I have this weird mental defect that prevents me from figuring a lot of things out on my own. I can't just sit and think about a problem or question and hope to get my best answers. Often times, I only get that by engaging in a discussion with others about it and hoping that they challenge me to to think about it the right way. I'm just not good at challenging myself to think in the right way.

Or sometimes I'm part of a discussion that frustrates me because I feel like I'm the only one in the room who "gets it", so I finally speak up... explaining my entire line of thinking in a fairly short and condensed fashion. Occasionally this works and people pause for a moment, look at me, and then say "hey, that sounds right!"

That kind of happened in a meeting yesterday. But it was a brainstorming meeting, so that's okay.

Except there's one problem. They want me to write up whatever it was that I said toward the end of the meeting. Apparently I did a reasonable job of explaining some things.

The trouble is that nobody was recording it and I really remember only a fraction of what I probably said. So it's going to take me a good chunk of time today to reason out what I probably said and try to figure out how to convey that via email or a TWiki page.


Sometimes I wish I was always recording myself. Because every once in a while I say something worth capturing. And it never comes out as well the second time.

Where's Big Brother when you need him, anyway?

Posted by jzawodn at January 31, 2008 11:54 AM

Reader Comments
# BillyG said:

Sounds like you need some electrodes: independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-discover-way-to-reverse-loss-of-memory-775586

on January 31, 2008 02:56 PM
# Alper said:

One idea of mine was a bluetooth headset which is always on and records everything you (and everybody around you) say. Not only would it help for this kind of record keeping, but with such a large corpus of both speech waveforms and semantic data, you could guarantee near perfect speech recognition which in its turn would make lots of other very cool ubicomp applications possible.

The current crop of speech recognition algorithms are already quite good (though there's still lots of research going on) but none of them have been trained (unsupervised) on a lifetime's worth of data yet.

on January 31, 2008 02:59 PM
# Jim Bumgardner said:

I wrote a short story some years ago about this man I saw on TV who compulsively kept a diary of this life, filling thousands of black composition books with minutia such as "7:02 am, brushed teeth 7:04 am took vitamins" etc.

There was a real guy like this, who was on Dateline NBC or one of those shows.

In my fictionalized story, he was a test subject for a device called a "tiny lobster" that is worn on the ear. The lobster was like a little TV that kept a running loop of everything you heard and saw the last 24 hours. If you needed to recall anything, you could get it back, or save excerpts permanently.

So basically, a "Life Tivo".

In the story, he was hoping that the Tiny Lobster would enable him to "jump out of the loop" - to stop describing his life, and get on with the business of living it.

on January 31, 2008 03:08 PM
# Erick Herring said:

"How do I know what I think, until I hear what I say?" -- E. M. Forster

I'm exactly the same way!

on January 31, 2008 04:01 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Erick: Bingo! That's it.

on January 31, 2008 04:17 PM
# Ryan Kennedy said:

You mean Ricky doesn't follow you around with the camera all the time? I didn't realize that was just a hack day thing. ;)

on January 31, 2008 04:28 PM
# Eric said:

Jim, that man ran for president in 2004. His name is Bob Graham, former US Senator from Florida, and he has this odd habit or writing very detailed life-logs in color-coded notebooks.

on January 31, 2008 04:44 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

If I recorded everything I said, I'd probably be fired, divorced, and imprisoned within a week.

on January 31, 2008 05:04 PM
# ricky said:

@ Ryan....I was there. I even had my Canon G9 digital camera with me. I knew I should've handed him a mic and started recording. If it's of any help Jeremy...I do recall you saying words like "Internets", "Duct tape", "Paper clips" and something along the lines of "is any one at all bothered by placing liquids in a bag when going through security?"

on January 31, 2008 11:13 PM
# bob said:

you need a Livescribe Pulse


on February 1, 2008 06:19 AM
# Steve Friedl said:

> Where's Big Brother when you need him, anyway?

Making an unsolicited $45B bid for YHOO?

on February 1, 2008 07:02 AM
# Greg Hughes said:

Wow, I am exactly the same way. It can be really frustrating. For what it's worth, OneNote is a great thing if you have a Windows laptop around you in the meetings. Take notes and record the meeting audio all nice and synced up with your typing/handwriting. I've used it quite a bit in similar situations, just to avoid the brain-dump syndrome.

on February 1, 2008 10:10 AM
# Peter said:

The Personal Audio Loop research project a while back at Georgia Tech aimed do something similar and also attempted to address some of the practical and privacy concerns:


While I would like a "Playback" button like the G1000 has on everything, I do think I would have either spend more time apologizing or being quiet :)

on February 3, 2008 06:49 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Peter: yeah... no doubt.

on February 3, 2008 07:39 AM
# Niyaz PK said:

Think twice before you talk.
Speak only what you will remember later.
And tell only the truth so that you will never have to rely on your memory.

on February 12, 2008 07:39 PM
# Barton said:

try to write down your ideas, at least just the main points.

on May 12, 2008 06:25 AM
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