Ernesto Ramirez

Ernesto Ramirez

What We Are Reading

On with the links!


Get your electronic health record: It’s your right by Lisa Zamosky. Make sure to know your rights when you ask for your medical records. A good overview of the regulations and some good links to have in your arsenal.

Open Data Rockstar: Jennifer Pahlka by Maria Renninger. We’re big fans of what Code for America is doing to make open data useful for people in communities around the United States. Great to hear a bit from Executive Director.

Awash in Data, Thirsting for Truth by Margaret Sullivan. The public editor for the New York Times goes deep on how data can be used, and sometimes abused, in the new era of data-driven journalism.

Meet the Hackers Who Are Decrypting Your Brainwaves by Sean Captain. I’m fascinated by the growing presence of brain tracking devices out there. Great to see some grassroots groups looking to make sense of all that data.

When Discrimination Is Baked Into Algorithms by Lauren Kirchner. The code that governs our machines are written by people. Fallible people who have their own opinions and biases. Who make mistakes. But what kind of legal protections are needed when discrimination is the result of the computers that run that code?

589aef6f-86b9-4a43-8919-551427cbaa7a-620x313 Why your bathroom scales are lying to you and how to find your true weight by Martin Robbins. Brilliant and fascinating post by Martin Robbins, who weighed himself every hour over a three-day period.

Soylent: What Happened When I Went 30 Days Without Food by Josh Helton. Say what you will about the techno-utopian food replacement product, but this is a great write-up on a month-long experiment to live off the stuff even while running nearly 70 miles per week. (Don’t forget to check out the data!)


open_jamierubin_net_v8_heatmap_html A Heatmap of Over 900 Days of Writing Data from My Google Docs Writing Tracker by Jamie Todd Rubin. Jamie shows us the data from the last two and a half years of tracking his writing.

From the Forum
Can You Quantify Inner Peace?
Psych Graduate Student Interested in QS Research

This Week on
Announcing the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference Program
Track HRV, Make a Dashboard, and Have Fun with Fitbit at QSEU15

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Track HRV, Make a Dashboard, and Have Fun with Fitbit at QSEU15


We just published a preview of our program for the upcoming 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference. This year we’re experimenting with some new “how-to” sessions to help everybody learn something new and apply right away in their self-tracking practice.

We’re thrilled to have ten how-to  sessions on the program. From spaced repetition, to heart rate variability, and tracking sneezing (really!), these sessions also give you a chance to learn directly from some of the most pioneering and experienced participants in the global Quantified Self community. You can see the full schedule in our just-posted preliminary program.

Tickets are almost sold out, so if you want to come this is the last week to register!

Posted in Conference, QSEU15 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!

Doctors voice concerns over plan for greater patient access to medical records by Dennis Campbell. England’s National Health Service is planning giving patients access to medical records by 2018. Additionally, they’re creating means to for patients to read and add to their doctor’s notes. Of course, some physicians are saying this might not be the best idea.

Counting the Miles: Thomas Jefferson’s Quest for an Odometer by Jennifer Harbster. Thomas Jefferson was well known for his interest in measuring and keeping track of important information. This fun article details his near obsession with being able to track how far his carriages traveled.

Helping Teachers and Schools Run Experiments by Tom Vander Ark.

Teachers are scientists, they’ve always experimented. Most of the time it’s informal, “Let’s try a new behavior management routine.” Or, “Watch this video tonight and we’ll discuss it in the morning.” Or, “Let’s try a really hard problem.”

What if we gave teachers, and whole schools, the chance to run experiments of their own or to join larger trials? What if they had access to better measures and powerful analytics?

Transform Your Eating: A Start-to-Finish Guide to Tracking Your Food by Stephanie Lee. Great overview by Stephanie here, who has covered some QS topics in the past, on how to get started with tracking your food. Lots of good tips in this article.

iMore survey shows ultra-high levels of Apple Watch usage by Rene Ritchie. iMore collected survey responses from over 8,000 Apple Watch users and compiled the results. Some interesting stats in here! For instance, according to their data over 70% of the sample stood up after receiving a “stand up” alert.

tumblr_inline_nu0byhQvc61szhymg_1280 Quantifying & Hacking Focus – 2 Months In by Justin Lawler. Justin has been exploring how to better understand focus and concentration for the last few months. In this update, he talks about his Quantified Mind data and what he’s learned so far. (Note: Justin will be giving a show&tell talk at our QS Europe Conference on September 18th and 19th. Tickets are still available. Register today!)

