Tag Archives: quantified self

This week in lifelogging: can we manage the data we find?

Preparing for the Age of Data

Last week, we discussed how the digital age has forever altered the way we process anything, such as the need to quantify everything we do or see, which really is a sub-component of lifelogging. With that comes plenty of personal data that we can now analyse and work on for the betterment of our lives. Yet, with that amount of personal data, are we really managing it in a way that we had set out to when we collected them in the first place? According to a survey done by the Acquity Group, 53% of Millennials (ages 18-25) plan to buy an in-home IoT technology device in the next five years, compared to 32% of Baby Boomers (over the age of 45). What this means is a whole load more of personal data that we will end up collecting, in hopes that the Quantified Self will lead to a Better-Qualified Self. But are we ready to manage all that data?

Read more: Survey finds generation gaps in adoption of new tech and Preparing for the Internet of Things

Image credited to ICTS

It just boils down to self

Perhaps the good news is this: that even if we are not able to manage the heaps of data that we gather from our personal trackers, the act of tracking in itself has at least motivated some of us to get our lazy bums off that couch to go do something. And that’s what Jon Jordan found. He found that purchasing a sports tracker actually helped him to fire the starting gun. And despite his stance on this, he also believes that “while the device provides a spur to action, it isn’t enough in the long run without a certain level of self-determination.” In the long run too, he realises that he cared less and less about the data, although he maintained choosing the healthier or better option whenever he put on his self-tracking device. To this, he cleverly draws a parallel with the Panopticon (the effect of knowing you’re being or could be observed), even if he’s the only person looking at the data. The wearables Panopticon has pushed him to his best behaviour. Do you identify with this?

Read more: Quantified Self just boils down to Self: What I’ve learned from two years of wearables

Image credited to Consummate Leader

Apple turning the tide

Still others are taking it upon Apple to bring the waves of self-tracking technology to its next higher level with the new Apple Watch that is due to launch in 2015. Reason being, some foresee that any new device for existing technologies that Apple introduces will soon reach mass adoption. Others are also betting on Apple because of how it has “an unbelievable number of users who are on the same hardware system, so when they push a product out, it has better ecosystem than anyone else”. Still others are counting on practical applications of identity relationship management, which really is there to provide both the security and the personalisation needed to realise the value of wearable technology, such as how users will be able to securely share online medical data in order to provide better results from their health trackers. What do you think?

Read more: Rise of mindful tech: every step you take, every move you make and Identity Management in the age of wearable technology

Image credited to Apple

Who will emerge as winner?


And while Apple is scurrying around and pushing for the Apple Watch launch in early 2015, it looks like China smartphone maker Xiaomi has beaten Apple in terms of release dates for fitness trackers. And also in terms of price (even though Apple Watch doesn’t have a definitive price tag to it yet)! The Xiaomi Mi Band, retailing at $35, is said to be comparable in terms of certain functions that current fitness trackers like Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP boast of. One major downside though, is its limited access to third party apps, which could really prove to be very useful in the area of the Quantified Self. Is the Xiaomi Mi Band enough to win your wrist and wallet over?

Read more: Xiaomi Mi Band: at just $13, all flaws are forgiven (REVIEW)

Image credited to Xiaomi

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This week in lifelogging: how the digital age has forever changed the way we process anything

Evolution of how we process things

Lifelogging is related to how we’ve decided that the digital age should and could be used for the betterment of our own lives. This subsequently led to the Quantified Self and the Internet of Things, as well as the rise in use of wearable tech devices. The digital age has brought along many changes. Not only have the things we brought to school to show our friends just how cool we are transformed from Pokemon cards and mood rings to the latest headphones or smart pens, our minds are slowly altered in the way we process anything at all. Whether it’s for the better or the worse, here are a few ways the digital age has impacted us as some food for thought for the weekend!

Read more: The Quantified Self community, lifelogging and the making of “smart” publics and 5 psychological challenges facing wearables, quantified self and behavior change apps

Image credited to Faith on Campus

All things are “ask Google”

Many of us trust Google more than ourselves. Whether it is with mapping our route home from work or checking who died in the latest Game of Thrones episode, we do what we do best – Google it. According to a study done by a spatial geographer at the University of Tokyo, participants who used GPS navigation performed 20% worse than their paper map peers when asked to recall various aspects of the surroundings. And while this may spell catastrophe for people who are concerned with the development of our brains, others have also welcomed Google Maps with open arms, quoting that there are now more kids exploring the world from their laptops before they reach the age where they can travel by themselves. And with Google approaching 1.6 billion facts in its Knowledge Vault, which is really the foundation of smartphone and robotic intelligence, anything could be asked with accuracy in the near future. What the Knowledge Vault represents, is also the possibility of medical breakthroughs and the discovery of trends as it sifts through humongous amounts of information.

