The History of the Compass Lifelogging Application

In 2012 Chris Dancy went to Amber Case’s CyborgCamp, an unconference on the future of humans and technology. He wanted to show her a project he’d been working on for the last three years, over 600 different datasets of Dancy’s locations, activities, sleep patterns, weight and other data, color coded and synchronized with Google Calendar.

Amber Case & Chris Dancy

Origins of a mindful cyborg: Case and Dancy at CyborgCamp Portland 2012 and in 2015.

With this much data, Dancy was able to gain an entirely new perspective on his life. He was able to correlate sleep with weight, sadness or happiness, or even the effect of air quality on his driving.

For the first time, all of these different data sets were in one place – the ultimate personal perspective. Case was excited to see this and suggested he show it during an unconference session. Though Dancy was nervous – this was his private data after all – Amber didn’t give him a choice. Case switched the projector on to show Dancy’s work to everyone in the room. The work inspired dozens of questions and a long discussion. Klint Finley, a reporter from Wired, was part of the session and wrote an article on Dancy. The rest, as we say, is ‘Christory’.

Chris Dancy's Google Calendar

Chris Dancy’s lifelogging Google Calendar.

The World’s Most Connected Human

One year later Chris made his way into the larger world as “The world’s most connected human”. He’d stopped smoking and completely changed his behavior, but there was one problem – only he could use his system. It allowed him to see activities in a new way, lose over 100 pounds and significantly improve his life, but the system was an expensive undertaking that required a lot of time and effort. Dancy wanted others to be able to see their lives over time. It didn’t seem feasible or fair that we might need 600 applications and devices in order to understand their lives. With so much data, we run the risk of becoming so connected that we don’t have any time to reflect. Dancy wondered what anyone might be able to do with just the sensors on the phone. Case suggested he find a company in the space and seek their support.

Building an Application

Compass Application

Preview of the Compass app for iPhone.

A few years later, Chris found Healthways, a Nashville-based company with success in the wellness industry and recruited Case to work with him. Healthways invested in the project, and this week, the first results of their collaboration, an iPhone app called Compass was born. Tracking behavior is useful only when you can connect to other behavior in your life. Compass surfaces insights from your phone and shows you how you live your life. Too many hours at the office? Eating right? Flu got you down? Too much phone light affecting your sleep? Compass helps you to see what’s affecting you, and how it affects you. Our vision with Compass is for it to be an interface for your life, and to change your future. In a world of non-stop information, we could all use a bit of reflection – followed by action!

Join the Compass Alpha!

Compass is being made available as an alpha to attendees of the Quantified Self Conference on June 18-20, 2015 in San Francisco, CA. Interested? Sign up for the alpha at, or stop by our conference booth during QS15 and say hello! Or check out @mycompassapp on Twitter.

Sign up for the alpha!

Where do we go from here?

We’ve tried to distill the best methods and insights from Dancy’s tracking process, but it will take time to get there. We’re looking for feedback and soliciting people to become alpha testers for the app. There are so many non-connected devices out there. It’s not about what you track – it’s about what happens when you tie what you track together. We’d love to know how we can improve Compass to help you understand your life better.

An Introduction to Ward Cunningham’s Smallest Federated Wiki


Wiki-founder Ward Cunningham shared his idea of a Smallest Federated Wiki SFW during IndieWebCamp this June. In a few short weeks, he brought his idea to life and is inviting others to work with him on it!

What is SFW?

The Smallest Federated Wiki project wants to be small in the “easy to learn powerful ideas” version of small. It wants to be a wiki so that strangers can meet and create works of value together. And it wants to be federated so that the burden of maintaining long-lasting content is shared among those who care.


Project Overview

Source Code


Instance – New Simplest Federated Wiki Install
Live data – Try dragging around the sections to re-order them!
Live data rendered from JSON in JavaScript

Smallest Federated Wiki Collaboration Session

Come to PIE for a short hack session on smallest federated wikis. Max Ogden will also be joining us from San Francisco!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011 from 6–8pm


PIE: Portland Incubator Experiment
1227 NW Davis Street
Portland, OR 97209


Bram Pitoyo reviews Coda – a one window web development tool

In this video, Bram Pitoyo will show you how why he likes to use Coda, a one-window web development tool for Mac OSX created by Panic Software (a local Portland Company!). Along the way, he’ll demonstrate a few different features of Coda, as well as some of the more efficient ways to use it.

If you haven’t tried Coda before, you can get the software from the Panic Website.

About Bram

Bram Pitoyo is a major typography nerd and designer. You can follow him online at @brampitoyo.

Other Videos by Bram Pitoyo:

Tools for Visualizing Facebook Social Graphs

Facebook Graph in Three Dimensions

Facebook Graph in 3 Dimensions
Made with UCINet, NetDraw and Mage.

