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automated diary assistant

System to capture activities as an aid to diary writing.
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(+3, -2)
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I like to keep a diary (which currently takes the form of a large text file, running at about 400 kilobytes per year) so that I have a record of my activities for future reference. But I have a problem: the more active I am, the more information I have to record, and the less spare time I have to do it in. This idea is for a system (basically software, but potentially with hardware components in the form of sensors) to capture as much as possible of what I am doing and provide it in a convenient form as input to my diary.

Some activities are easy to make self-documenting: e.g. sending email automatically leaves a record of the date, time, recipients and content. This can be extended to any activity conducted on a computer (or other electronic device, e.g. mobile phone) given suitable software. Further extensions should be feasible: e.g. recording of physical movements via location tracking (using GPS). The proposed system would aggregate the information from all these sources and present it to me for manual editing into the final diary - thereby making the diary more comprehensive and saving me a lot of work in searching for information and typing it in. The final diary would have hyperlinks to the original information sources where appropriate.

For maximum benefit the system should be highly portable - implemented on a GPS-enabled smartphone for instance.

(See link below for original (very brief) online publication of this idea.)

Grim Fun Scenes, Sep 02 2009

Self-documentation http://www.ccir.ed....f-documentation.htm
Brief outline of this idea. [Grim Fun Scenes, Sep 02 2009]

Wearable Diary http://portal.acm.o...ation.cfm?id=881096
related work [csea, Sep 02 2009]

My Life Bits http://research.mic...rojects/mylifebits/
A Microsoft Research project. [phoenix, Sep 03 2009]


       Although i associated content beyond mere 'was at x, phoned y' with a real diary (possibly: 'thought z'?), the merging of databases (email, gps-enabled photos, tracker, phone use) would certainly open up new vantage points.
loonquawl, Sep 02 2009

       don't some (most?) cellphones have a "memo" function? surely that's datestamped.
FlyingToaster, Sep 03 2009

       Robot Milkmaid?
zen_tom, Sep 03 2009

       Alternatively, if you're home, the Film Noir house could do a decent job.
RayfordSteele, Sep 03 2009

       [phoenix], thanks for the "My Life Bits" link. This is very much what I was thinking of. But, reading the 2008 ComputerWorld article and a few of the others under "MyLifeBits In The News" there, I don't see much about GPS (it is mentioned in the Telegraph article, but doesn't appear to be fully integrated), or anything about (appropriately controlled) sharing of information between different users' diary systems - so it looks to me as if there are still some important enhancements to be added. I expect Gordon Bell is working on them, though.
Grim Fun Scenes, Sep 03 2009

       I would say that the primary innovation here is not the information-capturing systems, which others have already shown are baked, but an integrated software/hardware package that consolidates all these functions into a single intuitive system.
Twist, Sep 05 2009

       [Twist], I think that's right. What I have in mind is a window with two panes: one containing the diary in process of editing, and one containing the raw materials (text and links) - which can be sorted by time or by information type (email, web page visit, GPS co-ordinates, photograph, audio recording, ...) and can be copied and pasted into the diary.
Grim Fun Scenes, Sep 07 2009


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