Author Topic: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?  (Read 6193 times)

totallymaxed

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2008, 03:58:08 pm »
guys
guys
GUYS
GUYS!!!

STOP THINKING HUGE!

All of these systems you're proposing are downright humongous groupware systems intended for either departments or corporate use, they have no applicability in a home, and will become a user interface nightmare, at the very least, not counting dependency hell etc.

Before we think anything, we need to lay out how we want the user experience to be.

-Thom


The more I look at this I think Thom is right. All of the candidates we have discussed in this thread are very heavy 'corporate' style servers that really have an enormous amount of overhead and baggage associated with them... we need something lighter and simpler in my opinion....


Here's my input on Orbiter user experience for IM, Calendar, email;

If I am playing media then display either a simple 'annunciator icon' to indicate an event or display the the full event (for IM or calendar) and a way to display that event over the media if i choose to deal with it now. This should be configurable per user. My events should display on any Orbiter if I login.

The IM stream should be displayable over the currently playing media or alongside the UI2 menu bar/pss (without taking over the whole screen) and I should be able to interact with the message stream and also show/hide that stream interactively.

New calendar items should be creatable from the Orbiter while media is playing or from the UI2 menu bar/pss using a slim in-line event creation screens (that use only the lower part of the screen for example).  Viewing a calendar, either your own or another user or a hybrid of all the calendar events for the whole family should be possible from the Orbiter... these view would be full screen probably to give enough screen real-estate.

OK... thats a start... and hopefully kick off the debate!!!

All the best

Andrew

Email should be accessible for both reading and writing/replying but the assumption here is that this activity would take over most of the screen real estate.


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tschak909

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2008, 04:42:43 pm »
yes, my initial tests with IM indicate that with the right background, Email, Calendar, and IM functions would overlay over roughly 3/4ths of the display.

as seen in this little sketch:

http://imagebin.ca/view/gmLb5gX.html

and for those who hadn't seen it, me messing around a bit with an IM layout:
http://www.localeconcept.com/private/im_2.png

The Sketch here can be adapted for almost every orbiter, except the Cisco 7970, which needs a special read-only version.

Notice that the display takes up the right hand section. This is so that the close button is in the familiar place. But as you see here, with clever use of alpha (read: NOT AS IT'S DONE IN THE BASIC SKIN!), you can create something which will still allow you to see your media behind, while providing a readable work area for the email and IM areas.

I'm glad work in this area is now being discussed, because I see Orbiter (or whatever we ultimately wind up using) as a "house wide user interface" ... the first deliberate design of its kind, where you would have all services, not just media and house control, but IM, document viewing/printing/etc, email, telephony and conferencing etc basically follow you wherever you go throughout your house (or even multiple houses).

-Thom
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 05:01:30 pm by tschak909 »

bulek

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2008, 08:58:04 pm »
Hi,

I just wanted to add one additional idea that I found really usefull on 3Com Audrey devices, that never got implemented on other systems (at lease I haven't seen it)...

Mail handling was made simply by recording your response in voice and send it as wav attachment back and also recognize such emails and play attached wav file back... Much easier for non techie users than typing by keyboard... They also had possibility to write note with pen on touchscreen and send it as jpeg image.... Much more personal and friendly email...

HTH,

regards,

Bulek.
Thanks in advance,

regards,

Bulek.

totallymaxed

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2008, 09:10:54 pm »
yes, my initial tests with IM indicate that with the right background, Email, Calendar, and IM functions would overlay over roughly 3/4ths of the display.

as seen in this little sketch:

http://imagebin.ca/view/gmLb5gX.html

and for those who hadn't seen it, me messing around a bit with an IM layout:
http://www.localeconcept.com/private/im_2.png

The Sketch here can be adapted for almost every orbiter, except the Cisco 7970, which needs a special read-only version.

Notice that the display takes up the right hand section. This is so that the close button is in the familiar place. But as you see here, with clever use of alpha (read: NOT AS IT'S DONE IN THE BASIC SKIN!), you can create something which will still allow you to see your media behind, while providing a readable work area for the email and IM areas.

