Author Archives: AmandaAlm

L.A – Logging Angeles?

Crazy California

So Friday the 4th was our last day in SF – which we realized late Thursday evening.

What? We’re checking out the 4th? But the check-in in L.A is the 5th…

Pause for head scratching

…so we don’t have anywhere to sleep the night between. And we need to get to L.A somehow.

Dutch roommate couple;

“You should take the Greyhound!”

So 9.30pm we got on what was gonna be our combined transport and shelter for the night.

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8 hours later, we crossed the finish line and got our reward; The Ritz! (thanks boss)

Don’t think we need more comments on that, we’ll just show you some pics and leave it at that.

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But too much luxury is not good for our image so 7am next morning we got in a cab that was gonna take us to the Amtrak station, 5min away according to the Hotel staff…

…35min later we started wonder if we were heading to the right station. Cabdriver assured us we were. Another 10 minutes later he drops us off at a shuttle-bus stop by the airport and tells us to get on a bus, cause that will take us to the Amtrak.

???

He unloads our luggage and even has the courage to ask for tip. I try to push aside my suppressed anger and bring out my Swedish perliteness to explain that “No sir, I’m afraid you have failed to bring us to the correct destination. Therefor I can not possibly give you tip” And then a Colgate smile for comforting effect.

Well the shuttle bus was wrong as well. We ended up taking the metro all the way back to Down Town (where we came from). And when we finally got on a train to San Diego we had missed our first interview – thank you cab man!

Well, no need to be angry. Maybe he just had a ruff morning. Anyways we changed course to our second meet up; Ernesto Ramirez

This is the guy who has a treadmill where others have computer chairs. But no he’s not running marathons every time he writes an email. He don’t won’t to walk around the office all sweaty. While I’m testing my multitasking skills on the treadmill Ernesto suggest we meet with his colleague Larry Smarr. And what did Larry have to show us? His intestence – in 3D.
And it’s not the movie 3D we’re used to see. He gave me a tour inside his body by grabbing a 3D “stick” and twist and turn the virtual version of his insides. Crazy! I wish we could have filmed it in 3D as well.

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Ernesto is one of the organizers of the San Diego QS Meet ups and this year he’s also helping out at the big QS conference in September in San Francisco. We’re kind of hoping for leftover tickets. Since so many of the people we’ve met are coming to the event, we’d really like to go and meet everybody again. Fingers crossed you guys!

The train back from San Diego arrived in L.A around midnight and when we got to the new hostel we were up for a surprise;

Guy in reception

“I can’t seem to find your reservation”

At this point it’s 1am.

“And we have no other rooms available”

We try to explain that we only need somewhere to sleep for 5 hours (and maybe borrow a shower) cause we leave for Taiwan early in the morning.

“Ok, there is one room. We normally don’t allow guests to sleep there but I’m gonna make an exception just this once. Ok? I’m gonna let you sleep in the movie room.

And so we got one sofa each.

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/ Amanda

P.s Ville is very confused after the last days intense traveling, currently he’s trying to find himself on google maps.

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So San Francisco!

Busy week

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Monday

Arriving to the hostel (USA Hostels) we were tired and hungry and conveniently, iThai was just across the street. That’s right, we had noodles in an Apple-inspired thairestaurant.
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So we’re sitting there eating “Pod Thai”when Gordon Bell calls. Good job Amanda! You just earned 10points to your Fool’s Travelcard! I totally forgot that we rescheduled the interview to one day earlier. I wanted to hit myself in the head with the Go Pro. But Gordon was really nice about it and the moment we stepped in to his apartment I forgot all about my stupidity.

He’s got a pretty neat view that Mr. Bell. In every city we’ve been to and at almost every interview we’ve done his name have come up so it was an honor to finally meet him in person. Interesting facts: Gordon hates paper. He and his friend Jim Gemmel turned it into a project to digitalize every pice of document in Gordon’s possession. Quite some project!

