Monday, February 4, 2008

"Enterprise" Computing

My cell is my tricorder.

It's replaced my landline, my watch, my alarm clock, and my phone book. It's my camera. It's the length of my index finger.

It has a radio and an MP3 player, too, but I prefer my iPod shuffle, which is tinier, still.

It has voice dialing. If I want to call my sister, Nan, I say "Nan." It looks through the names in my phonebook, finds the one that matches, and dials her.

I have Google calendar set up to send it SMS messages to remind me of calendar events, and my to-do list, RememberTheMilk, sends me my day's to-do list every morning. Now, I always take the garbage out on time.

I also use Jott, so I can send myself reminders when I'm out and about, or send email to my boss when I'm at DIA, which still doesn't have free wireless. (Aargh.) Jott's pretty cool: it does voice-to-text, and lets me import my Gmail contacts list.
"Who do you want to Jott?"

"Pete Ruether."

"Pete Ruether. Is that correct?"

"Yes."

"[Beep]"

"Hi Pete. I'm on my way to Kansas, but if there's an emergency, you have my cell."

"Got it."
Pete gets email with that message as text. Email. From my cell. No typing.

SMS messages? I don't have to hunt-and-peck on my phone's dial pad. I just Jott to someone's cell number.

Now, though, Jott is starting to connect with other web services ... like RememberTheMilk.

I was just about to give a talk at the med school when my dentist called to remind me I had an appointment at 8AM, the morning after next.

"I'll never remember that," I thought, "I'd better find a piece of paper to write that down, and then stick it somewhere that I'll see it."

Then I realized I'd just set up Jott to talk to RTM.
"Who do you want to Jott?"

"Remember the Milk."
The very next week, Jott added connectivity to Google calendar.

This is the next evolutionary stage for software.

We went from desktop apps to integrated desktop apps that all worked together because they were all made by Microsoft. Then, one-by-one, webtop apps by a variety of vendors began eating the desktop's lunch. A key, early step was some interoperability with the old stuff: when you switched to Firefox, it imported your IE bookmarks. Gmail could pull your Outlook contacts lists. By-and-bye, Gmail even did POP3 and IMAP, so you could use a desktop email reader, like Thunderbird, with their service.

But having these web software-as-a-services talk to one another -- that's new. They can do it without all being owned by the same folks because they have public APIs.

The big lightbulb finally went on. I made a new entry in my phonebook.

Now, when I want to make a calendar entry or send myself a reminder, I take out my cell, hold it in front of me, flip it open, and say, "Enterprise!"

"Who do you want to Jott? ..."

1 comment:

B A said...

Shatner is having great fun in his role on Boston Legal; they let his character play with the fourth wall occasionally. Last year when he flipped open his phone, it made the little squeaky Communicator sound. Hey, he's Denny Crane. Can you add a mod like that? I personally fear having so much power invested in a single little device; we get a lot of cell phones in Lost and Found. Otherwise, pretty neat!

B A