Read more: Smartphones and the Uncertain Future of ‘Spatial Thinking’ and Google’s Knowledge Vault already contains 1.6 billion facts

Image credited to City Lab

All things are shared and social

Narrative 100M Photos_Infographic-page-001

Click on picture above for full infographic

The digital age also brought along that one thing we now know as not-so-social media. Looking at photos alone, we have shared a collective 1.8 billion photos in the year 2014. That’s a huge jump from the 274 million photos we shared in 2013, which could be largely attributed to Snapchat and Facebook. And the fact that the headlines in an article reads “Facebook just changed its News Feed yet again. Here’s how it could affect you“, shows just how much we have allowed Facebook to actually affect us. And that’s not even including that one time when people started calling the police when Facebook went down for a bit. Yet once again, not all’s bad of course. With the increase in people sharing things on social media, people are now more aware of things that happen globally in general. Take ALS for instance. As of the end of August 2014, $100 million and greater awareness have gone towards supporting a cause that previously received little attention. Not only have we become more of a global citizen, we have also been given opportunities to experience things we might never have the courage nor opportunity to do through the eyes of someone’s camera. The two time-lapse videos below are examples of these for someone who might never get a chance to visit California, or Burning Man. Enjoy!

Read more: Stunning California Time-Lapse Is Your Mental Vacation and Epic Memories: A Breathtaking Burning Man Time-lapse Video

All things are quantified

Every mile we run and every workout session should be accompanied by our fitness trackers. As defined by The Huffington Post, “The Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical)”. And even though perhaps the obsession with data is not currently matched up with the benefits that the analysis of these personal data can bring to us, other benefits of this self-tracking movement can already begin to unveil. These include knowing the exact amount of sunlight you need to take in to improve your mood, health, focus and sleep as tracked by SunSprite and how even gun violence could now be tracked with smart wristbands. Have you been tracking or quantifying anything? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

Read more: Quantifying the LTR: How Couples Use Data For Healthy Relationships and Quantified Self just boils down to Self: What I’ve learned from two years of wearables

Image credited to Getty Images

All things could be archived for the generations to come

Lastly, with everything being quantified and sometimes even selectively shared or placed on the Google Search Engine, things could be archived for the people we never meet after our own deaths. Raising concerns with how these data are treated have already spurred tech giants to include various clauses in their privacy statements. Google, for instance, started the Inactive Account Manager feature last year, which enables Google users to either delete their account or nominate individuals who will gain access to it if they die or are incapacitated. And while traditional genetic data from ancient bones can reveal things like how Europeans could be drawn from a mix of three ancient populations, perhaps with the possibility to archive every little detail of our lives dawns upon us the availability of digital data that replaces fossils and bones. Digging up fossils and archaeological evidence could well be in itself a thing that becomes fossilised. And it’s a pity that digesting digital data instead of physical evidences would certainly not help us find such cute things as skeletons who have held each others’ hands for 700 years anymore.

Read more: Putting Time In Perspective and The pleasures and horrors of the digital afterlife

Image credited to University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS)

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This week in lifelogging: apart from Apple (featuring QS 2015, Sony EyeGlass and Google curing death)

Enough of Apple

tim cook

Apple has got its fair share of attention this week with its launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch on 9 September 2014. Haters, lovers, and several others who are sitting on the fence waiting for Tim Cook to answer their questions all have their eyes on Apple. We too are eagerly awaiting for how their first step into lifelogging with the new iOS8 would turn out for all the lifelogging enthusiasts out there. But yes, for now, we’d like to turn the attention away from Apple for just a little while. So besides all that exciting news from us at Narrative regarding the $8 million in new funding, crossing the 100 million photos mark, a new office in San Francisco and increased customer support hours (!!!), here’s everything else that is happening in the lifelogging scene recently!

Read more (if you must): Inside the Apple Watch: the Tech Behind Apple’s New Wearable and The Apple Watch and the Quantified Self Movement

Image credited to Apple

QS 2015 Conference

Each year, tens of thousands of people gather all around the globe for this one common purpose – to share their knowledge regarding the field of lifelogging and the Quantified Self (QS). This started from a single QS Show & Tell only about 7 years ago with 30 people, and has since grown to 110 independent QS groups in more than 30 countries. Even though these QS Meetups are all unique in the way each individual contributes to and shares about the QS movement, all of them work towards the common goal of self knowledge through numbers. And each year, some of the best experts in this field gather together for the QS Global Conference. Next year is no different, and the 2015 QS Global Conference will be held from 13-15 March by the San Francisco waterfront, with an additional third day for a Grand Public Exposition where toolmakers, artists, designers and pioneering self-trackers share their greatest learnings in the QS journey. Interested? Head over here to register for an early-bird ticket now!

Read more: Announcing QS15: The Quantified Self Conference & Exposition and Beautiful Visualizations of Lifelogging and Quantified Self Data

Image credited to QS

Google wants to cure death

And when we talk about making use of data for the betterment of one’s life, who does it better than our dear Mr. G? Last year, Google launched a company called Calico with the ambitious objective of extending our lives. Calico is the abbreviated form of California Life Company and will have Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, to be CEO and a founding investor. According to Arthur, “I’ve devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry’s focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I’m tremendously excited about what’s next.” Well, one seemingly quiet year has passed, and today, Calico announces that it is partnering with UT Southwestern and 2M Companies to tackle neurodegenerative disorders caused by the aging and death of nerve cells, such as ALS and Parkinson’s. This was followed shortly after the announcement of their first partnership with drug company AbbVie just last week to build a research and development facility in San Francisco, as well as an earlier launch of Baseline Study, which will collect anonymous health data to define what a healthy human should look like.

