So almost two weeks ago I gathered Matt and Erik in a chat room and told them how I had just downloaded the Lifeblog beta from Nokia's site and how it seemed incredibly hackable. The images are all stored in your My Documents\NokiaLifeblog folder, the text messages are stored as plain text and the repository for all the meta data was labeled "NokiaLifeblogDatabase.db" which when opened in a text editor says quite helpfully "This file contains an SQLite 2.1 database." Yeah! SQLite is an open source C library for storing data. Thus the whole app seemed 1) ready to be expanded on by Nokia itself in the future and 2) incredibly hackable by us *now*.
First, I should probably provide a mini-review of the Lifeblog itself. It's not for advanced users, but in general is well done. I think of my Mom using Lifeblog and functioning quite easily. It starts up and takes over the entire screen with a custom user interface and a control tab at the top allows you to move quickly through the images, videos and text items. If I could get it to sync with my PC, it would be quite nice - a moving history of my daily phone use. I couldn't get the phone to sync, but I did import a few hundred images and it picked up the dates and did the right thing, which is nice. I would've liked to see exactly how the SMS messages were stored, but you can create text notes on any day from the PC app which approximated to me how it worked and it seemed quite logical.
The image controls are limited to just rotating 90 degrees (the same as on the phone version) and beyond being able to move your files to the prominent Favorites "tab" and the send via email button, there's really not much more to the app than this basic functionality. I think that for most people, however, who may not be used to having to manage loads of data produced by their *phones*, this app would be quite good. I'm all about simplicity, and this app has the Fischer-Price sense of bright-colors, big controls which is not a bad thing at all.
But what about posting online!? I mean, the name of the app has "blog" in it, right? Well, I'm sure that's coming from Nokia as this app is *made* to be expanded upon. And since I wasn't the only person at BlogOn with a shiny new White Nokia 7610 - Ben and Mena had theirs too - I assume there's some stuff being developed by TypePad and Nokia as well. But we don't want to wait until later to blog from Lifeblog, do we!? We want to post to our weblog from Lifeblog now!
And that's where Dr. Thauvin comes in. After our initial enthusiasm for a "hack Lifeblog" project, I got busy at work again and didn't have a chance to get back to it. Erik, however, started hacking around the edges of Lifeblog using Java seeing what he could do with the data. Finally he came up with a great hack:
LifeBlogger! An app which will let you post your LifeBlog content to your XML-RPC enabled weblog (like Blogger for example... thus the name). Woohoo!
The image above shows how it works - you use Lifeblog to select images and put them into your Favorites, then run LifeBlogger to choose those images to post to the web. Erik did a great job and wacked this out using a bunch of open source tools including Thinlet for the UI. Awesome stuff. And not only did Erik develop the whole thing, he *sat on it* for over a week waiting for me to post my 7610 and Lifeblog review! Can you believe it? When I finish developing a hack, I can't wait to tell the whole world! He's a good man.
Okay, go enjoy the project! Lifeblog To Weblog, whoohoo!