Saturday, January 30, 2010

Measuring Life

I know I just posted about this, but I've learned a few things now and need to voice what they are.  I told a friend about (yfd) and was immediately referred to  The UI seemed more user-friendly than yfd.  I soon learned why.

Daytum is basically a counter.  If you want to count the drinks you've had, Daytum.  If you want to count the number of apples you eat, Daytum.  Limited, but user-friendly.  Yfd, has a more flexible data structure. You can specify the type of data (categorical, event, counter, measurement), and they... tag items better.  This wouldn't seem like a deciding factor, but Daytum, for example would not let me differentiate watching southpark on jtv and watching basketball on jtv.  Maybe I'm missing something, but it was frustrating, and just decided I'd put my Measuring Life efforts into yfd - because of the increased flexibility in what and how to measure my life.  Another important (deciding) feature: I couldn't figure out how to track my weight on Daytum - I came up with a hack to do it, but it seemed I would have to download the data myself and view it that way.  Anyway, yfd it is.

I decided that logging my life this way needed to be an extremely simple process.  There's a visualization tool that yfd provides that will pair two "actions" and generate graphs of the duration between those two actions.  So, whenever I start or stop an activity, I use the following rules: Start) "action"-ing, Stop) "action"-ed.  Now whenever I'd like I can pair these actions and keep track of how much time I spend doing them.  For example, I am "blogging" right now, and I will have "blogged" when I'm finished here.

If my comp's on, then logging this data is pretty simple and takes <10 sec.  If I have to use my (unreliable) BB Storm, then it takes <15 sec, or my phone's not working properly and it doesn't get logged.

Using twitter to do this is pretty simple.  You follow @yfd and create and account with, @yfd requests to follow you and voila!  For what I'm doing, adding data is simple.  Just tweet "d yfd running" when I start running, and "d yfd ran" when I'm done running.  Or sleeping, or cooking, or eating, etc.

More generally, the syntax has a format something like this:

d yfd [action] [value] [unit] [time] #[tag] #[tag] ... #[tag]

... something like that.  For now, I'm keeping it simple.

Sorry, Daytum.  You just don't cut it in this analysts book.  Next I'll be looking into, whose syntax is a little different.  The functionality doesn't appear (on the surface) to be "better" than yfd, but we'll see.

Pick o' the Post #5: "The Day that Never Comes" by Metallica on Death Magnetic

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