Read more: Do corporate wellness programs really boost productivity? and Quantified Self: 10 Ways Lifelogging Improves Your Quality Of Life

Image credited to Time

Sony EyeGlass Prototype

And while Google tries to be at the forefront of everything including its attempt to conquer the smart eyeglasses market, Sony is also seen stepping up in this same sector. This Sony EyeGlass acts like a secondary screen for Android smart phone users and displays information for wearers, overlaid on top of the real world. Currently, several apps have been developed for this EyeGlass, including Wikitude which displays information of landmarks as the wearer looked around, Cookpad which displays recipes while your hands are covered in flour and oil, as well as a camera which has facial recognition built into it. Although looking much bulkier and more like goggles than classy eyewear, the Sony EyeGlass is, according to CNET, still in its prototype phase and will eventually scan your eye movements to scroll through information on the screen. What do you think? Has Sony taken a little too long to arrive at its current EyeGlass?

Read more: Sony’s prototype EyeGlass smart specs eye up Google Glass

Image credited to The Guardian

Fashion, style and wellness

Even though Sony seems to be neglecting a little on style and design, several other wearable tech makers have plunged into making their products fashionable and chic right from the start. One example is designer Rebecca Minkoff, who dreams of her fashion to be ultra functional, and has since designed a notification bracelet and another one that charges and syncs your mobile devices. Others like FitBit, which started out focusing on basic designs coupled with accurate technology, are also partnering high-fashion masters like Tory Burch to target the female consumer. In addition, tech giant Intel has also partnered with fashion brand Opening Ceremony to create a sleek wearable bracelet known as MICA (picture above), which boasts of a 1.6-inch curved sapphire glass touchscreen display. Don’t you want one already?

Read more: 9 Fashionable Wearables for the Sartorially Savvy and The Stellé Audio Clutch: Wearable Tech Innovation Meets Audio Couture

Image credited to Opening Ceremony

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This week in lifelogging: connect to disconnect (a glimpse into the future)

Lifelogging and the future it brings

definition of lifelogging

Lifelogging is defined to be the record of the everyday life produced by a portable device regularly carried around. The practice of lifelogging existed long before things like fitness trackers, mobile phones or smart apparel existed. Like the lady above, who was featured in our Lifeloggers documentary film, countless enthusiasts began lifelogging way before wearable devices were invented. They made use of what they had – notebooks, photographs and a conscious effort – to note down everything that happened every day so they could search out patterns or gaps in the way they were living and somehow make tiny improvements to their way of life. Progressively, the lifelogging bug has caught on, with many tech giants riding this wave too. This wave would eventually crash onto the shores of the future, bringing technology to the next new level, and along with it a paradoxical truth of connecting to disconnect that we might see most devices move towards in the near future.

Read more: The Most Connected Man Is You, Just a Few Years From Now and Dear digital diary – lifelogging in the internet age

From disruptive devices to the quiet worker

hands-free photography

As much as technology today has evolved tremendously and improved our lives a great deal, one of its major flaws lie in its inability to be fully integrated with our human-human lives. Today’s devices are somewhat attention seekers, craving our sole attention when we use them. In other words, they require us to break from human-human interactions, and focus instead on the human-computer interactions. Lifelogging tools such as the Moves app, on the other hand, provide a glimpse of how technology will look like in future – hands-free devices that work with you, for you. They show us how technology can be seamlessly integrated into our everyday lives, without the need to break away from the people around us. They show us a paradoxical truth of being connected in order to disconnect from the burdens that technology today brings to us – that familiar scene where every one is buried deep into their smart phones, tablets or laptops. They show us a future where devices are working in the background for the betterment of our lives, while we go ahead and enjoy our human-human interactions.

Read more: How 30 Days Without Social Media Changed My Life and Consumer Reports: Wearable Tech Gains Popularity

From things unknown to pleasant surprises

With lifelogging tools working hard in the background to provide you with information about yourself or the things around you, one potential result is that you can begin to disconnect from the lack of knowledge. Individually, they could serve to prompt you that you are spending too much time on the computer or that you haven’t been drinking enough water. Collectively, these information could also provide fresh insights such as new ways to see earthquakes through people’s fitness trackers. This of course, has been a giant leap from the humble beginnings of lifelogging where people needed to jot down every single thing in their paper journals by hand. Today, digital lifelogging has not only been less disruptive than they were before, but they might also start to unwind into beautiful art projects before you know it (like this one which allows others to visit most of Albania in 1.5 hours or this Burning Man time-lapse to end all Burning Man time-lapses)!

Read more: Now There’s a Fitness Tracker for Your Car and The city that goes to bed early: Study finds New York is first to turn in at 11pm – but Moscow doesn’t get out of bed until after 8am

Image credited to Jawbone

From overcapacity to optimised beings

With the lifelogging devices quietly working in the background to collect useful information, we the connected beings can then begin to disconnect from our over-busy and complicated lives. Lumo Lift, for instance, aims to be your personal posture coach and activity tracker so we wouldn’t have to take out that extra time to visit the chiropractor for back problems. Although lifelogging devices today still have room for improvement in terms of its ability to analyse the data and provide targeted and useful feedback, these, I believe, would improve as more people jump onto the bandwagon of lifelogging. As this feedback begins to take shape, not only will it result in better health and concentration to complete the tasks we have to do, it will also free up time for you to do the things you love.

