December 26, 2011

Bulk view

Quantified Awesome: Building my own time tracker

I took advantage of the holiday break to build my own time tracker into Quantified Awesome. I wanted a simple way to capture activities, thoughts, and other records, using a hierarchy to simplify entry and reporting. This involved ripping out my old code related to Time Recording and Tap Log Records, but it was worth it. Now the reports are more useful for work and life. I’m sure I’ll come up with other improvements as I use it.

After lots of digging, I found a tutorial that helped me figure out OmniAuth. I added Google Accounts and Facebook login to the web app. I still haven’t opened it up to signups, but now I can log in easily, and the site will automatically add signup entries for people who try to use Google or Facebook to sign up. I hope to open things up before the next Quantified Self Toronto meetup on January 17.

I added OAuth because I wanted to be able to synchronize with Quantified Awesome using a native Android application. The web interface for Quantified Awesome is somewhat usable on my Android, and it would be good to tweak it further for the small screen. Still, I don’t always have Internet access, so I want to build an app that can accept data offline and sync it up when ready. I still have to figure out how to use Account Manager and the sync API on the Android. I’m not sure if I can get all that in tomorrow, but there will be other weekends to work on this.

I like tracking my time. The data helps me answer questions like:

  • How much time does it really take me to finish a task?
  • Can I work a good week, getting lots of things done, while making time for personal projects?
  • What’s truly important to me, as shown by what I spend time on?

With my own time tracker, I hope to make data capture and analysis smoother. It’ll be a good excuse to get deeper into Rails 3.1 and Android development, too – skills that might come in handy over the next few years.

I’m happy with the way I used this holiday weekend. It felt like a good balance between spending time with W- and working on my personal projects. I slept more than I expected to and Friday was less productive than the other days, but it was good to take it easy. With clear tasks in front of me in terms of improving Quantified Awesome, I’m sure I’ll have fun.