Tag Archives: reading

What We're Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!

Articles
CGM in the Cloud: Personal Preferences by Kerri Sparling. A great blog post here by Kerri who explains why it’s so important to have access to her blood sugar data. She’s part of a growing community of people with diabetes who are using different methods to broadcast their CGM data into the could.

On Minorities and Outliers: The Case for Making Big Data Small by Brooke Foucault Welles. The rush towards finding the answers in “Big Data” might lead to the continued exclusion of the women, minorities, and the “outliers” of the world. Brooke makes the case here for examining these “small datasets”  to give them the weight they deserve.

“When women and minorities are excluded as subjects of basic social science research, there is a tendency to identify majority experiences as “normal,” and discuss minority experiences in terms of how they deviate from those norms . In doing so, women, minorities, and the statistically underrepresented are problematically written into the margins of social science, discussed only in terms of their differences, or else excluded altogether.”

Here’s Looking at You: How Personal Health Information Is Being Tracked and Used [PDF] by Jane Sarashon-Kahn. In this report, from the California Healthcare Foundation, Jane lays out how our health data is being acquired and used, for commercial and public benefit. I especially liked the emphasis on privacy, or lack there of.

The Making of April Zero by Anand Sharma. Anand details his journey from starting to self-track to creating an amazing website that serves as his personal QS dashboard. One interesting bit is that his tracking activities increased dramatically after Apple’s M7 chip came out with the iPhone 5S and he noticed that his phone’s battery took much less of a hit from running apps that track his activity in the background.

Show&Tells
Tracking Upset and Recovery by Paul LaFontaine. Paul has been using the Heartmath stress monitor to help him record and understand what causes him to get upset (fall out of coherence). In this post, he details how his recovery method has helped him progress, recover, and slightly reduce the number of upsets during his working session. I recommend reading all of Paul’s great posts on this work.

Europe Honeymoon by reddit user Glorypants. This reddit user tracked his European honeymoon with the Moves app and then used our How to Map Your Moves Data post to learn how to make some great maps to share his experience.

Visualizations
Lillian_YIR
This Year in Numbers – 2014 by Lillian Karabaic. A great “year in review” post here that details the tracking Lillian has done from July 2013 to July 2014. I love the mix of hand-drawn and computer-generate visualizations that provide insight into Lillian’s sleep, diet, cycling, mood, and communication data. (Editor’s Note: Lillian sent this link via the comments on Quantifiedself.com. If you have something to share please let us know!)

HelpMeViz
HelpMeViz.com. I wanted to highlight this great website and community project as we have many great visualization and data scientists in our community. On the HelpMeViz website people submit their visualizations for feedback and assistance. I’ve had fun interacting with the growing community and have even learned a few neat tricks in the process.

TravisHodges
The Quantified Self by Travis Hodges. Travis is a portrait photographer based in London. For his newest project he sought out fifteen individuals who are using self-tracking to understand and improve themselves. I especially like the inclusion of the data visualizations coupled with the individual stories from these self-trackers.

TwitterViz
Visualizing Your Twitter Conversations by Jon Bulava. Jon, a Developer Advocate at Twitter, put together a wonderful how-to for getting started on visualizing your friend network on Twitter. (If you’re interested in using the new Twitter Analytics data to better understand your tweeting we suggest Bill Johnson’s great how-to.)

From the Forum
Data Aggregation
Smart Mirror with Health Sensors
Garmin Vivo Activity Tracker – Your Results?
Sleep Tracking for New Parents

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What We Are Reading

We’ve assembled another great list of articles, posts, and other interesting ideas for you to enjoy.

Articles
Billy Beane’s Ascendant A’s Are Playing a Brand-New Brand of Moneyball by Will Leitch. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s an article about baseball doing in this list?” First, it’s about how the Oakland Athletics are using metrics to improve their team. And two, I was struck by the following:

“Instead, Beane and his front office have bought in bulk: They’ve brought in as many guys as possible and seen who performed. They weren’t looking for something that no one else saw: They amassed bodies, pitted them against one another, were open to anything, and just looked to see who emerged. Roger Ebert once wrote that the muse visits during the act of creation, rather than before. The A’s have made it a philosophy to just try out as many people as possible—cheap, interchangeable ones—and pluck out the best.”

