[FlowingData](http://flowingdata.com/) has a great [post about learning the fundamentals of graphical perception](http://flowingdata.com/2010/03/20/graphical-perception-learn-the-fundamentals-first/). In particular, the common techniques for encoding quantitative information are ordered by how accurately people can decode them according to William S. Cleveland and Robert McGill’s paper [Graphical Perception: Theory, Experimentation, and Application to the Development of Graphical Methods](https://secure.cs.uvic.ca/twiki/pub/Research/Chisel/ComputationalAestheticsProject/cleveland.pdf). For a lot more information about this type of thing, see Colin Ware's [Information Visualization](http://www.amazon.com/Information-Visualization-Second-Interactive-Technologies/dp/1558608192/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269279751&sr=8-1).
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I'm a software developer focusing on high-performance computing and visualization in scientific programming. I work mostly in IDL, but occasionally use C, CUDA, and Python.
I currently work for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) at the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory. Previously, I worked for Tech-X Corporation, where I was the main developer for GPULib, a library of IDL bindings for GPU accelerated computation routines.
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