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Lifelogging Defined: You needn't wear a camera!

I was recently asked if I was still lifelogging even though I said I was not bothering to wear a camera. Similarly, Chris Anderson made comments that he doesn't lifelog. This prompted some clarification.

LIFELOGGING, the Bell-Gemmell definition is RECORDING (and saving) EVRYTHING.

  • Whether something e.g. continuous time lapse photos, voice, video is recorded is: 1. techno economics plus can you do it;  2.  a matter of utility (i.e. personal economics is gain worth the pan), and 3. legality.  I never felt the SenseCam sequences were particular useful YET and I only used it for about 150  x 5 to 8 hours . Technology i.e. storage has to be essentially zero to want to retain the 20 plus Terabytes that is required for life and this may come when the imager has everything and the software to make it useful to aid memory recall.
  • Gemmell’s company, Trov records and maintains a history of all of one’s stuff for insurance, valuation, trading, sale, etc. is a great example that lifelogging is increasing, not decreasing.
  • More than ever being able to retrieve everything in life that “matters” is more than ever really critical. One aspect, of lifelogging that arose as we finished what amounted to the building of MyLifeBits, according to Bush’s Memex Blueprint was that personal info became distributed everywhere i.e. FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, bank, broker, etc. In this regard, a UK company, Digi.Me does scrape and maintain all of these data. I am an investor.  Also Evernote claims 100 Mega users... and OneNote similarly facilities storing everything
  • Finally, I do my best to record every heart beat as I commented earlier 
  • So bottom line,
    • SenseCam streams: don’t bother unless you have nothing in your life, although these tiny worn cameras do record interesting sequences for walks and meetings where you want to remember everyone. Things couldchange if audio recording weren't so illegal and socially unacceptable.
    • Your Stuff (use Trov): Yes keep track of valuable stuff cause you are its caretaker;
    • All  written and read and said communication: by all means including phone calls and general conversation if that becomes legal and socially acceptable;
    • Financial, and legal including personal transactions: Absolutely;
    • Physical activity and health: yes especially if you have a chronic health condition like everyone in the US AND are able to benefit by it (I'm on my 2nd bypass and 3rd pacemaker.

Here’s a comment I made to clarify issue of lifelogging and recording images.

We defined lifelogging to be the recording of every aspect of one's life including messages, photos, phone calls, and the constant imaging using the SenseCam for the purpose of memory recall, health, education, personal management, etc.   Unfortunately, the world focused on lifelogging to mean the constant recording of images--something I haven't found useful to do. Nevertheless I see an eventual path to such a future.  Meanwhile the world seems to be taking more pictures than ever, especially of themselves with smartphones.  Personally I still never delete anything that comes through my computer and consider this eMemory, the ground truth while using my bioMemory for URL and meta-data to it. 

Furthermore, about when our book, Total Recall, came out in 200, the  QS -Quantified Self groups started forming and today seems stronger than ever. I tend to define QS is a subset of lifelogging. 


Basis Sciences Wrist Heart Rate Monitor: Insight about your heart

I just started using the Basis wrist HRM, a device I have been wanting for decades for! All of us who are trying to understand just what is going on with our hearts and how it affects angina, shortness of breath, and overall performance makes this a truly insightful and useful necessity. As a 2x (heart attack, bypass patient, and pacemaker) user this is really useful.

Basis simply samples heart rate and records it 24x7 along with steps, skin temperature, perspiration, and a caloric output plus sleep. The Basis software on the PC is just great and generates a number of interactive reports or displays where you can look for insight. Unlike the various strap based monitors with wrist connections via ant or BT, combined with their flaky software, ability for data ingestion, etc. Basis just works!

If you really need incite, this is a great device to supplement my all I want is to have their two data silos combined... but that's another story and probably another decade. BTW: the two devices tend to agree on calories, unlike the plethora of wrist pedometers who try but just don't have enogh data to be as accurate. 

For example, here's a Daily Summary…


August 21 Full day of calorie output and heart rate vs time.


Interepreting a piece of a day

Went to a meeting at 10am  stopping for a croissant, waited for warming it, and then high HR as I ate (a no-no) and walked at about 10:15. Lawyer’s office 10:30 -11:45, then to lunch arriving just before 12. Note two HR spikes in meeting—a couple of disagreements.  Interestingly,  meeting was quite calm compared to the meetings I used to have every day at Digital when I ran R&D in 1972-1983--before I had a heart attack  in Feb 1983. I can only imagine what was going on heartwise!

