Topic Archives: Conference

QS15 Conference Preview: Valerie Lanard on Quitting TV

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

vlanard_head_b_n_w_sm-2We are excited to welcome Valerie Lanard as a presenter our upcoming QS Conference & Activate Expo. Like many in our community, Valerie has been tracking a variety of her health and fitness data and was pleased to find out “that there others like her” when she discovered the Quantified Self. Currently Valerie is working on Gigabody.com, a streaming fitness video service designed to help with regular exercise. She also has a keen interest in habits, health & fitness tracking, wearable devices, lifelogging.

At the QS15 Conference Valerie will be talking about her fascinating project to quit TV for thirty days. In August of 2014, Valerie committed to quitting TV and focused on how her environment and triggers reinforced a behavior she felt “locked into.” In her show&tell talk she will be sharing her process, what ended up replacing all her TV time, and lessons she learned about herself when she was able to break the habit.

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We also spoke with Valerie about what she’s looking forward to at the conference and she mentioned she’s excited to see new tools and devices as well as the opportunity to meet new QS community members:

I cannot wait to see the new crop of devices and QS companies at the conference – I feel like a kid in a candy store every year. But I’m just as excited to talk about the latest health tracking APIs, and meet smart, like-minded folks from the community. Come say hi!

If you’re interested in meeting and learning from interesting and engaged people like Valerie then register now for the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. Early Bird tickets are going fast and will be sold out very soon!

Register now!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Glen Lubbert on Tracking Alcohol Consumption

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

GlenLubbertWe are excited to be having Glen Lubbert joining us at the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. Glen has been developing tools and systems to help individuals improve their health and wellness for almost twenty years. In his daily life, he’s using multiple QS tools to help him understand himself, such as the Withings scale, Beddit sleep tracker, WaterMinder, Moves, OptimizeMe, and Jawbone’s UP.

During the conference Glen will be giving a show&tell talk about what he’s learned from tracking his alcohol consumption. We spoke with Glen about his talk, and why he decided to start tracking what he was drinking.

“Alcohol is part of the very fabric of our American culture with our founding fathers to our current President utilizing its benefits. Having a couple drinks a day leads to longer lives by reducing stress and promoting sociability.  So what is the right amount and how do we keep our bodies in equilibrium so we’re humming along for a long and happy life?”

Glen has been tracking his consumption, paying close attention to the type of drink, who he’s with, and the reasons/occasion. Specifically, he’ll be sharing what he’s learned by connecting his drinking with other personal variables such physical performance, weight, body fat, pH levels, and sleep.

A breakdown of Glen’s weekly alcohol consumption.

A breakdown of Glen’s weekly alcohol consumption.

We also spoke with Glen about what he’s looking forward to at the conference and he mentioned that visualization and organization of data is particularly interesting to him.

I look forward to seeing any projects or tools that combine data sets into useful visualizations and insights. I’m fascinated with Fluxstream and ZenoBase, and I’m curious to see what else is being done to organize and visualize our personal data tracking tools.

If you’re interested in tracking what you’re drinking, want to speak with an seasoned entrepreneur like Glen, or just want to meet and mingle with our great Quantified Self community members, then register now for the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. Early Bird tickets are going fast and will be sold out very soon!

Register now!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Bill Schuller’s Quantified Talk

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

Meditation & Attention Values During Public Speaking

Meditation & Attention Values During Public Speaking

We are excited to have Bill Schuller contributing to our growing QS15 Conference program with his “Quantified Talk.” Bill has been involved in the Quantified Self community since 2009 and currently organizes the Dallas Fort Worth QS meetup group.

BillSchullerThis June, Bill will be sharing his process and what he’s learned from tracking his public speaking. Stemming from his very first show&tell talk in 2010 he’s been working to figure out ways to understand and ultimately quell the butterflies and nerves that come from speaking in front of an unfamiliar crowd.

We spoke with Bill about what he’s looking forward to at the conference and like many of our attendees he’s interested in what other’s are learning from their data, what new tools are being used, and how to turn vast amounts of data into actionable information.

“I love to see what wonderful things people are learning by reflecting on their tracking. Of course there’s also the gadgets. So many gadgets. I am also very interested in how QS tools and methodologies can help individuals who happen to run small businesses improve their business outcomes.”

If you’re interested in tracking and improving public speaking, or just want to meet and mingle with our great Quantified Self community members then register now for the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. Early Bird tickets are going fast and will be sold out very soon!

Register now!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Evan Savage on Data Sense

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

evan-headshotEvan Savage is an ex-Facebook full-stack engineer turned personal data, education, and persistent gameplay hacker/entrepreneur. Currently, he is working on Data Sense, a web-based tool to make personal data analysis accessible to the rest of us. Evan is also an avid cyclist, decent cook/homebrewer, and an occasional electronic music composer.

