Handige functie Mobile Vikings: Mijn gespreksgeschiedenis

Vandaag iets interessants te weten gekomen. Ik had per ongeluk de verkeerde nummer ingevoerd op mijn HTC Hero en was aan het bellen naar een goede vriend. Gelukkig had ik het op tijd door (minder dan 5 seconden heeft dat geduurd) en dus hoefde ik me niet te verontschuldigen wegens “verkeerd verbonden”.

Geen spoor te vinden van mijn flater, toch? Niet dus, zo blijkt. De kennis is net zoals mezelf een trouwe Mobile Vikings gebruiker. Bij het nader analyseren van zijn gespreksgeschiedenis stootte hij op een entry waarvan hij geen weet had, en die verwees naar mijn nummer. Hij vond dat maar vreemd, want zijn toestel — een Samsung Galaxy met Android — had immers geen melding gemaakt van een gemiste oproep. En ook niets te bespeuren in de Android Dialer Call Log.

Blijkt dus dat Mobile Vikings op een lager niveau (netwerk) monitort. Ik weet weinig af van de protocollen rond telecommunicatie, maar volgens mij heeft het te maken met lagen in het OSI-model. Iemand die hier een betere uitleg voor heeft spoor ik ten zeerste aan om toelichting te geven in de comments.


Hoe dan ook, die gespreksgeschiedenis van Mobile Vikings is wreed handig.

Caprica en stijl

Caprica is echt de max. Fantastische acteurs, de prachtige locatie Vancouver en de variërende muziek maken het een topserie. Maar wat ik ook bijzonder smaak is de stijl. Oude en nieuwe stijlen worden naadloos met elkaar vermengd. Ik zie elementen van de fifties, eighties en vandaag. Hilarisch voorbeeldje zijn het gebruik van sociale netwerksites in de toekomst.


Let maar eens op de details.


Often we walk with a notebook or notepad around to take notes at work, school or personal project. But can the information you need quickly find and decipher? Can you easily share your notes? Take the initiative in hand with Microsoft Office OneNote 2007: the program for taking notes and managing information, ideas and information that you easily can capture in electronic form. Files or Web content to add colorful, in a searchable format or as icons that you click to get access to it. Watch this demo and discover how easy it is to collect information, to create, organize and share with others. Say goodbye to your notepad!

OneNote is many things to many people. It is part electronic organizer and part digital notebook. Some people use it for taking notes during meetings or lectures. Others use it as a repository for information they find on the web or on their computer. Whatever you put into OneNote, whether it’s web clippings, emails, Word Documents or handwritten notes, it is a powerful tool for creating a centralized, organized and searchable information cache.

Exploring a possible interface

“If you want to get this project off the ground, you have to make it as practical as possible”, a friend replied, after I announced that I was planning Wictures. At first, I had no clue what he really meant, so I asked him straightaway. And indeed, I think he has a good point here. One of the success criteria will be the ease-of-use to post notes. Let’s elaborate on this a bit further.

Seen from a broader perspective it’s all about the real-time web. Often when we want to share on the web, it needs to happen fast, simple and instant. This applies easily for a journalist who wants to publish an article. For Wictures, the flow of editing notes during a lecture/discourse needs to happen smoothly. Actually, we are confronted with this reoccurring pattern quite a lot. We need to be able to quickly enter and navigate content. Therefore, the interface should be in line with the user’s expectations. Consider the following examples.

Facebook allows you to easily add new content and attach images, videos. You can even post a new event. It’s very intuitive and a one-stop shop for various content types.

The same goes for Twitter, which displays a simple box which allows you to insert up to 140 characters.

Look how Posterous and Tumblr have made blogging effortless.

WordPress has a “QuickPress” section on its Dashboard which basically allows you to post new content in an efficient and fast way. It is dead simple.

And finally, see how Microsoft Office‘s One Note tacles notetaking and makes it as intuitive as pen and paper.

Now that we have explored interesting interfaces to tackle several design problems, we also want to look at what the future might bring us. For example, it is being said that within three years our desktops will be irrelevant, but will we be able to kick our keyboard addiction? Devices grow smaller, are more connected and integrated in our environment. As a consequence, technology disappears into our surroundings until only the user interface remains perceivable by users. In an Ambient Intelligence world, devices work in concert to support people in carrying out their everyday life activities in and easy, natural way using information and intelligence that is hidden in the network connecting these devices. No wonder that concepts such as the Internet of Things introduce new challenges to the HCI field.

