Tag Archives: LifeLogging

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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Cristian Monterroza: My Autobiography Through Quantification

Cristian Monterroza felt like his life was slipping in a direction that he didn’t like, and was inspired to start tracking by the amazing lifelogging project of artist On Kawara. Cristian started out using several different apps, then created his own app to passively record his daily activities, called wrkstrm. In the video below, Cristian shares the insights he gained from six months of building a self-tracking autobiography, and asks us to consider if we are recording the right things. (Filmed by the New York QS meetup group.)

Christian Monterroza – Autobiography Through Quantification from Steven Dean on Vimeo.

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Sharla Sava on Shooting Herself: 365 Days of Self-Portraits

Sharla Sava decided to take a daily picture of herself for a year, without missing a day. She was inspired by this Flickr self-portrait group. While it was a surprisingly grueling commitment, Sharla learned that self-portraits can be an outlet for public dialog, a powerful mirror, and a creative way to explore the expression of different states of mind. Watch her fascinating story below. (Filmed by the New York QS meetup group.)

Sharla Sava – I Shot Myself: 365 Days of Self-Portraits from Steven Dean on Vimeo.

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Stan James on Project Life Slice

Last December, Stan James started to wonder how much of every day he spent staring at glowing rectangles, and how he was spending that time. He set up his webcam to take a picture of himself every hour, as well as a screenshot of what he’s working on. In the video below, Stan talks about how he set up his project, shows some of his data, and reveals some interesting tidbits about his learnings. (Filmed by the Bay Area QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

Stan James – Project Life Slice from Gary Wolf on Vimeo.

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Fenn Lipkowitz and his Amazing Lifelog

Self-described hacker Fenn Lipkowitz gives a rich update to his lifelogging activities in the video below. Fenn created a detailed diary with start and stop times as a simple text file, generating a color-coded chart of daily activities.

During his experimentation, Fenn began to read about the Life Extension Foundation and visited a site known as Longecity, a community of self experimenters who share experiences on the neurochemistry of cognition.  In addition to monitoring and tabulating the time spent in various activities, Fenn also experimented with supplementation of various nootropic compounds to improve cognition and neural activity.  The compounds he used included amino acids, vitamins, fish oil, and ginkgo extract.

Fenn discovered drastic changes before and after his use of nootropics. Subjectively, he used a numerical scale and quantified his level of energy.  A graph showing a moving average of these values indicated a significant increase in his subjective assessment of his energy level.

Objectively, he performed typing tests as well as other brain training test found on Lumosity.  His typing speed increased from a maximum of 92 to 143 after the use of nootropics. Fenn also lost 15 pounds, now has a girlfriend, and said he feels like a different person.

Another interesting component of Fenn’s lifelogging was his tabulation of all the food he ate over an extended period of time. Fenn found that his logging of food preferences has caused him to no longer be addicted to sugar. Fenn’s lifelogging website as well as the source code for the program that he used can be found here: http://fennetic.net/sleep/

(Filmed at the Silicon Valley QS meetup at Stanford University.)

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