- Audio recorder | Bell uses an Olympus digital recorder to capture everyday conversation. Easily available off the shelf.
- Voice recording | A modified phone tap captures MyLifeBits phone calls and routes them onto a hard drive. Buy one at
Radio Shack, or use Skype for online phone calls and HotRecorder to record them.
- Pictures | The Microsoft SenseCam snaps pictures of everything Bell looks at all day. A Webcam trained at your desk can automatically snap pics while you're sitting there, but on the road, you'll need to snap digital shots manually.
- Web browsing | MyLifeBits automatically stores a copy of every page Bell views. The free "Slogger" extension for Firefox will do the same for you.
- Email | Bell never throws away email. Use Gmail, or buy a 250-GB hard drive for your computer, and you can hold a lifetime's worth of email.
- Paper documents | Bell uses a Fujitsu scanner to turn every month's buildup of paper—letters, bills, everything—into PDFs. Almost any autofeeding scanner will do the same for you.
- Finding stuff | MyLifeBits has a suite of experimental search tools to help Bell find things. You can use free Google Desktop search or Windows Desktop Search. PC users can also try PHLAT, an experimental tool from Microsoft. Mac users can buy DEVONThink for truly intelligent searching.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.