Tuesday

Brian Kerr

The guy lived a life with low self-esteem and bad health. But when his beloved grandma (whom he was very close to) past away he came to a turning point and decided it was time to do something. So he started tracking bits of his day-to-day life in a regular notebook. Thanks to the logging he saw how different things effected him and was able to experiment his way to a healthier lifestyle. I admire the discipline and strength it must take to make that kind of change.
And it doesn’t have to be more complicated than a pen and a notebook. He has one with him during our interview as well.

Wednesday

Trōv

Took a trip to San Ramon and met the creators behind the fresh started company Trōv. And these guys aren’t just trying to establish a new business, they want to print a new expression. Next time you buy a car you might be asked if you want to “trōv” all the info regarding your purchase. That’s what Scott and Jim are striving towards. And yes this is the same Jim who scanned Gordon Bells paper-life.

They are using the tools of lifelogging to provide a service were you collect all the information about your “physical” fortune (such as your home, cars, art etc) in one place to get a better view and knowledge about them.

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Memolane

We got so inspired when we met Eric and Katie that we decided to create a Memolane for this trip. You can check it out soon, I’ll keep you posted!
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On the way back I bought art from a random dude on the street. He said I could lay a bid on it and I still had money left from London, so I gave him 20£

I think he got the winning deal. But I have a nice painting with a fun story to it – so I’m thinking it was worth it.

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Great hostel btw, breakfast included and bed lights. It’s all about appreciating the small things.
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Thursday

Google-goodies & Facebook fail

We left early and took the Amtrak to Silicon Valley & Google-land. It seriously felt like we should have brought our passports. The area is huge and people are riding google-bikes. So the first meeting was with Thad Starner; google glass developer and master of multitasking!
I’m not joking. This guy is taking notes and googling me while we’re having a conversation – and I didn’t even notes.

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We continued on to the Facebook facilities for an interview with Timeline-creator Steven Young.
Well at least we can say we met him…
…and then security and PR-manager came.

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Friday

Maren Connary

If there is such a thing as Retro-lifeloggers, Maren is certainly one of them. She’s been making scrapbooks since her teens and have a bookshelf filled with aluminum containers that store her entire life. You could say she’s the opposite to Gordon Bell.

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Karen Herzog and Richard Sachs

Karen and Richards daughter Sophia was born with an incurable decease and lived for only 4 years. Through her and her parents lifelog she touched and united people all over the world. Thank you Karen & Richard for inviting us to your home. I’ll bring the Sophia’s story with me always.

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In a previous post I asked if it still counts as lifelogging if your logging someone else’s life. After this day, I would definitely say it does.

Portland

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Our last night in Victoria was also our last night in Canada. We summed up our staying at Ocean Island Inn with Canadian beer at the hostel pub and a lifelogger chat with the bartender and the manager. The closest they’d gotten was keeping track on numbers of beers/night. Well I guess that’s a type of logging.

20120801-151427.jpgSo early (really early) Monday morning we had the shortest flight so far; 20 min to our transit in Seattle. 20min from one country to another. The bus ride from my place to the Memoto office is longer than that! Well, from Seattle to Portland. We had a talk with Bert Krages, Attorney at Law, about the legal aspects of photography and lifelogging. Apparently the lifelogger have the law on his/her side in most situations. The exceptions were the obvious places like public bathrooms, locker rooms, hospitals etc. Witch I believe is totally fare, I certainly wouldn’t want a strangers butt in my timeline. Oh, and Steve Mann; you might want to think twice before visiting Texas, apparently the law is a bit vague when it comes to photography and intensions.

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In the cab back to our hostel the cabdriver told us he’s had great use of logging both work and school. He take a bunch of courses online while working full time so by keeping track on his drive hours, income and studying he can distribute his time to be as efficient as possible for desired results. Later we took the bus home to Steven Jonas. He calls himself a self-experimenter and has a program that map everything he’s tracking. Very similar to the TicTrac service. (Steven you should check them out) Among many things, he and his girlfriend tracks and compare their sleep. They each wear a headband every night that measures the different stages of sleep and the data then shows as diagrams in a program (zeo). After the interview Steven offered to drive us back to the hostel and on the way we stopped by the famous Food Carts. Great crêpe, great interviews, great people, great 20h in Portland!

