Timehop-ing Back is Fun

Timehop is a super fun, easy to use, and simple app that crawls through your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts and sends you a recap of what you did each day exactly a year ago, and it appears every year before that… since the beginning of your social profiles integrated with Timehop.  Timehop stars a cute dinosaur named @abe as their company mascot / symbol.

Check him out.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would care about the service this app provides, but I am now totally hooked. I love looking back at what I did exactly a year ago. It’s a daily reminder of how much my life has changed and the direction it has taken. It’s also a reminder of how I’m getting OLD.  Originally the reminder came to me as a daily email, but now it’s a daily notification from the app on my phone, which is a much better user experience for me.

I tend to repost the content from my Timehop account and share it out to my friends all over again. This service will likely continue to evolve too.  Below is a pic from three years ago which reminded me to email my girl friends today and tell them I love them!

Now, what’s your favorite app today? Email us at community@singly.com or tweet it out to the world via #singly.

Singly has Swagger

We are excited to announce that Singly now implements the Swagger framework. If you have a Singly account, the Swagger UI is available along with our current API Explorer from our docs. If you don’t yet have a Singly account, signing up is free and easy.

Swagger is a huge upgrade because it brings the amazing power of well-developed APIs to the surface. Their purpose isn’t just to move blobs of faceless data from one server to another, but to interact with the service and the amazing insights that live within it.

With Singly, this means not just getting your users’ social data on dozens of services, but also enabling accessing data that originated nearby, sharing out statuses and photos to the services, and filtering by friends or time. Swagger gives you a sandbox for exploring all of this, which is a great first step to implementing them in your app.

We imagine where Swagger has replaced walls-of-text describing APIs. That’s why our next step is to expand our support to other parts of Singly, like authentication and profile management.

We’d recommend that all APIs hop on the Swagger Wagon.

Being our own customers

This post is about a live-updated team page we built during an internal hackday last week. Check it out here: http://singly.com/team

When we hold an internal hack day, we all work on whatever we want. Hardware-hacking to language-learning to game-building – it’s all fair game. That said, some of the most fun hack day projects so far are the ones that put us in the shoes of our customers for a day. The last example of this was Beau’s app, Idego, which tells users how early they adopted various services in comparison to their friends and the rest of the world.  Idego had tens of thousands of users and a handful of press mentions within a few weeks.

Last week we became our own customers again, this time to rebuild the team page of our website. Using the Singly API, this page displays check-ins and photos we take near our office, GitHub commits, distance we’ve walked, hours we’ve slept (using FitBit data), and our avatars and bios. Each team member just auth’d the services they wanted displayed, and our data was live online.

We felt this was a great way to show the world our personalities and show off our product simultaneously. This exercise was great for finding bugs and looking at our API from another perspective, and it also gave us an energy boost. We often talk of creating an experience that feels delightful – or even magical, as some customers have put it – but we don’t always get to feel this ourselves. But last week, we did. Upon plugging in the Singly API and calling the endpoints we needed, this page was up and running in minutes – like magic.

It’s tough to put hard goals on an internal hack day, as it exists largely to pull us from the daily focus on metrics and meetings. But if we could set a goal, it would be for every hack day to be like the one last week: it gave us internal feedback, produced something we’re proud to display on singly.com, and accelerated our ever-growing excitement and pride in the work we’re doing.

If you like this concept and want a page for your team, hit us up and we’ll let you know when we release the open-source version.

APIs are key to Quantified Self

Guest writer Ernesto Ramirez is a co-organizer of the Bay Area Quantified Self Meetup group and will be speaking at our office next week for QS Night.

QS Night at Singly!

At Quantified Self meetups across the world you can listen to amazing stories of self discovery and transformation. Individuals tell their stores of using data to better understand who they are and how they interact with the world around them. Often, those stories center around new devices and tools for collecting data. From physical activity to sleep to geolocation, the amount of data that is being captured, processed, and made available is growing at exponential rates. All of that information is being used by individuals, groups, and institutions to generate knowledge and understanding at what seems like a breakneck speed. This is major progress for QS, but open APIs are crucial.

One of the great things about many of the products that QSers use (and create) is the ability to tap into the data streams through the use of APIs. Access to data is essential for individuals who are asking difficult and new questions. And isn’t that what APIs are all about? Opening up the doors and letting the stream of data free so that people can make use of it. The data we create is incredibly valuable as it is, but it becomes infinitely more valuable when we can analyze across platforms.

Why are APIs so important to those of us engaging in self-tracking and self-experimentation?

The devices and services used to collect data have already determined how they want to present that data to you – and it’s often great, but rarely entirely comprehensive. Maybe they only show you one day at a time, or they group data in a certain way. Whatever the case may be there has probably been a time when you pulled up your favorite self-tracking application and said, “I wish it showed me [fill in the blank]”. Trust me. I’ve been there. Many, many times.

It’s frustrating when you want to get your data out of system because you want to create a different visualization or you want to just poke around a bit to see what kind of interesting stuff you can find. I can’t stress enough how important it is to just to be able to get in and play with your data. Singly employee Beau Gunderson recently gave a talk about this. Here he talks about wanting to analyze the sleep data from his Zeo device in an easy but multifaceted way. By using Zeo’s API and a neat javascript library called crossfilter he was able to do just that!

Beau’s look into multifaceted data is really interesting in another way as it leads towards another fantastic use of APIs within the QS space. Many of the self-experiments that people engage in involve looking into how different data sets are related to each other. Do I sleep better when I go for runs in the morning? How much money do I spend when I check into bars alone or with friends? The more data we have access to the more interesting comparisons we are able to make. In essence, those APIs and their associated data allow the QSer to develop and explore an ever growing world of personal hypotheses.

Even the government is getting in on this game. Do you want to start quantifying your community? Why not look into the recently released US Census API! It’s idealistic, but important, to imagine a future where every data source we interact with has an API that we can access and make use of, and that is when things will get really fun.

As Quantified Selfers, the most important thing we can do is stress the importance of APIs and data freedom.

Engineering Update

Here’s something cool: We’ve added support for a few more services and additional API features. With these additions, Singly now offers 15 services in one API.

You can start incorporating data from these services by perusing the docs, checking out the API explorer, or living on the edge and hitting the /services/… endpoint directly. Go ahead, we can’t stop you.

Push Notifications
Singly can let your app know when we discover new data on any authenticated service that matches the parameters you specify. We can post the data to your server for you to handle, or you can simply write some client-side code with Socket.io and forgo the server entirely.

Writable API
Need to store some data custom data but don’t want to manage a whole database? Now you can post any custom JSON to Singly and retrieve it individually for each user. Managing state just got a bit simpler.

Want to help people work out their fitness data? Use the runkeeper endpoints to access all fitness, strength, and background activities. Records and street team data are available, too.

Business is big. Singly can now easily feed your app with users’ contacts and updates from inside their Yammer-enabled company. The information is as complete as what is available on the website, including data for all users in their network  and news going back to the beginning. The user data and updates are also available as universal types under /types/contacts and /types/statuses_feed.

Facebook Likes
Let your users know what they like. Or extrapolate to let them know what they don’t know they like. Anyway, we know you can do something with the /services/facebook/likes endpoint.

That’s all for now. Keep your eye on this blog for future updates. In the meantime, ask any questions in our support chatroom or email support@singly.com. We also want your help deciding what to add next, so head on over to the Singly Uservoice page!