Personal Report

February 9th, 2006 4:14 AM

I try to make a lot of the information in my life public. Photos, movies, music, traveling, how I organize files on my computer, and even what beer I’m drinking.

A year ago I tried to sum up a lot of this information in an end-of-year post reviewing 2004. I also try to keep current a list on my about page tracking what books I’m reading, musing I’m listening to, and films I’m watching. And yet I’ve never really felt like I’m conveying this information in as interesting a way as it deserved.

Then a few weeks ago, The Feltron Seven 2005 Annual Report was linked on several sites I read, and I was blown away by how wonderful the presentation was. This is exactly what I want my data to look like. I imagine a lot of this comes from having a good sense of design, but I’m drawn in by the simplicity of the presentation. So much information condensed into concise and interesting facts.

I’m hoping that in the near future, I’ll be able to spend some time on this website and get a lot of my personal data aggregated and centralized in one place, and do it in a way that’s interesting, aesthetically pleasing, and up-to-date. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to pull all my data together from various sources, both local and remote: from my photo galleries and beer data, Audioscrobbler (my listening habits), FilmTrust (my film ratings; pending updates to their code that would expose the date a rating was submitted), and American Airlines (air miles flown; assuming I can automate logging in and scraping the data off of their site).

A lot of these sites are making this really easy, and it’s just so very pleasing to use different sites to record niche data using a domain-specific interface, and then have it all exposed as RDF (preferable), XML (workable), or (as a last resort) screen-scrapable content. I like having FilmTrust do the work of looking up movies with IMDB, and providing an interface specifically for rating movies, or Audioscrobbler recording my listening habits without any thought on my part. It just works, and it works well.

So now the question becomes, where are the niche services that will let me record all the other information? I want sites that let me record what books I’m reading, and what restaurants I’m eating at, and what beer I’m drinking. And I want to be able to rate all of these experiences, and then get the data back out again as RDF.


Don’t know about other areas, but presumably if you decided to purchase all books from Amazon you could scrape your order history from them. That wouldn’t solve the rating problem, but would at least show what you are reading.

Posted by: Traveler on February 9th, 2006 3:59 PM