Every Day of My Life, a project by Marcin Ignac, tracks 2.5 years of computer use.

Ignac tracked his computer use with an OS X app called Tapper, which logs minutes spent at the computer. Then he used the programming environment Plask to visualize the data.

Each line represents the course of a day, for over 30 months.

A second set of visualizations track mouse clicks and keystrokes.

You can clearly see where he was on vacation, where the blackened striations become thicker.

The visualizations were exhibited at the Click festival in Helsingør, Denmark.

Infographic: Mapping Three Years Of Clicks And Keystrokes

A Polish artist started tracking his computer usage back in 2009. The beautiful resulting images contain millions of data points.

Self-tracking is nothing new for the data-obsessed, but it’s hard to think of a more comprehensive example than Every Day of My Life, a visualization by Polish artist and developer Marcin Ignac. Beginning in 2009, Ignac tracked his computer usage day and night, culling more than 2 million clicks and 10 million keystrokes that reveal the ambient patterns of his daily life.

“The inspiration for the project came simply from my life and countless hours spent in front of computer screen,” Ignac tells Co.Design. As an interaction designer at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction, he logs a lot of screentime. “For me the biggest revelation was how rarely I spend more than few day without my laptop and that definitely I need more holiday.”

He tracked his computer use with an OS X app written by designer Dean McNamee called Tapper, which logs minutes spent at the computer. Then he used the programming environment Plask to visualize the data, creating an image where each line represents the course of a day. A second set of visualizations map mouse clicks and keystrokes. You can clearly see where he was on vacation, where the blackened striations become thicker, while the periodic all-nighters stay bright across the entire image. “In these 2.5 years I’ve made 2,610,877 clicks and pressed 10,207,483 keys,” Ignac writes. “For another person it might look like bunch of colorful stripes but I can really see patterns based on the software I was using at that moment, the projects I worked on, when I changed jobs or when I was traveling.”

Ignac is interested in the QuantifiedSelf movement, a community of technologists and developers who are working to develop new modes of self-tracking. He’s monitored the money he’s spent, online friends, research bookmarks, and even his own face changing over time. “It’s about tracking personal data in order to better understand and hopefully improve our life based on insights gained from this data,” he says.

There’s an odd sense of vertigo that comes from looking at such a comprehensive image of your habits, as though you’re seeing your own image after living without a mirror for years: That’s who I am?

Check out Ignac’s website here.

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5 Comments

  • Marcin Ignac


    My website describes this piece in a greater detail. Every line is one day from 2010-2012. In the colorful picture each color represents different application. E.g. yellow is  Google Chrome and purple and blue are code editors (TextMate and Xcode). Yellow poster represents number of keyboard hits per minute and red - mouse clicks. All that clearly shows when I had holiday (black gaps) when I sleep (every day at different time, depends on work). There is also less activity around dinner time. Is it art or not, that's matter of personal taste I guess.

  • Kerry Gingrich

    I just don't consider this art at all. Its data interpretation and somewhat meaningless at a casual view. Why is everything people do with apps and tech considered mind-boggling and worthwhile? What a bore....
     

  • Kerry Gingrich

    I just don't consider this art at all/. It's data interpretation and somewhat meaningless at a casual view. Why is everything people do with apps and tech considered mind-boggling and worthwhile? What a bore....
     

  • Al

    ...and colour, x axis position, y axis position mean...? 

    Presumably colour is something to do with intensity? 
    X axis is time of day? Starting at midnight? 
    Y axis is each day?