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 10.58.01 AM My Working Pulse by Victor Pascual Cid. Victor used a simple open source keylogger to track how he was using his computer.


Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.01.08 AM The Data of Long Distance Lovers. A fantastic analysis of text messaging data between to individuals.

This Week on
QSEU15 Preview: Putting Physiological Signals into Pictures
QSEU15 Preview: Why Should I Share My Data?
QS Europe Preview: Using Genetic Data for Recovery from Injury
QS Europe Preview: Where does your time go?

And now for a bit of fun:
Consider filling out this fun survey from the Internet’s favorite geek comic artist - The XKCD Survey!

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

QSEU15 Preview: Why Should I Share My Data?

Breakout Raj Mehta

Everyone is asking you to share your data, but what’s in it for you?

At the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference open data activist Theo Scholl is leading an lively breakout discussion on the frontiers of data sharing: What kind of benefits make it worthwhile to share data? What’s most important: money, services, tools, altruism, participation, or data from others to exchange? Come join us to help advance what’s turning into a global conversation about how data flows, why, and to whom?

If you have an interest in data sharing for personal and public benefit, please join us!



Posted in QSEU15 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!


Cell Phones Help Track Flu on Campus by Karl Bates. In 2013, Duke University students participated in a unique research trial to track the spread of influenza. Using sensors from their mobile phones and a few medical tests, researchers were able to see how personal habits and their social networks affected who got the flu.

How San Diego is Using Big Data to Improve Public Health by Mallory Pickett. A nice article here on some new research efforts being led by our friends at the University of California, San Diego.

“You Get Reminded You’re a Sick Person”: Personal Data Tracking and Patients With Multiple Chronic Conditions by Jessica S Ancker and colleagues. A very interesting research study examining the role of self-tracking and health technology in the lives of individuals with chronic conditions.

Next Steps in Developing the Precision Medicine Initiative by DJ Patil & Stephanie Devaney. After a few months of meetings and feedback, the folks helping steer the Precision Medicine Initiative are looking for new ideas and leading examples.


0*7MPPXFrgXIfXEi06 My 40-Day Journey into Meditation with Muse (the brain-sensing headband) by Kal Mokhtarzada. An interesting post examining meditation and the data provided by the Muse. Kal dives deep into his data, and gives a few examples of why things tended to work, and when they didn’t.


6713040-3x2-940x627 What reporter Will Ockenden’s metadata reveals about his life by Will Ockenden and Tim Leslie. A fascinating look into what you can learn from someone just from the metadata their phone collects.



RW_Dating 8 Years of Dating Data by Robin Weis. Robin details her dating history, starting when she was 15, in this wonderful visualization.


image02 See it, believe it: The Web Visualization Library by Jasper Speicher. Our friends over at Open mHealth are building a great set of open source tools to work with personal health data. In this post, they describe why they built their visualization library.

From the Forum

Cholesterol Monitoring
Sleep Tracker and Sleepwalking


Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Have you registered for our 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference? If not, this weekend is your last chance to take advantage of our special early bird rate (€149!). We’d love to see you there so register today!

Our friends at Oura are currently crowdfunding their amazing heart rate, sleep, and activity tracking ring. Check out their Kickstarter to learn more.

Now, on with the show!

You may just have updated the map with your RunKeeper route by Alex Barth. Short post here describing a fascinating use of publicly available data from Runkeeper users around the world.

A Six Month Update on How We’ve Been Using Data, and How it Benefits All Americans by DJ Patil. A nice update on some of the current initiatives being championed at the federal level to make data more available and beneficial for all Americans. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Discovering Google Maps New Location History Features by Mark Krynsky. Mark walks us through the new features embedded within Google Maps and Location tracking. Want to find out where you spend most of your time or how often you visit your favorite coffee shop? Google may already know!

Drowning in Data, Cities Need Help by William Fulton.

No city government, university or consulting firm can possibly figure out how best to use all the data we now have. The future lies in having everybody who understands how to manipulate data — from sophisticated engineering professors to smart kids in poor neighborhoods — mess around with it in order to come up with useful solutions.

Just Talking with Maggie Delano by Christopher Snider. Take a listen to a great conversation with our friend and QS Boston and QSXX organizer, Maggie Delano. Well worth your time.


1112195 HRV Measurements: Paced Breathing by Marco Altini. Marco is back at it again with a in-depth post about his experiments on how breathing rate affects HRV and heart rate measurements. Starting with a great review of the current literature, he then dives in to his own data and what he’s found through various experimental protocols.


tumblr_inline_n4fxiifr6T1r6gaqp Resuming Quantified Self Practices by Emily Chambliss. A short post here on using Excel to track and understand food consumption. Make sure to check out the slides from a talk she gave in 2012 at a New York QS Meetup.


