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location-based tasks   ...   random thoughts
thu 2004-may-27 14:30:43 pdt   ...   permalink

A lot of tasks are location-oriented. My PDA (or phone or whatever) should be able know when I'm in the right location for a given task, and should remind me to do that task only when I'm there. For example, I'd like to be reminded to swap the dead battery in my pocket for the one in the charger, but the reminder is only helpful if it comes when I'm actually in the room where the charger is (and preferably when I'm just entering that room and hence not already sitting down or whatever...). Other examples might be to pay a bill when I'm in the room where I keep my bills, or, I dunno, to check how much milk is in the fridge next time I'm in the kitchen, or something.

My theory is that this should be really easy to do with Bluetooth. Someone just has to sell cheap little Bluetooth devices that serve no function beyond announcing their presence (and identity) to any other Bluetooth devices within 15 feet or whatever. And then I just need software to allow me to configure a Bluetooth-enabled PDA or phone to notice when one of these beacons comes within range, and give the appropriate reminder(s). (Granted, my current PDA/phone doesn't have Bluetooth, but my next one surely will...)

I figure maybe the device is just a little plug that you stick into an outlet (best to avoid having to deal with batteries if we can), maybe even providing an outlet on it as well so that it doesn't take away an outlet. Though I suppose you would probably wind up with a fairly bulky (and maybe not cheap enough) package due to have to include a transformer, so maybe battery-powered is better. Could always add a functionality to have it remind you to replace the battery when it gets low. And for that matter, you could make it a smoke-detector or something as well. But the main thing is to make it really cheap and easy to put them in many rooms of the house, plus maybe one in the car, one at my desk at work...

If you want to get really elaborate, you could even rig things so that you can leave someone a message and have them receive it when next they come to that location.

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fri 2004-jun-18 20:54:17 pdt
posted by

Maybe RFIDs are what you want, but then your PDA has to have enough power to find them.

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