The Digital Divide

By / October 17, 2014 /

The Digital Divide

When reading tech media it’s easy to forget that 72% of the global population does not own a smartphone (as of 2013). That percentage will decline as adoption increases, and it is expected that half of the world’s population will own a smartphone by 2017. However, the next 1.5 billion new smartphone users are expected to come from only 12 countries.

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First-world technology solves first-world problems. Last week I wrote about the convenience economy, and questioned whether innovations like apps and wearables are really improving quality of life for those us who can afford them. With any technological advancement it’s important to consider who may be left behind, and whether the benefits of innovation are serving the right people.

Technology makes it easier for me to get a cab or have food delivered, but in some parts of the world it is changing lives. The Arab Spring protests were organized largely through Twitter. The recent Hong Kong protests relied on FireChat to communicate outside of government-restricted networks. These apps weren’t developed as tools of revolution, but when people have access to technology, amazing things can happen.

Investing in Health Tracking

The Quantified Self movement is infiltrating the mainstream, but even before the proliferation of health tracking tech, people were investing time and money into tracking some aspects of their health. Most often, they … Read More

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Categories: Uncategorized

The New Face of Saga

By / October 14, 2014 /

Saga has recently changed in a few important ways.

The Android version also has a cleaner user interface, which also works faster and takes up less space on your phone. To give feedback on this version, please fill out this survey:

The iOS version allows you to search your lifelog by date. Can’t remember what you did on your mom’s birthday? Want to remember the name of that awesome restaurant in Italy? Search your lifelog by tapping the Filter button on your Lifelog page. The filter feature also allows you to see the more interesting spots you visited by removing work and home from your view.

Most importantly, we are no longer supporting our social network. Over the past year, we have let you share your details of your lifelog with your friends, family, and followers. Now, your lifelog will only be viewable by you.

We’re also ending our sponsored excursion program. It has been fun living vicariously through Where’s Mikey, brave globetrotting parents, and World Cup documentarians and we want to thank our excursion team for inspiring us with their adventures. Thanks, everyone, for letting us tag along.

What these social changes mean

  • You won’t be able to view other users’ lifelogs.
  • Your lifelogs will no longer be visible to anyone else (unless you explicitly share it on social media or via IFTTT).
  • You won’t be able to chat with others.
  • You won’t be able to notify others in Saga when you arrive at a place.
  • You won’t be able to get … Read More

    Categories: Search, Social, Social Lifelogging

You Have 500 Apps and Your Life Still Sucks

By / October 9, 2014 /

I Want My Tech Utopia, and I Want it Now


photo credit: marco monetti via photopin cc

Our culture is obsessed with the promise of technology. When I say “our culture” I am including myself in what is actually a small sub-group of Western, first world society. We carry smartphones and the latest tablets and laptops. We populate Twitter with erudite commentary about apps that send disappearing photos, or simply say, “YO.” We complain about technical glitches when trying to stream Apple events.

It takes a certain amount of disposable income to invest in something like a wearable activity tracker, or to pay for the monthly data plan for a smartphone. Most of my family would not be able to afford the latter, even if they invested in the hardware. But I haven’t heard a single one of them bemoan their lack of iPhone or Jawbone.

I believe the reason those outside of the elite tech culture aren’t clamoring at the gates is because these technologies are not truly making our lives easier, happier, or healthier. What we’re paying for — and wishing for — is a potential future when technology is more like magic. We want to snap our fingers and have a cab appear. We want to unlock doors by blinking our eyes. We want all of our menial tasks to happen automatically. … Read More

Categories: Apps, Wearable Technology

Finding Patterns in Personal Data

By / October 2, 2014 /

A common response when I talk to the uninitiated about lifelogging is a scrunched brow that silently asks, “why would anyone want to do that?” The answer to that question can vary widely. Some people have very specific goals for self-tracking, like regulating blood sugar or understanding their moods. Others seemingly just want to collect data about themselves, and as much of it as possible. You might see them at Quantified Self conferences wearing multiple fitness trackers and an automatic camera or two. They’re not just OCD (maybe a few are), they’re making an open ended scientific inquiry.

You don’t have to start with an outcome in mind when logging personal data. If you know how to ask the right questions of raw data, you may find patterns you didn’t expect. The beauty of having lots of different types of data about yourself is that you may uncover unexpected correlations. One of my favorite examples of an unexpected correlation in personal data is Jewel Loree’s musical cycles. She got her mood report from, visualizing the patterns in the music she listens to. She was interested in the pattern of peaks in sad/ low energy music. A quick look at the data from her period tracking app confirmed that the sadder music aligned to her menstrual cycle.


Last May, Dr. Adrienne Andrew Slaughter and I hosted a breakout discussion on Read More

Categories: Analytics, Data Analysis, Data Science, Personal Analytics

Saga Users Safe from Shellshock, AKA the Bash Bug

By / September 27, 2014 /

The news about Shellshock broke on Thursday, uncovering a vulnerability in Mac OSX and Linux systems that use BASH, the widely used command line utility. We want to reassure our users that the security and privacy of their Saga data is safe.

Our team responded as soon as the announcement was made, identifying and patching all services affected by this bug. We are keeping an eye on any new threats related to the bash bug. To learn more about Shellshock, click here.

Categories: Uncategorized

Total Automation: Put Your Life on Autopilot

By / September 19, 2014 /

The Age of Automation

We live in the age of automation. Or perhaps more like the age of aspirational automation. Smartphones, the Internet of Things, and IFTTT enable a ton of automated tasks, but we don’t yet have the technology or sufficient security to automate the really important things. The truly automated life will require robots, self-driving cars, and software that can respond to messages meaningfully.

Still, there are many things you can manage more efficiently and automatically if you use the right tools. Here are some examples to help you get to total automation:

Automate Your Lifelog

Keeping an archive of your life has never been simpler, or more complicated. While technology makes it easier to keep a diary of your daily activities automatically, there is so much more data it’s now possible to collect.

If you’re reading this, you (hopefully) already use Saga to build your automatic lifelog. That’s by far the easiest way to record your activities in the context of your daily travels. If you’d like to get your Saga data into a more consumable form, try the calendar feed feature. You can set this up to automatically feed Saga entries to your calendar app. (Settings -> Create or Manager Calendar Feed)

Yesterday, Saga added even more amazing features for IFTTT that allow you to automatically add more to your Saga lifelog than ever before, making it a rich repository for all the things you want to track, in one place.

IFTTT makes it easy to record lots of … Read More

Categories: IFTTT

New Release: Building a Better Lifelog with IFTTT

By / September 18, 2014 /

Add more content to your lifelog. Export it to your favorite platforms.

Saga and IFTTT are at it again. As partners in automating everything, today’s IFTTT release helps you customize the content in your lifelog, export it to your favorite applications, and send yourself smart reminders while you are out exploring. Give a gift to your future self. Set up some recipes in IFTTT and let Saga take care of the rest.

Tell Your Unique Life Story

Our integration with IFTTT adds exciting new customization options for your lifelog. Now, you can automatically add notes to your lifelog, such as status updates from Facebook and Twitter, links from your WordPress and Tumblr blogs, information about the step goals you’ve achieved in Jawbone and FitBit, and details of your phone calls.

This feature lets you personalize your lifelog with the content that care about, presented according to your specifications.

