Personal tracking with Ed Hunsinger: part big data, all man

Playing with your own big data: Ed Hunsinger at South by Southwest Interactive 2013. 

Ed Hunsinger: part man, part machine; does this equal…cyborg? Not quite. It’s all perfectly normal and you will see more and more 2000 Men and Women soon, tracking their bodies’ performances with data selfies, using such devices at FitBit,( http://www.fitbit.com/ ), Storm, latitude tracking, RunKeeper (http://runkeeper.com/ ), Foursquare (https://foursquare.com/‎ ) to post and track your own whereabouts,  and a blithering host of apps that allow you to monitor every square inch you occupy and every breath you take.

Hunsinger is tracking his body and everything he does, and he’s leveraging SPlunk, his company’s IT log analysis software, in this project. He’s pulling down Twitter data and analyszing it with SPlunk.

There’s tons of apps that you can use to gather data, Hunsinger said, highlighting Bioblogger as one app worth testing out. The challenges lay in pulling the date out of the apps and tracking sites and massing it to measure and track the aggregate data.

“I want millions of data points, ” Hunsinger said, darkly hinting at APIs and ISO time-date stamps and a script he wrote to pull data from FitBit. For those who want to play along, check his Github, which is under the name Ed Rabbit. Look for biblogger.

Hunsinger noted that the act of tracking data affects the data. So he tries to work with trackers that collect data passively, as much as that is possible.  He directed interested parties to look into Lumo (LumoLift, LumoBack) and ZEO (now defunct: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeo,_Inc. ).

You put on the headset, hit button, and the device knows when you dreams at night and when you are awake. Hunsinger uses a six-month battery on the device so that it runs passively without needing his attention.

He challenges developers to come up with more effective tracking and reporting software, apps that work silently to gather data.

May the best software win. And let the Data Hunger games begin.

Links

More images from 2013 South by Southwest Interactive
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairwiloh/sets/72157632980772104/

http://eventifier.co/event/sxsw13/clairwil

2013 SxSW Interactive Presentations on Soundcloud 

https://soundcloud.com/officialsxsw/sets/sxsw-interactive-2013

Find out more about the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

http://sxsw.com/interactive

Conner Zwick: sweating the small details for hardware innovations. Hardware Kicks Software’s Butt at SxSW Interactive 2013

College dropout whiz kid  Connor Zwick. Hardware is the new software. Presenter at the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas.

 Hardware Kicks Software’s Butt at SxSW Interactive 2013

Conner Zwick has one word for you and the word is not plastic..it’s hardware. He dropped out of college, armed with the basic skills of CAD and a knowledge of electrical engineering, and went to work on high-quality prototyping. To those who want to follow in his footsteps, he says there are tons of tools out there to work with and resources to help you learn.

He set out to design something that would be a “joy to use.” But, to get to the prototype, there were design dilemmas. Hardware start-ups are the sweet spot for profits and this has big implications for new things to come to market in 2014.

More images from 2013 South by Southwest Interactive
http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairwiloh/sets/72157632980772104/

http://eventifier.co/event/sxsw13/clairwil

2013 SxSW Interactive Presentations on Soundcloud 

https://soundcloud.com/officialsxsw/sets/sxsw-interactive-2013

Find out more about the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

http://sxsw.com/interactive

It’s alive! (responsible journalism). But newspapers are history.

“Craigslist” Craig Newmark, Poynter Kelly McBride on responsible journalism, at the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive 2013 in Austin Texas

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh – or they may kill you – Oscar Wilde. (Quoted by Craig Newmark at SxSW interactive 2013)

New standards of journalism in a new age (of journalism)  

Someone from Poynter went through the crowd, handing out a small pamphlet titled “100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better” to the large audience who had come to hear Craig “Craigslist” Newmark and Poynter’s faculty member Kelly McBride talk about what has gone wrong – and what’s right—in modern journalism.

“Journalism should be the immune system of democracy,” Craig told the crowd. “Without information, how can we vote responsibly?”

Excited, maybe a little bit nervous, but with a strong edge of humility, the well-known founder of Craigslist described himself as “a nerd” who became a customer service professional.

He and Kelly McBride summarized the recent woes of journalism. More than one-fourth of all journalists have been laid off since 2007, in part due to economic disruptors such as Craigslist, which took away a valuable source of revenue for newspapers (the classified).

