Tag Archives: LifeLogging

What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s reading list. If you’d like to submit something for future What We’re Reading posts we invite you to get in touch!

Articles
Data Journalism Needs to Up Its Own Standards by Alberto Cairo. The influx of new data-based journalistic endeavors seems to grow by the day. In this great piece Alberto Cairo presents four suggestions for those practicing that art and science of data-based reporting.

Big Data Should Not be a Faith-Based Initiative by Cory Doctorow. The idea of “big data” as a miraculous fountain of new knowledge is widespread. In this article Cory Doctorow brings to light some of the major concerns about personal data and the true possibility of de-identification.

Data Privacy, Machine Learning, and the Destruction of Mysterious Humanity by John Foreman. This is a long read, but definitely worth the time. If you’re like me you’ll spend the next few hours (day?) thinking about yourself, the various companies and organizations consuming your data, and how your life may (or may not) be shaped by the information you willingly hand over.

Privacy Behaviors of Lifeloggers using Wearable Cameras [PDF] by Roberto Hoyle, Robert Templeman, Steven Armes et al. This research paper paper offers a good glimpse into the the concerns and real behaviors of people using photo lifelogging systems. This is an area we’ve previously explored (see Kitty Ireland’s great write-up about our lifelogging town hall at QSEU13) and we expect to continue discussing.

Show&Tell
Battery Life, 6mo Checkup By James Davenport. It may seem odd to have a post about tracking battery life from a laptop here in the Show&Tell section, but this is a really neat post. As part of tracking his laptop battery he also tracked his usage and led to some interesting data about his sleep. (Don’t forget to check out the post that kicked off his battery tracking.)

Bringing My Data Together by John T. Moore. John is on a journey of improving his health and being more active through self-tracking/monitoring. In this post he pulls together some of his most important data, but I also suggest reading his summary of how he got started with self-tracking.

Visualizations

carsharing
Seven Days of Carsharing by Density Design. Not exactly personal data here, but some beautiful visualizations based on one week of data from the Enjoy, a carsharing service in Milan.

aprilzero
Aprilzero by Anand Sharma. I stumbled on this website recently via the #quantifiedself feed on Twitter. The visualizations and interactivity on this personal data site are really nice.

LR_annualreports
Lee Rogers’ Annual Reports by Lee Rogers. Lee has been tracking different aspects of his life for more than three years. Since 2011 he’s put together Annual Reports detailing his personal data. You can view his 2011, 2012, and 2013 reports on his website.

From the Forum
Devising Experiments
Looking for a General QS Device
Masters Thesis: Self-Tracking Motivations
Greetings From Germany

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QSEU14 Breakout: Lifelogging with Photos

Today’s post comes to us from Cathal Gurrin, Rami Albatal, Dan Berglund, and Daniel Hamngren. Cathal and Rami are researchers at Dublin City University and Daniel and Dan work at Narrative, makers of a small lifelogging camera and application. Together, they led an interesting breakout session at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference on photo lifelogging and how to use analytics and computer vision techniques to make sense of vast amounts of photos. You’re invited to read their description of the session below and then join the discussion on the QS Forum.

Photo Lifelogging as Context for QS Practice

by Cathal Gurrin, Rami Albatal, Dan Berglund, and Daniel Hamngren

Thank you to those that came to the breakout session! It was a lively and excellent session with plenty of audience interaction. There were about fifteen participants who had an interest in photo lifelogging.

The session started with a presentation by the session chairs. The Narrative representatives discussed the Narrative clip and their plans for supporting photo lifelogging. This was followed by the DCU team giving an overview of what is possible with photo lifelogging, covering the technical possibilities of what is reasonable to achieve today.

What came across from these presentations is that photo lifelogging is not difficult, but the computer analytics to mine and extract meaning and knowledge is certainly challenging and even state-of-the-art computer vision analytics techniques can often fail to identify the valuable content of photos.