Sounds a lot like our old friend, Seth Roberts, describing the value of self-experimentation - start small, do a lot of them, learn by doing.

Build Great Models . . . Throw Them Away by Mark Ravina. A digital humanities researcher makes the case for using data and statistical methods of modeling not to answer questions, but to come up with better questions. Really enjoyed the great examples in this post.

App data reveals locations, times and distances of Calgary’s runners and cyclists by Meghan Jessiman. A collaboration between RunKeeper and the local Calgary Herald newspaper led to some interesting findings and, of course, some activity heat maps.

A Digital Dose of Magic Medicine by Naveen Rao. Naveen connects the dots between the recent controversy surrounding Doctor Oz to the possibly misplaced hopes we’re putting in tools like HealthKit.

9-Volt Nirvana by RadioLab. This episode of the always interesting RadioLab tells the story of a journalist who was hooked up to a tDCS device for a sniper shooting exercise. The device helped her accuracy in the simulation, but then there was an unexpected after-effect. For three days afterward, the voices of self-doubt and self-abnegation receded from her consciousness. She talks about that experience directly on her blog. (Thanks to Steven Jonas for sending this one in!)

Tracking Sleep With Your Phone by Belle Beth Cooper. A great roundup here of iOS and Android apps you can use to track sleep. I especially appreciated the nice discussion of the current limitations of using mobile apps to track and understand sleep.

From Missiles To The Pitch: The Story Behind World Cup Tech by Melissa Block and NPR. If you’re wondering how FIFA is able to track the movement of individuals players during this year’s World Cup then this is for you. You can also check out all the data on FIFA’s website here.

Show&Tell
Productivity, the Quantified Self and Getting an Office by Bob Tabor. Bob works at home and was curious about how productive he really was. After using RescueTime he realized maybe he wasn’t getting the productive time he really need.

Basis to Roambi by Florian Lissot. Florian wanted to explore his Basis data. After using Bob Troia’s great data access script and some additional tools to aggregate multiple files he was able to create some great visualizations with Roambi and learn a bit more about his daily patterns of activity.

Do you have a self-tracking story you want to share? Submit it now!

Visualizations
losangeles-transport
How We Move in Cities by Human.co. It seems that making heatmaps based on movement is all the rage these days. Human has gone one step further than previous entries in this category by including motorized travel alongside cycling, walking, and running data. Don’t forget to check out the amazing GIFs as well.

cecinestunedataviz
This is Not a Data Visualization by Michael Thompson.

“[...] visualizations are not the data. The data is not the sum of the experience. We’ve been inappropriately using data visualizations as the basis for statements and conclusions. We’re leaving out rigorous statistical analysis, and appropriate qualifiers such as confidence intervals. It’s exciting that we’ve become more and more a society of pattern-seekers. But it’s important that we don’t become lazy and cavalier with what we do with those observations.”

MSFTdataviz
Reflections on How Designers Design With Data [PDF] by Alex Bigelow, Steven Drucker, Danyel Fisher, and Miriah Meyer. Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Utah sought out to understand how designers go the process of understanding data and creating unique visualizations.

Do you have a QS data visualization you want to share? Submit it now!

From the Forum
Best passive GPS Logger?
Quantified Baby
Android App for Self Surveys

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What We Are Reading

We’ve compiled another list of interesting personal data and Quantified Self articles, self-tracking stories, and data visualizations. Enjoy!

Articles

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks by Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory, and Jeffrey Hancock. Facebook engaged in a large study to see if emotional states could be transferred/changed via the emotional content of the News Feed. A lot of hubbub recently about this research article related to what it means to knowingly consent to research.

Who Owns Your Personal Data: The Incorporated Woman. Jennifer Morone has added herself to a long list of individuals making a statement against the commercialization of personal data. What started as a design assignment has morphed into a statement against others profiting and controlling personal data. (Immediately remind me of this Kickstarter project.)

Quantified Self and the Ethics of Personal Data by Ian Forrester. Ian does a great job here of exploring current conversations about the variety of ethical questions that come with creating, using, and owning personal data.