Evan will be showcasing Data Sense during one of our two Lunchtime Ignite sessions. During his presentation he’ll talk about the making of Data Sense using screenshots of visualizations from Data Sense itself. He’ll also touch on broader ideas and lessons for helping non-technical users understand their data through visualization. Here’s a preview of a Data Sense visualization of Evan’s Facebook posting and music-listening habits during several months of development time:

We’re excited to have Jamie joining us at QS15 and asked him a few questions about himself and what he’s looking forward to at the conference.

QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?

Evan: As Luddite as it sounds, some of my most life-altering data-driven changes have come from simple pen-and-paper tracking. It’s about as close to universally accessible as you can get: the only barriers to entry are pen, paper, and basic writing/literacy skills. Compare that with websites (<3B users) or smartphone apps (<2B users).

OK, that’s sidestepping the question. As a geek, I have to admire IFTTT; they’re essentially teaching programming/UNIX concepts by stealth! That, and their list of supported services is impressive.

QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Evan: This is super-specific, but: Stephen Cartwright’s kinetic data sculptures. Believe it or not, those sculptures were my first exposure to the QS community at large. Before that, I’d been self-tracking to help address panic/anxiety issues, and decided to attend QS12 on a lark. I walked into the atrium, saw this moving rod sculpture physically stepping through timeseries datasets, and knew that I’d come to the right place.

There are very few boundaries around what is and is not QS – which is great! It’s a radical inclusiveness that was incredibly welcoming when I first joined, and it’s absolutely worth preserving.

QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?

Evan: Well, I’m co-organizing the breakout session on data visualization…
As for interests: education (see below), gameplay (in some sense, QS is the ultimate immersive game), data ownership (do you truly own your data if you can’t understand it?)… but really, if you have something interesting to say – and we all do – I’m eager to hear it.

QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?

Evan: An intracorporeal sensor for reliable food tracking that doubles as a tricorder.
More seriously: I’d love to see a section of floor for the hardware/sensing hackers, a space to really interact with these projects where QSers are building wireless weight scales from scratch, reverse-engineering Fitbits, hacking exosenses and real-time feedback, etc. This would be similar to the visualization gallery: a celebration of the awesome, quirky, and highly personal things that our fellow QSers are up to.

QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?

Evan: Data literacy. There’s a pernicious assumption that “the average user” can’t or doesn’t want to understand their own data: it’s too technical, people have limited attention spans, etc. It has to be pre-chewed and regurgitated at them, a sort of dataviz pablum. Word clouds and chartjunk dashboards abound.

QS could be a powerful tool for making data literacy relevant. Think of it as the core of a science/stats curriculum for the digital age, one students might actually relate to, and you’ve got the idea.

Evan’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time):

Register here!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Jamie Williams on Tracking My Days

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful facilities at the Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate public expo. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here. 

Jamie_bioJamie Williams has been involved with QS for a few years, giving his first show&tell talk at the Chicago QS group in Dec. 2012, and later, after moving to St. Louis, he became a co-organizer of the St. Louis QS group. In the fall of 2014 he gave a fantastic show&tell on exploring his Fitbit data. His  background in software engineering and data visualization has a deep influence on his interests in Quantified Self and self-tracking.

At the QS15 Conference Jamie will sharing his long-standing project to automate the process of continuously tracking what he’s up to during the day. He started out several years ago by building an iPhone app with a UX optimized for continuous tracking, but after using it for a week he found that manual tracking was too tedious and intrusive to be a sustainable solution.

Since then, technology has evolved to the point where it should be possible to automate this tracking using various apps, devices and sensors, whose data can be aggregated together to form a correlated timeline of how I spend my time each day.

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A visualization of daily activity data taken with a prototype iPhone app Jamie built.

We’re excited to have Jamie joining us at QS15 and asked him a few questions about himself and what he’s looking forward to at the conference.

QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?

Jamie: I use several apps and devices, but I guess the one that seems most useful at the moment is the Fitbit Charge HR. I particularly like the automated sleep tracking.

QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Jamie: I’m looking forward to networking with other self quantifiers who are interested in activity/time tracking in particular, and hopefully finding potential avenues for collaboration. I’m also looking forward to learning about new tools that people are building.

QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference (what are you interests and expertise)?

Jamie: I recently pivoted my career into the healthcare space with a position as a data visualization engineer at a large health system. Before that I was an iOS software engineer. One of the difficult problems in QS is how to aggregate the growing body of data streams to build a unified and coherent story that we can use to gain insight about our lives. I’d love to hear how others are approaching this.

QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?

Jamie: I’m really interested in seeing the next generation of biometric tracking tools, for example, blood screening. I’m also curious to learn of any projects centered around information radiators/dashboards for personal QS tracking.

QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?

Jamie: One of the recurring challenges in this space for any kind of tool or technique is: how to find the sweet spot balance between automated tracking and user engagement? Tracking diet is a good example: I don’t do it because it requires too much manual effort, but would love to have the data. Tracking my financial transactions, on the other hand, is completely automated, which is good, but I have almost no daily engagement with that data. The really hard problem is to find a way to automate data tracking while at the same time presenting the info to the user in a timely and compelling way that can impact their behavior.

Jamie’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time):

Register here!

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QS15 Sponsor Highlight: RescueTime

In the lead up to our QS15 Global Conference and Activate Expo, we’re going to highlight our partners and sponsors that help us produce our events. If you’re interested in sponsoring our work or events, please get in touch. 
QS15_RescueTimeMost of us spend a large percentage of our time at work. Next to sleeping, it’s likely the activity we do the most. Just like tracking sleep or exercise, there are a lot of things to be learned from tools that help an individual examine their time at work. RescueTime is such a tool.

RescueTime was co-founded by Robby Macdonell, a long time contributor to the QS community. Robby and his co-founders developed RescueTime to answer questions like: How much time do I spend on Twitter each day? Is Outlook my main time sink? Am I coding or daydreaming?

RescueTime_ERgraph
My 2014 RescueTime data. Yes, I spend way too much time in email – 314 hours in 2014. 

We’ve collected a few of our favorite examples of individuals using RescueTime to understand themselves and their work, starting with Robby’s own show&tell talk from our 2013 Quantified Self Global conference.

Robby Macdonnell: Tracking 8,300 Screen Hours
Robby works on product at RescueTime and has been tracking how he uses his computer and even his phone for over six years. In the fall of 2013 he presented his data and what he learned from tracking over 8,000 hours of screen time including how to do what we all only dream about  - spending less time in email.


Robby also wrote up a fantastic blog post detailing a few different ways you can use RescueTime for interesting self-tracking projects: Getting the most out of RescueTime for your Quantified Self Projects

Buster Benson: How I use RescueTime
In 2011 Buster presented his “no input required” data capture using RescuTime. In this talk he describes how he used the data to better understand how he worked, what constitutes good and bad weeks, and how this data has become “a meaningful reflection of what I’m actually doing.”

Jamie Todd Rubin: How I Used RescueTime to Baseline My Activity in 2014 and Set Goals for 2015
In this excellent blog post, Jamie writes about his methods for using RescueTime to understand how he spent his time while working on his various computers. He describes how he used RescueTime data to better understand his time spent writing and how that data is helping him plan for the future. Jamie is a great resource for ideas related to exploring RescueTime data. Make sure to check out how he used it to find out what time of day he was actually writing.

Bob Tabor: Productivity, the Quantified Self and Getting an Office
Bob used RescueTime to analyze his productivity after becoming curious about the quantity and quality of his work while working at home. The ability to measure meaningful and productive work prompted him to find an office after he realized that he wasn’t as productive at home as he assumed.

Tamara Hala: On Using RescueTime to Monitor Activity and Increase Productivity
Tamara has been using RescueTime since 2012, sometimes even forgetting it was running in the background while she worked! In this excellent post she describes what she found out on a year-by-year basis and how it has impacted her work and productivity.

We hope to see you at the upcoming QS15 Conference and Activate Expo where you can meet with members of the RescueTime team and learn more about their tool in person.

There are excellent opportunities for getting involved in the QS15 Global Conference and the QS Activate exposition as a sponsor, including very affordable sponsor tickets, sponsored demos, and exhibit activations produced in collaboration with QS Labs and our production partner e2k Events. For more info, please get in touch.

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QS15 Conference Preview: Stephen Cartwright on 17 Years of Location Tracking

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful facilities at the Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate public expo. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

Steve4bStephen Cartwright has been attending the QS Conferences since 2012, where he first spoke about his ambitious geolocation tracking project. As an associate professor at the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches sculpture, digital fabrication, and furniture design, Stephen brings an interesting and welcomed point of view and set of experiences to our show&tell program.

At the QS15 Conference he will be sharing his process and what he’s learned from tracking his location every hour using a GPS for the last 17 years. He will describe how his practice has changed and adapted to new technologies over the years, including how active versus passive tracking techniques have impacted this project.

My tracking informs my life and especially my art, so I will consider my tracking through the lens of my 3D data visualization sculpture. The artistic aspect of my work allows the data visualization to become more than informative graphs, they become new landscapes of data.

