Data Log During the Snow-Pocalypse

How much data can really be logged on a snow day when you spend the whole day in one building and mostly on the same floor? Turns out quite a lot.

8:30 – My alarm goes off. I told someone I would meet them at breakfast by 9:00. I check my phone, read my emails, answer a few messages. The keyboard on my phone (Swift) requested permission to send back data about what I typed to its servers, so presumably it’s doing that the whole time. Google is reading my emails now, since it now shows me my flight information and other ‘convenient’ things, so it was probably doing that all night. I open up Clash of Clans to collect my gold and elixer that accumulated overnight – they’re probably tracking that as you can’t play the game without an internet connection. Apple probably actually collects data about my alarm going off, and wether I turned it off immediately or hit snooze – they already collect data about how far I walk, how many flights of stairs I climb, where I go, etc all day.

9:00 – I take the elevator down to breakfast. The elevator probably made note of the journey and possibly the weight somewhere, for maintenance purposes. I swipe my ID to get into dining – that action was definitely recorded and used by MIT, Bon Appetite, and was stored to prevent me from overeating my share of meals this week. I toast a bagel, as I do every morning. The cafeteria manager is probably keeping track of the total bagels consumed so that she knows how many to order in the next food shipment. I make tea with a Tazo teabag and she probably collects similar data about this too.

9:45 – I’ve finished breakfast and I go to do laundry. The laundry machine records my load, both for maintenance purposes (probably) and to deduct $1.00 from my TechCash account. The water and electricity usage is probably also recorded. I go back to my room to take a nap, not sure how much information about me can be recorded while I’m napping…

10:30 – I switch my clothes to the dryer (similar data is recorded as from the washer).

10:35 – I start working on my 6.046 pset. This includes many internet searches and the occasional facebook (or other form of social media) distraction. The websites that I view undoubtedly record my visit, and probably leave cookies in my computer too. It’s possible that they even recorded my keystrokes while browsing their site.

11:45 – I collect my warm clothes from the dryer. The laundry machine system is aware of this because it will now show that dryer as available in their online interface. I fold my clothes and continue with my pset.

1:00 – Lunch time! Normally I would venture out into Kendall or Central square to buy myself a sandwich with my debit card (while simultaneously contributing to data that the restaurants keep about their daily profit, number of customers, and most popular items), but today I eat a Luna bar and an apple I took from dining while in the company of my pset.

1:30 – I exchange text messages with a friend, asking him if he wants to work on the 6.046 pset with me. The data from that conversation was probably stored somewhere, maybe even by the NSA.

1:35 – My friend arrives and we work on the pset for a solid 2 hours together, talking things out and drawing pictures on paper. I’m not using my computer very much, but I will have to use LaTex to type up the answers at some point, and that will contribute to my computer usage data.

4:00 – It’s time for a break. I pull out my laptop again to watch an episode of Hulu before dinner. Hulu has a list of all of the shows I’ve watched, which ones are my favourites, and what it recommends for me, so my pset break definitely does not go unrecorded. After my episode finishes, I do a bit of internet browsing and get distracted by a cool new belt. Retailers love to collect data about me, so these actions did not go unnoticed either.

5:15 – Dinner time. I normally eat dinner much later, but because of my lackluster lunch, I got hungry early today. Anther elevator ride, another dining swipe, more data about me. During dinner we also get an email from MIT saying that Tuesday will also be a snowday, the dining hall is alight with excitement.

6:15 – I return from dining and open facebook again. I see adds for the belt that I had been viewing earlier, which means that my data went through as many as 3 companies: the original website, a third party advertising company, and now facebook.

6:30 – I return to working, but switch gears to finish up my 6.033 pset. After more googling and consulting a friend, I finish and submit my answers online. My submission was sent to a server somewhere probably in CSAIL so that the course staff can grade my answers.

7:30 – I decide to watch Unbroken with a friend, we’ve been trying to watch all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Since the movie is still in theatres and there’s a Massachusetts State of Emergency declared, we turn to the internet to provide entertainment. The site that we land on is no doubt full of malicious links and is trying to collect data on me for the next 2.5 hours, but it provides video nonetheless and we’re watching it through the incognito window.

10:00 – The night is no longer young, and I turn to reading and internet browsing (more cookies and advertising) for a long time before taking a shower (water usage), setting my alarms (apple data?) for the next morning, and going to bed.

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