A new tool guide for the QS Community?

Hi everyone,

I would like to get people’s opinion on this. I feel the tool guide on quantifiedself.com was an important asset for the QS community but the last update was 2 years ago, a lot of the tools in the guide are not available anymore and some new amazing apps and wearables have entered the market since then.

With this in mind, I decided to start working on quantifiedguide.com in order to provide guidance in the choice of self-tracking tools. I want this guide to focus on what aspect of their life people want to track and provide listing, ratings and comparison of the different trackers available.

Now, I would like to know if this is something that people are interested in. Do you believe that we need a catalog of all the different tools and ways to track our life or is this something superfluous?

I’m open to any comments and suggestions.

Thanks a lot for your time!

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This guide looks really useful.
Suggestion : articles about where to start and in-depth review would make it really better.

This resource could be very useful, if it’s kept up to date!

Do you have an RSS feed for additions and updates?

I like the faceted browsing on https://everymove.org/fitness-trackers, and see http://vandrico.com/database for another, comparable database.

I wouldn’t mind if the database was more opinionated. For example, the Fitbit does track calories, but it just infers that data from the step count (as do most comparable devices).

P.S. Check the spelling of exercice? :slight_smile:

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Totally! In fact, this “Where to start aspect” could be divided into sub categories depending on your tracking goal.

In an ideal world that would be great but an in-depth review takes a lot of time and there’s a lot of trackers to review. So the best way here is probably external links to existing in-depth reviews.

Thanks Frank for the feedback!


Yes, it is a big challenge to keep this up to date but I think it’s possible. I’ve coded some automation that helps in the maintenance. We’ll see how this will hold up in the future.

Not at the moment.

The faceted browsing can be nice, it’s a question of how to present it. Since everymove only focuses on activity tracking there’s much less filters available. I wouldn’t want the interface to have hundreds of different options but it’s definitely something to solve in the future.

I agree with you. With time, the specifications will become more and more precise.

Oups;)

By the way, Zenobase is in the pipeline. I should add it soon.

Thanks for your feedbacks Eric!

that sounds like a great idea!

Hi,

First of all, I think this is a great idea and execution.

Personally I am interested in tracking how the technology evolves - e.g. new sensors and methods which enable to gather more data in a casual setting.From this perspective, some of the thoughts I have:

  1. I’d love to see information on sensors (as opposed to measured characteristics some of which can be derived) and more technical specifications, ability to search and compare based on those.

  2. I’d be interested to see more specialized, less mainstream but still innovative devices, for example, like this one: http://www.megaemg.com/products/emotion-ecg/

  3. Do you expect involving volunteer editors to keep the database up to date?

Very nice. There are in fact a number of others working on similar curated directories, most notably Wolfram’s Connected Devices Project:

http://devices.wolfram.com/

which expands beyond QS into the Internet of Things:

http://devices.wolfram.com/measured-quantities.html

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This information is quite interesting but harder to get. Right now, the aim is more on getting a good overview of the tools available for specific tracking goal than digging deeper in each of them. Medium term thought, it’ll be a great addition.

Totally agree. This would be perfect in some more specific health conditions collections.

I’m seriously thinking about it. Just have to find how to set-up the process. If you are interested in being a volunteer, just send me a mail at sebastien@quantifiedguide.com.


The major difference I see with the Wolfram’s Connected Devices Project or Vandrico database is the inclusion of apps along side the wearables. Apps plays a major role in self-tracking and should not be dismissed when looking for tracking solution.

I could also point out that the grouping of tools in collections and the ability to compare them makes it pretty unique IMHO from what is currently out there.

Thanks for the comments! And great blog BTW!

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I’m restarting this thread to discuss ideas about how we can best support a new QS Guide to tools. It’s not too hard for us to publish a guide on the web, but the challenge is making a simple and sustainable editorial workflow for maintaining quality.

One idea is to create a topic here on the forum for suggested entries, with upvoting to guide us on inclusion and edits. Not sure there’s enough volume in the discussion for this to work, though.

Another idea is that we support the guide by charging toolmakers for enhanced listings, and use the money to pay for an editor. Not too sure about this: my intuition is that this would add quite a bit of complexity.

Our goal is to support self-tracking, especially sharing the discoveries of pioneering users with others who can benefit. We’re very small staff, so it’s important not to be silly.

Ideas?

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Hi Gary. I had suggetsed this in the other thread, didn’t know this one existed :slight_smile: sorry.

