How good is the Oura ring tracker?

Its a nice looking device, seems to work well but at £300+ its a high price.

I do find the back story interesting however, especially since its been floating around the Quantified Self community for quite some time.

My usual worries about data-portability, app access (the android app looks like it needs work), etc all come into play but as a replacement for myband2 and sleep tracking on my pebble smart watch. It does interest me.

I don’t usually wear rings but I did obviously have a wedding ring and also did try wearing one of those cheap NFC rings.

Best rollercosters I’ve ridden, so far…

Jetline at Grona Land

I make no secret of my love for Rollercoasters, heck some call me a rollercoaster nerd?

I can trace back where it comes from but I just feel so alive when faced with the moment of impeding doom. Going around and doing it again and again, is exciting too. You get to feel the adrenaline rush and understand what the coasters design and imprecate it fully from different ride positions. On that topic, I’m a back seat rider. The pull of the coaster and the intensity is just amazing. Its a real shame when you are placed somewhere in the middle.

The rollercoaster geeks like me, tend to use some online resource to keep a eye on new coasters and where to head next. I found rcdb.com is great for this. I have considered hacking up a self quantified/tracking system like trakt.tv to capture how many times you have been on a certain ride, when and maybe which position. Instead I keep a track in my head while in the queue and post it to twitter…

For example from Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens

And from Stockholm’s Grona Lund

Theres a better way to do this i’m sure… I started wondering if my aspersions to do something with Mastodon or Micropub & Microformats, could fit with this too? Terms look ok too if its a free app, shame theres no api but the pages are simple enough to turn into a large xml store or what ever.

It could recommend stuff to you and you can start to pick out unique elements which you like or don’t like. In the my case looking through my rides I really hate Vertical Chain Lift Hill’s like you see on Abismo. They are trying to be too clever and actually feel really crap and short for me to enjoy.

Anyway a project for another day…

So with that out the way, here’s my top rollercoasters across the places I have been.

United states

Déjàvu

Six Flags great America

Vertical Velocity or V2

Deja Vu (no longer exists)

Raging Bull

Its funny because I have been to many parts of America but not really seeked out rollercoasters, so the main ones are in Vegas and Six Flags great America near Chicago. Six Flags is typical of a American theme park with lots of rides packed into a space. There were lots of choices for coasters but V2 and Deja Vu caught me, when I could stand the long queues. Raging bull was nice too but was less keen on the restraints, likely now I’d be cool with them.

Las Vegas

Speed: The ride (no longer exists)

Massive fan of LIM (Linear Induction Motor) and Hydraulic Launchs, so speed the ride is right up my street. I’d also add it was the best ride on the Vegas strip by a long way.

Japan

Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima

Nagashima Spa Land

Steel Dragon 2000

Spa Land is one of the best parks I have been to. Its large but not Alton Towers trek around the park size. Within the park is lots of rides including a bunch of thrill and extreme rides. However the crown of Spa Lands is Steel Dragon 2000, which hits a top speed of 95mph on the way down its almost 95 meter first drop (5th highest in the world currently) Then theres a 75 meter hill and drop straight afterwards. Thats higher than the whole of Blackpool’s Big One (62 meters drop). At almost 4mins for a ride, its still the longest track in history and the gravitation force over the hills is insane! There is nothing like it and it eclipses everything else in the park.

Fuji-Q Highland

Eejanaika

Fujiyama

I went to Fuji Q after Nagashima Spa Land and although its got some great coasters, I think I preferred Spa Lands. Fuji Q’s big ride at the time was Takabisha but I wasn’t convinced by it. Felt similar to Saw the ride in Thorpe Park (another one I was so-so about). I did like Do-Dodonpa but after going on Stealth lots of times, this felt poor in comparison. I noticed they changed the hill into a loop now, which might be better but at the time it was a hill.

Tokyo Dome City

Thunder Dolphin

If I could build a rollercoaster, I would do it like Thunder Dolphin. Right in the middle of a city but go big. The Dolphin is a rare surprise but it shuts early due to noise I expect? Its quite thrilling riding through a city centre in this way and quite special.

