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H809 Tutor Marked Assignment QQs on scope, sense cam and blogging

Blogging

The idea of looking behind blogging came from the reading … but did I reference it???

i.e that innovations never occur in isolation, there was always something else beforehand.

The mistake we all make is to assume that innovations land on a pristine landscape and we react with typically human surprise at this new marvel that will either revolutionise or destroy everything. I need to remember where I read that!

Something on innovations … eeek.

It does matter though, with blogs there is clearly a history of

a) keeping a diary

b) citizen journalism in the form of leaflets and ‘letters to the editor’

c) authors keeping a writer’s journal and

b) scientists and explorers keeping a formal ‘log’.

That and human nature to write stuff down – well, at least 1% of the population do, which gives the other 99% something to read.

Life Logging

Sense Cam came out of the efforts of Gordon Bell, now 81, and for the last 10 years head of research at Microsoft.

He got it into his head to digitise everything and then wear a gadget around his neck to capture even more. This seems moronic and his own writing isn’t academic, more a memoir, but others, Microsoft and University of Southampton, have pressed on. The Sense Cam is a fag-packet sized device you hang around your neck – a camera with a light and sound sensor, then triggers the taking of a picture as you go about your daily business (could be awkward). At the end of the day these pictures are downloaded and software filters the stuff.

Southampton (WebSciences) have examples of this.

You can now buy a SenseCam made by Microsoft and various Microsoft Research Labs are trying them out. The hope is that in time such a device will help support those with dementia or any kind of memory fade … the evidence from Southampton illustrate Ebbinghaus’s ‘Forgetting Curve’ – how we forget stuff pretty fast over days/weeks against use of various methods, including a Sense Cam. It does appear, naturally, that looking back regularly at a set of carefully selected pictures (I think there has be human intervention for obvious reasons) the patient/student subject is far better able to recall, retain, and therefore I presume to restore and ‘fix’ memories better.

I am starting to wonder if a person is indicating for Alzheimer’s or some such that they might use such a device ?

Or the Google Glass device to do the same thing. If I were a first year medical student doing my disection I’d like to use a sense cam to personalise a record of the activity, for example.

If I go down the blogging route ‘is blogging a valid activity for student assessment’ is far too broad while ‘Can blogging by students of journalism writing in English in Hong Kong be used as a formal part of assessment’ might be doable. Off the top of my head here, but let’s say there are 4 to 6 colleges where such a course is offered in Hong Kong …

So what about a geographically defined study?

China might be problematic due to restrictions on use of the Internet (and its vast size). Perhaps Poland!? Somewhere where the numbers aren’t huge. Then again, doesn’t it depend on the methods and tools you use? I am struck by this stuff they call ‘Big Data’ where a cohort of 10,000 on an Open Course (this at Stanford using Coursera) can reveal the nuances of ‘poor teaching’ – where in the past 1 or 2 students made the same mistake it goes unnoticed, but when 2000 students make the very same mistake then there’s clearly something wrong with the course.

To use Diana Laurillard’s apt phrase ‘it depends’. (don’t ask me where or when she said it, if you know, please tell me so that I can reference it correctly).

 

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All you need to know about blogging that you can’t be bothered to research for yourself because you’re too busy blogging …

Fig. 1. Passion at work: Blogging practices of knowledge workers (2009)
by Lilia Efimova
Doctoral thesis published by Novay.

I’ve come to this thesis for a number of reasons:

I’ve been blogging since September 1999, sometimes obsessively so, such as the couple of Blogathons I instigated in 2002 and 2004 where participants had to post 1000 words every hour on the hour for 24 hours – words were meant to be written during the previous 60 minutes. Three of us made it to the end.

I’ve posted regularly since 1999, with several years never missing a day – that’s the diary writer in me. We created ‘circles’ in Diaryland a decade before Google used the term for those with 100, then 500, then 1000 posts.

I know of one blogger from that era who is still there, plugging away ‘Invisibledon’. 

I’ve written on a theme, typically creative writing, parenting, swim coaching and e-learning.

And added to this typed up entries from diaries. There are some 2 million words ‘out there’.

My credentials therefore are as a participant, as a player.

Perhaps I am too close to the hubbub to see what is going on?

I blog as a means:

  • To learn
  • To collate
  • To share
  • To test and practice my knowledge (or lack of … )

Fig. 2 It helps that I’ve kept a diary since I was 13. Blogging since 1999. On WordPress since 2007.

I’m used to gathering my thoughts at the end of the day or logging them as I go along. And learnt that a few succinct sentences is often enough to bring back the day. My first blog was NOT assembled in ‘reverse chronological order’ – I posted to a set of 32 themes. It works better that way.

  • One diary covers my gap year working in the Alps.
  • Another diary covers a few weeks of an exchange trip to France.
  • A third covers a year with the School of Communications Arts.

I personally value blogging to form a  writer’s journal and as a student’s journal, particularly over the last three years during which time I have successfully completed the Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).

  • I read everything I can on blogging. 
  • I’ve just read this engaging PhD thesis by Lilia Efimova. 
  • She is Russian, works in the Netherlands and writes perfect English.

Her supervisors were:

Robert-Jan Simons
Robert de Hoog

My interest is twofold – blogging and methodology, as I am doing a postgraduate module on research (H809 : Practice-based research in educational technology)

The methods used (Efimova, 2008. p. 1):

  • Use of unconventional research methods
  • Cross boundaries
  • Define and defend choices

Blogging can support a variety of knowledge worked activities to:

  • articulate and organise thoughts
  • make contact with people interested in the same topics (like minds)
  • grow relations with other bloggers
  • work on a publication

Caveats

  • personal
  • crossing boundaries passions and paid work, private and public.

I read ‘Uses of Blogs’ for the second time. Edited by Dr Axel Bruns and Joanna Jacobs. I had a OU Library copy so bought another through Amazon. A book on blogging that only exists in print. I far prefer eBooks. I’ve posted on that elsewhere. (Versatility, notes and highlights in one place, search and having as Lt. Col Sean Brady described it a  ‘university in my pocket’).

My take on blogging – who does it, is based on Jakob Nielsen’s 2001.

