Topic Archives: Numbers from Around the Web

Numbers from Around the Web: Round 3

Will Lam loves coffee. As the chief blogger over at Indie Coffee Blog he’s constantly trying new roasts, new places and letting his readers know about good coffee spots around his hometown of Toronto. In 2011 he decided to go a step further and really track his coffee habits. Let’s look at a few of his awesome insights:

Number of Cups of Coffee Consumed (total and by type):

Frequency of Coffee Consumption:

Total Spending by Location on Coffee:

I highly recommend reading his fascinating blog post about what he learned by tracking his coffee habits over an entire year. You can find that here. Will also used his new found love of data collection to steer him to his local QS Meetup. Way to go Will and thanks for letting us learn from your data!

We got such great feedback on the orignal NFATW post that we decided to turn it into a regular feature. Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

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Numbers from Around the Web: Round 2

When we talk about Quantified Self and the meaning behind tracking there is always an underlying current that the numbers rule all. That there is a fundamental truth that is available and discoverable. But, in some cases self-tracking can take on different forms. For this week’s NFATW post I wanted to two projects that forsake the emphasis on numerical tracking for something different – visual tracking.

Hugo Campos
Hugo is a shining example of the e-patient movement (which I learned recently stands for empowered patient not electronic). His experience as the proud owner of an implanted cardiac defibrillator has led him to become an advocate for patient-centered data ownership and improved access to data derived from therapeutic medical devices. He’s also a big fan of Quantified Self and on more than one occasion has inspired me to be more active by engaging in fun FitBit step challenges. For the month of December, Hugo decided he was going to try and eat a vegan diet for the entire month, and document everything he ate by photographing his food. What followed was an amazing visual record of his dietary patterns. Take a look! You can click the images for the full Flickr set.
Flickr set Flickr set 1

I figure if it’s not worth photographing and sharing, it’s not worth eating. – Hugo Campos

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris a photographer and 13 years ago he decided to begin an epic quest to document his life by taking on self portait every day. What follows is an amazing story of why he began this journey and the insights into his life that he’s learned along the way. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that is well worth the six minutes to watch the video below.

We got such great feedback on the orignal NFATW post that we decided to turn it into a regular feature. Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

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Numbers From Around The Web: Round 1

We got such great feedback on the orignal NFATW post that we decided to turn it into a regular feature. Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

Michael Allen Smith
Michael is an avid coffee drinker and contributor to the caffeine-obsessed blog I Need Coffee. He recently wrote up a nice post about his experimentation exploring how his coffee consumption and sleep quality. Using a simple spreadsheet, Michael tracked his daily coffee intake, the time of his last coffee, chocolate consumption and sleep quality (rated 1-5 after waking). He has a nice explanation for the simplicity in his tracking methodology:

What I discovered is that the more complicated you make the tracking, the less likely you’ll maintain the data.

So what did Michael find out? After a few months of data tracking it turns out he gets the best sleep when he drinks 3 cups of coffee per day and has a coffee after 1PM.
Data from Michael's coffee experimentMichaels's coffee intake from March 24, 2011 - December 24, 2011. The red line is a 3 day moving average.

Michael also leaves us with some great parting thoughts that we can all apply as we initiate and work through our own experiments:

Look at the data and dial in the level that works best for you. [...] Only you can answer these questions.

If you’re interested in coffee and caffeine, you might also enjoy this post by Robin BarooahThe False God of Coffee

Matt Danzico
Matt Danzico is a journalist (and self-described nerd) living and working in Washington DC. He took it upon himself to engage in a year-long experiment of sorts in 2011. Dubbed Time Hack, the project sought to explore the complex interplay between our actions and our perception of time.

The year-long project aims to test whether time itself is flexible and whether our brains measure time differently than the clocks around us.

While this may not seem like a strict QS self-experiment, I think it worth discussing. Time is something that everyone battles with. We want more time to do this or that, we track productivity, we keep calendars and to do lists handy at all time. Why? To conquer time of course. But what if time is relative (and not just in the Einstienian sense) and it our perception of time depends on our behavior? Matt explored this idea for a full year and has some really interesting – and quite fun – data to show for it. He actively engaged in new experiences every day and tracked his perception of time and compared it to objective measures of time (stopwatch, video, etc.). Even more interesting (in my opinion) than the measurement of time, he also recorded his perceptions of specific details that occurred during each event. I’ll highlight a few of my favorites here, but take some time and dig through his blog. It’s well worth it.

Day 345: Visit an airport dressed as a Star Wars character.

  • Estimated time: 0:49:41
  • Actual time: 0:57:55.8

Day 297: Wash clothes with a washboard.

  • Estimated time: 1:21:00
  • Actual time: 1:09:31.1

Time is a fascinating subject and I am eagerly awaiting Matt’s analysis of his year long experiment. Until then I suggest keeping yourself busy by listening to these two wonderful podcasts on time by the always interesting folks over at Radio Lab: Time and Beyond Time.

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