23 June 2009

Living By The Numbers

The current issue of Wired Magazine (17-07) is all about the importance of data collection.  Data collection is a great way to measure progress.  A major step to personal finance is finding out what you spend where.  Most homes have a scale in them.  This tool is wasted space unless you are tracking what you weigh.  My father works in Excel and Access all day.  It is not the numbers that make the difference.  It is and has always been the data.  But not just the data, the analysis of the data. Knowing what the numbers are telling you.

Knowing you weigh 200 lbs is meaningless unless you can analyze the data.  Basketball players at 200 lbs are usually skinny considering there are a number of 7 foot tall players.  Football linemen weighing 200 lbs don’t get drafted.  A 200 lb 4 year old likely has a medical condition.  Using that 200 lbs to get your Body Mass Index is much more useful.

One article in the magazine talks about cyclist Kristin Armstrong’s use of data to train for the Olympics and help earn the gold medal.  Another talks about why Weight Watchers works.  There is one on the Nike+ running system.  You can learn the principles that make Volumetrics work.  One data analysis tool i have been using for a while is The Daily Plate.  They were bought by LiveStrong.  You can track your food consumption, weight, exercise, body measurements and more.  I also use it to save recipes.  The power to the site is not in tracking but the analysis it will do of your data and the social interaction with others on the site.


What do you think?  What data do you track?

01 June 2009

NBA Finals

LA Lakers vs Orlando Magic.  Lakers in 4.  Why?  Because i’ve always been a Laker fan.  Beyond that they made this their goal all year.  One of the “Most Valuable Puppets” commercials has puppet Kobe looking for his “3 championship rings”.  He tells puppet LeBron that you have to be hungry.  That is what the Lakers are.  Hungry.

After being decimated last year by Boston the Lakers have been on a mission.  Sasha would not wear green.  Kobe no longer had to be the star.  Sure he still wants it.  But the ring is more important.  LA has multiple big men.  None will match up to Howard.  But there are 2 of them.  Who can match the one not guarding Howard.  So Howard has to guard 2 big men.  Denver had trouble in game 5 doubling on Pau.  Howard won’t be able to contain Bynum, Odom, and Gasol by himself.  Orlando has good outside presence.  LA has to keep them from rolling in 3’s to win.

In game 4 of the WCF something turned on for LA.  They could smell the trophy.  They were struggling with Denver until they realized the championship was in their grasp.  If you watched the presentation of the trophy for winning the West; it was a chore.  None of the Lakers cared about that.  Last year they were glad to make it to the Finals.  This year getting to the finals is just another task on their campaign.