The Quantified Self archive all in one place

Get inspiration and ideas from hundreds of self-tracking projects documented in our community archive, searchable by tools and topics.

Its great to see all of the quantified self videos, presentations and show and tells in one place. Its quite an archive of media and worth browsing through. I had the joy of seeing some of these live at the Quantified Self conference’s.

Here’s some of my favourite ones.

Three Years of Logging my Inbox

Mark Wislon notices that his inbox correlates directly with his stress level. After passively tracking this for three years, he decides to actively shift how he sees his inbox account and learns how he’s controlled (and been controlled by) this stream of angst. He also discovers a very important life lesson: he’s addicted to email.

Using Relationship Data to Navigate a Chaotic Life

Fabio Ricardo dos Santos is gregarious and likes to be around people. A lot of people. But he had a nagging sense that something was out of balance. To better understand why, he began to track his relationships and interactions. He soon found that out of the people that he knows, only about 14% are what he considered to be important relationships and that they made up 34% of his interactions. He felt that this number was too low and it spurred him to spend more time with that important 14%. But he didn’t just track his time with people and the number of interactions. He expanded his system to include the quality of his relationships and interactions. He found that this made him focus on face-to-face interactions and video chats over emails and texts.

Leaning into Grief

Dana Greenfield’s mom was a surgeon, professor, researcher, entrepreneur, blogger, tennis player, and a mentor to many medical students. Unexpectedly, she passed away in February, 2014. To help her process her mother’s death, Dana began tracking every time she thought of her mother by writing down what triggered the memory, the mood it inspired, etc. Watch Dana’s talk as she shares her experiences of using self-tracking to better understand her own grief and the role her mother continues to play in her life.

What I Learned By Building

Dawn Nafus, an anthropologist, reflects on some observations of what self-trackers actually do when they make sense of data. Dawn’s observations led her to ask: what tools might support more diverse ways of working with data? This short talk describes what she’s learned while engaging and building tools for the QS community.

Tracking Punctuality

Sebastien Le Tuan is a recovering “late-oholic.” He is typically always late to friends and family events. One day he had a conversation with his dad that made him realize what effects his tardiness has on his personal and professional life. In this talk, Sebastien describes how he started tracking his punctuality and what he has learned from the process.

Sleep Patterns

Laurie Frick is a visual artist that make work, objects, and installations that relate to brain rhythm. In the video, she presents her amazing work on daily activity charts and sleep charts translated to art. She measured her nightly sleep for over 3 years using a ZEO eeg headband and has almost 1000 nights of sleep data.

Can’t You See I Was Falling In Love

Shelly Jang used GMvault to look through 5 years of Google Chat logs to hunt for signals that she loves only her husband. She looked at whom she messages, the time of a day, and the words she uses. She was able to extract meanings from innocuous metrics like “delay in response” to show whether her or her future husband were “playing games” at the beginning of the relationship. In the talk, she shares what she learned from her project.

Grandma Was A Lifelogger

When Kitty stumbled upon her grandmother’s diaries and started to explore the daily entries, she was struck by similarities with her own life and habits. Kitty is a modern-day lifelogger. She tracks places, events, mood – a variety of different personal data streams. Reading the diaries, Kitty saw that her grandmother used her daily entries as logs – tracking the details of where she went, what she ate, even the boys she kissed. In this talk, Kitty shares what she discovered, and the lessons she learned.

A Photo Every Minute: One Year Later

Rob Shields has been wearing a camera phone around his neck that takes photos every minute. He has been doing this since August of last year. In this video, one year later, he talks about what has changed, what’s new, the things that have been working, and some of the stuff that haven’t been working. He also shares some data from his experiment.

Tracking Street Harassment

Valarie moved to San Francisco when she was 29 and she was not prepared for the city life. She was really freaked out by the trash on the streets, by the way the taxi drivers drove, and how expensive everything was. But the thing that freaked her out the most was street harassment. Street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening, or harassing and is motivated by gender or sexual orientation. She was surprised with how many times she was harassed while walking around. To better understand what was going on she started tracking these instance.

We Are All Going To Die: How Is Our Digital Life Preserved

Mark Krynsky started a blog about six years ago. On his blog, he wrote about live streaming and impetus and how he was trying to aggregate social data into a single timeline. The blog evolved over time, and it wasn’t just about social data–it was also about life blogging. Since then, he learned about Quantified Self and started thinking about the future of his data, what’s going to happen after he dies? In this talk, Mark discusses digital preservation and how he created an action plan for his digital data after his death.

