The Hacker's Diet: Computer Tools

The Hacker's Diet is accompanied by computer tools which permit logging the progress of a diet and subsequent weight management, producing progress reports, analyses, and charts. Computer tools are available online, as spreadsheets and macros for Microsoft Excel, or as an application for the handheld Palm Computing Platform.

You don't need a computer to use The Hacker's Diet; easy-to-work paper and pencil methods are presented in the book. But if you have a computer with Web access or Excel, or a PalmPilot, the companion tools may save you time and provide more insight into the engineering underpinning of the methods described in the book, while producing an illustrated log of your progress.

The Hacker's Diet Online

The Hacker's Diet Online is a Web-based application hosted at Fourmilab which allows you to maintain weight and exercise logs, produce custom charts and trend analyses, and plan diets from any computer with Internet access and a Web browser. Data may be imported from or exported to other versions of the computer tools, or exported in CSV or XML format for analysis by other programs.

Complete source code for the Web application is in the public domain and available for downloading for those who wish to install it on their own Web servers; it is a CGI application implemented in Perl.

Microsoft Excel Tools

A variety of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (or “workbooks” in recent Microsoft-speak) are available which permit hands-on experimentation with the techniques presented in the book, forecasting diet plans, meal planning with automatic calorie counting, and a system for logging the progress of a diet and subsequent weight management which produces progress reports and charts.

In addition to the weight logging and analysis and meal planning packages, the feedback and trend fitting laboratories described in the book are included, as well as databases supporting the text.

Please visit the Excel Tools page to download a version compatible with the release of Excel you're using.

Palm Computing Tools

A handheld computer that's never far from your side is an excellent tool for logging your daily weight and providing real-time snapshots of the progress of your diet and long term weight management. An implementation of the Eat Watch, the central component of The Hacker's Diet, for the Palm Computing Platform (PalmPilot, Palm, etc.) puts this tool where it belongs—right in the palm of your hand. There's no more need for paper logs, spreadsheets, macros, or any Microsoft products whatsoever—just write your daily weight into your Palm and you can view weight logs, charts, trend analysis, and calorie balance right on your handheld computer.

Every time you HotSync, your weight log is backed up to your desktop machine, and a companion program (which runs on any computer with a vaguely standard C compiler) permits you to export your logs as illustrated HTML documents viewable with any Web browser and CSV files which can be imported into other applications.

by John Walker
June 2nd, MMVII