Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Calendar in my picture frame (idea #87)

I've already raved on this blog about the photo widget in the Google desktop sidebar. Every 5 seconds it displays a thumbnail image of one of the digital pictures on my PC. I find that at least every 1/2 hour I will click on one and enjoy it full-screen. My wife asked why can't we have that in our kitchen (the most frequently used room in the house)?

This started me thinking about how good it would be to have one of those WiFi-enabled digital picture frames that will do the same thing as the widget, but at a decent size and on display for all to share. What my wife asked today was an interesting question, which was why can't we put a calendar (i.e. from Outlook) into the frame too? That's actually a good idea. It's easy to convert text into an image of course, which could then be added to the queue of images being sent to the frame. A good way to post reminders and make sure they get seen. More bump-into-effect!

Not that we're busy socialites - we're not - but a family calendar is useful, especially for kids events, appointments and so on. The problem is that it's currently on the kitchen wall, which means I can't see it if I'm out and need to make an appointment and check there isn't a clash. This is why I tried using Airset with my wife, which is a web-based group calendar app that can also be accessed via the phone. Problem is that it doesn't have that bump-into-effect. It might be good at reminders (via text message or email), but there's a difference between glancing at the whole calendar on the kitchen wall (dangling post-it notes included) and seeing things in advance than only knowing about it at some fixed reminder interval prior to the appointment. Perhaps the picture frame idea might work. Reminds me of the Zingo portal I designed for Lucent way back in 1997, which has a virtual post-it board on the fridge! In fact, with the right software on my PC, I could send messages from my phone and have them come up as images in the frame! Sounds like a killer app :)

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