Manual data collection

2014-10-14 09.32.18
My log of books/films/gigs

In the 21st century, the age of big data and the Internet of Things, it’s easy to get carried away logging everything you do in databases. I find there’s a charm and happiness in doing some data logging the old-fashioned way: on pen and paper.

What’s the log book above? I write down every book/film/gig/concert/play I read or see. I add a date and a score out of 5. I started the log in 2010. I was complaining to a friend, “Oh, I wish I’d kept a record of every book and gig I’d been to in my life.” It was probably the third time I’d had this conversation with her.

She replied, “Andy, quit bitching and just start one now.”

Good point. I did.

I love the physical object, and the easy nature of browsing back a few years. Sure, I could log this on and equivalents, but it’s not the same. And part of me thinks it might be something I can share more easily with my kids one day. It’s also an anti-Tableau thing. I love Tableau but, you know what, sometimes I want my data to stay away from the screen. Unlike my music habits of course.

wanted to share another one we received at work recently – this is data collected about Premier League players by someone when they were 8 years old:



Do you collect data? Post a link in the comments below or on Twitter. Let’s share our manual data logs. Geeks of the world: Unite!

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In college, I took a non-parametric stats class. We had a final project where we had to find a non-parametric data set and analyze it. I’d been logging the scheduled time and arrival time of my bus all semester, as well as trip duration, so for the final project I investigated bus delays and created a confidence interval to determine just how early I really should get to the bus stop in order to never miss it and thus never be late for stats class.

I’m pretty sure all the drivers on my route thought I was a crazy person for noting the arrival and drop-off time of every trip I took!

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