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Old 12-03-2007, 12:24 PM   #1
Adam B.
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My personal memory project

Here's a little background on me. I'm 23 years old. I've always been a little absent minded. I can't remember most people's birthdays, phone numbers, etc. I've gotten around this problem by using computers to store all the important information. But lately, I've been starting to worry about forgetting memories from my past. I'm not so concerned about my day-to-day working, as that all seems to blend together, but things like family vacations, childhood friends, gradeschool, etc. It always seems like I'm struggling to remember things that happened in the past. Even as far back as 5-7 years ago. I'm worried that I'm going to turn 40, and not remember the important things.

So I've decided to try to record all of my memories into electronic format to help me remember and reference as I age. This is probably going to get very large, and contain a lot of information that I'd like to keep organzied. This isn't going to be like a daily journal, but a place to hold all of the things worth remembering.

It has to have at least the following:
  • Open access and portability. I plan on keeping this for a while. I can't be locked into a specific format that will be obsolete in a few years.
  • Availability. If I'm walking down the street, I want to be able to jot down something that popped into my head quickly.
  • Security. This is probably going to contain a lot of personal information. Names of people, embarassments, etc. I don't want the whole world to know about every aspect of my life.

So there I am. My fist though was a simple document, but that will get messy very quickly. Besides, this isn't going to be entered like a story, but a collection of facts. I'm leaning tward a wiki. It should be easy to organize and should be pretty portable. I want it to be online, but not available to everyone. I don't know if mediawiki has that abilitiy. I'd also have to find a host I trust, and keep it paid up and make sure I do backups. I want redundancy so I don't loose all of this if my HD crashes.

Does anyone have any other ideas, comments or suggestions?
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:27 PM   #2
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:16 PM   #3
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Hi Adam,

Might it not be better to put the thing on a USB flash disk rather than on-line. That way you could constantly have it on you (I carry a 4GB flash disk on a cord around my neck ). Even a 1GB drive would be a lifetime's worth of text, and they cost peanuts.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:52 PM   #4
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How about an inBlog?

Adam,

I've been thinking the same for a while.
I need a more detailed record of my life.
And it's not because I'm forgetful but because it's the little details of our lives that elude us, and because it's amazing how we think we remember much more clearly than we actually do.

As for my specifications:


I also wanted it to be online, but it has to be secure.
For me a wiki doesn't cut it, because I need dates -time- to be the core of the archiving system. The rest will be indexed with tags.

I was leaning towards a private and local install of wordpress.
Doesn't it allow to keep a blog private?
You could even have it online.
Plus everything is stored as a mySQL DB.

So in a nutshell it would be like an innerBlog (inBlog??)

Does anyone have any experience with this setup?
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:10 PM   #5
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Hi Adam,

Might it not be better to put the thing on a USB flash disk rather than on-line. That way you could constantly have it on you (I carry a 4GB flash disk on a cord around my neck ). Even a 1GB drive would be a lifetime's worth of text, and they cost peanuts.
I loose USB drives like it's going out of style. Even when I had one thin enough fit in my wallet, I forget it in a PC. Also, that doesn't help the portability issues. I use both Windows and Linux computers regularly, and I'd like to be able to jot down a note from my windows mobile phone as well. It seems there's no "perfect solution" to this problem.
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:54 PM   #6
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It could be worth having a talk with an expert on dyslexia/dyspraxia about the absent-mindedness and number-blindness. The symptoms that you mention can be part of this spectrum of disorder. Even if you are not dyslexic they should be able to recommend some useful strategies.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:08 PM   #7
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Memory and Technology

Not sure if the absent-mindedness is really a symptom of anything other than the availability of other means of storage.

There's an old Egyptian legend about the god of wisdom (Thoth) offering the written word to a pharaoh and being rejected on the grounds that writing things down will remove the motivation to remember.

Now we have so many other places where we can store our memories (especially visual and auditory memories) it wouldn't be surprising if we had difficulty remembering things stored digitally. I'm ashamed to admit, for example, that I don't know my wife's mobile number because something else is remembering it for me.

One interesting experiment based on the storage of almost every experience and possession is described here.

I myself have a USB hard drive and if it ever got lost it'd be like a case of amnesia to me...or maybe Alzheimers. Not sure really.
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:15 AM   #8
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There's an old Egyptian legend about the god of wisdom (Thoth) offering the written word to a pharaoh and being rejected on the grounds that writing things down will remove the motivation to remember.
Socrates disapproved of writing for precisely the same reason.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:38 AM   #9
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So...

So our choices are:

1. Admit that Socrates was right and dump our media (from flash drives to the written word) or

2. Dismiss the old pervert and keep our gadgets.

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Old 12-04-2007, 09:46 AM   #10
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It could be worth having a talk with an expert on dyslexia/dyspraxia about the absent-mindedness and number-blindness. The symptoms that you mention can be part of this spectrum of disorder. Even if you are not dyslexic they should be able to recommend some useful strategies.
There are times that I switch around numbers and letters when reading. It's possible that I may have mild dyslexia or something simlar, but it really doesn't concern or bother me enough to see anyone about. I have the mentality that unless I'm deathly sick or a bone is sticking out of my skin, it's not worth seeing a doctor.
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Old 12-05-2007, 12:42 AM   #11
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There are times that I switch around numbers and letters when reading. It's possible that I may have mild dyslexia or something simlar, but it really doesn't concern or bother me enough to see anyone about. I have the mentality that unless I'm deathly sick or a bone is sticking out of my skin, it's not worth seeing a doctor.
Adam, have you considered just looking into it a bit further, even if you don't want to see a doctor. Let's say it is dyslexia, well, dyslexic children have been shown to have better creativity skills, and spatial memory/reasoning. You might find that for you dyslexia is not so much an "illness" or "impairment" as wider society might see it (except, perhaps, within the tolerances of social "norms"), but rather a difference in you with some significant strengths that you have not fully realised.

Sometimes, if you ignore a problem, you don't realise the "problem" brings with it more, and better, than expected. These strengths might even become a core part of your project - a benefit to you and your memory, but also a point of view taken from a different angle to most, and therefore of benefit to more than just yourself.

You never know.

BTW, check out McDoof's link. I've seen it before, and it sounds like something that might be exactly up your alley, even if it is only in "research" mode at the moment.

Best wishes with your project. It sounds very worthwhile to me, and something you will find invaluable in future (except for that time you made a fool of yourself at the Work Christmas Party by hitting on the CEO's wife and then throwing up on the buffet... ).

Cheers,
Marc
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