I love data, always have.
To feed this love and to compile data sets for my quantified self research, I recently added the Netatmo Weather Station to the other nifty devices that monitor and quantify my everyday life, including Fitbit Aria, Automatic and Nest.
Having so many data sets and visualizations, I’ve observed my interest peak and wane over time. On Day 1, I’ll check the app several times, just to see how it’s working. Between Day 2 and Week 2, I’ll look once a day, and by Week 3, I’ve all but forgotten the device is collecting data.
This probably isn’t ideal, and I’ve noticed that even something that I expected would work, like notifications, I tend to ignore, e.g. the Netatmo app can send notifications on carbon dioxide levels indoor, temperature outside and rain accumulation outside, if you have the rain gauge.
These seem useful, but I tend to ignore them, a very typical smartphone behavior.
Unexpectedly, I’ve come to love the monthly email many devices send me and find them much more valuable than shorter interval updates.
Initially, I thought I’d grow tired of these and unsubscribe, but turns out, they’re a happy reminder about those hard-working devices that are tirelessly quantifying my life for me and adding a dash of data visualization, another of my favorite things for many years.
Here are some examples.
Although it’s been a while, I did enjoy the weekly summary emails some of the fitness trackers would send. Seems weekly is better in some cases, at least for me.
A few years ago, Jetpack, the WordPress analytics plugin, began compiling a year in review report for this blog, which I also enjoy annually.
If I had to guess about my reasons, I’d suspect that I’m not interested enough to maintain a daily velocity, and a month (or a week for fitness trackers) is just about the right amount of data to form good and useful data visualizations.
Of course, my next step is dumping all these data into a thinking pot, stirring and seeing if any useful patterns emerge. I also need to reinvigorate myself about wearing fitness trackers again.