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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.


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.


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.


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 "Krazy" 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.