Topic Archives: Meeting Recaps

Tidings: QS St. Louis Show&Tell

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The St. Louis QS meetup group just checked in with a recap of their fifth show&tell meetup. They’ve been growing fast, with now over 100 members in their community and are exploring fun new ways to encourage and inspire their group.

Last week, about 20 members got together to watch and discuss some of their favorite QS show&tell talks. After some discussion, they selected three talks:

1.    Roger Craig Wins Jeopardy Championship with Knowledge Tracking.

2.    Jamie Aspinal on his Visualization of 4+ Years of Google Location Data

3.    Maggie Delano on Detecting her Own Arrhythmia via ECG, Sleep, & Activity Tracking

The St. Louis QS group is also taking an active part in turning their experience and enthusiasm for data collection into projects for their local community. Last month, they participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking and proposed two QS-themed projects that they are currently developing:

1.    A context-sensitive Geo-Polling app/initiative that would allow communities to become aware of how people feel in various areas (e.g. happiness, safety, etc.).

2.    A Personal Environmental Tracker (PET) that would allow St. Louis citizens to keep tabs, not only on their own environmental impact, but also on the community as a whole in an engaging way.

(If you are interested in finding out more and participating in either of these projects at any level, you can join the meetup and get in touch with the organizers.)

Thanks to St. Louis QS Organizer William Dahl for sending in a great recap of their meetup. If you’re in the St. Louis area, we invite you to join the group!
 

 

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Tidings: QS Washington DC Show&Tell

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Today’s Tidings dispatch is from Daniel Gartenberg, co-organizer of the Washington DC meetup group. Read below to hear about their recent meetup. It sounds like a great time and we can’t wait to share the videos from these interesting talks.

We had our biggest meetup yet at 1776 – a start-up hub located in the heart of our nations capital.  At the meetup there were three great talks, fun socializing over sandwiches, and lively QS Discussions. We had three wonderful talks:

James Norris – serial entrepreneur and avid self-experimenter gave a captivating talk about tracking his “firsts”. This included everything from his first kiss to his first time meditating on a train.  One thing that James found was that traveling was one of the key factors that impacted his “firsts” – but only up to a limit – where after some time traveling, there are diminishing returns to “firsts”.

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Next, Daniel Gartenberg gave a talk on his new efforts to evaluate and improve sleep.  He described a study that he is conducting with the QS community where participants can receive $50 for tracking 2 weeks of their sleep data.  Some participants will even have the opportunity to use a Hexoskin, actiwatch, and galaxy gear.  However, users must have an iPhone and be willing to take 10 minutes out of their day for cognitive testing. Please contact Daniel Gartenberg at gartenbergdaniel@gmail.com if you are interested in participating in the study.

Finally, Daniel Martinez showed off an amazing visualization of more than 1800 days of his sleep data that he calculated using pencil and paper and inputting the data into Mathemetica software.  Daniel created a new tool for evaluating sleep, which included categorizing time as “up and at em”, dozing, sleeping, and awake while trying to sleep.  Using these categories he presented visualizations of sleep and showed a bimodal distribution in his bedtime and a new way to evaluate his sleep quality.

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If you’re in the Washington, DC area we invite you to join this great meetup group!

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Tidings: QS Auckland Show&Tell

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We’ve just heard from Camille Nicodemus about the sixth Auckland, New Zealand QS Show&Tell held on July 15, 2014 . Since Auckland is still getting off the ground they’re currently hosting about 6-8 people at the meetup, where they discuss their personal tracking projects in a open round-table format. They have been getting some recognition in their area as a camera crew filmed one of their previous meetups for an upcoming feature in a local current affairs TV program.

It’s great to see such a wonderful diversity of projects and experiments from the QS Aukland community. Members are actively engaged in citizen science projects, oxygen tracking, accountability groups, sleep tracking, tracking the effect of cold showers on metabolism, and habit tracking. The groups is also discussing a variety of tools and applications they’re using and exploring. These include:

If you’re in the Auckland area we invite you to join this great QS Meetup and share your story!

Tidings are notes, recaps, and insights from our wonderful worldwide network of QS Show&Tell meetup groups. If you’re organizing a group and have something to share let us know!