9aXr5Mm My Sleep Quality of the last 2 Years by Reddit user Splitlimes. A beautiful visualization of just over two years of sleep data tracked with the Sleep Cycle app.


3 - nqfnVD8 Time-histogram of 10 Million Key Strokes by Reddit user osmotischen.

These are plots of 10 million key strokes and about 2.4 million mouse clicks logged over a bit more than a year’s time on my computer. (Make sure to click through for more visualizations.)


From the Forum
Descriptives and visualizations for large numbers of variables
I created this site to make decisions better with an algorithm. I’d love feedback!
HRV apps for Polar H7 that include SDNN

Posted in Uncategorized, What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

QSEU15 Preview: Ellis Bartholomeus on Doodling Mood


In just four short weeks we’ll be kicking off the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference, and we are so excited to hear from old friends, learn from new members, and interact with some wonderful toolmakers. It’s going to be a great time.

As you may know, we build our conference programs from the ground up with attendees submitting their projects and ideas when they register. It’s always fun to read about someone’s new self-tracking project or experiment, especially when it involves something we haven’t seen before. Today we’re going to begin our conference previews with one of those novel and interesting talks.



Ellis Bartholomeus is no stranger to our QS Conferences, having given an excellent talk on using photos for food tracking at our 2013 Europe Conference. At this year’s conference Ellis will be sharing her experience with a very interesting type of mood tracking. For six months Ellis tracked her mood by drawing a face every day. This simple act of using a quick doodle to track how she was feeling led to some unexpected benefits:


This inspired and engaged me more than expected with other quantifications. The faces triggered my curiosity and provided many insights, which continue to motivate me.

Mood tracking is something that continues to intrigue our community. Understanding our happiness, what affects our mental state, and how to improve our moods is a common theme at meetups around the world. We’re interested to learn more from Ellis and her experiences at the 2015 QS Europe Conference. If you’re tracking your mood we invite you to join us in Amsterdam on September 18th & 19th for two full days talks, breakout discussions, and working sessions! Early bird tickets are still on sale. Register today for only €149!

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!

When ‘Special Measures’ Become Ordinary by David Beer. What does it mean to have measurement, personal and institutional, as part of our everyday experience? A nice article that begins to expose what it means to operate in this new world.

Building smarter wearables for healthcare, Part 1: Examining how healthcare can benefit from wearables and cognitive computing by Robi Sen. In this article, Robi Sen describes what IBM sees as the “analytics gap” in current wearable technology. Specifically, that devices and the data they present don’t fully understand and utilize contextual information, and therefore are not providing meaningful information. What’s the answer? IBM’s Watson, of course.

Doping scandals, open data, and the emergence of the quantified athlete by Glyn Moody. A short and interesting piece that wonders if opening up athlete performance data might be a useful part of combating doping and illegal performance enhancement in professional athletics.

N of 1 Trials and Personal Health Data with Dr. Nicholas Schork. The Health Data Exploration Network hosted their inaugural webinar this past Friday. The focus was on N of 1 trials: why they’re important, how to conduct them, and the role of Quantified Self and self-tracking data.

Lifelog: Pilot Tasks of NTCIR–12. Our good friend and lifelogging researcher, Cathal Gurrin, is spearheading an innovative project to improve search and information access to lifelogging and self-tracking data. If you’re a researcher or information systems specialist you may want to take a look at data and see if you can help push the field forward!

sleepwalking_beddit Sleepwalking. Rather than point to one post over another we’re going to highlight this entire blog by one anonymous scientist who’s exploring his sleepwalking. The whole blog is chock full of insights into measurements, devices, and experiments to see what may or may not affect their sleepwalking. Start here to get a good overview.

How I Hacked Amazon’s $5 WiFi Button to track Baby Data by Ted Benson. Have $5 to spend on an Amazon Dash button? With a little bit of programming you can turn it into your own DIY internet-connected tracker!

FullSizeRender-1 10,000 Steps at a Music Festival by Tim Hanrahan. A fun post about tracking physical activity at the Lollapalooza festival.


vjo_2015-Aug-13 Basis Data Analysis by Victor Jolissaint. I saw this Victor tweet this visualization and was immediately drawn in. Turns out he’s been exploring ways to analyze and understand his Basis watch data using R. Check out the link for his code and take a crack at analyzing your own data!

