My Pocket Change

March 4, 2012

(This article was first published on Val Systems, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I’m playing around with some personal data collection, and using some cloud computing to visualize it. Following the directions in this blog post, I’ve written an R function which visualizes data it draws from a Google Docs spreadsheet, and uploaded it to OpenCPU’s servers. The plots you’re seeing in this post were actually generated by OpenCPU when you loaded this page, meaning they’re live!

So, I’ve been logging, daily, my pocket change. The first plot shows the cumulative growth of the change in my change jar by 3 different measures, raw number of each kind of coin, total value as contributed by each kind of coin, and total mass contributed by each kind of coin (based on official data on how much each kind of coin should weigh).

This plot shows the proportional contribution each coin makes to each measure. The first panel shows what percent of all my coins belong to each type, the second panel shows how much each coin contributes to the over-all value proportionally, and the third how much each kind of coin contributes to  the over-all mass.

So, depending on how long I keep this habit up, if you keep checking in on this post, you’ll see new plots every day.

I have two primary motivations for logging my coins. First, last time I cashed in all my change, someone asked me how long it took me to save it up, and I had no idea! Second, I’m curious to see how much effort I’m putting into carrying around relatively heavy coins, like pennies, for their small contribution to the over-all value of my coin jar.

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