Alexandra Carmichael

Alexandra Carmichael

Announcing New QS Europe Conference Talks!

There are just 22 days left until the QS Europe 2013 Conference in Amsterdam! Here are all of the remaining talks and sessions that we have scheduled so far. Check them out below, and the full program online here and here. Hope to see you there!

New Show&Tells
QS Techniques in the Context of CBT and Personal Development (Michael Kazarnowicz)
Sleep, Fitness, and Weight Loss (Jasper Philipp Kalwies)
Habit Tracking (Ioan Mitrea)
Life-Logging using Spreadsheets (Phil von Stade)
Tracking Time (Florian Schumacher)
Activity Tracking (Arne Tensfeldt)
Meditation and Brain Function (Peter Lewis)
Stress Tracking (Steven Jonas)
Memetics (Stuart Calimport)
This Is What I Ate (Ellis Bartholomeus)

QS Data and Identity (Sara Watson)
The Internet of Things (Charalampos Doukas)
A healthy lifestyle through technology, science and fun (Martijn de Groot)
Folksonomy – classification by machine vs. humans (Sebastien Chastin)
QS, technology, and learning (Hans de Zwart)
Tracking Sleep (Christel De Maeyer)
QS and Citizen Science (Maneesh Juneja)

Office Hours
Stress-monitoring shirt Chillhug (Anja Hertenberger & Helene Timmers)
Elderly monitoring (Homer Papadopoulos)
Sensors and alrogithms for physical activity (Marco Altini)
Zenobase (Eric Jain)
Mood tracking at work (Veronica Rivera)
BodyTrack and Fluxtream (Anne Wright & Candide Kemmler)
Limeade (David Reeves)
Stress monitoring (Vishal Sisodia)
In The Flow app (Giorgio Baresi)
Self-tracking projects and awareness (Danielle Roberts)
From Quantification to Information using AI (Ivana Case)
UnFrazzle (Rajiv Mehta)

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Announcing New Talks for QS Europe Conference!

The QS Europe 2013 Conference in Amsterdam is one month away! Here are some more of the awesome talks and sessions that will be given by QS community members. Check them out below, and please remember to register soon if you’d like to come – there are only a few tickets left. Hope to see you there!

New Show&Tells
Using Data to Hack My Habits and Whip Up My Willpower (Mark Leavitt)
Tracking Puns (J. Paul Neeley)
Three Years of Tracking Sleep (Christel De Maeyer)
Daily Rhythm Tracking with Nike+ Fuelband (Eric Boyd)
Tracking Relationships (Fabio Ricardo dos Santos)

QS Privacy and Security (James Burke)
Activity Trackers (Michael Kazarnowicz)
QS and Longevity (Clement Charles)
From Quantified Self to Quantified Us/Communities: Our Future in Group Minds (Yuri van Geest)
QS Researchers and Scholars Gathering (Jakob Larsen, Dorien Zandbergen)

Ignite Talks
Insights from Tracking Walking Patterns (Per Sandholm)
Fun with Fitbit (Joost Plattel)
AchieveMint (Luca Foschini)
Momento (Oliver Waters)
Addressing Practical Needs of the Elderly (Homer Papadopoulos)

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Beau Gunderson on Quantifying Chrome Tabs

Beau Gunderson lives inside his browser and struggles with distractions, so he wrote a Chrome extension to quantify his browser usage. He learned that he visits about 500 websites a day, sometimes has up to 100 tabs open, and occasionally declares “tab bankruptcy.” Check out Beau’s revealing story in the video below. (Filmed by the San Francisco QS meetup group.)

Beau Gunderson – Quantifying Chrome Tabs from Gary Wolf on Vimeo.

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Jae Osenbach: Having My Chocolate and Eating It Too

Jae Osenbach LOVES chocolate. Unfortunately, her body does too. She decided to go on a calorie-restricted diet of 1200 calories a day for 6 weeks and track her weight loss. In the lively video below, Jae talks about her experiments with nuts vs. no nuts and chocolate vs. no chocolate, and her surprising T-test results. She has also kindly posted her slides and instructions for how to add an analysis toolpak to Excel. Hooray for chocolate! (Filmed by the Seattle QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

Jae Osenbach: Having My Chocolate and Eating It Too (Seattle) from David Reeves on Vimeo.

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Sneak Peek of QS Europe Conference Program

Only two months to go until the QS Europe 2013 Conference in Amsterdam! So we thought we’d release part of the program of awesome talks and sessions that will be given by QS community members. Check it out below, and please remember to register soon if you’d like to come – there are only 100 tickets left. Hope to see you there!