It’s not that people aren’t consuming news content. But spite of the growth of digital news delivery, for every dollar of digital revenue $7 in print revenue has been lost.

You can tell the organization is eating itself when a bastion of supposedly solid journalism like CNN chooses to eliminate its own investigative news journalism department.

In addition to the economic struggles of the news industry, the journalism food chain has changed. Once the pecking order was local reporters, then mid-size newspapers, and finally national news outlets. Nowadays, entertainment news and social media is at the top of the pile, with mid-size news, national news, and national magazines in the middle and local news at the bottom. This topsy-turvy situation has encouraged gossipy, sensationalist news and the viral spread of misinformation.

It’s hard to judge the quality of the content being served in a business forced to put journalists on a “hamster wheel” where writers pump out content on constant deadline. Effective investigative journalism  takes time to produce.

In contrast, the Poynter Institute is supporting a journalistic environment where there is sufficient time to think—and it’s building a new framework for ethical, community journalism.

This means turning away from the current farce of “balanced” news, where manifestly absurd, offensive ideas are given a voice to counter sanity, in order to pay lip service to “fair” reporting.

McBride derided the cliché of presenting a news story in the “two viewpoints” pretense of objectivity.  This artificial creation of false balance – reporters giving equal weight to opposing views even though one viewpoint is demonstrably false or irrelevant, is a big part of what’s wrong with the craft of reporting.

So, how should a responsible journalist write a story? According to McBride, good journalists get smart (informed)—and then speak with authority about what’s going on.

Journalism and ethical reporting

One of Craig’s pet peeves is broadcast  journalists interviewing talking heads that sit atop PR hacks and lobbyists—“ A responsible journalist shouldn’t interview people who are paid to lie.”

He says being a news reporter is one of the most difficult careers to pursue but it is only a worthy calling if you deliver information that others can trust. We are in a bizarre situation right now, where we might feel more “truthiness” from watching an  “entertainment” show like The Daily Show, and find it surreal to discover news “actors” (as opposed to anchors) on global news networks, whose only involvement in a story is reading the words off a teleprompter.

Integrating journalism into communities

Social media has been a disruption to traditional journalism. The product has been the article, photo, or Vine/Youtube post as content. That social news product enhances, and helps to build, community. Citizens can inform themselves with the right tools: consider Politifact, a great combination of news and nerds.  (http://www.politifact.com/ )

But news gathering by community journalists, according to Newmark and McBride, are not rivals to professional journalism, although they augment and help to redefine its purpose and methods.

Consider the news opportunity created during the Huffington Post Obama fundraiser when the phrase, “clinging to guns and religion,” was released by the media. Consider how the recorded and shared  “48 percent” quote during a Romney fundraiser may have altered political outcomes.

Journalism is also a business. But it should differ from other industries, where the product is perceived as a means to an end. With responsible journalism, community should be the end product of the reporting of truth.

Traditional journalists saw community as a resource to create something else. McBride says that we should rethink this and recognize that community is an end in itself.

Newmark says that citizen journalism is good, but we need trained editors, content curators, fact checkers, professional writers and professionalism in every area in order to have responsible, quality journalism.

McBride and Newmark shared two lists of journalism values for the audience to consider. One was time-honored, from Mother Jones; the other is suggested by The Poynter Institute  for journalism in a new era of community.

Mother Jones: journalism values

  1. Seek the truth and report it.
  2. Be independent.
  3. Minimize harm.
  4. Be accountable.

New set of journalism values suggested by Poynter

  1. Seek truth and report it.
  2. Be transparent (about what you know and what you don’t know).
  3. Engage the community as an end.

Poynter has a book out if you are interested in finding out more about their ideas of what journalism could become. http://about.poynter.org/about-us/press-room/poynter-publishes-definitive-new-journalism-ethics-book

And Craig Newmark is out there, talking at events like SxSW Interactive about responsible journalism, trying to help, supporting groups like Poynter: “A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do. Nerds are always outsiders.”

Responsible journalism is the immune system of democracy – Craig “Craigslist” Newmark

  

Listen to the presentation on Soundcloud

More images from 2013 South by Southwest Interactive

2013 SxSW Interactive Presentations on Soundcloud 

Find out more about the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas

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