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Quantified Awesome: 116 web resources for Quantified Self

Posted: - Modified: | braindump, quantified

I like reading about other people’s adventures in self-tracking and experimentation. It’s a great way to pick up ideas and connect with other people. There’s Quantified Self, but it has a handful of authors. One morning, I went through twenty pages of search results in order to put together this list for you and me.

(In case you’re curious, it took me a little over two hours to put this together, and Google Chrome hung twice.)

In no particular order…

Blogs that discuss quantified self:

  1. Quantified Self, of course
  2. The Quantified Doctor
  3. Lifestream Blog, Mark Krynsky – QS conference notes
  4. Eric Boyd
  5. Joost Plattel
  6. Sacha Chua: Quantified – my blog =)
  7. Alexandra Carmichael at the Institute of the Future
  8. Ethan Zuckerman‘s QS 2011 conference notes
  9. The Measured Life
  10. The Future of Self-Knowledge
  11. Personal Informatics
  12. Personal Science
  13. Flowing Data: Self-surveillance
  14. Matthew Cornell: The experiment-driven life
  15. Alex Bangs
  16. Thede Technologies
  17. Hallicious
  18. Basis
  19. Eric Blue
  20. Seth’s Blog
  21. Bulletproof Executive
  22. Pioneering Ideas
  24. Matt Lucht
  25. Jon Mount Joy
  26. Red 7
  27. Quantter
  28. Neurosky
  29. Radhika
  30. The Decision Tree
  31. Habit Labs
  32. Wellness FX
  33. Where in the World is Ken Snyder?
  34. bsRUBIN
  35. Austin Yoder
  36. Jason Grimes
  37. expsychlab
  38. There Is No Wetware
  39. The Informagician
  40. Opposable Planets
  41. Design Mindfulness
  42. A Rich Life
  43. DIY Health
  44. Just Kiel
  45. Delta Self
  46. Tonic
  47. Track Ignite
  48. Feedblog
  49. Tap Log
  50. Withings
  51. Human Sensing
  52. I Grow Digital

One-offs / blogs that are hard to filter for QS:

  1. Lifehacker: Quantified self
  2. Gizmodo
  3. Jo Writes: Quantified Self
  4. The Quantified Self: You are your data
  5. Startup Happiness: Agile and lean self-development
  6. Concurring Opinions: The Quantified Self: personal choice and privacy
  7. Gary Wolf on how Quantified Self started
  8. Institute of the Future interview with Gary Wolf on health and self-tracking
  9. The Healthcare Blog: The Quantified Self and the future of health care
  10. Healthcare IT News: Couch potato Quantified Self journey
  11. Technology Review
  12. Big Think
  13. Case Organic: Track your happiness
  14. Sentient Developments: Quantified Self and Paleo
  15. The quantified patient
  16. Wellsphere: Sleep, Zeo, and the Quantified Self
  17. Adrian Short: Waste minimisation and the quantified self
  18. O’Reilly Radar: Quantified Self and personal data
  19. Creative Intelligence
  20. Xconomy
  21. Dream Studies: 9 holistic health apps for the quantified self
  22. Medicine and Technology
  23. Chron: As we measure our lives in greater detail, will our behavior improve?
  24. FT Magazine
  25. Network Cultures: Quantified Self 1: A fragmented analysis
  26. Open Source: Open health and Quantified Self
  27. Make: Self-experimentation unusually effective
  28. iDoneThis
  29. The New York Times: Self-measurement
  30. Kevin Kelly – also self-tracking
  31. Forbes – also adventures in self-surveillance
  32. Wandering Stan: Self-trickery for good
  33. Social Workout: Doh – time to throw away your FitBit?
  34. Double Think: Monitoring and self-monitoring
  35. Connected Health: From couch potato to Quantified Self
  36. Dented Reality: Waking up with Wakemate
  37. Florian Micahelles: Forget about genius – just think about numbers
  38. Sherrard Ewing: Running and the Quantified Self
  39. Reviving the Health Revolution: Seattle Quantified show and tell
  40. Naveenium: Quantified Self 2011
  41. Conversation Agent: The Quantified Self: identity and value
  42. Summer of Smart: Building online communities to improve public health
  43. Huffington Post: Are Self-Tracking Devices the Key to Weight Loss?
  44. Refocuser: The beginner’s guide to self-tracking & analysis
  45. Future Lab: Counting down to the era of the quantified self
  46. Future 2.0: Quantified Self and self-tracking
  47. Bytemarks: Quantified Self 2011
  48. Depression Anxiety Blog: Health Ins Quote
  49. The Ultimate Answer: Quantified Self on happiness
  50. ekivemark: #RainbowButton and Quantified Self
  51. Smithsonian: Me, my data, and I
  52. Homo Competens: Quantified Self experiment with Google+ and 42goals
  53. Design Culture Lab: On measuring ourselves
  54. Mostly Muppet: The Quantified Self
  55. Auto Despair: Self-hacking / life-blogging / quantified-self & “Moodscope”
  56. Rally the Cause: Quantified Self: Changing behavior using data
  57. Josh Simerman: New tools for Quantified Self tracking
  58. Ignatius Bau: First Quantified Self conference
  59. mdoeff: 10 interesting things from HealthCamp SFBay
  60. Samuel Life: Quantified Self – show&tell
  61. Transparency Revolution: The quantified career
  62. Amy Robinson: Self-experiment
  63. Kru Research: Sleep, Zeo, and the Quantified Self
  64. Desperate Sarah: Quantified Self