/Amanda P.s Ville’s watching reruns of Conan O’Brian and cannot be reached for comments

Canada part 2

US-custom, a quantified dog and Queen Elisabeth

So transitting is not always as smooth as one would wish.

Next destination was Victoria but to get there we had to leave Canada, go through Chicago and Seattle and then enter Canada again. Messy? Even the US customs were confused. And what is the root to all of our airport problems?

The damn Carnet (the paper of our camera equipment with we have to show in every custom when we enter/leave a new country)

Well, after a lot of questions/explanations, running, more explanations and more running – we made it through customs and to the gate. – And the flight is delayed, there were really no need for the running.

So Dave Asprey invited us to his home, and what a beautiful home! We got to meet his kids, his swedish wife (so weird to hear swedish again) and their quantified dog. Apparently he used to be overweight but thanks to QS and raw meet he’s all better. Probably the first QS-dog I’ve ever met but he seemed like a happy dog. We drank some Bulletproof coffee, I enhanced my concentration level, increased my IQ (at least I’d like to think those few minutes with Dave’s devices made some improvement) and I got a good vibrating work-out. Busy day at Dave’s. Infact, that’s how every day is for him. But he wouldn’t call it busy, he would say efficient. Even if he has a full-time job and all theese sideprojects, he stil have time to hang out with his family and just relax. I wonder if his favourite quote is Carpe Diem?

We had a day off in Victoria (wich usaly equals time for emailing, research and logging) so this day we decided to pretend to be tourists and went to the Royal BC Museum. They had an exhibition on Queen Elisabeth and you could read and see photos from her life up until today. The exhibit continued into the next room with items typical of each decade from the 20th century. Is not this also a form of lifelogging? Does it count if your logging someone elses life?

/Amanda

P.s Ville is asleep and can not be reached for comments

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Canada part 1

Yes that’s right, we’re in the part 2 city right now but we thought we would fill you in on part 1 first.

So we left New York and took a yellow cab to J.F.K. Everything was moving along smoothly, even customs. We got on the plane and to our surprise we had the front row seats witch means extra legroom. Well lucky us cause next thing we know it’s lightening and thunder around us and the plane was stuck on the runway for 2 hours – fun!

Well eventually the plane took of and we ended up “only” 45min late for our interview with Steve Mann. What a fascinating man. He taught us yet another term; Lifeglogging. According to him, lifelogging is when you keep some kind of journal while glogging (cyborg logging) is recording what you see with a camera or in Steve’s case: EyeTap. I got to do a little glogging my self when his students demonstrated one of their many projects in the Engineering Annex at University of Toronto

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After getting a taste of future technology we met Sasha Chua and Alan Mayer who know each other from the Toronto QS-meet ups. They, like journalist John from New York, call themselves proud geeks. Sacha even got it on her business card. Later we had dinner with another member of their QS community, Nicholas Manolakos. He’s a broad range tracker and has been tracking everything from food, books, places he been and people he met. But he keeps his data to himself and for self use only. That’s why he won’t call himself a lifelogger since he believes a lifelogger shares the data. I didn’t ask him or Sacha and Alan if either of them glog though.

Do I count as a glogger when I’m Instagramming?

/Amanda P.s. Ville saw a spider today and can not be reached for comments during recovery.

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New York delayed

…and it’s not only this blogpost I’m referring to.

So we heard about a QS-meet up in New York and thanks to @sgdean we got an invitation. So we grabbed our things and got on a train to New York.

I had visualized it like a group of people sitting in a ring, shearing stories after saying their name and declaring themselves as QS:ers.
- That was not the case.

There was speakers like Roger Craig (the guy used QS to win the whole thing) and demonstration rooms with new apps and great ideas.

We heard so many interesting stories about what people have done using quantified self/lifelogging and what it has given in return. One guy kept track on how many hugs he got per day, what a great thing to log!
Made many contacts as well and gwe actually booked several interviews for the next day.

First up was John Havens, Mashable journalist and a writer who also calls himself a proud geek. He spoke of what all the data, coming from QS and lifelogging, could do to improve society.

Unfortunately after our lunch I got sick so we had to cancel all the other interviews. I blame tofu.

