This week in lifelogging: memory science, the Saga app, open API:s and more

This week in lifelogging: memory science, the Saga app, open API:s and more

A neuroscientist’s view on your memory – Interview by Evernote

Neuroscientist Maureen Ritchey (photo by Evernote)

The team at Evernote got a visit from cognitive neuroscientist Maureen Ritchey and asked her to explain how the human memory really works. For anyone interested in lifelogging and ways of remember more of your everyday life this is definitely a must-read. Ritchey answers the basic question on how our memory works, like how we connect memories with specific people and places, how we can improve our memory and what role context plays in our memory.

Our favorite subject is also covered: how come some memories are easier than others to recall? What is it that make some seemingly uninteresting events get stuck in your head but things you think you ought to remember get lost? (And just as often the other way around). We take the liberty to share Ritchey’s full answer in the interview with Evernote here:

“For a variety of reasons, our brains might strengthen some memories over others. Maybe they triggered an emotional response, maybe they were the precursor to something important, maybe they caught your attention. These memories appear to be consolidated over time, in that their neural trace becomes strengthened and less susceptible to interference from new experiences. Then, when it comes time to remember, these traces can become reactivated more easily than the memories that didn’t get this kind of special treatment.” 

In other words: you don’t know in advance if an event will be easily remembered. Which calls for lifelogging tools that capture as much of our lives as possible, so that we can go back afterwards and find that special event that, all surprisingly, turned out to be life changing. Or is it possible to “prepare” the brain to remember, say, this upcoming Friday night? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the commentary field!

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5 reasons to quantify yourself

Withings give us their 5 top reasons for self-tracking. The full list is:

  1. Achieve your health/fitness goals
  2. Track the evolution of a chronic disease
  3. Improve your life
  4. Communicate better with your doctor
  5. Learn what can affect your mood

A pretty good comprehension, we think! Although one could argue if not the number three, “improve your life” is the dominating reason overshadowing the others?

We at Memoto have written a couple of similar posts, “What can be tracked in a lifelog” Part 1 (where health tracking is one reason for lifelogging) and Part 2 (where keeping a journal is an other). We’re thinking of exploring this more. What area do you think we should cover, with respect also to Withings list?

Saga for iPhone tracks your every move

Speaking of remembering the seemingly unimportant (see above) and ways to do so (see also above): Lifehacker tells us about Saga, a new app for iPhone that tracks “everything you do and how you do it”. Too good to be true? (If you’re a lifelogger. Too creepy to be true if your not…). Well, according to Lifehacker who’s been trying it out for some time it seems Saga does have some flaws, which is kind of expected since the app is still in beta, but the more you use it the better it gets. Either way, it’s well worth a try! And after you’ve tried, why don’t you tell us about it in the commentary fields below?

Go to the Lifehacker article for an invite code on the beta version of Saga.

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Open API:s and the Quantified Self movement

Ernesto Ramirez, one of the organizers of the Bay Area Quantified Self Meetup and an influential behind, guest blogs at on how important open API:s are for developers to create tools for lifelogging and quantified self. In short: it is very important. This paragraph from Ramirez longer and well-written post summarizes it pretty well:

“Many of the self-experiments that people engage in involve looking into how different data sets are related to each other. Do I sleep better when I go for runs in the morning? How much money do I spend when I check into bars alone or with friends? The more data we have access to the more interesting comparisons we are able to make. In essence, those APIs and their associated data allow the QSer to develop and explore an ever growing world of personal hypotheses.”

In the light of this, it is saddening to note that Twitter, a service and a team long advocating open API:s, are closing and restricting its API. We won’t go into details on that here, but let our friends over at Archify speak for us instead. And don’t forget to sign the petition to keep the Twitter eco system open!


That’s it for this week. Help us find news on lifelogging that we’ve missed: share in the commentary field below!