the lifeblog, the vlog and the glog
This page looks at image-based blogs, at the lifeblog
(a concept that some find as unconvincing as the internet
refrigerator or the flying car) and the glog.
It covers -
vlogs, vogs and moblogs
2001 saw the emergence of the vog or vlog - the web-delivered
video-blog, explained in one manifesto
vog is dziga vertov
with a mac and a modem
four years later as
video. Think regular Joes and Marys acting like Dan
Rather, broadcasting personal video newscasts from their
kitchen counters and living room sofas.
Vlogging is likely to become more popular as video editing
software and camera prices decline, usability increases,
artists emulate their peers ("i want my vogs to do
with video what ee cummings does with words") and
other consumers embrace the claim by one software vendor
that "Video blogging is personal version of newscasts,
documentaries and even Reality TV".
Vertov saw film, in the words of one critic,
as "the technology that will provide the utopian
inspiration and practical means for the arrival of socialism",
with the theatre as "a place for collective and democratic
consciousness and hence democratic representation".
Problems with bandwidth, creativity and solipsism mean
that that vlogging is unlikely to usher in a new millennium:
most vlogs will be online versions of your neighbour's
interminable travel slide show.
Avant-garde narcissists can use12seconds.tv, a video version
of Twitter that allows
participants to share 12 second video clips of their lives
Fans of slide shows can turn to fotologs
or camlogs: blogs based on or featuring snaps from the
author's digital camera. The genre is one with real potential,
as the cost of digital cameras falls and familiarity with
graphics editing software increases. We are hoping to
find an Andre Kertesz, Dorothea Lange or August Sander
among the enthusiasts for 3G devices that combine mobile
phones and cameras. In the interim one example is here.
They have been hailed by zeitgeist-sniffer Howard Rheingold
as a tool for moblogs: mobile/wireless web logs, rather
than something produced by digital sans-culottes (the
that come equipped with wireless
PDAs and go wardriving
in search of the latest agit-pop pronunciamento from Commandante
Using camera-equipped mobile phones for blogging - one
example is here
- is an interesting idea but problematical if your telco's
tariff scheme punishes large data transfers from your
A skeptic on Slashdot sniffed
with your phone will only result in mis-typed entries
with poorly lit, poorly framed and blurry photos of
famous landmarks that you can't quite make out and the
result looks kind of like New Jersey or unrecognizable
people who aren't particularly attractive or even remotely
interesting even if drugs and/or alcohol were involved
at 3:22AM when they were filmed on the way to yet another
bar or club overcharging due to the lateness of the
hour or the so called exclusivity of the place. Eck
disdain has not deterred several sites that specialise
in hosting hosting blogs that comprise little more than
snaps taken with phonecams.
Textamerica.com - the "Camera Phone Moblog Community"
- for example explains that
a Moblog you can post pictures, video and text direct
from your camera phone to web instantly. Its fun and
should decide for themselves whether it is also worth
revisiting. Competitor Yafro.com is promoted as
online community ... You can create your free online
picture journal using your camera phone or digital camera
and share them with friends or make new friends too!
about camlogging are provided by Peter Aitken's Camera
Phone Obsession (Phoenix: Paraglyph Press 2004) and
Andreas Kitzmann's Saved from Oblivion: Documenting
the Daily from Diaries to Web Cams (New York: Peter
Fans of audioblogs or autocasting - we are not sure that
the sound of someone talking about their oh-so-meaningful
encounter with a cheese sandwich is a great improvement
on reading the text - hail them as the "transition
from the silent blogs to the talkies".
In practice more eartime appears to be garnered by what
were initially labelled as MP3 blogs - blogs that mix
music criticism with access to music in the form of MP3
files, sometimes with the endorsement of record companies
or individual copyright owners - and are now conceptualised
by some as a type of podcast,
discussed in a separate note on this site.
Adam Curry of iPodder thus announced
As consumers, we've been trained to think the only way
you can fill your mp3 player is by either ripping your
cd collection to it, or by purchasing Music tracks from
a few vendors. In reality you can fill up your mp3 players
with audio files that contain anything you can record.
A show, lecture, weather report, love letter ... just
like weblogs there's no limit to your own creativity.
And now, thanks to the iPodder developers, you too can
enjoy broadcasting podcasting your audio to a potential
audience of millions.
For some marketers, it seems, anything with 'blog' or
'log' appears magic, even if the product is not online
and thus has a restricted audience.
