Monthly Archives: June 2012

Memoto comments: This week in lifelogging (w26)

“5 tips for choosing the best mhealth, selftracking app”

 Last week, we gave some tips and examples on useful health apps. Conveniently, this week Withings give us some useful help on how to choose which of all this apps to use, based on your needs and goals. Their advice can be summarized into:
1. Set realistic expectations
2. Search for recommendations of other users
3. Test as many as you can
4. Prefer official application stores
5. Look for apps that can be personalized
Simple as that! Check out Withing’s blog for more.

Cue’s got a brand new page

Last week we noticed that Cue (formerly known as Greplin) is now, well, known as Cue. This week Cue launches their new webpage and, wow, is it nice!

Wakemate goes to sleep

Sad news. Sleeptracker device Wakemate reports they’re closing down.

“I poured my heart and soul into this company and though we stumbled along the way I believe that we provided something of value to our customers. However, as many of you have guessed, we have exhausted our capital and will no longer be making any more WakeMates.

Currently our plan is to keep the service going while we work on open sourcing the technology. Hopefully this will ensure that you can continue to enjoy the product and its benefits even after the company no longer exists.”

It’s always sad to see innovative services go down. What adds to the trouble this time is that in the same blog post, it is revealed that Wakemate has been hacked and their mailing list used unauthorized by something called MiLife+. However, if and how this is connected to the company being closed remains unclear.

“Building a Better Knowledge Worker, While Improving Your Team’s Productivity”

Jason Grimes, product manager at Rescue Time, shows us how to be more productive by “understanding your time”. It is a overwhelmingly comprehensive post and more or less a “how-to-use” to Rescue Time. Which is terrific. Having read this post, you won’t be able to go back to work without Rescue Time. Go read, be a “knowledge worker”.

“The Bulletproof Executive” speaks at the Stanford School of Medicine Quantified Self Meetup

Mr biohacker himself made a speech at a Quantified Self meetup last week and shares with us the whole thing.

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The Measured Man

The Atlantic has a really long article and interview with quantified self scientist Larry Smarr. Our favorite quote:

“Have you ever figured how information-rich your stool is?,” Larry asks me with a wide smile, his gray-green eyes intent behind rimless glasses. “There are about 100 billion bacteria per gram. Each bacterium has DNA whose length is typically one to 10 megabases—call it 1 million bytes of information. This means human stool has a data capacity of 100,000 terabytes of information stored per gram. That’s many orders of magnitude more information density than, say, in a chip in your smartphone or your personal computer. So your stool is far more interesting than a computer.”

Love it.

 

Memoto comments: This week in lifelogging

The Drivecam

Jim Gemmel, a researcher at Microsoft, found this handy camera when going in a limousine the other day. When the camera senses something unusal going on inside or outside the car, it records the event and save it in the cloud. This is supposed to improve traffic safety, lower fuel consumption and reduce insurance frauds.

Sounds like an equally cool and useful device!

“Stefan Heeke on Using Analytics for Personal Improvement”

In a blog post a few weeks ago, we mentioned that on the NY QS Meetup, Stefan Heeke had held a speech about how he used personal analytics to help a losing Soccer team. It aroused our curiousity and this week, Quantifiedself.com, released a video of the speech. 

This should be a Ted talk! Spending the 10 minutes on it is at least well invested time. (Too bad our favorite soccer team Sweden is already eliminated from the Euro 2012 Soccer Championship… )

“Lift, the stealthy startup backed by Twitter founders, prepares for August launch”

VentureBeat tells us about Lift, an upon-till-now stealth startup backed by co-founders from Twitter. Lift is designed to motivate you to achive your goals – any goals! – by “unlocking human potential”, as the company mission states. One would think that equals some sort of gamification elements, but instead the app (because it is, of course, an app) uses feedback loops of visualized progress and the support of others to keep people motivated.

Lift’s app will be released in August. We look forward to it and recommend this blog post from Lift’s own blog to get you up to date on the progress of the company itself.

“15 new apps you can integrate with RunKeeper”

Runkeeper reveals a few new apps that are now integrated with RunKeeper’s API. Among them, our mutual friends at ShapeUpClub.

Did you know, byt the wya, that ShapeUpClub was one of the earliest Quantified Self Iphone apps that is still going strong and improving? Check it out!

