Personal event log: call to arms

I have a dream. That my phone and laptop (and Pebble watch and Misfit, etc etc) would log every conceivable event they record to a single database with timestamps. Things like “started charging” and “display turned on” and “sms sent” and “motion detected”. Having that underlying timestamp+event data would make possible so much quantified-self hackery. Also I could find out how long anything took after the fact by matching up the right events (“no phone motion all day till 17:23 so that must be when I walked out of the office”).

I put together a proof of concept with Tasker for Android. Tasker lets you capture every event imaginable (you can even customize the sensitivity for events like “phone is shaken”). I just had it writing timestamps and events to a flat file on my phone for several types of events that seemed potentially useful. But it’s way too tedious to set up, not to mention getting the flat file off my phone and doing something with the data.

I’ve been looking pretty hard for something like this and not finding it. Most recently I emailed with the Instant App folks who have a nice personal tracking tool. But it doesn’t have this killer feature of a central event log and it’s not exactly on their roadmap.

Does anyone else have a solution to this?

I don’t have a solution, but just wanted to add my vote for an app like this. Currently, I use TimeCamp to track my time but it only works on my laptop.
I went looking for a tablet app and found nothing… Maybe there is one for the smartphone but I spend too little time on it to care much.
That leaves me with a problem… when I have to reconstruct my day I have to resort to memory. Fortunately, I’m using the tablet for a few things only… Facebook (a non-work activity), Coursera and to read academic papers and books. So I can sorta remember what I was doing, or at least pretend I was being more productive than I really was.

On the back end I have the other problem you mentioned… in your “not to mention.”
Now that I have figured out how to download the data from TimeCamp, how can I effectively make use of it? I need to do some quick hypothesis testing but is there an app that can help? Or even a set of guidelines to do so manually?
It’s an unwholesome state of affairs.

I’m of the opinion that the last few steps of having wearable data available - i.e. the user actually using the data - has been left as an afterthought.

dreeves - I think we should be prompting developers to think from the opposite direction… starting with the user’s behavior, rather than the data.

Thanks for the tip to check out Tasker… will do so now.

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If you use Android we have done something similar on Smarter Time, which saves everything on the phone and also can receive apps from the computer. For now the event log export is quite crude, but all the data is here and it can be made more readable very easily. What my log looks like, in semi readable format:
13:43:08 MOVE_STOP 1470138188271 0
13:41:41 MOVE_START MOVE_WALK 0
13:41:09 NEW_PLACE 0 > Tue Aug 02 13:41:09 GMT+02:00 2016 0
13:40:07 ACTION_SCREEN_OFF 1470138007545 0
13:39:49 NEW_PLACE 621 > Tue Aug 02 13:38:59 GMT+02:00 2016 0
13:39:07 APP_L gmail > 13:38:21 - 13:39:07 0
13:39:07 ACTION_SCREEN_OFF 1470137947528 0
13:38:59 MOVE_STOP 1470137939279 0
13:38:46 NEW_PLACE 0 > Tue Aug 02 13:38:46 GMT+02:00 2016 0
13:38:30 MOVE_START MOVE_WALK 0
13:38:29 NEW_PLACE 621 > Tue Aug 02 13:38:29 GMT+02:00 2016 0