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Tidings: QS Southern Oregon Show&Tell

Our friends in Southern Oregon had their 3rd Quantified Self meeting yesterday at Rogue Hack Lab, a makerspace in Medford, Oregon. Dr. Dawn Lemanne, who organized the meeting, recorded the event on her mobile, and we’ll post it as soon as it arrives.

One especially interesting note from this meeting: We hear from Dr. Lemanne that the attendees had a chance to play with the Lapka personal environmental monitor. I’ve enjoyed the Lapka marketing campaign very much, under the impression it was a hoax. Therefore, I take its appearance at a QS show&tell to be a bit of real news. When we check the Lapka Environmental Map for July 15, 2014, we find several measurements recorded in Medford during the QS meeting. Not incontrovertible evidence, perhaps, but evidence nonetheless!

Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Lemanne for sending in this report. (Readers interested in self-tracking, physical activity, and cancer may appreciate reading her recent paper in Oncology: “The Role of Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, Recovery, and Survivorship.”)

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QS Chicago Meetup Recap

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This guest post comes to us from Mark Moschel and Eugene Granovsky, the co-organizers of the Chicago Quantified Self meetup group. At their recent meetup on March 26, 2014 they had three great talks from community members. If you live in the Chicago area why not join the group!

Dan Abreu on GeoTracking
Dan travels a lot. I mean… a LOT! He stepped through an airport well over 300 times in 2012. He started documenting his travel a few years back and has used a variety of tools since: TripIt, Track My Life (discontinued), Google Latitude (discontinued), QStartz, and myTracks. During that time, his technique for tracking evolved and gained complexity. He’s now able to develop very detailed maps of his trips (see below). What has he learned from all this? “Not much” he said. However, he enjoys the practice and consistency of it and is excited to continue finding more uses for this data in the future.

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Zak Boswell on Sleep
Like many of us, Zak was on a very inconsistent sleep schedule for most of his life and would often stay up too late. However, unlike many of us, Zak was experiencing severe fatigue during the day. In the span of just a couple years, he had 4 car accidents from falling asleep at the wheel (in two, his car was totaled). Realizing this was a problem, he started exploring traditional solutions. He saw a handful of doctors and participated in a very expensive (and ineffective) sleep study. During this time, he also started tracking his sleep and decided to go to bed at a consistent time each day (around midnight). In the data, he saw his sleep quality beginning to improve. He also stopped falling asleep during the day. At first, he struggled with the change, but he’s since changed his whole philosophy and loves it. You can view Zak’s presentation here [PDF].

Ovetta Sampson on how tracking helped her become an Ironman (or “The science of Faith”)
Let’s start with the end on this one. Here’s what Ovetta accomplished: 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run – all in under 17 hours. Wow! Even more impressive is that she was never an athlete growing up and weighed 270 lbs in 2012. In just a year, she turned a seemingly impossible goal into a real accomplishment. How? She found faith in her data. “Tracking data helped me change my behavior” she said. By tracking her times, weight, speed, and distance, a few things happened: 1) she quickly saw progress and was motivated to keep going, 2) she became competitive with herself, always trying to beat her last score, and 3) she could ignore the thoughts in her mind. As she said, “you have to trust something and the mind is not to be trusted. Trust the data.” Her thoughts kept telling her to quit, but the data proved she was doing well. She didn’t quit and now she’s an Ironman. You can view Ovetta’s presentation here [PowerPoint].

For those of you in the Chicago area Elmhurst Art Museum is hosting a new exhibit called “Lifeloggers: Chronicling the Everyday.” Check it out here.

 

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QS Bay Area Meetup Recap

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On March 26th we hosted a fantastic Quantified Self Bay Area meetup at the new Exploratorium space overlooking the San Francisco bay. Over 180 people came together to mingle, learn about new self-tracking tools, and hear from our wonderful speakers.

Our thanks to the companies and organizations who demoed their tools: AddApp, Automatic, ExogenBio, Lumo Body Tech, Metro Mile, Ohmconnect, Reporter, uBiome, and UC Irvine.

We were lucky to have four great presenters talk about their personal self-tracking process. Philip Thomas spoke about building his personal dashboard. Maria Benet talked about how she used self-tracking to lose 50 pounds and take up sport she never dreamed of. Michael Cohn described his use of time tracking and personal commitment contracts. Lastly, Sky Christopherson gave us an update to his wonderful self-tracking talk from a few years ago and how that turned into helping the Women’s US Olympic Track Cycling Team bring home a silver at the London Olympics in 2012. Videos of these talks will be up soon!

