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January 05 2012


Feed Your PANDA With New APIs and Excel Import


Last time I wrote it was to solicit ideas for PANDA's API. We've since implemented those ideas, and we've just released our third alpha, which includes a complete writable API, demo scripts showing how to import from three different data sources, and the ability to import data from Excel spreadsheets.

The PANDA project aims to make basic data analysis quick and easy for news organizations, and make data sharing simple.

Try Alpha 3 now.

Hello, Write API

Our new write API is designed to be as simple and consistent as possible. We've gone to great lengths to illustrate how it works in our new API documentation. We've also provided three example scripts showing how to populate PANDA with data from:

Using these scripts as a starting point, any programmer with a little bit of Python knowledge should be able to easily import data from an SQL database, local file or any other arcane data source they can conjure up in the newsroom.

Excel support

Also included in this release is support for importing from Excel .xls and .xlsx files. It's difficult to promise that this support will work for every Excel file anyone can find to throw at it, but we've had good results with files produced from both Windows and Mac versions of Excel, as well as from OpenOffice on Mac and Linux.

Our Alpha 4 release will be coming at the end of January, followed quickly by Beta 1 around the time of NICAR. To see what we have planned, check out our Release schedule.

June 21 2010


What project management software / techniques do you use to coordinate digital projects that cross departments and/or publications?

Projects such as designing and/or redesigning a news website, adding a third-party product (Legacy, Boocoo, Local.com), installing a new front-end system, etc., involve people from the newsroom, the ad department, the production department, accounting, executive management, etc. And, if your company owns more than one publication, you can continually add more "stakeholders" to a project. (Oh, how I cringed when the folks I covered as a reporter used that word -- and yet there it is!)

Short of CC'ing everyone on emails and holding dozens of meetings, has anyone found a good solution for coordinating such projects and keeping everyone in the loop?

I've been looking at project management software at 37signals

Any other software suggestions? Or good tricks learned through trial and error?

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June 03 2010


Interview: Scott White, The Kopernik

The Kopernik is an online marketplace bringing together technology developers, donors and beneficiaries to provide basic necessities through technology to families in the developing world. Online, donors are invited to learn about the new technologies and the communities in need, then donate money towards implementing a specific project. Offline, products and tools created by technology developers and paid for by donors are sent to communities in need. I recently had a chance to connect with Scott White, the Business Development Specialist at Kopernik, to learn more.

read more

May 04 2010

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