The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, 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.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Apple Reminders - at place, on day, but not before time (NOT)

Apple's iPhone / MacOS reminders with time and place sound like a good idea - but they have  been so damned annoying, occurring at the wrong time, that I have been disabling them.

It's the usual "AND/OR" confusion.  The usual UI/UX designer hubris "Users want to keep it simple, so we won't give them the feature that I, the omniscient UIX/UX designer, can't imagine needing in my limited imagination".  Self-fulfilling prophecy.

Use Reminders on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - Apple Support: "With Reminders, you can set notifications that alert you when reminders are due, or when you arrive or leave a location."
'via Blog this'
Investigating the annoying notifications that occur when I do not want them:

E.g. I want to be reminded  to pay bills on the weekend, typically any time after 6pm on an evening, or whenever I arrive home on the weekend.

But Apple keeps reminding me at the wrong time- like, I get reminded to pay bills when I am working during the day on Friday.

I would insert a screen clipping, but Blogger does not make it easy to upload images.  (In fact, I think that Blogger only uploads URLs or images, i.e. by reference, not by value.)

The MacOS reminder dialog says

remind me
[x] on a day (with day and time, which I have set to 6pm)
[x] at a location
  [ ] Leaving [x] Arriving
On DATE you will be reminded when you arrive at this location, or by 6pm that day at the latest.
repeat  Every Week
So I can't complain too much.

  • The web page documentation correctly says "OR", both in the MacOS dialog and in the web page clipped above.
  • But in the iPhone screen, there is no "OR".

The iPhone Reminder app screen looks like

Pay bills

Remind me on a day YES
Alarm Fri, date, time
Repeat WEEKLY 
Remind me at a location YES
Location  Arriving: Home

I think that I assumed that these separate controls, on a day and at a location, were AND'ed together --- because such ANDing  is, I think, more common in user interfaces.  E.g. most email rule systems AND the conditions, at least in the first generation.

Of course, what I really want is dependency, and event based.  (Hmm, look at some temporal and event based notations.)

  • AT or AFTER date-time
    • create new reminder one week later
    • DO: remind me at that date-time
      • WHEN arriving home DO: remind me
Of course, I might have wanted the slightly different structure

  • AT or AFTER date-time
    • create new reminder one week later
    • DO: remind me at that date-time IF I am at home
      • WHEN arriving home DO: remind me
We really need standard languages and notations for such compound constraints.

Even at the level of code.

But also at the level of UI.

Possibly graphical - e.g. nested boxes.

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