Tag Archives: data
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?
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!)
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.
This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
Announcing the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference Program
Track HRV, Make a Dashboard, and Have Fun with Fitbit at QSEU15
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A long list for this week’s What We’re Reading. I actually had to stop myself from adding in even more visualizations and show&tell examples! We’re always on the lookout for more though, so make sure tweet us your favorite links!
Fitted by Moira Weigel. A very thoughtful essay on gender, identity, and confession – all while using the Fitbit as the narrative backdrop.
What kind of love does the FitBit prepare us to feel? Is it self-love? Or is even the self of the exorexic a kind of body armor?
How to Build a Smart Home Sensor by Dave Prochnow. If you have 2 hours, $95, and know how to solder, then you too can build this DIY sensor to measure the temperature, humidity, light, and noise for any room in your home. If someone builds and tests this please let me know (Would love to see air quality sensors included too!)
It’s Hard to Count Calories, Even for Researchers by Margot Sanger-Katz. New research shows Americans are eating less, but can we really trust the data? Margot does an excellent job here of rounding up the various ways we measure food consumption in the United States while coming to a commonly heard conclusion – food tracking is just plain hard.
Hadley Wickham, the Man Who Revolutionized R by Dan Kopf. If you’re knee deep in data analysis, or just like poking around in stats software, you’ve probably heard of and used R. And if you’ve used R, then there is a good chance you’ve used many of the packages written by Hadley Wickham. Great read, if for nothing else you learn what the “gg” in ggplot2 stands for.
Heart patient: Apple Watch got me in and out of hospital fast by Neil Versel. When Ken Robson wasn’t feeling well he turned to his Apple Watch. After noticing lower than normal heart rate readings his checked himself into the emergency room and soon found out his hunch was right, he had sick sinus syndrome.
New Australian experiment rewards joggers with 3D printed chocolate treats based on exercise data by Simon Cosimo. Sign me up!
How Does Giving Blood Affect Your Iron Levels? by Ryan W. Cohen. Simple and to the point blog post by Ryan explaining how he discovered elevated iron levels in his blood, and the simple test he tried to find out why.
The Quantified Athlete by Matt Paré. Matt is a minor league catcher in the San Francisco Giants organization. In this post, the second in a series (read Part 1 here), Matt discusses how he became interested in tracking his biomarkers, and what he’s experimenting with.
What I Learned When I Stopped Wearing a Fitbit After Seven Years by Michael Wood. Michael writes up a brief post on how he felt when he was separated from his Fitbit activity tracker.
How I tracked my house movements using iBeacons by Joe Johnston. Joe uses a few iBeacons to find out where he spend time in his house. Fascinating idea, makes me want to play with this technology as well!
Visualizing a Simpler RunKeeper Training Plan by Andy Kriebel. Andy presented his running data, and how he uses a few tools to keep track and visualize his data as he trains for a marathon. Follow the link and you can see his Tableu workbook, which includes a screencast of his presentation, and links to his workflow.
I decided to take a peek at my Netflix viewing data by Reddit user AmericanPicker69. This enterprising individual decided to take a peak into his user account to understand his Netflix viewing habits. Turns our a simple copy/past is all you need to do to get the raw data. Who knew?!
My weight loss journey by Reddit user IMovedYourCheese. Loved this graph and the implementation of BMI categories, a moving average, and lower/upper bounds for weight loss. He even provided the excel template if you’d like to use it with your own weight tracking.
Have you registered for our QS Europe Conference? Makes sure to do so soon as early bird ticets (€149) are almost sold out. Register today!
Why Cities Need More Technology To Improve Low-Income Citizens’ Lives by Ben Hecht. Can technology create meaningful impact for the disadvantaged in communities across the United States? In this brief article, Ben Hecht describes a few exemplary projects, which are building and using technology to for social impact.
We are data: the future of machine intelligence by Douglas Coupland.
I sometimes wonder, How much data am I generating? Meaning: how much data do I generate just sitting there in a chair, doing nothing except exist as a cell within any number of global spreadsheets and also as a mineable nugget lodged within global memory storage systems — inside the Cloud, I suppose.
New open source uBiome github repository for data analysis tools by Alexandra Carmichael & Richard Sprague. Have you started testing your microbiome and want to do a more in-depth analysis? Check out this post and the open source tools.
You Shouldn’t Trust Me by Mike Lazer-Walker. A brilliant post by Mike describing a coffee tracking application that he released as both a paid and open source application.
