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Kelly J. Cooper

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Playing With Data [Oct. 2nd, 2013|01:38 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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This is probably a dumb question, but I'm wondering if someone sees something I'm missing.

I have a calendar specifically to record my exercising. It's hardcover, spiral-bound, and when you open to any given page you see Monday - Thursday on the left and Friday to Sunday plus a section for "Notes" on the right.

I don't have room in the small calendar (the one that I keep with me always) for tracking exercise without cluttering it up to the point where I can't use it (my eyes skitter over too many scribbles). I picked this calendar because the space for each day is just about 2" high by 5.5" wide, so there's plenty of room to write. And it's unlined, so I could even draw something or add a sticker without setting off my little OCDs twinges.

(It's too big to make my main calendar, so changing to that is not an option. My main calendar has to be small enough to fit in my pocket. No, I haven't gone digital yet--I have a dumb phone as my cell--that's not really an option right now either. The two calendars will be separate, one will live at home, and they will be physical. For now and the somewhat foreseeable future.)

I've written out my usage of my home elliptical in the calendar in a format I like... I pair the number of cycles I've pedaled with the distance and the amount of time with the calories burned. (Its default is cycles/time/distance/calories which bugs me for some unknown reason.)

I've been using a Life Fitness [TM] ActiveStep pedometer on and off since December of 2008 and it allows me to upload data to a little app on my desktop. I can print a given screen, but it doesn't really present the data in a useful format for printing. I can download the data as a CSV file or dump it out as a PDF. The PDF is a nice clean report set in columns and rows with Date, Number of Steps, Number of Aerobic Steps, Aerobic Walking Time, Distance, and Fat Burned.

I'm looking for some way to move the data from my pedometer into the physical calendar that looks pleasing to the eye. I'd prefer to not hand-write it into the calendar; I'd rather do the physical version of cutting and pasting. Printing the PDF and cutting it up is an option, but the columns are not obvious and the paper is wider than the calendar. I could fix that or mock it up myself in Excel.

I'm over-thinking this, right? If I want something that can easily be pasted into the calendar and still make sense I should just play around with the data in Excel. Unless anyone reading this sees a more intelligent way?

UGH. Busy brain is busy.

[User Picture]From: drwex
2013-10-02 11:19 am (UTC)

Yes, you're overthinking this

That's not bad or wrong, per se.

I think that massaging the data in Excel is probably your cleanest and fast option. I can think of some other complex technical mumbo-jumbo you could throw at it (like loading the data into a mysql database and then using Excel's data adapters to connect to it) that might help a little bit but I don't think would have a big pay-off. You'd be optimizing the 10% or 20% and that seems like not worth your time, as you haven't indicated this is a major hassle to you.
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[User Picture]From: tagryn
2013-10-03 06:36 am (UTC)

Re: Yes, you're overthinking this

I concur, Excel is probably the best option. Its partly designed for this kind of thing...which reminds me of this part of Thumb Wars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ06RKGcPBI#t=20m18s
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[User Picture]From: jbsegal
2013-10-02 11:32 am (UTC)
Print the pdf smaller? 50% of original?
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