I can’t find figures that suggest that this has changed in the general population, though research with undergraduates might give a split of 5/35/60. The problem is, what do you define as a blog? And can your really say that someone who posts once a year, or once a quarter is blogging at all?

Fig. 3 For everyone 1 person who blogs, some 90 don’t and the other 9 are half-hearted about it. (based on stats from Nielsen, 2006).

According to Nielsen (2006) most online communities show a ratio of creation, commenting and simply reading of 1% – 9% – 90%. With blogs, the rule is more like 95% – 5% – 0.1%.

Introduction

I agree with Efimova that we learn from the edge. We come into everything as an outsider.  She cites ‘legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and moving from being an outside in a specific knowledge community to a more active position. I would John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid. (2007)  Awareness, as a starting point of this process, comes through exposure to the ideas of others and lurking at the periphery (observing without active participation), learning about professional language and social norms. Efimova cites (Nonnecke & Preece, 2003). I would add Cox (1999).

As the thesis more reason to blog, or reason not to are offered. Efimova also commits to looking at blogging in the workplace, amongst Knowledge Workers. Efimova (x.p )  In 2000 we used the term ‘infomediaries’  people who dealt in information and knowledge on behalf of others.

Worker use of blogs to

  • develop ideas and relationships
  • inspire conversations
  • work on specific tasks

Early adopters experimenting with the medium. Here I think a full consideration of the diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 2005) would be beneficial too. Efimova offers some ideas from Gartner, though without offering the self-explanatory chart that I offer below.

Fig. 4 . Gartner mid-2005 projection (Fenn & Linden, 2005)

I know of all three company types. Whilst a very few at A can be hugely successful, the safest approach is to come in at C – as Virgin do, time and time again, letting others make mistakes. On the other hand, for example in e-learning, if you aren’t willing to behave like a Type A you may find your clients start speaking to companies down the road. Ditto advertising and social media.

Efimova talks of the  ‘peak of inflated expectations’ and the ‘trough of disillusionment’.

Fig. 5 Evaluation criteria for this research

This is where I need to put in a good deal more scrutiny. Whilst I don’t question the validity of the approach, I do wonder if a more ‘scientific’ approach would have produced something more revealing that observation of 34 work related blogs – which is how this thesis plays out. We wander into the questionable arena of informal interviewing and participant observation as central way to generate ‘ethnographic data’.  This smacks of anthropology to me. Of social anthropology. But perhaps such qualitative techniques are as valid, and may be the only way to study subject if you are going to take the challenge of researching it at all.

The best answer I have read and give myself now when asked, ‘what is a blog?’ is to say ‘electronic paper’. That is how broad it has become, in 2001-2002 a handful of us in Diaryland set out and shared our standards:

  • A minimum of 250 words
  • Post every day for a least a year.
  • Fact not fiction (unless expressed as otherwise)


At the time it was rare to post images and you wouldn’t and couldn’t include video. Today a blog might be a stream of images or streamed video. It can be multiple users too, posting on the hour for a year in a team of six if they wish, which can be the way Andrew Sullivan (2013) posts to ‘The Daily Dish’ which gets a million views a month.

Efimova uses a technique called ‘triangulation’ to help validate her research – this is the use of multiple sources and modes of evidence to make findings stronger, by showing and agreement of independent measures, or by exploring and explaining findings (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Schwartz-Shea, 2006).

i.e. Triangulation by study – studying blogging practices from three perspectives using a variety of methods.

She also used ‘data triangulation’ – including in the analysis different types of data ( e.g. text and statistics), data sources and data collection methods. So including non-elicited data (Pargman, 2000) from public sources (e.g. weblog text) as well as recorded interviews.

I can’t fault Efimova (2008) introduction to Blogging

‘Since their early days, weblogs have been conceptualised as personal thinking spaces: as an outboard brain (Doctorow, 2002), a personal filing cabinet (Pollard, 2003a) or a research notebook (Halvais, 2006). In fact, the first academic publication on blogging (Mortensen & Walker, 2002) discusses uses of blogging in a research context, particularly in relation to developing ideas, and the weblog of its first author, Torrill Motensen, has a telling title: “Thinking with my fingers”.  I soon discovered that a weblog worked well that way, but also that this “thinking in public” provided an opportunity to show how ideas, my own and those of other bloggers, develop over time.

Pacquet 2002 discussed the use of blogging in research.

Fig. 6 Number of weblog posts per month

Blog analytics are mystifying. We count the undefined.

What is a blog?

What is a blog post?

A group of us asked these questions in 2000 then got on with it. We had our guidelines to post at least 1000 words every day, with no post less than 250 words. We did this as others flooded online and in the race to have 100 or 500 posts would put up a random string of letters and post every few minutes. As it become feasible and easy to post images was a picture worth a thousand words?

Was it still a ‘blog’ in our sense of the definition if it had no explanation behind it. And in my case, by storing by category not date in defiance of conventions could what I do still be called blogging?

And if used to archive diary entries was I now an archivist?

Looking at the fall-off in posts in Efimova’s blog I also see that when things get more interesting, when there is more to say – we post less. From an earlier generation I stopped keeping a diary when my fiance and I moved in together.

Had I found what I was looking for?

Around this time, 1998, Ellen Levy featured in the Washing Post for keeping a ‘blog’ (not called this) for a year – writing up business meetings and how attended, even adding photos. She struggled to post when she was ill. Over time knowing when we fall ill can start to explain why. And if, as we can now do, our daily life is captured automatically, is that a blog? To what degree must the blogger select, frame, write and edit what they have to say rather than a device, like your own CCTV camera hanging around your neck does it for you?

Fig. 7 Using a Weblog to store information  (Efimova 2008. p. 58)

To understand the mind of the blogger should we look at the reasons why people in the past have kept a diary? Or is keeping such a record, a journal simply one strand to something that has become extraordinarily multifarious? The 17th century diaries of Lady Anne Clifford and Samuel Pepys, the 20th century diaries of Anne Frank, Virginia Woolf and Anais Nin, the audio-cassettes of British MP Tony Benn …

Surely to say you want to study blogging in 2013 is akin to saying you want to study printed matter in the 17th century. That the field is too diverse. In a way we have gone from the mechanical era of print, to the organic era of the blog. Even to study one facet of blogging, such as the business or corporate blog,  would be like studying the ecology of a meadow in order to understand the interplay between different plants and creatures.