Read more: Lumo Lift Vibrates You Into Better Posture

Image credited to Pundit Press

From boring to mind-blowing

Or even prompt you to do things out of your comfort zone. With so many lifelogging tools out there and a dedicated platform called Matchup that feeds on our innate competitive selves, it is tough to lead a boring life. Whether it is beating your friends with that extra mile you’ve run or just taking a bicycle ride round your neighbourhood, chances are you will begin to notice things you have never seen before or catch rare sights like rainbows, butterflies, or real-life Spiderman. Yes, this week, we found Spidey – a Russian photographer who climbs to unimaginable places for a good picture. Ivan Kuznetsoy is based in Moscow and is famous by the name of ‘rooftopper’ which means he scales tall buildings and structures (often illegally) to take dizzying aerial photos of the world underneath him. Whether this was backed by a desire to be an extreme visual lifelogger or not, we do have one thing to say: well kids, do not try this at home (or out of home for that matter).

Read more: Amazing Photos Of A Daredevil Photographer. Warning: Don’t Look If You Have Batophobia and 20 Creative Hyperlapses From Instagram’s New App

Image credited to Ivan Kuznetsoy

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This week in lifelogging: moving beyond 24 hours a day

Time and tide wait for no man


“How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss -

Time is perhaps that one thing no one ever feels they have excess of. Truth be told, as much as one of the biggest regrets that people have on their deathbeds lies in how they wished they hadn’t worked so hard, this realisation clearly contradicts what actually happens in the now. The average American, for instance, spends more than one-third of their day working, and slightly less than one-third sleeping. This of course varies according to where you live, as revealed through a study done by fitness tracker Jawbone UP. And in between that bulk of sleeping and working, we of course fill our lives with various mini activities, including what seems to be our all time favourite activity – consuming digital media content. In fact, the numbers here seem to either prove that we are extremely well-versed at multitasking or that we’re gifted with the ability to skive at work without being caught. So yes, apparently the average American spends 11 hours per day on digital media. Done the math? 11 hours on digital media + 8.8 hours working + 7.7 hours sleeping = 27.5 hours. How does that work out? Though we haven’t figured the real reason behind the 27.5 hours a day spent on these three activities alone, we do know that lifelogging has its benefits at helping each of us move beyond 24 hours a day without compromising the amount of time spent on the people or things we love. Here’s introducing a few lifelogging tools that can help us spend our limited time more productively.

Read more: Where the Five-Day Workweek Came From and Gordon Bell Lifelogging at 80

Image credited to HQ Wide

Know it while you’re asleep

Earlier, we introduced some sleep trackers that could give you a better idea of what you need in order to feel completely rested after a whole night of rest. But what if you could have all that data and implementation in a smart bed instead? And we’re not talking about the kind of smart beds that help you make your bed in the morning (although we do think it’s pretty awesome). This smart bed we’re talking about is manufactured by Sleep Number, and is a voice-activated bed that monitors and aims to improve the quality of your sleep. Tracking your sleep includes analysing various data types like breathing and heart rate, and then scoring them on a scale of 100 to give you an idea of the quality of your sleep. Following that, with the touch of a few buttons, you could adjust the firmness or elevation of the bed, or even get a massage. The downside? This X12 bed comes with a hefty price tag that we wouldn’t even want to reveal here. Find out more here if you can’t wait to get your hands on this. A good night’s rest could just be the answer you need for killing that Z monster that steals some time off the things you need to complete during the day!

Read more: Smart Bed Watches While You Sleep, But It’s Not Creepy

Image credited to Mashable

Work out while you’re at work


With the best sleep that you can get, you’re probably skipping your way to work already. Besides all the fitness trackers that we’ve been introducing to you, here’s one that we think could very well be the exterminator of that pesky excuse, “I just don’t have time to get in shape!”. Here’s introducing to you the Stir Kinetic desk, a smart desk designed to track how much time you spend sitting down versus standing up and will remind you to switch positions from time to time to keep you active and make you more productive. According to Stir’s founder, four hours of standing per day instead of sitting burns as many extra calories as a two mile run. The Stir Kinetic smart desk is essentially driven by software that you access through a touchscreen (centre of picture above). It learns your patterns, remembers your preferences, and lets you know if you’re not moving enough. It could also be integrated with the FitBIt that you own so that all the calories burnt throughout your day at work are tallied up with the gym session you have at the end of the day. Health is wealth so how about earning that extra wealth at the activity you spend the most time at?

Read more: A ‘Smart Desk’ That Helps Keep You Active and Michael J Fox charity turns to tech

Image credited to Stir

Track it while you’re feeling it

So apart from your physical well-being, one way to help you use your time more productively could be to improve your emotional well-being. After all, happier people are about 12% more productive. My Momentum for Chrome plugin, for instance, always tells me, “Do more of what makes you happy”. But how do I really know what makes me happy? The wristband that you see in the picture above, designed by Studio XO’s XOX platform, is here to help you out a little! The XOX wristband measures biometric data and then gives a visual signal on how the wearer is feeling. Besides being used for the quantified self purpose, XOX could also be used to bridge the gap between artistes and brands towards their audience. A case in point was how the XOX wristband was worn during Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Directors Showcase 2014. Happier audiences and happier people could be the key to reducing the time wasted doing things that we don’t actually enjoy.

