Friday, October 14, 2016

Keeping it all Together with @gyroscope_app

Look! I'm quantifying my self!

What does that mean? Well, I'm gathering data about several aspects of my life with the intention of better understanding my self, making better decisions, and becoming happier and healthier in the long run. That's some hippy dippy bullshit, isn't it? Well, it's also basically science. Using numbers, visualizing data and drawing connections that could prove to be helpful.

There are a ton of places where this data comes in. How well did you sleep last night? What did you eat today? How active were you? Were you productive with your screen time? How do you feel, as a result?

Almost everyone has a pedometer at the very least, tracking their activity throughout the day. It's built right into your phone. For the rest of these data points, there's tons of apps and tools out there. Unfortunately it's still kind of a wild west, and there's all different ecosystems for where this data gets stored and viewed. Your whole suite of tracking will likely hinge on what kind of devices you have on hand. Apple has Healthkit as a central repository, and Android has Google Fit.

I'm in the Android camp myself, so that means most of my tracking apps feed into Google Fit, and I get a decent dashboard out of it:


It's fine, for what it is. But it could be so much cooler. Nothing demonstrates that better than Gyroscope, a meta-tracking dashboard that pulls from even more sources. The way this all displays is so freaking beautiful, it's hard to capture in screenshots. It's all fluid and animated and has to be seen in action to be believed.






You can share your profile with friends, create groups, and even set your dashboard as your New Tab page in Chrome so you can always keep mindful of your progress. They give you weekly reports with timelines for each day and sweet heatmaps for your activity.

Here's some of the additional data Gyroscope can surface for you:
  • Where you've been (powered by Moves and Foursquare)
  • Your productivity with screen time (as deemed by Rescuetime)
  • Pictures you've posted on social accounts
  • Music you've been listening to (from Spotify)



They also have visualizations for your sleep and biometrics from wearable devices. They're even planning to show info about your DNA if you've set up with 23andMe. These features are behind a premium subscription, but believe you me the second the Android version of their app comes out I'll be all over it. For now I'm getting pretty good stuff out of the integrations already in play.


Of course not everything is perfect for everyone. Each time I highlight something like this, I have to include my personal bugaboos:
  • Music only integrates with Spotify. I use a mix of Google Play and iTunes, and log my listening with Last.fm, so that's a missed connection
  • The premium feature for sleep tracking seems like it only works for Apple users. As they work on an Android version of their app, I'm hoping they can pull from Google Fit or even better, take my graphs straight from Sleep as Android.
  • Place names from Moves aren't quite showing up properly, but I've reached out to support to see what can be done about that. I highly suspect the fault is more on Moves' end.
All in all, the whole thing is really awesome and highly recommended. If you use any tracking at all, pipe it into this site. You won't be disappointed.

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