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The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Notifications not just for beginning but also for end of event

My daughter has an activity that my wife drops her off at, and from which I pick her up at the end.

Most calendar programs provide notifications and alarms only for the start of meetings and activities.

Now, one could (and historically I have) create separate events for the beginning and end.  But this leads to inconsistencies, e.g. when the activity time is changed, but the pickup event is not changed.

Idea: provide multiple alarms or notifications for events, not just at start, but also at end.

Actually, more like a compound calendar item:

1) the activity or duration

2) the event items for my wife to take our daughter to the activity

3) the event item for me to leave wherever I am leaving from (work, home - lead time depends on were I am, and that should also be automated) and pick Sophie up.
    Scheduled relative to the END of the event.

etc.

Cancelling such a compound event removes all.

Moving, changing the time - may want to query.  If rescheduled, I may end up dropping off, and my wife may end up picking up.

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May also want internal times, not just beginning and end.

E.g. for an all day event, e.g. my wife and daughter at one day of a multi day folk music festival, I may be able to attend only one lunch hour.

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This general insight - that it is almost as important to schedule and remind yourself of when an activity should end as begin - is, I regret, somewhat new to me.  It is implicit is stuff like Pomodoro scheduling.  But I am only just now beginning to think of it explicitly.

Simple thing: I am trying to schedule an alarm on my Android device for the next time I should look up.

Now, which of the umnpteen alarm programs should I use...?

1 comment:

Andy Glew said...

We tend to think of calendar items as a box, i.e. an interval (that may overlap other intervals), and possibly a few reminders.


Well, at least the concepts of time intervals and events (points in time) are there.


But a calendar item is really multiple events, and multiple intervals.


For example, to get to my daughter's play this morning, there is (a) the event that I must leave the office and start driving (b) the interval that I am driving, and/or waiting at the school once arrived, (c) the event that is the start of the play, (d) the interval that is the play.

At some events I must do things, like get in the car, find a seat in the auditorium. I may need to be reminded to do them.

For the intervals, I may be doing something. But intervals tend to constrain other calendar stuff, other activities - like, I should not receive phone calls or schedule overlaps if possible.

But the constraints are different for different intervals. For example, while driving I cannot pair program. But I might be able to have a handsfree phone meeting (although I dislike phone meetings while driving). If I get to the school early, I may be able to accept quick calls but not long ones. (Here I am talking about the interaction of a calendar with my hypothetical "access management system" - my electronic butler that decides when somebody can contact me. But in the play interval, no calls, no meetings, no email... Family comes first.)


I want to be able to group these events and intervals, with their differing properties, into a single calendar item.



Heck, I have been having a similar problem with my tracker systems. Logs, diaries. QS. The tracker I am using now, LifeTracker, is solely event oriented. But sometimnes I want to record the interval that I worked, or the interval that I had a bad allergy attack. (I am trying to use the tracer to figure out exactly what I am allergic to.)

I.e, events and intervals, and groups thereof, apply not just to calendar scheduling, but also logging and tracking. Both time planning and recording - and also management.

Hmm... time based management. Context. Like geo context.


Different properties when tracking. Event samples NOW are usually confident - "I am working NOW,or I am bloging NOW (or was a second ago)". Event samples in the past are less confident. Interval records are always less accurate - I may be sniffling now, and I think I was sniffling all day, but such recollections are remarkably inaccurate. I might not have been sniffling at linch, and I forgot. I may think I had bad allergies all week, but it mau have come and gone. Memory is unreliable.

For personal logging, you want a confdence, an estimate of accuracy.