Efimova speaks of ‘sense-making’ (2009. p. 70)

‘As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect’.

And others some reason to blog … and just one reasons not to.

  1. Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
  2. Doesn’t require much effort
  3. Somewhere to park ideas
  4. Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
  5. Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
  6. A set of sense-making practices
  7. “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
  8. Connecting multiple fragments
  9. Getting into the writing flow
  10. Strengthened by readers’ feedback
  11. A channel for distribution
  12. Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
  13. A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
  14. -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
  15. To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
  16. Clusters of conversations
  17. Conversations unfolding
  18. A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
  19. A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
  20. An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
  21. Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
  22. Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)

This would make a good topic for debate.

And if I post multiple entries on my personal life is this content less of a blog when it is locked, then when made available publicly or in a limited way by password?

Eight functions of corporate blogs are offered (Zerfab, 2005, Juch & Stobbe, 2005)

  1. Public Relations
  2. Internal Communications (knowledge transfer and contract negotiation)
  3. Market communications:
  4. Product blogs
  5. Service blogs
  6. Customer relationship blogs
  7. Crisis blogs
  8. CEO blogs


Fig.  9 Conversations with self. Efimova (2009)

To mean something plotting ‘conversations’ requires annotation and even animation for it to start to make sense.

It is also very difficult, even unrealistic, to isolate activity on a website from other forms of synchronous and asynchronous ‘conversation’ – the dialogue in a forum, through email, even on the phone or Skype. This is why as a metaphor I return to the notion of an ocean, in which all these digital assets, this ‘stuff’ is floating around, mixed up by the currents of search engines, micro-blogs and social networks, churned by new Apps, software and kit and made dynamic as it is remixed, shared and transformed through translation, borrowing, plagiarism or mash-ups.

In this way an ocean of content is thrown into the cloud, circulated and recycled like a virtual water-cycle.

Others will see it differently, many talk of an ecosystem, of something organic going on. Would a zoologist or ecologist make more sense of it? Or a biologist, mechanical engineer or psychologist? Some of these questions, and this eclectic mix of folk have been gathering at the University of Southampton for the last three years under the umbrella title of WebSciences – a cross-disciplinary faculty that works with computer scientists and educators, with the health sector and social sciences, with the creative industries, geographers and historians. It’s as if a mirror has been held up to our off-line world and by translation, as Alice through the Looking Glass, transformed the real and explicable into the surreal and the unexplainable.

The history of blogging at Microsoft, Groundup from 2000 to 7000 internal and external by 2005. What it brought and what was hoped for:

  • Humanizing the company.
  • Visibility to its author (Efimova 2008. p. 187)
  • Recognition as an expert
  • Communicating about product
  • Reader expectations and visibility-related risks shape the content. Efimova 2008. p. 191)

‘Employee blogging creates tensions by crossing boundaries between work that is paid for, regulated and controlled, and personal passions that enhance it, passions that could be recognised and appreciated at work, but couldn’t be easily specified in a job description.’ Efimova 2009. p. 199)

For 11 months I worked in a business school in social media.

My efforts to support those who didn’t blog to do so, or to encourage those who said they blogged to post something more often than once a quarter or a couple of times a year failed. If they had wanted to be journalists or politicians and got up on a soapbox they would have done so in their youth. They saw no individual value or purpose to it so wouldn’t. As academics they have readers and their pattern of research and writing is long set. Some do, some don’t. Some will, some won’t. And it would appear that those inclined to share their point of view online are just a fraction of the online population, and just a fraction of that population who read blogs – i.e. 1% (Nielsen, 2006)

‘On the downside, blogging requires an investment of time and effort that could be a burden. Although potentially useful, work-related information in employee weblogs is highly fragmented and difficult to navigate. Although the visibility of bloggers, their work and expertise, can have many positive effects, it may also result in undesired communications overhead, time spent dealing with high reader expectations or with taking care of negative effects.’ Efimova, 2009. p. 200)

  • Lack of control of the company’s message
  • Dependence on personalities
  • Challenged hierarchies and communication flows

Efimova (2009. p. 201)

  • To illicit passion for knowledge (Kaiser et al., 2007)
  • Change the image of the company in the eyes of others (Kelleher & Miller, 2006)

It’s easy to blog, so more should do it.

  • low-threshold creation of entries
  • a flexible and personally meaningful way to organise and maintain them
  • opportunities to retrieve, reuse and analyse blog content
  • opportunities to engage with others.
  • fitted in while working on something else
  • providing a way to keep abreast of others ideas
  • capturing ones’ own emergent insights
  • clarifying matters for a public
  • over time ideas on a topic accumulate and connections between them become clearer.
  • feedback from readers turns blogging into a sense-making practice
  • eventually an ideas is ‘ripe’ and ready to become part of a specific task.

Efimova (2009. p. 208)

The reality, if Nielsen (2006) has got it right, is that only a tiny fraction of any population want to go to the trouble or has the inclination to post something. Better that those with something to say and a voice to say it do so that everyone is obliged to express themselves online. I liken it to cooking on holiday. I disagree with obliging everyone to cook on a rota, for some it isn’t a chore, it’s a joy and if they do it well encourage them. With the proviso that others make their contribution in other ways – laying on the entertainment, doing the drinks … it’s what makes us human?

Conditions for a weblog ecosystem Efimova (2009. p. 232):

  • Scale and reach
  • Readership
  • Visibility
  • Feedback
  • Lowering thresholds – a tool for everyday tasks
  • Making it accessible
  • Crossing boundaries

Ecosystem suggests that blogs exist in something organic – they do, the Web is fluid, shifting and expanding. What value would there be in studying blogs in a way that is somehow ‘scientific’ as if blogging were a natural, evolving feature? Like trees in a jungle?

What other metaphors might contribute to such understanding and how, if at all, can they be justified in research?

Could I look at the Web as a water cycle, as oceans with clouds, as currents and climate? Or is this shoe-horning systems we understand in part to explain one that we do not? Is it presuming too much to look for a natural rather than a machine model for the Web and where blogs fit in?

FURTHER LINKS

Plant CPSquare : communities of practice in the blogosphere.