Tracking and Improving My Sleep

Quantified Self organizer and cognitive science researcher, Daniel Gartenberg, is interested in sleep and his passion is this idea of not just tracking sleep but actually being able to improve sleep. He also makes sleep apps. He started tracking his sleep after his business partner contacted him on a recent scientific finding, where basically one could enhance deep sleep auditory stimulation that replicates the frequency of one’s own brainwaves when in deep sleep. In this talk, he shares his tips on tracking and improving his sleep.

Owning My Quantified Self Data

After years of collecting Quantified Self data, Aaron Parecki began moving more of his data onto his personal website rather than letting it sit in someone else’s cloud. This insures that his data will stick around even after apps and devices go away.

Important Milestones for life

My first diabolo
Yes thats me with my first diabolo at school

Another one of those thought catalog pieces, this one about important milestones you can have in your life besides getting married. There is 40 of them but reading through them got me thinking…

Going through a painful breakup and refusing to let it drown you; instead, deciding to find growth and strength from it.

Absolutely… They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I would certainly say my painful breakups have made me a much more resilient person. I kind of feel sorry for those who haven’t been through such a breakup. Its when you really find out what you are made of. Its also a reality check on had bad things can go.

Taking your parents on a vacation. Or even just out to dinner, because this is finally your chance to be the one who can treat them to something, rather than the other way around.

Love being able to treat my parents, looking to do it more in future. But its wonderful. I know many people who unfortunately can’t do this for different reasons.

Reconnecting with an old friend that you’ve always regretted losing touch with. Being the first one to reach out, to tell them you miss them, to make an attempt to see them again.

Its so great to catch up and talk over experiences and changes over time. Its also great to reach out and break the silence with more than a like or a +1. Real human connection.

Giving a heartfelt, well-written, meaningful speech as the Best Man or Maid of Honor at the wedding of someone who is very special to you.

Oh yes… still remember doing a adhoc speech at a wedding and later the grooms father came up to me, telling me I was such a good influence in his sons life. Even I was blown away by this.

The first holiday you spend with friends instead of family.

Oh I remember this well, holiday in Ibiza with friends in 1998, kind of hated the holiday but it was a learning experience. I went back to Ibiza 3 years later under my own steam.

Going on your first vacation with a significant other – paid for by you two and you two alone.

Indeed, spent much time going to different parts of America and Europe with my partner at the time. By this time I was already living in London alone, so it wasn’t such a big thing for me.

Having certain luxuries that you like to spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine.…And getting to the maturity level where you can tell the difference between treating yourself, and being financially reckless and irresponsible.

Absolutely… this is something I have been thinking about a lot. I have got to a point where I can afford more of the things and experience I would like. But something stops me and I think it is my inner compass about being financially reckless. I would like a pair of the Nike Air Huarache (Triple black) but at £90-130, it feels reckless and reminds me of the kids who’s parents bought those ugly Rebook Pumps at £140. And then go their trainers stolen (if you not heard of this, where have you been?)

Telling someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.

Oh yes… dare I say it… The fear of rejection, something I got over a long time ago. Life has gotten better since that day. Can I remember the first time? Maybe when I was 13 years old, I said I loved her without really knowing what she would say and to be honest really knowing what it really was about.

Traveling to a city you’ve always wanted to explore, and paying for everything on your own dime.

I have no idea where to start, so many cities. I think going to Cardiff was the first city where I wanted to go and I went complete on my own steam. I went clubbing in Cardiff at the forum, to the sounds of speed garage. Since then I obviously moved to London and to Manchester. But more to the point I went to international cities alone and explored under my own steam. They include Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas, Chicago, Paris, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Barcelona, Dublin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Hamburg, Warsaw and of course Tokyo!

Finding that one book that changes your life, even if it’s in the smallest way possible.

We were talking about this one just today with something I’m collaborating on with some great people. There are so many great books I have read. This is a hard one as there is many. I guess the big one is Derek Powazak’s Design for Community. Reading that book and following the links lead me to meet my ex-wife online. But there are many other books including free culture, strange attractors, rebeccas world, emergence, the long tail, the tipping point, the art of deception, paradox of choice, no logo, smartmobs, hacking the xbox, we the media and so many more…

 

Alone together forever with the narcissistic?

