Quantified Self Apps
  • DiethylDiethyl December 2016
    I just recently learned about the quantified self movement. The quantified self movement is a movement that seeks to use empirical and quantifiable information to track progress in self-enhancement/biohacking to give a more scientific approach to the pursuit.
    I've been able to find some pretty decent apps, so far as the cognitive side of things go. I've recently been using Anki an app for Linux that aids in learning and tracks memorization stats through flash card modules called decks. There are some really great decks available for download such as : Python, Computer Science, etc.
    I was wondering if anyone knew of good Linux or Android based apps that would be good for tracking other stats such as : diet, nootropics use, exercise, and sleep. They don't even really have to be separate or even specific for that matter, just apps for general journaling of personal development in a way that is quantifiable.
    I am also interested in hearing peoples thoughts on the quantified self movement and techniques that they personally implement to track their personal growth/development.  

  • HuguesHugues December 2016
    I mean, if the goal is to demonstrate that a specific treatment or medicine or training has a positive impact on someone, then usually we should proceed with a randomized controlled double-blind trial. That means some participants receive the studied treatment/... then some others receive a placebo. After a certain period of time, the participants are assessed by other persons who do not know which participants receive the treatment or placebo.

    So the quantified self movement is falling short in my opinion and their claim will lack credibility.

    I think.
  • tekniklrtekniklr December 2016
    I think that demonstrates a misunderstanding of the goals of the quantified self movement. QS is not about making science or discovering general purpose things, it's simply about collecting personal heuristic data.

    Probably the most common QS metric is weight - and most people don't weigh themselves to create general scientific applications, but rather to observe personal trends. Taking into account other metrics (steps walked, calories consumed, hours of sleep, minutes exercised, etc) concurrently can give you a better picture about what might be going on with you as an individual, providing you keep logs for a long time and change only one thing at a time. Biology is really incredibly complicated and learning that something like getting more sleep helps you lose weight is a useful thing for you to know, but just because that might be true for you doesn't mean it would be true for anyone else.

    Even if you aren't trying to effect personal change, some people just like logging their data. I fall into this camp. Years ago, before smart phones even existed, I would log time, distance, average speed, and max speed for each of my bike rides using a bike computer, storing that info in a tab delimited file on my linux machine. I wrote a perl script to parse that data and graph it, so I could see how I gradually got faster on my rides (despite always feeling exactly as slow as when I started). Things like strava make QS almost too easy these days :)
  • DiethylDiethyl December 2016
    Thanks for the input guys. I suppose my research in nootropics doesn't technically qualify as QS unless I were measuring actual quantifiable metrics like brain chemicals produced by intake of certain compounds, which I in now way have the facilities to do. I suppose I do need to take a different approach in terms of something more subjective like cognitive performance while using nootropics. In the past I have limited the variables by taking one compound at a time but, have not considered double blind administration, probably because I didn't have anyone willing to administer strange compounds to me in the past.
    I suppose what I'm really trying to find out is how quantifiable metrics such as diet, exercise, and sleep effect my subjective mental/cognitive state.
  • tekniklrtekniklr December 2016
    While you might not be able to measure your actual brain chemicals at home, you can measure your performance on something like memory or mathematical tasks, or your mood using something like MoodPanda