The four general themes of the conference will be:
- Lifelogging
- Self-measurement for Health
- Open Data
- Emotion, Relationships, and the Brain

Here are some of the sessions scheduled so far:

The Effects of Reintroducing Carbs into a Paleo Diet (Winslow Strong)
Hypertension Experiments (Candide Kemmler)
Tracking My Happiness (Stephen Rogers)
Visualizing Physiological Data from Social Situations (Rain Ashford)
Optimizing my Parkinson’s Medication (Sara Riggare)
Tracking All the Books I’ve Read (Rajiv Mehta)

Breath Tracking (Danielle Roberts)
EEG 101 (Martin Sona and Richard Ryan)
QS and Mental Health (Rutger Goekoop)
Privacy Laws and Norms (Heather Patterson)
A Quantified Self Scientific Journal? (Daniel Gartenberg)
QS APIs (Eric Jain)

Ignite Talks
Tools and Methods for 24/7 Tracking (Randy Sargent)
Dream Tracking (Luca Mascaro)
Quentiq for Behavior Change (Yago Veith)
Health Self-Management (Marco Altini)
In the Flow app (Giorgio Baresi)
BodyTrack and Fluxtream: Open Source Tools for Health (Anne Wright)

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Recap of Louisville QS Winter Meetup

This is a guest post from Chris Hall, organizer of QS Louisville. Thanks Chris!!

Quantified Self Louisville Winter Meetup

Coming off of a Sunday morning spread of our last QS Louisville event, in the Louisville Courier Journal, we threw another Quantified Self Meetup just last Wednesday. This time we were in the World Headquarters of the Beam Bluetooth Toothbrush. I roped Alex Frommeyer, Beam Brush CEO, into becoming a co-organizer with me and together we were unstoppable in tapping into the Louisville Metro’s thirst for quantifying their lives. Here’s the Insider Louisville article talking up the event beforehand to prove it.

I actually shot video of all three speakers, but am running into technical difficulties in post production, so I figured I’d get the post up first and possibly follow with the videos as time permits… In the meantime, here’s is what we discussed last Wednesday:


We totally had Mark Gehring co-founder of Asthmapolis in the house, as he was in town giving a preliminary update on the Louisville Smarter Cities initiative we have going on here between the City, IBM and Asthmapolis.  Mark is a great guy who gave an really inspiring talk on how both use of rescue inhalers has decreased and asthma free days have increased, on average, from month one to month two of the program. A super cool byproduct of this effort is the ability to have the data mapped to look for areas of interest, geographically, and try to gain more of an understanding of how our natural and man made surroundings interact to affect air quality.

Asthmapolis Map of Louisville's Air Quality via Inhaler Use


Next up we had Wes Brooks, an engineering student at the University of Kentucky, who made the trek to present on a project he is working on called Pivott, a way for people to answer their health related questions using various sources of data so that they may take action on their health. Wes’ project stems from his love for Quantified Self and his interest in understanding exactly what he can do to prevent adverse health affects that seem to run in his family. Wes contends that there are a lot of opportunities to look at data, but he aims to solve the interpretation of that data to answer practical health questions.

Wes Brooks Pivott slide showing all of the dashboards out there.


I brought up the rear to talk about something I’ve been doing since the Quantified Self Global Conference last September… and that is Risk Logging with my friend, Dr. Gareth Holman. When Gareth and I met up for beers at the conference, he introduced me to FAP, Functional Analytical Psychotherapy, as a way to measure and (hopefully) increase the risks that I take, because that was of interest to me. We use a three point scale to rate daily risks and track points divided by points possible each week to come up with a weekly score. This weekly score, then, can be averaged monthly and that gives me a baseline of month one followed by the average scores of subsequent months. It turns out that over a four month time period, I have increased my average risks taken by 26%. True story.  But more importantly, it is now becoming second nature to push myself to do things that I normally would not do.


Call me biased, but I thought this was a great event. I’m inspired by the new people I was able to meet  and talk with and it is looking like there is a general interest in QS among Louisvillains. Alex and I will put another QS Meetup together in mid to late spring and I’m pumped to get more people in front of the group so that we may learn from their experiences.

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Exploring the Future of Mood Tracking (Get Your Mood On: Final Part)

Welcome to the sixth and final part of the QS book on mood tracking that Robin Barooah and I wrote. This chapter has some thoughts on what the future of mood tracking might look like. Thanks for being on this journey with us!

At this point, you should have a good understanding of the nuances and methods of tracking mood. You could stop reading here and be well-versed and ready to go. If you want a peek into some possible new ways to track mood in future, read on.