There were a number of core points of discussion, and these were:

Food and Diet. It seemed to the panel and the audience that food and diet monitoring was a key requirement for photo lifelogging and should be the key challenge to be addressed. It was accepted that this is challenging to do, but it was pointed out that recent academic findings suggest that indeed this is possible to achieve in some circumstances. It was pointed out that the most promising technologies to achieve this required a significant investment in time to label food eating photos and there were a number of willing volunteers to help with this activity. If it is possible to release a dataset of food eating photos, then the QS community will be able to help to label the data and build a large amount of training material for machine learning and AI techniques to utilise to build better food and diet monitoring tools. The organisers have taken this point on-board and will return at the next global meet-up with a plan.

Behavior / Lifestyle. Analysing the behaviour of the individual was discussed in terms of data correlations over time and visual day logs. Visual day logs, being the easiest to achieve today is available from the current generation of lifelogging tools, so this is available to anyone to begin to manually explore today. The extraction automatically of temporal patterns of behaviour was suggested as a valuable tool to begin this analysis.

Media Consumption Analytics. It was suggested that analysing the media that a lifelogger consumed could be very valuable both for organisations and as a context source for better quality search. Once again, the discussion came to the conclusion that this was also difficult to achieve, but that it is a worthy goal for the research teams.

Other discussion points included support for and appropriateness of sharing in real-time. Past experiences were shared of when this can work and when it can go wrong. It was also suggested that a ‘loved-one’ reminder tool could be developed as a form of ‘remembering future intentions’, which was pointed out in the lifelogging talk earlier that day as one of the five use-cases for photo lifelogging.

The session ended with the organisers thanking the attendees and the post-session discussions began and continued for thirty minutes, with some continuing to this day. In summary we found out that both food / diet and behaviour / lifestyle were the most important QS-based automatic monitoring tools that should be refined and made available to the QS community.

If you’re interested in photo lifelogging we invite you to join the discussion on the QS Forum.

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Stan James on Learning From Your Laptop

Back in 2012 we first heard about a neat little project developed by Stan James called Lifeslice. It’s a simple application that tracks what you’re doing with your computer by taking a photo of you, a screen capture, and current location (all stored locally on your machine). Stan kept working on the project adding tweaks while continuing to use it to track how he used his computer. At our 2013 Quantified Self Europe Conference he shared some of what he’s learned from the data including how much time he spends with his computer in bed, in coffee shops, and other interesting tidbits.

All our videos from our 2013 Quantified Self Europe Conference are now available.

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Rob Shields on Logging Over 285,000 Photos

Rob Shields has been wearing a phone around his neck since 2012 in order to take one photo per minute. This persistent lifelogging has come with some technological and social hurdles. At the 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference, Rob explained some of the issues he’s been running into as he nears 300,000 photos. He also talked about the interesting data he’s been able to gather because of this practice, such as understanding who he meets and how he spends his time. Watch his talk below to learn more about his practice and other interesting insights lifelogging has provided him.

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Kitty Ireland: Grandma was a Lifelogger

Decades before apps, GPS, and even personal computing, people kept track of their lives by writing things down. Kitty Ireland’s grandmother was one of these people. When Kitty stumbled upon her grandmother’s diaries and started to explore the daily entries, she was struck by similarities with her own life and habits. Kitty is a modern-day lifelogger. She tracks places, events, mood – a variety of different personal data streams. Reading the diaries, Kitty saw that her grandmother used her daily entries as logs – tracking the details of where she went, what she ate, even the boys she kissed. Watch this great talk, filmed at the 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference, to see what Kitty discovered, and the lessons she learned.

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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What We Are Reading

We hope you enjoy these links, articles and other bits of interestingness we’ve found around the web over the last few weeks.

Taking the Guesswork out of Designing for Walkability by Xiongbing Jin & Fanis Grammenos: How should we design urban environments? In this article, the authors explore using agent-based modeling to test (a priori) what urban designs positively influence walking in a community.

