Track Mouse Activity On Your Computer | FlowingData

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I love visualizations and I love understanding human behavior. Anytime I can get both in one tool, graphic, sentence, etc my heart skips a beat. So when I saw this post @FlowingData, I got really excited. You can even download an app to make your own visualization! cheers! http://flowingdata.com

Visualizing Music Listening Patterns

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Seems like every time I surf the net, I am always finding new visualizations and info-graphics that someone created to illustrate some obscure part of our lives.  

Recently, I found Last.FM Explorer, a web-based charting tool that will help the Last.FM user analyze their listening behavior.  You can track music tags, artists and tracks in either a stacked area chart or a stacked line chart.  

Attached is the visualization I created using my own Last.FM username.  While I am not surprised to see so much hardstyle, I am surprised to see how much my listening has dropped off in recent weeks.  Sure I have been busy, but usually when I get busy, I listen to music… wrong! 

I also like to see the variation in tags, everything from hardstyle, jazz, classical, hip-hop, to trance and cello, quite an array.  

This is a very cool tool, especially for us geeks! 

if you are a Last.FM user, head over to the Last.FM Explorer website, drop in your username and check out your patterns. If you post your charts to a website, please share a link in a comment below, my readers and I would love to see them. 

Cheers! 

Community Based Traffic Reporting

Traffic congestion is a pain in the you-know-what.  You are already late for work and then you run into a traffic jam only to sit and stare at the beater in front of you.  You didn’t even have time to grab a cup-o-joe before you left and was banking on the stale coffee at work.  Instead, you feel your blood pressure rising as you watch the drivers around you happily sippping their mochas while sitting in the same traffic you are. 

There MUST be a better way! And there is.  Enter Waze, “real-time maps and traffic information based on the wisdom of the crowd.” 

“The wisdom of the crowd?” you ask.  Yes, it seems that those other drivers sipping their mochas are also carrying smart-phones that run the free Waze app. These happy sippers have already reported to the Waze server traffic congestion on the freeway between your house and work. 

If you had it too, you would have known that there is a major traffic jam and Waze would have routed you to work a different, more convenient route given live traffic updates.   Did I mention it is free and works with Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Symbian?

Here is what Waze can do for you:

1) Report slowing and congestion that typically doesn’t make it to your local news’ traffic reports.

2) Are you Speedy Gonzales?  Using Waze, drivers can alert other drivers to speed traps.

3) Automatic routing around congestion, accidents, etc. Waze will calculate a route that gets you where you need to go.

4) much, much more

To check out some more information on Waze, visit their YouTube channel for tutorials, webinars, and demos.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been driving around with Waze on my Motorola Droid.   My impression:  Waze has huge potential, but it has yet to go mainstream.  While I love the features, the automatic, dynamic routing, the cute little bubble icon on wheels, and munching roads like I was pac-man, I have yet to reap the full benefits of the service because I am one of a very few people in my area that use it.  Santa Barbara is a pretty small town, but clearly this service will shine in metropoltian areas like Los Angeles and New York once the community builds.

What fascinates me most about this wonderful service is that it finally gets close to solving one of the biggest pet peaves in regards to traffic reports, congestion.  It seems the traffice reporters only tend to report accidents, not slowing or minor hazards.   While roads look clear according to their reports, the reality is they are not.   Hence a Waze user can warn others faster than it can make it to the traffic reporter. 

Sounds like Twitter you say?  Yes, it does, social media traffic reporting is the wave of the future.  Just like Twitter, Waze has the potential to build an enormous community, save us time and help us all save the environment by not idling our cars stuck in a traffic jam.   That last point, saving the environment is a huge one…  bigger than community based traffic. 

This is huge people, let’s get together and make it even bigger!

 

 

Week 51.2009 Triathlon Training Chart

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Week 51 of 2009 was my toughest triathlon training week yet and it had a few milestones. 

1) It is the first time I’ve run 8-miles!  Yes, I almost into the double digit run workouts. 
2) It is the first time I’ve biked up Ortega Ridge Rd in Montecito, going from sea level to 500+ feet.  Awesome ride.
3) It was also the first week that I swam more than one lap in the pool with the forward crawl stroke.
4) The first week in more than two months where I’ve had all four workout types: swim, bike, run, strength.

While this week was tough, it was fabulously productive. I feel great exiting this week and am looking forward to a lighter recovery week next week. 

For more of my triathlon training and race results, click here.

How Big Is Your Inbox?

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As an Analyst, I like to track trivial things, such as how much toilet paper I use and how much gas my car consumes.  

One of the less personal and perhaps more company oriented metrics is the size of my Outlook inbox at work. In fact, you can see in early December when the IT department made me aware of the consequences of keeping a lot of mail in the inbox.

You can see that it continued to grow over the summer until I realized that the auto-archive process on the new computer was not running from April to August.  With only a few data points since, I hope to keep the inbox size on a downward slope.

So, what is the point?  The point is if you live in your inbox, you must monitor it’s size or else you may pay the consequences.

So, how big is your inbox?

Collecting Self Data

“Self Data” is my term for any data set that I collect about myself.  From financial statements, to trips to the bathroom to how much each meal costs, they are all data sets that have interesting patterns.

An extra special data set I have are the results of my VO2 test that helps my track my fitness level.  From the first test to the second test, I about doubled my caloric burn rate and dropped my VO2 max by 15%.  I had made great strides in terms of fitness. 

This is why tomorrow morning’s test is so exciting to me.  How much further have I improved over the past year?   Can’t wait to see the impact of my behavior on this metric.