Unicycle is a free, open source PalmOS app for recording a woman's BBT (basal body temperature) and certain other data that can be used for the "Fertility Awareness Method" (FAM). The current version is beta: functional, but not perfect.
The most current version of this manual is at http://unicycle.sourceforge.net/
This page is intended not to be biologically "graphic", but if you are a guy and are easily grossed out, you still might want to make sure that you are not eating lunch right now. You have been warned.

There are six parts to this document:
[apps screen] [input screen] [chart] [date selector]
1. general questions 2. the input screen 3. the chart screen 4. editing older dates

5. normal use, a brief summary.
6. bonus feature, calculate weeks of a pregnancy (from due date or LMP).

1. general questions

Some preliminary questions you might have:

What is FAM?
Basically it's a means of figuring out when you are ovulating... for most people, some physical/measurable things happen (due to hormones and stuff) that can give you a pretty good clue as to what is going on. If you have never heard of this method, I suggest reading "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". (I am not affiliated with the author or TCOYF.com.) It involves taking your temperature every morning, and/or evaluating the consistency of your so-called cervical fluid, and/or checking the current position of your cervix.

What is Unicycle for?
If you are practicing FAM, then every day you record some data (maybe on a piece of paper, maybe on a computer). Unicycle is a program that will let you record the data on your PalmOS PDA, and it will display the data in a chart. Unicycle will not interpret the data for you. (It will not say "hmmm it looks like you ovulated yesterday". Instead you tell it "yo, I ovulated yesterday, so draw a line there".) You are the brains of the operation: you need to know FAM before you can use Unicycle. You also get to decide how much data you really want to collect (personally I have no clue where my cervix is and I'm not about to find out, but YMMV).

Can you tell me how to use FAM?
"Dammit Jim, I'm a programmer, not a doctor!" Try reading that TCOYF book, or maybe try google.

Is there a conduit from Unicycle to my desktop?
No. But perhaps you would like to write one.
Send suggestions, bug reports, bug fixes, and patches to i0lanthe@users.sourceforge.net (your friendly neighborhood geek-grrrl). Be warned that I respond v e r y    s l o w l y.

Ok, if you've gotten this far, I'm assuming you know how to collect your data and how to interpret your findings. That leaves: how to put your data in Unicycle, and how to get Unicycle to display it. You use the input screen to put in your data (one day at a time), and you use the chart screen to display your data (one cycle at a time).

2. the input screen

[input screen]

When you enter Unicycle, you will be in the input screen for today's date. It will always start up that way (if you want to go straight to the chart screen instead, you would just hit Cancel).

There is a lot of stuff in this screen, so be patient... I will repeat the same screenshot several times in this section so that you can refer to it.

In the title bar you will see the date that you are editing (in the case of this example, Aug 5, 2002).

On the first line you will see "CD" and "DPO".

CD means "Cycle Day". The first day of your menstrual period is Cycle Day 1 (that's the first day that there is real stuff and not just spotting, if you happen to have spotting beforehand). The next day would be CD 2, and so on. CD is automatically calculated by Unicycle - see below.

DPO means "Days Past Ovulation". The day that you ovulate would be "zero". The day after you ovulate would be "DPO 1", and so on. DPO is automatically calculated by Unicycle - see below.

On the second line you will see "Temp:...." and "Time: ( ??? )".

Temp is your basal temperature (taken at roughly the same time every morning, before you get out of bed). Just put in a decimal number (e.g. 98.4 or 39.15), and Unicycle will figure out whether you mean Fahrenheit or Celsius. (From the chart screen, the menu will let you change your preferences to display the chart in either F or C regardless of how you enter them here).

Time is the time that you took your temperature. Tap on the button. You will get a "time selector" dialog, which will be automatically preset to the current time (so if you just woke up and took your temperature, all you would have to do is hit OK).

[input screen]

Below the time-and-temperature line, you will see five checkboxes.

Weird Temp - Sometimes, you might decide that your temperature is just plain anomolous. (Maybe you did not get enough sleep, or maybe you took it way too late or early, or maybe you have a fever, or maybe there is some other reason.) Unicycle will draw all your temperatures in a chart, and it will play "connect the dots" to draw a line - if you check the Weird Temp box, then Unicycle will draw a dashed line (between "yesterday" and "tomorrow") that skips this particular temperature.

