The idea of a Digital life as I see it is a really really cool (most importantly, useful) thing. I would always define this as having all the data you want and need very accessible to you at as close to all times as is possible.
So this is photos, videos, music, e-mail, the web, contacts, calendars, instant communication etc searchable, accessible, available all the time.
This is something thanks to our modern computing generation we are getting closer and closer to this, however, much as I try, this is still a very very complicated goal to achieve.
For example, all my photos, music, videos, contacts, calendars etc are all on my computer. I have done a fair bit of tagging of my photos based on events and people in them, this makes that data searchable. So, lets pretend I’m looking for some info on Demelza. So I type her name into my computer as a search term. That then spits back all the photos with her in, any videos she might be in, her contact sheet in outlook which contains a profile picture, her phone numbers, addresses, e-mail address. I get back any calendar events she has been tagged to, like me visiting her at home this coming week. I also get any chat logs we have between us on MSN.
Not bad going, that’s my computer fairly sorted. I also carry my phone with me which contains my full calendar, my full contacts list. I also have my task list, my notes, and although I don’t bother for reasons that become clear, I could have my favourites too. My phone also has access to most of my e-mails as my e-mails are mainly IMAP accounts. This means the e-mails themselves stay online and whatever device I’m on just contacts to them, so be that my phone, my computer, my laptop or even webmail, they remain the same for all.
Bookmarks is a tricky one, or even my Firefox session. I’m looking at ways to have all my bookmarks tag-able, searchable online so I can get to them everywhere.
I also did look at having my MSN chat logs online (behind a password) so I could get them from anywhere and again search them. This turned out to be a lot more complicated than you would have though, I also have my logs on my phone, computer and laptop for all IM logged separately with no way as yet to search them all at the same time.
So most of this has come a long way, however it didn’t get there quickly, nor was it easy. In the last year I have taken about 9,000 photos, all of which needs to be tagged for this to work. I have maybe a weeks worth of work on them to clear the backlog.
The technology is just about caught up with what’s need, but its still not easy enough, fast enough or useful enough. I still don’t have all my files available to me from anywhere. I could remote in but that’s not quite the same, I could access the files in their directories but that wouldn’t give me access to all the nice search data i want.
I think i have even forgotten where this post was going, maybe I’m just trying to explain that at the moment, keeping track of your data is a nightmare.