The Quantified Brain of a Self-Tracking Neuroscientist by Susan Young: Russell Poldrack is a neuroscientist and imaging expert at the University of Texas. He’s currently in the middle of a massive self-tracking project which includes bi-weekly brain scans (MRI).

Blood Glucose Monitor Data Pushed to Smart Watch by Mike Szczys: This short post on the excellent Hackaday site introduces us to Don, an enterprising hardware hacker and diabetic. He’s spending some time attempting to send his blood glucose monitor data to his smartwatch and writing about it here.

Photo Lifelogging: Why I’m Skeptical by Peter Lewis: We’re moving quickly into a word with millions of wearable cameras. Peter, a QS meetup organizer, expounds on this trend and what what might happen when we’re all  able “ to censor — sorry, “curate” — [our] own photo streams.”

Home Tweet Home: A House with it’s own Voice on Twitter by Rachel Metz: The Internet of Things isn’t the future, it’s already here. Read about how Tom Coates has “wired” his home for constant data tracking and communication.

Personalized Medicine vs Guideline-based Medicine by Jeffrey Goldberger & Alfred Buxton: A short, but very interesting article that begins to explain the competing ideas behind the design and implementation of personalized vs guideline-based medicine.

Blood and Stories: How Genomics is Rewriting Race, Medicine, and Human History [pdf] by Priscilla Wald: “[If] we understand the power of the stories we can better understand the debates surrounding race and genomic medicine, which, in turn, can help us make better ethical and policy decisions and be useful in the practices of science and medicine.” (submitted by Whitney Erin Boesel)

(If you’re interested in more academic papers related to self-tracking and Quantified Self please join our Mendeley Group).

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Cathal Gurrin: Seven Years of Lifelogging

ConferencePreview

Lifelogging is somewhat of a hot topic these days. With the soft release of Google Glass, the crowdfunding success of personal logging cameras like Memoto, and the release of numerous technology-enabled auto diaries it should be no surprise that Lifelogging is a one of the core themes of our upcoming Quantified Self Europe Conference. We’re looking forward to collaboratively exploring how lifelogging fits into our personal and social contexts and we’re excited to welcome an excellent group of speakers on this topic.

CathalGCathal Gurrin is a lecturer at the School of Computing, at Dublin City University, Ireland and he is an investigator at the CLARITY Centre for Sensor Web Technologies. Cathal is really a ‘hands-on’ researcher, so since June 2006, he has ‘lived his research’ and worn various sensing devices during waking hours. He has amassed a huge archive of 14 million wearable camera photos, weeks of video, sound samples and various other sensors such as location, movement, and nearby people. His research team is exploring how they can develop quantified self and lifelogging technologies that can have positive benefits in the real-world, with an initial focus on personalised healthcare and digital diaries.

CathalG_Lifelogging

One example of this work is the ‘Colour of Life’ wall. The Colour of Life wall is a touchscreen visualisation that plots a two dimensional view of a person’s life experience, in terms of colours encountered (imagine a 1 pixel camera), on a large video display wall. It is captured by wearable cameras configured to take about 2 photos per minute. The interface allows clustering of life events across weeks, months or even years. The colours displayed have a unique meaning to the camera wearer, for example, at a glance at the wall can show time periods when the wearer spent too long in the office or driving to work.

We’re excited to have Cathal at the conference where he will be sharing what he has learned during the last seven years of his personal lifelogging experiment. He will also show some of the new technologies his team are working on and will share his understanding of the likely potential pathways that this work of lifelogging will need to take in order to reach widespread use.

The Quantified Self European Conference will be held in Amsterdam on May 11th & 12th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. We hope to see you there!

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Buster Benson Talks Life Logging at 2013 QS Europe Conference

BusterBenson

We’re excited to share some great news with our Quantified Self community: Buster Benson, one of the most inspring tool makers and self-trackers we know, will be giving a plenary talk about his experiences and adventures in lifelogging at the upcoming Quantified Self European Conference.