Read more: The Newest Wearable Tech Keeps Track Of How Happy You Are and Philip Thomas on Building a Personal Dashboard and Alert Shirt: Wearable Tech That You Can Feel

Image credited to Studio XO

Quantify it while you’re speaking

This last suggestion for you to live a more productive and happier life could seem a little extreme, but here’s how one man by the name of Nicholas Felton did it. Always curious about data, charts and daily routines, Nicholas quantified every conversation he had in 2013. According to his website, this project aspires to uncover patterns and insights within the data and metadata of a large and personal data set and its sources include conversations, SMS, telephone calls, email, Facebook messages and physical mail. So yes, all conversations. And since there isn’t an app for it yet, Nicholas took notes manually. And until someone can design a device or app that accurately quantifies all conversations, I’m doubting the fact that many, if any, would be disciplined enough to do what Nicholas Felton did. Still, we wanted to add that in this week’s productive living post because conversations can probably tell a lot about how one is living his/her life and can seek to work around it, if ever, the data becomes available. Until then, have a happy weekend with many meaningful conversations with your loved ones!

Read more: The Beginner’s Guide to Quantified Self (Plus, a List of the Best Personal Data Tools Out There) and What will the Internet look like in 100 years? This infographic takes a guess

Image credited to Nicholas Felton

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This week in lifelogging: together in unity, in wackiness, and in trust

From the quantified self to the quantified us

A huge portion of digital lifelogging done currently is largely intertwined with the Quantified Self movement. This basically means that individuals are taking ownership of the large amounts of data that they produce every single waking (and sleeping) moment, and somehow trying to make sense of it. However, as the saying goes, “no man is an island”, the same goes for the Quantified Self movement and people are slowly working towards what is known as the Quantified Us. As this Wired article points out, the Quantified Us presents a future where self-tracking harnesses a whole population’s data to identify patterns and make meaningful recommendations. One example of this being done can be seen in initiatives like Curious, which is launched by 23andMe’s co-founder. Curious aims to not only provide a place for patients to ask questions, but to collect Quantified Self information from apps and devices that the patients use as well. This serves to attain the next step in wearable technology, which is to provide anticipatory information that is translated into future knowledge. What do you think of the Quantified Us movement?

Read more: Forget the Quantified Self. We Need to Build the Quantified Us and Anticipating Anticipatory Wearables

Image credited to Wired

Wacky creations

ahmad abi

Now if you’re just not that into the entire Quantified Self movement or do not have a life just as fancy as this man who posted a photo of him right from the space station onto Instagram, not to worry! Ahmad El-Abi, an Egyptian photographer, will show you how to have a little fun out of the ordinary everyday life. From sticking yellow rubber ducks in his hair to playing tic-tac-toe with bread and jam during breakfast, Ahmad Abi never fails to cheer up the 34 thousand followers he has on Instagram. As he claims and wittily inspires, “I don’t say I am a photographer but I have some ideas”. Well then, if you have some ideas, how about turning the everyday mundane activities into something as fun and wacky as Ahmad Abi did? Follow him on Instagram or check out more of his wacky photography projects here!

Image credited to Ahmad Abi

Trusting photographers

burrard lucas

And if you’re still taking in from last week how Russian photographer, Katerina Plotnikova, managed to interact so closely with the animal kingdom to capture such surreal pictures, we’re about to introduce one more photographer who will blow your mind away as well. Here’s Will Burrard-Lucas, a professional wildlife photographer from the UK, known for using technology and innovation to photograph wildlife in new ways. In one of his latest projects, Will travelled to the Makgadikgadi Pans region of Botswana to photograph some of the most charismatic (and cutest) creatures in Africa – meerkats. Within just a span of six days, a family of meerkats were so comfortable with Will that they even used his camera as a lookout post for themselves, and had a go at taking a picture themselves. What can we say? We’re certainly always amazed at such intimate interactions between mankind and the animal kingdom!

Read more: Simples! Family of cheeky meerkats try their hand at photography while using the cameraman as a lookout post and Dublin-based photographer shoots stunning timelapse footage of Northern Lights

Image credited to Burrard-Lucas Photography

The human experience

While the human-animal interactions never fail to amaze us, human-human experiences are definitely just as or even more precious. This week, we found a compilation of what is said to be the 60 most powerful photos ever taken that perfectly capture the human experience. Out of these photographs are quiet yet strong depictions of joy, love, despair, curiosity, and everything in between. These emotions deeply connect us with the characters in the photographs and really, put plainly, make us feel all human again. Do you have one of these moments to share?

View more photos here: The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture The Human Experience

Image credited to Patricia Willocq

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This week in lifelogging: on the road, in the womb and way up in the air

Logging the longest walk

If you think lifelogging is uninteresting and pure troublesome, think again. Last week, we shared how Tom Fletcher from McFly combined songwriting and lifelogging to document his wife’s journey through her pregnancy. And this week, we’d like to share with you yet another amazing project that we think you’d love! In the video above, you’d find Christoph Rehage, a man who spent an entire year walking through China by foot. Although his original plan was to walk from China to Germany (!!!), his journey ended after walking for more than 4500km from Beijing to Ürümqi, solely on foot. This film has also won several awards three years in a row, including the 2009 Boulder Adventure Film Festival, 2010 Berlin Webcuts and 2011 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. If you enjoyed this, head over to his Facebook page and check out more of his works like a beautiful time-lapse video of Pisa.

