Archive for September 2006
I have about 25,000 items in my Lifeblog vault; amongst these are about 19,000 still images and 300 videos.
Even though browsing is fun, it can be tiresome to find this one image that I want to find just by navigating in the timeline. And my memory is too bad to remember the day -or even the exact year- of it.
In my previous post, I already explained the power of search in Lifeblog. But you can do even better if you follow a few simple rules.
Here is my proposal for a search strategy:
- Never ever delete any messages from your PC Lifeblog! No, not even stupid messages from local providers such as “Welcome to Italy…”. No, not even if you don’t care about messages at all. Why? Because you never know whether they will provide for a pointer during a later search.
- Before your search, disable any type-based filtering! Then you can be sure that your search will cover your whole database incl. all data and metadata. And you are more likely not to miss any pointers to this one little missing image.
- When typing your search, watch for the immediate feedback while you type away! Lifeblog shows a list of search terms that occur at least once in your database. Once you hit the search button, you can be sure that you get at least one hit back as long as you stick to the proposals.
- Watch for tiny pointers in the search result! In case you can’t spot the wanted image right away in your search result, look for clues. Such as the “Welcome to Italy…” message. It can be the missing pointer to the SLR image of Milan that you were looking for.
When you have found such a pointer, just scroll the timeline such that your pointer is in the middle of the screen and push the “back” (<-) button. Now, you can see the time-based context – and your Milan image.
How to explain best what you can do with search in PC Lifeblog? Maybe the best advice is: Just use and see! 🙂
Seriously, there are plenty of things that you can do with that small search box that Lifeblog offers.
Search for text contents
It’s probably obvious that you can search for the contents of all items that contain text (text messages, multimedia messages, text notes):
- if you want to find all messages and text notes that contain the terms “football” and “worldcup”: just enter “worldcup football” (again, the order of terms does not matter)
Search for manual tags and descriptions
Of course, also all the manual effort that you spent on describing and tagging your items can be used during search:
- if you want to find all images that you tagged with “football” and “worldcup”, use the same search string again
- if you want to find all videos that have “football” and “worldcup” in their description field, you already know what to do. 😉
Search for automatic tags and descriptions
When creating items, such as images, on the mobile, Lifeblog enhances them with metadata. This metadata includes the name of the country that you are currently in, the information from calendar entries that apply to the current time, any sender/recipient information in case of messages and, of course, the timestamp. Hence, what you now can do is:
- if you want to find all the mobile images that you took in Germany, just enter “Germany” – even if you did not spend any manual effort on tagging
- if you search for “birthday stephen”, you will get all items that you created or received on your mobile at the time for which the calendar entry for Stephen’s birthday was valid
- if you want to find all the messages that you exchanged with somebody from Nokia, just enter “Nokia” in the search field
- if you want to find all your pictures from Chistmas Eve (independant of the year), just enter “December 24”. If you are only interested in pictures from Christmas Eve 2005, then you enter “December 24 2005”. Quite handy isn’t it?
- if you want to find all weekend items, you should search for “Saturday Sunday”.
- if you are interested in the pictures that you took in August over the years, you can enter “pictures august”
- etc. 🙂
You are a routine guy and want to view how a certain area has changed over time:
- Right-click on an images that you took with your mobile and select “Show objects from same network area”. It feels a bit like magic. 🙂
Let’s assume you want to view the exchange of messages that you had with John Wayne.
If you want to view such a message thread on your mobile, you can go to “Options->Find” and the enter “John Wayne” into the search field. Actually, you could even enter “Wayne John” as the order does not matter. And voilà: what you get is a timeline of all the messages that you have written to John or received from him.
As Lifeblog takes the name from your mobile Contacts application you need to be a bit careful of how you have spelled the name there: because a prefix search is used in mobile Lifeblog, a search for “John Wayne” would still reveal all the right messages if the corresponding contact entry says “Johnnie Wayne”. But it would fail for “John Waine”.
PC Lifeblog follows the same basic principles, but it provides for a bit more flexibility: “John Wayne”, when entered in the search field, will reveal all messages related to John. But on the PC, Lifeblog uses infix search rather then prefix search. And in addition you can also search for phone numbers.