Our special thanks go out to Colleen Proppé (who provided the beautiful photo above) and John Schrom who were both live-tweeting the meeting.

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QSXX Boston Meetup Recap

This post comes to us from Maggie Delano, an organizer for QSXX Boston- the Boston Women’s QS Meetup group

The QSXX Boston Chapter held our fifth meetup on March 3rd, 2014. We had a guest Amy Merrill from The Hormone Project talk about the direction of this new project. As a group, we discussed how something like the Hormone Project might be beneficial to us. We all agreed that it would be awesome if we could track our hormones at home, instantly, without going through a doctor (also, unicorns.) Relevant hormone research (if it exists at all) can be difficult to understand, and isn’t always driven by those it might have the biggest impact on. Concrete examples about the types of hormones and ways we can track these hormones would be very helpful.

We also talked about how sharing stories is a key aspect of QS, and how we might be able to facilitate further discussion around both hormones and QS in general. We discussed the potential benefits of not only being able to track our own data related to hormones, but also to see data from other people. While there are clear merits in sharing information, we also discussed the potential privacy implications therein. Some possibilities for collaboration between QSXX and The Hormone Project might include group tracking projects and/or “hormone dinner parties.” It was exciting to have The Hormone Project here for QSXX and we hope to have them attend a meetup again in the near future.

A lot of topics come up during each QSXX meetup. Here are a few concrete items that our group found interesting:

This article in Model View Culture on QS and feminism. We discussed how QSXX does and doesn’t address what the author is calling for here.

Glow. This is one example of a period tracking app. We discussed how most period tracking apps today are primarily fertility based, and it would be nice for new apps and tools to think more critically about what their users might want.

MetaMed and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute . Two examples of organizations that might be models for future work on hormones and QS.

Bringing Back My Real Self With Hormones. An interesting article from the New York Times on the potential impacts of hormones on the self.

Reporter App. We talked about this (relatively) new app for “reporting” on your day, and the advantages and disadvantages of services that ping you to enter data and services that you use to manually enter data when you remember to.

AliveCor iPhone ECG. We discussed this cell phone ECG case, which is now available for purchase on Amazon.

Lift’s The Quantified Diet. We examined how this experiment is an interesting first step toward “Quantified Us” and how we might apply something similar for a group tracking experiment of our own.

Pact. This came up as we were discussing motivations for tracking and maintaining habits. In this case, you can earn money when you reach your goals

The next QSXX Boston meetup will be held early this Summer. Stay tuned!

 

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Toronto Meetup Recap

A few weeks ago the Toronto QS Meetup group hosted their 22nd show&tell meetup. Check out these great sketchnotes from Sacha Chua then hit the links below to watch videos of the meetup talks.

 

Mike talks about Push Strength, a strength and fitness tracking device.

Duane Hewitt gives an update on his 23&Me data and what he’s started doing since he received his results.

Dmitri Gomon describes how he tracked his way to losing 9kg over four months.

Jim gave a brief overview of how and why he’s tracking his Starbucks intake.

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QS NYC Meetup Recap

This guest post comes to us from Konstantin Augemberg who covers many interesting Quantified Self topics and his personal tracking experience on the wonderful MeasuredMe blog.  

On Monday, September 30, Quantified NYC group has held its 23th meetup. The event was graciously hosted by Projective Space which offers collaborative community space to over 60 startups. With over a hundred people in attendance, interesting demos and inspiring presentations (quantifying Starcraft gaming skills, predicting choice of clothes based on weather forecast, and other self-quantified awesomeness!), it turned out to be a great evening. Here is my brief report on what I saw and loved:

We started with our Demos session during which QS entrepreneurs showcased their products and services:

  • David Joerg (@dsjoerg) presented his GGTracker, web service that uses advanced analytics to help Starcraft players to track their stats and quantify and improve gaming skills
  • Paula Murgia presented Personal Beasties app that helps people to cope with anxiety, fatigue and stress by using simple breathing exercises
  • Stefan Heeke (@Stefan_Heeke) showcased My Online Habits, a webapp that uses Gmail and Google data to help analyze your productivity and communications habits
  • Mike McDearmon (@Mike_McDearmon) demoed an awesome online dashboard that he built to visualize his outdoors activities.

