Experiments in Lifelogging, Part 7: Travelling without a computer
I found myself going to two trips recently: A weekend in Brussels and a week in Paris. I don't have a laptop any more; all I take with me is my iPad. But you can't download your photos from a Narrative Clip to an iPad.
So this required some planning on my part: The Narrative Clip can store 8000 photos. At a rate of one photo every 30 seconds or 2880 photos in 24 hours, that's more than enough for a weekend, even including the Friday, especially since you're probably not going to use the camera while you sleep. So that's fine and all you need to think of is to pack a power supply (I used my iPad's power supply with the cable provided by Narrative to charge the clip).
An entire week, however, is another thing. Assuming 6 hours of sleep, you get just about 4 days worth of photos that the Clip can hold. In other words, you need to start being selective of what you're recording.
I started by doing the calculations backwards: What is that I want to record? I was attending a workshop from 9am to 5pm on 5 days (it was actually shorter on the first and the last day). So that's 8 hours per day or roughly 5000 photos. Which leaves us with another 3000 photos or 25 hours of footage. Even adding another day of travel left me with a few additional hours per day to capture socialising after the workshop and a bit of sightseeing.
Still, the fact that I even had to make these calculations was annoying. One of the things that makes the Narrative Clip so attractive is that you can simply clip it on and then forget about it. Having to be selective about when to wear it (for technical reasons, not for social ones) makes it a nuisance.
I know that Narrative is working on what they call a WiFi Dock - a docking station for the clip that is also supposed to be able to dump photos to removable storage, such as an SD card. But it's not here yet. I understand (and appreciate) the security aspect as to why it's not possible to simply copy photos off of the Clip as if it were a USB stick. Relying on the availability of a laptop or stationary computer, however, makes the Narrative Clip much less flexible, especially at times when it would be most useful. Think vacation - who wants to carry a laptop around during that time of the year?
I have another trip coming up in April. It'll be 8 days this time and will include lots and lots of opportunities that I want my Narrative Clip to capture. If I start being selective about when I wear it, I'm going to miss things. Things that are or will be important to me. Things that a lifelogging device should capture. We've come a long way since Steve Mann's early experiments, but technology can still get in the way.
I have a few more weeks to think about until that trip, but I guess the only solution is to get ahold of a laptop.
(An ongoing selection of snapshots from my Narrative Clip can be found on Flickr)