Tokyo from the Skytree

There is something not quite right about the whole selfies thing. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I think it unlocks something much deeper and more troubling…

Its all about me

The selfie thing, I do find it self indulgent and dare I say it – slightly narcissistic in nature.

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from the Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Maybe instead of a pool of water, its a reflection of yourself in a 533 DPI mobile screen?  I don’t think everyone who does a selfie are inherently doing it for narcissistic reasons. Let me be clear about that. But there is something not quite right about seeing friends Selfies all over my facebook timeline of nothing more than people trying to style things out in front of a mirror. Then you get the likes or +1’s.  Finally you got the millions of selfie sticks being sold and used by people who should know better… its enough to  makes you wonder, right?

While in Tokyo, I saw a lot of selfie sticks and lots of people using them. There use seem to go from a picture with friends to a slightly more worrying shot after shot after shot of them self till they got the right one to share. One guy must have taken about 30 pictures before he was happy with one of them. I know because I was watching him on his super bright iPhone 6  plus.

Its about you… alone

As you can imagine I’m not the only one thinking this.

What greater testament could there be to the “me generation” than the rise and rise of the selfie? Anointed by Oxford Dictionaries’ editors as the word of the year after a 17,000% increase in its usage, the selfie is surely the ultimate emblem of the age of narcissism.

One of the names I’m most unlikely to align with is Andrew Keen. I have slammed Andrew in the past for his views on the internet. But it kills me to say, he makes some good points on  Twit.tv’s Triangulation 183. I’m sure his new book will still have me and many others shaking our heads, I haven’t read his book and are unlikely to buy it to be honest but he’s spot on about the use of algorithms and the selfie thing.

Tokyo from up high

While on my trip to Tokyo I took a few selfies. I never quite feel good about it, my face generally describe how I felt about the whole thing. I also started to wonder if the break down in our social humanity (if people like sherry turkle are correct) can be seen ahead of time in Tokyo?

Japan is always known as way ahead of the curve. When most of us were still using desktops and laptops to connect the internet, residents of Japan were using their phones. Theres many other examples but I spotted something which deeply worries me. Sherry Turkle’s connected alone was playing out everywhere you went.

Selfie Sticks

I was in the queue for a rollercoaster and 4 guys were standing in silence through out the whole 40-50min queue. There were each transfixed to their phones not uttering a single word till we finally got on the ride and then they were best buds, laughing and chatting away. I saw them again later (the theme park wasn’t that busy and isn’t that big – about the size of Thorpe Park) and it was more of the same.  They may have been playing the same game but together they were alone.

Alone together

Sad as it may be (you could say its part of the Japanese culture, but I’m not so sure), you are seeing more and more of this. And its not just a age thing. The online world can be very seductive and some people forget the offline world for many reasons. Maybe things are difficult there, things are not going so well, they can be somebody else? Theres a load of reasons.

Two pieces I have saved in my instapaper, really got me going…

One is via Tony Churnside10 Reasons Why This Generation Is Losing The Ability To Be In Love.

Every individual in the world is egocentric; we all think about our needs and ourselves first and foremost. Whether this is good or bad doesn’t really matter; the world is the way it is. It’s part of human nature.The problem arises when our egocentricity overtakes our ability to feel empathy. As human beings, we have no choice but to live and function within society, within communities of different sizes.

And I found the next one while following links on a site called Thought catalogueThis is the new loneliness

Our generation of sadness and loneliness is of the unchecked variety. Of wallowing. Of letting ourselves be disconnected from both others and ourselves. Learning to soothe more than heal. Learning to put a band-aid on problems instead of working through and solving our problems. If something is not immediate, we don’t want it, even if it’ll make us stronger. We’re not growing as people, not really. We’re shoving away “bad feelings” we don’t want to face by clicking, refreshing, scrolling until we’ve numbed ourselves out enough. It’s addiction.

We cut ourselves off from others, avoiding contact with outsiders. How scared are we? That we are not willing to hand over our camera and talk to (maybe) a familiar stranger?  Who knows what fruitful conversations may spring up because of that moment/encounter/opportunity? But we will never know because we are too focused on our virtual selves.