Patterns is a way to compare HR or other activity parameter across days.


The pacemaker reports I get semi-annually that records every heart beat and dumps it into rate buckets for a distribution are intersting on a long term basis and may predict stufff e.g. EoL.  However, no one or no computer looks at them other than to eyeball whether you are totally sedentary. Just giving the avg BPM over 6 months is useful (I think).

Jul252013 regaing ownership of the data of your life from all those social sites

Julian Ranger, the founder and CEO of SocialSafe asks: Shouldn't you be the SINGLE BIGGEST OWNER of your ownline data?

SocialSafe* allows people to create a single, private library of their social media network site data. (See Robert Scoble's interview of Julian and me

SocialSafe is the key for the lifelog aka MyLifeBits aka Memex post 2008 when the log of everything in your life moved from your computer to on line systems such as Facebook, Linked In, MySpace Twitter, Yammer, and the ever increasing number of social sites.  The birth and use of all the social sites that holds our photos, observations, diaries, and communication with others can raise a fear in our hearts. For one thing is it permanent i.e. will it be there FOREVER? More importantly, as the amount of data increase--Where is the photo?  Who said what? When? Or in general just refindinng information of long ago. Sometimes we just want to collect information together for a scrapbook or whatever.

So what does do?  It is a program that runs on your personal computer that goes out and fetches data at a schedule you specify and brings all that stuff (blogs, posts, tweets, photos, likes, whatevers) to your hard drive.  Thus as long as your are capable of maintaining these data, you have permancency especially in light of changes of social networking company policies, change of company ownership, or the disappearnce of the company.

*So SocialSafe is a program that runs on a person's own, personal computer that continuously collects and aggregates all your social site data together in one place--your very own hard drive, just like Jim Gemmell and I built with MyLifeBits. No one but you can access or use the collected data!


Saga: the first true mobile lifelogging app

Saga is the first true mobile lifelogging app. That is, this is the first time I can see my complete lifelog with location, photos, calendar entries, notes, and health information all unified right on my phone. Saga gets it right by making most of the logging automatic, including ingesting social media posts and taking a stab at places I've been (without having to remember to "check in" at the moment). During our years of lifelogging research, we dreamed of a commercial smartphone app like this and Saga has nailed it. 

To the right is a screenshot from my lifelog, showing an event that was imported from my calendar ("daily standup"), lunch at Chevy's, and travel back to the office. Below, you can see how Saga renders my drive on a map.

They support BodyMedia, Fitbit and Withings data; they sync my gmail calendar; they load my trips from TripIt. They really get the power of bringing one's data together in one place.

This is the mobile app I wanted to build for MyLifeBits - and then some. 




In-body sensing, Bell's law, and NYT coverage of some new devices

CorTemp® Ingestible Core Body Temperature SensorWearable computing is exciting, and on-body sensing is a health game-changer. But the real action will be in-body, as I learned from Dr. David Rollo of Cell Point while doing research for Your Life, Uploaded. Soon my head was full of visions of nanobots in my bloodstream and devices in my stomach that tell my cellphone what is going on inside.

Naturally, Gordon Bell called this trend - Bell's Law predicts the continued formation of  smaller classes of computing devices, and ever since I met him in the 90s he's talked about a world-wide network of big computers shrinking down to an on-body network of tiny devices.

Do Rollo and Bell sound like crazy futurists? Not so. Check out this New York Times article that highlights some of the devices getting ready to come to market:

They look like normal pills, oblong and a little smaller than a daily vitamin. But if your doctor writes a prescription for these pills in the not-too-distant future, you might hear a new twist on an old cliché: “Take two of these ingestible computers, and they will e-mail me in the morning.”

One of the pills, made by Proteus Digital Health, a small company in Redwood City, Calif., does not need a battery. Instead, the body is the power source. Just as a potato can power a light bulb, Proteus has added magnesium and copper on each side of its tiny sensor, which generates just enough electricity from stomach acids.

...A pill called the CorTemp Ingestible Core Body Temperature Sensor, made by HQ Inc. in Palmetto, Fla., has a built-in battery and wirelessly transmits real-time body temperature as it travels through a patient.

Firefighters, football players, soldiers and astronauts have used the device so their employers can monitor them and ensure they do not overheat in high temperatures.