Overall, I traveled a little less in 2017 compared to 2016. My biking was down (I no longer commute downtown every day), but train travel was up, since I now live next to a MAX stop. I biked a total of 1,149 miles in 2017, down from 1,529 in 2016. I flew 44,796 miles in 2017, down from 55,271 in 2016. I spent only a little more time in cars this year, my least-used mode of transport other than walking. Car trips include me driving a car2go (very rarely), getting a ride in someone else's car, as well as taxis and Lyft rides. Sadly my bike mileage was just shy of 2x my car mileage, so perhaps I should make it my 2018 goal to double my car mileage on bikes.
While my plane trips dominate in mileage, the time spent in each mode tells a very different story.
I spent more time on my bicycle than any other mode of transport! 126 hours on bikes, and the next highest mode is 101 hours on planes.
My beverage consumption was split almost 50/50 between alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, with very little of anything else. (I don't track my plain water consumption because I drink way too much water to track it easily.) Out of 1,794 beverages consumed, only 5.7% were non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic.
My top drinks of 2017 were: Americano (coffee), Beer, Coffee, and the Boulevardier cocktail.
Overall, I tracked 16 different types of coffee, and 24 named cocktails. I lump specialty cocktails together and track them just as "Cocktail" otherwise it would take too long to enter all the data.
My cocktail of choice this year was apparently the Boulevardier, followed by the Negroni. I will also note that the Vieux Carré is way up there, which is notable because that is one that I don't make at home, I only have it at Imperial in Downtown Portland. It's $5 during happy hour so it's hard to pass up!
For tracking food, I use a web app, Teacup, which I bookmark to my phone's home screen. The interface prompts me with the most often used food and drink, and I can also type in new values if I need to.
For my trip tracking, I use my GPS tracking app, Overland, which I recently published to the iOS App Store! It's a pretty barebones app, but it works well.
It tracks my location all the time, which is used to geotag all my posts, as well as provide the weather information for the posts. It also lets me choose a mode of transport and start tracking a trip. Overland first sends the data to my Compass database, which then sends trips to my server which adds a map image and stores it on disk. Later I can query the server to find all the trip and the time/distance for each.
Below are notes from my workshop at the Quantified Self 2017 conference in Amsterdam. Thanks to everyone who participated in the workshop!
These are some criteria I use when determining whether a tool will actually be useful to me, and whether I want to invest money and time in the product.
How much active effort does it take to use? On a scale of:
Once you determine the level of effort the tool requires, ask yourself whether you are willing to put in that effort. Sometimes the value of a tool is high enough that you're willing to go to great lengths to use the tool.
How does the device sync? Does it require that a company run servers? Does the device download directly to your own computer?
For example, the Withings scale only talks to the Withings servers. You can download the data from their servers later.
The Eye-Fi card can download directly from the card to your computer, which doesn't require a third party service to be running in order for the device to work.
What kind of export options are available from the tool? Planning on the service at some point shutting down or planning on moving to a new tool later will mean you will want to choose a tool that ranks higher on this list.
There are several ways tools make money, and you should be aware of the profit motive of any tool you use. There is no "right answer" and no "wrong answer" for whether you should use a tool based on this, but it's important to be aware of.
Did you pay just one time to buy a device?
Are you paying a monthly subscription?
Is the company making money off your data?
For portable devices, battery life is often a huge concern. People often have different preferences for this as well. Some people are willing to charge a device every night, others want to not think about it for months.
My FitBit battery lasts around 5-7 days. That's enough to go out of town for the weekend and not worry about bringing my charger. I also can't charge my FitBit at night, since I wear it to track my sleep.
Related to battery life is what connector the device uses to charge. Is it a proprietary connector? That's usually less ideal since it can be more expensive to replace, and is harder to borrow chargers if you need. Thankfully most devices are moving towards charging via Micro USB or USB-C, so it's usually not too hard to find connectors.
Another thing to keep in mind is whether the tool you're considering has competition in the market. Are there other options you can switch to if this service shuts down, or if your device breaks?
Are there other services that provide this or similar functionality? If not, you might end up "stuck" as a customer, and the company will have little incentive to improve things or reduce costs.
What will happen to the device if the company shuts down?
A Jawbone UP is completely tied to the company existing. The band has no interface, and requires syncing with their iOS or Android app to continue working. If the company shuts down their servers and unpublishes the app from the stores, the device will be nothing more than a decorative bracelet.
A Withings scale will still be a scale if the servers shut down, since it actually has a visual display on the device.