Visualizing Algorithms by Mike Bostock. Mike is the creator and steward of the d3.js data visualization library. In this fascinating post, he recounts one of his recent talks about how visualization can be used to understand how algorithms work.

“[...] algorithms are also a reminder that visualization is more than a tool for finding patterns in data. Visualization leverages the human visual system to augment human intellect: we can use it to better understand these important abstract processes, and perhaps other things, too.”

Biometric Shirt for Astronauts Gets Antarctic Tryout by Eliza Strickland. Eliza describes a “try-out” for using self-tracking technology to better understand vital signs and activity during space travel.

Show&Tell

My Solution for Quantified Self: Prompted Data Aggregation by Jonathan Cutrell. Jonathan decided to build his own simple system for self-directed data collection prompts. “While they may be simple data points, and while the questions will repeat, the concept is simple: my computer asks me a question, and tracks my answer for me.”

Quantified Splunk: Tracking My Vital Signs by David Greenwood. David describes how he uses Splunk, a data monitoring and analysis tool, to help him track and make sense of new personal health data he’s collecting. It will be interesting to see what he learns as he starts adding and exploring more of his self-tracking data.

How I Wrote 400K Words in a Year by Jaime Todd Rubin. In March of 2013, Jaime decided he was going to try and write every day. In this post he describes some of the lessons he learned through tracking his writing practice. I was particularly drawn to his methods for tracking all his writing through Google Docs.

Do you have a self-tracking story you want to share? Submit it now!

Visualizations

Withings-via-IFTTTCharting Withings Data Using IFTTT, Google Spreadsheets, and d3.js by Dan Harrington. Dan didn’t like the way Withings presented weight data in it’s visualization. So, he put together a tutorial to show how you can grab your Withings data via IFTTT, import it into a Google Spreadsheet, then visualize it using d3.js, an open-source data visualization library.

 

 

MapRunKeeper1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides by Mapbox and RunKeeper. The Mapbox team worked with Runkeeper to map publicly shared routes. Really interesting to zoom around the world map to see where people who use RunKeeper are exercising.

 

 

Do you have a QS data visualization you want to share? Submit it now!

From the Forum

HealthKit
Lifelogging via Calendar Application
Help Analyzing Text Files?
Breakout: Productivity Tracking

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list of articles, show&tells, and visualizations!

Articles
Strava is Just the Start: The Promise of Open Trail Data. by Mary O’Connor. Data standards might be one of the most boring topics that has a real impact on our daily interactions with data. In this short piece you’ll learn how public transit data standards that help you know when the bus or subway is arriving are influencing a new standard for public trail mapping.

A Stroke Diagnosed With a Selfie by Olga Khazan. A brief piece here tells the story of Stacey Yepes, a woman who used her phone to record the onset of her second stroke.

On Behavior Modification and Agency by Rebecca Pardo. Do our devices change our actions or do we? This nice post by Dr. Pardo is a recommend read for anyone thinking about behavior change in the context of Quantified Self apps and tools.

Making Art out of Everyday Life by Aimme Levitt. If you’re in or around Chicago this summer I highly suggest visiting the Elmhurst Art Museum for the “Lifeloggers: Chronicling the Everyday” exhibit. If you can’t make it, this article about the exhibit will have to suffice.

Visualization of Human Behavior Data: The Quantified Self [pdf] by Alessandro Marcengo and Amon Rapp. This book chapter outlines ideas and insights about self-tracking from a research standpoint. The two authors go on to also describe new methods of visualization and data management they believe could positively impact people using self-tracking tools now and in the future.

Show&Tell
The DIY Pancreas by Scott Leibrand and Dana Lewis. This isn’t a single post, but rather a long story about two people working together to use data to help learn about and take control of type 1 diabetes. You can start here to learn why it was necessary to hack a system together in the first place.

Can Heart Rate Variability be Useful in Predicting A CF Exacerbation? bib Julie Desch. This is a pretty early account of what Julie is learning by measuring her HRV, but it will be interesting to follow her story along the way!

Visualizations
visitsVisits. Visits isn’t just a neat visualization. It’s a online platform to explore your location history, trips, and what you’ve done along the way. Currently it works with OpenPaths and Google Location history data as well as geotagged Flickr photos.

 

 

 

keystrokes

My Working Pulse by Victor Pascual. Victor uses an open-source keylogger to track his computer usage and work habits. This visualization, made with Tableau, shows his keystrokes by day and per month.

 

 

 

vizcat

Data Visualization Catalogue by Severino Ribecca. If you’re interested in the many different methods of data visualization, this is a good place to start. Severino has created a nice directory here that explains many of the different common visualization methods and the tools you can use to create them. To learn more about this project you can watch his talk at the London QS meetup here.

 

 

 

From the Forum
Zeo Sleep Monitor – Data Viewer Application

Home Potassium Testing

Jawbone Up – How to Access Intra-day Data

Saga vs. Moves

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

We’re back with another great set of articles, show&tells, and visualizations for you.

Articles
How to Make Government Data Sites Better by Nathan Yau. Government entities are some of the largest holders of interesting data. Nathan focuses this article on the difficulties of accessing and making sense of data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and offers some good ideas on how to make it better.

Project Eavesdrop: An Experiment At Monitoring My Home Office by Steve Henn. What happens when you start monitoring yourself in the same manner the NSA might be doing? The author employs some technical help to learn what data leaks are possible and what you can figure out from your digital trails.

Sitting is Bad for You. So I Stopped. For a Whole Month. by Dan Kols. As a past frequent user of a treadmill desk and a sedentary behavior researcher I found this article intriguing. Yes, a bit silly in nature, but an interesting look at what happens when you go to the extreme. I especially enjoyed the integration of personal tracking in the piece.

The Future of Biosensing Wearables by Rock Health. Our friends at Rock Health did some great research on where personal sensing is going.

Show&Tell
Analyzing Squash Performance Using Fitbit by Ben Sidders. Ben sought out to see if he could learn anything from his step data to improve his squash playing. In this post he explains how he used R to access his data and plot it against his squash records, which he also records.

My Life As Seen Through Fitbit. Reddit user, VisionsofStigma, plots a year and a half of Fitbit data to find out what is related to the rise and fall of his activity.

Visualizations
histogramFitbitFreeing My Fitbit Data by Bonnie Barrilleaux. Bonnie used our instructions for accessing Fitbit data in Google Spreadsheets then used Python to visualize her data. I especially like the histogram pictured at left. If you want to visualize your Fitbit data, she’s included her code in the post.

 

 

 

diurnalFitbitDiurnal Plot of Fitbit Data by Matthew Gaudet. Matthew was inspired by the diurnal plots from Stephen Wolfram’s in-depth personal data review. He implemented the same methods to better understand his activity.

 

 

 

iconHistoryIconic History by Shan Huang. As part of a the Interactive and Computational Design class at Carnegie Mellon University, Shan created a Chrome browser extension that visualizes your browser history. More about the project here.

 

 

 

lastfmAlbumsVisualizing Last.fm History by Andy Cotgreave. Andy has been using Last.fm since 2006 to track his music listening activity. As a data scientist he was interested in what he could learned from all that data. In this four-part series, he explores his data along side data from eight of his friends. (If you want explore your Last.fm data you can export it using this awesome CSV export tool.)

 

 

From the Forum
23andMe Data Analysis Tools

Track Your Phone Addiction

Just Want To Track Hours in Bed

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Another long list of interesting stuff we’ve been reading this week. Enjoy!

Articles and Posts
Pilot at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess gives patients electronic access to therapists’ notes by Lena H. Sun. Should patients be able to read their therapist’s notes? A hospital in Boston is experimenting with that idea. This work was inspired by a project from our friends at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called Open Notes.

What If Our Refrigerators Get A Little Too Smart? by Owen Thomas. Are we setting up ourselves for a algorithmic controlled future of connected systems? Owen Thomas paints a slightly disturbing picture here in just a few sentences. (If someone writes a utopian rebuttal I would love to hear it.)

Google vs. our humanity: How the emerging “Internet of Things” is turning us into robots by Evan Selinger. Another nice piece on the ever increasing role algorithms have in our lives. I found the article well researched and full of interesting examples, least of not is the delegation of works onto wedding planners. (I was also tickled to learn that the chief economist at Google is named Hal.)

