Those reading my twitter stream will see sport plays an integral part of my lifestyle. Hill walking, skiing and not forgetting swimming. Swimming is my no. 1 sport and with my Quantified Self recordings, its has been the place I have focused the beginings of my open sport project endeavours, the open sourcing of sport. It started with a Drupal module to enter swimming training times and those recorded at competitions. But this failed to capture efficiently they training data so I have been working on a real time network application to address this issue, TrainTimer is on Github.
Open sourcing sport is something that has been brewing in me for a while. Just like open source software, open sourcing sport brings transparency and the opportunity for all to participate in evolving the applications etc. The key ingredients is to provide a range of tools that enable individuals to capture their sporting data and share it real time anywhere they choose, on their privacy terms. As a data junkie, it is the opportunity to apply data ‘science’ or ‘data’ analysis and discovery to those willing to share and combine their sporting data that makes things exciting.
I enjoy watch sport on the TV from time to time, especially the World and Olympic swimming but there are so many amateur or masters competitions going on all the time too and I am sure provide just as much excitement and sporting endeavour. This project aims to provide the same range of technology tools to these sporting events. As an individual sporting data becomes increasingly and more frequently under scrutiny with dope testing etc. Hopefully, this open sourcing of sporting data will give the individual the ability to transparently show all when need their sporting story. I think it will be this transparency in competition that will provide the ‘test’ of comparison in the future.
Sport brings much fun to my life and hopefully some of the tools we can build in this project will being additional opportunities for fun to flourish too.
With the LifestyleLinking Open Source Project nearing a usable state, I have badged myself as an Open Source Data Scientist. I expect this will become a commonly used term in the tech world as the data revolution moves on a pace.
I participated at barcampLondon8 at the weekend. A unconference format of event that uses open space techniques to allow a community to self form and to collectively learn and thus enable individual to self learn. An unconference does not make much sense to most new to the concept but here is its magic: with no specific planning, I attended a series of sessions that were on topics that I currently have a big need to learn and solve problems around. I had no idea who was turning up or that those topics would put forward before I turned up. But they did and guess what, this sort of experiences happens every time I attend such events. Talking to others, this seems to be a shared outcome.
I lead a session on the LifestyleLinking open source project and I participated in session on bee keeping, beginners guide to jQuery, future of barcampLondon, DIY living sustainable, what is the semantic web?, Tiddly wiki, open source charting app, future of HTML ,HTTP what is 200 call 401 etc, Agile development, how to start and contribute to an open source project, crowding sourcing and school IT education. Not forgetting informal chats on Monty Hall problem, that was at 5am Sunday morning. Probably a term of University education in a weekend. Thank you to all barcampers for making the event the magic it was.
The journey from novice coder to open source project owner was reached last week when the url went up for the lifestylelinking – open source project. It is just the start but open sourcing the code I have been working on for years to build the site mepath.com is a big moment for me, as a coder and for my life. Some reflections on it all:
- I wish I had open sourced the code earlier. Why? Years of isolation coding has some down sides, it cuts you off from feedback. However, most of that time was in a mode I call, ‘discovery coding’. That is figuring out a science, in this case involving the mathematics of the wisdom of the crowd to personalize information and connect individuals in context.
- Already, the code is evolving with the help of others, my cosy server and stack now expose to the diversity of the Internet world.
- End users given working setups of the site can provide more precise feedback on the functionality and usability and data is gathered on need rather then just because we can (hopefully thats better for the environment).
- You feel like you are contributing to the greater good.
The future is an uncertain place but open sourcing the code means all are now free to participate.
I am preparing to open source the code I have been writing for mepath.com . The hardest work has been figuring out a logic that allow a machine to ‘understand’ context of the text that has been authored. However, preparing the code for release is proving real hard too. Completely new, you soon pick up on words like SVN or GIT but I never read you need a local client and a hosting service. Well, the sites do say that but say it clearly in geek speak. I contrast that wth the current ease of ftp – ing the files up to hosting account. OK, no version control except human and backups done well, occationally but the opportunity to share is missing. The opportunity to share is the goal, if others do not have a chance to see and read about the goals you want to achieve, then it is highly unlikely they will get involved. I have been pointed to this book . I am doing my best to learn from it. Hopefully I will write soon about where the code is hosted, that is if you are interested in the lifestyle linking vision code we are figuring out.
It’s been a cool end to the year with all the data portability tangibles coming to the fore, i.e. opensocial birthday to friendsconnect to fbconnect. Exciting to see the world moving this way.
Implementation is now the nitty gritty, I’ve added google friend connect and in the process of install fbconnect to this blog but for now its not working. Probably, human error but hopefully soon this blog will go social too.
As for 2009, look for more of the same but even more.