Fifteen years ago, I read MyLifeBits by Gordon Bell and thought it was a cool idea. However, the hardware and software and mobile devices that we take for granted today didn’t exist at the time. The concept was filed away in my feeble memory as a good idea that I should check back on sometime.
Over the years I acquired Gordon’t two book length tomes on the subject, Total Recall and Your Life, Uploaded: The Digital Way to Better Memory, Health and Productivity. However, I never got around to reading them until this last week.
What changed? I became a first time grandfather this year for a wonderful cherub, Alice, and found out that I will shortly be a grandfather for the second time in a year.
After the wonder and awe of Alice’s early infancy, I started thinking about what kind of interactions we were likely to have in the future. Then, it hit me that as old as I am, I am not likely to be around when Baby Alice grows into adulthood.
How can I have conversations with Alice when I won’t be around? How do I make available the information, knowledge and wisdom that is in my 8 Terabytes of digital stuff on my desktop and 6,000 books in my paper book and eBook library? How do I make meaning out of the inert digital detritus of a lifetime?
Fortunately, I remembered that Gordon Bell had a lot to say about the topic so I pulled his two books out and inhaled them. I was delighted with all the pointers to hardware and software in Your Life, Uploaded. I started looking everything up and began ordering hardware (Withings Pulse) and software (MyCyberTwin, Animoto, Saga, Rove). My favorite was the MyCyberTwin Teddy that Talks which alas is not available yet.
So I turned on the Rove app and just went about my daily business. Imagine my surprise when this infographic showed up with where I’d been, when I’d been there, and it automatically pulled all the photos up that I had taken with the standard iOS camera (not within the Rove app itself).
The real eye opener came from Animoto. I downloaded it, selected a theme, selected some photos from my camera roll, selected some music, hit the create button, waited for a minute, and out came this finished video:
Within minutes, I created several Alice vignettes and sent them out to the family. Our daughter immediately responded “Well if you were trying to make me cry, congratulations, you succeeded :)”
The exciting part is that lifelogging has moved from simply collecting digital detritus to creating lifelets (small moments of joy in our daily experiences).
The hook is now set for lifelogging. I can’t wait to make meaning out of all my inert digital assets.