in Projects, Programming, Technology

Quantified self and lifestreaming

It seems inevitable that someone will create a lifestreaming hub for your personal activity data that allows you to capture and own your data (either before or after it is published). Here’s a collection of thoughts that have been bubbling in my brain for a while. 

Assertions

  1. Tracking numerical stats about yourself (weight, steps) can create a positive reinforcing effect.
  2. Sensors are necessary to track the data nearly automatically (too much effort for humans to enter it).
  3. Gamification can provide a small boost, but mostly it’s about making the metrics visible.
  4. Relatively little quantified self data needs or wants to be social. It’s personal. It’s best to compete against yourself.
  5. The primary reasons for sharing is to celebrate (“I just finished an 8 mile run”) or to have accountability (“Who wants to do the run with me”).
  6. It is almost always more convenient to let a company store and manage my data (tumblr beats wordpress, Twitter beats identica, Facebook beats diaspora).
  7. Pattern recognition applied to sensor data can identify some activities and some devices are more accurate than others.
  8. WordPress won the open source hosted blog battle by providing plugin architecture.

Problems

  1. As we get more sensors to track our well being, it will be harder for us to aggregate our own personal data.
  2. As we’ve seen with photos and documents, standard formats don’t come along very often.
  3. Corporations often limit access to data collected by their applications (Twitter, Nike)
  4. Getting and keeping our own copy of our data (backup) is difficult.
  5. Installing and maintaining your own server is difficult (DNS, security updates, hosting)
  6. There are not many human wearable sensors with enough battery life, but they are rapidly improving.

Solutions (some ideas)

  1. Create a SoundHound for phone sensor data (accelerometer, gyroscope) that can learn and identify physical activities during a sensor recording session.
  2. Lifestream aggregator applications (path, Everymove, pubwhich, rebelmouse, thinkup, busterbenson.com)
  3. Personal data and status-update hub. Despite its difficulties in update and installation, WordPress rose to prominence because 1) Everybody needs a web site. 2) The specification for serving a blog was simple. 2) it supported plugins. 3) It was open source. Also, it was relatively simple, and it was built for an existing fan base. A push-button domain name (or CNAME) configuration and application install may be necessary – even for those that want to host their own data.

 

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  1. Hi,

    I found this article and thought it was very interesting because im looking for a platform that allows me to share my quantified self data on my own website to the public. I havent found one so far.
    This article is about a year old so i was wondering if you already have found a website who does this?

  2. I still haven’t found a solution to this problem. I use everymove.com to aggregate a bunch of apps that I use, but that’s about it so far.