My-Steps_thumb Tableau: Helping Me See and Understand Myselfb y Craig Bloodworth. Craig pulled all his self-tracking data into Tableau and designed his own personal dashboard to better understand what was going on with his activity, personal finances, and other lifestyle information.

From the Forum
How to acquire info about sent e-mails using gmail?
How to quantify myself
We want to track you!


Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2015 QS Visualization Gallery: Round 4

We’re excited to share another round of personal data visualizations from our QS community. Below you’ll find another five visualizations of different types of personal data. Make sure to check out Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 as well!

daily habits Name: Damien Catani
Description: This is an overview of how I have been doing today against my daily habit targets. Yes, I had a good sleep!
Tools: I used a website I’ve been building for the purpose of setting and tracking all goals in life:


tock_b_tock_goal_page Name: Bethany Soule
Description: This is my pomodoro graph. I average four 45 minute pomodoros per day on my work, and I track them here. This is where most of my productivity occurs! There’s some give and take.
Tools: The graph is generated by Beeminder. I use a script I wrote to time my pomodoros and submit them to Beeminder when I complete them. The script also announces them in our developer chat room, so there’s also some public accountability there as well.



qs1 Name: Steven Zhang
Description: This plot shows the time I first go to sleep, against quality of day (a subjective metric I plot at the end of every day). What this tells me is that if I get a full night’s sleep of 8 hours, for every hour I got to bed, I can expect a .16 decrease in my QoD rating, which, given my range of QoD around 2 to 4, is about a 5% decrease in quality of day.
Tools: Sleep as Android to track sleep and some python scripts for ETL.


qs2Name:Steven Zhang
Description: Log of all my sleep for the last 6 months, labeled by the types of sleep I most often encounter

  1.  Normal sleep
  2. Napping
  3. 3. Trying to achieve normal sleep, but failing to

Tools: Tableau for visualization. Sleep as Android for logging sleep.


Name: Eric Jain
Description: Benford’s Law states that the most significant digits of numbers tend to follow a specific distribution, with “1″ being the most common digit, followed by “2″ etc. But my daily step counts show a slightly different distribution: The fall-off from “1″ to “2″ is larger than expected, and the frequency of digits larger than “5″ increases rather than decreases. Is this pattern typical for step counts? Could suspicious distributions be used to detect cheaters?
Tools: Fitbit, Zenobase, Tableau

Stay tuned here for more QS Gallery visualizations in the coming weeks. If you’ve learned something that you are willing to share from seeing your own data in a chart or a graph, please send it along. We’d love to see more!

Posted in QS Gallery, QS15 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

QS15: A Review

QS15 Tweet Robot designed by The Living. Photo: Rajiv Mehta

QS15 Tweet Robot designed by The Living. Photo: Rajiv Mehta

In just little more than a month we’ll be convening in lovely Amsterdam for our 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference. While some might call us crazy since we just wrapped on our big QS15 Conference in San Francisco, we like to think that we’re on a tour, inviting people from around to world to engage and learn about the power of personal data.

With QSEU15 so close, we decided to take a quick look back at what makes our conferences so special. Rather than telling you what we think we thought it would be best to highlight the thoughts and writing from individuals who attended and participated in our 2015 Quantified Self Conference. We’ve gathered up links to articles, blog posts, and write-ups of all types and are posting them here for you to read and review.

If you’re intrigued by the ideas and events described in the links below make sure to register for QSEU15. Early Bird tickets are on sale for just a bit longer so take advantage now!

Training the Next Generation of ‘Quantified Nurses’

Quantified Self ’15 (Day 1 Recap)

Quantified Self ’15 (Day 2 Recap)

What’s a Self Anyway?

Compass Alpha at the Quantified Self Conference 2015!

Quantified Self Expo, Part I

Quantified Self Expo, Part II 

About the Quantified Self Conference and Expo

Own your Biological Machine

Quantified Self 2015

Architecting health data for the cloud

What you can learn from the 2015 Quantified-Self conference

QS15: Measurement with Meaning

More About Me at QS15

What I learned at Quantified Self 2015

Notes from the 2015 Quantified Self Conference

My Data, Your Data, Our Data

News from the Quantified Self movement

Quantified Self Labs

Some of the Best from the 2015 Quantified Self Conference

Personal Gold @ Quantified Self ’15

Learning about new self-tracking technology at QS15

If you wrote something about your experience at QS15 let us know! We’d love to feature it.

Posted in Conference, QS15, QSEU15 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment