What technology would you like to see the government adopt?

It's tempting to restrict the conversation about how a government can use technology to the ethical questions of what technology a governmental agency can use to collect information about its citizens, but there are many more factors worth discussing in the broad category of what technology a government can consider.

How Wearables Can Be Useful for Governments

Wearable technology has the potential to improve many of the functions that a government agency carries out: whether we're talking about the federal, state, or municipal levels, the opportunities are endless.

Consider the work done at the U.S. State Department. That particular agency relies on translators as it works with countries around the world. But a tool like Google Glass could improve communication across cultural barriers – helping interpret gestures and provide context on top of what a human translators does.

Emergency management presents another interesting opportunity for wearable technology in a governmental setting. Emergencies tend to require more rugged technology than other settings — something that some wearable companies are already thinking about. But users in the middle of an evacuation or another crisis would also benefit from hands-free gadgets and ways to keep in contact with a centralized communication system.

Given how many different parts of life that touch governmental processes, it's hard to even predict how wearable technology could help. What uses would a health inspector have for collecting data? What … Read More

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Categories: Surveillance, Tracking, Wearable Technology

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Healthy Living Reminders

By / July 20, 2014 /

Saga knows when you’re at the bar and the fast food restaurant. Give a gift to your future self: set up healthy living reminders to stay on track. Too much time at the bar? Make sure your friends give you a ride home. Enjoying some fast food? Remind yourself to go to the gym!

IFTTT Recipe: Remind me to drink some water if I'm at a bar for 2 hours. connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Remind me to put on sunscreen if I'm outside for 2 hours.  connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Remind me to get some exercise when I eat fast food. connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Ask for a ride home if I've been drinking for 2 hours. connects saga to facebook

Categories: IFTTT

Lifelogging’s Impact on Your Quality of Life

By / July 17, 2014 /

What does quality time look like for you?

Some people enjoy tracking numbers just for the sake of collecting data, but that sense of accomplishment isn't enough for many of us. Rather, collecting data to achieve a deeper purpose makes the process more worthwhile. That purpose can vary, but almost always fits inside the broad category of improving your quality of life in one way or another.

The more you can focus your lifelogging efforts to improve your own self-knowledge, the more likely you are to be able to improve your quality of life.

The Subjectivity of Our Lives

Of course, defining your own quality of life is subjective: we each have different goals, as well as ideas of what constitutes a perfect life. Where one person sees traveling as the most enjoyable way to spend time, another may prefer to stick a little closer to home.

To make matters more complicated, not all of us are entirely clear on what we want to be doing, both long term and in the moment. But the right approach to lifelogging can help with that particular problem. If you're able to track multiple aspects of your life over time, you can discover what contributes to your personal sense of a high quality of life.

Unfortunately, it's not a system that you can just throw a switch on. Even just deciding which variables to track can be a complex matter.

How … Read More

Categories: Happiness, Lifelogging, Personal Analytics

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Automate Your Business Tasks

By / July 16, 2014 /

Several Saga users have told us how they use Saga for their businesses. Some use Saga as an automatic mileage log. A piano tuner keeps track of his visits to customers. An EMT keeps notes about his ambulance calls.

Now, with the Saga Channel on IFTTT, there are even more ways to automate your business tasks. Here are a few examples of Recipes you might use:

IFTTT Recipe: Add an event to my calendar when I visit an office. connects saga to google-calendar

IFTTT Recipe: Mute my ringtone when I arrive at an office. connects saga to android-device

IFTTT Recipe: Tweet when I arrive at a conference or tradeshow. connects saga to twitter

IFTTT Recipe: Alert me when I've been at an office for 8 hours.  connects saga to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Log visits to offices of more than one hour. connects saga to google-drive

IFTTT Recipe: Get a phone call 30 minutes after arriving at an office, to keep ... <span class=Read More

Categories: IFTTT

A FitBit for the Dog? How Wearable Technology Can Help Animals

By / July 15, 2014 /
cat and dog

What technology makes sense for your pets?

Cats, dogs, and other pets don't have the option of telling you straight out when something is the matter. The difficulty of communicating with your pets makes wearable technology for animals an incredibly useful field. We're only starting to explore the opportunities that technology provide for the animals in our lives.

Pet Wearables to Improve Your Pets' Lives

While technology doesn't let you read a dog's mind (at least not yet), you can use wearable technology to collect and interpret data from your pet. Consider the FitBark, which is essentially a FitBit meant for dogs. The devices collects data about a dog's daily activity levels, allowing owners to make sure that their dogs are living healthy lives. The app that handles all the data even helps owners compare their dogs to others of the same breed to better understand how an individual pup is doing.

This data may seem like it's mostly just for fun, perhaps adding in a reminder to spend time with your pet, the reality is that as more data is available to tools like FitBark, you may be able to use it to take better care of your pets. With a large data set, such a device could warn you if your pet's activities have suddenly changed — which can be a crucial indicator of a health problem — or recommend a better diet for … Read More

Categories: Health, Pets, Wearable Technology

Kitty Ireland Wins Saga

By / July 14, 2014 /
Kitty Ireland, writer of amazing content, product designer and bug smasher extraordinaire, has officially won Saga with 1,000 followers through Saga social media. No one has as many followers as Kitty because no one is that cool.

kitty ireland 1000 friends

How did she get so many followers? Is it the hipster bars she visits every week like Sun Liquor? Coveted concerts such as New Order and Kraftwerk? The see-and-be-seen events such as Seattle International Film Festival exclusive gala?

Everybody wants to know what Kitty is doing, because Kitty is doing it right.

If you’re not following her on Saga, you have not yet mastered the art of living vicariously through someone cooler than you.

Follow her here.

Categories: Community, Family, Saga, Social, Social Lifelogging

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Create an Evernote Travel Diary

By / July 14, 2014 /

Saga can be a great tool for travelers on its own, but now with the Saga channel for IFTTT there are even more ways to track and share your adventures.

I love to travel, but I never find time (or remember) to write down all of the interesting places I visit. Saga makes it easy to go back and see all of my travels, but I like to keep an additional travel diary in Evernote, where it’s searchable, and I can easily draft blog posts, add links, etc.

Now I can automatically log my visits to interesting places to Evernote by using the Saga Channel on IFTTT. I created a notebook called ‘Travel Diary’ and the following recipes to keep a record of places I go according to category:

IFTTT Recipe: Add restaurants I visit to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Add bars I visit to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Add the places I go shopping to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Add museums I visit to my Evernote #travel diary. connects saga to evernote

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Categories: IFTTT

IFTTT Recipes of the Day: Create an Automatic Restaurant Diary

By / July 11, 2014 /

Are you a foodie? A Yelper? Someone who forgets the names of restaurants? You can use the Saga Channel for IFTTT to create a complete log of every restaurant you visit, without picking up a pen or opening an app.

IFTTT is a great tool for automatically appending things to documents, and Saga makes it easier than ever to keep track of the places you go. By selecting the “arrival at a ‘Food’ venue’” trigger, you can automatically add the name, location, category, and map to one of several tracking and documentation apps, including Google Drive, Evernote, Pryv, and your calendar. If you are on a mission to explore a specific cuisine, make a list of every visit to that type of restaurant by picking a sub-category to track. Here are a few recipes to get you started:

IFTTT Recipe: Add restaurants I visit to my Pryv stream. connects saga to pryv

IFTTT Recipe: Keep track of every restaurant I go to. connects saga to google-drive

IFTTT Recipe: Add restaurants I visit to my calendar.  connects saga to google-calendar

IFTTT Recipe: Make a list of all the taco places I visit. ... <span class=Read More

Categories: IFTTT

Google I/O Offers Up Smartwatches, Google Fit, and More

By / July 10, 2014 /
google cardboard

Google Cardboard debuted at Google I/O.

At Google I/O (Google’s annual developer conference), Google showcased the software and hardware the company will be offering over the coming year. This year’s presentations focused heavily on wearable technology, along with a few other announcements that may interest anyone collecting personal data and using it in new ways.

Smartwatches Take Center Stage

At Google I/O, Google presented two new smartwatches, both based on the new Android Wear platform. The Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch are both available for pre-order (priced at $199 and $229). A third smartwatch, the Moto 360, is expected to be available for pre-order later this summer.

Android Wear offers an alternative to the many iOS integrations rolled out at WWDC. A full developers’ kit is available for Android Wear, so as watches running the platform become available, we can expect to see apps already available. During Google I/O, presenters demonstrated apps for reminders and for navigation via Google Maps. Android Wear supports both circular and square-shaped watch displays, giving manufacturers plenty of options to work with.

The real benefit of Android Wear looks to be Google Now. Already available as a smartphone app, Google Now predicts what information a user might need — like noting that someone regularly travels a certain route at a given time so that the app can warn that user to leave early when they’ll encounter traffic.

Google’s Response to Healthkit

Apple … Read More

Categories: Android, Google, Google Glass

The AlCan Both Ways

By / July 9, 2014 /

L06Lindsay Blair Brown is the perfect Excursion candidate: traveler, photographer, social media savvy, and enthusiastic about sharing her story with the world. When she applied several months ago, she highlighted the fact that she loves to take road trips, and was thinking about driving up from Texas to Alaska along the famous Alaskan-Canadian (AlCan) highway. Faced with the chance to see a trip of a lifetime captured on Saga, how could we say no?

As you can see from the map at right, she did it. All 9,315 miles, in just over two weeks, in a single rental car. Apparently this broke a record for the rental car company, and naturally Saga tagged Lindsay with the Road Warrior trait. Along the way, she visited fast food restaurants, hotels, landmarks, and other businesses. You can check out the lengthy bundle of locations along the entire route by clicking here.

10521974_665892696825399_3175420838078201729_nTake a scroll through the gallery below, and see some of the amazing views that make this itinerary one of the most desirable ones to travel. Lindsay is a great photographer, and these are just her iPhone versions! Apparently, she shot so many rolls of film that it will take a few weeks to get them all developed.

Don’t forget you can always apply for your own Saga Excursion grant. We’re always looking for cool itineraries, from your neighborhood to the world. We love photographers, foodies, … Read More

Categories: Excursions