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.