“Announcing a new name & new free service: Cue”

Lifelogging startup Greplin changes its’ name to Cue and at the same time launches a brand new service. New Cue will, according to their blog:

  • “Turn your email, contacts and calendar into an intelligent snapshot of your day.”
  • “Enhance your calendar by automatically connecting related emails, phone numbers, and addresses.”
  • “Let you change or cancel reservations, check into flights, track the arrival of packages, or text friends that you are running late with just a few taps”
  • “Show up-to-date contact info alongside recent communications and the contact’s latest posts on Facebook and Twitter.”
     

We liked Greplin to start with but Cue sure looks even nicer!

“Garmin Connect: Two billion reasons to celebrate an active lifestyle!”

And  a little celebration: this week Garmin users around the world passed the 2 billion milestone of covered miles. Congratulations Garmin users!

“QS Conference Program Released”

We’ve saved the best for last: the program for the 2012 QS conference has been released! Check it out here and make sure to get your ticket for September!

 

What can be tracked in a lifelog? (Part 1)

Lifelogging is becoming more and more popular with time. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen products for both hard-core enthusiasts, such as Traxier and other gamification services, and mainstream consumer products like the Nike Fuelband and Foursquare. Most services either have a social or a health aspect to them as well, sometimes both. Tracking for instance sleep, mood and weight has often emerged among early-adopter enthusiasts but later developed into alternatives for the consumer market as well.

So what is actually possible to log today? In a series of blog posts we will go through all the areas of life that you can keep track of and pick our favourite services for each one of them. First out today: the health domain.

Logging health is a natural start

Health seems to be the most popular lifelogging field today. The reason, we’re guessing, is that we’ve been keeping score of our different wellness factors like weight, sleep and mood long before there were any computers around to log the data. And now that you can track all that and even more with digital services, tracking your health is starting to be like brushing your teeth.

Here’s what we’ve found.

Track your weight

  • Withings – The Withings scale is not just about tracking your weight but also your BMI, body fat mass and lean mass. The data is easy to share with your doctor or, if you believe more in the wisdom of crowds than the wisdom of MD’s, your Twitter friends.
  • LeanScale – Follow your improvement and how your body weight and body fat percent are changing. You need a scale that measures both weight and body fat percent, give LeanScale your results and it will give you a great graph of your change over time.
  • Textweight – Each day you’ll get a text message that reminds you about stepping on to the scale. You just send a text message back with the result and Textweight will keep your data safe and neat online. It definitely makes weight logging both easier and more fun.

Track your food

  • Shape Up Club – App for Iphone and Android that let’s you keep track of what you eat, count your calories and track your weight over time.
  • Munch 5 a day – Iphone app that reminds you to eat more fruit and vegetables. Great for kids!

Track your medicine

  • CardioChek - Track your cholesterol with CardioChek. Save your heart.
  • Withings – Yeah, not only weight and BMI. Withings also delivers a blood pressure monitor that, well, help you track your blood pressure. (You’ll need a monitor and a special Iphone app with it.)
  • Nonin Medical – Focusing on blood pressure measurements. These guys are experts on the hardware.
  • AgaMatrix WaveSense Keynote – Measures your glucose levels. (Important stuff, whether you suffer from diabetes or not.)

Track your mood

  • Mobilyze – An Iphone app that senses your mood by how you’re using your phone. When it notices you seem blue, it will tell you to go out and do something that will make you feel better. (Creepy or friendly, we don’t really know.)
  • Gottafeeling – Lets you track your feelings by asking you simple questions.
  •  I Rate My Day – Web application that want to know how your day has been.
  • Moodpanda – Iphone app that lets you track your mood on a scale from 1 to 10. Extremely simple! It can tell you how ”the rest of the world” is feeling at the moment too.
  • Mappiness – Iphone app that asks you to rate your mood by sending you questions twice a day. It’s part of a science project about how our local environment affects our mood. Cool!
  • Happiness for Iphone – An app with edgy design and a simple way to keep track of how you feel.

