11 August 2004


This is facinating. Or scarey. Nokia has some software for your phone and PC called Lifeblog. You use it to record and notate whatever-it-is you do all day.

From their Web site:

Nokia Lifeblog is a PC and mobile phone software combination that effortlessly keeps a multimedia diary of the items you collect with your mobile phone. Lifeblog automatically organizes your photos, videos, text messages, and multimedia messages into a clear chronology you can easily browse, search, edit, and save. Nokia Lifeblog does the work of organizing the items you create and receive, and you can also add notes throughout the day, or tag and update your favorites so they're always on your phone.

I found it from The Guestbar, A tiny, guest-edited blog! over at BoingBoing. And no, that's not the only site I ever go to, they just always have the most copy-worthy content.

I guess I understand the obsession with documenting your life. I'm being pretty obsessive here, and it's nice to get back to diary-writing (no matter how public it is) for the first time since college. By looking back, you can connect with your younger self. Adam, the wiley bastard, has written some Cold Fusion super-code to store and index his photos. Hey, that's me! He's got them indexed by person, place, time, etc. Pretty obsessive, but very neat. How does he know all of those people?!?

The logical, or extreme extention to all of this personal documenting is Microsoft's SenseCam. [A] badge-sized wearable camera that captures up to 2000 VGA images per day ... In addition, sensor data such as movement, light level and temperature is recorded every second. This is similar to an aircraft Black Box accident recorder but miniaturised for the human body. Again, I see the argument--finding lost items, remembering names, etc.--but the lengths that it goes to accomplish these things is jarring. But, memory is cheap, and cameras are built in to phones now, so why not?

And why not be like Steve Mann? The pre-eminent obsessive technologist who calls himself a cyborg and has used wearable computers, I think continuously, since the 80s. Here he is through the years, beginning with some very cumbersome equipment.

I guess I'll stick with my blog for now.

I remember a friend from college, Jonathan Dorsey, who once told me about a similar documenting obsession he had in high school. He used to schedule out his day down to the minute. He showed me one of his old notebooks where he kept the schedule ("10:00 to 10:05, change shirt ... 10:05 to 10:20, go to Mike's ..."). He, of course, no longer did that and was himself amazed at the detail of his old obsession. I'm sure there are worse instances out there of people debilitated by this need for control. They're going to love the SenseCam.

I lost touch with Jonathan--as I do with anyone who lives further than two miles away--and was reminded of him in the last alumni newspaper from West Georgia. The announcements in the back of the paper, those that contain personal news by class year, included an entry reporting that his wife, now ex-wife, got remarried. I always look at those announcements hoping to see news about someone I might have known but had forgotten, but there's seldom anyone I knew. I never expect the bad news--I always imagine them getting a new job or having a baby. I had introduced Jonathan and Carrie at a Big Ole Party my roommates and I had one year, and they were like immediately in love. Ah, college.

[ posted by sstrader on 11 August 2004 at 1:05:02 PM in Culture & Society ]