Monthly Archives: February 2012

Doing useful stuff with my data


I had a fleeting thought yesterday as the cashier swiped my nectar card at the Sainsbury’s checkout.  It would be great if Sainsbury’s would make an API available so I could could get a visualisation of my weekly shop.  It would be useful to see, over time, the fat / salt / fibre etc in our household’s groceries.  Like many folk, my weight tends to be a bit more than it should be, and as I get older, I’m conscious of eating well to maintain good health.  I’ve tried various “diet tracking” apps, but I’ve not got the time (or commitment level) to enter everything I eat each day.  But if a supermarket could give me that data, I’d see the headlines on where I’m straying from the path of virtue.  In fact, it might even be the reason I’d use that supermarket.  And heck, why stop there.  If we could have a nice open data standard, I’d scan the stuff I buy at the local grocery store too – I try to get as much stuff locally as possible.

Could the supermarket also tell me how much CO2 is embedded in my consumption?  Could amazon tell me how much CO2 is embedded in the goods I buy from them?  An API to hook up to a ‘life tracking’ app, so I start to get some utility from all the data they have on me.  As my last blog post covered, they’ve got pretty good data on most things I’ve bought in the last five years…

And how about my credit card?  Could I hook up my credit card to the same ‘life-tracker’ so I catch the other expenditure (and CO2).  Like my drinking habits, and fuel consumption.

Those big corporations know lots about me.  And I’m getting a bit ticked off that they may well know more about me than I know about myself.  I’d like them to share the data with me.  I’d like to know myself better, and this data would help.  I might make better choices if the data is staring me in the face.

I think I’d like to build the “life-tracking” app to do it.  That should keep me busy for a bit.