It’s more important to me that we seriously think about our privacy, and what trust means in context of software that handles our personal data. We need to think about the repercussions of trusting large corporations that don’t have our best interests at heart and have no incentives or obligations to be transparent.
Track It! by Dave Mierau. A short post, but Dave does a great job of describing the power of monitoring and tracking. Go spreadsheets!
Currently Tracking by Chris Campbell. What is your tracking routine? In this post, Chris describes a day in the life of his quantified self. I’m sure you’ll learn about one or two new apps/tools. I did!
Carl Apstein: Annual Reports by Nicholas Felton. It’s no surprise that Mr. Felton is always on the lookout for Annual Reports from around world. In this post he posts a few photos from a hand-drawn report by the German zoologist, Carl Apstein, from the 1930s.
From the Forums
This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
Our Data, Our Health: Thoughts on using mHealth for the Precision Medicine Cohort
Quantified Self Public Health: Stephen Downs on Building a Culture of Health
Runkeeper & Research: The Keeping Pace Study
In 2013, just prior to our our Quantified Self Global Conference, we asked conference attendees to send us examples of their own personal data visualizations that they found especially meaningful. We were blown away by what everyone shared with us. From visualizations of blood glucose readings to GPS traces and plots of time tracking and productivity, the range of visualizations was astounding (you can view some of those visualization by searching the blog for the QS Gallery tag).
This year, we sent out the request once again to attendees of our QS15 Conference and Expo. Once again, our inbox immediately started to fill up with images, graphs, and visualizations describing the tracking experiences of our amazing community. Today, we’re excited to start sharing those visualizations with you here.
Name: Beau Gunderson
Description: A homemade polysomnogram with a Zephyr Bioharness as the only data
Tools: IPython, matplotlib, pandas, seaborn, numpy.
Name: Shannon Conners
Description: This graph shows what initially looks like an interesting trend in my activity data. I seem to be less active during the summer months, but when I pair my activity and wear time for the BodyMedia FIT armband I used to generate the data, the real reason for the drop becomes clear. I’m wearing the armband less in the summer months to avoid upper arm strap tan! I know my own device usage patterns, so when I graphed the two measures together, it was immediately clear to me what was going on. To me, this is a simple example that illustrates one of the big challenges of looking at activity monitor data in the absence of data about device usage. Usage patterns can and do change over time and the reasons for these changes may not be as obvious as the change of the seasons. For example, something as simple as breaking the clip-on case you use to carry the phone that counts your steps could greatly impact how often you carry it, and therefore the quality of the data you collect. Some monitors don’t even record a usage metric with which to compare activity data. I like this graph as a reminder that interesting patterns may in fact be data collection or data quality issues in disguise.
Tools: BodyMedia FIT Core BW, JMP
Name:: David Korsunsky
Description: Mashing data from my favorite wearables, my medical records as well as data I track manually into a custom dashboard.
Tools: Heads Up Health is software that can enable anyone to create their own custom configurations.
Name:: Jo Beth Dow
Description: Trend analysis of my HRV over a 2.5 year period. Displays a stunning seasonal trend.
Tools: iPhone running SweetBeatLife app to measure clinical grade HRV on a daily basis.
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!
On June 20th we’re inviting the public to join us for the first ever Quantified Self Expo. It’s going to be a full day of dedicated to showcasing amazing QS tools with multiple demos, talks, how-to sessions, and exciting experiences. But that’s not all.
We’re excited to host, as part of the Expo, an exhibition focused on data as art. In the words of our co-curators, Alberto Frigo and Jacek Smolicki:
Art of Self-Tracking is an exhibition gathering a number of international artists who use different personal data tracking techniques in their artistic practices.
Ranging from meticulously composed manual diaries, hand-drawn representations of every meal consumed on daily basis to sonification of geo-locational data and 3D renderings of shapes recognised in clouds, the exhibition aims to highlight the plurality of perspectives on self-tracking.
We’re honored to be hosting the following artists and their amazing work (which you can see a few previews of below):
Alberto Frigo (IT/SE), Brian House (US), Catherine D’Ignazio (US), Daniel Peltz (US), Davide Di Saró (IT/CA) & Kristy Trinier (CA), Elly Clarke (UK/DE), Ellie Harrison (UK), Giovanni Meneguzzo (IT), Ingrid Forsler (SE)
Borítás Viktor alias Iwan Wilaga (HU/HK) , Jacek Smolicki (PL/SE), Jacopo Pontormo (IT), James Pricer (US), Janina Turek (PL), Morris Villarroel (CA/ES), Stephen Cartwright (US), and Yann Vanderme (FR).