REFERENCE

Bruns, A. (2006). What’s next for blogging? In A. Bruns, A & J.Jacobs, J (eds) Uses of Blogs (pp. 247-254). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Brown, J, & Duguid, P 1991, ‘Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation’, Organization Science, 1, p. 40, JSTOR Arts & Sciences IV, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Cox, R, McKendree, J, Tobin, R, Lee, J, & Mayes, T n.d., (1999) ‘Vicarious learning from dialogue and discourse – A controlled comparison’,Instructional Science, 27, 6, pp. 431-458, Social Sciences Citation Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Efimova, L. (2009) Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD
Research Series 2009 (www.novay.nl.dissertations)

Halvais (2006) Scholarly Blogging. Moving towards the visible college. In A. Bruns, A & J.Jacobs, J (eds) Uses of Blogs (pp. 117-126). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Kaiser, S, Muller-Seitz, G, Lopes, M, & Cunha, M n.d., ‘Weblog-technology as a trigger to elicit passion for knowledge’, Organization, 14, 3, pp. 391-412, Social Sciences Citation Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Kelleher, T, & Miller, B 2006, ‘Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes’, Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 2, pp. 395-414, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Miles, M.B. & Huberman, M.A.  (1994) Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Mortensen, T & Walker, J. (2002). Blogging thoughts: personal publication as an online research tool. In A. Morrison (ed.)., Researching ICTs in Context. InterMedia report 3/2002 (pp. 249-278). Oslo.

Nielsen. J. (2006) Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute. (Accessed 16 February 2013 http://www.nngroup.com/articles/participation-inequality/ )

Nonnecke, B. & Preece, J. (2003). Silent participants: Getting to know lurkers better. In C.Lueg & D. Fisher (Eds.), From Usenet to CoWebs: Interacting with Social Information Spaces. Springer Verlag.

Pargman, D. (2000). Method and ethics. In Code beges community: On social and technical aspects of managing a virtual community. Department of Communications Studies, The Tema Institute, Linkoping University, Sweden.

Pollard, (2003) Blogging in Business – The Weblog as filing cabinet. How to save the world, 3 Mart 2003.

Seely-Brown, J.S and Duguid, P. (1991) ‘Organizational learning and communities-of-practice: toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation’, Organizational Science, 2 (1): 40-57

Brown, J.S.  (2007) October 2007 webcast: (accessed 16 Feb 2013 http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=1063&s=31 )

Schwartz-Shea, P. (2006). Judging quality. Evaluative criteria and epistemic communities. In D. Yanow & P. Schwartz-Shea (Eds.), Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn (pp. 89-113). M.E. Sharpe.

Sullivan, A (2013) The Daily Dish (accessed 16 February 2013 http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jan/03/daily-beast-andrew-sullivan-daily-dish )

von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead users: A source of novel product concepts. Management Science, 32 (791), 805.

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar : How technology is transforming scholarly practice.

Zerfaβ, A 2005, ‘Assembling a Localization Kit’, Multilingual Computing & Technology, 16, 7, pp. 60-11, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 February 2013.

Automatically Augmenting Lifelog Events Using Pervasively Generated Content from Millions of People

English: This depicts the evolution of wearabl...

English: This depicts the evolution of wearable computers. See http://wearcam.org/steve5.htm for the original JPEG file. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Automatically Augmenting Lifelog Events Using Pervasively Generated Content from Millions of People

In the pursuit of pervasive user-generated content (ugc) based on senors, by augmenting visual lifelogs with ‘Web 2.0’ content collected by millions of other individuals.

We present a system that realises the aim of using visual content and sensor readings passively captured by an individual and then augmenting that with web content collected by other individuals. Doherty and Smeaton (2009)

  • Lifelogging, like keeping a diary, is a private and exclusive form of reverse surveillance. Doherty and Smeaton (2009)
  • Using SenseCam from Microsoft. Zacks (2006)
  • human memory operates by associating linked items together. Baddley (2004)
  • supportive of those patients suffering from early stage memory impairment. Berry e al (2009)
  • enhancing SenseCam gathered images by data mining from ugc sites such as Flickr and YouTube. Doherty and Smeaton (2009)
  • See also MyLifeBits. Bell and Gemmel (2007)
  • A commercial lifelogging product ViconRevue. OMG
  • Flickr has over 95 million geo-tagged images. (2010)
  • YouTube has 100 million video views per day (2010) YouTube fact_sheet

It has a camera and a range of other sensors for monitoring the wearer’s environment by detecting movement, temperature, light intensity, and the possible presence of other people in front of the device via body heat.

(I’d like the sensecam to be smaller still and include a microchip in a swimmer’s cap, or goggle or swimsuit to monitor various other factors, including heart rate, blood sugar levels and carbon dioxide). 

How the mind disects, stores and correlates the information if gathers is somewhat different to the linear recording or cataloguing of current systems though. 

After her first stroke a patient found engagement when otherwise unable to communicate by looking at family photographs on an iPad. After a second stroke the same patient, deemed incapable of comprehension or communication, responded to hundreds of images of paintings she had known in her lifetime – in particular responding to the question posed when looking at one painting. Where is it? Ans; Louvre. What is it? Mona Lisa. (Vernon, 2012)

As sensing technologies become more ubiquitous and wearable a new trend of lifelogging and passive image capture is starting to take place and early clinical studies have shown much promise in aiding human memory. Doherty and Smeaton (2009)

Fig.1. A game of pairs – our minds are far more interprative, chaotic and illogical when it comes to visual associations based on what we see around us.

However, it is presumptious, prescritpive and even manipulative to assume that a person recalls ‘more of the same’ when visualing sensing or surveying a place. The foibles of the human mind and system is that noises and smell, the temperature and weather, and the time of day have a part to play. I visit Trafalgar Square and smell pigeons even though they are long gone. I visit Buckingham Palace and recall finding a woman dead on the pavement one late evening. I see snow and think of the broken leg I got from skiing in my teens – not snowmen. I see any icecream van and think specifically of Beadnell Bay, Northumberland.

The mind is far, far more complex than a fancy game of ‘pairs’. I have perhaps 30,000 of my own images online, so why support, replace or supplement these with those taken by others? What if during my lifetime I tag, link and assocaite these images? How might these be linked to another personal log – a diary of some 2.5 million written over a 30 year period?