The United States of Metrics by Bruce Feiler. Apparently negativity is a theme this week. In this piece the author attempts to make the case that in using data to track understand your life, you are giving up the essence of life itself:

“Big Brother isn’t our big enemy anymore. It’s Big Self. That hovering eye in the sky watching every move you make: It’s you.”

The United States of Metrics isn’t such a bad thing by Nathan Yau. A short but great rebuttal to to the perceived grouchiness in Bruce Feiler’s piece mentioned above.

Here’s how I see it: I strongly believe in going with your gut instincts. It’s led me in the right direction more often than not. But, sometimes I move in the wrong direction, or I don’t know enough about a subject and all I have is uncertainty. If there’s data there to help then all the better.

Personal data and the quantified self – things you ought to know by Vicky Sargent. This is a nice review of the book, Hacking H(app)iness, by John C. Havens, which in part details how Quantified Self and tracking can influence happiness and mental wellbeing. (Editors note: A short book review of Hacking Happiness is forthcoming in a future What We’re Reading post.)

Data Ethic Workshop. Not an article, but a call for participation at a workshop on data ethics at the International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. Definitely something I’ll be keeping my eye on and will post papers as they become available.

What the Right Dashboard Can Do For Your Data by Thursday Bram. A nice overview of some available data dashboard systems and how dashboards can be useful for understanding multiple streams of personal data.

Show&Tell
A Look at a Few Months of HR and HRV Measurements by Marco Altini. Marco explains how he tracked his heart rate and heart rate variability while preparing for a half marathon and what he learned after 3 months of data collection. Take the time to read through this excellent post. It is really worth your while.

100 Blocks – A ‘Quantified Self’ Random Walk Experiment by Peter Gilks. Inspired by the mathematical concept of a Random Walk, Peter set out with his wife to let chance direct a 6-hour journey in New York City. Tracking all the way.

Quantified Jewel by Jewel Loree. Jewel has been tracking her music listening with Last.fm for years. After showing her pattern of music profiles to a colleague she was inspired to start looking deeper to answer an intriguing question, “What was I listening to sadder music every couple of weeks?”

Visualizations
Tablea’s Quantified Self Viz Contest. Notice anything about a few of those Show&Tell links above? They’re using Tableau as a their visualization platform. Tableau is hosting a Quantified Self Visualization contest. If you have some tracking data and want to share a unique visualization then you enter this contest and you just might win a chance to attend their annual conference. Contest ends May 26th.

percentfeedbackPercentile Feedback by Noah Slater. This is actually a combination visualization and tracking tool. Based on the great work of our dearly missed friend, Seth Roberts, and adaptations by Nick Winter, Noah has created a nice open-source project so you can experiment with Percentile Feedback. (Watch this talk by Nick to learn how he uses Percentile Feedback for productivity.)

 

 

UjiUji Wall Clock. This arcticle and interview with Ivor Williams explains why he built a clock who’s hands move to an individual’s heart rate. You can also see a video of the clock “in motion” here.

 

 

 

SC_kineticfrequencyKinetic Frequency. I’m a big fan of Stephen Cartwright’s work around designing physical installations that feed on location data. This new work uses color and and a 10×10 grid of movable columns to “display an infinite number of topographies based on a wide variety of inputted data.”

 

 

 

From the Forum

Best Pulse Oximeter for All-Night Logging?

Physical/Blood Work?

Breakout: Aggregator platforms: Understanding data?

Where Do You Keep Your Version of MyLifeBits?

Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

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

Health Care Apps Offer Patients an Active Role by Ann Carrns. A nice overview of different DIY health apps and connected home medical devices.

Getting the most out of RescueTime for your Quantified Self projects by Robby Macdonell. If you’re using RescueTime to track your computer use and productivity there are many options for extending the built in data analysis. This great post by Robby, who spoke about tracking his productivity at our 2013 Global Conference, showcases a few different methods. If you use one to look at your own data let us know in the comments or on the forum.

Downloading Your Email Metadata by Nathan Yau. Another nice how-to post from Nathan on FlowingData.com. Email is an area of rich information and most of time that data is left in the vaults of our email providers. This tutorial provides a great instruction set for gathering that data using Python.