Intercourse - If you are charting for fertility-related reasons, you might want to record the days that you had intercourse. (You can record anything more detailed, like "type of protection" if appropriate, in the Note field.) Unicycle will draw a little blob below the temperature chart, for any day that you checked the Intercourse box.

Start of Cycle - Ok, remember how there is a "CD" counter on the first line of this screen? This box lets you say "Yo, today is CD 1" so that Unicycle will start counting from today. If today is the first day of your period, you would check the Start Of Cycle box - otherwise, in a little bit I will explain how you can go back to the day that was the first day of your last period, see below.

Ovulation Day - Ok, remember how there is a "DPO" counter on the first line of this screen? This box lets you say "Yo, I ovulated today, so this is DPO Zero". Unicycle will draw a vertical line and a "cover line" on the chart, for the day that you identify as "Ovulation Day". If you are figuring out ovulation from temperatures, you will only be able to do it in retrospect (like, a day or two after it actually happens, not when it's still "today"); I will explain in a bit how to go back to a past date, see below.

Peak Day - This is another one of those "in retrospect" observations. If you are recording your cervical fluid, you may look back over the chart and identify the "peak day" (with respect to fluid) for the cycle. You can go back to that day, and check this box. (A small "P" will then be displayed in the chart on the cervical fluid line.)

[input screen]

Below the five checkboxes, you will see three pulldown selectors marked "Cervical fluid: Position: Firmness:"

Cervical fluid - You can select one of several values, and they will be displayed below the chart as a small icon. The value may be:

Position - of your cervix. If you're not checking on your cervix, leave this at "---". Otherwise you have a choice of "low", "mid.", or "high". These will be displayed below the chart, as tiny circles of increasing height and openness.

Firmness - of your cervix. If you're not checking on your cervix, leave this at "---". Otherwise you have a choice of "firm", "medium", or "soft".

[input screen]

Below the three pulldown selectors, you will see four more checkboxes.

Below the four checkboxes, there is a non-editable text field. It shows you the first line of the Note, if you have a note. Otherwise it just says "no note".

Below the text field, there are three buttons.

OK - Tap this if you are done editing the data for this day.

Cancel - Tap this if you didn't want to edit the data for this day (or if you messed up and want to discard your changes).

Note - Tap this if you want to add a Note for this day. The note can be longer than one line (but only the first line will be displayed here or on the chart screen).

whew! That's it for the input screen! Hit "Ok" or "Cancel" now, and we will go to the chart screen!

3. the chart screen


Ok - here's an example of what a chart might look like, towards the end of a cycle. Your chart is not going to look like this, at least not until you fill in a lot of days. In this example, the user had some low temperatures, and then she ovulated, and then she had some high temperatures; she also recorded cervical fluid some of the time, but never recorded cervical position.

You will see that the screen is divided into two areas. The top area has some text. The bottom area has a chart and some tiny icons. On the chart, there is a yellow stripe - this is highlighting the "selected date". The text in the top area summarizes the "selected date". In this example, the selected date is July 7, 2002.

Top area:

On the first line you see "Temp: 98.0 F", "7:05 am", and a dashed box around "Jul 7, 2002". This shows that: the selected date is July 7, 2002, the temperature recorded on that date was 98.0 F, and the time the temperature was taken was 7:05 am. You can tap on the date inside the dashed box, to edit a different date.

On the second line you see "CD: 32" and "DPO: 14". So, July 7 is the 32nd day of this cycle (for this example user), and it is the 14th day after ovulation.

On the third line you see "sticky/--/--". This is a summary of the cervical fluid, cervical position, and cervical firmness, for the selected date. (This example user hasn't been checking position or firmness, so they are "--".)

On the fourth line you see "Note: no note". This is the first line of the note for that day (if there is a note), or if there is no note, you will see "no note".

Bottom area:

On the left side of the temperature chart, there is an axis showing temperature values. (Note: There is a menu item to let you change your temperature display preferences. You can choose to display in either F or C regardless of how you have recorded the temperatures; Unicycle will convert values as needed. You can also change the starting point of the axis, e.g. from 97 to 97.2.)

On the temperature chart, there are black or red "+"'s representing temperature measurements. There are blue lines that connect the temperature measurements. There is a dashed vertical red line that separates the "up to ovulation" days from the "post-ovulation" days, and a dashed horizontal red line representing the "cover line" (it is drawn above the six temperatures up to ovulation). You might notice that the red "+"'s are not connected with lines - these were temperatures that the example user had marked as "Weird Temp". You can tap anywhere inside the chart, to move the highlighted yellow bar to a different day (but only for days that have been filled in).