750wordsBuster has long been a friend and an inspiration to those of use pursuing various forms of self-tracking. From his pioneering work with helping people maintain writing and journaling habits through his beautifully engineered 750 Words to his work centered on creating and maintaing healthy habits, Buster has employed Quantified Self methods to encourage progress and growth. That is not to say he’s restricted his endeavors to the realm of the digital world. Buster was also one of founding organizers for our wonderful Seattle QS Meetup group.

Buster also happens to be a prolific writer. His wonderful blog ,”Way of the Duck,” details his interest, commitment to, and skepticism about a topic of great interest to Quantified Self: behavior change. His take on the idea of a Codex Vitae is not to be missed. Continue reading

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What We Are Reading

Here’s some great pieces from around the web to get your mind working and give you some insight into what we find interesting and compelling.

The Diabetes Paradox by Thomas Goetz: A fascinating look at how we can think about self-tracking from the point of view of those who may track the most: diabetics. He also offers some great insights into how to design the self-tracking experience. Be sure to check out the comments for some great discussion.

quantified-selfHow life-logging can change the way we view and express ourselves by Elia Morling: A very nice overview of lifelogging and its potential impact. I especially enjoyed the leading image (pictured here). Maybe a future cover for a Quantified Self Magazine perhaps?

Know Thyself: How Mindfulness Can Improve Self-Knowledge: A short but wonderful overview of an interesting research article by Erika Carlson that explores how mindfulness may be pathway to improving how and what we know of ourselves.

Specifically, mindfulness appears to directly address the two major barriers to self-knowledge: informational barriers (i.e., the quantity and quality of information people have about themselves) and motivational barriers (i.e., ego-protective motives that affect how people process information about themselves).

The Secret Life of Cats: What You Can Learn by Putting a GPS on Your Kitty by Alexis Madrigal: This book review and interview is fun, interesting, and touches on some very important ideas about self-tracking and technology. I’ve been ruminating on this special nugget since my initial reading:

 Technology can do many amazing things, but no GPS unit or CatCam can tell us what questions we should be asking in the first place.

Do you have any interesting articles or links? Send them our way!

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QS PDX Recap (October 30, 2012)

This guest post comes to us from one of our wonderful QS Meetup organizers, Steven Jonas. If you’re a Meetup Organizer and want to post a recap of your meetup just let us know!

Quantified Self Portland Show & Tell Meetup Recap – October 30, 2012

Puppet Labs opened up their space and generously hosted our October Meetup. We had some amazing talks and discussion. Read on for more about each of the talks and our post show&tell discussion session.

David Gwilliam – Text Message Analytics

David GwilliamVIDEO | SLIDES | TWITTER

Brief: After getting dumped, David needed an excuse to read his old text messages. Exporting all of his SMS’s out of Google Voice, he used a variety of tools to get them in a form that would allow for linguistic analysis and visualization. Doing so, he reconfirmed his belief that most of his communication was either to girls or about girls. As his project moves forward, he wants to improve the linguistic analysis by looking at significant phrases, rather than words, and tweak his D3 visualization so that it better represents clustering.

Tools and other things mentioned:

-His GitHub page for his project – http://github.com/dhgwilliam/google-voice-stats
-Twitter page – http://twitter.com/dhgwilliam
-Google Voice – google.com/voice
-Google Takeout – google.com/takeout
-Data Liberation Front – www.dataliberation.org/takeout-products
-Markdown – http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/
-Redis – http://redis.io
-Ohm ORM – http://ohm.keyvalue.org
-Sinatra – http://www.sinatrarb.com
-Statistically Improbable Phrases – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistically_Improbable_Phrases
-Rack Cache – http://github.com/rtomayko/rack-cache
-Resque – http://github.com/defunkt/resque
-Rake – http://rake.rubyforge.org
-GCharts – http://mootools.net/forge/p/gcharts
-Pandoc – http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/
-D3 – http://d3js.org
-jQuery -http://jquery.com
-Linguistic analysis equation – http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/~paul/publications/rg_acl2000.pdf

Rob Shields – Search Your Life

Rob Shields

VIDEO | SLIDES | TWITTER

Brief: Rob was interested in passively recording his life, so he rigged his phone to hang around his neck and take a picture nearly every minute. He dumped the photos into Picasa and with tagging and face recognition used them to start answering questions such as “When did I last have sushi?” and “What was the name of that guy I met at the QS Data Co-op?” Rob found that knowing that the phone was recording events, it allowed him to be more present in the moment, since he didn’t have to worry about retrieving a camera to capture events. Going forward, he would like to have ways to add more metadata (like geotagging) to add context to the images that he captures, a wider lens, and be able to integrate it with other streams of data.

