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iPhone App Review: Poo Log

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Poo Log is an app which focuses entirely on one’s bowel movements, and does so in very specific fashion. Therefore, quite obviously, what we are going to deal with here will be, at minimum, vaguely scatological. Those with a weak stomach or poor sense of humor may wish to stop reading at this point.

Based on the book What’s Your Poo Telling You? by Anish Sheth M.D. and Josh Richman, the AvatarLabs iPhone app, Poo Log, helps users track their bowel movements and learn loads of important information about what goes on inside their intestines. The app is a mixture of both solid, serious information and looser, funny bits and pieces.

Poo Log is divided into three main sections: the log itself, Poo Pastimes (a quiz), and a Poo Graph which charts your bathroom activities over time. The basic notion is this – when you head to the restroom to do your business you open the app and a timer starts running, you then occupy yourself by answering quiz question the Pastimes section (samples: “South Asians, on average, poo four times as much as people in England… 1) True 2) False” and “What did a Philadelphia city official say after a Veterans Stadium employee was caught stealing over $34,000 worth of toilet-paper?… 1) ‘He must had a really bad case of the runs,’ 2) ‘We now have a leading suspect for all of the TP’ing on the Main Line,’ 3) ‘Man, he really wiped that stadium clean.’). When you finish doing your business you click “new poo” and answer some swell questions about what you just produced. Your answers are given a score and provide you with a final PQI (poo quality index) which is plotted on a graph. You can then check the graph over time to see how you’re doing (and can even go back and look at why one performance’s score was an eight and another a 15 by checking the log). Finally, if you’re a high frequency bathroom goer and record more than one bowel movement a day, the app will not only average your PQI but denote the day with a brownish-yellow circle as opposed to a white one.

Okay, so that’s what it is, but as an app does it cut the mustard? Well, that’s going to completely depend on who you are. While it does provide an interesting way to keep track of what you’re doing in the bathroom and how much time you spend there (if you use the timer), the questions that the PQI is based on seem to have a lot of room for interpretation. Said questions are divided into different sections – delivery, size/shape, number of particles, smell, number of wipes, and sentiment – and each answer provides a score of one to three points. That sounds all well and good, but the answers aren’t quite as cut and dried as it may at first appear. For instance, surely a one-point earning answer in size/shape of delivery category, “pebbles or liquid,” shouldn’t then move down to a three-point answer in number of particles if you only have one pebble. To this reviewer that would signify a pretty poor performance, not a good one.

Of course, that’s probably exactly where the app goes from being serious to being a fun, but only somewhat useful, tool. The PQI seems to be more for your own personal tracking of what is going on with your intestines than hard medical data that your doctor will want to see and query you about. It must be said that you can add in notes at the bottom of your PQI score to help justify why your poo was rated as your poo was rated, but as it’s for your own benefit I’m not sure why you would want to. Now, if they allowed you to take pictures and could then analyze the pictures to help provide you with a PQI score… (okay, horrible idea, scratch that).

So, what can we finish up with? If you like to track what it is that’s going on with your intestines just for your own personal edification (or to share with friends… if they’re interested), Poo Log is a pretty fun way to go. The iPad specific version of the app actually allows you to have multiple users track their movements. I can’t quite imagine a family really wanting to discuss such things (you should have seen the looks I got every time I tried bringing it up with my wife), but the option is available if you have an iPad. In short, it’s fun, it’s harmless, and not a bad way to spend your time in the bathroom.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • Mark Buckingham

    A friend of mine got me the hardcover book version of Poo Log, where you had to make caveman etchings of your droppings, and, well, that’s about all. The app sounds like it adds a bit more interactivity and education to the process of taking the Browns to the Super Bowl.