tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Dec 7, 2004 6:18am

ambient devices

Ambient Devices released their new "Ambient Executive Dashboard":

Thanks to unique patent-pending wireless broadcasting, users can tune in to basic channels and never pay any monthly fees. And since the Ambient Information Network has the best coverage of any data network, virtually everywhere you can get a cell phone signal, and many places you can't, your Dashboard can listen in to your information.

I found this company in September, in the context of a little desktop-color-changing script I wrote to warn of high CPU usage in Mac OS X. The Dashboard displays a range of information: weather, traffic, stocks, job listings, or customizable channels. Unfortunately the information is limited to a linear full/empty continuum: traffic good/bad, weather good/bad (?!), stocks high/low. Also, I'm not sure why they opted to transmit information to this gizmo via a national FM radio network - this looks like an obvious potential consumer of web services, and it feels like Ambient Devices is rejecting a potentially huge hacker market by using such a weird information delivery mechanism.

On the other hand, I can also see this being useful for geeks who tend to get lost in their work, if it can be configured to display information that's less obvious than 1996's web portal wing dings.

For example:

  • Time since last meal or walk
  • Unreturned voicemail messages
  • Errands left on to-do list
  • Friends owed a phone call
  • Days until family member's birthday/annual merchandise exchange holiday

I'm tempted to update my desktop background changing script to reflect some of the information listed on AD's site, but with Apple's own dashboard on the way next year it might be smarter to wait and build a distributable widget.

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