20 Day Stranger by Playful Systems and the Center at MIT. An interesting project that will sync self-tracking data with a stranger for 20 days. It’s not in production yet, but you can apply to be a part of their trial. I’m really intrigued by the idea of sharing anonymously with strangers and what you might be able to learn about another person.

Spurious Correlations, Quantified Self, and the Health Care System by Martin Spindler. Do steps calculated, counted, and correlated by the smart pedometers of today actually improve lives?

Meet the Godfather of Wearables by Maria Konnikova. A really nice long read biographic piece on Alex “Sandy” Pentland. Sandy is responsible for running one of the most innovating research and design labs at MIT. Chances are that if you’re reading this then you’ve interacted with some bit of technology that originated with Sandy and his students.

Show & Tell

Fixing Sleep with Low Blue Light. This simple, but fantastic explanation of how one individual moved up his waking time by reducing his exposure to blue light.

Quantified Self: Three Months Later by Adam Sigel. This is a nice post about how different apps and tools helped Adam engage with his health and learn more about his life.

Visualizations

EdwardSnowVisualizing Zero: How to Show Something with Nothing by Andy Kirk. We’ve had some great discussions at recent Bay Area QS Meetups about the meaning of missing data. This short piece has some great examples of how the absence of data can be an important part of the story.

 

 

MoodMapMood Maps by Erin Hedrington. Some beautiful quantified self artwork here by Erin.

 

 

 

 

DataCrystalsWorld Data Crystals by Scott Kildall. Scott takes data sets and turns them into 3D printed representations.

 

 

 

 

From the Forum

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

Discreet Stress Monitoring in Real Time

Inside Tracker Review

Which Wearables Have CSV Export

Update: Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What We Are Reading

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

Articles & Posts
Eight (No Nine!) Problems With Big Data by Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis. This is a nice short piece about what “Big Data” can and cannot do. Definitely a great reference to have on hand when you’re exploring your own data, or the data of others.

Wearables Versus There-ables by Naveen Selvadurai. I always enjoy reading what Naveen is thinking about in the personal technology space. He always does a great job of explaining his rationale and this piece is no different. Are we heading towards commodity sensors and more powerful stationary sensing systems? It’s an interesting idea.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Dates in Excel by Kara Woo. Time and time again time/date formats show themselves to be the bane of every developer working with timestamped data. If you’re working in Excel with date dependent data this is a must read.

To quote John Machin, “In reality, there are no such things [as dates in Excel spreadsheets]. What you have are floating point numbers and pious hope.”

Sensor-Embedded Teeth for Oral Activity Recognition by Cheng-Yuan, Yen-Chang Chen, Wei-Ju Chen, Polly Huang and Hao-hua Chu. It turns out that every mouth movement you make (chewing, speaking, coughing, etc.) causes you teeth to move in different patterns. These researchers developed a small accelerometer-based sensor in an artificial tooth and were able to accurately capture different oral behaviors. A peak into our future?

Big Data and Its Exclusions by Jonas Lerman. Another “Big Data” themed essay in this weeks’ list. However this essay takes on something we’ve been hearing about more and more lately. If data is part of our future for determining public policy are there people that are missing in our datasets?

[...] big data has the potential to solidify existing inequalities and stratifications and to create new ones. It could restructure societies so that the only people who matter—quite literally the only ones who count—are those who regularly contribute to the right data flows.

How I Hacked My Best Friend’s Genome – And Could Hack Yours Too by Sharen Moelem. First, I don’t think “hack” is the right term here. I would prefer the title, “How I acquired my friend’s genetic information and had it tested.” Regardless, this short piece makes the case for understanding the legal protections, and lack thereof, of personal genetic testing.

Show&Tell
The Change My Son Brought, Seen Through Personal Data by Nathan Yau. We’re obviously big fans of Nathan and his work at Flowing Data. This great post illustrates a few of the insights Nathan gathered about how his life has changed since his son was born.

The Qualified Self: Going Beyond Quantification by Eric Boem and Jarrett Webb. No matter what adjective you prefer use to describe “the self” this article is a great example of what we see in show&tell talks at QS meetups around the world. The authors describe how they started to understand their sleep by combining many different data sets.

 

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading

Click, read, enjoy!

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

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , | Leave a comment