Having just bought my new mobile phone, one of the first things I did was to install Nokia Lifeblog 1.5, on both the phone and my computer. The idea behind the application is to create an ongoing personal multimedia diary, synched between your phone and your computer, which stores your photos, text messages, video clips and text notes.
This whole idea is right up my street. I've taken literally thousands of photos on my old Nokia 7250i, and had to copy them to the computer manually, storing them in a folder on my hard disk which is tricky to navigate. As a simple application for managing the photos you take on your mobile, Lifeblog works like a dream. Connecting the phone to my computer, I just click to transfer files, and Lifeblog sucks out all my recent photos, messages and videos, leaving my memory card free to go out and take more. Stuff that I want to keep on my phone I can mark as 'favorite' and it gets copied back.
Browsing the photos on both the PC app and on the phone works smoothly, even with over 1500 photos stored. The timeline scrolls nicely, you can jump to a date, and even search by title.
With version 1.5, there is also the ability to post an item to a public blog, but as of yet only Typepad is supported.
One strange consequence of using the programme is that it's not just all your photos which are archived - I'm used to that - but all your text message communication with your friends. Usually, people are continually deleting these messages to make room in their inbox. That's never really been a problem as text messages are pretty ephemeral, containing short-term info. However, the fact that they're just short strings of text makes it very easy to keep them all - but does that mean you should? I have no idea what the Data Protection Act might say, but I suppose it's just like keeping all the letters you send and receive. The chances of text messages being interesting reading in the future seems somewhat less, but you never know... It's easy enough to hide them from view in Lifeblog anyhow. It's one step in the direction towards life-caching.
Buying the PC bit of Lifeblog cost me more than my mobile phone, but I've been impressed so far. The program is clearly designed to be simple and have a wide appeal, and so I realise that there won't be a huge number of advanced features added, but here are a few of my simple requests so far:
- Add Movable Type support (Six Apart need to do this, I imagine it will happen soon).
- Improve error messages. I kept getting an error message reporting 'a problem with tranferring items' which suggested that I 'recover old items' but what I actually need to do was to close a photo that was open in another application.
- Allow you to rename photos from the timeline without having to open the photo or open a dialog box.
- Add a tool which renames the actual filenames on the PC using the names given on the timeline.
- Improve the 'edit item details' dialog box, allowing you to modify the time as well as date.
- Add 'camera details' (eg phone model) meta-data.
- Add fast-forward, rewind and scrollbar functions to the video player.
- Add an 'add to favorites' button to the timeline.
- Add support for audio-only files.