Tag Archives: tracking
If you’ve followed along here on the Quantified Self website or attended a meetup in your community you know that self-tracking isn’t limited to using gadgets or apps. Some of our most interesting talk come from individuals who are exploring their lives through the lens of personal data collection. That is, data that and methods that are very personal and specific to the individual. Kostas Augemberg is no exception. We’ve already posted a great talk by Kostas that describes what happened when he asked himself, “How can I track my happiness?” and we’re excited he will be joining us at the upcoming 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference.
Kostas is a statistician and has been on a personal quest called Measured Me for the past year. His goal along this journey is to help develop a personal holistic system to help him “improve and understand his life.” Over this past year he’s taken a deep dive into exploring what it’s like to track subjective and objective wellbeing. These include tracking data in areas like “Existential Wellbeing”, “Living Well”, and “External Factors” among others. Suffice to say, this is an ambitious project!
At the conference Kostas will be sharing insights and results from his “Quantified Summer” project during which he attempted to capture his holistic and comprehensive wellbeing for 100 days. This includes tracking the following variables: Happiness, Life Satisfaction, Physical Health, Physical Energy, Stress, Emotional State, Alertness, Executive Cognitive Functions, and Sleep Quality at regular intervals each day for 100 consecutive days. We’re excited to learn about his tracking project and can’t wait to hear more! If you would like to follow along before the conference Kostas invites you to monitor his progress on his Lifestream dashboard.
The Quantified Self Global Conference will be held in San Francisco on October 10th and 11th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. We hope to see you there!
“Papa, what should I read?”
Sometimes a simple question can lead someone down an interesting path towards self-tracking and understanding. In the case of Rajiv Mehta, his daughter’s interest in reading led him to start tracking his own reading behavior. In this wonderful talk, Rajiv walks us through his method for tracking his reading as well as what he’s found out about his habits over the last four years.
This talk was filmed at our 2013 Quantified Self European Conference. We hope that you’ll join us this year for our 2013 Global Conference where we’ll have great talks, sessions, and discussions that cover the wide range of Quantified Self topics. Registration is now open so make sure to get your ticket today!
We’ve been getting some great Quantified Self Show & Tell talks coming in as we get closer to our European conference. Now that there are so many self-tracking tools that can serve as tools for gaining insight into our actions and behaviors it’s important to understand what we can learn from the data we gather. One of the key questions Quantified Self participants have is whether the devices they use are accurate, what they are good for, what signals they display about our real activities.
Eric Boyd, who gave our keynote at the first QS conference in Palo Alto in 2011, is coming to Amsterdam in May, and he will give a show&tell talk about trying to understand his Nike Fuelband data. Eric has been involved with Quantified Self as an avid self-tracker, maker of wearable technologies, and an organizer for the QS Toronto meetup group.
He has been wearing the Nike+ FueBband for a few months and has started to examine what the data tells him about his daily rhythms. For instance, it can easily tell when he gets out of bed at night, as well as daily variations in his walking pace.
While many of us have found that the common activity trackers function as a kind of diary, with even the minimal traces of activity able to spur our memories about what we’ve been up to, sometimes they record data that is mysterious. For instance, the graph below show’s Eric’s highest activity day. “I do not know what I doing during the three hours when I clocked most of the steps, but it wasn’t walking,” he reports.
I think it will be fun, at the spring conference, to try and solve some of these mysteries of activity data together.
The Quantified Self European Conference will be held in Amsterdam on May 11th & 12th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. If you’re attending the conference and want to present your self-tracking project please let us know.
By being able to see my ideas and see how they’re connected to each other, I’m able to think about myself in new ways.
Amy Robinson is curious. That curiosity led her to think very deeply about her curiosity. What was she curious about? Where do her ideas come from? What inspires her? In this talk from the 2012 QS Conference Amy takes us through a really unique method for quantifying her curiosity and what she’s learned so far.
Lisa Betts-LaCroix has been tracking her weight off and on since 2000. In this Show & Tell talk at the recent Silicon Valley QS meetup Lisa details the trials and tribulations that go along with attempting to track her weight and other associated behavioral variables. From simple excel spreadsheets to using Google forms to finally using the Withings wireless scale Lisa explains why and how she’s finally been successful at reducing her weight. Watch this insightful video to see what Lisa feels are the keys to self-tracking tracking and feedback mechanisms.
Recently, Technology Review invited me to do a guest post on one of their blogs as part of their feature, “The Measured Life.” I chose to engage a claim I saw on Ethan Zuckerman’s blog — that at the QS Conference, it seemed that “quantified self” = “quantified health.” He asked about mood, attention, emotions — other parts of our self beyond the physical body.
This point resonated with me quite a lot — that what’s interesting about the quantified self isn’t just the democratization of established physical measures, but also the creation of new ones to help us understand parts of ourselves that we don’t know how to measure yet. After the jump is the blog post I wrote for Technology Review — looking at current examples of tracking that cover parts of the self — our attention, communication, and environment — that go beyond the physical body.
Emily Singer, a journalist with MIT’s Technology Review, has an extensive series of articles and interviews on “The Measured Life“. She was at the Quantified Self Conference a month ago, seems to have talked with everyone, and has since been writing up a storm.
There are also video interviews. Kyle Machulis describes his efforts to hack tracking devices so everyone can access their own data. David Marvit talks about Fujitsu’s Sprout project and the importance of obtaining biometrics in real-world conditions. And Rajiv Mehta talks about the potential for personal science to make a significant impact on healthcare and medical science, and demos Tonic.
And there are posts on social networking and games in self-tracking technologies, on astronauts measuring sleep, a physician’s perspective, the new Health Graph effort, and a wristwatch that continuously monitors blood pressure.
When I want to start tracking a metric in my life, most of the time I use an app or service that enables me to do it more easily or provide options like statistics or sharing. I’ve tracked a lot of different things, some better and more easily than others. Sometimes my data would be locked-in, or sometimes I had to do the statistics on my own. During the last few weeks I’ve built a list of questions I ask myself before choosing a service for tracking. And I wanted to share my list with the community and service developers. This list is not definitive by all means, it’s a work in progress and questions may be added, removed or changed at all times.
Let’s get started! Before even looking at services you can use, it is wise to have a somewhat clear vision of where you want to go:
- What is my goal?
- What question do I want to answer with this?
- How often do I want to measure?
- In what ways can the metric be sampled?
- Do I need help from other people for tracking?
- How does it affect my social life?
- How much time should I need?
- How long do I want to keep track of it?
- Is it useful to share my data with other people?
When I’ve got these questions answered I start looking for services that fit my vision. When I have a list of services I could use, I go through another list of questions that allows me to make my choice more easily:
- How easy is it to enter data?
- What type of data do I need to put in?
- Is the data easy to export (e.g. Data-portability)
- Does the service provide analytics?
- Do I own the data or does the service, and how secure is it?
- What are the experiences of other people using the service?
- Does gamification help or not, and how is it implemented?
- What are the costs of the service in comparison to what I should get out of it?
- Is there an API (application programming interface)?
When I stop using the service or have been using it for a certain amount of time, these are the things I ask myself:
- Am I happy using the service?
- Would I use it again (for other metrics)?
- Write a review in the self-tracking guide!
So this is my own list of questions and things I want to answer when using a service or application for self-tracking. It’s a work in progress so feel free to put any more questions you would ask to yourself in the comments.