Daily Archives:March 10th, 2012

Personal Analytics

I wrote a few months back about how I was using a GPS logger to keep a record of my movements. Some people think I’m a little eccentric – I think that’s the word – for doing so.

But my data-gathering is nothing compared to Stephen Wolfram’s. In a splendid Wired article called The Personal Analytics of My Life, he discusses some of the insights he’s been able to glean from his own historical records. One inspired idea, which I confess had never occurred to me, is to run a keystroke logger; he’s captured everything he’s typed for many years. (Now, that’s data you wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands!)

I once thought seriously about capturing, say, once or twice a minute, the image of my screen, which I could then later OCR, search, use to recreate lost documents, etc. But other than helping Sheng Feng Li with a system that did some of this for VNC, I never took it any further. Worth reconsidering, perhaps…

Anyway, many thanks to Richard for pointing me at the Wolfram article, which is worth a read.

I suppose that another way to analyse data about your life is to do the analysis on the fly and record the results there and then. That’s called a blog.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser