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Category: Quant Humanists: the ‘I’ in API

Untrack Me

Assignment 06: Hack your tracker / Untrack me

Develop a method to hack one (or more) of your tracking apps. Write a short reflection about your hack – how did you do it? What information is gained or lost? What are the implications of hacking your data in the way that you did?

  • Obfuscate data/circumvention collection assignment. Develop a method to hack one (or more) of your tracking apps. Software or hardware solutions or a combo of both are welcome. Document your process.
  • Make an instructable about your hack (e.g. DNA Spoofing); you don’t need to make a video, but you should outline the steps to your circumvention in a public place, like Instructables.

So far I’ve been using both Reporter Application and Chrome Extensions along with Chrome History, however, for this week’s activity using Chrome Extension seemed to be a suitable target. Although Reporter Application also tracks various data such as distance and temperature, because it’s “reporting” system – I can always refuse to submit my report.

The Chrome site tracking happens all the time, but in order to have the history in json format, I’m weekly using another extension called History export. There’s another way to download the history as csv format. For my convenience, I use the extension. However, the extension does not include IP location so I have to manually type in the information.

The best way to obfuscate the Chrome history tracking is simple: usage of incognito window Under incognito, it’s possible to avoid the auto-tracking of my website visits – therefore, those won’t be exported to json file at the end of the week. I’ve actually been using this method when I revisit some websites in order to check their IP locations; because as I mentioned above, they don’t automatically get saved and exported. All the extensions are off in incognito window as default, so it’s important to allow access of IP Tracking Extension.




Assignment 06: Reflection

Write a short reflection about your hack – how did you do it? What information is gained or lost? What are the implications of hacking your data in the way that you did?

This week’s activity was relatively simple, due to the nature of Chome browser that is easy to adjust tracking options. Not only that, but also it was something I’ve been intentionally doing since the beginning of website tracking to collect IP location. It derived from the idea that revisiting of websites (to recheck IP location) shouldn’t be included in Chrome history list – because it’s only part of “tracking” process, not a natural visit. Consequently, my website visits during the process of rechecking IP locations are lost forever, under my decision. However, for certain decisions, there are always room for a debate. It made me rethink about a correlation between arbitrary decisions and data cleansing.


Quant Self Intervention

Assignment 05: Quant Self Intervention

Design or prototype an intervention that would help you to change your behavior based on the data you’ve gathered or based on the service you designed in you Quant Self Service. Tech or community or social based interventions are fair game.

  • make your intervention tangible; make it visual or physical in some way.
  • justify how your intervention works and why it is convincing for you and why it might (or might not) be a useful strategy for others.
    You might consider: – paper prototypes, a slide deck, a screen dummy, video, etc – using your quant self service idea as a foundation to build your intervention on

Language Usage Tracking

The following application only focuses on writing thorough keyboard in either mobile device or pc. If you are a new user, it will ask the access to data about when you change your language, because it can be sensitive information. Once the user confirms, it lands to the Welcome (Get Started) page and will set up language types and devices to synchronize.


After the registration, the application won’t ask accessibility question unless the user desires to stop the process of collecting data. Instead of Welcome page, now it will directly land on profile page and shows the average usage of different languages, list of languages, and list of synchronized devices. This page also has a role as setting page, so any visual change, language and device reset can be done in here as well. In order to see more details about data, tap the left top button and it will land on Time Map page. The default view of Time Map page is daily based.

Time Map

Once in the Time Map page, the user can navigate to further information as weekly based, monthly based, or yearly based data. Each page’s graphic is color-coded according to language, which is adjustable element in setting page. Through these Time Map sections, the user can discover such aspects like: “I use more Korean during weekends”, “English is my main language while I’m not on vacation”, and “My usage of English is increasing every year”.

Overall Wireframe



Assignment 05: Reflection

A short paragraph or phrase on what you learned this week.

There has been some confusion on the order of documentation posts, so I merely spent time reorganizing and making some updates on existing posts. The previous comment by Joey on assignment #6 is now under the proper post as a copy. It is definitely my mistake to carelessly overlooked the assignment details. On another hand, I realized that my assignment #4 and #5 were in a combined form after looking at some other classmates’ work – and how I’ve been often thinking user research and design as one chunk of practice, but they’re not.

It’s important to conduct user research in isolated manner from the design work itself, especially to keep objective view in both areas. One of the best ways to increase accuracy is testing many users as possible – which wasn’t an option in my assignment #4, because I was the only user to form the persona figure. At the same time, I’m aware that this service is targeted towards very limited user pool: people who speak more than one language. However, I still decided to proceed the idea regarding that this class is more about “I” and personal data.

Quant Self Service

Assignment 04: Quant Self Service

Develop a mini service concept around your own personal data.

  • Go through the process of and document creating persona, creating an empathy map, mapping your user journey (experience), sketching your service blueprint, and creating evidence of some of your service touchpoints.
  • State clearly (if possible) the opportunities you’ve identified based on your research and exercises and follow them through to make a convincing and thoughtful collection of experiences in your service.
  • make tangible some of your service touchpoints (for example paper prototypes, simple sketches, photographs/video). It is encouraged to prototype an aspect of your service or a video showcasing a scenario in which your service might operate to help make your idea more tangible.

Mental Model

  • Motives: Can the usage of certain language itself influence one’s mind or ways of thinking?
  • Expectation: Those who use more than one language have different occasions and tasks for each language.
  • Challenge: Hard to manually document every moment I change my language usage.
  • Currently using:
    • IP Tracking Extension (considering to stop it due to having less connection with language usage)
    • Reporter Application
  • Experience: The two tools are not working very harmoniously, and has low accuracy


  • The persona figure is solely based on myself.
    • Bilingual in Korean and English
    • Daily uses both languages
    • English for work, class, research and projects
    • Otherwise, mostly uses Korean but English rate is increasing
    • Has hard time tracking things daily
    • “Too tired. Don’t want to use the Reporter App”
    • “I forgot to put my Reporter App to Asleep mode!”
    • “Wait, this is Korean site but has Japanese IP address”
    • Uncomfortable how simple process became complicated
    • Fun to see unexpected aspects about my language usage
    • Curious about some IP address locations
  • DOES
    • Casually checks website’s IP location
    • Ignore report notification because it’s class time
    • Input my reports carelessly



Assignment 04: Reflection

A short paragraph or phrase on what you learned this week.

The main reason of making a service about detecting language usage was because it was something that I was searching for in the beginning of this class. There are many related research papers and article about relationship between language and mind development, but it was interesting that there wasn’t any automated tool to measure it. My idea for the assignment 4 has many flaws, and has incomplete quality. However, at least the moment when I merely imagined about this tool gave me the feeling of satisfaction somehow. On the other note, it’s tiring to collect two different sources of data (that don’t perfectly suit my purpose of tracking), but at the same time there were many unexpected aspects I found about myself. For example, during weekends my usage of Korean increased along with the number of added photos – which implicates that I take far more selfies when I’m with my Korean friends, compared to when I’m not.


Dear Data Visualization

Assignment 03: Dear Data Visualization

Using “dear data” as a guide, create a set of rules to visualize your data – you may use digital tools, but analog style is encouraged. Think about the ways in which Georgia and Stefanie parameterized the aspects of their records to produce their visualizations. Find ways to express your own personal style and aesthetic in the implementation of your rules.

My initial discussion about Dear Data in class was done with Krizia and Miki, and we decided to do a project about a daily commute (an in-class sketch is included on the first image). Unfortunately, we struggled to adjust our schedule for further meeting, so the collective visualization that adds all our data was canceled. Nevertheless, I proceeded my personal one and was surprised that my visualization is very different from Miki’s work, despite of the same topic.

This is the backside of my project, and as it’s mentioned: one dot represents one minute. I found out that I have cycle of “walking – waiting train – riding train – walking” every time I commute, so I distinguished each part with different color. Color for “walking” changes upon weather, although if it happens during night~midnight it will be consistently dark navy.

When I collected data, I didn’t want to carry around several pens and impulsively make mistakes on Joey’s awesome paper. To avoid that, I made a little form in flash cards so I can quickly write down times. The data for February 9th is bit extraordinary, because I went home late after drinking for while. Surprisingly, I kept myself to continuously write down data but in extra messy way. Not to mention the different distance changed the overall commute time in much longer way and I ran out of space in the final piece only for the day.




Assignment 03: Reflection

A short paragraph or phrase on what you learned this week.

On my first reflection, I wrote about what can be “meaningful” data collection – and hearing Aurelia’s advise, I decided to keep some passive and random elements in my tracking, because I agreed that having some diversity in raw collection will ultimately give more interesting results after it gets refined. Joey commented about what will be my hypothesis and questions; as much as I started to track IP address due to my curiosity about the relationship between language usage and activity type, I’m adding more questions in Reporter App that has to do with language usage. Many of Reporter App’s default questions are about activity, so if it goes well I think I can compare the result with IP tracking.


Document Your Methodology

Assignment 02: Document Your Methodology

Document your methodology for answering the questions you’ve set out last week – what are the tools you’re using, the frequency of your measurements, helpful how-tos, pain-points and how you’ve overcome them, etc. Include photos, illustrations, charts, graphics, gifs, or video if necessary to effectively communicate and document your process.

Reporter App

  • Tool: Reporter is an application for measuring certain aspects of one’s daily life. The reports have to be done manually. However, once the user inputs an answer it automatically becomes one category that can be chosen next time. Also, if the sensors are activated, the app detects and record extra information. Manual input can be notified either random, semi-random, or regular. Currently I’m using semi-random notification with few customized questions.
  • Tip: I haven’t noticed for a week but there’s Awake and Asleep toggle button on the right bottom, and according to its status the app won’t send you any notification during sleeping time. Also, by turning on location sensor the app will detect if you are awake.
  • Pros: In Reporter App’s website, it says “Reporter can illuminate aspects of your life that might be otherwise unmeasurable.” As a user who experienced it for two weeks, it does. Through my tracking experience with Reporter, I realized that I have several repeating categories in my daily life. The app’s function of transferring my answer into categories definitely helped me to learn these patterns.
  • Cons: Many things are uncertain, because the reports have to be done manually. I’ve had several times that I didn’t hear the notification and missed the report due to various reasons, such as my phone was far away from me. I would like to compare this with a video game: when you have much freedom it’s followed by more confusion as well. For that reason, I’m planning to proceed two different types of tracking.

IP Whois & Flags Chrome & Websites Rating

  • Tool: IP Whois & Flags Chrome & Websites Rating is a Google Extension that displays server information about websites, including IP Address and location. First, I was searching for a way to track my language usage without reporting it manually. One of the ways I came up was tracking IP location – although it’s not a perfect way because numerous websites use IP location from overseas. Nonetheless, it seemed to be an interesting tracking that is different from the first one. The collection of data will be done daily through Chrome history.
  • Tip: Because I haven’t tracked through this extension for a long enough time, I don’t have much tips. One thing to mention is that there are several inaccurate IP display extensions, which will make no sense.
  • Pros: Although it wasn’t my attention, seeing difference between a website’s IP location and the location where the website is being most used was entertaining. Convenient part of using Google extension is: I don’t have to input or search information manually every time I switch websites, and the history will be saved so I can gather data easily.
  • Cons: I would still have to document IP information of websites manually every end of the day. It will eventually expose what types of websites I visited.



Assignment 02: Reflection

A short paragraph or phrase on what you learned this week.

For self-tracking, I didn’t know where to start but two things that I knew were: (1) I wanted to try a tool that is only made for tracking (2) I like Nicholas Felton’s works. So I bought Reporter App, tried it, and many things about this beautiful app were confusing; such as a default question of “How many cups of coffee I drank today”, while I don’t enjoy coffee at all. However, soon I realized that the big part of Reporter App is actually refining and developing questions. At the same time, I was stupid enough to just delete the data of first week because I wanted to start over, but that won’t happen again. I’m planning to keep this irregular semi-random tracking, along with another more regular tracking about IP address of visited websites.