Below the temperature chart, there are three rows of icons. The first (unmarked) row of green squares corresponds to the "intercourse" checkbox.

The "cf." row of icons represents "cervical fluid" measurements. This hypothetical user recorded some days of menstruation (red), one day of spotting (red S), some dry days, some days of increasing fluid (dark blue), some days of "no measurement" (blank), some days of spotting, and finally some days of sticky.

The "cp." row of icons is blank in this example, but would show small circles of varying height if this user had recorded cervical position.

Ok, that was an example of a "full" chart. Now let's look at what you would actually see after filling in just one day (which is what you just did). Suppose we have just started and today is Aug 5, 2002.

4. editing older dates

Suppose you started at Aug 5 and filled in a temperature, a time, and some cervical information, and a note that says "first day using Unicycle". (Shown on the right...) [input screen]
Then, suppose you hit "Ok". Now you would see the chart screen, with just the data for Aug 5. (Shown on the right...)

You might want to fill in some information on earlier days. Even if you just started taking your temperature today, you probably still know when your current cycle started (first day of last menstrual period). Suppose that it started on July 20. Here is what you would do:

Tap in the upper right corner in the dashed date box (where, in this example, it says "Aug 5, 2002"). You will get a date selector (shown on the right). Here you would select "Jul" and tap on "20". [date selector]
Now you are editing July 20. All you really want to do here (unless you have additional data that you want to record) is to check the "Start of cycle" checkbox.... [editing]
....then hit "Ok" and you will be back on the chart screen.

The chart screen still has one day's worth of data, on Aug 5, and now you will see that it is moved over so that the cycle can start with Jul 20. The first day of the cycle is still selected (since we just edited it). Let's tap on the Aug 5 part of the chart (the column that has stuff in it) to select Aug 5.

The only exciting thing to notice here is that Unicycle now knows what "CD" (cycle day) it is. Aug 5 is "CD 17".

If you happen to have earlier data (perhaps you were recording it on a piece of paper or elsewhere), you can fill it in in this way, too. Tap on the date in the upper right corner, select a date to edit, fill in the data, hit OK, etc.


5. normal use

In normal use, you would:

Put your Palm on your nightstand next to the thermometer. Set your alarm clock. Sleep for at least three hours.

Wake up. Hit snooze button on alarm clock. Take your temperature.

Turn on your Palm. Go to Unicycle. The "input screen" for today will come up.

Tap on the "Time" button. It will fill in the current time for you! Tap OK to accept this time.

Tap on the "Temp" field. Write whatever temperature the thermometer says.
(If you are not a morning person, remember that you don't have to use Graffiti; you can tap the ".123" lower right corner of the Graffiti area, to pop up a little numerical keyboard on the screen.)

Tap "OK" to record this temperature for this day. (Then you will see the chart screen.)

Turn off the Palm, and either get up, or go back to sleep until the alarm clock goes off again..

(During the day, you can re-enter the Unicycle application to record additional information, such as cervical stuff and whether this is now the first day of a new cycle.)

6. bonus feature

[menu] [mode]
[choose date] [calculates weeks] [calculates baby age]

When you select "Change Mode" from the menu, you get a screen that asks "Track what? [Fertility] [Pregnancy]". If you choose pregnancy then you get a simple calculator for pregnancy dates.

This screen has a two-item chooser (LMP or due date), and two buttons for dates. One button starts out with question marks. The other button starts out with today's date.

First, select either LMP (last menstrual period) or due date. If you only know the LMP, Unicycle will guess your due date for you (it just counts ahead 40 weeks).

Then, tap the button with the question marks and fill in the date (either LMP or due date, whichever one you selected). In this example we'll pick "Sep 1, 2003" as the LMP.

Now Unicycle will tell you what week this is in the pregnancy and how many days there are until the due date.

You can replace today's date with any past or future date and it will recalculate what week that date would be, or how old the baby would be then (if it arrived on its due date, which generally they don't of course). For example, someone might wonder "how old would the baby be on his/her first Thanksgiving?" (old enough to sit in a high chair and fling interesting bits of food at the cat?) In this example we'll pick Nov. 26, 2004, and the baby's possible age is calculated. To exit the pregnancy calculator just select "Change Mode" from the menu again.

Unicycle is hosted by:
SourceForge Logo

Last modified: Tue Oct 14 13:27:17 EDT 2003