Category Archives: personal thoughts

Why “Quantified Self” and “Big Data” Do Not Pair Well

Champagne-and-chocolatesOnce in awhile (and recently more and more often) I would see someone writing or talking about Quantified Self movement and using words “Big Data” in the same sentence. I have been expressing my discontent with this “pairing” for quite a while now, and finally, decided to write this post. Today I would like to to explain how Big Data and Quantified Self, just like chocolate and champagne, do not pair together well. In fact, these two lie on the opposite ends of a conceptual spectrum, and should not be confused or mixed with each other. It is my understanding that this confusion comes from the fact that Quantified Self movement is currently seen from three different perspectives. The first perspective, “n=1”, is of IT, technology and data folks. The second perspective, “n=you” is of marketers and pharmaceutical and health insurance companies. And the third perspective, “n=me”, is of self-trackers and self-experimenters. It is the  “n=me” perspective that represents the very premise and nature of self-tracking and Quantified Self; that’s how this movement started, and that’s how it should continue to be. Let me now know explain why.

My Quantified Self Projects and Self-Experiments in March

measured me experiments in marchThe March is almost over, so I thought it is a good time to tell what kind of things I am have been tracking and what self-experiments I have been conducting this month. As usual, at the end of the month I will export data from my rTracker log , analyze it and will share any interesting insights and findings with you.

Some Lessons I Learned While Tracking My Diet

some lessons from tracking dietI must admit that of all my self-tracking efforts that I took on in the past six months, tracking diet turned out to be THE most cumbersome so far. Of course, I am not giving up, and will continue testing and experimenting, until I find the most efficient tools and methods for quantifying diet and its effects on my everyday life. In the meantime, I would like to share some observations and lessons that I learned during the past six months, including what worked and did not work for me, and some interesting insights about my diet and eating habits.

Power Point Slides of My “Hacking Happiness” Presentation

As promised, posting the full Power Point slides of my “Hacking Happiness” presentation from NY Quantified Self meetup. In this self-tracking experiment, I looked at how different aspects of well-being, personal values and everyday activities predict my happiness.

Hacking Happiness: A Quick Peak at Some Results of My January Experiment

quantified self personal analytics self-tracking happinessIn December and January, I have been tracking some aspects of my everyday life in order to test a couple of psychological and behavioral theories of happiness. The preliminary results of this experiment will be presented tomorrow at the Quantified Self NYC meetup, and of course, I will be posting the PowerPoint slides of my presentation later this week. Unfortunately, 10 minutes are not enough to cover everything in depth, so I thought I would dedicate a separate post that would discuss the most interesting findings of this experiment in more detail.  My personal favorite was quantification of how not being able to live according to my personal values affects my happiness.

A Quick Peek at My Quantified Self Experiments and Projects in January

measured me blog quantified self personal analytics self experimentation personal informatics life optimization self improvement self development blogI am very excited to start this year with some new awesome self-tracking projects and experiments! For now, the major emphasis remains on areas like sleep, fitness, diet, cognition, and psyche, but I will be covering a bit productivity and finance, too. Here is a quick preview of what I am tracking (and working on) this month.

So You Would Like to Start Self-Tracking

how to start self tracking quantified self projectA lot of people have been asking me if anyone can do self-tracking, how difficult it is, and how to conduct a successful and insightful Quantified Self project. In this post, I would like to share a couple of recommendations that are based on my personal experiences. So if you are considering to give self-tracking a try, this post is for you. Of course, if you are a “seasoned” self-tracker, you are more than welcome to tune in and contribute to this post, either in comments, on Facebook  or Twitter.

The Not So Healthy “Health” Apps

During my searches for good mobile apps for self-tracking (e.g, here or here), I often encounter apps that offer to measure mental or physical performance, or diagnose and even treat some medical conditions, while citing questionable scientific theories or methods, or not listing any research references at all. This great article in Washington Post takes a closer  look at the high-tech “snake oil” of XXI centure: health apps.

Life Optimization Theory and Quantified Self

self improvement and self optimization via self-tracking personal analytics and quantified selfAfter becoming fascinated by the Quantified Self movement a couple of years ago, I have immersed myself in self-tracking, and have been using this blog to document my personal experiences and thoughts, and review different tools and measures that I tried. When I started this blog, the scope of topics was limited to physical and mental health and fitness, but this list has been growing since then. The objective of the Measured Me project has evolved and become more ambitious than ever. I am now searching for the best ways to measure and track as many aspects of my everyday life as possible. But what is it exactly that I am trying to achieve? What is the ultimate goal of this ongoing experiment? In this post, I will discuss the new raison d’être behind the Measured Me experiment –  theory of life optimization.

Should Quantified Self Researchers Protect Themselves with Disclaimers?

legal disclaimer for quantified self and self-tracking reportsWhen I made my September self-tracking data available for download,  I thought I should include some sort of disclaimer. Not to limit access to data, but rather protect myself from potential liabilities associated with use, analysis and interpretation of my data by other parties. I turned to the Internet to find out how this disclaimer should look like, but to no avail: most of the discussions around Quantified-Self data so far have focused on data portability and privacy issues. I then turned to Twitter, Facebook, and Quantified-Self forum. My post on Quantified Self forum actually resulted in small but somewhat heated discussion, so I thought I should elaborate more on this issue in a separate post. So today I would like share my thoughts on some potential legal pitfalls associated with publishing your quantified-self research and data, and how they could be avoided by including a disclaimer.