Archive for July, 2006

Idea book

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Well, the summer doldrums are in full force, and it’s hard to find the time to blog. I still have lots of ideas, but between vacations, family, and a real job (I can hear you laughing out there), I don’t really have the time to develop any of them.

I recently found an “Idea Book” that Louisa and I used while we were traveling around the world. Inside the front cover it says “Hanoi, Viet Nam, August 2000”. I find it fascinating to peruse, particularly since a number of the ideas have since become technologies in general use. For example, I had the idea of allowing readers to add links to a page, with two variations: actually editing the page (with admin permission) to insert the links, or browser-side with “sticky notes” that only the author can see. The first is basically Wikis, and the second is Mystickies or Diigo.

Since we were traveling at the time, and updating our site Shields Around the World from random internet cafes was a laborious process, the first idea was a travel journal site. Now, of course, there’s TravelPod and TravelJournals and quite a few others, but at the time there weren’t any good ones that we could find. The main idea we had that isn’t quite as well developed yet was the GPS integration, so it’s easy to see on a map where you are. We also wanted to mine emails from travelers for recommendations. I won’t take the time to write up a recommendation of a place just because we visited it. But if a friend emails and asks “how is this place?” I’ll definitely write back with some impressions. If those could be captured automatically, that would be incredibly valuable.

The book lists some fairly generic thoughts, like delivery of ads to PDAs via Bluetooth, and other Bluetooth ideas captured in a previous post, Bluetooth World. I’ll try to list some more ideas in later posts.

Family Calendar

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

My wife has been bugging me for a good family calendar. Our kids (4, 3, and 1) are not necessarily “overscheduled”, but we are an active family, and keeping track of the details and logistics is often challenging. Also, with my wife’s occasional board meetings and volunteer activities, and my own breakfast meetings and dinner events, we had to institute a regular Sunday night manual calendar sync. Sure would be nice to see if my wife has a board meeting before I schedule a dinner with a CEO.

30 boxes looks amazingly cool, but doesn’t sync. Trumba when it was announced seemed like it was going after this problem, but now sounds quite different. Google Calendar is a latecomer, and doesn’t have the features (nor the sync). Yahoo Calendar syncs well, but doesn’t seem to offer multiple calendar integration. So, I never quite found what I needed. A recent PC Magazine article, Manage the Family Calendar, convinced me to look at AirSet. This looks much better, and I’ve signed up. Now I just need to set up the sync for my Outlook and my wife’s Palm Desktop, and we’ll see how well it really works.