Steven Dean (@sgdean) also introduced the audience to our new co-organizer, Amy Merrill. Amy will be in charge of QSXX NYC group that will be organizing meetups for women in NYC area.

The Show & Tell session was opened by Mette Dyhrberg (@mettedyhrberg) and her “The Pomodoro Recovery” presentation. Following the bouncing castle accident, Mette has been diagnosed with concussion and was recommended to rest and avoid using electronic devices in order to recover. She started tracking her symptoms, diet, and resting and working habits using Pomodoro method and Mymee app. The lack of progress has prompted her to look at her tracking data, after which she realized that she may have been misdiagnosed. The visit to another doctor has revealed that she sustained a neck injury, which luckily, could be fixed right on the spot. The treatment procedure helped her to feel better almost immediately. You can watch Mette’s presentation here.

In “Quantifying What to Wear”, Andrew Paulus (@andrewcpaulus) shared how he used self-tracking to measure impact of weather on his choice of clothes. It started when Andrew noticed that one of his morning habits included checking weather on his phone in order to decide what to wear on that day. That led to an idea to measure efficiency of this process, by tracking his choice of clothes and then assessing at the end of the day, if the choice was correct. His first attempt at quantifying weather and wardrobe was unsuccessful, due to some flaws in methodology and measurement (e.g., the weather data was collected at different times of the day; the clothes data was not very well structured). Andrew then has revised the methodology, by subscribing to more reliable and comprehensive weather data from Farmer’s Almanac, and logging wardrobe data in a more consistent manner. His girlfriend kindly agreed to co-participate in this experiment. After six months of tracking, Andrew looked at their data. He found that the overall, he tended to be slightly more accurate in choosing what to wear, compared to his girlfriend: his accuracy rate was 78%, vs. her rate of 74%. Another interesting finding was that his choices were more weather appropriate. The correlation between the clothes and weather was nearly 0.7 for him, and nearly 0 .1 for his girlfriend, which suggests that her choices are often influenced by many other factors, not just weather. You can see the full presentation here.

Amy Merrill (@amyjmerrill) shared her experiences with “Sleep Tracking with Jawbone Up”. Since April 2013, she has been tracking her sleep (deep sleep phase, in particular) using Jawbone Up, as well as social and work related activities using Google Calendar. By analyzing the patterns in her data, she was able to see how certain activities affect her deep sleep. In particular, she learned that more physical activity and sleep deprivation led to more deep sleep, where as restful days tend to result in more light sleep. Certain social activities like attending wedding and taking trips on tour bus have also had a considerable impact on quality of her sleep. For the next phase, she plans to include some aspects of the diet, including consumption of alcohol, caffeine and over-the-counter drugs. You can watch Amy’s presentation here.

The session was concluded by Andrew Tarvin’s (@HumorThatWorks) funny and inspiring presentation “The Perfect Day”, in which he discussed the tracking system that he used to build some new habits. Andre has been rating each day based on the number of goals that he achieved (e.g., waking up without snoozing the alarm, do something active for 20+ minutes, eat at least 4 fruites a day, etc.) The days with at least 3 goals met were defined as “quality days”, and the days with all 5 goals accomplished were rated as “perfect”. Andre learned that the strive for perfection was the most demotivating factor: missing one goal earlier in the day often resulted in giving up on all other habits as well. Waking up without snoozing was the most influential habit in that regard. He also learned that the “streaks” of quality and perfect days was the most motivational factor; once he had several consecutive successful days in a row, it was much easier to continue meeting the goals. Andre has been using this system for three years, and plans to continue using it to acquire new habits. You can read more about his system on his site. You can watch video of the presentation here.

As always, before and after the sessions, I had a chance to mingle and meet a lot of interesting people. Special shout out to Stefan Heeke, Mike McDearmon, Sylvia Heisel, Michael Moore and Dave Comeau.

 

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London’s August Meetup

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London’s August Meetup sessions are now up on Vimeo. Drop what you’re doing and head on over for:

  • Anxiety and Me by Farzana Dudhwala
  • Long Run Quantification by Mathew Beard
  • Skill Acquisition by Adam Johnson

See them now before they’re converted to 3D and have lost all their QS edginess. Videos can all be found on the London QS channel:

https://vimeo.com/channels/londonqs

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