Glossary of tags I'm using and why they matter to me
"Quantified self" refers to self tracking and coming up with metrics in order to gain more insight and potentially improve various aspects of your life such as health (physical or mental) or performance.
I personally haven't managed to gain any significant insights from the data I've collected so far. I don't really regret it though.
Body maintenance like sleep, diet or exercise are hard for most people and also boring for many, myself included. It sucks and given the opportunity, I'd get myself independent of physical shell in a blink. However, while I'm in it:
I find that process of quantifying is fun, and even motivating for the routine!
E.g. I can't imagine going on a run without my HR monitor, because whatever the benefit exercise has and however exhausting run would be, at least I'll have a data point.
learning about routine and trying to optimize routine is also way more fun than doing the actual routine
Human body is fragile and needs constant care, but it's still a fascinating mechanism.
immunity to broscience and cargo cult
After trying to find interesting correlations in my data and failing, I've started taking most of anecdotal advice from the internet about dieting/exercise and sleep with a pile of salt and mostly ignoring it.
If I can't feel changes subjectively and I can't find them using linear regression, then surely it just doesn't matter to my body.
I want to empathize though that it's specific to my body. I'm lucky to be healthy enough so I don't have anything obvious to 'fix'. I do know people who claim minor things changed the way they e.g. sleep, so I don't want to devalue others' experiences.
But if you do stress over so many (often contradictory) advises like I used to, I'd recommend trying to set up proper experiments and measure. Numbers don't lie, or at least harder to trick.
- collecting data is valuable for #lifelogging
- finding my baseline while I'm healthy for potential future health issues
¶TODO need more links here
Lifelogging is not a new concept as people have kept diaries for centuries. However these days it's particularly easy to do because lots of it can be automated and collected passively from your digital trace.
Personally I do it because I find it fun, having access to your activities from the past is very satisfying and compensates for decaying memory and it fits well along the #quantified-self lines.
Extended mind is the idea that your mind isn't limited by your physical body, but augmented by external means.
¶I like that analogy particularly: The Extended Mind – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, in 'Inga and Otto' section
Perhaps because it resonates with me most and was the main reason I started my quest for better personal information management.
PKM stands for Personal Knowledge Management (I agree it's a somewhat clumsy acronym). It refers to strategies and tools for efficient information management, which is particularly important these days in abundance of information around us.
Specifically, when I talk about it I mostly refer to digital knowledge management and ways of seamless integration with our meaty brains. I write more about it here.
Human brains seem to be best for generating new ideas. I want to learn more, think faster, distract less, interact and visualize, effortlessly remember everything; not memorize and do routine information processing, which computers seem better at.
I haven't thought much of a specific roadmap, but my vision is:
- ultimate goal is of course merging with the machine/cloud/God, or whatever else you wish for yourself when the Singularity happens
- medium term thing might be some sort of neuroimplant/brain-computer interface, but sadly technology doesn't seem to be there (apart from experimental devices that help people with dementia or other serious brain conditions)
- what we realistically can and capable of doing now is developing tools to make the knowledge accessible on your fingertips with existing technology as computers and smartphones
The latter bit is what I'm trying to do and developing simple but working tools (rather than sketching prototypes that look beautiful but never make it). Even though stuff we have at disposal at the moment (often lousy internet connection, OCR, basic speech and pattern recognition, text search, 2D screens, touchscreens and basic VR/AR) is not so exciting and somewhat restricted, I feel we're not fully utilizing it anyway yet.
¶some of the things I'm working on and contributing:
¶TODO give more specific examples of things I want to be able to do
¶TODO need more links here, e.g. other people that describe their setups
Annotation is the process of adding a layer of personal (with a potential for sharing) metadata on top of existing content such as highlights, notes, anchors etc.
- I'm writing more about it here.
For most of modern web services, data is too centralized and only accessible from the services cloud, which makes applications unusable if you lost Internet connection.
What is more, imagine if something horrible happens say to Gmail servers and the emails are completely wiped from them. Geeks like me and you might do occasional backups, but most people will lose their personal data forever. E.g. it's somewhat scary how many people rely on Google Photos only to store their memories.
Some of IT giants are already too big to fail and when they have brief periods of downtime, they take a good chunk of internet with them. Governments are blocking access because they control ISPs at the moment. All this is just dangerous (it literally feels dangerous if you consider your digital trace as your essential part).
We need to make it easier for normal users to own (at least as in 'own a copy') of their data. We need to find ways of bringing better network resilience and ideally fully offline mode or easier ways of selfhosting/setting up personal clouds.
This is also good for privacy and security, because potentially you can have software that doesn't even have permissions to access the internet as long as you are using your own means of synchronizing data.
Some related links:
I write lots of various scripts and tools to simplify my life and experiment. Most of them I open source.