Quantified Self also posts frequent link roundups, so check them out to find more resources. Have any favourite blogs related to Quantified Self, self-tracking, or experimentation? Please share!

Thinking about speaking topics

| braindump

Holly Tse invited me to speak at Lotus Blossoming, an upcoming virtual summit for Asian women. We’re negotiating what my topic might be. I’ve challenged myself to speak mostly about things that pass the following criteria:

  • must be something I want to learn more about,
  • must be something I have experience in, and
  • must be something people will find useful (not just interesting, useful)

I’m picky because I’m not selling anyone stuff. No coaching services, no e-books, no here’s-the-secret-to-happiness. This means I’m not speaking to get exposure or to do marketing. It also means that speeches have to be worth the preparation time I’d take away from other things. Is the speech something I can’t wait to work on, or is it something I’m going to end up procrastinating until the last minute? Is it something that might result in a good blog post and a presentation  I can share? Is it something that can help me grow in terms of content or technique?

I invest time up front before committing to a topic so that I can enjoy the preparation and delivery more, and so that the talk will be more useful for people who invest their time in attending. I know I can be energetic and interesting even when I’m annoyed with the situation or when I have strong doubts about the topic, but I really don’t want to make that habitual.

The great thing is that negotiation teaches me a lot about what I want to write about and explore. For example:

  • I’d like to share more stories and tips for other immigrants, particularly people moving by themselves, but I need to do some more work in this area to clarify things that are still prickly for me.
  • I want to write about happiness in the corporate world. So many blogs and books treat corporations as desolate wastelands and portray self-employment or startups as The Way.
  • I’m less interested in social media for personal networking and community building, and more interested in writing your life as a way to practise continuous improvement. I think the ability to connect with more people more deeply is icing on the cake-pop – it’s not the reason I blog, but it does help me learn a lot more.

Hmm, there’s an interesting thing there. You see, people often ask me to do social media presentations. I prefer to focus on individual behaviours instead of trends because I want people to be able to do something. I dislike all this emphasis on personal branding and social networking, because it’s so much like scare-mongering. “You MUST be on Facebook/Twitter and your own blog or else you’ll be invisible and irrelevant.” Social networking is fine, but I want to be really clear that it’s not about getting friends/followers/readers/comments.

I’d rather encourage people to take these two approaches: develop their interest in other people and use social tools to make it easier to cultivate those relationships, and start that journey of self-discovery and find something they can share with other people.

The first one is a bit harder if the people you care about aren’t active on social networks, but you can also learn a lot by looking for people who inspire you. When you find people you resonate with, you can learn a lot about them, life, and yourself. For me, blogs tend to be better than Facebook or Twitter for being inspired by other people, because people put more of their thoughts and their personality into their blog. For example, I love the way my mom tells stories and what I learn about her and our family. The way Mel Chua shares her passion for open source and life (we’re not related, but I’d have loved to be) teaches me more about how to let my enthusiasm shine through. I enjoy reading Roger Ebert’s journal and learning about culture and growing old, and I like Penelope Trunk’s vivid stories. People tell me they enjoy reading my blog, too – the way I practise continuous improvement and optimism, the joy I take in life, the things I learn along the way.

As for finding something worth sharing with other people – that’s an excellent place to start, especially for introverts like me. Writing helps you learn a lot more effectively. It gets things out of your brain and into a form you can look at or share.

Come to think of it, I take more of a self-centered approach to social media compared to most of the other presentations or blog posts I’ve come across. It’s not the quick hit of here’s-how-to-make-the-most-of-Facebook-and-Twitter. It’s more about becoming yourself and helping others. Hmm… Will flesh this out some more.

The delicate dance of status

Posted: - Modified: | braindump, connecting, reflection

The interns helping my mom put together a memory book asked me to rank the top 25 people who have influenced me. I refused, explaining that I felt very uncomfortable doing that.

I remember coming across this speaking tip: During Q&A, don't say “great question” to fill in the silence while you're thinking of the answer, because then you'll have to say something like it for the other questions or risk making people feel their question isn't as important as others'.

