Archive for April, 2006

Dell Latitude Falling Apart

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

So, I think I figured out why the one side of my laptop is falling apart, the screw coming undone and my monitor wouldn’t stay up. Basically, I think the other side of my screen completely broke off of the base and was only being held on by the other side. It just couldn’t take the pressure, so decided to start unscrewing itself… awsome. So, there are two connections between the monitor and the rest of the laptop. One is completely broken and the other is barely intact. Just thought I would share.

Interaction With Small Mobile Devices

Friday, April 21st, 2006

What is the best way to access information via mobile devices like cell phones?

There are many answers to that question. When it comes down to it, I think the main problem is user interaction. What is the best way of getting the information to the user in the format they want it and can handle it. Out of all the senses, the only ones that make sense for retrieving information are sight and hearing. So, you could have voice which speaks the information, text describing the information, or possibly more visual information such as maps, diagrams, or charts.

The other problem is trying to get the right queries from the user into the phone. That can be tricky with such a small screen. Hopefully voice recognition will be good enough to work on small mobile devices. That seems to be the main way of getting a query to whatever service you are accessing. After that, maybe some sort of intellegent menu system. I know this has already been done with many hotlines where you listen to a menu and select the correct choice… but wouldn’t this be a ton faster if this was a text menu instead of listening to a voice read you the menu?

Here are some of the main technologies I’ve seen that might have a chance in the next generation of user interaction on small mobile devices:

Calendar + AJAX + iCal + Palm Desktop = Amazing!

Friday, April 21st, 2006

Title says basically what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a web based calendar which will publish and subscribe via iCal and will also sync with Palm Desktop on my laptop.

Why hasn’t there been a good AJAX calendar that you can use to publish and subscribe to calendars via the ical standard? Right now, the best I’ve seen is Planzo, but it has yet to publish or subscribe via iCal. Next on the list to evaluate is AirSet, which looks promising, but their site is so full of features that it is hard to get to the simple stuff you really want.

One really good use of this type of software is to plan semi-weekly meetings between a group of about 10 people when individuals schedules sometimes change depending on the week, but for the most part stay the same.

I started to do this with Mschedule a couple summers ago, but the only data I drew from was from the University of Michigan’s schedule of courses and individual students’ schedules that we’re imported into the site by simply copying and pasting from the official site hosted by the University called Wolverine Access. It was my first web application, so I didn’t really know what I was doing with PHP, CSS, or even HTML div tags (I used tables for all the layout).

liveUgli – Duderstadt Edition

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

We’ve added the Dudertstadt Center to the liveUgli service. So, now, when University of Michigan students are studying in the Duderstadt Center, they theoretically will be able to find their friends and classmates to study with. If you don’t have a UofM uniqname, sorry… you can’t access the service.

Google Maps API Version 2 Released

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

The documentation for the Google Maps API version 2 has been released. Oh my… I’ll have to read into this more next weekend. It’s looking like a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing beyond the basic features have been made easier to do. Looks like Google is encouraging the making of custom map types. Yey!