Tools and other things mentioned:

-Gordon Bell’s SenseCam – http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/sensecam/
-Autographer – http://www.autographer.com/
-Memoto – http://memoto.com
-Project Glass – http://plus.google.com/+projectglass/posts
-Google Goggles – http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/
-TagTime – http://messymatters.com/tagtime/
-Picasa -http://picasa.google.com
-Vicon Revue – http://viconrevue.com/product.html

Steven Jonas – Stressing Out Loud

Steven Jonas

VIDEO* | SLIDES | TWITTER

*from the QS Seattle meetup a week earlier

Brief: Steven discovered through an EEG assessment that he had a strong “freeze” response to stressful situations. This inspired him to use his emWave to monitor his stress levels, hack it to alert him whenever he got too stressed, and change his patterns at work. He found that keeping his stress levels in check allowed him to focus better and left him with more energy at the end of the day. Going forward, he would like to find a tool that allows him to annotate the data, and be able to track stress when he’s not at his desk.

Tools and other things mentioned:

-emWave2 – http://www.heartmathstore.com/item/6310/emwave2
-equanimity – http://www.meditate.mx/iphone

Daniel Reeves – Beeminder update

Daniel Reeves

TWITTER*

*sorry, no video

Brief: Daniel gave us an update on Beeminder, highlighting new functionality for connecting the great project management tool, Trello, as well as using Beeminder to keep track of your progress during NaNoWriMo. He also talked about a Pomodoro Poker, a hack night where participants bet on how close they can complete a task to a time limit (without going over).

Tools and other things mentioned:

-Beeminder – http://www.beeminder.com
-Trello – http://blog.beeminder.com/trello/
-NaNoWriMo – http://blog.beeminder.com/nanowrimo/
-Pomodoro Poker – http://blog.beeminder.com/tv/#comment-691153967

Discussion

discussionPrompt: One of the interesting things about self-tracking is the heightened awareness that you’ll gain. Noticing things that you could never perceive before. This could take different forms, sometimes like a sixth sense. For example, this is a device I built from a kit made by Sensebridge that attaches to your ankle and points in the direction of north. Over time, the wearers develop of sense of where North is that lasts even after they remove the device. Are these extra senses always good? Can they be negative?

Tools and other things mentioned:

-Sensebridge’s North Paw – http://sensebridge.net/projects/northpaw/
-Contour @USB – http://bayercontourusb.us
-Zeo – http://www.myzeo.com/sleep/shop/zeo-sleep-manager-mobile.html

Drinks afterward at Deschutes Brewery

The night ended with a lively discussion where the main topic was productivity systems where everybody shared what they use, what failed for them and why.

What’s Up Next?

All in all, it was a fantastic, invigorating evening. We hope to see you at the Data Co-op on November 27. What is a Data Co-op? It’s a regular part of our QS PDX meetup series for people with data that they’re working on, or people who want to see what data other people are working on, or people who want/have tips for working their QS-related data. If you track some kind of data about your life and are trying to make sense of it, join us during this open time and bring your data and a computer with you.

Topics that arose last time:

D3 and data visualization (http://d3js.org/)

Wolfram Alpha and analysis of meditation data

Scraping Nike FuelBand data with Firefox

And, of course, people brought dozens of projects with them to work on, and many ideas were shared in small groups. We plan on hosting the next Show & Tell in January and hope to see you soon!

Pictures courtesy of Ryan Casey. See more here.

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