Passive Body Position and Movement

What if your mood could be measured without you having to do anything or enter any data? Would this be helpful, or is the act of reflecting on your mood the useful part? We mentioned a few existing examples earlier, like tracking what music you listen to, and your voice patterns. Here are a few other efforts happening:

A sensor called LUMOback can be stuck on your back to detect your posture throughout the day and report to you via your smartphone if you are slouching. They don’t specifically talk about mood tracking as an application for this, but posture is a known sign of mood. When we’re depressed, we don’t stand up tall.

Other experimental ways to passively capture mood include keystroke logging, which involves detecting how quickly and actively you are typing on your keyboard, and using your webcam to take random pictures or continuous video of yourself while you’re at your computer. Moritz Stefaner did a project in which he automated hourly webcam pictures of himself. He then had 13585 of the pictures analyzed for mood, with the following result.


A lot of his “sad” photos are really just him concentrating, mislabeled as sadness. but Moritz’s project shows the potential power of the cheap, universally available webcam as a passive mood tracking device.

Reverse Mood Tracking

A fascinating way of using mood tracking in a clinical setting has been pioneered by Dr. Alan Greene. He was kind enough to share his story with us here:

“Most mood trackers I know tend to notice, record, and track their moods in order to gain insights about themselves. I’ve come to also do the reverse: track my moods to gain insight about others.

It all started when I walked through a door.

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Recap of the First Melbourne QS Meetup

This is a guest post from Philip Goebel of Melbourne, Australia. Thanks Phil!

photo 5

On January 30th, QS Melbourne held its first Show & Tell. It was on Melbourne University campus, with the space being organized by the university’s Interaction Design Lab and some light snacks and drinks for the audience provided by the Health and Biomedical Informatics Research Unit.

After a short round of introductions, our first presenter Paul Kittson (co-organizer of QS Melbourne) started the Show & Tell. Paul talked about his struggle with chronic knee pain. After visiting multiple health professionals, a physiotherapist suggested starting a pain journal to track the pain. Paul followed this advice and began regularly tracking his pain along with a note about his activity, using old-fashioned pen and paper. This led to surprising insights about what was aggravating his knee pain, resulting in a reduction of self-limiting behaviour and eventually leading to the cessation of chronic pain symptoms.

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Mood Sharing and Experimentation (Get Your Mood On: Part 5)

Welcome to part 5 of the QS book on mood tracking that Robin Barooah and I wrote. This chapter has some tips that we’ve found helpful for getting started with mood tracking. Enjoy!

Once you’ve been tracking mood for a while, and have a good baseline established, it’s time to play. What if you could influence the factors that shape your mood? What if you had a trusted buddy to confide in, to make your tracking more robust? If we know ourselves better, we can make choices that help us to make the most of our lives. We’ll explore how and why to experiment with and share your mood in this chapter.

There’s a concept called heutagogy that applies nicely to self-tracking activities. Heutagogy is basically the idea that people direct their own learning, using personal experiences to update their models of themselves and the world around them. Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon, who came up the term, write that “people only change in response to a very clear need… involving confusion, dissonance, fear, or intense desire.”

At Quantified Self, we usually see intense desire as a motivator, but fear creeps in too, often for health concerns. If you do want to change your mood, it’s helpful to know how others with similar motivations have gone about doing it, to get some ideas and approaches to adapt to your needs.

Mood Experiments

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DIY Mood Tracking (Get Your Mood On: Part 4)

Welcome to part 4 of the QS book on mood tracking that Robin Barooah and I wrote. This chapter has some tips that we’ve found helpful for getting started with mood tracking. Enjoy!

The excitement of starting a tracking project can lead to a classic newbie behavior of tracking too many things at once. This can get tiring and confusing, so it’s important to be mindful of keeping it simple and not overdoing it. This chapter offers some tips and insights for getting started with the practicalities of mood tracking.

Keep it Simple
Ernesto Ramirez of Quantified Self Labs wrote a “QS 101” post on lessons learned from self-tracking:

“Lesson #1: Something is better than nothing. Engaging yourself in some experiment, no matter how flawed it may be, is better than never starting. The best way to learn is to do. So go out and do something!

Lesson #2: When you decide to start something, try and do the simplest thing that you think might give you some insight. It’s great to have ambitious ideas, but keeping it simple ensures your experiment is manageable.

Lesson #3: Mistakes are worthwhile. Some of our best knowledge comes from learning from our failures, so don’t be afraid of failing. By keeping it simple you also keep the mistakes small and manageable.

Lesson #4: Seek help from others. We have a great network of individuals around the world who are ready and willing to help you on your tracking journey. Find a Quantified Self meetup in your area and don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

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