Sample Recipes:

  • Facebook status updates into Saga

IFTTT Recipe: Add Facebook statuses to my lifelog connects facebook to saga

  • Tumblr post into Saga

IFTTT Recipe: Add tumblr posts to my Saga lifelog connects tumblr to saga

  • Daily movement from Jawbone into Saga

IFTTT Recipe: Add Jawbone movement to my Saga lifelog connects up-by-jawbone to saga

  • Phone calls into Saga

IFTTT Recipe: Add placed phone calls to my ... <span class=Read More

Categories: IFTTT, Lifelogging

What Gets Quantified in Bed is Not Just Sleep

By / September 11, 2014 /

What Gets Quantified Between the Sheets (It’s Not Just Sleep)

Generally speaking, people who engage in Quantified Self experiments are trying to improve something — often health or fitness-related. Apps and wearables are now available to track almost anything, including your sex life.

The internet recently collectively snickered at the guy who sent his wife a spreadsheet  detailing her reasons for not having sex with him over the course of a month. This probably did not have the desired effect, especially after she posted it on Reddit. There have, however, been more successful sex tracking projects detailed on the internet.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 1.25.58 PMOne Reddit user and his wife tracked their sex and masturbation habits for a year and saw marked improvement in their sex life and ability to discuss this touchy subject. While he and his partner still have a disparity in their sex drives, they are now able to see the numbers and at least know what to expect, and he was actually pleasantly surprised when he saw the results — keeping a record can help you appreciate what you have. They discovered the optimal day for sex during his wife’s monthly cycle, and he discovered that when he took up hobbies he masturbated less frequently. This all improved their satisfaction with their sex life. The results are detailed here. (NSFW).

Sex tracking apps like Spreadsheets use phone sensors … Read More

Categories: Quantified Romance, Quantified Self, Sex

Quantifying the LTR: How Couples Use Data For Healthy Relationships

By / September 4, 2014 /

This is the second in a three part series on quantified dating, relationships, and sex.

The Habits of Healthy Relationships

Long term relationships are a bit puzzling. Some couples stay truly satisfied over decades of marriage, while others disintegrate within a few years. Some even choose to stay in unhappy relationships for decades. There doesn’t seem to be a formula, but there are ways couples use Quantified Self tools to strengthen their relationships. Self tracking tools bring unbiased information about a partner’s emotional state, such as whether or not he slept well or she enjoyed a concert. If you know your partner is tired or in a bad mood, that can inform how you behave toward them.

“Data brings you the power to change your relationship, and that’s huge.” — Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey of The Bulletproof Executive has been quantifying his relationships for years. From tracking his ex-girlfriend’s food intake and mood to his wife’s menstrual cycle, Asprey has extended the Quantified Self to include his partner, and he claims this leads to healthier intimate habits, and ultimately a better relationship.

Personal science can help you understand and improve your relationship if you know what to look for. Marriage expert John Gottman has spent forty years studying couples, and he refers to people as Masters or Disasters of relationships. The good news is that you can learn the habits … Read More

Categories: Quantified Romance, Quantified Self

Quantified Dating

By / August 28, 2014 /

This is the first in a three-part series of posts about quantified dating, relationships, and sex. 

Data-Driven Romance

When it comes to affairs of the heart, people tend to balk at the idea of using data to find a match. Even the fancy algorithms of online dating sites can’t predict chemistry. But it turns out that a bit of personal data analysis can make a huge difference when looking for love online.

A woman who went through a difficult divorce in 2013 has a Tumblr called “Quantified Breakup” where she illustrates some of the measurable effects of the breakup — like texts to friends, retail therapy spending, and instances of crying in public. Quantified Self data is most interesting when it reveals a process or transformation. Turning her grief into infographics not only helps her process her emotions, but it also reveals that she is getting better over time. Now her blog focuses on how she’s moving on: the awkward and surreal world of dating.

Like the majority of people who do online dating, she’s not interested in most of the men she meets, and vice versa. She measures the presence of “sparks” by the number of text messages exchanged. This great animated visualization illustrates what happened when she met a guy she’s into. He’s the sixth person she has met, and she exchanged a total of 1,249 texts with him over about a month. The most she exchanged with any previous date was 41.

Read More

Categories: Quantified Romance, Quantified Self