There are research challenges involved in further improving the quality of the lifelog augmentation process, especially with regard to “event-specific” lifelog events, e.g., football matches, rock concerts, etc. Other research challenges include investigations into selecting initial seed images based on adaptive radii, more sophisticated tag selection techniques, and also considering how interface design and varying methods of visualisation affect users’ acceptance of augmented data.

REFERENCE

Baddeley, A., Ed. Your Memory: A User’s Guide; Carlton Books: New York, NY, USA, 2004.

Bell, G.; Gemmell, J. A digital life. Scientific American Magazine, March 2007.

Berry, E.; Hampshire, A.; Rowe, J.; Hodges, S.; Kapur, N.; Watson, P.; Smyth, G.B.G.; Wood, K.;
Owen, A.M. The neural basis of effective memory therapy in a patient with limbic encephalitis. J.
Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry 2009, 80, 582–601.

Doherty,.R. and Smeaton.A.F. (2009) Automatically Augmenting Lifelog Events Using Pervasively Generated Content from Millions of People

Vernon, J.F. (2012) Use of hundreds of image grabs of contempary artists, Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh to communicate with an elderly patient after a series of catastrophic and ultimately fatal strokes.

Zacks, J.M.; Speer, N.K.; Vettel, J.M.; Jacoby, L.L. Event understanding and memory in healthy
aging and dementia of the alzheimer type. Psychol. Aging 2006, 21, 466–482.

Automatically assisting human memory:

English: Microsoft SenseCam

English: Microsoft SenseCam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

SenseCam browser (Microsoft). A wearable device that takes a picture every 22 seconds. Hodges et al (2006)

 

  • Tools for lifelogging
  • Hundreds of thousands of images grabbed and presented to aid memory … and memory rehabilitation.
  • Automatic content analysis techniques

 

(There is a reason why we forget. The quote from James on the need to spend as much time recalling the record if everything is remembered is like that of Lewis Carroll and a map the size of the real world – neither had the advantage of limitless digital storage capacity and the ability to zoom in and out or back and forth – to expand time, not simply record it.). 

 

  • A visual record of your day. Berry et al (2007)
  • 2000 to 5000 images a day

 

Best practice

 

  • Only activate the device for significant events

 

Methods of review

 

  • Clustered time view
  • Geographical map (required GPS)
  • Interactive story authoring
  • Motion sensors identify events – typically 20-30 in a day.

 

PROBLEMS

 

  • Cognitive overload
  • Keyframe image selection a human endeavour
  • An entusiastic lifelogger might expect to gather 100,000 images a month.

 

OF NOTE

 

  • Key frame selection only of note if it picked a poor image.

 

REFERENCE

 

Berry, E., Kapur, N., Williams, L., Hodges, S., Watson, P., Smyth, G., et al. (2007). The use of a wearable camera, SenseCam, as a pictorial diary to improve autobiographical memory in a patient with limbic encephalitis. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 17(4), 582601.

 

Hodges, S., Williams, L., Berry, E., Izadi, S., Srinivasan, J., Butler, A. et al. (2006). SenseCam: A retrospective memory aid. In UbiComp: 8th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 4602 LNCS (pp. 177193). New York, NY: Springer.

 

 

 

Life-Logging and the contents of my brain, your brain, easily accessed, shared and ameliorated (or just picked over?)

Gordon Bell

Gordon Bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fascinates me. When I started blogging in 1999 I called the blog ‘The Contents of My Brain’ as for a couple of years I’d been using an early version of Filemaker Pro offline (in Clarisworks) to assemble/catalogue everything I had read, all the films I had seen … and all the diary entries I had kept since March 1975. Then I read about this guy. I’d like to meet him. I’d like to work with him!

 

Gordon Bell

 

Microsoft Research Silicon Valley

 

Email: GBell At Microsoft.com is the most reliable communication link
Mobile phone & answering machine:
(415) 640 8255 best voice link
Office & Computer LYNC Phone: (415) 972-6542; this rings on my PC
FAX
only if you must: MS fax gateway(425) 936-7329 address to “gbell
Microsoft Office: 835 Market Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA, 94103

 

(c) Dan Tuffs, Photographer

 

Gordon Bell is a principal researcher in the Microsoft Research Silicon Valley Laboratory, working in the San Francisco Laboratory. His interests include extreme lifelogging, digital lives, preserving everything in cyberspace, and cloud computing as a new computer class and platform. He proselytizes Jim Gray’s Fourth Paradigm of Science.

 

Gordon has long evangelized scalable systems starting with his interest in multiprocessors (mP) beginning in 1965 with the design of Digital’s PDP-6, PDP-10’s antecedent, one of the first mPs and the first timesharing computer. He continues this interest with various talks about trends in future supercomputing (see Papers… presentations, etc.) and especially clustered systems formed from cost-effective “personal computers”.  As Digital’s VP of R&D he was responsible for the VAX Computing Environment. In 1987, he led the cross-agency group as head of NSF’s Computing Directorate that made “the plan” for the National Research and Education Network (NREN)aka the Internet.

 

When joining Microsoft in 1995, Gordon had started focusing on the use of computers and the necessity of telepresencebeing there without really being there, then. “There” can be a different place, right now, or a compressed and different time (a presentation or recording of an earlier event). In 1999 this project was extended to include multimedia in the home (visit Papers… presentations, etc.).

 

He puts nearly all of his atom- and electron-based bits in his local Cyberspace—the MyLifeBits project c1998-2007. This includes everything he has accumulated, written, photographed, presented, and owns (e.g. CDs). In February 2005 an epiphany occurred with the realization that MyLifeBits goes beyond Vannevar Bush’s “memex” and is a personal transaction processing database for everything described in June 14, 2005 SIGMOD Keynote. The MyLifeBits project with Jim Gemmell is described in an article by us in the March 2007 Scientific American. Alec Wilkinson described Gordon and the MyLifeBits effort in the 28 May 2007 issue of the New Yorker. By the publication of the book the final epiphany was that our e-memories are where the records reside and bio-memories are just URLs into these records.

 

He and Jim Gemmell have written a book entitled Total Recall: How the e-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything which was published in=n September 2009. You can order it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, orIndieBound. Please check out the Total Recall book website. Your Life, Uploaded: The Digital Way to Better Memory, Health, and Productivity is the paperback version published September 2010. It is available in Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese.