To see the artwork for yourself we invite you to join us on the 20th. It’s going be a wonderful event.
Enjoy this week’s list!
You’re invited to join us on June 20th for an amazing day of demos, talks, and sessions highlighting the very best of the Quantified Self at our QS15 Expo. Readers of What We’re Reading get a special discount. Just click here to get $10 off your ticket price.
We’ve received some amazing entries in our Future Normal QS15 Challenge, so amazing that we’ve extended the challenge a few days. If you’re reading this before Monday, June 1st make sure to enter nowfor your chance to win two free Ultimate Panels!
I’m the New CTO of HHS by Susannah Fox. So great to see this announcement. All of us at QS Labs have the utmost respect and admiration for Susannah and her dedication to positively impacting human health. Additional posts and articles about Susannah’s appointment can be found here and here.
As technology savvy as Susannah is, it is her capacity to hold a huge vision, and keeping patients at the center of that vision, that make her so deeply qualified for this job. No body asked me who the next CTO of the government was going to be, and frankly I was a little worried about who would be next. Bryan Sivak and Todd Park (her predecessors in this role) leave pretty damn big shoes to fill. Someone in the Whitehouse/HHS is casting a net wide enough to know who the really transformational thinkers in our industry are. – Fred Trotter
Special Report: Hacking the Human OS by IEEE Spectrum. A fantastic three-part report here by folks over at IEEE. This collection of articles, infographics, and op-eds is a must read.
Public Health and Tech: Long Lost Lovers? by Vanessa Mason. A short but nice article outlining how technology may interface with Public Health practices and program implementation. Great to see a mention our RWFJ supported Quantified Self Public Health Symposium.
The quantified self in a complex system: A systems perspective on mental workload by Steven Shorrock. A great post here by Steven concerning the role of quantitative information in dynamic and often complex human systems (like your workplace).
For these reasons, most numerical measures concerning human experience and system parameters should be treated as social objects. Any data on mental workload, sector capacity values, traffic numbers, or whatever, are a reason for a conversation, the start of a conversation – not an end point.
Apple Health App and My Quantified Self by Nadine Fischoff. One day Nadine realized her iPhone was keep track of her daily activity (steps and distance walked) so she decided to dive into the data to see what she could learn. With the help out our QS Access app (download it today – it’s free!) she was able to access, download, and analyze her data. What did she learn? Moving to New York City from Mountain View increased her daily walking 48%!
2014 Writing Progress by Ben Wilson. A great post here by Ben describing his writing progress over 2014. Ben tracked his goal of writing two novels in 2014, and ended up tracking over 90,000 words written.(Found via the always excellent Exist.io Blog.)
Withings Health Observatory: Blood Pressure by Withings. Great to see Withings has added blood pressure to their real-time data dashboards.
Visualizing the Quantified Self: Giving Form to Lifelogging by Fil Greenwich. A nice overview post of different data visualizations.
From the Forum
This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
So much going on this week! We just announced and opened registration for our QS15 Exposition. If you’re in the Bay Area join us on June 20th for an amazing day of demos, talks, and sessions highlighting the very best of the Quantified Self. Readers of What We’re Reading get a special discount. Just click here to get $10 off your ticket price.
We also just announced the Future Normal QS15 Challenge. Thanks to our long time friends and QS sponsors InsideTracker, we’re inviting you to take part in an exciting challenge to develop new ideas and questions about what we can learn from unlocking the information stored in our blood. Click here to learn more and enter to win two free Ultimate Panels!
Now, on with this week’s list!
How accurate is the Apple Watch’s step counter and distance tracking? by Dan Graziano. Great article testing how accurate the new Apple Watch is versus other activity trackers and smart watches. It’s a short(ish) controlled experiment, but the initial results seem positive. Key takeaway: if you have an Apple Watch take the time to calibrate it!
Forget the Fitbit: Can Wearables be Designed for the Developing World? by Jessica Leber. Together with Frog and ARM, UNICEF is launching a “Wearables For Good” challenge to generate ideas and designs for new sensors and technologies that can be used in “resource constrained environments.” Check out the challenge website here: Wearables For Good.
Is the Wearable Health Movement Sustainable by Tim Bajarin. TL;DR: Yes.