Read more: The longest way

Video credited to The Longest Way 1.0 – walk through China and grow a beard! – TIMELAPSE from Christoph Rehage

From Internet to “Inner-net”

Lifelogging the way Christoph Rehage did can reveal many things that were previously tucked away in the unknown. To delve into the unknown realm of our personal lives, many have also chosen to quantify themselves with various wearable tech gadgets. Here’s introducing Mr. Chris Dancy, who allegedly is the most connected man in the world. According to an interview done between Chris and PSFK, he currently has between 300 to 700 systems that capture data on his life in real time at any given moment. As Chris mentions in the interview, he believes that the future of wearable technology is heading towards the rise of a ‘Human operating system’ or what he calls ‘Existence as a Platform’. In addition, he believes that the biggest thing that the Quantified Self movement will see in the next five years will be these different devices working together and creating lifestyle systems with receipts for goals or outcomes. In his words, “We will leave the ‘Internet’ and create the ‘Inner-net.’ ” Are you ready to embrace the Human OS?

Read more: What the most connected man in the world believes is the future of wearable tech and How wearables became the key tech trend of 2014

Image credited to PSFK

Quantifying before birth


And with some people embracing the Human OS mentioned above for their babies through various baby-logging apps, there is also one particular start-up that is eager to get self-tracking started in life that hasn’t even been born into the world. Designed for pregnant ladies, Bellabeat allows moms-to-be to listen to and share their baby’s heartbeat, as well as track their pregnancy using just a handheld gadget and their smartphone. Bellabeat tracks almost everything a pregnant mom-to-be would like to know – countdown till the pregnancy due date, the baby’s heart rate and even their kick counter. It also gives prenatal tips or helps these pregnant moms find prenatal care. With such a comprehensive and targeted use case, the company has managed to sell 2,000 units in just the first two weeks. If you’re a mom-to-be and you’re keen to track your baby’s progress, head over to order your Bellabeat baby monitor now at just $129!

Read more: Hands On With Bellabeat, The App That Lets Moms-To-Be Hear And Share Baby’s Heartbeat and Taking measure of the Quantified Self Movement

Image credited to Bellabeat

From the bird’s eye view

As we explore lifelogging on the road through Christoph Rehage and in the womb through Bellabeat today, here’s Alex MacLean taking us through lifelogging way up in the air in his photography series known as “Aerial Perspectives”. MacLean is a fully licensed pilot and uses his highly efficient Cessna 182 carbon fibre aeroplane to explore the world recording landscapes, architecture and human behaviour from a bird’s eye view. Besides the usual challenges that a professional photographer has to face, MacLean also has to tackle issues such as unpredictable weather, changing lighting conditions, and the plane’s vibration. Yet, with more than 30 years of experience, MacLean has managed to capture many breathtaking aerial views. Check out more of his works here and let it take your breath away!

Read more: What the World Looks Like From the Cockpit and 16 Photos of Unique Perspectives From Mashable Readers

Image credited to Alex MacLean

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This week in lifelogging: the miserable, the lovers and the haters

The “miserable” days of lifelogging

Lifelogging is going mainstream. To those in doubt, you’re not alone. This week, we found a writer at Mashable, Max Knoblauch, who spent the past 30 days quantifying his life because he simply did not believe in the quantified self movement. After consulting a lifelogging guru, Nicholas Felton, who publishes his quantified data in beautiful graphics every year, Max started logging everything from the existential “Are you looking forward to today?” to the trivial, “What do you smell”. However, this to him was certainly not enjoyable because he felt that manual data input is a hindrance to the daily activity it’s supposed to be tracking. He had to intentionally interrupt his activities in order to key those self-tracking data into his mobile phone. Every 90 minutes for every single day. In other words, it was a total hassle. And he was miserable. However, as you might have already guessed, Max started seeing value in the things that he tracked. When he first saw how the data was visualized on his phone, he felt that his mediocrity is truly a sight to behold. This, as he concluded, is the real value of data tracking — revealing small, random yet somehow surprising bits of information that the tracker really wasn’t aware of. It’s all in retrospect. And like Steven Beatty rightly recognizes, it is addictive.

Read more: Lifelogging: The Most Miserable, Self-Aware 30 Days I’ve Ever Spent and Why am I so Intrigued with the Idea of Quantified Self?

Image credited to Mashable

Love and lifelogging

And if the love for self-tracking data is not going to move you to start quantifying your life, maybe this would. Here’s how Tom Fletcher, one of the lead vocalists and guitarists of English pop rock band McFly won the hearts of so many people simply by combining songwriting and lifelogging. As it is written here, “when he’s not busy writing amazing pop songs, Tom Fletcher spends his time making the male population look like talentless schmucks with his genius videos.” His latest creation? A video showing how he sang to his wife Giovanna’s growing belly throughout her pregnancy. Titled “From Bump to Buzz”, Tom documented every day out of the nine months of pregnancy and compiled the photos into a time-lapse video. Amazing. He’s definitely raising the bar for all the men out there with this, and the earlier video of his wedding speech!

