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Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Sabbatical week day 1: Toshl and Toggl datasets

I'm taking a sabbatical week over the holidays. This week's posts will serve as a sort of report of what I got up to the previous day instead of the usual schedule - wish me luck that I achieve even half of what I'd like to.

Image representing Toshl as depicted in CrunchBase

Toshl is a cool expense tracking app from Slovenia, that I have been using since November last year as it turns out. I just love collecting data that I never really look at - I think the only times when I actually went back to inspect my Toshl data were those holy fuck, why am I suddenly out of money, where'd it all go!? moments.

It was never the bank's mistake :(

Toggl is perhaps more widely known - possibly the simplest time tracker I have come across. Started using it in early June as a companion app to my Klok data for tracking productive productive time (the definition for Klok also includes things like exercise and chores for instance). In September or October I tightened up my use a bit further so Toggl only includes my billable time now.

Combined Toshl and Toggl give me this awesome dataset to play with - a near daily report of my expected income and my actual expenses.

The next step is obvious - I'm making a service for myself that, once a week:

  • fetches toshl and toggl data
  • runs a simple machine learning algorithm
  • sends me an email along the lines of Hey dude, you're gonna run out of money in two weeks. Just thought I'd mention that

Yesterday I made the fetching part in node.js - a surprisingly difficult task when there's no ready-made Toggl library and Toshl doesn't even have an official API - and I'm tackling the learning bit today ... perhaps even in Haskell. That should be interesting and couldn't possibly fail right?

Oh and if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to reverse engineer an API from web forms make sure to send the 'Content-Type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded' header. Wasted at least an hour trying to figure out why my requests worked perfectly with Curl but not in Node.js.

Of course it also helps if your target doesn't have csrf protection; thanks for that Toshl team. You guys are awesome :)

PS: ping me if you think this sort of service could be useful to you too

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Published on December 27th, 2011 in Accounting, Apps, Klok, Machine learning, Time Tracking, Toshl, Uncategorized

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