When counting things just won’t cut it

Welcome to familysmarts.net.  In this third post I move past the stage of simply ‘counting’ things in the household datasets I generate, to a new stage where I seek a different type of data to support probing family data science related questions.

If you are new to this site, here is a brief overview.  Since 2013, I have been experimenting with family data science – or the process of drawing deeper understanding and insights to help my wife and daughters grow, stay healthy and be happy.  I am not (yet) one of those obsessed quantified-self data geeks nor do I buy into the fitness tracker fads either.  I also have no intentions of replacing intuition and the good ol’ role of parenting with smart bots to guide your loved ones towards doing the right thing.  Rather, I am just a curious dad who is convinced that a little 21st century IT along with a stream of the right data and analytics can help reinstate a healthy dose of household conscientiousness in between the joy, pressures and chaos of everyday family life.

I generate and maintain datasets that record key aspects of my family’s day-to-day lives.  I use these datasets to drive most of my family data science experiments and they can be grouped in one of two ways.

The first group is mostly transactional in nature.  Credit card purchases, blood test results or dance practice attendance are just a few examples of datasets in this group.

The second group is mostly analytical in nature.  These datasets aggregate, or count the different aspects recorded in the day-to-day transactional events. 

During the first few years of running my family data science experiments, I happily collected and aggregated this information.   For example,  I could tell you the number of hours my daughters spent at dance practice,how many times my wife and oldest daughter suffered from bronchitis during winter months, or the months during which I sent the most work-related emails.  

These analytics can be amusing for a little while, but as dad and husband, I wanted answers to more probing questions.  I wanted to know what happens to my daughter’s respiratory issues when we cut lactose for a period of six months?  How do my wife’s sleep patterns improve when she goes swimming on a regular basis?   Does my standing heart rate decrease during weeks of healthy eating and intense exercise?

To answer these types of questions I needed a new type of dataset.  One that would do less ‘counting’ of day-to-day events and instead more ‘explaining’ of how these events come together in unique ways that help my family grow, stay healthy and be happy. 

sergio@familysmarts.net

Importing your data to iPhone Health

Welcome to familysmarts.net.  In this second post I show you how to quickly import your personal health data to iOS 9’s Health app.  I assume you routinely record vitals data such as blood pressure, weight, and heart rate into a home-grown solution (i.e. none of those popular health and fitness devices on the market today).  In my case I use the combination of Microsoft Excel and a customized database. If you have a similar solution and you would like to easily visualize this data on your iOS 9 equipped iPhone then read on.

If you are new to this site, here is a brief overview.  Since 2013, i’ve been experimenting with family data science – or the process of drawing deeper understanding and insights to help my wife and daughters grow, stay healthy and be happy.  I am not (yet) one of those obsessed quantified-self data geeks nor do I buy into the fitness tracker fads either.  I also have no intentions of replacing intuition and the good ol’ role of parenting with smart bots to guide your loved ones towards doing the right thing.  Rather, I am just a curious dad who is convinced that a little 21st century IT along with a stream of the right data and analytics can help reinstate a healthy dose of household conscientiousness in between the joy, pressures and chaos of everyday family life.

Now let’s quickly jump into the solution. Beginning with iOS 9, Apple introduced Health, an app that lets you easily track and visualize your health and fitness information. Of course this app integrates out-of-box with most of today’s popular health and fitness devices.  My problem is that I don’t use any of these commercial devices and there is no out-of-box integration between my home-grown system and Health.   Alternatively, it would be great if I could easily import data to Health app via a standard format such as CSV.   A quick search on the AppStore and I found Health Importer app to do just that.

Health Importer did just what I needed and it was very straightforward to use.   Unfortunately it does not support the full breadth of health, nutrition and fitness data supported by the Health App but it is nonetheless a good start towards visualizing personal health data on my iPhone.

sergio@familysmarts.net

 

 

Is it time for household algorithms? 

Welcome to familysmarts.net.  In this first post I explore the role of software algorithms to help us better manage our day-to-day household.  You are probably wondering what do algorithms and households have in common?

Since 2013, i’ve been experimenting with family data science – or the process of drawing deeper understanding and insights to help my wife and daughters grow, stay healthy and be happy.  I am not (yet) one of those obsessed quantified-self data geeks nor do I buy into the fitness tracker fads either.  I also have no intentions of replacing intuition and the good ol’ role of parenting with smart bots to guide your loved ones towards doing the right thing.  Rather, I am just a curious dad who is convinced that a little 21st century IT along with a stream of the right data and analytics can help reinstate a healthy dose of household conscientiousness in between the joy, pressures and chaos of everyday family life.

You are probably still wondering what the heck algorithms and households have to do with one another.   Aren’t algorithms those sophisticated software bots used by Wall Street and insurance companies to make money and manage risk?   Yes they are, but if algorithms can help busy moms and dads grow and improve their families, why shouldn’t they have place in the day-to-day household too?

I invite you to join me on this new familysmarts.net journey where we explore opportunities, challenges and real solutions that can help you succeed with family data science in your household too.

sergio@familysmarts.net