With Great Data Comes Great Responsibility by Paz. Ownership, privacy, and longevity. These are the three topics taken on in this long, but well written article on data. If you’re working with or collecting a user’s data this is a must read. And if you’re sending your data to a service, you might as well read it too.
Data is Personal by Frances Angulo. A beautiful post by Frances about using a few simple tools to track anxiety, including a few wonderful visualizations. Once again, I’m astounding by the simple power of using a tool like Google Forms to ask oneself the question that matter.
This is what it is like to be charged by a hippopotamus. by Jer Thorp. Turns out it’s super scary and makes your heart rate jump through the roof. Make sure to click through to see and hear the visualization. It’s well worth it.
From the Forum
This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
In our second episode of QS Radio we shake things up a bit. We start with a brief discussion by co-host Steven Jonas about his experiences using the SunSprite light tracker and what he’s been learning. Next up, we have a great Toolmaker Talk with Kevin Holesh, the creator of Moment for iOS. Moment is a self-tracking app that helps you track how much you use your iOS devices (iPhone or iPad). Lastly, we wrap up with a short discussion about some interesting news and tidbits about personal data, self-tracking, and quantified self. Links to everything we discussed are below. Enjoy!
Download the episode here or subscribe on iTunes.
What We’re Reading
- The End of Asymmetric Information
- Download Your Google Search History
- Impact of music streaming on my listening habits by Maciej Konieczny
- How We Are Measuring Happiness at Whitesmith by Daniel F. Lopes
- Tracking Joy at Work by Joe Nelson
Don’t forget to register for the QS15 Conference and Exposition. If you’re interested in Quantified Self, self-tracking, and personal data there is no better place to meet expert users, advanced toolmakers, and learn first-hand through our may talks, sessions, and demos. Register now!
The validity of consumer-level, activity monitors in healthy adults worn in free- living conditions: a cross-sectional study by Ty Ferguson, Alex Rowland, Tim Olds, and Carol Maher. A very interesting research study examining the accuracy of different consumer activity trackers when compared to “research-grade devices.” Free living only lasted a few days, but it’s a great start to what I hope to see more of in the research – actual use out in the wild.
The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records by Steve Lohr. Steven Keating has a brain tumor. He also has over 70GB of his medical data, much of which is open and available for anyone to peruse. Is he showing us our future? One can hope.
Mr. Keating has no doubts. “Data can heal,” he said. “There is a huge healing power to patients understanding and seeing the effects of treatments and medications.”
Why the DIY part of OpenAPS is important by Dana Lewis. Always great to read Dana’s thoughts on the ever evolving ecosystem of data and data-systems for people living with diabetes.
Why I Don’t Worry About a Super AI by Kevin Kelly. I, for one, am super excited for advancements in artificial intelligence. There are some that aren’t that excited. In this short post our QS co-founder, Kevin Kelly, lays out four reasons why he, and maybe why all of us, shouldn’t be fearful of AI now or into the future.
Responding to Mark Cuban: More is not always better by Aaron Carroll. Earlier this week Mark Cuban started a bit of an kerfuffle by tweeting out, “1) If you can afford to have your blood tested for everything available, do it quarterly so you have a baseline of your own personal health.” What followed, and is still ongoing, is a great discussion about the usefulness of longitudinal medical testing. I’m not sure I agree with the argument made here in this piece, but interesting nonetheless.
My Quantified Email Self Experiment: A failure by Paul Ford. Paul takes a look at his over 450,000 email messages dating back 18 years. He find out a lot, but states that he doesn’t learn anything. I disagree, but then again, I’m not Paul. Still fascinating regardless of the outcome.
Filling up your productivity graph by Belle Beth Cooper. Want to understand your productivity, but not sure where to start? This is a great post by Belle about how she uses Exist and RescueTime to track and understand her productive time.
2014: An Interactive Year In New Music by Eric Boam. We’ve featured some of Eric’s visualization work here before, but this one just blew me away. So interesting to see visualization of personal data, in this case music listening information, turned into something touchable and engaging.
“Women and Children First” by Alice Corona. A fascinating deep data dive into the Titanic disaster. Was the common refrain, “Women and children first!” followed? Read on to find out.
HHS Expands Its Approach to Making Research Results Freely Available For the Public
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Grants Public Access to Data through Scientific “Data Warehouse”
FDA ‘Taking a Very Light Touch’ on Regulating the Apple Watch
Selling your right of privacy at $5 a pop
From the Forum