Category Archives: SMLP – Thoughts

Apple, bring back Nokia LifeBlog

Way back in 2014 when Apple introduced iCloud Photo library I have been a very happy bunny.  An in-house and integrated way to backup my photos and have access across all my apple devices.

It may seem like an odd feature to be so happy about however many moons ago my house was broken into and my old Black MacBook was stolen; fortunately, the USB hard drive that contained my library of over 50,000 photos was left behind. At the time that bad feeling of thinking that I had lost such a massive collection of memories of my single life, meeting my wife, my two kids and everything in between was gut-wrenching. I didn’t have a back up of my digital life at the time just the odd badly organised collection of DVD containing a month or two of Photos, one of music and a stack of software that was either illegally obtained or obsolete. I was onboard with iCloud Photo Library the day after launch.

My library has currently expanded to 76,478 Photos and 4,101 Videos and my family has increased by 1 child and 3 goldfish. Having the off site back up that is so simply integrated with my iPhone, iPad, Mac and the addition of my wife’s iPhone link to the same family plan for me is amazing. I now also back up to Google Drive and Google Photo just to be sure so that I don’t have that panic feeling ever again.

I have always felt that a digital log of memories is important to help with reliving them life experiences as I get older. I look back to my childhood and the memories that I have are amazing but they are limited; even when talking to my parents, I have always wanted a more detailed way to look back into the journey me and my family are on.

Something, however, was still missing. I look back to around 2002 when I first had this idea of being able to have these triggers to look back at my life. At the time I had not long had my first digital camera and was already starting the build my memory box of life, I also got my first “Smartphone” that incorporated a camera. It was the Nokia 7650 and it ran Symbian OS. It’s
almost comical now to say this but it was a powerhouse of a phone at the time. More importantly for me, it had a great trick up its sleeve in the form of a desktop application, Nokia LifeBlog.

The idea of RSS feeds and blogs at the time were for me very exciting. The collection of information from different sources pulled together into one place and your own easy way to add to this collection with your own blog. Nokia Lifeblog was this, but for your own personal memory box. It pulled information from your phone and displayed a time log of your life, day by day, week by week. It listed text messages, calls made and missed, alongside the photos you had taken all in time order and in a calendar view. Looking back at it you could follow a night out from the calls to the boys and the “Almost in town now” message followed by the drunken photos and the hangover comedown the next day. It was for me almost perfect way to look back at what was happening in my life at the time.

The only problem was it didn’t take long before my phone was changed for something better and then Symbian OS started to fade away Nokia LifeBlog became useless. I switch to Windows Mobile then Apple came along and I settled into the closed garden and happily handed them all my money. I have over the years ran multiple handsets with Android running side by side with my iPhone, however, every time the integration with my iPhone and Mac (and the happiness of not having to use a Windows PC) iPhoto and later Photos was just to good for me to want to ever switch again (ok may Huawei could tempt me).

Apple has just released messages in iCloud and that reassurance of not having to worry about losing photos anymore now also includes my messages. There is, however, a more exciting development; I feel I am now one step closer to being able to have the Lifeblog days back. Over the years I have often looked back at messages received and sent to my girlfriend and now wife and mother of my children. It an extension to the memory box I have from my photos. Like my photo, I have been hoarding message since 2008… almost every one of them. Transferred from phone to phone in one way or another; I couldn’t even comprehend how many messages that is over the years (4.9GB according to my iCloud storage) but more importantly just about every message gives meaning to the photos taken over the years.

Photos already offer Memories with additional improvements due later this year but it only offers memories from Photos. What I’m looking for next from Apple is to integrate these two collections into one LifeLog so that not only can I look back over the images in my memory box but also the context of what was happening from the communications in my life even if it is just how many time me and my wife have messaged each other to pass the toilet roll.

 

Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle

I few weeks ago me and the family got out the National Trust Map, picked a Castle within driving distance and set off.  Our destination was Penrhyn Castle in Llandegai, North Wales.

Penrhyn Castle It was an amazing place to visit and to take pictures of.  The walk up to the Castle presented you with an eye full of a great building stamped into the amazing Welsh country side.  Being raised on the door step to Northumberland where most of the Castle have been subject to a “difficult paper round” I was surprised at the quality and condition of the building.  Built in 1438 then rebuilt in 1822 the structure is immaculate.

As we entered the building the angelic sounds of a Harp echoed out from the main hall.  There is nothing quite like the sound of a Harp playing in an amazing great hall.

One of the things that struck me while wondering the main building was the number of National Trust staff/volunteers that were at hand to conduct the “learning” if you where so inclined to partake.  I however was visiting with a |touch everything| four year old and an excitable 1 year old so the educational part of the visit was instead replaced by the normal blind panic of parent running about shouting “don’t touch that”, “come back here”.

Penrhyn Castle Fire Truck

 

Penrhyn CastleThe grounds of the castle were great with loads of “off shoots” to wonder, a reasonable park and outside gym for the kids hidden away in the forest just off a small picnic area.  The castle also has an impressive railway museum and mini railway museum bang in the middle of the castle, very odd but very cool.  If anyone is looking for a great day out with the family in Wales and want to let your little princess feel like a real princess and your little man feel like the king of the Castle Penrhyn Castle is a good shout.

Steam powered racing

Source: Penrhyn Castle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apple Watch beams newborn’s heartbeat to family

 

I have been waiting to pounce on a Apple Watch purchase since the device was announced.  The only thing holding me back is Version One syndrome.  I wanted to wait to see how the reviews paned out before investing.  So far the general consensus has been that its a great device with version one limitations that should be fix with some software down the pipe.   So my head tells me I should wait; however when I see storeys like this my heart tells me to buy…

Source: Parents use Apple Watch to share newborn’s heartbeat with family | 9to5Mac

Liverpool City Centre

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So this week was the start of my second month working in Liverpool City Centre, after working and living around Newcastle Upon Tyne for the last 35 years.

One of the things I always loved about Newcastle was the architecture of the city. From the bridges to the old Co Op building and the Vampire Rabbit (look it up) Newcastle is full of surprises.

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When I was a kid and travelled into Newcastle I found I was always looking for the hidden little gems of the city; wondering down side streets and seeing what I could find. The greasy spoon cafe in the basement side street level of what is now Yates, down the side. They service the best tasting fry up in town with the worst hygiene ever. The £1 stuck to the pavement next the the Mayfair just so the staff in the Doc Martins Shoe shop could have a laugh every time someone tried to pick it up.

As I got older that changed and I switch to walking the most direct root to get the where I needed to be, I was no longer the explorer. I had become accustom to how the City felt, looked and sounded.

In my last few months in Newcastle I found myself looking up at the sights again.

Here is Liverpool I need to start Exploring.

2015 – No Explosions

It’s the same every year, everyone is setting themselves up for a new start as the clock turns midnight and I join the band waggon of setting myself up to fail.

Push ups, sit-ups, running, quit smoking or just be a better person. Most people start off with great intentions and some actually achieve their new year goals but the majority however fail.

The good thing about failing on your New Years resolutions is it is almost always a very quiet and none eventful failure. No explosions and nobody dies. The only person that even knows that you have failed in your quest is you.

I would like to think that my creative side is the thing that drives me choice of what my New Years resolution should be. My previous years failed attempts were, Flickr 365, Beverage 365 (because everyone has a drink a day), Blog post per day and 100 push-ups (I had an app).

Everyone of my attempts started well then fizzled out as expected. Early last year however just after my New Years resolution has failed. I decided to stop smoking cigarettes and switch to Vaping; more importantly I bloody did it. Then in September me and my family got the option to uproot and move 200 miles away from my home town for the last 35 years leaving everything that was normal behind us…. And I bloody did it.

This year I’m not setting a New Years resolution; but I will be more creative. I’m not going to sign up for some gym membership; but I will be healthier. No explosions. Nobody will die. Not a better person.

Happy New Year
@SMLP