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My Life Bits

Page history last edited by Dave Raftery 10 years, 3 months ago

Digital storage of your life.

 

MyLifebits is an experiment in saving all a person's memories in digital format. Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell at Microsoft Research have been working on this concept, both the storage of data and the software to search for and make sense of it, for 10 years. They published their book "Total Recall" in 2009. Data can consist of pictures, documents, emails, videos, voice recordings, health data, anything that can be stored on a computer.

 

I have decided to try this out on a smaller scale myself. I am collecting pictures, documents, emails, video and storing them on my hard drive. For each picture, I am putting meta data in the title, such as name, location, year, etc. to help in retrieval. My search engine will be Google Desktop for the time being. I am also looking at using a screen saver slide show program to display my pictures. Lifelogging is personal in nature, unlike sites such as FaceBook, therefore I will only be sharing samples of what I am doing on this site.

 

My current approach involves the following:

 

  • Create a series of folders for my MyLifeBits. Put important pictures there, pdf's of important emails, short videos. Put subject, place and date in file names. Back up to DVD. Look into locking it. Get small camera and take lots of 'every day' pictures. Look into Google desktop for indexing and finding info.
  • File structure: pics, people (abbreviate), important events, places, web pages, technology, year, gardening, interests, ideas, email, voice recordings
  • Use WOAS for notes, daily journal; export to html for searching in MyLifeBits. Collect all my WOAS files and consolidate into one file. Upgrade to latest version when it is stable.
  • Use journal products which allow saving info in text, html or jpg formats, which stand a good chance of staying around. These formats can also be indexed by Google desktop, for easy finding of info.
  • Ask little girl about WOAS page size per Java script.
  • Do Pbwiki backups, unzip and put in MyLifeBits. Include photos.
  • Scan or take pictures of degrees, san dan certif, stuff kids made when little, KP engineering notes, divers card, crossing equator, wheel & coat rack from Guam, sea year pics, KP clothing, postcards and maps of Squam Lake, flyers for Storyland, Loon, memorabilia, canoe log book, old ID cards (KP, divers certification, Xaverian) ...
  • Videos: most should be short, 30 seconds or less. Include my BB tests, Jacqueline's skating,
  • Use Google Forms to easily record data in a spreadsheet, from anywhere with web access. Then download the spreadsheet monthly and put into MyLifeBits. Bookmark URL on my pbwiki page and on my computer for easy access. Potential fields to put on form: hrs of sleep, how I feel, what I ate, what I did today, what are my interests, exercise, play with radio button fields,

 

Google form for life bits info

 


Various notes from internet

 

Use Google Desktop for searching

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/110/head-for-detail-sidebar1.html

 

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9074439/Total_Recall_Storing_every_life_memory_in_a_surrogate_brain

 

http://totalrecallbook.com/forum/

 

http://boogu.me/

Use Forms with Google docs for quick on line data entry

Use mindmaps

http://www.sigmm.org/Members/jgemmell/CARPE

 

Special interest - toki pona

 

http://ils.unc.edu/cradle/wp-content/20071026StudentsPersonalInformationManagementAndMyLifeBitsSystem.ppt


http://totalrecallbook.com/blog

e Memory revolution. Total Recall.

My Life Bits software, not a product, just a proof of concept - Gordon Bell, Jim Gemmell - Total Recall

Not life bloggers (crazy). Life logging - personal and locked. SenseCam takes pictures automatically. BodyBug tells what your body is doing.

Evernote

Put time and place on file (data). Have all attributes available.

Log what tv shows you watch. Put pics on screen saver to recall mylifebits.

lifelog DARPA

Nokia LifeBlog

 

Create a series of folders for my MyLifeBits. Put important pictures there, pdf's of important emails, short videos. Put subject, place and date in file names. Back up to DVD. Look into locking it. Get small camera and take lots of 'every day' pictures. Look into Google desktop for indexing and finding info.

File structure: pics, people (abbreviate), important events, places, web pages, technology, year, gardening, interests, ideas

 

File names can be max 255 characters, but they include path as well so don't nest too deep in tree


I decided that short clips are useful, though -- usually on the order of 10 to 20 seconds.

On a hike during my experiment, I shot 10-second clips of a waterfall near the top of a mountain. Geeky? Yes. But at least it didn't take long.

This may sound even weirder, but I also filmed an ice-cream cone toast that ended up being kind of funny.

Any longer than 20 seconds, though, and your videos take too long to edit. A short clip jogs my memory just as well. I don't need the full video log.

Track one thing at a time. But if I had focused my efforts on one trait per week -- exercise, for example -- this aspect of my e-memory development would have been more useful.

 

The first step, Bell says, is to scan all of your paper documents. Scanning is a huge pain, so I recommend only tackling stuff you really care about -- postcards, important letters, birth certificates etc. Some docs Bell scans (receipts, for instance), I tend to shove in my pockets and forget about until I find them in the laundry.

 

Bell suggests converting all of your files to current format, to keep them from becoming obsolete. That's quite a bit of labor, too.

 

I've made PDF files out of some Web pages I'd rather not lose. But, in reality, there's no way to be 100 percent sure your digital life will never be outdated or lost. And maybe that's the real lesson here. Nothing lasts forever.

 

But some things that seem banal turn out more interesting: What your apartment looks like, the streets you drive on, your cat pushing his water dish into the wall like a hockey puck. Those boring-sounding things -- which you really shouldn't post online and bore other people with -- can be important components of an e-memory.

 

 

MyLifeBits is a personal transaction processing database. MyLifeBits captures and holds a lifetime's worth of articles, books, letters, memos, photos, presentations, music, home movies, and videotaped lectures. Gordon’s archive includes phone calls, IM scripts, years of email, web pages visited, and daily activities captured by the SenseCam. One of the challenges of MyLifeBits has been to build applications, e.g. timelines and viewers for people to take their personal memorabilia out of the shoebox and store them digitally for all kinds of future usage from a daily aid to memory through record keeping.

 

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