Tracking article in the Telegraph

I was interviewed and photographed for an article in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper which went to print today (article). I enjoyed getting exposure to the whole process of article generation for a newspaper and while there were some aspects I found annoying it was overall an enjoyable process.

My quick thoughts:

  • Newspaper Sensationalism – the Telegraph came up with a title “Meet the Fitness Tracker Obsessives” which fits with what their audience might expect but doesn’t actually match the tone of the article. Obsessiveness carries an unduly negative tenor that just doesn’t fit with the optimism, excitement and feelings of self-empowerment that characterise the QS and bio-hacking communities that I’m involved in. That said, I’m not terribly surprised that a newspaper might represent it this way as their business model is selling subscriptions which involves finding catchy titles that meet their audiences expectations rather than challenge them.
  • Short Form Content – short-form content has limits in how much research the content goes through and I’ve seen some pretty bad content show up as a result but in this case the journalist — Katrina Megget — showed personal interest and a professionalism that made me feel good about newspaper reporting. It was a pleasure working with her on this and I feel her content was very appropriate and caught the spirit of the QS and bio-hacking movements. The telegraph — of course — cut the article down in size — but I still feel the tonality that Katrina produced came through.
  • Photography – being a amateur/hobbyist photography myself I always look forward to chatting up professional photographers. So when the Telegraph photographer showed up I was happy to see that he was using Canon equipment — because that’s the religion I preach, and more importantly allowed me to dig into the weeds a bit more — and while I was jealous of some of his equipment I came away feeling like my photography investments (lenses primarily) were inline with “accepted professional views”. 🙂
  • Silly Photographs – I laughed when the photographer saw that I was dressed in jeans and button up shirt … he said something to the effect of “sorry but I think the newspaper would like a newspaper photograph and maybe imagined you to be in workout clothes with all of your devices attached”. We both laughed but the photo above is what came out (after agreeing that all of my devices wouldn’t fit on my body). To my surprise the article actually had a second photo of me in my regular attire too but I did have to hold up my glucose monitor (btw, that reading of 3.4 mmol was my all time low … I cheated a bit).


Forerunner Unreliable

I’ve used various models of the Garmin Forerunner for years and feel some brand loyalty to the products but it is wearing a bit thin today as my Forerunner 620 completely screwed up yesterday! This wasn’t the first time — I was getting some VERY odd behaviour earlier in the year — but a factory reset got it back to working well up until yesterday where it decided to press the “stop” button twice on my long run. Suddenly about 10 miiles into my run I realised I had no idea how long I’d gone (as I hadn’t realised the run had been stopped)!

This was terrible but due to somewhat familiar terrain I was able to guestimate my distance and got to what I thought was 20 miles only to find out on my return that it was only 18. Very annoying.  

Fitbit Reunion

FitBit One

I’ve been a big fan of the FitBit since its introduction a few years ago. In my years as a fan I’ve developed a bad habit of losing my FitBit. Since then the FitBit has gotten smaller, rounder, and more losable. So I must admit — with what I would like to state as a shared responsibility — I lost my FitBit (again) about two months ago. I continued to get battery update messages that seems to indicate that my little tracker was still sleeping in the house but unlike iPhones there’s no “find my FitBit” app available. Yet, these little battery reminders kept me hopeful that my lost FitBit would find its way back to me. I gave it two weeks. I added another two weeks. Christmas came and went. I hadn’t received a battery notification in ages. Could my FitBit have sung its last song? Well no, as it turns out. I finished a run today and after showering decided to put on some comfortable but highly unseasonal clothes and guess what was hanging to these clothes in a death grip? Yup, it’s my FitBit come back home. Welcome home little buddy. I’ve missed not having you around.

FitBit, part two

My new FitBit has arrived today and not only does it appear to work but they sent me the updated version that has a sensor for altitude and is meant to measure stairs/steps. Not sure if this new sensor will be helpful for me but I’m happy to try it out.

Survey: Personal Data–Interest or Ease of Capture?

I love tracking data about myself. I have kept track of my weight and body fat for years. When I run or cycle I track my routes with GPS applications. Now, during the day I measure my general activity levels through the FitBit clip. In any case, if you’re anything like me you appreciate how this data provides insights and motivation toward achieving goals.

This past week I spoke at London’s monthly Quantified Self group about a question that had been rattling around in my head for some time …

Is it my interest in the underlying data or the ease of getting the data that makes me successful with some measurements and not others?

I don’t think there is a definitive answer as each person brings their own circumstances and context into the problem but I would like to know more about how people think about this. For this reason I’m conducting a simple survey on this topic and if you’ve got 5 minutes free I’d love it if you’d fill in the survey here:

Survey: Interest versus Ease of Entry in Tracking