Spain

Parque Warner Madrid 126

Parque Warner Madrid

Superman / la Atracción de Acero

Stuntfall

Parque Warner Madrid, is a great park. Its not massive but they nicely grouped all the big rides close to each other for easy access to other ones. The theme nature of the park was good and very late opening really helps space out the day. The only thing is its quite a long way out of Madrid which means a coach or car only. The park is packed with rides but the two selected are the best. Stunt drop is just so much fun while Superman is as close to Steel Dragon 2000 as I’ve gotten in recent times.

UK

Alton Towers in 2015

Alton Towers

Nemesis

Smiler

Out of all the theme parks, this is the most visited one. I like Alton Towers but its estate is vast making repeat rides tricky. For example; the distance between Smiler and Nemesis in time is at least 15mins by cable cart! Walking would be 20-30mins. However the number of extreme rides are plentyful. The SW (Secret weapon) series of coasters have been record breaking and a genuine joy to have in the UK. Nemesis for me is still the best inverted coaster I have been on. Its quite insane its 22 years old and hasn’t lost its roar and intensity. Its the reason why (almost) all other inverted coasters don’t appear in my list at all. Even Batman the ride although similar lacks the landscape which features so much in Nemesis. Nemesis is basically cut into the side of hill to keep it below the treeline. You can see similar with the Smiler which isn’t tall but super compact crossing over its self many times. I would include Oblivion and Air but they have fallen out of my ride book in recent times.

Thorpe Park

Stealth

Swarm

Thorpe park is a nice park and its small enough to quickly get high numbers of rides in a short time. Although it doesn’t have enough big rides in my opinion. I use to have a merlin year pass which meant I could go to Alton Towers & Thorpe Park over and over again. So on a long week in London, I would head to Thorpe Park on Friday or Saturday with my luggage then get the tube back to Euston for my train back to Manchester.

Blackpool pleasure beach

Infusion

The Big one

Blackpool is so close and unlike most UK theme parks, opens late. Its got some good rides but I haven’t been on the new Icon ride yet.

Drayton Manor

Shockwave

Its been a long time since I took a ride in Drayton Manor, but I won’t forget Shockwave which is one of the only stand up rollercoasters in the UK.

Sweden

Jetline at Grona Land

Gröna Lund

Insane

Jetline

Grona Land isn’t a thrill seekers paradise but its small opens late and you can easily run around to the entrance of each ride really easily. Jetline was surprisingly old skool but also had quite exciting elements including the out and back via a tunnel. Its also quite a smooth ride at the start. Insane is a winged insane coaster, even I had to take it easy after the 11th time. Its the first time I have been in a ball coaster and after a few breaks, quite enjoyed it.

Denmark

Dæmonen

Tivoli Gardens

Dæmonen

To be fair Tivoli Gardens isn’t really a extreme roller coaster park, but the one ride they do have is like a mini Superman / la Atracción de Acero. Same maker and coasters, just much shorter time and much less extreme.

My weekly smartphone use…

At the Quantified Self conference a few weeks ago there was a very interesting conversation & social experiment about smartphone use. Ever since I’ve been getting more interested in the good and bad uses of smartphones, even gave a summary of ideas collected over the different sessions.

But I’ve been thinking about my low usage at the conference and decided to seek out an app which just counts the usage and nothing more (most have other types of permissions to do all types of other things). Found Timefactory’s Time used did pretty much this (although I’d like a proper data export option), seems low on resources and very simple.

So above is my regular usage of my Nexus 5X over the last week, and this week was a regular go to work everyday and social event most evenings kind of a week.

Its low, agreed but I didn’t go out to not check it or anything. I carry my Nexus with me pretty much everywhere. But having my pebble smartwatch and other devices around me certainly has a massive effect on how many times I actually have to turn on the phone screen.

Look forward to sharing the month summary too.

Manchester Quantified Self, rebooted on 1st June

Fitbit stats

Its been a while since the last Quantified Self Manchester meetup. Mainly because I was away in Tokyo over April, then in May there was the May bank holiday. Its meant to happen every first Monday of the month.

The meetup is always interesting but lacks repeated members, so I rebooted it with themes thanks to Vimla.

The theme for June 1st is Sleep and Wellness and we welcome talks around this including

  • How you do sleep tracking?
  • What are the benefits of sleep tracking?
  • What you do with your data?

