online scrapbook for digital mementos
October 6, 2007 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Rememble, for your digital bits and pieces.

"Thread together texts, photos, videos, sounds, scribbles, scans, notes, tweets... so they're not drifting in a digital wasteland"

How to/about video.
posted by nickyskye (44 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have to admit this caught my attention:

Nina, our intern, got sick of all the mementos (junk) lying around her flat that she couldn't bear to lose, so she created a Souvenir Shelf timeline and took a picture of everything one-by-one before she threw it out and Remembled them all. Now her flat (and her head) is clear and her junk is virtual! Super-brave!

I'm about to purge a lot from my life, and this could help. Wonder if I can link to it from Craigslist when trying to sell?
posted by butterstick at 12:41 PM on October 6, 2007

No, you can't externally link. From the FAQ:
For other people to view your membleline they must first register for an account on Rememble
Sure, it blocks usage of the service as a free imagehost, but also decreases its usefulness by an order of magnitude or two.
posted by DaShiv at 12:50 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

The project that Gelernter and several of his graduate students are working on is called Lifestreams, and it may completely change how we manage information. Today, our view of cyberspace is shaped by a 20-year-old metaphor in which files are documents, documents are organized into folders, and all are littered around the flatland known as the desktop. Lifestreams takes a completely different approach: instead of organizing by space, it organizes by time. It is a diary rather than a desktop. -- WIRED, February 1997.

1997, people.
posted by dhartung at 12:51 PM on October 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

That's what caught my eye too butterstick.
posted by nickyskye at 12:53 PM on October 6, 2007

In all fairness, I think Lifestreams and then I think "semantic web" and then I pee myself laughing.

Ah memories.
posted by butterstick at 12:59 PM on October 6, 2007

Awesome find, nickyskye. Gracias.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:05 PM on October 6, 2007

Hmm can't see anything without being a member, ok pass, NEXT
posted by zouhair at 1:08 PM on October 6, 2007

So this is another one of those web 2.5 apps that's going to change my life, arrange how I deal with all my stuff, and help me cure cancer?

Or is it just another something or 'nother to sign up for, play with for a week, and then forget the password to, whilst watching all the new email coming from "rememble" list purchasers? I bet if I signed up an email address like "" I'd start getting some new spam.

I like to remind myself from time to time that sites make money on impressions and clicks, which come from "relevance" and member histories, but are really all about revenue generation. Your scrapbook says a lot about you, where you live and what you buy. That's a nice little demographic-builder they've got.

These sites aren't here to organize your life. They are here to get revenue for their owners.

Sometimes that message gets lost.
posted by disclaimer at 1:14 PM on October 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

disclaimer, people make things to make money. That's not a crime in itself, is it?
posted by sveskemus at 1:29 PM on October 6, 2007

All these web nouveau apps are starting to look alike. Fat pastel buttons, sans serif fonts, rounded corners, tag clouds, blah, blah, blah. And they're all the same concept, too, but tilted just slightly this way instead of that way, sort of like the way a caesar is almost-but-not-quite a bloody mary. Is it that all these developers are using the same Web 2.5 App Starter Kit or something? There's as much unique and interesting about these things as there is in a paint-by-numbers Velvet Elvis.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:41 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think the idea of an online scrapbook is pretty neat. I like their paradigm. But what are they doing with the data that they're collecting?

No, building things to make money is not a crime. And they'd be crazy to develop it without collecting the data and selling it. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

I don't like the idea that demographic data is being bought and sold, based on the content of my scrapbook. When does the product placement begin?

Just like I hate the idea that gmail sells demographic data and places adwords based on the content of email in my mailbox. Adwords are product placement, and I hate it in games, and in movies, and in my digital scrapbook and in my email.

It seems dirty and it's disingenuous, and sometimes, the message that a site professes - like this one, which will organize my digital life, apparently - sometimes masks the concept that lies behind the site: Your content - what you upload - will drive demographics that will drive revenue to the site.
I have become very jaded with the whole "online" life.

And seanmpuckett has it: Yeah, they're all using the same Starter Kit.
posted by disclaimer at 1:49 PM on October 6, 2007

The project that Gelernter and several of his graduate students are working on is called Lifestreams

And then there's Gordon Bell with a SenseCam and MyLifeBits, recording everything 24x7x365 and posting it to the Web.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on October 6, 2007

I can arleady rememble my rife just fine, thank you.
posted by blacklite at 2:03 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dan (our Flash-guru) has been scanning in his concert-ticket stubs...

Neat-o, keen-o!!!

Gavin (founder - totally biased) has been going mobile crazy and sending texts, pic and vids of nights out to Rememble to capture 'the moments'.

Hey, Gavin...why not settle down and enjoy 'the moments' themselves. Kinda like a tourist spending more time framing shots than actually enjoying the beauty before you. 'Live In The Moment.'

