Celine Nguyen

21 Jan 2014

Self-Quantification Tools

750 Words

750 Words metrics

750 Words is a daily writing site that encourages you to write 750 words every day. I’m a big fan of regular writing challenges (I’ve also done NaNoWriMo!), and I have used this on and off for a few years. (Sadly, I’ve never written consistently for even a whole month.)

I love that the site generates a ton of miscellaneous interesting facts and charts about your writing. Here’s the visualization of WPM (there’s also this feature where you get rewarded if you write for continuous spans of time without distractions and interruptions). But my favorite quantifications are the ones that do some text analysis and attempt to discern fuzzier, more subjective things about your writing:

750 Words metrics (subjective edition!)

It’s always kind of amusing for me to see what it looks like my writing is about. It uses the fuzzy but sometimes intriguing Regressive Imagery Dictionary.


Readmill book progress

Readmill is a mobile app for reading ebooks, and I am particularly enchanted by how it has this incremental progress bar that shows how many sessions you read the book in, and how much progress you made in the book each time. It’s interesting to see which books I struggle with, or read at a particularly busy time of my life, or devoured in one sitting—and how that gets shown in the fractured progress bar.

The API gives you access to the reading sessions (indexed by a rough percentage of where the reader is in the book), and I keep on thinking it would be interesting to visually show someone trekking through a book and pin the highlights to specific locations—to kind of show this conceptual journey through the material.


RescueTime is something I’ve never used, but I like the premise. My attention can get quite scattered when I’m using my computer (checking email! editing a Google doc! reading a blog post! fiddling in Illustrator! listening to Soundcloud feed! doing homework!) so I like the idea of a utility to track how I use my computer and what kinds of activities I engage in.