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What We Are Reading

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Articles and Posts

Meet the Teams Who are Building the World’s First Medical Tricorder by George Dvorksky. We’ve been following the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE since it was announced. Now that only 10 teams remain it’s nice to get a feel for what some of the groups are working on. (Disclosure: Scanadu, one of the teams competing for the prize is a sponsor of QS. We are grateful for their support.)

How One Retailer’s Employees are Using Wearables by Andy Meek. Self-tracking technology is pushing into every corner of society. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing it being deployed in the the workplace. This is definitely something to keep an eye on and I look forward to more conversations about what it means to be “efficient and productive” at work.

The Great Discontent – Nicholas Felton by Ryan and Tina Essmaker. A great in-depth interview with designer, and personal data visualization specialist, Nicholas Felton.

I’m trying to lift the veil on the size, power, humanity, humor, and narrative potential of our data by making tools that allow people to leverage it.

What Your Activity Tracker Sees and Doesn’t See by Albert Sun and Alistair Dunt. If you’re wearing an activity tracker (Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Withings Pulse, etc.) this is a must read (and watch). The interactive elements do a great job of showing you how accelerometers work to translate movement data into information.

Me, My Quantified Self, and I by Kevin Nguyen. For some reason the release of the Reporter app has created a steady stream of philosophical explorations of what it means to track and understand “the self.” Add this to you reading list if you want to ask yourself, “Would David Hume use a Fitbit?”

Life through a camera by Carmen Pérez-Lanzac [SPANISH]. A fantastic exploration of the history and possible future of camera-based lifelogging.

Let’s get physical: Discovering data in the world around us by Anushka Patil. A nice post here recapping some of the work presented at the recent National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference. I especially enjoyed .

A DIY Artificial Pancreas System? Are we crazy? by Scott Leibrand & Dana Lewis. Some of the more technically minded people in the diabetes community are not waiting for the promised Artificial Pancreas Systems of the future and have set out to test and learn from a DIY solution. Absolutely amazing stuff here.

Data Analysis: The Hard Parts by Mikio L Braun. If you think machine learning is easy or the cure for your data analysis woes, think again.

Show & Tells

Generation ‘Y’ Can’t We Sleep by Scott Fetters. If you look beyond the title you’ll find a really nice example of someone practicing to try and find a way to get better sleep.

Visualization

An Introduction to D3 by Sam Selikoff. We’re huge fans of D3 here at QS Labs. This is a great place to start if you want to learn more about this powerful data visualization package.

From the Forum

Over Stimulation

Quantifying Relationships

Mapping your Location With Moves

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What We Are Reading

Enjoy these links, articles, and ideas from around the web.

Real Analysis of Raw Data – A very fun, informative journal by Zach Jones about deriving comprehensible measurements from raw accelerometer data.

The Weight of Things Lost: Self-knowledge and Personal Informatics. In this thoughtful paper by Kaiton WIlliams, published in CHI’13, a technologist and designer discusses what he learned from a year-long self tracking experiment.

I wanted to understand how it felt to be healthy and fit, but I came to wonder about the changes in self that accompanied my technologically guided, deliberate experience: does the quest for more information about ourselves and our world help us fi nd either?

Evidence-based practice for individuals or groups: let’s make a difference by M. de Groot, J. M. van der Wouden, E. A. van Hell, M. B. Nieweg, in Perspectives on Medical Education. This short communication contains a very useful and clear description of why the definition of “evidence” must vary with context.

You Are Your Data by Sara M. Watson.  When you use personal data collection system, do you have a right to use it? What does that mean and  why should have this right?

Reconciling Quantified Self, Lifelogging, Big Data and… by Niclas Johansson. This is a very well described theory of how the different fields of QS, Lifelogging Big Data, and Social Media

We are also enjoying this growing list of crowd-funded QS tools by Eric Blue. It’s up to 30 and counting.

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What We Are Reading

Welcome to our 24th edition of What We Are Reading. Enjoy these links, articles, and ideas from around the web.