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We’re excited to have Stephen joining us and asked him a few questions about himself and what he’s looking forward to at the conference.

QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?

Stephen: This is a difficult question, I use different tools for different stages of my work. My practice would be nowhere without a GPS. It took me a long time to replace my Garmin stand-alone GPS but I now use the MotionX GPS app for my iPhone. My requirements for these apps/devices is that the waypoints have to be saved with the date and time attached.

QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Stephen: The conference is a great place to be among like-minded people and share ideas and inspiration. Although all the attendees have a lot in common everyone comes to self-tracking from a different angle and seeks different outcomes. I love to see how similar practices result in improvements in performance and health, self-help, and even art.

QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?

Stephen: Come talk to me about the intersection of art and science, data-visualization, and GPS/location tracking.

QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?

Stephen: I am looking for the best smart phone based step and movement tracker.

QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?

Stephen: I would like to hear more about the relationship between individual trackers and larger data studies. How well do we know ourselves as compared to what can be inferred about us by our data footprint or studies of people in similar circumstances?

Stephen’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time):

Register here!

Bonus Video of Stephen’s Data:

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Gordon Bell: Every Beat of My Heart

Gordon Bell has been involved with self-tracking for over a decade. From his ground-breakign MyLifeBits project to his popular book on the possibilities of a fully digital life he is constantly thinking about new ways we can understand ourselves through the data we collect. We are always excited to see him at our QS events and were especially happy to have him reach out to us about presenting at our last Bay Area QS meetup.

Gordon Bell's HR data from a day he visited with his lawyers. Note the spike during the meeting in the morning.

Gordon Bell’s HR data from a day he visited with his lawyers. Note the spike during the meeting in the morning.

Gordon has experienced two heart attacks, one in 1983 and another in 1996, two double bypasses, and currently is living with his third pacemaker. It probably isn’t surprising given his medical history that he has a keen interest in understanding his heart. In this talk Gordon describes what he’s been learning from the data collected from his pacemaker and the 320 days of heart rate and activity data he has collected with his Basis watch.

We’re also excited to have Gordon joining us at our upcoming QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time): Register here!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Julie Price on Long-term Weight Tracking

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful facilities at the Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with three days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

JuliePhoto2Julie Price is a long time member of our Bay Area QS meetup group and will be attending the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo to share her self-tracking story. Julie has been using and experimenting with a wide range of self-tracking tools and behavioral techniques to understand herself. Previously she’s shared her experiences using commercial tools and self-designed methods to understand and improve her marathon training.

Over the past 4 years, Julie has tracked her weight as it moved within a 30 pound range, varying wildly within each year. In December, Julie shared the factors that influenced her weight the most: family visits, distance road races, and a variety of weight loss tactics. As part of our show&tell program, Julie will share an update that includes her newest insights into her weight fluctuations as well as what interventions have made the greatest impact on her weight.

JP_Weight

We’re excited to have Julie joining us and asked her a few questions about herself and what she’s looking forward to at the conference.

QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?

Julie: Hands-down, I love the Whistle to measure my dog’s activity. I use Basis Peak and my husband uses Jawbone Up. Both seem well-designed for certain scenarios and not for others. Between all the wearables we’ve tried, the Whistle has been the most successful in influencing our behavior.

QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Julie: I’m looking forward to meeting interesting people, learning from their stories, and learning from their creative experiments and observations. But, I’m most looking forward to exploring new ideas that impact the behavior of people who don’t necessarily enjoy data.

QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?

Julie: I’m an expert in UX, interaction design, usability, health behavior change, and fitness. I’d love to talk about creative tactics for eliciting behavior change and a process for ensuring the right product and experience is designed for the right person. I also love to talk about health gaming and the complexities of the space.

QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?

Julie: Any product in health and fitness that is truly different or thought through from the perspective of the user. I’d love to see any product built with a process that continually validates their direction with target users.

QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?

Julie: We should explore more innovative ways to meet people where they are and creatively influence them gradually in a way that is meaningful and lasting. It would be great to talk more about what progressive techniques could be applied in order to create impact over both short and long periods of time.

Julie’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time): Register here!

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QS15 Global Conference & Exposition: New Date

We want to share some news about the upcoming QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We are moving the date due to the growth of the conference and the opportunity to add some fantastic public programming to our beautiful Ft. Mason exposition space, in collaboration with our production partner e2k events and collaborating architect David Benjamin/The Living.

The new conference date will be June 18-20, 2014. We hope you can join us in San Francisco at Fort Mason for what is shaping up to be our biggest and best event yet.

Tickets are still on sale and we’ve extended our early bird registration price. Register today and join us for an amazing three days.

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