The first Manchester Quantified Self Meetup

Life logging

I can happily tell the world that Manchester’s first Quantified Self Meetup will be Friday 5th July at MadLab.

Madlab will update their calendar real soon but you can sign up using Meetup.com for free.

I will be giving a talk about my work time, foodfeed.us blog and fitbit to kick start discussions. Of course we’re looking for other speakers to join me and talk about there own experiences in quantified self.

When:
Friday, July 5, 2013 – 6:30 – 8:30PM
Where:
Mad Lab: 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Details:
Manchester QS meetup consists of Show & Tell where people present or simply talk for 10-15 mins about their experience and experiments with self-tracking, quantifying and self-hacking whether it involves devices, applications or not.

This part lasts till about 8:30pm. We then move next door to Terrance or Common, which is an essential and integral part of the meetup, as important as the first part the ‘Show & Tell’. If you can join us, I encourage you to do so. Not only it’s always good fun, the conversations are equally interesting.

Love of the Self or Data sexuality?

Gary Wolf at Quantified Self 2011

When I read this article about the new breed of urban datasexuals I instantly thought maybe heck I might be one of them…?

The datasexual looks a lot like you and me, but what’s different is their preoccupation with personal data. They are relentlessly digital, they obsessively record everything about their personal lives, and they think that data is sexy. In fact, the bigger the data, the sexier it becomes. Their lives – from a data perspective, at least – are perfectly groomed.

Oh crap that sounds just like me… I find it very difficult to maintain things on paper and much prefer them in data because I can manage them much better. I assumed it was a dyslexia thing to be honest (it might still be).

The origin of the datasexual in all likelihood started with the humble infographic, which is a highly stylized and well-designed way to talk about all the data out there on Web. The infographic trend was followed by the data visualization trend, which made it even cooler to display data in innovative new ways. These data visualization tools eventually gave us cultural artifacts like Nicholas Felton’s annual Feltron Reports, which made the obsessive recording of everyday activities seem cool. From there, it was only a small evolutionary step to the whole quantified self (QS) movement, which promises “self knowledge through numbers.” QS proponents obsessively track every single bit of data about themselves throughout the day. The QS movement eventually led us to the embrace of data by consumer-facing companies Nike, who found a way for urban datasexuals to flaunt their obsessive data-grooming to the rest of us in a way that’s stylish and mod.

For me it stems back to my ideas of the information behind the graphics.

When I was in college, I got into XML because I loved the idea of creating graphics which are self describing and can alter depending on the data there based on.  Hence my love of Scalable Vector Graphics (w3c’s SVG specification). I was also a major pusher of SVG at the BBC for graphics and informational graphics but at the time browser technology was way behind.

Maybe this also reflects why my love of the idea of online dating via numbers, maths, science also really intrigues me so deeply?

The link up between the Quantified Self, personal data and sharing is so tight and also asks many questions. Questions which the early adopters and hackers are answering for themselves right now.

I remember my previous manager Miles Metcalfe, talking about the intangible of the semantic web… Somethings can not be quantified, at least in the ways were going about it right now. I would agree but we’ll have a good old go trying to do so. And from doing so we’ll have lots of fun, its when it stops becoming fun is the problem…

I’ll say it now… Data is Sexy no two ways about it… but the term data sexual does worry me a little along with quite a few of the commenters. Its Data Love but under the understanding that not everything can be defined or captured yet.

Updated

After the debate on Techgrumps 60 yesterday (listen to the last 10mins to understand) with Tom Morris who compares Data sexuality to something else which is certainly not pretty or nice. But the point is taken, what has this got to do with sexuality? Spicing it up with sexuality just confuses the whole thing and maybe makes those who love data into something their not. Data love is much better as a overall idea.

Public 2.0: The era of personal data openness

I was in London Thursday for the Public 2.0 conference, which the guys behind the Data Art  project put together. It was a nicely put together conference with a mix of speakers and topics.
I kicked off the day with my presentation titled The era of personal data openness.
When I was approached about doing a presentation for the data art conference. I wasn’t sure which angle to take. After a few thoughts, I decided to contact the data art guys and see what they were exactly after. After a brief chat, I decided to take the more interesting path in this presentation
The premise of the presentation is Open data from organisations like the government, companies is interesting and the movement around this has finally sunk in. There wasn’t a single government proposed agenda last year which didn’t include something about releasing more open data. And every startup and online business is building APIs, so they can take advantage of the overwhelming power of the rich ecosystem of developers, hackers and early adopters. But I’ve noticed a increase in tools and systems to take advantage of our own data and the data we generate everyday.
I was tracking this very much from the sidelines and had not found a decent way of explaining the topic of self documentation. That was till I had lunch with Rain Ashford.
We talked through a bunch of stuff but got talking about my presentation which I was due to give next day. And after describing the premise like I am now. She said it sounds a lot like Quantified Self
Bingo! Having never heard of the movement, it instantly made sense and further research clarified everything.
Quantified Self is the Era of personal Data Openness….
Its also worth noting Walter De Brouwer’s presentation at Thinking Digital also had some influence but I forgot to mention it. Two links from that session http://curetogether.comwww.patientslikeme.com all fit perfectly…