Track your exercise

  • Polar - log your heart rate with a pulse watch, either when working out or just in everyday life. Polar offers different solutions to track and map your workouts etc.
  • Garmin – As experts on maps and navigation Garmin have created watches with a GPS connection that measures your distance and maps your workouts as well as keep an eye on your pulse and speed.
  • Runkeeper – Iphone app that helps you track distance and speed when you’re running, walking or biking. Can be combined with a lot of other services and have an open-API for others to use when they’re building health apps. Great initiative!
  • Sportstracker – Like Runkeeper but different.
  • Fitbit – Super advanced step counter that tracks every movement you make and the hours you sleep.
  • Nike Fuelband – Nike started out with a speed and distance tracker called Nike+. The fuelband however tracks all your activity, and are very popular already.

Track your sleep

  • Zeo – The Zeo sleep manager is just one of many ways of finding out what your napping pattern looks like. You sleep with an elastic band around your head that keeps track of how much you sleep and what your sleep cycles look like.
  • Sleep Cycle - The popular Iphone app Sleep Cycle logs your different sleep phases by measuring your movements with the Iphones accelerometer. Your alarm will wake you up when you’re sleep is light and you will feel well-rested. Brilliant!
  • Wakemate - Works a bit like the Zeo but with a wristband instead of a headband. Wakes you up at the optimal time too, just as Sleep Cycle.
  • Sleeprate - Uses your heart rate to measure your sleep and sleep quality.

Track your overall health

A lot of services track overall health by letting you fill in different data for yourself or by connect other niche tracking services like the Zeo or Withings products and then use their data. Runkeeper is probably the best health data collector at the moment. With their “Healthgraph API”, Runkeeper aims to be the first choice for anyone developing services that benefits health. Other services aiming for that broader piece of the health cake are:

  • Healthreageous – A health management platform that makes it easier to keep track of your health. Your doctor or coach can support you between your visits.
  • Rootein- A coach in your pocket that turns your life into a game to motivate you to eat better, sleep more, quit smoking or hit the gym more often.

The field of health tracking is just one area on the map of life logging. We will guide you through them all, and try to draw the map in the end.

If you have any thoughts or comments, or if we are missing any services, please leave a comment!

/Memoto Team

Instagram meets polaroid?

We think this camera is super cool. Fuji’s Instax Mini Instant camera is “polaroids little brother” and lets you take digital photos and print them instantly. With a nice retro finish and everything. Wouldn’t it be sweet to be at a party, shoot some photos and then instantly hand over a credit card sized photo to the persons in the photo to put in their pocket? Yes. Yes, we think so.

Photojojo Fuji Instax Camera

Fuji Instax Camera (photo: Photojojo)

Memoto comments: This week in lifelogging

Friday and time for Memoto’s weekly summary of the best and brightest in this week of the lifelogging world. Last week’s post was the first one of the kind for us, making this the second (eh!) and the beginning of a habit, right? Anyhow, this week’s all about other fellow lifelogging startups, beginning with our friends over att Memolane.

“Goodbye Old Friends, Hello Facebook Friends”

“The wait is over! We said sayonara to our “friends” and upgraded to yours. Starting today you can create stories on Memolane with your Facebook friends. Now reliving your favorite adventures together is incredibly easy. All you have to do is invite your friends.”

Hooray! Memolane just got even better! Congratz and thank you, all at the same time! If you haven’t checked out Memolane yet – do so. It’s a really cool and neat way of storing, visualizing and sharing your memories. Check out the full post here.

“From MIT’s blackjack team to the quantified self: Jeff Ma’s new startup TenXer”

“TenXer, launched last week, is already Ma’s fourth startup. In the late 1990s he helped start Golfspan, which helped golf players improve their game via video instruction. Then in the early 2000s Ma was the CTO of Circle Lending, an early peer-to-peer microfinance play.”

A new star is born in the lifelogging galaxy: TenXer. (The name corresponding, we guess, to how much more productive/efficient you’ll be with the help of this service.) Jeff Ma is an experienced entrepreneur and it will be interesting to see what his new company can do for our working habits. Will the constant competing with yourself increase the pressure to produce? Or will the better tracking and progress reviewing give us more peace of mind in knowing we’ll doing alright already? Read more about TenXer here. Read the full story on Venture Beat here.

