Monitored self

I first heard about Quantified Self when my friend Marius Ducea did a “HealthOps” BoF session at LISA ’11. I’ve since come across several friends and colleagues who participate to varying degrees. It always struck me as a sensible thing for a sysadmin to do: monitoring is already a key part of professional life, so why not extend it to personal life? After all, the sysadmin is the most important system to maintain.

I never got into it myself, despite being intrigued by the idea. For one, I would want to buy all the cool little gadgets, and it’s not an expense that I can justify to myself. Second, my website would probably crumble all the graphs I’d make. Third, I don’t have enough impulse in me to overcome that inertia, it’s all being spent elsewhere.

Cool blog, bro, you’re writing about something you think is cool but have no experience with.

Relax, I’m getting to a point. Earlier today, I was chatting with Matt Simmons, who recent bought a FitBit for himself. The discussion turned to genetic testing. Matt expressed concern that knowing the results of DNA testing would bring on undesirable levels of paranoia, and I’m inclined to agree. It brought to mind one of the lessons from my monitoring manifesto: every alert should have a reaction.

In other words: if there’s nothing I can do about my DNA, I don’t particularly care to worry about it. Gene therapy is a rapidly developing field, and once it becomes affordable and effective, then maybe I’ll spin the GATC wheel. In the meantime, I’ll focus my efforts on things I can control. I really need to start doing that.