 

The remainder of the site includes these pages:

 

  1. Papers, books, PowerPoint presentations, videos since 1995, when joining Microsoft
  2. Extended Bio— education, work history, honors… Alaska fishing and France biking
  3. Vitae: Listing of books, computers, interviews, papers, patents, projects, and videos
  4. THE COMPUTER MUSEUM ARCHIVE An archive of The Computer Museum in Boston 1980-1998.

5. Gordon’s  Cyber Museum that has Bell’s books, the Hollerith Patent, the CDC 8600 Manual, a talk about Seymour Cray, an album of supercomputer photos, posters about the history of computing, etc.

 

6. Gordon’s Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Cyber Museum has artifacts, books, brochures, clippings, manuals, memos (e.g. The VAX Strategy), memorabilia, photos, posters, presentations, etc. relating to Digital Equipment Corporation a.k.a. DEC.

 

7. Supercomputing and the CyberInfrastructure lists articles, memos, talks, and testimony regarding the various aspects of high performance computing including funding, goals, and problems in reaching to the Teraflops in 1995 and Petaflops in 2010.

 

Bell’s Law of Computer Classes and Class formation was first described in 1972 with the emergence of a new, lower priced microcomputer class based on the microprocessor. Microsoft Technical Report MSR-TR-2007-146 describes the law and gives the implication for multiple cores per chip, etc. Established market class computers are introduced at a constant price with increasing functionality (or performance). Technology advances in semiconductors, storage, interfaces and networks enable a new computer class (platform) to form about every decade to serve a new need. Each new usually lower priced class is maintained as a quasi independent industry (market). Classes include: mainframes (60’s), minicomputers (70’s), networked workstations and personal computers (80’s), browser-web-server structure (90’s), web services (2000’s), palm computing (1995), convergence of cell phones and computers (2003), and Wireless Sensor Networks aka motes (2004). Beginning in the 1990s, a single class of scalable computers called clusters built from a few to tens of thousands of commodity microcomputer-storage-networked bricks began to cover and replace mainframes, minis, and workstation. Bell predicts home and body area networks will form by 2010. See also the description of several laws (e.g. Moore’s, Metcalfe’s, Bill’s, Nathan’s, Bell’s) that govern the computer industry is given in Laws, a talk by Jim Gray and Gordon Bell.

 

Description: \\research\root\web\external\en-us\UM\People\gbell\CGB on Segway 020405_small.jpgDescription: \\research\root\web\external\en-us\UM\People\gbell\CGB on GM Segway GM model_small.jpgGordon was with his Diamond Exchange colleagues at the Boulders, Carefree, AZ where the group tested the Segway, a dual-processor, two wheeled, computer and Human Transporter.  Since the test in 2002, he has taken and recommended tours in the Pacificia near San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Yes, this is a product endorsement. Right is the Ford SUV version

 

 

Digital Housekeeping and a digital brain

Illl-health has impacted on my activity online. This in itself is an insight. On the one hand we label people for analysis, putting them into groups that vary from ‘creator’ all the way through to ‘inactive’ in order to simply its complexity, but more importantly in order to be able to share and discuss.

It has to be two, even three years since I did some long overdue ‘digital housekeeping’. It isn’t in my nature to go through my virtual pack of cards to put them in order; indeed, is order of any kind necessary so long as you have tagged thoroughly? It is, because such tags are no less valid just because you thoughts, ideas, assignments, references, quotes, pics, charts, grabs and so on are now collated. Indeed, these groups, chronologies and narratives are offering their own insights.

I’ve been inclined to equate ‘stuff’ (digital assets) as vegetation in a compost bin, however, this ‘stuff’ doesn’t simply rot, rather it replicates itself … then rots and transmogrifies in various ways. You think too hard and analogies fail because of the versatility, fluidity and complexity of the World Wide Web 2.0.

Creation is a part of what I do. There is considerable searching, grabbing, highlighting and note-taking too. Screen grabs and ‘Snips’ are treated like photographs and dealt with off-line in ‘Picasa’, online they are uploaded to Picasa Web and Dropbox. From here the url is shared in various ways in this blog and elsewhere. This 200GB album was looking like Wembley Stadium after a rock concert so I’ve gone in and begun to sort out and clean up my ‘digital litter’.

What I find is that a grab, chart or image can instantly induce recollection of why I chose the image in the first place; the thinking behind the choice is revived. On their own these images will mean very different things to others until I add the text.

ON REFLECTION

Certain habits, such as titles, tags and references save you scrambling around later. Too often a great chart from a survey is rendered, in academic circles, useless, if I cannot locate the source. I can feel like riding a bicycle with square wheels ensuring that quotes and images are properly referenced at the time you highlight, note or grab, but it means that when you put them into an assignment, or simply a presentation or blog, this reference, usually with a URL is readily available.

This suits the kind of person who for a very short period (one month), not only kept a diary, but stuck the ephemera of the day into the folder/scrapbook too. Unsustainable, but extraordinary how a 3d bus ticket from the 1970s does more to remind me of the Yellow 45 bus I took along the ‘Great North Road’ to primary school then any words (that I couldn’t have written at the time) to explain it.

Intermittently, having come across him during H808, I think about the Microsoft programmer who uses a digital device to RECORD everything he does, all day (sound and vision). That’s the easy part. The hard part is creating the software to extract and store content of worth. The problem is that the mind, which must equate to how innovative we are, is anything but well ordered.

How often do we stop and think?

I may be an atheist but perhaps on the seventh day we should rest; we unplugged the router, put the phone on charge for the following week, turn off the TV and buy a paper? Or go to church … or the non-religious equivalent.

A search for ‘Microsoft’ in this diary brings me the name ‘Gordon Bell’, the entry I wrote in January and a link to the New Scientist article and its author. Gordon Bell wrote that he hoped eventually to uncover some patterns ‘you would never have gleaned unaided.’

I very rarely look at old diaries. Doing so I was in despair. Neither the chronology, nor the day of the week is relevant, rather it is the unlinked themes that run through it, but to get at those requires transcription and digitisation.

I’d prefer to live life than live about the life I lived.