Read more: 8 reasons why Tom Fletcher is probably the most talented man in the entire world – video special and How wearable tech can make dating more enjoyable

Happiness and the quantified self

And for all of us who do not have the privilege of having someone like Tom to track the growth of our happiness everyday, here are some apps that could facilitate the process. Known as Happify and Happsee, these mobile apps have been scientifically designed to quantify happiness. According to Happify, “You have the ability to control how you feel—and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.” So with that, the app recommends daily activities that deliver the best results for you based on your goals. Others, like H(app)athon, also believe that identifying how our actions affect our well-being allows us to track what behaviors increase our happiness. In other words – if you want your life to count, you need to take a count of your life. And it also means that happiness is a choice. Do you agree?

Read more: Quantifying Happiness: Tracking Well-Being in the Age of Quantified Self

Image credited to The Ultimate Happiness

The Glass view of Glass reactions

Like any new phenomenon that try to enter the mainstream market, the rise of lifelogging and the quantified self is not all that smooth. Just a few weeks back, Mashable sent one man to the streets of New York to take a look at how people react to the Google Glass, a device in which many would indicate as a lifelogging device. As he took it to the streets, many uninvited stares darted towards him. In addition, when asked if people thought it looked cool or creepy, two sides were quickly taken. And when revealed to cost approximately $1500, all of them unanimously said that they would not pay for the Google Glass. Yet, as mentioned here, wearable technologies have the potential to enable police officers to improve situational awareness and decision making in the field. Speculations have even been made that wearable technologies could be used in the field of politics. Where do you think wearable technology would head?

Read more: Google launches Android Wear platform for wearables, smartwatch Developer Preview, devices coming later this year and Wearables won’t just record our lives, they’ll change them

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This week in lifelogging: creative campaigns, quantified breakup and Sony SmartBand

Creative activities for your lifelogs


One of the indirect benefits of engaging in heavy lifelogging is the new need and want to do creative things. Who doesn’t like to review a colorful life in retrospect? While you can spend money to take your entire family on a fancy vacation to create wonderful memories that you can journal about, you could also try doing some interesting activities at home. Here’s how Angie Keiser and her fashion-forward 4-year-old daughter, Mayhem (above), has done it: gather a few pieces of construction paper, scissors and tape, and you’re all ready to go! With an exception of the more complicated gowns, which can take up to four hours, Keiser and her little daughter work together for an average of 5-10 minutes to make dresses like this one inspired by Minnie Mouse. With this eye for fashion, this mother-daughter duo create many outfits inspired by real-life or cartoon characters, and then this little 4-year-old immediately transforms into a runway model to exhibit the masterpieces she made with her mother. Want to see more interesting outfits? Check out their blog dedicated to Mayhem’s wildly creative gowns, called #FashionByMayhem.

Read more: 4-Year-Old Fashionista Creates Fancy Frocks Out of Paper and 44 Beautiful Candid Moments Captured in Photographs

Image credited to #FashionByMayhem

Creating anti-war messages

One of the many popular projects that have been birthed out of the desire to create lifelogs is “A second a day”, made even easier by an app called One Second Everyday. One particular UK organization, Save The Children, has created an extremely thought-provoking video using this concept of “A second a day”. With a powerful tagline, “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening”, Save The Children aims to raise awareness about the situation in Syria, specifically focusing on how children are affected by the civil war. Their vision? “We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential.” So if you share the same vision and would like to show your support to highlight the desperate need for peace in Syria, you could join their campaign, “Faces for Syria”, by uploading your image here. With that, on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of the conflict in Syria – 14 March – your picture will join thousands of others to form part of an iconic image of support that will reach millions of people around the world, mainly through Facebook and Twitter, to show every Syrian child, woman and man that we are with them, that we are #withSyria.

Read more: Shocking ‘Second a Day’ Video Delivers a Powerful Anti-War Message and Crimea: where war photography was born

Measuring breakups

And if you’re less of a photography/videography person, you might be interested in the quantifying portion of lifelogging. Known as the quantified self movement, enthusiasts would measure everything from their heart rate over the day, their sleeping habits and behavior, and even their babies’ vital signs. But just this week, we discovered one particular Quantified Self enthusiast, who had begun tracking and quantifying her behaviors after her breakup. Things measured include the things bought after the breakup sorted according to price, usefulness and category, the number of posts on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as the number of times she listened to her songs sorted according to whether they were happy or sad songs. According to her, “Putting this process into numbers, images and data visualizations has been very helpful. It yanked me out of moments of all-consuming sadness at the beginning and now helps me understand that I’m doing ok, despite of how confused I might feel (looking for positive trends within the data!) I hope these web things can help you, too.”

