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I weigh 209.4 this morning. That’s down from 220 when I Declared A Jihad on My Weight on 10/27/08 although it doesn’t look like I’ll make my Anti-Charity goal of 200 by 1/31/09 (more on that in a post on 2/1/09).
I was thinking about my weight this morning as I entered it into the online system at GoWear. I thought about it again when I entered it into Gyminee. And then into Daytum. I’m going for a run in a little while so I’ll enter it again into TrainingPeaks.
Here’s what I’m doing:
- Go to the appropriate web site.
- Choose the appropriate place to enter the data.
- Type 209.4 and press return.
Four times. Every day. Pretty ridiculous. If you reduce the data to its core elements, they are:
- Web site id [GoWear, Gyminee, Daytum, TrainingPeaks]
- User Id (almost always bfeld)
- Timestamp (or two fields – date, time) – automatically generated by my computer
The only actual piece of data that I need to measure is weight. I measure this by standing on a scale each morning. The scale is a fancy one – it cost about $100, looks pretty, and has a bunch of extra things I don’t look at such as BMI. I have an identical scale in my house in Keystone (although the battery is dead and needs to be replaced.)
Some day, in the future, I’ll be able to step on the scale. And that will be it. My weight will automatically go into whatever online systems I want it to. I won’t have to do anything else.
Of course, one of the assumptions is that my scale(s) are “network compatible”. While you may joke that this is the age old “connect my refrigerator to the Internet problem” (and it is), I think it’s finally time for this to happen. As broadband and wifi become increasing ubiquitous and inexpensive, there is no reason that any electronic devices shouldn’t be IP connected, in the same way that microprocessors are now everywhere and pretty much everything has a clock in it (even if some of them still blink 12:00.)
So, accept this assumption. Then, I’m really only taking about a “Brad-centric” data payload. While I’ll have a lot more data than simply weight that I might want in my payload, let’s start with the simple case (weight). Right now, we are living in a system-centric world where data is linked first to a system and then a user. Specifically, you have to operate in the context of the system to create data for a user.
Why not flip this? Make things user-centric. I enter my data (or a machine / device collects my data.) I can configure my data inputs to feed data into “my data store” (which should live on the web / in the cloud). Then, systems can grab data from my data store automatically. All I have to do is “wire them up” which is a UI problem that – if someone is forward thinking enough – could also be solved with a single horizontal system that everyone adopts.
Right now there is a huge amount of activity around the inverse of this problem – taking widely diffuse data and re-aggregating it around a single user id. This deals with today’s current reality of how data is generated (system-centric) but doesn’t feel sustainable to me as user-generated data continues to proliferate geometrically.
Enough. As I said in my tweet earlier today, “thinking about data. thinking about running. thinking about thinking.” Time to go run and generate some more data.
Every male tech nerd (and some female tech nerds) that I’ve known has at one time or another has fantasized about a robot bringing him (or her) a beer from the refrigerator. Thanks to my friends at iRobot that’s now possible.
Ok – that’s a Pepsi. But it could have been a beer. The future is closer than you think.
I’m knee deep in reading The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company, listening to Pink Floyd, and enjoying a perfect Homer, Alaska evening with Amy. I was an undergraduate at MIT during the Lucasfilm days of what became Pixar and vaguely remember early Media Lab / Project Athena animation stuff and watching super cool computer graphics wizardry post-SIGGRAPHs at the Computer Museum in Boston. Fortunately, YouTube has all the old classic computer animations online, including The Adventures of Andre and Wally B.
Awesome! (the animations and the book). While sneak peaks of this one and other old Pixar shorts are available on the Pixar website, due to the magic of the Internet they are all available on YouTube.
I’ve been bouncing around the world of video conferencing for a while. The guys at Raindance – a company I was on the board of from 1997 – 2002 – knew this stuff cold (and what worked / didn’t work) as they were previously the founders of LinkVTC (one of the first video conferencing bridge service companies.) One of the applications of the stuff Oblong (one of our new investments) is doing applies to video conferencing, and the little cameras on top of my computers occasionally get used.
While video conferencing is "ok" (and definitely 10x better today and at least 100x cheaper than it was a decade ago) it still sucks. My reaction to the demo of Cisco’s On-State TelePresence Holographic Video Conferencing system was "bitching." It’s pretty amazing to see it, even via online video. There are definitely some hacky aspects to it (as my partner Ryan points out, there is some sort of transparent screen being used), but it’s still incredible.
Another reason for airlines to be scared.
I believe that 25 years from now we will look back on the way we used computers in 2008 and think it was quaint. For a reference point, try to remember how you used a computer in 1983 (character-based screen, excitement over "graphics", and the year before the introduction of the first Mac.) Or go back to 1978 and the dawning of the Apple II computer.
I just don’t believe that in 2033 we will be fighting with the double click speed adjustment on our mice while moving our Windows Live Writer window to the left and right so we can see our browser or pressing alt-tab so we can bring our email window to the front to quickly respond to an email. The universal TV remote control – yeah, whatever. Worrying about which server our data is on? Air traffic controllers typing on keyboards? Uh huh. 3D walkthroughs and large scale data visualization being done using a mouse and keyboard? Right.
The way we interact with these things is going to continue to change radically. While I’m hoping the future view of Skynet is wrong, I’m going to keep reading and watching as much science fiction (which I think of as "potential science fact in the future") as I can. History helps also since it lets you draw a nice, spiffy curve through the data points. With your brain, rather than with your mouse.
If you are working in this area or simply fascinated by it, holler anytime.