What Microsoft may achieve, though Google are surely doing it, is to formulate a better way to manager knowledge.

Which brings me to my final though for now, and that is to go entirely Google.

I use Google tools extensively already.

I’ve never done much with ‘Blogger’ preferring ‘WordPress,’ but Google makes it seamless, indeed, collectively Google tools are half-way between a virtual learning environment (VLE) and that amorphous collection of tools we collectively give the term ‘personal learning environment’ (PLE).

 

How should business schools rank in the minds of the business commmunity?

The views of a panel of experts and 2,000 professionals from across the UK have voted the Open University Business School one of the top five super-brands for executive education, training and development.

The Business Superbrands

The survey recognises brands that have established an exceptional reputation in their sectors and offer customers significant emotional and/or tangible advantages over their competitors.

The panel ranked the  Open University Business School ahead of Manchester Business School, Cass Business School, Warwick Business School, Said Business School at Oxford University and Cambridge Judge Business School.

The Centre of Brand Analysis compiled the The annual Business Superbrands on behalf of the Superbrands
The business school’s list runs like this:

    1. Cranfield School of Management    
    2. London Business School        
    3. Imperial College Business School
    4. The Open University Business School
    5. Manchester Business School
    6. Said Business School 
    7. Warwick Business School      
    8. Cambridge Judge Business School                
    9. Cass Business School  

Overall the top UK business brand was Rolls-Royce with Blackberry, Microsoft, Google, Apple and the London Stock Exchange in second to sixth places .

When taking pictures of everyone you meet and writing up conversations was so novel it featured in the Washington Post. The year? 1999.

ELLEN LEVY SUCKS LIFE INTO HER LAPTOP.

That’s how I’d put it. This is how the Washington Post put it on the 24th September 1999.

‘Could you spend all day writing up conversations and taking pictures of everyone you meet? Some one can and is!’

‘Ellen Levy has got the right project for the Internet Age.’

She’s a director of Linked In so she got something right.

Umm, I think, suspiciously, and read on. This is a front-page story. Is it worth such an accolade?

In retrospect, I guess so.

‘The main points of every conversation she’s had and taken pictures of, almost every one of the more than 1000 people she’s encountered since New Year’s Eve 1998. In all, to date,’ we are informed, ‘800 single pages of text, and 1,100 photographs.’

If you’re busy could someone do this for you? Trial around after you with a camera recording what you do, photographing who you see, taking notes and at night transcribing what you say and hear? Would this assistance not in time become the person they are tracking?

Is this a job for the Internet Age?

But will Ellen share these pages with us? What insights has she gained? Has she anything to say to the world? No! Ellen Levy is not Anais Nin; this is not Allan Clarke.

This sounds like it could be a bad case of diarist’s diarrhoea – an inability to use 200 words where 20,000 will do. (Actually this reads like me).

Which is why, where the platform or context dictates, I write in word, put the text into a table, then slash may way through it to reduce the word count.

‘It’s like you’re always in a race and you’re never going to catch up with yourself.’ Says Ellen Levy, Head of Corporate Development, Softbooks.

Is Ellen going to reveal anything interesting as a result of all of this navel gazing? I asked myself in 1999.

Or is it navel gazing? Is it more like a fly-on-the-wall documentary in which her laptop is the camera, and her words the videotape?

We’ll never know.

It’s like someone telling us how they are writing a novel, but it isn’t the process we are interested in; it is the end result.

Bill Bryson can make the most mundane sound interesting; for the rest of us even the most interesting events can sound flat.

We learn more.

‘By recording everything that comes her way Ellen thinks it is possible to track how chance meetings develop into critical business or personal relationships.’

Now we’re getting somewhere.

If this is a yearlong audit of her business activity, what has she learnt that will allow her, or her colleagues to become more efficient? Networking might be the answer. But there’s a social aspect to networking so she’d better ditch the laptop, look people in the eye, listen and respond. In this respect a tape-recorder might be more useful.

So I wrote in 1999.

Linked In has 90 million members?

There’s a lesson to be learnt from this – extraordinary research produces insights that can deliver a novel way to do things.

The article continues:

‘It offers a catalogue of many otherwise forgettable moments.’

If indeed it is nothing more than a log, then indeed, it should be forgotten. A log sounds like one of those Five-Year Diaries one gets as a child with a lock on the cover. There’s a saying that goes, ‘old news keeps like fish.’ If this is the case, then it applies even more so to old diary entries. These days news is archived and regurgitated in many forms and has a valid shelf life once salted, or spiced, or combined with other ingredients. What life will Ellen’s entries get? None, it would appear. They are still born.

The Washington Post continues:

‘There’s a compulsive component to what she does.’

I’ll say! Diary writing does not need to be the same as constructing a motorway. You are allowed to leave out sections. Indeed, a few days of nothing can mean more than a log-like entry or an apology. There’s nothing worse than writing an entry when you have nothing to say.

Silence is often golden.

What is more Ellen would observe more and record less. It’s reading things like this that I imagine how dull travel writers like Bill Bryson or Pete Mayle would be if they sat with laptops recording the world, a prisoner to their keyboards and the need to keep typing of cease to exist.

Ellen is quoted once more:

“It’s the things that you don’t think matter that are also interesting about people. Even now to go back and read some parts of January is fascinating to me. “

This is true.

What next? Record all conversations to disc and have them transcribed? Video all that you see and do? I’ve visited Jennicam and found the experience self-indulgent and unrevealing.

I’m writing this in 1999. In 2010 the New Scientist features a programmer for Microsoft who is doing exactly this.

We are told that Ellen, Sleeps for just four hours a night.’

I can relate to this. Though as I’m currently down with a cold my sleeping has increased to 10 hours a day.

Didn’t Margaret Thatcher claimed the same?

She never said it but I’m sure she thought sleeping was for wimps.

Indeed anyone who suffers from information overload will find they have less need for sleep, or rather they are unable to sleep for long. However, look at Margaret Thatcher today. It would appear that many years of little sleep are as damaging as a pack of cigarettes a day.

Check this out at RealAge.com.

Sleep is a vital part of living. I’d prefer Ellen to write less and sleep more. I’d then like her to write up some of her dreams too. Ellen says that she,

‘Missed a few days and nearly gave up during a bout of flu.’

