Experiments in Lifelogging, Part 2: First Week
I've had the Narrative Clip for a week now. It's been a quiet week, which is actually a good thing as it allows me to experiment with wearing the device in public.
Upload problems continue; a workaround
The good news: While my upload problems haven't really be resolved yet, I at least found a way to get the upload going at all. After re-reading Liora's post, I played around with the options to limit the upload speed in the Uploader's settings and found that limiting the upload speed to 25 kb/s got it going for me. It's very slow but at least it's doing something now.
Btw, there's some confusion about the rates here. In the settings dialog, the options are labelled "kb/s", so that would be kilobit per second. In the progress dialog, it uses "kB/s" (uppercase "B") - that would be kilobyte per second. And I notice that even after limiting it to - supposedly - 25 kb/s, the progress dialog shows upload speed of around 28 kB/s. So something's not quite right here. But then again, I'm glad that it's finally doing anything at all.
I left my computer running for several days to let it catch up with uploading all the recorded photos.
Stopped wearing it at home
After wearing the Narrative Clip all the time for a couple of days, it dawned on me that there just isn't anything interesting happening while I'm at home. I live alone and I don't have any pets, so all I got are several days worth of footage of me staring at a computer screen or the computer staring back at me (depending on where I put the camera). So I simply stopped this sort of "home recording". I do put the clip on whenever I leave the house, though, including for routine trips to the baker or for grocery shopping.
Mind you, we're "between years", the quiet time between Christmas and New Year - there's simply not a lot happing right now at all. I'm going back to work next week and there's a few events and meet-ups coming up, too, so things should get more interesting soon.
We had several days of really nice weather (sunny and dry), so I took walks to a nearby park and around the nearby forest. The Narrative Clip is really nice for these situations. I also took my "normal" digital camera with me and took a few photos, but it's nice to have the clip as a sort of backup to capture some interesting moments.
For example, as I was walking past the local graveyard, I noticed a woman with two red balloons next to one of the graves. Pulling out the camera to take a photo would have felt intrusive. The Narrative Clip discreetly captured this moment. Granted, you can't see a lot in that photo, but it will serve to remind me of this scene - and that's all I expect from this little device.
Now that I finally have my photos up on the Narrative servers, I started playing with the iOS app a bit. What I hadn't realised until now is that Narrative also corrects the orientation of your photos. By which I mean that they don't simply turn them in steps of 90 degrees but that they also correct photos that the clip took at rather odd angles. So it isn't really a problem to wear the clip at a 45 degree angle - the software on the server will figure out the correct orientation. Since the result is always a rectangular picture in landscape format, you'll loose parts of the image, though.
For example, this photo that the clip took while I was on a look-out (and that I "rescued" before it was uploaded) shows up in landscape format in my moments (and was even among the photos that are trimmed from the moment by default).
The original (left) is 1944x2592 pixels in portrait format while the version I can see in my moments has been rescaled to 2048x1536 pixels in landscape format (in the above preview, both images have been rescaled to a height of 120 pixels - click on them to see the unscaled versions).
When rotating images from odd angles, you will always lose a few pixels since the result just isn't rectangular any more. But the above example makes me wonder if there is an official way to get to the "raw", unprocessed photos. Does Narrative even store the originals or do they only keep what you can see in your moments?
How do you wear this thing, continued
Okay, so odd angles are not a problem when wearing the Narrative Clip. That's good. You still have to clip the device on to something, and in a way that it faces more or less straight ahead. Since it's winter around here, I'm wearing a coat and a scarf. Going for a walk, this isn't a problem - I can clip the device on somewhere and it stays there all the time. Any activity indoors, e.g. shopping, riding the underground, however, will make you at least open your coat which means that the camera will now face sideways or at the ceiling or some other really uninteresting direction. For example, I spent some time at the ticket counter at the local railway station (buying train tickets for FOSDEM is always "fun"). During that time, the Narrative Clip duly took 32 photos of the wall next to me.
I'm beginning to see the advantages of Google Glass, at least in this regard.
Chris Ridings posted a nice summary of his first impressions of the device and the software. His setup is pretty much identical to mine - I use a Mac and an iPad, too - and I had pretty much the same experiences.
He also notes that the actual clip on the device appears to be slightly angled; I was also wondering about that on mine. It's not a problem at all and it's only really noticeable when the device is lying face-down. Still, with the attention to detail that went into the design, this seems a little odd.