So I don’t think it should be an entry on the blog, I think it should be a maintained page by somebody official in the QS Community. This way, we can quickly provide the FACTUAL account of what each item includes and doesn’t include, while minimizing this watch suxxxx lolomg If you want to be sexy about it, it could even be a github page that people could pull-request to so that the work doesn’t fall on one person… but the seal of approval does depend on someone official.

OR we could go the other way like you said and have a hirearchy in the forum where there is say a category for watches, a category for home equipment etc, and each item is an entry that can be upvoted downvoted by the community (and where the community can come in and comment on the specifics). The problem there is that perhaps I’m not looking for the best, I just want a watch that will give me a good API and be waterproof… that is lost.

Hrm… we ccould combine the entries to where there IS an official page maintained by QS itself, but with links to subpages in a forum where the community could express whatever they wanted, if they wanted?

What say you?

I’d love to know why http://quantifiedself.com/guide/ didn’t get traction - why didn’t people keep contributing. I also added at least one entry for a scale, but didn’t feel compelled to get back to it. It must be one of those hard-to-pin (lack of) stickiness situations.

Was it the lack of SEO? The difficulty of contributing? The lack of engagement? The small size of the active community, below a critical mass? Do we have data from Google Analytics or the like?

Once we figure out the causes, we can start thinking of how to structure the new guide to avoid the same pitfalls.

@Dan_Dascalescu: I am discovering this tool guide with your message. This is a very interesting idea but hard to extract useful info out of it, as there are too many entries to manually sort through.

It would be great to have more tags on each device and do some combined search. For example using “sleep” and “heart rate”. And then be able to sort them through some of their specs (frequency of heart rate readings for example).

I imagine this would take a significant amount of work to collect this kind of data in the first place, particularly since it might require some digging for each device.

Also I think out of business type of devices are useful to have there, as a reminder of what went down. Ideally with some tag for that and a tiny history (ran out of funding for example). Again, probably a huge endeavor.

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Ideally you’d have a giant flowchart that helps people pick not just the right tools but also the right questions to ask, but that may be too ambitious…

The show and tell talks are valuable guides, too, as they show who used which tools to do what. This isn’t as convenient as a long list of tools, but arguably more useful.

If QS Labs had any resources available, developing guidelines for building or selecting tools (data access and privacy etc) could be an interesting project, though it’s unlikely companies would pay to have their products certified to be “QS-friendly”.

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If I could see all the entries on one page… That would make it easier to even bother to read through.

I think filters are key. I want to see watches that allow for heart rate and API… boom. Down to a few. As a visualization technique, may I recommend: http://isotope.metafizzy.co/filtering.html#combination-filters

Category 1: What type of device
Category 2: What features
Category 3: Price-range

Then all we would have to do is figure out how to keep the data live (I could recommend a github account that could be maintained by a few people).

What say you?

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Have a look at https://everymove.org/fitness-trackers, they have a nice interface with filtering by device type and feature, and sorting by price etc.

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The challenge is that it is a lot of editorial handicraft to responsibly create a guide. Our guide failed for a very simple reason: we weren’t motivated to maintain it. There wasn’t an eager group of editors clamoring for support, which would have felt different. We could have hired somebody to do it, assuming we could figure out how to support the expense, but this means we would be finding and hiring a new person to do a job none of us wanted to do. This is possible, of course, but in the absence of a compelling “call” from our community to create the guide, why bother? We aren’t into just randomly doing stuff! And yet, I agree that it seems to make sense that such a guide would exist. Abstractly, it sounds like a great idea.

So… I’ll just say that if there are some good ideas that come up in this discussion, or somebody really wants to work on it, we’ll give serious thought to how to support it. But we don’t have the answer!

PS: I agree with Eric that the Every Move list is well presented. But as an illustration of the challenge of maintenance: https://everymove.org/fitness-trackers/details/Basis-Fitness-Sleep-and-Stress-T

All good points, and Eric… it’s true that that list comes close… I still would like to see how I can access my information for my own purposes.

Gary, this is why I suggested Github… that way issues can be raised and addressed without needing to scour the internet to figure out what has changed.

… all that being said… if I ask myself one question: “would I want to take lead on this”… the answer is no… so perhaps that proves your point. :frowning:

I’ve created a basic GitHub page for this purpose. I’m new to this community so I’d love for you guys to comment or add suggestions:

GitHub: Awesome Quantified Self

Ideally this would be a multi-person project so any contributions are welcome.

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