The fact that she pressed on against the odds suggests that her goal is quantity not quality. This diary writing habit can be like that of a twitcher who travels the world looking for birds he has never seen before so that he can tick them off from a list. It’s like train spotting. There is no insight, just a numbers game. There cannot be an empty day; yet treated in this fashion every day is empty.

‘a twitcher who travels the world looking for birds’

Like Twitter?

Finally, while not doubting the PR value inherent in this kind of front-page coverage for Softpage, I doubt that Ellen is the first. Indeed in the marathon rush to write diaries, what is more to write such diaries and post them on the web, entries, pictures, video clips and all, I doubt she’s even in the top one hundred.

She isn’t the first to do this. She’s just one of the first brazen enough to shout about it. There are over 2000 diaries in diary.net alone, and twenty times this figure scattered about the web.

Of course, I now want someone to pay me to do something similar for YEAR 2000.

A decade later where do we stand? Hundreds of millions of blogs. Entries like paper-tissues are used then stuck online rather than binned. The Internet has become the bin. The cloud is a virtual bin. We want to keep everything, and every version of everything.

Like Ellen Levy I would use modern tools to help me with the task, but the tools would be precisely this, technical assistants. I would not become their slave. I’d use a solid state recorder in place of a notebook, and a hand held computer rather than a laptop. Content would be loaded onto a PC every night. Voice recognition software would turn my audio notes into text files and the two sources combined, then edited, and then posted on the Web.

I’d undertake to post the first draft of all entries within 24 hours of writing them. Entries would be edited or left, at my discretion over the next week during which time I’d also decide whether or not to add pictures, audio-files and even video-clips.

I’d also undertake to live a life worth writing about.

Modules from the Open University Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE)

Twitter 6x6

Twitter 6×6 (Photo credit: Steve Woolf)

H807, H808 to H800 – Modules of the Open University Masters in Open and Distance Education

Either it is reflection of my growth through this course, or it is a blossoming of the MA ODE course. Looking at how we students will share contact details: Email, Skype, Blog and Twitter accounts suggests to me that any containment within the OU VLE is now cursory.

I feel this will increase its use, not diminish it.

This will remain the hub from which course materials, resources and context emanated with blogging, Skype and Twitter having their role to play.

All I can suggest to fellow students is to screen grab, cut and paste or download content you create beyond this platform as at some stage it is certainly going to form a significant part of your aggregated knowledge, possibly even evidence of participation.

A diary since 1975 to 1999 (with some notable gaps). A blog since 1999 to the present day. What’s its worth?

I gave up buying the Guardian on Saturday after a decade or more of doing so in favour of receiving the New Scientist every week; it is simple.

Too much that I read in the paper I know already and the Colour supplement’s target audience is the bottom of the bin.

I am rewarded this week with

  • a) the news that Google have digitized 5 million books
  • b) a piece on blogging ‘Dear e-diary … ‘

This ought to be how anyone who blog begins their entry, ‘dear diary;’ blogging sounds like something Morris Dancer’s do in slippers after hours behind the pub.

Alun Anderson passes through the history of the diary with some clumsy thoughts on such things becoming popular gifts in the 1820s and the number of diaries inviting us to buy them at this time of year on supermarket shelves – actually I find the Academic diary is more popular in late August.

Never mind

In one respect he is right; along with New Year’s resolutions, keeping a diary from January 1st is up there.

Of course, we all decide to do this on the 5th or 6th so have to invent an entry or three or four for the previous days. I’ve just been looking on shelves where old diaries are stored … (this stuff gets an outing once or twice a decade). For reasons suggested above, some of the first few days of the New Year draw a blank, though I appear to have an unbroken record for the 5th and 6th of January since 1976. (I should add that the diary record over 34 years has about 13 years of blanks, so I’m not such an obsessive.

I have an unbroken run from 1983 to 1987 and 1978-1982 are complete, but largely little more than a five liner in a Five Year diary.

September 1979 is interesting though, short of the technology, I just about achieved what Gordon Bell, a senior researcher at Microsoft is up to … recording absolutely everything that ever happens to him with a digital camera strung around his neck. (I trust he’ll call it albatross).

We’ve seen how relentlessly dull TV manufactured life can be from Big Brother, why will Gordon’s life be any better, or will the presence of the digital recorder prompt him into doing something ‘worth recording,’ i.e. mucking up any science he may think is going on.

What I did, not knowing for how long I’d do it, was to open the parameters of my diary page entries, from five lines every day, to an A4 sheet (no more, never missed), to as much as it could take; it took a couple of hours to write every night, which would of course lead to that vital practice of reflecting on the process of writing itself. That and every bust ticket into town (Newcastlte), the Commodores ?! Tuxedo Junction. And the ‘swimming baths.’ (sic). A play at the Gulbenkien. Godspell at the Theatre Royal. A Mars Bar for 3p.

Totall Recall: How the e-memory revolution will change everything.

No it won’t.

All the years I Twittered into a Five Year diary (about 60 words), my aim was to put in something that would remind me what happend that exact day; I’m forever staggered how I’ve achieved this on very little indeed. It requires a key, not the detail, just an Alice in Wonderland key that opens up the rest of it.

This is what Microsoft should be thinking about, not oceans of everything, but the meaningful flotsam and jetsam, that and the person saying what they think and feel about what is going on. Find me the third-party device that can record thoughts, feelings and dreams – it’s a thing of fiction.

This item is written by the former editor-in-chief of the New Scientist, Alun Anderson.

It amuses me to see that the new New Scientist editor-in-chief is Roger Highfield. I don’t suppose he can tell me what we ate when I had dinner with him in November 1984 in Wood Green (give me a sec) … I can. And curiouser, and curiouser, though there’s not a jot recorded on what we spoke about that night, I’ve an inkling I could share.

It is empowering to know I can ferret around in an old diary for ten minutes to get these answers; doing the same with some 16000 blog entries saves me a few moments. Away from my desk, diaries or the Internet however, I’m sure that all this ferreting around in the past has kept these memories accessible.

Gordon Bell will eventually uncover some patterns ‘you would never have gleaned unaided;’ I feel I’m ahead of the Mircosoft game.

On verra.

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