Tag Archives: Ignite

QS15 Conference Preview: Evan Savage on Data Sense

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

evan-headshotEvan Savage is an ex-Facebook full-stack engineer turned personal data, education, and persistent gameplay hacker/entrepreneur. Currently, he is working on Data Sense, a web-based tool to make personal data analysis accessible to the rest of us. Evan is also an avid cyclist, decent cook/homebrewer, and an occasional electronic music composer.

Evan will be showcasing Data Sense during one of our two Lunchtime Ignite sessions. During his presentation he’ll talk about the making of Data Sense using screenshots of visualizations from Data Sense itself. He’ll also touch on broader ideas and lessons for helping non-technical users understand their data through visualization. Here’s a preview of a Data Sense visualization of Evan’s Facebook posting and music-listening habits during several months of development time:

We’re excited to have Jamie joining us at QS15 and asked him a few questions about himself and what he’s looking forward to at the conference.

QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?

Evan: As Luddite as it sounds, some of my most life-altering data-driven changes have come from simple pen-and-paper tracking. It’s about as close to universally accessible as you can get: the only barriers to entry are pen, paper, and basic writing/literacy skills. Compare that with websites (<3B users) or smartphone apps (<2B users).

OK, that’s sidestepping the question. As a geek, I have to admire IFTTT; they’re essentially teaching programming/UNIX concepts by stealth! That, and their list of supported services is impressive.

QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Evan: This is super-specific, but: Stephen Cartwright’s kinetic data sculptures. Believe it or not, those sculptures were my first exposure to the QS community at large. Before that, I’d been self-tracking to help address panic/anxiety issues, and decided to attend QS12 on a lark. I walked into the atrium, saw this moving rod sculpture physically stepping through timeseries datasets, and knew that I’d come to the right place.

There are very few boundaries around what is and is not QS – which is great! It’s a radical inclusiveness that was incredibly welcoming when I first joined, and it’s absolutely worth preserving.

QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?

Evan: Well, I’m co-organizing the breakout session on data visualization…
As for interests: education (see below), gameplay (in some sense, QS is the ultimate immersive game), data ownership (do you truly own your data if you can’t understand it?)… but really, if you have something interesting to say – and we all do – I’m eager to hear it.

QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?

Evan: An intracorporeal sensor for reliable food tracking that doubles as a tricorder.
More seriously: I’d love to see a section of floor for the hardware/sensing hackers, a space to really interact with these projects where QSers are building wireless weight scales from scratch, reverse-engineering Fitbits, hacking exosenses and real-time feedback, etc. This would be similar to the visualization gallery: a celebration of the awesome, quirky, and highly personal things that our fellow QSers are up to.

QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?

Evan: Data literacy. There’s a pernicious assumption that “the average user” can’t or doesn’t want to understand their own data: it’s too technical, people have limited attention spans, etc. It has to be pre-chewed and regurgitated at them, a sort of dataviz pablum. Word clouds and chartjunk dashboards abound.

QS could be a powerful tool for making data literacy relevant. Think of it as the core of a science/stats curriculum for the digital age, one students might actually relate to, and you’ve got the idea.

Evan’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time):

Register here!

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2014 QS Europe Conference: Ignite Talks

When we organized our very first QS Conference in 2011 we were bombarded with so many proposals from people who wanted to share their projects and self-tracking experiences we decided to add talks to our extended lunch breaks. The lunchtime Ignite session was born and now we can’t imagine a conference without them. Below is a selection of some of the Ignite talks we’ll be hosting at the 2014 Quantified Self European Conference.

Improving My Fitness With Genetics
Ralph Pethica
Ralph will discuss how he used genomic and activity tracking data to get better results from fitness training.

Experiments in Self-Tracking
Laurie Frick
From intelligent wallpaper to hand-drawn patterns on your iPhone, Laurie Frick has found her personal data surprising and meaningful.

My Gut, My Data
Jessica Richman
What kind of data lives in your gut? Jessica will talk about her experience tracking her microbiome.

Data Exploration with Fluxtream/BodyTrack
Anne Wright
Fluxstream/Body Track is a data aggregation and exploration tool that allows you to think about your own questions by viewing diverse data streams on a common timeline.

The Chaos of Personal Data
Evelina Georgieva, Frederic Mauch
Pryv is a web service that allows users to control and make sense of their personal data.

Activity Tracking for Teams
Joost Plattel
Qount Us is an experimental dashboard for organizations giving a sense of the social dynamic within organizations.

Wearable Technologies for Active Living
Henk Hindriks
This proposed project will create an open source activity tracking system for users to manage their own lifestyle change, for social support, and research knowledge.

What I Learned by Building
Dawn Nafus 
An anthropologist will reflect on some observations of what self-trackers actually do when they make sense of data. Dawn’s observations led her to ask: what tools might support more diverse ways of working with data?

Quantifying Our Sleep
Timo Aittokoski
Emfit announces the Sleep and Wellness tracker, a derivation of its many years spent developing a non-contact vital signs patient monitor.

Cartographies of Vigilance
Josh Berson
A series of seemingly unrelated medical events in Josh’s life got him started thinking about a wave of changes unfolding in the human experience of movement, at timescales ranging from a tenth of a second to days, seasons, and years.

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Mark Moschel on Tracking Rejection

Mark Moschel was challenged by his friend to participate in what he called “Rejection Therapy.” Could he go thirty days with the goal of being rejected at least once per day? Watch this entertaining talk to hear what Mark learned by tracking his experience.

We’ll be posting videos from our 2013 Global Conference during the next few months. If you’d like see talks like this in person we invite you to join us in Amsterdam for our 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference on May 10 and 11th.

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Caspar Addyman and Sara Riggare on Tracking Parkinson’s

In the fall of 2011 we hosted our first European Quantified Self Conference. It was a fantastic time and we came away with new ideas, and the pleasure of bringing together a great group of individuals interested in self-tracking and self-knowledge. We see a lot of relationships form and blossom as a result of the bringing like-minded people together for few days of intimate sharing and conversation. With our the 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference on the horizon we wanted to highlight one of those relationships.

Sara Riggare is a QS meetup organizer (Stockholm), PhD student, and Parkinson’s patient. At the 2011 QS Europe conference she met Caspar Addyman, a psychologist and researcher. Together they’ve partnered on a few projects to create self-tracking tools for the Parkinson’s community. Watch their Ignite presentation at the 2013 QS Europe Conference to learn more:

Make sure to register for our 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference. We hope to see you there!

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