We stayed at the nice Broadway Hotel n Hostel and on the way back to our room the guys at the reception stopped us to ask us about the camera.
Me, feeling like I could puke all over him at any second, smiled and started interviewing them on lifelogging.
They, as so many others, hadn’t heard about it but many of them were keeping track on their workout habits.
Think I’m on to something with the “unaware” lifelogger.

/Amanda

P.s Ville is having breakfast and can not be reached for comments

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Boston Briefing

Better blog late then never…

So we went to Boston to meet with Jason Jacobs, CEO at Runkeeper. We were on a time limit but I believe we disposed those 30min pretty well.

What struck me was how big they are (Runkeeper, not the people of Boston) There’s apps within the app, communities and meet-ups. We also discussed how app developers and companies involved with QS/lifelogging instead of being competitive on the contrary cooperate. Witch is of benefit for both the users and themselves.
Great chat Jason!

Btw; if you have a bad day, you should come by the reception at Friend Street Hostel. (ask for Shaun) You will leave with a smile.

Before we left I wanted to get footage of typical Boston things but what is typical for Boston? See and judge for yourself.

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London sum-up

London has been busy but rewarding.

Tuesday: Martin Blinder at TicTrac both gave us a tour on the website they’re launching and told us that lifelogging most definitely exist. In fact, one of the first known lifeloggers are Benjamin Franklin – we’re stunned!

Wednesday: We went to Southampton as advised and sat down with Dr. Geoff Merrett and Prof. Paul Lewis. They showed us their work with DejaView; a cam to help people with memory loss (and others who just forgets easily) to remember faces, places etc. Also got a great tip on Ash Smith, apparently a genuine lifelogger who we hope to Skype with soon.

The DejaView camera is based on the SenceCam. So Thursday we went to Cambridge to meet one of the SenceCam developers, Lyndsay Williams, but unfortunately out Internet connection has been terrible so when we got there we found that the meeting was canceled. Hope to see you some other time Lyndsay!

Friday: course was set on Oxford and Aiden Doherty, Marie Curie Research Fellow at Oxford University. We had a great talk about the human memory and behavior. Got lots of valuable info here.

Yesterday we went to explore London. At Piccadilly Circus we asked some Londoners about lifelogging, but not even the police had any answers for us. Could there be such thing as an unaware lifelogger?

Today we leave for Boston and Runkeeper.

Thanks London, it has been 5 valuable and perlite days!

/Amanda

P.s Ville agrees

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From Berlin with love

Despite the rain, Berlin delivers.

After custom problems at the Berlin airport we arrived to the office of Archify and had a great talk about online habits, lifelogging and a (to us) new concept called “Quantified self”. Actually Hind mentioned that as well, maybe it’s something we should check out?

We’re staying at a Hostel called Check-!n Hostel here in Berlin. Really nice people here, both in the lobby and the other guest staying here (yes we share rooms with strangers and loving it). Just got a free sandwich each from the staff, think they like Ville.

Right now I’m sitting in the same room as 5 scrabble playing Englishmen who I also use as living dictionaries, perfection!

Oh, and by the way – according to the Lebanon custom service I am Lebanese. The customs officer assured me that my last name “Alam” is an old Lebanese family name and after a couple attempts to explain “Alm” is Swedish and also a type of tree, I just didn’t have the heart to refuse him this. So if the Lebanese customs ask; My name is Alam.

/Amanda

P.s Ville says Hi

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Next up Berlin

Alarm was set on 2:30 this morning…

…but I was already awake. Everytime I tried to close my eyes I saw Instagram pictures.

We learned yesterday that Libaneese securityguards ain’t that fond of cameras. We were ordered to take it down several times and as a result the location of the interview with Hind Hobeika had to be changed. I didn’t mind though, her office was beautiful and it felt more personal. And because of the traffic, a car ride that usually takes 5 min took an hour so we had plenty of time for history lessons and drive-through-sightseen. They do have a special driving culture and I’m pretty sure a Swede wouldn’t handle it.

So now we’re on the Istanbul airport waiting to board the plane to Berlin. See you in the land of BootBeers!

//Amanda

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