The Quantified Life

Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly are guys to watch closely. First, Kevin’s website is the simplest welcome Qauntified Selfaddress of the Web: www.kk.org. Part of the site itself is dedicated to people who are interested in collecting (sometimes, amassing) data about their own life. In fact, Gary and Kevin provide tools and methods to record every detail in one’s life. The books you read, the movies you watch, the kisses I give. Their project is called The Quantified Self (#quantifiedself on Twitter) and is centered around that concept.

Gary recently wrote an article for the New York Times (The Data-driven Life), telling about a man named Ben Lipkowitz, who started recording his life with compelling detail and in no time he got all *his* data on a computer. Then, suddenly, he understood he could actually process that data and answer interesting questions from it.

Actually, there are lots of apps to help record and accumulate personal data. One of the most beautiful is www.daytum.com, which helps one define the important features worth monitoring and then provides the tool to collect the data, daily. Same done by your.flowingdata (“Capture your life in data. One tweet at a timne”). Bedposted helps to collect data on one’s sex life, while Snaptic provides a tool to post notes which, when tagged, help create a history of one’s life. Eat.ly helps to track, share and discover places to eat, and  TrackYourHappiness collects data on the factors that are associated with happiness. Some tools, like Zeo, are directly health-related: Zeo collects sleep data and provides hints and coaching on how to enhance it. Youw8 helps to monitor body weight, and so on and so forth…

Many sites collect, process and use data from their users, even though their aim is not to provide that info to users directly. Services like Foursquare, for instance, collect users’ geo-positions in order to connect them. Tripit and Dopplr collect data on one’s trips for informative purposes and to connect one with acquaintances who may be traveling in the same area, providing tips and advice to travel planners.

[There is another great repository of personal-data trackers, one with a great name too: Personal Informatics. Enjoy it!}

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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