Read more: Quantified Breakup and How lifelogging transforms us all

Image credited to the Quantified Breakup blog

Sony Smartband for lifelogging

If you haven’t got all that patience to manually record all that data of breakups or get-togethers, you would probably love to get your hands on some self-tracking device. Apart from the popular FitBit and Nike FuelBand, here’s one that Sony is going to release this month in March 2014, after showing a sneak preview at both CES and the Mobile World Congress that just past. Functions of this Sony SmartBand include creating a log of your activities, such as the places you’ve been to, music you’ve listened, games you’ve played, sleep cycles and so forth, while notifying you of incoming calls, messages and tweets by vibrating. This all-in-one SmartBand can also be used to play, pause and skip track in your walkman app by pressing a button or tapping the band. Multiple functions packed in this tiny wearable gadget by Sony. Rumor has it that these will be retailing at about 99 Euros ($135, £80). In this video review, it is also said that the Sony SmartBand helps you learn from your experiences. With such a comprehensive list of things that you could track, you could even investigate the reasons behind why your timing for the run was particularly good last week, owing all credit to, for instance, the music you’re listening to. Will you get one?

Read more: Sony’s SmartBand Lets You Create a Detailed Log of Your Life and Sony’s SmartBand fitness tracker will launch worldwide in March

Image credited to Mashable

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This week in lifelogging: Winter Olympics, decision-making memories and selfies pride

QS athletes at 2014 Winter Olympics

Since the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics last week in Sochi, Russia, much has been going on, including what seems to be the fiercest rivalry between the US and Canadian hockey women, as well as Jason Brown sensationally figure skating to Prince’s “The Question of U”. And even with such a long-standing tradition and culture behind the Olympic Games, many athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics have already found ways to integrate the latest Quantified Self gadgets into their daily routines. One of them is Steven Nyman, an alpine skier, who couples his endless trainings with the data-driven practices of Troy Flanagan, director of high performance for the US ski team. Self-tracking for Nyman includes measuring his blood glucose, creatine kinase and urea every morning at 5:30am. But of course, on the flip side of this are athletes like Keri Herman and Tom Wallisch, both of whom are Slopestyle Skiers, who do not believe in self-tracking techniques or use wearable tech gadgets of any sort. For instance, to Tom, although Oakley’s new Airwave Smart Goggles, used by skiers to tell where they are on the mountain, altitude, etc. is pretty cool, it only serves as a distraction for him while competing in his events. Which side do you lean on for the Quantified Self movement?

Read more: At this year’s Olympics, the gold medal goes to the quantified self and Winter Olympics Photo of the Day: Skiing in the Sun

Image credited to Lucas Jackson | Reuters

Memories and decisions

Whether it is watching the Winter Olympics on television with your family or actually competing in the Games with thousands of supporters cheering you on, memories are being continuously created for every passing moment without you even noticing it. And if you think you’re having a memory problem just because what you and others recall about a particular incident over the last Winter Olympics is completely different, rest assured, you’re not always wrong. According to latest studies, the human brain edits memories relentlessly, updating the past with new information. And why do our brains do this? Scientists believe that the brain updates memories to make them more relevant and useful now — even if they’re not a true representation of the past. So even if you’re logging your life daily, we will have a tendency to modify these lifelogs to make sense of them ten or twenty years down the road. The good news? These lifelogs will be able to jolt our memories, and our brains could help us sort them automatically so that they’re the most relevant in the present. Better decision-making for the lifelogging individual, maybe?

Read more: Our Brains Rewrite Our Memories, Putting Present In The Past and Lifelogging: What it’s like to record your whole life

Image credited to NPR and iStockphoto

Be proud of your selfies

Speaking of recording our memories, a new trend has been taking the Instagram world by storm. In fact, there are more than 75 million photographs on Instagram marked with this popular hashtag. Yes, you got it – snap it, upload it and finally #selfie. And even after the word “selfie” has been officially incorporated into the Oxford Dictionary, much hatred or mocking have been directed at users who flood their Instagram accounts with nothing but their self-portraits. Yet, earlier, we also talked about how Dove’s selfies project actually revealed the insecurities that these girls possessed, and subsequently got them to see how beautiful they really are. So are #selfies really that detestable? In this article, the author justifies the case for selfies. According to her, there’s no need to be sorry for your selfie because it has been around for a long time. And for the very fact that we can #selfie every day or waking moment of our lives, is indicative of progress, since the selfie barrier to entry is no longer restricted by wealth, time and privilege like it was with the French monarch of the past. #Sorrynotsorry for my #selfie anymore (;

Read more: Why You Should Never Be Sorry for Your Selfie

Image credited to NASA

Be proud of your Narrative Clip selfies

Now case in point. If you have a Narrative Clip and you’re wondering what to do next besides just clipping it to the collar of your shirt, well how about this? How about giving the Narrative Clip #selfie a shot? Letting her creative juices flow, author Bianca Bosker at Huffington Post has experimented various ways to use the Narrative Clip – clipped to her clothes, strapped on her purse, fastened to a dog and propped up on her desk, where it takes numerous selfies of her. And with these selfies, she noticed some bad habits of hers replaying over and over – the nibbling, the lip-biting, the squinting, and of course, the snacking. Yet, we’re stoked to hear how her experience has been. In her words, “The Narrative Clip didn’t just let me “relive life’s special and everyday moments,” as the ad copy on the camera’s sleek box had promised. When I scrolled through the thousands of photos it captured, I had the feeling of discovering entirely new dimensions to an experience I thought I knew. It both jogged my memory and fiddled with it.” Thank you and we can’t wait to hear from more of you!

Read more: Nice To Meet You. I’ve Already Taken Your Picture

Image credited to Huffington Post

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