Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fayette Co. (Kentucky) Public Schools (FCPS) Salaries 2015-2016

This is part of my #1YearOfViz series! Check out the archive here:

Me when I hit's scraping limit and get banned (again)
I wanted to start this post talking about the problems I've recently encountered was using Multiple times now I have run into the their scraping limit for "free" users and have been temporarily banned from using their services. one time accidentally ran cloud-based scrape as a test but the scrape continued after I closed it so I ended up running a query of a thousand instead of the 20 to 30 I wanted to run. Then this month I've ran a scrape of over 10,000 (their new limit on local clients scraping) in a given month, I was originally told the Legacy client would be allowed to have infinite scraping as long as it was done locally (via their Facebook users group). This was apparently not the case.

I started out looking for a new scraping client checking out several pages for clients to use. But almost all web scraping services required monthly subscription fees, or have no local clients to use for cheaper or free rate. That's when/how I discovered Octoparse!
/\ Me hugging Octoparse!

It is kind of magic! It took me over a week to really learn how to use it, but this is been extraordinarily worth it! The main school and Octoparse are much more tools in imports. Octoparse allows unlimited queries from the local client and you only have to pay when you're using their cloud-based services. Which is the way I suggested import price their systems when support contacted me about my ban from their services.

Hey Octoparse, I just met you,
and this is crazy,
comment my blog,
and sponsor me maybe!?
I only wish I had known about Octoparse earlier so that I could have stayed myself around 12 hours worth of work when I did the West Virginia State salary scrape a while back! what you will be looking at in this visualization is the first scrape that I have completed using Octoparse. The data came out incredibly clean and simple, my only complaint in the export of Octoparse is that CSV export to be not directly readable by excel when opened. It's really a minor complaint next to the awesome flexibility of the product though! Let's get into the data!

I've settled in on my designs for salary-based dashboards with only a single year of data. I decided not to fix it since it's not broke and replicated the same types of dashboards I've done in the UK Salary Viz here and a little bit of the work I did in the WV State Salary Viz mentioned previously. The "Dots Dash" as I call it is really just a fun visual representation of all the people/years/money that goes into something like public education in one single county.

This next one is just Salary Over Time and Number of People Over Time so basically how many people are making approximately how much, how quickly do you see raises given, etc. If you'll notice at the side this viz starts out with a filter of "Instructor" on it to show specifically teachers salaries over time as all teachers (I think) have 'instructor' as part of their titles. You can set this wildcard filter to whatever you'd like (ex. 'bus driver') to see how your or a friend's particular job futures will look over time.

The next story dashboard I really wanted to look at how locations/grade-types pay different teachers. Do art teachers make more at Liberty than at Brian Station? How about music teachers at Elementary schools vs High Schools? Step through the story with the top tabs and you can filter on the right and compare median salaries by location. I'd like to ultimately turn this into part of what I'll use for a future dashboard I'm going to work on that will compare test scores to teacher salaries for particular places... but this will have to do for this week! =D The last little section was just because I was curious how how much principals make in general and I was surprised (and glad) to see they make good money.

This last dash is just the "big list" that a lot of people like to see... if you CLICK on a location or a job title the data to the right (medians/averages of salaries and years worked) will reformat to that highlighted selection. If you click on a job it will not be the medians/averages for that particular school (as each school doesn't have enough non-teaching staff to make that functional) so it reformats to show EVERYONE who shares that job title. You can also filter this list by name if you're looking for someone in particular's salary.

Finally, as the son of a public school teacher let me say to all of you out there doing the work every day...

As always hit me up on twitter @wjking0 or in the comments below for questions/concerns!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Year on Google's Project Fi

This is part of my #1YearOfViz series! Check out the archive here:
Most of you that know me know that I drink deep of the Google Kool-Aid... I've been a nexus 10 owner for years, I've beta tested apps from the Googs... you name it. That's why, about a year ago I was thinking about switching my cell phone service when I realized that they had a no-interest payment plan on their latest phone! I figured I would give the service a shot and see if it was everything it was cracked up to be. This is not as much a DataViz post as it is a Quantified Self post about what I learned while changing cell phone providers.