“Evernote Quick Tip – Building a Business Card Database with Evernote Hello”

Evernote shares a few tricks on how to make the most of their app Evernote Hello. The app for “remembering people, you’ll never forget who you met, where you were and who else was with you”. And, apparently, create a whole little database of business cards. This is how you do it:

“After you’ve created a new encounter, and added contact information manually or with the new LinkedIn integration, snap a photo of the person’s business card. It will automatically be associated with the encounter and live alongside all of the other useful information you’ve captured.”

We think it sounds terrific. But go to Evernote’s blog and see for yourself.

A few words from Withings 

Withings give us two packages of handy tips this week. The first one being reviews of a couple of different applications that gamifies your exercise. The apps tested are Gym-Pact, Nexercise and Earndit, all of which have it in common that they reward you not with badges or leaderboard ranknings but with real, physical awards like cash and coupons. We like it. Check out Withings full post.  

Withings also give us a a few notes and comments on this month’s news in connected health. Great summary – check it out here.

Last but not least

Memoto is producing a documentary film about lifelogging and the quantified self movement. We’re on the lookout for people and startups willing to share their view of lifelogging and their vision of the future. Our film team will be touring the world (literally!) during the summer, so if you got a time and a thought to spare, let us know! Email us at hello [at] memoto.com or send a tweet to @memototeam. It’s going to be fun.

 

Memoto comments: This week in lifelogging

Today we’re starting what will hopefully be some sort of a weekly habit: a post about what’s happened in the world of lifelogging this week. We will serve a smorgasbord of entirely subjectively chosen little dishes of blog posts, tweets, news aritcles, videos and other stuff that we’ve run into during the week. Hope you’ll like it.

On the progression of the Quantified Self movement going mainstream

Mark Krynsky (@krynsky) gives us a long and well-written post on Lifestream Blog about the current state of the Quantified Self movement. He predicts that the next phase of quantified self will be the analyzing of data across many users.

“With the personal activity and health data that is spurring the Quantified Self movement I think it will initially be the discovery of ways to improve our lives based on our own personal data that will initially attract mainstream users and then once people become more comfortable sharing their personal data with others we will see other innovations occur based on the big data sets that are analyzed across many people.”

Examples given are Bodytrack, Fluxstream and Manybots.

At Memoto, we too think that aggregated data will provide great and unexpected benefits in a wide range of areas. But are we there yet? Maybe the Quantified Self movement needs a little more… er, movement, first.

It is not about the tools

In a post on Quantifiedself.com, Ernesto Ramirez (@e_ramirez) reminds us of something important: insight and motivation, not the tools and techniques, are what will make us start gathering information about ourselves.

“Think about the last home improvement project you started. Whether it was fixing a leaky faucet or replacing your carpet you most likely went about your work in a simple step-wise fashion: 1) Identify the problem, 2) Examine possible solutions, 3) Identify the most appropriate solution, 4) Gather the right tools to implement the solution, and then 5) Fix the problem. Tools don’t come in to equation until late in the game.”

But what if there are no suitable tools out there? If we’ll find ourselves fixing the leak with duct tape and nailing the carpet with the back of a shoe? The tools does for sure not come first, but for one to find lifelogging interesting and fun, we think there has to be interesting and fun tools for it.

In lifelogging, you find your statistical (and egotistical?) self

In an article in the LA Times, reporter Joanne McNeil gives voice to certain scepticism for the quantified self movement.

“Beyond everyday personal goals and health concerns, though, the point of lifelogging seems sentimental. With increasingly seamless ways to gather daily reports on food, location, mood and activity, lifelogging risks turning into digital hoarding. Without a story or some kind of context, it says nothing more about us than a look in a detailed mirror. And like a reflection, it captures our attention — because it is about us.”

Yes, lifelogging is really a bit about sentimentality. And with nothing but a pile of data and numbers – and no story to go along with it – it risks feeling detached or at even pointless at times. But what if we can innovate tools and means for creating these stories that can function as a context for the data? Maybe lifelogging simply is too young of a movement to have matured enough to provide all tools necessary?

One in four adult internet users track their own health data online

Pretty straightforward statistics at Pewinternet.org. 27% of adult internet users say they track their weight, diet, exercise routine or other “health indicator or symptoms” online. Wireless users track more (18%) than users with no access wireless technology (9%). Of cell phone users, 9% have apps for tracking or managing their health.

We’re guessing these are numbers for the U.S. If anyone has statistics for other countries or areas, please share them with us!