Tag Archives: qstop
There are no shortage of apps and devices to track our various physical activities. Going for run? A few laps at the pool? An early morning hike? All of these are trackable with data delivered and archived in a variety of different ways. Mike McDearmon loves to get outdoors, and he also loves tracking his activities. What started as a project to document his runs by taking a picture every time he went running has evolved into a fascinating mixed-media project. Since 2011 Mike has been taking a picture every time he exercises outdoors. In this talk, presented at the New York QS meetup group, Mike explains his methods, and digs a bit deeper into what this means to him.
For me, the real value in this whole project hasn’t necessarily come from the data at all, but from the process of getting outdoors, exploring my surroundings, taking photographs, and then reflecting on my experiences through documentation. This is what I feel is at the heart of the Quantified Self movement – it’s the passion and enjoyment in certain aspects of our lives that makes us want to document them in the first place. – from 300 Outings.
Download slides here.
I highly suggest taking the time to peruse Mike’s wonderful website where he documents his running, cycling, hiking, walking, and the pictures he’s talking along the way. He’s also built a really neat data dashboard that is worth perusing.
At Quantified Self Labs, we create and host events that bring together our community of trackers, toolmakers, researchers, and other individuals interested in how self-tracking is shaping our culture. We focus mainly on meetups and conferences. With the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference coming up in May, we thought we’d let you know what makes it a unique and rewarding experience for us and our growing community.
When and Where
Since our first European Conference in 2011, we’ve been lucky to present at the Casa 400 Hotel in beautiful Amsterdam. This year’s conference will take place on May 10th and 11th to take advantage of the spring weather. Casa 400 is just a short bike ride from central Amsterdam and is conveniently located within waking distance of a public train station.
Our conferences are unique community-driven events that we like to refer to as “carefully curated unconferences”. All of our sessions and talks come from our conference attendees, which requires more hands-on work from our program staff. The end result is dynamic program that reflects the interest, insights, and experiences of our community. Our program is divided into four different types of sessions and presentations held concurrently throughout both days of the conference.
Show & Tell Talks: These talks are personal first-person self-tracking stories. We ask speakers to present their tracking experiments with an emphasis on what they’ve learned. At previous conferences we’ve heard talks on tracking Parkinson’s disease, computer use, continuous heart rate, and other fascinating subjects.
Breakout Discussions: Held concurrently with Show & Tell talks, the breakouts are group discussions about a specific topic related to Quantified Self. Each discussion topic is proposed and led by a conference attendee. Previous breakouts have touched on issues related to privacy, the “missing trackers”, DIY tracking, visualization design, the role of open data in the QS community, and many others.
Lunchtime Ignite Talks: After a healthy and delicious meal (lunch is provided) we encourage attendees to listen to six or eight rapid-fire Ignite talks from other participants. These talks are similar to our Show & Tell talks, but are typically more light-weight and entertaining. A great example is this talk given by Mark Moschel on tracking rejection.
Office Hours: We encourage participants to bring current projects, tools, or applications they’re working on. We provide office hour space during program sessions for people to present their project and interact with attendees in one-on-one conversations. We’ve been delighted to see a wide range of concepts exposed during office hours such as art projects, new visualization methods, meet and greets with luminaries in the field, and new tool prototypes.
Take a peak at our 2012 European Conference program for more examples of how we put together a collaborative program packed with learning and sharing opportunities.
Sponsors and Friends
We couldn’t create our conferences without the support of our generous sponsors. We’d like to thank our current annual sponsors, Autodesk and Intel, for their continued support. We are grateful for the support from this year’s conference sponsors: Gero Lab, Aro (Saga), Scanadu, Withings, and Zensorium. If you’re interested in sponsoring our work in general, or the upcoming European Conference, please get in touch.
We also want to thank our Friends of QS. These toolmakers, inventors, and entrepreneurs directly support our work and community. If you’d like to learn more about our Friends of QS program just let us know.
If you are an advanced user, designer, inventor, entrepreneur, journalist, scientist, or health professional, please join us in beautiful Amsterdam for two days of collaboration and inspiration!
We expect to sell out, so if you plan to attend please register today!
Enjoy the information, ideas, and other bits of interestingness we’ve found compelling this week.
Articles and Posts
Medicine gets up close and personal by W. Wyatt Gibbs. At Quantified Self Labs we are big fans of Leroy Hood and his work at the Seattle based Institute for Systems Biology. In an effort to better understand longitudinal health he is spearheading a new pilot research project to track 100 people (genome, sleep, activity, etc.) and eventually hopes to enroll 100,000 people and follow them for 25 years. You can learn more about Dr. Hood’s ideas and this research in this short video.
The Couple That Pays Each Other to Put Kids to Bed by Ben Popken. It is not often that we get to peek into the lives of our Quantified Self community members. In this profile we learn how Bethany Soule and Daniel Reeves use game theory and behavioral economics to divvy up daily tasks in their household. You may also know Daniel and Bethany as the great team behind one of our Friends of QS, Beeminder.
How Science Turned a Struggling Pro Skier Into an Olympic Medal Contender by Jeffrey Marlow. With the 2014 Winter Olympics in full swing we’ve started seeing a number of articles detailing the role technology and self-tracking has played during the lead up to competition. This piece is a great look into the different methods the US Ski Team is using to gain and edge on their competition.
The pedagogy of disgust: the ethical, moral and political implications of using disgust in public health [PDF] by Deborah Lupton. For decades many public health campaigns have used emotional imagery in an attempt to reduce negative health behaviors. This research article, by one of our favorite sociologists, explores the history of using disgust in public health campaigns and the implications this practice has on different communities.