Also I just SUPER wanted a new phone, again if you've known me for a few years I carried around a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a screen that was more often cracked that normal (thanks alcohol!). Anyway the Nexus 6P was about the sexiest phone I've ever laid eyes on and I figured if Google held up their promises of using multiple networks to boost speeds it might be pretty amazing. I ordered my phone and was going to wait until Jan 1st to turn it on... it arrived and I had it in my hands for a cool 2-3 days (using wifi only) when my Galaxy S3 gave up the ghost and had a major problem with it's motherboard. To this day I think it was just jealous of the new phone. =D

What I hadn't really thought too much on was exactly WHEN and HOW I used my cell service. I kept thinking "I shouldn't really use much 'real' data because I'm always at places with wifi" my apt, my office, etc. This is where I was WRONG. After getting the phone that first day I was really wanting to run speed tests all the time and see exactly what this combined network signal would mean as far as speeds on the phone... but to test speeds do you know what you need? Large data files to transfer. I burned through almost 1/2 a gig in a few hours... I'd only allotted myself 2Gb a month (though it's not a problem if you use more, it just adds to your bill). You see I was coming from an UNLIMITED Sprint plan that I'd had forever and it was pretty rad. Anyway... I've logged my wifi connections via IFTTT for years so I figured I would give it a solid year to look at the differences. Let's get into the data:

Let's just take stock of the positives and negatives:
Super fast = Super Pricey!

  • Positives
    • It's AH-MAZING-LY fast! (see screenshot to the right!)
    • Reception is better in most previously "dead" zones
    • The build-quality of the Nexus/Pixel line of phones is impeccable
    • Initial cost of entry is very low ($20/month)
    • Integration with Google Services (like Google Voice/Hangouts) is GREAT
  • Cons
    • Actual phone call quality (particularly on Wifi) is kinda janky
    • $10/Gig of data is TOO DAMNED HIGH
      • Ex. I spent $5 in a few hours just running speed tests around town the first day or so.
      • I could burn through 1/2 Gb of data A DAY walking to work watching YouTube which, if I continued doing, would have cost me approximate $100/month in data
    • Really paying per gig is almost impossibly hard when you're used to unlimited data
    • Have I mentioned that fast network speeds really only matter when you feel that you're not paying for every Mb that flys to your phone at Mach 6!?

How I feel after trashing a Google Service
What does all this mean? Well... have I had good network speeds? Yes. Has my call quality been good? MOSTLY (drops sometimes, particularly in Wifi calling). Have I had to SUBSTANTIALLY alter the way I think about my phone being online? HELLS to the YES. That to me is the big flaw in Project Fi... The fast access just means that ultimately you're going to pay them more because you're going to pull down larger data and more HD video, etc. If they said something like "OK, all Google-related services are going to be FREE to access..." I could subsist on YouTube and Play movies/music etc while walking around town. Now I see the draw to places like T-Mobile who are bundling things like Netflix and Hulu in as "Unlimited" as far as data usage goes. Don't even get me started on things like image-heavy Instagram and other services that are no longer text based but image/video based only... ugh.

Bottom Line (literally)... Can I recommend Project Fi as a service to most people? Yes. Only if you're not someone who likes to constantly have your phone out. If you're a super nerd like myself and live on the Interwebs... you're going to hate Fi.

As always hit me up on twitter @wjking0 with any comments or questions!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kentucky State Childcare Map

Yes this is actually my niece! =D
This is part of my #1YearOfViz series! Check out the archive here:

Me as a babysitter... also an amazing movie.

I've been pretty busy recently... went to California, hung out in the desert, Los Angeles and everywhere inbetween!

This is a little something I've worked on previously. It isn't much but it's just to get the data out there!

You can find information on what the star ratings mean (4 being the max btw!) here:

The data I scraped was located in their search tool located here:

Let's hop right into the map!

As always hit me up on Twitter @wjking0 with any questions!

So true Millhouse, so true.