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Better Living Through Data 38

Posted by timothy
from the we-call-them-insomnia-anomolies dept.
jradavenport (3020071) writes "Using two years of continuous monitoring of my MacBook Air battery usage (once every minute), I have been able to study my own computer use patterns in amazing detail. This dataset includes 293k measurements, or more than 204 days of use over two years. I use the laptop over 50 hours per week on average, and my most productive day is Tuesday. Changes in my work/life balance have begun to appear over the two-year span, and I am curious whether such data can help inform how much computer use is healthy/productive."
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Better Living Through Data

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:17PM (#47558333) Homepage Journal

    It's nice that you have data. Not having data is worse.

    But you have a one-subject unaligned, uncontrolled collection of data. The line between inference and magical thinking is narrower than you think, and just because the skinner box gave you food when you crooked your neck doesn't mean crooking your neck causes food to come out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It depends on what you use the data for. The skinner box setup could provide a time series when a particular bird gets hungry (enough to crook its neck). Helpful if you only care about predicting when the bird might get hungry.

      In the battery instance he sounds like he's asking if there's any use for this data in analyzing his personal work-life balance(?) which to me seems a bit of a stretch.

    • Ikan, This is EXACTLY why big data like hadoop and hpcc is so popular. Sure, 20 years ago your MS Access RDBMS would never lead you to this answer. But we have got bigger and better systems now. We have MORE of everything. Believe me, if you haven't used a 120 petabyte quantum causality database recently you are missing out on all the good stuff.
  • >> The first feature that popped out to me: you can see I spend most mornings at a cafe.

    Get a job, get a girlfriend or get a family and this "problem" will be solved for you.

  • you have data (Score:4, Informative)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:30PM (#47558437) Homepage Journal

    but the data serves you no purpose, besides that it probably shows your battery isn't as good as it used to be.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:33PM (#47558469)

    I am curious whether such data can help inform how much computer use is healthy/productive

    You could keep stockpiling this data for your whole life, die, and draw the conclusion that all that computer usage must have killed you.

  • I use the laptop over 50 hours per week on average, and my most productive day is Tuesday.

    Yes, I'm sure that what you measured was productivity.

    Maybe an even better measure of productivity would be a measure of how much energy your GPU uses?

  • An amazing fact: It is a proven fact, that everyone who ever died, used to breath the air. So, if you don't want to die, don't breath the air
  • But I decided to use your numbers as a baseline definition of unproductiveness anyway. Really, I had no idea you could abuse a computer this way.
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:50PM (#47558625)

    "and my most productive day is Tuesday"

    Are you seriously attempting to correlate battery use and productivity? Using MS office should have very little battery drain as compared to CPU/GPU intensive applications but it doesn't mean one is more productive than the other. I can open a browser and play a flash game and use more battery than I would if I were writing code. Simply using the laptop also doesn't mean productivity, as browsing the internet isn't productive but uses battery life.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:54PM (#47558655) Homepage Journal

      I can open a browser and play a flash game and use more battery than I would if I were writing code. Simply using the laptop also doesn't mean productivity, as browsing the internet isn't productive but uses battery life.

      Conversely, a graphics designer creating and rendering complex 3D models all day would use far more battery life than someone using Excel to create a catalog of their Magic cards.

  • Good grief ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainDork (3678879) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:55PM (#47558665)

    Got any thorough analysis, with Power Point slides, on the frequency at which you clip your toe nails?

    Waste byproduct in SI units would be helpful, as well.

  • There you go suggesting yet another 'useful' way for companies to monitor me and try to monetize my data. So target advertising won't be enough, soon it will be targeted and timely delivered as well in the process slowing down my (what's supposed to be) high speed connection. At the same time I get bombarded with irrelevant junk that is transforming what is supposed to be my productive time in to a never ending fight to maintain that conference call and somehow kill that the pop-up of some skillful, artisti

  • this person had nothing better to do with their life, no outside activities to occupy their time, no significant (or insignificant) other to fool around with, or anything else that "normal" people would do.

    Clearly they are so bored and don't have enough work to do that they had to find something to occupy their life.

    Congratulations! You are the shining example of someone living in their parents basement.

  • Totally OT, I'm afraid, but the "bigdata" tag reminded me of this music video for Big Data Shoes [youtube.com] that I discovered just yesterday. It's funny. Watch it.

  • just a guess: none. Unless, of course, we're comparing it to other activities like running, cycling, playing with children, sex, and driving the right kind of car. Then it's less than none.

    Compared to alcoholic drinking, computer use is very healthy.

  • Learn to use the search function cmd-space. You can launch everything from there and can do simple stuff directly in the search field like 145 * 75 * 0.19 to calculate VAT for a bill.
    Learn about the shortcuts.
    Consider digging into AppleScript and/or automator.
    E.g I have a nice script that allows me to create an appointment/event in a google calendar (which I access via webcal with the iCal application) by clicking on a date in a web site.
    Learn to use the Terminal.app .... the unix shell.

  • history | awk '{a[$2]++}END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}' | sort -rn | head -n 20

    Better than using battery life. Course it only works for commands you run in the terminal.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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