Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Life and Technology After Cancer

You need to read Federico Viticci’s moving and informative article about his recovery from cancer,1 and how HealthKit and a plethora of apps have enabled him to take control of his body:

Tracking my life with my iPhone makes my commitment real and the effects directly measurable. Being able to open an app and be coached through workout sessions or use my phone to track steps and runs is empowering. iPhone software has enriched my lifestyle and it has allowed me to be more conscious in my daily choices.

Some might say that I’m overly optimistic about Health and that Apple is only a corporation driven by finances. I would disagree with that sentiment, and, at the end of the day, Apple’s motivations are less important to me than this: I see the results. That’s what matters.

I’ve been using pretty entry-level HealthKit functionality for a long time, by way of Strava, Nike+ Fuel, and all the things the M7 offers out of the box. There are a bunch of apps in his list that I’ve never heard of, though, and I plan on checking them out.

Of the many takeaways from this typically-extensive article, I’m struck by how awkward it is to track food consumption. Because there are so many variables in ingredients and preparation, it’s near impossible to get a precise reading. But Viticci is right in his assessment of this: most of the time, precision is irrelevant, and the big picture is what matters most.

Viticci is stretching the functionality to not only be aware of what he’s eating, but to actively improve his diet in a data-driven way. That’s intriguing to me, but I’m also content to keep eating whatever I want, whenever I want. I generally eat pretty healthy meals and don’t snack super often — and even those are pretty wholesome — but I’m interested to start seeing some data behind my diet.


  1. Fuck cancer. ↩︎