We normally start at 7pm with actually talks at 7:20pm, giving you time to meet other people and settle in. This part lasts till about 8.30pm.

If you have been interested in the Quantified Self to understand what self tracking is about or just nosy about what people are doing to improve their wellness. This might be a good time to come along learn more and contribute your experiences.

Where next for the quantified self?

QSAms_NIK8113

The guardian has a article titled What next for the quantified self

The quantified self movement – the idea that tracking metrics about yourself can lead to self-improvement – appears to be gathering steam. With products such as the FitBit One, Jawbone Up and Nike+ FuelBand boasting impressive sales numbers (the FuelBand reportedly sold out within four hours of its launch), it seems that self-tracking is finding traction and on the way to becoming an ubiquitous feature of daily life.

But how exactly can it break into the mainstream, and where does the future of the movement lie? Here are the five key areas where I see the quantified self going next.

The focus is on breaking into the mainstream which I’m not so bothered about but interesting the areas they identify.

  • App collaboration
    Agreed… The fact you have all these companies feeding date into their own ecosystems. Theres many projects to free the data from the ecosystems but thats just the start of the problem… don’t let me get my dataportability hat.
  • Real-time health tracking
    Yes the push towards real time is real and you can understand why…Faster, quicker, etc
  • Evolution of game mechanics
    I welcome an evolution because to date the game mechanics which have been used are pretty dreadful. I mean I’m a big guy, so whats the point of showing the amount of calories my super healthly friend is consuming. It almost like a kick in the teeth… “hey you fat boy think about your friend Joe when you have that last spoon of rice!” Yeah up yours… Actually talking to my NHS dietation way back when, she suggested the gamification of such things was very bad and should be discouraged. And before you think well she didn’t get it. I’ll tell you she was young (25ish) and had an android phone. An evolution in thinking wouldn’t go a miss, not that I’m saying run zombies run is a bad idea.
  • Fix the food problem
    Yes this is a big problem, and everything I’ve seen before to solve this problem is painful. Even my idea of taking pictures of everything I had to eat wasn’t ideal. Its just not acceptable to pull out your phone, hover above your dinner and take a picture in a restaurant. Yes I know people do it, heck I did it a lot but I can understand the weird looks I was sometimes getting. And heck don’t get me started on the eatery.
  • Google Glass (or wearables)
    The article goes off on one about Google Glass and privacy concerns… When actually the link to the quantified self is tedious at best. Regardless, as an extension of the phone it could be useful for solving the food problem maybe…?

Where I think the Quantified Self should go is (where its going already) mindhacking, workhacking, dreamhacking and narrativehacking.. There’s more areas it could and has gone but I won’t go there/describe them right now…

Use your imagination. Self improvement through data and numbers, enough said (smile).

Can’t wait to see and hear tales from the edge at the quantified self europe conference 2013

Mind hacking, now were talking…

vanishing

Hacking software, then hardware, your car, reality, life and now the mind…?

Two trends growing/converging into into each other. Lucid dreaming as a sport? and Hacking the Subconscious Mind? The equipment is low cost and recording although not scientific can be pretty straight forward. Mindhacking is all the rage?

Avi Rubin says he’s worried about this

Could someone hack your pacemaker? At TEDxMidAtlantic, Avi Rubin explains how hackers are compromising cars, smartphones and medical devices, and warns us about the dangers of an increasingly hack-able world.

I’m less worried… even in the face of other thoughts.

TV Tracking done correctly

TV tracking with trakt.tv

At last the almost perfect TV tracker has been realised by the guys behind Trak.tv.

I say almost perfect because it doesn’t seem to support the social aspect of what tioti was planning. Trak.tv isn’t far off and i’m not totally sure if it doesn’t have it yet. I don’t have any friends on Trak.tv yet, so that might be the thing holding it all back. Time to ping my friends, I think.

The other thing which I think is a little painful is having to select that you watched previous episodes. You could assume that if I watched episode 3 of season 4 of Breakin Bad. It could assume I’d seen the previous ones but then again I guess it would be wrong to assume.

Anyhow, its excellent to see this being developed in the background and xbmc getting really into the quantified self movement

Full TV tracker with trakt.tv