If the phone number of John happens to be +1234567890 then a search for “1234567890” will show all his messages and so does “567890” or “2345678”. Also, “ohn ayne” would do the job.
Can be quite an entertaining feature for cold dark winter evenings. 🙂
Yes, in Lifeblog you get fully automatic tagging of your collection with cellids, country names, filenames, etc.
Yes, you can also tag stuff manually, both on the mobile and on the PC.
But there is also a middle way: Use the calendar on the mobile. For example, you can put all personal events into your calendar such as “12.12.07, 17:00-23:00 Birthday Party, Jenny”. Afterwards, you will be able to find all your images from that party just by entering “party” or “party jenny”.
Similarly, you can pre-tag all your holiday images from Crete. Or your videos from the football match Finland vs. Portugal.
And, as a side effect, you won’t forget about Jenny’s birthday party, anymore. 🙂
That’s an easy one: Just use “Find” in your mobile Lifeblog 2.X. 🙂
Seriously, chose “Find” from the “Options” menu in the Timeline and you will find:
- all messages from/to Alina by typing in “Alina”
- all images that you took in Italy with your Nseries device by typing in “italy”.
- all notes that you tagged with “party” by typing in “party”
- all videos that you took during your holiday by typing in “holiday” (if you had an entry for your holidays in your calendar)
- all messages to/from Alina related to Lidl by typing in “alina lidl”
- all blog postings you did about restaurants by typing in “restaurant”
and much more. I guess you get the point.
But you can take it even further: You have taken an image of Costello. It was some time ago. You don’t remember the exact date. It was when being in a pub in Finland. You were watching Sweden vs. England at that time. You have neither tagged nor named the picture with “Costello”. And you have 500 images on your Nseries device.
You can start browsing. Good luck.
Or you can type: “Sweden England” will find your message “come 2 chelsea. sweden vs england is on tv”. All you have to do then is press “Back” and voila: here are all the images from the Chelsea bar you took that night. Including the picture of Costello.
Unfortunately, Nokia distributes the mobile Lifeblog 2.X versions only for Nseries devices. There is only one serious flaw about the Nseries: not everybody owns one. Just take my wife as an example: she owns a 6670.
So how can you use Lifeblog 2.X together with non-Nseries devices? I see three options:
- Option A (if you have a Nokia S60 phone): check from the official Nokia Lifeblog page, whether your phone supports Lifeblog 1.X. If it does, download the application from the same pages and install it on your phone.
On your PC, install the latest version of Lifeblog. Nobody requires you to own an Nseries device in order to do so. Neither do you need a license for Lifeblog 2.X. 🙂
After you have installed Lifeblog 2.X, go to the directory where you have installed Lifeblog to, e.g., C:\Program Files\Nokia\Nokia Lifeblog. In this directory, you will find a file called “SyncConfig.xml”. This file you need to modify in order to get Lifeblog 2.X to work with Lifeblog 1.X on the phone:
1) Make a backup of any existing Lifeblog data – but that’s part of your routine anyway, isn’t it? 😉
2) Create a copy of “SyncConfig.xml”
3) Open “SyncConfig.xml” with your prefered editor; in the worst case, plain “Notepad” will do
4) Remove the comment that encompasses the first <Adapter> element
5) Save “SyncConfig.xml”
Afterwards, you will be able to read the data from the mobile Lifeblog 1.X into PC Lifeblog 2.X. You might not get all the metadata that Lifeblog 2.X supports. And the user experience might be a bit special. And Nokia doesn’t support it. But for my wife and her 6670 it works fine. 🙂
- Option B (if your device connects to your PC as a hard drive): Then, you can import compatible data via “File->Import from PC” into Lifeblog. More elegantly, you can drag and drop the device folder onto Lifeblog’s timeline. Lifeblog scans any given directory recursively and will figure out by itself, which files it can use. However, you are back to pre-Nseries metadata stoneage here: if you want to use metadata with your stuff, you have to add it yourself.
- Option C (if your device does not connect to your PC as a hard drive): You are pretty much on your own. Meaning: you have to figure out a way how to transfer images, etc. from this device to the PC. Afterwards, you can import stuff into Lifeblog from the PC. Not very elegant, I am afraid.