Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Faster, further, furrier: a month with tracking devices

For the last month or so, Simon and I have been sporting an unusual array of gadgets; pedometers, sleep, activity, heart rate, stride and calorie monitors. I've been sleeping with a Zeo EEG headband on and hanging a DirectLife measure round my neck, Simon's been jogging with a heart rate monitor and weighing in on a tweet-your-weight scale, we've both been counting paces and checking our activity flowers...

What did we find out? You can't change what you don't measure and while just measuring things doesn't change anything, it can remind you that you wanted to make a change. Digitising information means you'll have a baseline in five years time when you're wondering why you have more/less energy/time/whatever. You can also obsess about measurements rather than what you're doing; moderation in all things (including moderation). And the privacy issues around this data are as big an issue as the opportunity to derive really useful information (and properly anonymised) about trends and broad health questions is tempting...

In a great deal more detail, the full piece is over at Tom's Guide.

Want to get fitter, sleep better, bring down your blood pressure, lose weight, meditate more often, remember take your medication on time or change anything else about your life? Forget will power; use technology to help you achieve your goals.

We’re getting keener about measuring ourselves: everything from how active we are to how happy we are. Whether you think of it as personalized health, health as a game or a life-size science experiment, self-tracking is hitting the headlines.

Here's what you can track yourself and what you need to start tracking...,review-1673.html

I also want to thank Larry Smarr, who has been tracking himself for several years, for weight loss, to understand his blood tests and to eventually diagnose himself with Crohn's disease, and to fulfill his job of 'living in the future' (you may know Larry from his previous job, running the NCSA where he supervised a graduate student named Marc Andreesson and evangelised this emerging Web thing to companies). I used his charts tracking several test results (complex reactive protein and lactoferrin), but the rest of his fascinating presentation is at

Tags: articles, data mining, review, technology, tom's guide, tracking, writing

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