People who spend time documenting everything often remind me of those who chase after autographs of celebrities or go on vacation and spend most of their time having their picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower then rushing off for one in front of I.M. Pei's Glass Pyramid and mulling about souvenir shops, as opposed to really taking time to wander aimlessly through the Louvre, sit quietly at a bistro/cafe in St-Germain-des-Prés, watching the people pass by outside, etc. We get it. You rubbed shoulders for 30-seconds with Bono and got him to sign a napkin. Neat-o, keen-o!!! You did indeed visit Paris and have the photographs to prove it. Neat-o, keen-o!!!
posted by ericb at 2:05 PM on October 6, 2007 [6 favorites]

it's cool....magnoto's good too.
posted by amberglow at 2:09 PM on October 6, 2007

And seanmpuckett has it: Yeah, they're all using the same Starter Kit.

I don't get it. Designers are learning from the wasteland of shitty interfaces that have come before, giving us simplicity and consistency.

These are widely regarded as A Good Thing™ by UI designers.
posted by butterstick at 2:23 PM on October 6, 2007

Useless, drivel-magnetic me-tooism at its 2.0 worst.

Naturally, I created an account immediately.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 2:27 PM on October 6, 2007

I don't understand why anyone would bother using a website to keep track of old ticket stubs.
posted by tss at 2:34 PM on October 6, 2007

Putting any data that's important to you under the control of a Web 2.0 startup strikes me as a bit risky.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:10 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

"tweets"? Que es?

I think I stumbled across this before - this site is GREAT for people who are serious about documenting important things in their lives. You have to put some effort into it. It's very cool and useful. It's not for lazybones.
posted by sidereal at 3:30 PM on October 6, 2007

"tweets" = twitter bytes?
posted by nickyskye at 3:39 PM on October 6, 2007

They are all starting to look the same. Everything gets relased as 'beta'. Naming quirks are ta.ken and copied ovr and ovr.
posted by 4candles at 3:46 PM on October 6, 2007

I don't understand why anyone would bother using a website to keep track of old ticket stubs.

It's really hard to guess what ephemera will be interesting in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 years. Not that this website will live that long, but presumably something might survive. And it's not such a novel idea about the ticket stubs, though he had more in mind than just an image of the stubs, but the stories behind it.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:50 PM on October 6, 2007

It's really hard to guess what ephemera will be interesting in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 years.

Storing images of someday-possibly-important physical objects seems awfully shortsighted. Digital archiving has issues even when it's a national archival project. Copies get deleted, things break. Objects, at least, don't have a delicate storage medium. Reality's pretty hard to break, aside from the occasional black hole.
posted by blacklite at 4:19 PM on October 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't get it. Designers are learning from the wasteland of shitty interfaces that have come before, giving us simplicity and consistency.

These are widely regarded as A Good Thing™ by UI designers.

I couldn't give a flying fuck what UI designers think. I have never seen such a complete lack of creativity in design on the web than in the last year.

* Cute, charming, overly-chummy, unprofessional text? Check!
* Pastels, rounded corners, plastic-looking reflections? Check!
* "Three step" guide that doesn't actually explain what the site does? Check!
Seriously, without signing up, and having read this Metafilter thread, I don't get what this site does. I want to share photos with friends...I use Flickr, right, why would I want to use Rememble? I want to share "Tweets"? I was under the impression Twitter is custom-fucking-designed to share "Tweets". Aggregating things from multiple sources like this together? Well there's only 7 dozens ways to do that, but I find Tumblr to do it fairly well, and what's more it lets people who aren't members of the service view my page...
* How is it good interface design to have every site with the same colour scheme and visual appeal?
* Bland, bland, bland.
* BIG sans-serif fonts.
* Rememble does get some points for not being at http://rem.e.mb.le or something ridiculous. Still, the name sucks pretty hard.

1200 users are using the site, according to the sickeningly pink badge on the front page, but only 4000 digital memories have been preserved. Since Dan and Gavin have been crazy-busy scanning their concert tickets and used prophylactics to keep the boss happy (except he insists you don't call him "the boss", he's just one of the guys, you know? And he promises he'll pay them by November.) the average number of digital moments shared per user would appear to be very low. 2 or 3? Yep. That's deep inside "we all signed up and couldn't see the point of this thing" territory.
posted by Jimbob at 4:32 PM on October 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

On the Rememble site it does not say to store anything significant as a cyber vault with promises it will be there forever and ever or throw away any pieces of paper or ephemera. It says digital bits and pieces..."Thread together texts, photos, videos, sounds, scribbles, scans, notes, tweets... so they're not drifting in a digital wasteland".
posted by nickyskye at 4:36 PM on October 6, 2007

Wow. Jimbob. Those are some opinions. Yup. They certainly are.
posted by Brainy at 5:29 PM on October 6, 2007

Dave Faris: yes, that's the reference I was making. cheers.
posted by tss at 5:42 PM on October 6, 2007

Okay. Succinctly, why this site will fail:

The requirement for logins before you can view anything.

