Cache your life!

It’s your scrapbook, mailbox, camera and camcorder all rolled into one. Call it Moblog (Mobile+Weblog), but it sure is one great way to capture your life

Imagine you’ve had one of the most eventful days of your life. You got a promotion and the subsequent celebrations went wild and your mobile got flooded with SMSes. Luckily you clicked a few photographs with your mobile camera and even a video clip or two. But then it’s all going to temporarily reside on your mobile. What if you could make this moment and moments like this permanent?

While we can’t always go around with a digicam and a camcorder, a mobile is the only thing that’s with us all the time. And it’s increasingly being used for all sorts of messages, photos and videos. But the only limiting thing is the small size of the mobile’s memory? What if you could somehow expand this memory and compile it all in a memory library?

Nokia has come out with one possible solution for this. It has come out with a new feature called Lifeblog, which will help you document your mails, messages, pictures on your computer. The Lifeblog is a mobile and PC software combo that keeps a multimedia diary of whatever you’ve collected with your mobile. Your photos, videos, text messages, and multimedia messages are automatically organized chronologically. So you can keep building a database of all that the mobile captures of your life and browse and search it any time in the future. Right now, users of Nokia 6630, 6670 and 7610 can use the Lifeblog.

And Nokia isn’t alone. Many other camera phone manufacturers are urging consumers to use the technology to capture their lives. Samsung has even launched a “Show Your World” ad campaign in America, urging people to convert their daily lives into movies.

Life Caching

The Lifeblog is part of a trend that has been dubbed “Life Caching” in the West. While the regular cache is a special high-speed storage mechanism, Life Cache is the storing of events of your life. This was in part spurred by the highly successful blogging industry on the Internet. 2004 was the biggest year for blogs and bloggers and Pew research showed that blog readership jumped by 58 % in a matter of 10 months in 2004.

And Microsoft is not to be left behind in cashing in on this Life Cache phenomenon. They’re working on a MyLifeBits project, which promises to be a “lifetime store of everything”. In the experiment, one researcher has captured a lifetime’s worth of articles, books, cards, CDs, letters, memos, papers, photos, pictures, presentations, home movies, videotaped lectures, and voice recordings and stored them digitally. After that, the MyLifeBits software takes over and helps with hyperlinks, clustering and a fast and easy search of the entire database. Another researcher has even developed a prototype called the SenseCam4. That’s a camera you can wear like a pendant or badge. It automatically takes photographs of your daily life.

Make way for moblogging

Even as Weblogging is becoming more and more popular, moblogging is also catching on. It all began when a guy in Denmark posted an SMS from a mobile on the Web. After that in Japan, the craze caught on when people started posting images from their camera phones. Today there are dozens of sites that take stuff from any mobile device (like even a PDA) and post it on the Net. Today, moblogs generally involve “technology which allows publishing from a mobile device”. (It could be an e-mail, video clip or a series of images.) If you want to participate, then there are dozens of sites which will help you do that. (Though be warned, a few of them end up resembling like porn sites as some people just use their mobile camera to record their intimate moments and upload without any online checks).

A moblog is also a type of glog (Cyborglog) that simply means that the person doing the recording is also a participant in the activity. Not to be outdone, Websites are using mobile reports and calling them Moports. The first successful use of this was the Republican National Convention in New York last year. received more than 300 mobile reports which included text accounts and photographs of protests. This also works because the mobile is probably the only gadget which is with you all the time.

While enthusiasts have been uploading moblogs for years, Nokia’s Lifeblog gives a chance to record your moblogs privately on your personal computer and not on the Internet for everyone to see. First, you had online diaries and now you have mobile diaries. Recording more and more of your life seems to be getting much easier today.

While currently the world is divided into those who think this is too much of “Big Brother is watching You” and “It’s a great idea”, it remains to be seen whether in the future more and more people cache in on their life or not.

(This article appeared in Living Digital magazine in February 2005)