In the 1880s inventor George Eastman hit upon an ingenious idea for making photographic film flexible so it could be stored in compact canisters instead of on heavy, fragile glass plates. The new film was portable enough to allow photographers to mail it to a developer and have their pictures sent back in a matter of days. Eastman built a camera around this new technology—the Kodak—and an entire industry was born.
The cell phone manufacturer Nokia recently introduced a new software package for camera phones and Windows PCs called Lifeblog, which combines e-mail and the passive diary mode of the photoblog in one artful package. In essence, Lifeblog records a timeline of all the events that flow through your cell phone’s memory. Schedule an appointment, and Lifeblog will put it on the timeline; take a picture, and Lifeblog will archive it; get an instant message from a friend, send an e-mail, or retrieve a voice-mail message—Lifeblog will store it away in its running account of your digital life. When you sync your phone with your PC, you can launch the Lifeblog program and see a rendered account of your time—a long thread of information, woven together with images you’ve captured along the way.