I'm glad work in this area is now being discussed, because I see Orbiter (or whatever we ultimately wind up using) as a "house wide user interface" ... the first deliberate design of its kind, where you would have all services, not just media and house control, but IM, document viewing/printing/etc, email, telephony and conferencing etc basically follow you wherever you go throughout your house (or even multiple houses).

-Thom


Thom,

Your 'sketch' skin looks very nice. It would be great  if we could show/hide the on-screen keyboard so that users with wireless keyboards did not see the on-screen one.

Andrew
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los93sol

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2008, 04:15:29 pm »
Wow!  That's some good stuff Thom and I agree, I also see LMCE is a whole house UI, the current possibilities are only touching the tip of what this system can do.  Out of curiosity as I have not played around to get any of the IM and calender things setup, are settings held on a per user basis?  What I mean is, if I'm using my LMCE box it will log me in on my username, then if my wife is using and signed onto the LMCE box, it will log her in with her username?  I do think that effectively using profiles and as little end user maintenance as possible is the key for this.


tschak909

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2008, 04:20:51 pm »
los93sol: it currently does not exist yet.. this is still the design and sketch phase, but...

Basically, in the setup wizard, you would fill in the blanks for your profile information. Once this is filled in, and the router reloaded, the system would log ALL the users into their respective accounts simultaneously, and keep them there. Basically what you're doing when you flip users, is telling the orbiter that you wish to see messages etc directed toward you, so you can have user "thom" selected on the couch orbiter and on the TV and on the Cisco phone, and all the IMs and email notifications would go to those orbiters (conversely if I tried to write a mail message, it would be from me. Whereas, user "mary" could be logged in on her cell phone orbiter and she would recieve mails and IMs there.

Also keep in mind, this ties in with the user access control currently present on the Orbiters (where you can select which users can use which orbiters)

This is all possible due to the way that DCE works, the messages all flow through the system and get populated to the appropriate data grids etc, we just populate everything, and when you change users etc, orbiter just takes that into account (<%=U%>), when determining what to display.

:)

-Thom

colinjones

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2008, 01:33:40 am »
Thom - any chance that a "group" concept might be added to the orbiter? I have often thought about this before in the context of creating a group such as "Parents" or "Kids" which you could log an orbiter in as, and phone calls for any in the group get directed there, or private media combines the contents of each user's media folder, rather than just a single user.

I thought this would be good prior to now with existing functionality, but if an IM client is added this would be even more useful... but from my limited understanding, this could be a huge undertaking... or depending on how the classes are written, I suppose this could just be a case of adding a new one to handle combining? Not sure how this would apply to IM and phone calls tho...

Col

tschak909

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2008, 01:51:39 am »
will consider that for a future version. :)

-Thom

itspac

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2008, 05:00:49 am »
well simple is better. why not use a simple ical format. or a DB backed cal/ todo. I dont know how well that syncs with devices but maybe you vcards via bluetooth?

I know this is a fedora article but...

http://fedoranews.org/mediawiki/index.php/Building_a_Simple_Calendar_Server_with_Fedora_and_WebDAV
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 05:04:46 am by itspac »

tschak909

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2008, 05:19:10 am »
that would work. what i would recommend is essentially a dce device that contains the following commands:

* get calendar
* modify event (can be used for add and modify)
* delete event
* export iCalendar
* import iCalendar

and exposes the following events:

* Event added/changed
* Event removed
* Event alarm

we already have the database. It would just need a new sql2cpp class generated to twiddle the calendar bits.

We could then create a simple dce proxy to handle the web services. This way, the DCE device could listen for events much the same way as the orbiter (and if the web interface was up, alarms would work etc.) the PHP code for the web would use this interface to deal with the calendar data instead of doing raw sql calls, and would nicely abstract the backend away from the web bits.

