One common question I am asked is why we don’t allow Lifeblog on the phone to connect to a Lifeblog-like repository online.
I suppose the major use would be to upload stuff a few items at a time. OK, that seems doable. But, video and photos, likely the bulk of what would be transferred, are around 200k a pop. A few items then could translate into a cool megabyte of data. Flat rate pricing of data still hasn’t taken hold everywhere, so a few megabytes a week is very expensive.
OK, let’s say you have flat pricing and a few megabytes don’t bother you. Have you ever loaded 200k over GPRS? The first time, you’re saying ‘wow, I’m so cool.’ The second time, you cancel the damn thing because it takes too long. I haven’t tried 3G, but my experience is that the object sizes always are larger than the network can deal with. The 3G phones take larger images and videos, right?
OK, you say, just upload it at night when the networks are underutilized, munching up tons of operator bandwidth (which in the end they will want to monetize rather than throw into a bit bucket). Then, where is your data? Online.
But, if you think as a reference point that I have a few GIGABYTES of stuff in my Lifeblog, after only about 9 months, browsing that amount of data, even in broadband, will be a nightmarishly slow affair (I have examples).
What I am saying here is that the tech is just not there to put ALL our content online. PART of it, for sure, which is why we enable blogging to a website, which is why many of these photo sharing sites, such as Flikr and Buzznet work to a certain extent. But, the part that we partly share usually is a low-resolution version of our content. In the end we want to share the full-resolution stuff (that’s a story for another day – I’ve directly experienced this issue). Hence, only part of our content online provides a decent experience – all of the content doesn’t.
What I am NOT saying here is that online content is stupid. On the contrary, I truly believe that we will get to a point where we will store all our content online. By then I would love to have some sort of solution that allows me to have my content safe somewhere, but accessible from anywhere, by anyone I choose, with any device that can access the Internet.
But, we are still a ways from there.
Until then, the connection between a phone and a PC will always be the fastest and cheapest. The storage offline will always be cheaper and more accessible. Until then, the Lifeblog core will be the connection between the phone and PC and enabling sharing a subset of one's content through methods, such as MMS, email, and Atom.
If I’m full of krap, let me know.
An aside: Um, because my reading comprehension lags significantly than my ability to suck things up through my ears, I am still trying to grok the microcontent stuff Marc Canter is doing. I have a slight inkling that he’s thought of this much better than I. And I hope he’s remembering the mobile devices and their narrowband connections. font>