Who the hell is going to be able to get all their friends and family to sign up to some obscure, single-purpose site just to show them some kind of presentation of their Fifty Most Favourite Seashells?

Making a site like this registered-users-only relies on the assumption that people are, you know, going to be hanging around on the site logged in. I don't see that. Can you imagine if you could only view photos on Flickr if you're logged in to it? It would have remained an obscurity. If you're going to make "sharing" the catchphrase of your enterprise, make sure users can be generous with their content.
posted by Jimbob at 6:10 PM on October 6, 2007

I wonder if I can do this with it?
posted by strawberryviagra at 9:14 PM on October 6, 2007

Good concept. Flawed execution. Doomed.

To wit: I like what they're trying to do. "Digital scrapbooking" in general is cool. Nobody has done it right, yet. The ability to scan/photograph/type in lots of bits and pieces of information and then have a system allow you to manipulate and view that information via various semantic relationships (by date, by type, by keyword, by content) would make a digital scrapbook cooler than a dead-tree one by orders of magnitude.

But the execution is flawed; they're ... for lack of a better way to put this ... trying too hard. Requiring signups to view sucks. Can you imagine what would have happened to Flickr if you required a signup to view anybody's photos? No, you wouldn't, because you'd never have known what Flickr was. They're missing one of the keys to "Web 2.0" and web services generally: interoperability and exposure of content in ways that encourage various uses, beyond those narrowly thought of originally. Christ, this isn't new, it's trite. There's probably a For Dummies book about it.* That they don't get this makes me seriously question their basic understanding of a service like this.

If they want people to use this service, it can't be a silo. The stuff people put in has to be useful; they have to be able to deeplink to it, blog it, export/transfer it to other sites, whatever. Good integration with other services is what gave Flickr an edge, particularly with bloggers, and what allowed them to create a community that snowballed.

Someday, somebody will get this stuff right, and do for all-media digital scrapbooking what Flickr did for digital photos, but I'm not sure it's going to be these guys.

* No, seriously, there is.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:00 PM on October 6, 2007

Ok. I'm supposed to trust these people to hold onto my precious memories, the ones that although are held in a box somewhere that I haven't managed to throw away because, well, I guess they're too precious.

What guarantee would I have that they'll be there in 10 years time. Companies go bust all the time, but at least I have a bit more control of my box of memories, barring an act of god.

Nice try. No thanks.
posted by triv at 2:06 AM on October 7, 2007

Guess those pics/vids/sounds snapped on your cell phone are so valuable the whole cellphone should be put in a box in a vault, lol.
posted by nickyskye at 7:28 AM on October 7, 2007

I back up my pictures which are held on Flickr too. I trust them more than the above, but still not implicitly.
posted by triv at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2007

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments on Rememble (even though I do feel a bit bruised!).

Just to let you guys know that we are small start-up of an average of 3 people and not a data-mining conglomerate out to sell your digital life! Nor do we have a check-list of Web 2.0 marketing traits/copywriting/graphics/etc. We are actually normal people just trying our best to express what the site is about in as an accessible a way as possible.

The project has been on the go since 2002 and we're aware of many of the issues you've raised. Launching something like flickr right off the bat is not as simple as it sounds.

It's not an easy task getting a new web service off the ground and we've just launched the basics - it's early days - so please give us a chance to build in many of the things that you mention - including letting non-registered users view your public stuff - it's coming!

It's great that you guys have taken the time to respond honestly to the posting - thanks for that - feel free to contact me directly with feedback or via the forums if you are a Rememble user and that's easier. Thanks!

- Gavin
posted by gavinocarroll at 11:36 AM on October 8, 2007

Hi Gavin, thanks for dropping by, we always appreciate it.

But, man, I wish I had thought of Matt's racket. Get people to insult someone's work; insultee must pay $5 to respond.

posted by blacklite at 2:22 PM on October 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

For the record, Gavin, I think Rememble is an excellent and potentially practical idea. Glad you commented in the thread, welcome to MetaFilter.

Wishing for the success of your endeavor
posted by nickyskye at 3:38 PM on October 8, 2007

I'm serious about my post - if that's any consolation.
posted by strawberryviagra at 7:11 PM on October 8, 2007

Yes nice little earner Matt!

Thanks all for both honesty and seriousness :)

posted by gavinocarroll at 2:58 AM on October 9, 2007

I've been requested to respond to more specific points listed here, so I'll try to do that. And firstly sorry I missed strawberryviagra's link to the other post and comments are now closed.

