Monday, March 22, 2010

Book #26 – Total Recall

51Jafuv2UGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ I first heard about this book in the news when Gordon Bell was interviewed and said that he needed Microsoft to “build him a database” that would handle his life logging. I found it interesting and after writing an editorial based on a little research, I bought the book.

Total Recall seems to fluctuate a bit between authors. I noticed some different styles, and while a few people’s names are on the cover, it mainly seems to be a story told by Gordon Bell. It covers some of his inspiration and thoughts on digitizing a large portion of his life. I felt like there were three parts to the book.

The first part was his inspiration and why he built some tools to help. The idea comes from a memex, an idea from the 40s for a scientist. It’s an interesting read about the reasons for life logging.

The middle part starts to talk about visions of how this might work and the benefits. There are some cons presented, but not with the same enthusiasm that the author has for the topic. However he legitimately talks about a few issues.

The last chapter or two look at some practical tools to get started. I found a few ideas here and might try to increase my own life logging.

It’s an interesting idea, and surprisingly, the author sees a lot of the current “social sites” as a problem. He wants to log things, but also wants to maintain his privacy. I wish he would have shared this earlier in the book since it appears to be a bit buried. In any case, if you are interested in what recording more of your life might mean, this is a good one to read.

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