Your Life, Your Database: MyLifeBits Developer Gordon Bell Profiled in New Article

Total Recall, an article in the November issue of IEEE’s Spectrum magazine offers a five page profile of Gordon Bell and his MyLifeBits project at Microsoft Research.

His project, MyLifeBits, is the digital distillation of, almost literally, his every waking minute. It started out as an offhand experiment, but today its goal is nothing short of changing the way we use computers, and by extension, the way we live. At its heart, MyLifeBits is a big database on a personal computer, into which go the correspondence, keyboard-based chores, and even the sights and sounds of everyday life. It automatically swallows up and indexes e-mails, keystrokes, recorded phone calls, images, video, and every Web page that graces its user’s computer’s screen.

Like many articles about MyLifeBits, this one includes a mention of the 1945 Vannevar Bush article, “As We May Think.” In fact, the project’s page on the MS Research site calls MyLifeBits, the fulfillment of Vannevar Bush’s 1945 Memex vision including full-text search, text & audio annotations, and hyperlinks.” If you’ve never read Bush’s paper, by all means, do so.

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