Rememble's reason to be is:

1. to make it as easy as possible to get your digital stuff into it - from your PC(s), mobile device(s) and any other web services you use.

2. to make it as easy as possible to play with the stories that your digital bits and pieces create - archiving, sharing, and creating new community timelines for events you might want to do in the future to help make those events a reality.

3. to make it as easy as possible to get your stuff out of Rememble again in ways that aim to make life more interesting - either in a tangible form or by exporting back out to other web services.

We've got the basics of the first two up and running and we're working on the last.

We do understand the inter-operable nature of the web and have two things planned to get Rememble to that place - enabling non-registered users to view timelines that users want them to see (honest we do - we'd be mad not to!), and developing an API so you can get your stuff out in any form you like.

We're not selling your data - we feel weird about that stuff too. We do aim to make money via ads on the free accounts and via a subscription service much like flickr. We 're also working on some pretty cool printing services. We do need an income to run the service and pay our rents :)

You can pull your images in from Flickr and your posts (Tweets) from Twitter, and we're working on doing the same for as many other web services as we can. We've also got plans for more less-manual ways to get a lot of stuff onto Rememble at once.

Homepage copy is hard - we used to have a much more detailed and specific description of what Rememble was, but people found it cold and techy so we had to change it. The response to the new copy has been much more positive.

We've just been live for 5 days so most people have only two or three membles uploaded as one of the posts above points out, people are trying it out so that makes lots of sense to us.

We're really into people giving us reasons to develop (or undevelop) stuff - we've built Rememble to make it as simple as we can for now, but we're really interested in people using it in ways we haven't even thought of and pushing us for features that help them do that.

Finally, I do settle down and enjoy the moments in life, but I've a head like a sieve and like to capture them to remind me of them later, I find that a cool thing to do too :)

Thanks again for the comments - hope this answers most of the points raised!

posted by gavinocarroll at 9:16 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hi gavin, thanks for your comment.

I'm interested in what you think of strawberryviagra's hopes there could be a kind of invited persons' group interaction. If I repost her comment here, could you respond to her comment in this thread?

strawberryviagra's comment in the AskMetaFilter thread was:

"I've been interested in this for a while too. I had this idea of how to organise info around a particular subject through a multi-layered visual timeline.

My area of interest was around the start of the dotcom boom/fiasco, and I realised there were great stories that would only become evident from building up the necessary links and structure.

The method I came up with I called the biographer's tree. It basically shows events along a timeline in macro down to micro - so collecting at the highest level, significant world events and clustering them around dates, the lower levels showing more relevant micro events, closely related to my actual subject matter.

The whole point of this was to start a dialogue with my interviewees - significant macro events would enable/aid them to recall more personal stories, the subjects of which would start to form the micro-micro events on the dateline - thus reminding other interviewees of events in their lives around the same period.

Ultimately all these stories would then self propagate, be captured in an online database and basically write themselves - as new people were mentioned in people's recollections, they'd be invited to respond and add their sides of the story - their subjects would cluster around dates and continually grow the branches in the tree.

So far it's still just an idea for me (I'm not a biographer, and know little about the structure), but it seems like a logical way of approaching it. "
posted by nickyskye at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2007

Thanks NickSkye - yeah, when I saw the GUI it looked almost identical to the way I imagined it.

BTW - I'm a boy (but you're the second to think otherwise, must be my flowery prose style).
posted by strawberryviagra at 2:03 AM on October 10, 2007

LOL, oops. No, it was the cuteness of strawberry.
posted by nickyskye at 7:37 AM on October 10, 2007

Hi nickyskye, strawberryviagra,

Finally got some time to comment on the idea above :)

I think this is a great idea - have you seem the Microsoft-backed "> The BBC were doing something similar a few years back and will allow people to use their news stories to populate timelines - the thing is you can't use it if you are making any form of revenue from your service. So this rules of Rememble or any service that needs an income, which is a real barrier to anything like this being made.

What would really work though - is that - if more and more of the Rememble and Miomi-type of service
(DLA's - Digital Lifestyle Aggregators I think Techcrunch calls us) exist - that we all have open APIs to that each service can reference any story from the other - this pools resources and enables the kind of grow that you indicate. That would be cool :)

You may need another service on top of this which would be your navigator, navigating the pooled DLAs and social networks in a coherent fashion...

The other barrier to use is that posting up stories takes effort, and only the most hardcore of user would do this with any regularity (especially considering how many other services are competing for their attention these days). So a real fundamental level issue is - how would you encourage, educate, and motivate people to actually get involved. It come down to the hardest question of the lot, the one that any service, including Rememble, has to answer - 'Why should anyone care?'

Life is short, we're all going to die someday, how will this service add something to my life or the lives of those I care about?

Not easy. But a brilliant challenge for all of us.

- Founder,
posted by gavinocarroll at 2:41 AM on October 22, 2007

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