Tag Archives: videos

Paul LaFontaine: Using Heart Rate Variability to Analyze Stress in Conversation

Paul LaFontaine is the organizer for the Denver QS meetup and has given many fabulous talks on heart rate variability. If you are not familiar with HRV, you can think of it as the measurement of your nervous system’s reaction to a perceived threat.

“Vapor lock” is Paul’s term for that feeling when you are trying to retrieve something from memory in a conversation, but because of the stress of the situation (especially if it is with a boss), you lock up as your recall fails. To better understand this phenomenon and learn how to prevent it, Paul measured his HRV during 154 conversations with bosses and co-workers.

Because “vapor lock” is not a standard measurement, Paul shows the criteria he used to identify these moments in his data. His analysis revealed a likely cause for what locks him up, but it was not what he expected and it changed his approach to meetings and conversations at work.

If you want to watch more talks about heart rate variability, Randy Sargent showed us what his HRV looks like through a spectogram. Matt Dobson talked about using it, along with other measurements, as a way to passively detect emotions. And I used a HRV device to track my stress at work.

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Ilyse Magy: Know Thy Cycle, Know Thyself

“My luteal phase went from 10 days to 16, which is a frickin’ Quantified Self miracle.”

In this great talk, Ilyse Magy describes how tracking her menstrual cycle with the Fertility Awareness Method and Kindara worked for more than birth control. Tracking her cycle helped her understand how it affects her emotional state, and led her to find out that she had a previously unnoticed vitamin deficiency.  ”Once I started charting, I was pretty amazed by what I was learning, but also kind of mad that no one had ever told me this stuff before.”

You can discuss this show&tell talk at the QS Forum.

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Jon Cousins: Why I Weighed My Whiskers

Jon Cousins has given wonderful show&tell talks on mood tracking. Like most methods for measuring mood, his process involves a subjective assessment of his well being. But what if there was a physical measurement related to mood that doesn’t involve blood work?

Inspired by an anecdote about a man’s beard growth while working on a remote island, Jon explores whether there is a relationship between his mood and facial hair. Yes, you read that right.

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Mark Wilson: Three Years of Logging my Inbox

MarkWilsonInbox

“My inbox has become a barometer of my stress level.”

Email overwhelm is something that most people of first world means can relate to. Getting a handle on this digital deluge is a Sisyphean endeavor that is, perhaps, only endured by deluding ourselves into thinking that it is possible if only we found the right tool or adopted the right habit.

In this talk, Mark Wilson (who we’ve featured before) tells us what he learned from tracking the number and age of emails in his inbox and how that made him confront the impact that his message count has on his self-esteem.

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Bethany Soule: Extreme Productivity

“That’s insane! I want to try it.”

Bethany Soule is the co-found of Beeminder, a commitment tool which she characterizes as “goal-tracking with teeth.” Her and Daniel Reeves, the other founder, have spoken on how they tracked the development of the tool and integrating it with other QS tools.

In this talk from QS15, Bethany tells of how she was inspired by Nick Winter’s “Maniac Week“, to focus solely on working for an entire week. She shares what she learned from doing this multiple times, from tools for reducing distractions to tracking accomplishments and ensuring accountability. You’ll also find out how many hours she was actually able to work.

Here is the time-lapse of Bethany’s Maniac Week, as well as, her blog post on the experience:

Tools mentioned:
Beeminder
TagTime
Telepath Logger
etc/HOST editing
RescueTime
StayFocusd
Freedom
Final Version

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Jacek Smolicki: Self-Tracking As Artistic Practice

“I don’t have a concrete goal. I don’t have a concrete aim to advance myself. It’s a way to explore different aspects of my life through data.”

Since 2009 Jacek Smolicki has experimented with using personal data as a mode for artistic exploration. In this talk, he presents some of his practices:

To learn more about Jacek’s practices, explore his website. Check out other examples of self-tracking as artistic expression with talks from Laurie Frick and Alberto Frigo, and pieces from the art exhibition at the 2015 QS Conference in San Francisco.

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Robby Macdonell: The Data Is in, I am a Distracted Driver

“When I see someone driving towards me with their face buried in their phone, I get gloriously indignant about it.”

Robby Macdonell has given great talks on transportation logging and time-tracking. Here, he combined those two data streams, using Automatic and RescueTime, to prove that he does not use his phone while driving nearly as often as other drivers.

Only the data didn’t agree.

Watch how Robby confronts the realization that he is more distracted than he thought and the changes he made because of it.

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Randy Sargent on Using Spectrograms to Visualize Heart Rate Variability

Let’s start 2016 with a very interesting talk by Randy Sargent about how to visualize the very large data sets produced by some kinds of self-tracking. Randy’s idea about using spectrograms, normally used for audio signals, to create a portrait of your own time series data, is completely novel as far as I know. If you have tried something similar, please get in touch.

 

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Effects of A Year in Ketosis by Jim McCarter

In this fascinating short talk by geneticist Jim McCarter, we see detailed data about the  effects of a ketogenic diet: lower blood pressure, better cholesterol numbers,and vastly improved daily well being.  Jim also describes the mid-course adjustments he made to reduce side effects such as including muscle cramps and increased sensitivity to cold.

Jim begins: “When I tell my friends I’ve given up sugar and starch and get 80% of my calories from fat, the first question I get is: Why?”

The rest of the talk is his very clear answer.

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Vinod Khosla on machine learning and the Quantified Self

I talked with Vinod Khosla over the summer about machine learning and the Quantified Self.

Khosla was a founder of Sun Microsystems and is one of Silicon Valley’s most experienced investors in Quantified Self companies. His portfolio includes AliveCor, Ginger.io, Jawbone, Misfit, Narrative, and many other toolmakers that people doing QS projects will recognize. In our conversation, I ask Vinod about the role machine learning can realistically play in QS practices.

Below are links to three papers Vinod mentions in the interview:

Khosla, Vinod. “20-percent doctor included: Speculations & musings of a technology optimist.” (2014).

Beck, Andrew H., Ankur R. Sangoi, Samuel Leung, Robert J. Marinelli, Torsten O. Nielsen, Marc J. van de Vijver, Robert B. West, Matt van de Rijn, and Daphne Koller. “Systematic analysis of breast cancer morphology uncovers stromal features associated with survival.” Science translational medicine 3, no. 108 (2011): 108ra113-108ra113.

Ioannidis, John PA. Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS Med 2, no. 8 (2005)

 

 

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