Getting started with data visualization after getting started with data visualization by Nathan Yau: The man behind the wonderful Flowing Data blog put together a simple primer for those of you interested in data visualization. Make sure to check out all the great examples.

Journal of Personal Science: Effect of Meditation on Math Speed by Peter Lewis: Originally presented at our 2013 Quantified Self European Conference, this post details Peter’s self-experiment on improving his cognitive abilities through a meditation practice.
Peter also has an excellent post on his personal website entitled, What’s Driving the Quantified Self Movement? Well worth a read.

Quantbaby: The Birth of a Datababe by Whitney Erin Boesel: Sociologist and friend of Quantified Self tackles a tough question, “Are children an extension of self when we start tracking them?” There was lot of news recently around baby tracking these days This post takes a thoughtful look at the role of identity and tracking in child rearing.

The Quantified Lives of Others by Jamie McHale: When we track ourselves are we tracking other’s by proxy?

Russell Poldrack Studying His Own Brain by Daniel Oppenheimer: A neuroscientist and imaging expert, Russell Poldrack is in the midst of a super interesting self-tracking journey. Over the course of a year he’s tracking multiple facets of himself, including his brain.

“There’s a way in which it’s a very old-fashioned project,” says Poldrack. “There’s a long history of scientists doing experiments, sometimes crazy experiments, on themselves. It doesn’t happen much anymore, but in this case I couldn’t expect a volunteer to give up this much of their time. However, I’m obsessive enough that I thought I could actually pull it off, and I have the resources to do it.”

What You’re Reading

Tell me EVERYTHING About you: What’s Next in Quantified Self?> | 740 tweets

Stealth Fitness Startup Human Wants to Make Quantified Self Mainstream | 129 tweets

From Scientology to the quantified self: the strange tech behind a new wave of self-trackers | 93 tweets

How the Quantified-Self Will Make Big Data a Normal Part of Life | 41 tweets

The Body Data Craze – Newsweek and The Daily Beast | 40 tweets

Smart Fashion for the Self-Quantified : New Wave of Wearable Tech | 26 tweets

A Digital Diaper for Tracking Children’s Health – NYTimes.com | 26 tweets

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What We Are Reading

Another great reading list for you today. We hope you enjoy these insightful and interesting pieces of writing as much as we did.

Douglas C. Engelbart passed away this week. Most known for the “mother of all demos,” he had a profound impact on the design and implementation of computing in our world.

Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse by John Markoff: A nice read that explains Engelbart’s background and experiences.

A few words on Doug Engelbart by Bret Victor: Bret does a masterful job here imploring us to think not about what Engelbart accomplished, but rather what he intended to do.

He intended to augment human intellect. He intended to boost collective intelligence and enable knowledge workers to think in powerful new ways, to collectively solve urgent global problems.

Thoughts and News on Quantified Self

Home Blood Pressure Monitoring: Take It to the Bank by David Magid and Beverly Green: This short editorial explains hos making blood pressure monitoring “more like modern banking: accessible, easy, and convenient” can improve hypertension management.

Winds of Change by the unnamed at the Economist: Essentially a book review of three new volumes on data analysis and visualization, this article poses an interesting question: “But should these books have been published on paper at all? ”

Data Confessions of the Quantified Self by Dorien Zandbergen: An attendee of our recent Quantified Self Europe Conference, Dr. Zandbergen presents her thoughts on the QS community and her observations of “people engaging in radical acts of self-disclosure.”

Git and GitHub for Data by Rufus Pollack: We have a keen interest here at QS in data and it’s ability to be shared amongst collaborators. In this post, Rufus Pollack describes his ongoing work describing and building systems for storing and versioning data.

Quantifying Our Cities, Ourselves by David Sasaki: Although not a new idea (see Esther Dysons The Quantified Community), David Sasaki does a nice job here of describing the opportunity to use data and “actionable knowledge” to understand and improve our cities.

Mad Scientist Sees a Future Where We See Our Quantified Selves on eBay by Daniela Hernandez: A intriguing interview with Walter De Brouwer, founder of Scanadu. (Disclosure: Scanadu is a sponsor of Quantified Self Labs).

