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by SS at 4:58 am on Monday 6th October

Slowly, due to circumstances out of my control (actually, that's something of a lie), I've been instrumenting my life less and less. This is odd, being ostensibly a "data engineer" by background and ultimately having a great appreciation for spreadsheets and all things data. It started when I lost Fitbit no. 9 (I didn't buy 9, for what it's worth - they just have great customer service) at the beginning of my time in California. The Fitbit was a revealing gadget, in so much as I realised my daily calorie burn while commuting, sitting at my desk and commuting home was actually rather minimal. It didn't, however, give me the insights I was hoping for about my sleeping habits. I'm a notoriously poor sleeper, which, combined with my thyroid problems, makes my day to day productivity extremely variable.

Trying to work out how well I slept was a combination of the length of time I slept and how well I slept during that time. There are many variables and the Fitbit primarily captured the time I was "asleep" (although that functionality was enabled by you marking the start of your sleep and the end by pushing a button) and my activity during the night. However, the activity metric on its own wasn't directly actionable - knowing that I was much more restless one night than another only really helped if I knew why. Logging other data, like general activity during the preceding day (how much exercise), alcohol, caffeine and food consumption was helpful to validate that all the usual truths mostly hold true. However, what helped the most was controlling the ambient light in my room (in my case, this involved wearing an eye-mask) and controlling the ambient noise (by wearing ear plugs). Most of the time now, I sleep well enough - although it's hard to control the temperature and that seems to affect things.

I found then, that I didn't really miss the Fitbit once I'd lost the final one and decided not to replace it.

A few days before graduation I managed to smash my Nexus 4. Being about the poorest I've ever been in my life then, I replaced it with a Moto G, their budget smartphone. This has similar specifications to the Nexus 4 but a slower processor and half the RAM. At first, I didn't notice this limitation but it's quickly become painfully slow and now I'm holding my breath until the next Nexus phone. While I never was a huge Strava-er, I did enjoy documenting most of my life through photographs. However, the quality of the Moto G's photographs is fairly abysmal and the 30 second delay it takes to fire up the camera application means I've quickly fallen out of the habit of whipping my phone out.

Still, it functions as a messaging device. Our September work offsite to Clear Lake, a lake that is clear but *not* safe to swim in, was "off the grid". I had signal but decided to turn my phone off for the three day stretch regardless. This was extremely liberating but worried some of my friends who thought I had succumbed to a terrible bicycle accident, as I found out when I returned home to a torrent of messages. My parents (who I had told) were amused.

A couple of weeks ago my cycle computer broke. Yesterday, Alex, Armin and I rode the 100+ mile Levi's Gran Fondo, a ride north of San Francisco, starting and finishing in Santa Rosa. My phone battery was perilously close to empty, so I shut it down for the day. Aside from the maps at rest stops (which were, on average, about 15-20 miles apart), I just concentrated on the ride, not caring about my pace, elevation gain or much else, really, besides the growing ache in my legs and the world around me. This took me back to the bike trips Phil and I used to take over summer when we were 17, riding around the Hertfordshire countryside on our mountain bikes. As much of a cliche as it is, I can't help feeling that all this tech has taken something away from the experience of riding a bike. That said, I'm still somewhat competitive at heart and data makes it easier to figure out what you're doing (wrong or right); another gadget will almost certainly enter my life soon.

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"Our thoughts define our reality." - Anon.