describes "taking the Web’s rich interactive application experience to new levels”  and promises "consistent experiences to both Macintosh and Windows users on a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari."

Silverlight is part of a broader onslaught from Microsoft via Expression Studio, a set of software tools aimed directly at the industry-standard Adobe Creative Suite. From a quick scan of the website I'd say that MS has decided to go after the Web-centric design market, at least to start. Expression Design sounds a whole lot like Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Fireworks. Maybe they're not targeting Photoshop. Yet.

Expression Web, the challenger to Dreamweaver, emphasizes CSS  layout and standards-based design. Kind of amusing given the problems Internet Explorer has created in the past with these. Just for laughs, I googled "css IE hacks" and got 12 million hits.

Beta versions of the software are available as free downloads. Anyone tried any of them yet? Comments?