Data, Metadata, and Privacy
There have been a lot of reactions to recent news about U.S. surveillance programs and rights to privacy. Here are a few links we found particularly compelling.

Me and my data – thoughts on online surveillance by Ethan Zuckerman: This is a wonderful piece discussing privacy and our data. Ethan does a masterful job of explaining the importance of metadata and gives a great example stemming from his work with the MIT Media Lab’s Immersion Project. (Editor’s note: We’ll have more on Immersion coming soon. Stay tuned.)

Measuring the importance of data privacy: embarrassment and cost by Jeff Leek: Another post from our new favorite statistician. Here Jeff talks about data and privacy and how he thinks about potential harm.

Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere by Kieran Healy: A sociologist describes a scenario where identifying Paul Revere as a traitor can be done with simple metadata and social network analysis.

But I say again, if a mere scribe such as I—one who knows nearly nothing—can use the very simplest of these methods to pick the name of a traitor like Paul Revere from those of two hundred and fifty four other men, using nothing but a list of memberships and a portable calculating engine, then just think what weapons we might wield in the defense of liberty one or two centuries from now.

What You’re Reading

Stealth Fitness Startup Human Wants to Make Quantified Self Mainstream | 395 tweets

The meta-quantified self: Argus app for iOS tracks all your health-tracking apps | 198 tweets

The Potential Behind Wearable Gadgets | 52 tweets

The Body Data Craze | 42 tweets

The Quantified Self: Growing Interest in APIs to Manage Personal Data | 23 tweets

Vanavond in OMT LIVE: Quantified self, huis in je handpalm en meer | 19 tweets

Hidden Capitalism In Life Hacking & The Quantified Self | 15 tweets

Wearable Devices Nudge You to Health | 14 tweets

Global List of Digital Health & Health Innovation Events | 12 tweets

Thanks again to Beau Gunderson for providing us with the top Quantified Self links mentioned on Twitter this week

Bonus Link
Gmail Thinks My Name is a Distraction by Stan James: What happens when machines start telling us what is and what isn’t important?

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What We Are Reading

We hope you like these links, articles, and ideas that we’ve enjoyed this week.

From Gary Wolf

Apple Gives Massive Nod to Wearable Tech in New iOS7 Update: This analysis of iOS7 changes for wearable technologies argues that the iPhone’s future as a QS hub matters more than the much hyped and hypothetical Apple Watch.

Drawing Dynamic Visualizations” [video] – Many clues here in this Bret Victor talk about the future of understanding our personal data. Be sure to check out the supplemental material on his website.

The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation, by Steven Shapin: I’m finding this book very influential in shaping my reaction to some of the pious statements about “real science” that I encounter in discussions of the Quantified Self movement. Here’s an interview with Shapin that includes a link for the book.

From Ernesto Ramirez

Quantifying the body: monitoring and measuring health in the age of mHealth technologies: A thoughtful research article by Deborah Lupton exploring to sociocultural implications on self-tracking on health and identity.

A Timeline of Smartphone-enabled Health Devices by Mobihealthnews: A great look back at the how far the field of mHealth has come since 2009.

Lifeloggers by Memoto [video]: This short documentary explores the world of lifelogging through various interviews with experts such as Gordon Bell and Steve Mann.

A Personal API by Naveen Selvadurai: Naveen, co-founder of Foursquare, has started to open up his data in the form of an “personal API.” He’s challenged developers and the broader QS community to see what they can do with this data. Right now his API allows access to sleep, steps, weight, fuel (Nike Fuelband), and places.

We’ve also noticed two open challenges that might appeal to the QS community:

The Economist-Lumina Foundation Quantified Work Challenge: The Economist and the Lumina Foundation are asking for your thoughts on what “potential objective inputs or data and potential methods of collecting and reporting that information that organizations could use to build a personalized “skills tracker” for individual employees.”

Chart.js Personal Dashboard Challenge: Use the open source chart.js javascript visualization library to create your own charts and graphs based on your personal data.

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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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