In 2004 Nokia battled slumping mobile sales by announcing
the Lifeblog - a mobile-based "Diary for the Digital
Age" or "automated multimedia diary"
Lifeblog creates a multimedia diary of your life through
images, messages, and videos you collect with your phone.
... Imaging phones have become like life recorders,
making it easy for people to collect life memories through
images and messages. Nokia Lifeblog makes it easy for
users to automatically keep, find, and share memories
in a pleasant way
Nokia Lifeblog is a PC and mobile phone software combination
that effortlessly keeps a multimedia diary of the items
users collect with their mobile phone. Lifeblog automatically
organizes their photos, videos, text messages, and multimedia
messages into a beautiful chronology they can easily
browse, search, and save.
In a phone, the Nokia Lifeblog automatically keeps track
of photos, videos, and messages so the user doesn't
have to. With Lifeblog on the phone users can browse
items and share them with others. Connect the phone
to a PC via USB cable to transfer the phone items to
Lifeblog on the PC.
In a PC, Nokia Lifeblog provides easy browsing and searching
of the items collected with Lifeblog on the phone. The
PC part also helps store multimedia items. With one-button
synchronization, photos, videos, text and multimedia
messages are transferred from the phone. That means
no more losing something to make way for more space
on the phone. Lifeblog helps users keep precious multimedia
items on their PC.
spruiked its SenseCam
around the same time.
SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that
documents the day for later reference. For example,
each time the wearer walks into a different room, the
change in lighting triggers the camera to snap a 180-degree
fish-eye shot. A sudden movement, a change in ambient
temperature, the body heat of someone passing - these
are all considered photo ops.
sort of problems we're trying to solve are related to
memory recall. Where did you leave your spectacles?
Who did you meet during a previous day?
the device's 128 megabyte memory holding around 2,000
time-stamped photos for download to a personal computer.
A Microsoft spokesperson characterised SenseCam as "a
black box data recorder for the human body".
We can't help thinking it is more like a Detroit 'concept
car' or an 'internet fridge'
- one-off wizardry that grabs media attention and diverts
attention from the vendor's underwhelming performance.
The Nokia and Microsoft products are steps towards what
has characterised as cyberglogging or cyborg blogs (aka
Mann is author of Digital Destiny & Human Possibility
in the Age of the Wearable Computer (New York: Doubleday
2002), and the 1998 McLuhan Symposium on Culture &
I Am A Camera: Humanistic Intelligence is the medium;
our everyday living is the message.
One enthusiast proclaimed that
Cyborg Log (cyborglog, or glog for short) is a mechanism
for community. When the glog is also blogged, such as,
for example, Roving reporter cyborglog,
it actually does allow a large community to exist. Back
in 1994 when the web was quite young, there were some
30,000 visits a day to this glog. There evolved a strong
sense of community, which was quite remarkable for a
glog that was also a blog, back in 1994. Now of course
it's easy to do, and many people do it, and so now of
course there are many cyborgs.
might wonder whether some of the fans should cut down
on the Star Trek 'Borg' episodes, endorsing the
Wilson Quarterly assessment of wannabe-cyborgs
and other 'posthumans' - noted here
lot of young, pasty, lanky, awkward ... white males
talking futuristic bullshit, terribly worried that we
will take their toys away
cyborgs might want to explore some of the harder questions
in David Noble's acute The Religion of Technology
(New York: Knopf 1997) and Michael Dertouzos' The
Unfinished Revolution: Making Computers Human-Centric
(New York: HarperBusiness 2001).
Josie Appleton commented
in 2004 that
expectations are being invested in these technologies.
There is an idea that they can provide people with a
firmer sense of identity, at a time when people often
find it difficult to see a coherent narrative to their
lives, and experiences often seem insubstantial - not
quite 'real'. According to Lindholm, this could be one
of the attractions of the Lifeblog: 'You can see very
clearly a narrative of your life; some sort of chronological
sequence gives meaning to people. It really allows the
user to go back and reflect on what a person's life
looks like.' The idea is that this birthday or that
holiday is photographed and ordered, month by month,
and you can see it all before you.
But this is a flimsy form of personal narrative. A Lifelog
can't give you a life - it's just a way of storing data
from your mobile phone. A photograph of every memorable
event of your existence wouldn't give you a 'narrative'
if you didn't have one already.
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