After analyzing interface requirements for Wictures, I come up with the following. They might not be true interface features, but they are to be taken in consideration when implementing the interfaces. First of all, during the editing progress, content should be automatically saved every x seconds. Another requirement would be the ability to collaborative editing during notetaking. Of course, you should also be able to track you editing progress. Finally, wiki formating should be supported as well. And everything should be dead simple because in a changing environment, one must be able to adapt quickly (e.g. think about toggling extra options and so on).

As always, there are still some open questions. Will we allow posting through e-mail? Will a post be published by default or in draft modus? If you have an answer, feel free to share.

Setting the State for the Intention Web

The powerful idea of the intent-based web is extremely convenient to me. I stumbled across it at a ReadWriteWeb post about the Future as Platform, which I can strongly recommend by the way because of the always very well-written and deeply analyzed writings. Although it has been widely discussed already, I would like to address it from my point of view and give it some more thought.

The intention web is about publishing an anticipated goal on the Web. As Jeremiah Owyang notes in his original blog about the intention web, it is particularly with event planning features, like Facebook events, and services like upcoming.org, Dopplr and TripIt that people are explicitly making public what they want to do, when and with who. In fact, people are sharing their calendars, which in turn allows them to see who in their social circles go to the same events. This is where businesses come in, because this allows them to enrich their experience, by for example offering highly contextualized offerings or prospects.

Galileo Galilei once said: “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” I don’t know who discovered it, but let it be clear that the intention economy on the Web is not new. The concept is very powerful though, just read this intention broadcasting paper. Recently, Mark Hendrickson, former Techcrunch writer has also started exploring this area. His new company Plancast really seems to get it. What Plancast does is basically pulling all intent data you already have shared, like your Facebook events you did RVSP for. However, it’s not only about events. If you are planning to go to a hairdresser, you are mostly not creating a new event. This process should be simpler and you should be able to share plans at a more granular level as well. That’s why Plancast allows you to easily broadcast your upcoming plans which include, what, where, and when.

All the released data can then be used to generate predictions of what we will do next — by applying data mining techniques — although it has not happened yet. For customers this means that they will be provided with contextualized experiences. This will allow them to improve the way they work, schedule and organize.

Thanks to the intention web, companies can anticipate their customers needs.Through brand monitoring, companies are able to make better predictions on what could happen. What do people plan to buy on Twitter? you could easily monitor that. Contextualized marketing may be offered and new prospects could be identified. Think about applications in the field of yield management like hotel or airline deals. Also, think about what this could mean in supply chain management, by increasing forecasting efficiency. And as a result, they are able to increase or decrease inventory or store hours to accommodate and align better with packaging and retailing. This has an indirect impact on waiting lines as well, because everything can be simulated using the discovered statistical patterns. Finally, since customer behavior is — to a certain extent — also predictable because we know not only their intentions but often historical data is available that could be coupled with these intentions. This is the implicit way, deriving intents from gestures, context and historical data in contrary to the explicit way of saying what you are up to on for example Plancast. As such, patterns can be discovered so that risks could be identified and mitigated. In the end, it all comes down to a better service quality.

Why is the intent-based web so powerful? We have been sharing our calendars for a long time, but through a variety of seperate applications like Google Calendar. When we are able to pull that information, we get tremendous value. “Control doesn’t scale”, David Weinberger would say. What does scale, is the Web, which businesses should nurture.

Essentialy the concept is about observing and listening to the customer. The “cones diagram” below, presented at Design By Fire 2009, and used by the Dopplr team as metaphor, is a very good illustration about  the dimensions — space, time, past and future — of the intention web.

Zipipop’s intention broadcasting model says it all:

Another thing I was thinking about is the following. When you have a plan, you have a target. A goal is set. How are you going to reach this goal? When these goals are publicly available, services like Dorthy can help you find ways to achieve your goal. You get personalized results from other smart users, just like Aardvark is a people-powered searchengine that answers your questions. Therefore, I think there is a lot of  opportunity in the guidance process. And with the rise of emerging technologies, don’t be surprised that in the future your groceries will already be there when you enter a shop.

However, the principles of the intent-based web impose some challenges to overcome for both customers and businesses. One thing is privacy and personal security. Most people are very reluctant towards this open behavior. Consider for example the Please Rob Me initiative that want to raise awareness on online privacy related issues. What are the right incentives to motivate users to adopt this behavior of sharing their goals? Another thing is the accuracy of this data. There’s one certainty in life, which is that the future is always uncertain.