How Can We Help People Get More Sleep? by Lori Melchar. Lori is a program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and recently took part in a panel discussion on sleep. Due to the foundation’s involvement in numerous health research projects Lori was able to provide some insight into the current challenges and possible solutions for combating sleep loss.
The Weight of the Rain by Jonathan Corum. Jonathan is a senior graphics editor at the New York Times and he gave a talk at the recent Visualized Conference in New York. It’s by far one of my favorite pieces on designing and creating data visualizations that I’ve read this year.
Baseline Cherrypicker by Ben Schmidt. If you’re interested in data visualization and have a soft spot for baseball statistics you can’t do better than this great tool. (The Yankees are clearly the most dominate team in history.)
Where People Run by Nathan Yau. I’m a big fan of Nathan’s work over at Flowing Data. In this post he uses publicly available data from Runkeeper to plot routes for 22 major cities around the world. Apparently people love running near bodies of water.
Ranking Data Dashboards on Pinterest by Mike McDearmon. Mike is a member of the QS New York meetup group and he’s been actively keeping examples of data dashboards on Pinterest. In this short post he examines the number of re-pins to see what dashboards are most popular.
From the Forum
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Kevin Krejci was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease last year. At a recent Bay Area QS Meetup, Kevin shared his story of how he’s using self-tracking applications and devices to help him monitor different symptoms and outcomes related to his diagnosis. Watch his talk below to hear about his triumphs and challenges.
Rob Rothfarb has an artificial aortic heart valve. It requires him to take anticoagulation therapy so that he reduces his risk of blood clots. It also requires constant monitoring to ensure that he is within target ranges. Rob learned that different lifestyle factors and genetic susceptibility was related to how effective his therapy was so he decided to start doing weekly self-testing and experimenting with one factor, his diet. Watch his talk from our 2013 Global Conference to find out what he learned.
At the beginning of 2013 Kendra Albert set herself a very ambitious goal of reading five books a week. After tracking her reading by using Goodreads and writing short book reviews she realized that what she was reading wasn’t matching up to what she wanted to read. Watch her short talk with and the Q&A that follows to see how she used her tracking data to help her break out of her typical consumption pattern and include a more diverse set of authors. (Filmed at the Boston QS meetup group.)
Enjoy these ideas, insights, and other bits of interestingness from around the web.
Disinformation Visualization: How to lie with datavis by Mushon Zer-Aviv. Data may be objective, but once you start using it to tell a story things can get a bit muddled. This niece piece uses great examples to show how data and data visualization can be used to manipulate and skew information.
How fitness trackers could be used inpatient and outpatient to monitor medication effects by Timothy Aungst. In this short piece, Dr. Aungst makes the argument that fitness trackers, although measuring steps, could give insights into how patients are feeling. I especially enjoyed the use of real data as an example.
Data and its Discontents – notes and reflections from a panel at Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium by Ethan Zuckerman. There are too many good ideas and interesting thoughts here to spoil it for you. A worthwhile read.
Connecting the Data Dots: Reporter for iPhone by Mills Baker. I enjoyed this piece because it was less an a technical app review and more of a thought piece on self-tracking tools framed by Feltons Reporter app – “It does not seem to be a “play” at something and doesn’t monetize you; it is a tool for self-knowledge.”
Something to Stand On. The economist takes a look at how the shift from service to platform is shaping the digital industry.
From the Forum
Statistical Findings. A great and ongoing discussion on applying statistics to personal data.
Common Blood Test – Sources, Prices, Advice. Where do you go if you want to get a blood test but don’t want to see a doctor?
Health Index Apps – Experiences and Impressions. What are the reliable health indexing services?
Katrina Rodzon thought she was a relatively healthy person until she realized that seemingly disconnected symptoms pointed towards something real, a gluten intolerance. She took this hunch and decided to test it out using a simple elimination diet along with tracking her weight and subjective bloating and mood ratings. Watch her great talk from our 2013 Global Conference to find out what she learned.
In three months we’ll be gathering again in Amsterdam for our third Quantified Self Europe Conference. Since 2011 we’ve seen this event grow into an amazing experience. We spend a lot of time working with attendees to find those special projects and experiments that show the diversity of the self-tracking experience. We’ve been honored to have worked with over 100 different attendees to bring outstanding presentations, breakout discussions, and interactive experiences.
I wanted to share one of those attendees with you today. Sara Riggare is an engineer, graduate student, and mother. She also has Parkinson’s Disease. We first met Sara at our first European Conference in 2011 where she gave an inspiring talk about how she uses self-tracking to monitor her movement and symptom progression. We were happy to welcome her again in 2013 where she shared her insights and experience with tracking how her medication impacted her movement throughout the day and how that enabled her to have more meaningful conversations with her healthcare team.
We could stop here and tell you how excited we are to have Sara attending the upcoming Quantified Self Europe Conference, but I want to share one more story with you. We are constantly telling people how our conferences are an opportunity to share and learn from each other. We love hearing stories about someone being inspired by what they saw. After Sara spoke about her experience in 2011 she met Caspar Addyman, a psychologist and researcher, and they started exploring their shared interests and expertise. Sharing quickly turned into collaboration and a successfully funded research project in the UK, which they shared in a short talk at the 2013 conference.
Lucky for us, Sara hasn’t stopped exploring her personal quantified self experience. Just this past September Sara was in the Bay Area and shared her current tracking progress and the tools she’s using:
We’re happy to have Sara as part of our community in Europe and we’re looking forward to what we’ll learn from her in May. We hope you’ll join us in Amsterdam to meet Sara and the other self-trackers, toolmakers, and researchers that make up our wonderful community. Registration is open now.