Sherry Turkle and Andrew Keen could have wrote either and I would somewhat believe it was them.

Akihabara, Tokyo

Virtual friends and likes

This should go without saying because there has been so much said about virtual friends, buddy lists, likes, +1’s, follower counts,  etc. And this is also where the difference between Narcissism (the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes) and Egocentrism (the inability to differentiate between self and other).

I use narcissism because I feel it requires other people to breed as such. Its also something we shouldn’t be heading towards. I can deal with a room of egocentric people for a short while, but a room of narcissists is deeply worrying.

Its all pretty troubling but I have hope for humanity. I feel like its a craze right now. The market can sell more goods you don’t actually need. The drive has always been to make us feel less empowered and cut us off from each other. A disfranchised citizen makes a good consumer?  Retreating to the wall gardens of the 5 stacks.

My hope is we will have more which saddle between the real and virtual worlds and operate in a open fashion. I believe the user interfaces we build, shapes our use and therefore it shapes us – ontological design. From the Cluetrain

#79 –  We want you to drop your trip, come out of your neurotic self-involvement, join the party.

Warning!

This was written and scheduled during a 17 hour flight with very little actual sleep (trying to adjust to GMT as soon as I get off the plane). I’m very tired and I am likely to be connecting things in a very weird way (not like that never happens eh?). But I do feel like there is a link and worth posting…

Embracing the unquantifiable self?

The Quantified Self scene panel

I’m sat in Manchester terminal 3 airport using the free wifi (for one hour with a sign up to some bothersome news letter) anyway I’m on my way to the Quantified Self Europe Conference in Amsterdam for the 2nd year (reasons why you should be coming too). I gather the popularity of the conference and area has obviously started to rise with a sharp 50% increase in the ticket price. Fair dues but further proves its getting popular and breaking into the mainstream.

But I wanted to reflect on aspects I’ve touched on many times in my blog. The unquantifiable.

Its one of those lunch time chats in R&D. This time I was talking to Matt Brooks and Jasmine about the Quantified Self and some of the smart data wearemoment.us were able to understand from patterns of usage. Matt stopped me and said how much he hated recommendation systems.

“I want a system which doesn’t give you what you want or even the opposite… ”

The perfect example being spotify…  Before long we were talking l about something which is dear to me and my blogging.

The unquantifiable! Or as Matt likes to call it the “unquantifiable self” credit to Matt for that one.

There seems to be somethings which are simply unquantifiable. Two come to mind instantly. Dj mixing and Chemistry when dating. Everything can be right on paper but when meeting that person in real life or hearing that mix, something just isn’t right. Not only that it can be a total rejection of something you should in the data, adore?

Although I love the quantified self: knowledge through numbers. I feel like I appreciate the unquantifiable even more now. I know there is those who believe we just need more data or more computational power (they may even be right) but in the meanwhile lets have fun with the unquantifiable self.

See you at the quantified self europe. By the way I’ll be talking on Sunday afternoon about my media consumption and maybe a tiny bit about how this relates to perceptive media.

The serious side of pledgebank

Sipesiyoza preparing for finals

I've been aware of pledgebank for a while now and its seems like a really good idea. First through this one about setting up a EFF for the UK. But just recently I was asked if I would pledge to the global mentoring pledge.

I will mentor a minimum of two people in the developing world in the area of my skills base and expertise (media, communications, broadcasting , democratic media building, participatory media, community video). I will do this for free for a minimum of six months (in my free time). The mentoring will be in person or via email/skype and the mentoring connections will be established by a website and database that I am willing to take responsibility for creating but only if 250 other people will mentor a minimum of two people in their skills.

My first thoughts was to add my support to the 108 people who have already pledged. But then I stepped back and started really considering what this means in time, effort and self management. And in the end opted to sit it out. Its a huge commitment and I would really hate to let other people down because I could'nt spare the time to do this correctly. See thats the thing too, if I was going to pledge to do this, it would need to be done correctly and faithfully. I certainlly should not enter into a pledge like this lightly, not that I'm saying anyone else is. But good on Lucy for setting this up and props to Tom Steinberg for its inspiration in setting up Pledge bank. Who knows maybe now I'm subscribed to the RSS, maybe I might find something which I will pledge.

I hope Pledgebank links to details of how pledges go once they go live. As I would like to keep an eye on how Lucy's Pledge progresses.

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