Edit : if you are looking for a higher-level log, it can also be exported from the app, example (raw csv):
Day,Timestamp,Time,Place,Room,Activity,Activity Category,Duration ms,Steps,Move,Device
20160314,1457910000000,Mon Mar 14 00:00:00 GMT+01:00 2016,home,office,video games,Art & Entertainment,2561989,50,still,
20160314,1457912561989,Mon Mar 14 00:42:41 GMT+01:00 2016,home,bedroom,sleep,Resting,26591266,19,still,
20160314,1457939153255,Mon Mar 14 08:05:53 GMT+01:00 2016,home,office,news browsing,Professional Life,4704415,51,still,
20160314,1457943857670,Mon Mar 14 09:24:17 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,683646,0,walk,
20160314,1457944541316,Mon Mar 14 09:35:41 GMT+01:00 2016,phone : pocket,Professional Life,1084440,0,vehicle,Nexus 5
20160314,1457945625756,Mon Mar 14 09:53:45 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,683096,2123,walk,
20160314,1457946308852,Mon Mar 14 10:05:08 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,bureau d11,news browsing,Professional Life,1610014,46,still,
20160314,1457947918866,Mon Mar 14 10:31:58 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,bureau d11,com,Professional Life,7509205,49,still,
20160314,1457955428071,Mon Mar 14 12:37:08 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,472838,526,walk,
20160314,1457955900909,Mon Mar 14 12:45:00 GMT+01:00 2016,Chef asie,eating out,Social,152010,0,still,
20160314,1457956052919,Mon Mar 14 12:47:32 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,337434,606,walk,
20160314,1457956390353,Mon Mar 14 12:53:10 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,cafet,eating out,Social,1846493,19,still,
20160314,1457958236846,Mon Mar 14 13:23:56 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,bureau d11,programming,Professional Life,7007803,81,still,
20160314,1457965244649,Mon Mar 14 15:20:44 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,389305,452,walk,
20160314,1457965633954,Mon Mar 14 15:27:13 GMT+01:00 2016,vehicle,Transport,222149,0,vehicle,
20160314,1457965856103,Mon Mar 14 15:30:56 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,666776,1066,walk,
20160314,1457966522879,Mon Mar 14 15:42:02 GMT+01:00 2016,Fitness Price,sport,Sport & Fitness,3399231,0,still,
20160314,1457969922110,Mon Mar 14 16:38:42 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,180966,268,walk,
20160314,1457970103076,Mon Mar 14 16:41:43 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,bureau d11,programming,Professional Life,6363264,44,still,
20160314,1457976466340,Mon Mar 14 18:27:46 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,salle 4,fundraising,Professional Life,918238,5,still,
20160314,1457977384578,Mon Mar 14 18:43:04 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,bureau d11,fundraising,Professional Life,3184032,128,still,
20160314,1457980387474,Mon Mar 14 19:33:07 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,salle b,phone : chrome,Art & Entertainment,181136,4,still,Nexus 5
20160314,1457980568610,Mon Mar 14 19:36:08 GMT+01:00 2016,Incubateur Telecom,bureau d14,meeting,Professional Life,148695,4,still,
20160314,1457980748620,Mon Mar 14 19:39:08 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,668355,0,walk,
20160314,1457981416975,Mon Mar 14 19:50:16 GMT+01:00 2016,vehicle,Transport,984152,1159,vehicle,
20160314,1457982401127,Mon Mar 14 20:06:41 GMT+01:00 2016,walk,Transport,622240,872,walk,
20160314,1457983023367,Mon Mar 14 20:17:03 GMT+01:00 2016,home,office,news browsing,Professional Life,5080122,24,still,
20160314,1457984906192,Mon Mar 14 20:48:26 GMT+01:00 2016,home,office,video games,Art & Entertainment,3197297,24,still,
20160314,1457988103489,Mon Mar 14 21:41:43 GMT+01:00 2016,home,kitchen,cooking,Chores,1075625,18,still,
20160314,1457989179114,Mon Mar 14 21:59:39 GMT+01:00 2016,home,living,phone : le monde,Art & Entertainment,129637,28,still,Nexus 5
20160314,1457989308751,Mon Mar 14 22:01:48 GMT+01:00 2016,home,living,television,Art & Entertainment,146674,0,still,
20160314,1457989455425,Mon Mar 14 22:04:15 GMT+01:00 2016,home,living,phone : le monde,Art & Entertainment,2381913,0,still,Nexus 5
20160314,1457991837338,Mon Mar 14 22:43:57 GMT+01:00 2016,home,living,television,Art & Entertainment,273571,7,still,
20160314,1457991837338,Mon Mar 14 22:43:57 GMT+01:00 2016,home,living,phone : pocket,Professional Life,2795012,7,still,Nexus 5
20160314,1457994632350,Mon Mar 14 23:30:32 GMT+01:00 2016,home,living,television,Art & Entertainment,230980,0,still,
20160314,1457994863330,Mon Mar 14 23:34:23 GMT+01:00 2016,home,office,video games,Art & Entertainment,1536670,0,still,

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Awesome, I’m on Android and just signed up for your beta!

Great ! For now only the history log is available, but we will make the event log as well in the next version (max 1 week). Please tell us at hello@smartertime.com if you need specific data, we may be able to add it.

Hi Emmanuel - I tried downloading SmarterTime (my second trial since last year) but I could only sign up for the Beta. I didn’t get any response … am I missing a step?

Probably as you were already registered. I resent the link to your mail !

I recently released Aware - an open source, private, Time Tracking application for Windows.

It stores time stamped program usage data, provides basic visualizations and allows you to easily export the data.

Apart from data about application usage, you can also turn on screen captures which lets you replay your day.

There is some documentation and details at http://www.Aware.am

The source code is at https://github.com/BucklingSprings/Aware

2 Likes

I used some time-logging program like this years ago and it had that screen capture replay function. I was amazed by how useful that was. It saved me more than a couple times when some program crashed and I otherwise would have lost my text.

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