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Saving our lives
Life-caching catches on
Andy Warhol’s famous 1960s quote "In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" has an eerily prophetic tone about it now that we have the tools at our fingertips to capture, store and display almost every detail of our existence.

Some are taking the challenge to digitally document life seriously; hunter-gatherer instincts are in overdrive, as technology unleashes extraordinary capabilities and capacity on the consumer. Now with a minor investment anyone can record, edit or manipulate music, movies, photographs or words and store or publish the results in any number of public or private places.

Having a single portable device that can record, play back or display all of your media requirements is high on the list of must have for the youth market in particular. As fixed line communications move to mobile options, Leading Edge marketing manager Bruce Gregory says handheld devices are creating a convergence of technology. "We’re moving into new generation of devices. In five years time there won’t be many old style separate cellphones as we know them. It’ll be a device that is everything, anyone ever wanted; camera, MP3 player, video calling and mobile email."

The new tools seem to appeal to deep inner need to collect, archive and share and almost requires a new vocabulary, in fact Trendwatching.com has defined the term ‘Life caching’ "Even though life caching seems very much about technology and virtual lifestyles, its behavioral drivers are nothing new. At the core is the need to collect experiences, which ideally convert into stories, (and) in return enable human beings to engage others: whether it's to please or to convince or to gain status. Oh, and let's not forget that in our individualized, 'everyone counts' society, all consumers have a story."

The web has become a playground for anyone with the inclination to have an input into the ‘collective unconscious’. Home pages telling the world about hobbies, passions and interests are giving way to ‘blog sites’, where anyone with an opinion can have a rant, adding their diaries and dialogues to the information overload.

To cater for those who want to store on-line, services like Google with its Gmail service are offering up to 1Gb free storage space. In Google's own words: "Don't throw anything away: 1,000 megabytes of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message". Now there’s competition. Yahoo is also offering a gigabyte of free space

Technology providers are looking at every possible way to facilitate this trend so there’s little chance we’re run out of space. Removable hard disks (512Mb-2Gb) have become so small they look like jewelery, and many people wear them around their necks or on key chains. Plug in your headphones and these can often double as MP3 players. Now there’s a new class of device, the portable multimedia player, with a screen for watching movies, managing your music or other files, and recording conversations.

While cellphones now double as cameras, they’ve been a poor substitute for the real thing. That’s about to change to semi-profession pixel capturing capability at 3-4Mpixels from next year. Apparently there were 100 billion images captured worldwide this year. But you wouldn’t know it, as the trend has left empty pages in scrapbooks and photo albums with data captured instead on CDs, DVDs, computer hard drives, e-mail boxes and flash cards.

If all this data is so important to us then we need to consider practical realities like some basic rules on how and where to store, and ensure our content is safe, secure, ordered and accessible. Imation has tried to help by creating some helpful tip sheets, ( www.imation.com ) to help consumers get the most out of their photos and videos and preserve them on CDs and DVDs."

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