It reminded me of a tip I'd read in a different book, even longer ago, which went something like this: Introducing one person as “my friend” and omitting that when introducing the other can lead to friction.

One of my friends once anxiously asked me if it was okay if he considered me a best friend, but not his best, best friend. I told him it doesn't matter to me, and that I'm glad we're close friends.

My middle sister can be more particular about sibling ranking than I am, and often jokes about the pecking order. I've opted out of caring about that, I guess. =)

I have no qualms about praising people in public. In some contexts, though–comparative ones?–status gets odd.

It reminds me of how, at a conference on education that I attended in my sixth grade, I spoke up about cooperation instead of competition.

I try to minimize the distance between me and whoever I want to help. I want people to be able to easily identify with me.

I try to think of people as approachable and human, no matter what their job titles or life situations are, and to let them also interact with other people that way if they want to.

Presenting through web conferences–with full back channels and closer facial expressions–feels more intimate than giving a talk in an auditorium, separated by lights and a stage.

It reminds me of improv. There are games you can play with status and the inversion of status. I still need to practice and relax more before I can easily play those games, and even more before I can play those games for laughs, but it was interesting to learn about the games and start seeing the patterns of conversation.

Unequal status can feel okay, too: introducing someone to a potential mentor, for example. The status difference is justified by the context, not the title (and sometimes is inversely related to job titles or experience).

I'm okay with starting one-up if I know how I can help someone, but I feel uncomfortable if I don't know or we have to dig for it. I usually introduce myself as equal-ish. In presentations, I sometimes take the slightly-up-at-least-in-this-context position (here are some things I learned that might save you time), and sometimes the slightly-down position (here's what I know, and I'd love to bring out what you know).


/Thanks to Judy Gombita (@jgombita) for the nudge to reflect on this!/

2010-07-29 Thu 16:57

Thoughts on writing and starting again

| braindump, writing

Rominia asked:

I'm one of those people who start on a diary or a blog, so excited about it, but never seem to follow through. How come you're so uhm, prolific in writing? I never figured you to be a writer in high school.

It’s a good thing writing isn’t just reserved for writers, or I’d be intimidated by it too. =) If you come back and read this blog often, you might notice that it’s mostly me thinking out loud, even if I’m not being really clear and concise. The trick is to write first, and leave polishing for later.

There are different ways to approach editing. One way is to think long and hard, and don’t publish anything until it’s perfect. Result: very few things published. Another way is to keep repeating yourself until the core message floats to the top. Result: lots of seeds for people to think about and learn from.

Think of it like sketching. You could try to draw everything perfectly the first time around, or you can draw lightly and darken the lines as the shape emerges.

I need to take notes, or I’ll forget. I need to take more notes, actually, because otherwise I waste the time and energy I’ve already invested in the experience.

For example, I had a great chat yesterday about some career opportunities. One of the things that made it even awesomer was that I did my homework, looking up things related to the job and anticipating potential topics of discussion. That was fun. =)

I could have let that moment slip past without writing down a quick summary, but writing it down means that I can review it later on to get a sense of what works well for me. I could also save it in my private files without publishing it on my blog, but who knows if sharing that will encourage people to do their homework for conversations too, or will invite people to share their tips with me?

And if you’ll bear with the meta-ness of this post: this is something I’ve written about before and I write about again in the future. The more I share, the better I figure out how I want to say and how I want to say it. (Like that phrase, which I’ve been using since at least 2008.) =)

So those are some quick thoughts on being prolific. Adjust your filters. Share more rather than less. But there’s also the challenge of starting again after you stop.

Don’t let the fear of stopping stop you from starting. If you’re afraid that your blog or journal will fall into disuse, go ahead and start it anyway. Never be embarrassed about starting again.

The sketchbook I occasionally carry around has mindmaps and diagrams from 2007. I still have a number of blank pages to go, and I have other notebooks I’d started (and finished, for some) in the meantime. It’s okay. I don’t beat myself up for stopping. I just enjoy starting again.

There’s a big gap between November 2001, when I started publishing my notes, and June 2002, when I started again. It’s okay. I don’t beat myself up for stopping. I just enjoy starting again.

I’ve had many interests. Sewing, for example – I played around with it a little in grade school, and then I dropped it completely. I got back into it again two years ago or so. I’m having fun starting again.

Every moment is an opportunity to start. Don’t focus on the failure, focus on the future.

Also: check out Refuse to Choose and The Renaissance Soul. It’s reassuring to know that people like us – who love learning new things and have perhaps been discouraged by how easily we get distracted – are actually pretty okay. =)

Braindump: Automating repetitive tasks using AutoHotkey

Posted: - Modified: | braindump

Note for myself (because I'm going to need this again someday!), and for others who drop by:

I needed to copy information from 45 slides and put them into an Excel spreadsheet so that I could reorganize the content and put them into a wiki. Fortunately, the author of the Powerpoint deck used a fairly consistent slide format. I used AutoHotkey to copy most of the information over by simulating mouse clicks and button presses. I started with this macro, which copies the text, switches to my spreadsheet, moves a cell to the right, and pastes it:

WinWait, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
IfWinNotActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, , WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint


I wanted to save even more keystrokes and mouseclicks, so I ended up automating the copying of each slide using the following script. It wasn’t perfect, but it saved me time and it was fun to make.

WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
MouseClickDrag, left, 1037,  327, 1500, 327
WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
MouseClickDrag, left,  1037,  366, 1500, 366
Sleep, 100
WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
MouseClickDrag, left,  457,  344, 1500, 1000
Sleep, 100
WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
MouseClickDrag, left,  454,  454, 1500, 1000
Sleep, 100
WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
MouseClickDrag, left,  564,  535, 1500, 1000
Sleep, 100
WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
MouseClickDrag, left,  490,  637, 1500, 1000
Sleep, 100
WinActivate, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft Excel - facilitation.xls, 
WinActivate, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
WinWaitActive, Microsoft PowerPoint - [ID Methods.ppt], 
Send, {PGDN}

Automation is worth the time investment. If you're on Windows, check out AutoHotkey. =)

Thinking out loud: happiness

Posted: - Modified: | braindump, happy, passion

Is it true that most people don’t know what they’re good at? That’s interesting. Maybe I can help.

I may not be the world’s best expert, but I’m good enough to enjoy writing, programming, drawing, and speaking. I’m good at being happy. I’m getting the hang of drawing and gardening. I’m starting on carpentry. I’m good at picking up new ideas and making connections.

It reminds me of how in improv comedy, my classmates struggled to fill two minutes with a list of things they loved. Me, I hardly paused for breath.

I might have figured out something here that I can help other people learn.

My mom tells this story about when she came across me reading a book far beyond my age. She asked me if I understood it. I said that I didn’t understand it the first time around, but I knew that if I kept reading it again and again, I would eventually understand it.

Maybe I’m good at figuring out what I’m good at because I give myself permission to be bad at things.

Maybe my life is filled with experiences, people, and things I love because I not only work on shaping my life, but adapting to it. (It took a while to get the hang of seasons, for example.)

I wonder what I’m doing right and how I can share it with others.

Braindump: On face-to-face and online social networking (xpost)

Posted: - Modified: | braindump, connecting

An author wants to set up an interview with me because she’s working on a paper on what can be done through face-to-face networking that can’t be done online.

Here’s what I think:

Most people strongly feel that face-to-face networking is much better than online social networking. A paper that focuses on what can be done through face-to-face networking that can't be done with on-line social networking will find it hard to say anything that hasn't been discussed before. If you want to get attention and create value, you can teach people how to effectively blend on-line social networking with their offline social networking.

How can people use online social networking tools to make it easy to identify people they want to get to know, make the initial contact, find common ground, keep in touch, maintain their network, and make introductions?

People have heard a lot about how online social networks are limited and often a waste of time. What they need is guidance on how to use these tools effectively, and how to make it worth the investment of time. As more companies explore telecommuting as a way to cut expenses and reach more globally-distributed talent, people need to learn how to connect and stay connected at work and in life.

Hmm. Let me explore that, because I get a whole lot more done with online social networking than with offline ones, and I find virtual networking to give me better results – and surprisingly good serendipity – than offline networking events.

Why I like online networking investments (blogs, presentations, etc.) more than offline networking investments (networking events, lunch, coffee):

  • Works for you even when you’re sleeping
  • Can start with other people getting value from you right away (people finding answers on your blog through search engines, etc.) – jumpstarts reciprocity
  • Reaches a much wider network with little additional effort
  • Allows people to efficiently get a sense of your depth and breadth (often more than you can pack into a five-minute conversation)
  • Makes it easy to stay connected (asymmetric connections possible; not dependent on both people’s time and inclination)
  • Supports greater value capture (it’s easier to copy and share an answer sent through e-mail than to remember what you discussed, type that up, and then share it)

Where offline networking is still useful: hearing from people who don’t share online

What I would recommend to people who are starting out:

  • Ditch the mindset that online social networking is much less effective than offline. Don’t be limited by your preconceptions.
  • Share what you know. Give as much knowledge away as you can. Create as much value as you can.
  • Be real. Don’t let the fear of imperfections stop you from sharing.
  • Build bridges. Make it easy for people who meet you offline to discover your online self. Make it easy for people who come across one of your posts to discover the others.
  • Experiment. Stick with things for a while before you give up, because it takes time to form a habit. Focus on immediate personal benefits so that you don’t get discouraged if you’re not immediately popular. Figure out what works for you.
  • Learn from others. Find someone you admire and learn from them. Ask questions. Share what you learn from them.