See guys? if we actually build this as an integrated part of the system, we:

(1) learn how this system ACTUALLY works!
(2) can build something cohesive and i dunno.. apple like? ;-)
(3) wind up with something simpler and more maintainable.
(4) provide a base to actually flesh out more mobile functionality that would be fluid, instead of tackied on.

-Thom

bulek

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2008, 09:30:14 am »
well simple is better. why not use a simple ical format. or a DB backed cal/ todo. I dont know how well that syncs with devices but maybe you vcards via bluetooth?

I know this is a fedora article but...

http://fedoranews.org/mediawiki/index.php/Building_a_Simple_Calendar_Server_with_Fedora_and_WebDAV
Hi,

this is getting interesting... I like this approach... I just wonder if there are some syncml servers that can serve data in such webdav calendar. Then we have what we ever wanted for....

Andrew, does funambol shows any sign of using same calendar file to sync with mobiles ?
Maybe it does : https://core.forge.funambol.org/ds/viewMessage.do?dsForumId=405&dsMessageId=24032

Thom, thanks for informations. It seems that this is the proper way to go.

BTW, does anyone know how secure are we at the moment regarding web server and remote access - any simple ways to enhance it ?

Thanks in advance,

regards,

Bulek.

Update: have found thread that describes that syncing with Outlook can result in local ical file... is this the file that could be used also for sync with mobiles and access of our LMCE connector ?
https://core.forge.funambol.org/ds/viewMessage.do?dsForumId=416&dsMessageId=17217
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 09:51:47 am by bulek »
Thanks in advance,

regards,

Bulek.

chriss

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2008, 11:14:42 am »
I don't think mixing systems (SyncML/iCal) is a very good idea. My experience is that you usually get problems when trying to convert between the systems a do a sync through a chain of components, e.g., SyncML server -> Outlook (via SyncML) -> convert to iCal -> Outlook sync connector. You usually get duplicated events, malformed data etc.

I proposed Funambol as a backend server for syncing because it already provides connectors for numerous systems, e.g. Outlook, mobile phones etc. If we really need to implement a new calendar engine for handling events the LMCE way, it should not make a big difference wether it supports iCal or SyncML...

BTW, another benefit of using Funambol would be the possibility to sync other data, too, e.g., contacts.

Regards
Chriss

tschak909

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2008, 01:33:22 pm »
guys.

Use the same patten that's already present in LinuxMCE:

* Calendar Plugin - Handles high level interactions, as well as providing data grid generators for the house, as well as the exporting functions for icalendar, etc... it also deals with providing the web service interface.

and for each type of calendar system we connect to, there is a device running somewhere, usually on the core:

* Local House Calendar - Provides a basic data store.

other possibilities would be:

* Exchange device
* CalDAV device

etc.

This way, we leverage an extensible system.

Please take some time and study this system. Once you do, you'll realise that there is already a very robust system in place to build something like this on.

-Thom
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 01:35:07 pm by tschak909 »

itspac

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2008, 05:05:07 am »
I dont know much about LMCE syncML or funambol etc etc etc. so, my question is. Is there a way to synce devices without all these different software involved? i know it may not be wireless sync, but is it not as simple as sending the right commands to  your device? I am a blackberry user and of course wireless sync would be nice, but could live with connecting the usb cable as long as it works.

btw   i need to get deeper into understanding LMCE so when thom writes stuff, I actually know where to go look.

totallymaxed

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Re: Calendar and other family time management features - how to start ?
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2008, 02:33:16 pm »
I dont know much about LMCE syncML or funambol etc etc etc. so, my question is. Is there a way to synce devices without all these different software involved? i know it may not be wireless sync, but is it not as simple as sending the right commands to  your device? I am a blackberry user and of course wireless sync would be nice, but could live with connecting the usb cable as long as it works.

btw   i need to get deeper into understanding LMCE so when thom writes stuff, I actually know where to go look.

The answer is currently 'no'... thats why we're having this discussions about adding this capability ;-)

Andrew
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