Chapter 2. Quantifying Yourself

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”

Lord Kelvin

Data is a powerful tool for changing behavior. The act of simply tracking changes one’s perception of that activity. Summarizing the data over time provides a yardstick by which to measure, and the act of tracking activity over time uncovers patterns in behavior and provides definitive answers to self-experimentation questions. The structured data in HealthVault provides such an opportunity. Moreover, the HealthVault ecosystem offers a variety of applications and devices to assist in this endeavor.

In this chapter we will explore how a consumer can use various devices to track critical health measures. We will also use common tools to explore the data stored by devices in Microsoft HealthVault. We’ll capture and view some data, then use a PowerShell plug-in to extract selected data to a CSV format and manipulate the data in that format.

Fitbit is being used in this chapter just to illustrate the ways you can use data from all kinds of devices, so long as they provide a gateway to HealthVault. If you’re not using Fitbit, I encourage you to download the sample Fitbit sleep data included as part of this book’s examples, and follow along.

How Fitbit Tracks Sleep

Fitbit is a pedometer on steroids that enables you to monitor a number of aspects of daily living. This chapter concentrates on sleep because Fitbit has been very popular with users trying to understand and change their sleep patterns. ...

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