Social Graph of Ariel Waldman

You can do this for your network. Simply see these instructions:

Using Netvizz and Gephi to analyze a Facebook network

Read more at the Sociomatic Blog

Here’s what the output looks like:

Made with My Online Social Network app for Facebook, and visualized with GUESS.

I get a “not found” error.

But when I try to run it myself, I get a “Not found” error.

Social Network Graph of Amber Case

TouchGraph Photos seems to have been discontinued.

There’s an excellent Slideshare presentation:
Facebook network analysis using Gephi

Following an announcement on Sept 30 2009, Nexus friend grapher shut down permanently on Oct 7 2009. Nexus generated over 500,000 friend graphs for 84,000 users. It was shut it down because it’s creators no longer had time to maintain or operate it.

The Nexus site suggested a few possible alternatives: Social Graph, TouchGraph Photos, NameGenWeb (data only), Friend Wheel, Facebook friends Constellation. For Twitter, MentionMap.

Only one of these works for Facebook, and that’s Friendwheel. Unlike the others, it doesn’t group users in a way that shows the social gravity between users.

I was able to find another alternative, My Online Social Network app on Facebook, visualized with GUESS.

It also doesn’t work. I was able to find Flickr photos of the output from owners, and I asked them what happened to their apps. No responses yet.


I found Netvizz, which generates GDF files for GUESS and Gephi.

This is the only thing close to working, but when I run it, I get:

netvizz v0.3
Fatal error: Uncaught exception ‘FacebookRestClientException’ with message ‘This API call could not be completed due to resource limits’ in /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/php/facebookapi_php5_restlib.php:3374 Stack trace: #0 /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/php/facebookapi_php5_restlib.php(1723): FacebookRestClient->call_method(‘facebook.users….’, Array) #1 /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/index.php(124): FacebookRestClient->users_getInfo(‘13467,13903,124…’, Array) #2 {main} thrown in /var/www/fbapi/netvizz/php/facebookapi_php5_restlib.php on line 3374

I checked the resource limitations, and it is built to handle networks of up to 4500 connections. I only have 900.

Then I found this:
Facebook Mutual Friend Network Visualization in Flash

The interface lets you see which of your friends know each other. At any given time it will show one of your friends as the selected node (in bold), and any mutual friends as additional nodes. Lines between nodes represent friendships. Clicking a node will select it and you and the new person’s mutual friends will appear. Finally, the colour of the circles represents gender for now: yellow is female, purple is male, and grey is unknown.

Guess what? It doesn’t work either.

Also, a lot of the source code became part of the Constellation Framework graph visualization library so the creator can’t release it. Although he mentioned on his blog that he was hoping to do another Facebook visualization using Framework and make the source for customizations available, nothing has shown up on his site.

Now what?

Here’s my question: does anyone know of any other solid ways to visualize Facebook network data? If not, is anyone interested in getting the Nexus code back up and running? It’s available and generates the best visualizations I’ve seen out there.

Nexus source code: Nexus-2009-10-14.tar.bz2 (see MUST-README.txt, DEPLOYMENT.txt files)

It’s written in Python and JavaScript, but the code quality is “PHP era” (no test coverage, tightly coupled, other problems). The site creators mention that it will take two days to get a Nexus instance running. If you do not know Python or cannot use a shell on Linux, it will not work for you.

Quickly build a multi-user Delicious clone with WordPress and Delicious XML exporter

If you’re like me, you’ve probably got a lot of bookmarks saved on Delicious. If you’re not, you might know someone who does. With Delicious going offline, the question is where people are going to be taking their Delicious bookmarks? If you have a Delicious account (created after the Yahoo! acquisition), your only download option is a html download exporting to browser bookmarks. This doesn’t give anyone much freedom in where you can take your data. To ease this frustration, @aaronpk and I set out to solve this issue.

WordPress and Delicious XML

Here’s a live Delicious clone running WordPress with data from Delicious XML.

Delicious XML Exporter is an export tool takes your Delicious bookmarks and exports them as XML, allowing you easily import them into other systems.

Importing Delicious XML data to WordPress

Install WordPress and the three plugins here. This is a custom post type for storing bookmarks, a Twenty Ten child theme for displaying the custom post types, and an import tool which will import Delicious bookmarks from the XML export.

Once you install the plugins and theme, use the Delicious XML utility to download an XML file of all your bookmarks from Delicious. It’s secure OAuth, so you never have to enter your password.

Then, in WordPress, click on “Import”, and choose the “Delicious” option. Upload the XML file and press import. Your bookmarks and tags will be imported and functional!

Happy bookmarking!

Enjoy, and let me know if it works for you. If you find it helpful, let @aaronpk and I know!