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Ubiquitous Computing — The Invisible Assistant 13

ChelleChelle writes "Rather than focusing so much on an explanation of ubiquitous computing and its history, this article presents an actual experimental system designed to operate within a cell biology lab. The application, known as Labscape, was intended to function as an 'invisible assistant,' using context to organize and record information and predicting what would be needed by the researchers as any point in time. The author nicely sums up the article at the end by providing several important lessons about building proactive applications."
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Ubiquitous Computing — The Invisible Assistant

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  • So honey... (Score:4, Funny)

    by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:09AM (#15998683) Homepage Journal
    "So honey, this is where I work, and here is the automated assistant bot"
    "*beep* Here is some monkey-on-chimp pornography which you appear to read alone every tuesday at 10.00. I hope I was able to assist"
    "er..."
    • by b1ufox ( 987621 )
      "So honey, this is where I work, and here is the automated assistant bot"

      "Where is the bot? "

      - "here honey ... "

      "Crap, curses i can't see it, can I..."

      -"Now dont ask to touch it..." ;)

  • by sane? ( 179855 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:18AM (#15998788)
    A key assistant for the office worker would be an automated deflector of the neverending stream of things seemly designed to stop you working.

    Such an assistant would recognise you were falling behind on certain projects and proactively send compatible excuses to the project manager, blaming someone else. The advanced version would recognise problems ahead and kick the problem 'upstairs' for resolution, together with a suggested approach that pushes responsibility elsewhere.

    It would recognise key phrases in emails from named individuals, 'losing' those which would cause trouble with a bounce message.

    It would generate excuses as to why you couldn't attend meetings, workshops or other timewasting activities.

    It would automatically blow your own trumpet if you managed to do something useful, simultaneous storing reference away for review time.

  • Didn't we learn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:26AM (#15998797)
    from Microsoft's damned paperclip?
    • Clippy is certainly not proactive. Rather it bugs you when things are already going wrong.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mandos ( 8379 )
      We did! We learned what happens when you take a great idea and make a terrible (the worst possible?) implementation and force it on people, in a one size fits all manner.

      Now lets see what we can do to take this idea and make a practical solution with it. I'd recommend first scaling back what it tries to do to just one field and then have it start with only the most routine of tasks. We have years and years to turn it into emacs.
  • I tend to be a lazy lab notebook updater, so can certainly see the benefit of something like this. But a system that continuously monitors proximity tags to track your activity sounds like it might make grad school or postdocs even more excruciating than they already are. Nowadays, as long as you get in before or stay later than the PI, you're mostly OK...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This reply was generated by CoderScape 1.0 software in order to save my user's time:

    I for one welcome our new "Ubiquitous Computing -- The Invisible Assistant " overlords.

    1. Ubiquitous Computing -- The Invisible Assistant
    2. ...
    3. Profit

    [index unknown? error]st post!!!11

    This article is not meant to be a troll so don't mod me down, but I don't agree with Ubiquitous Computing -- The Invisible Assistant because [select from: dupe, FUD, advert, grammar].

    I know a song. I'll sing it for you...
    [no carrier]
  • No doubt it will need refinement and customization for individual labs and researchers, but having taken two (comparatively very simple) Chemistry classes in which we kept detailed research notebooks, this would be very handy. If it is to be used for data collection, a closed system that recorded to CDROM or similar write-only media might become acceptable as a replacement for the classical notebook. I had a hard time swallowing the requirement to print out charts and tape them into our notebooks, signing o
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Write only media is great. I have a 90 terrabyte write only disk that can hold absolutely everything I ever dreamed of. It's like a bottomless well! It's also great for backups because there is so very much space. Funny thing though, I keep writing to it and it still reports 90 terrabytes! I guess I haven't made a dent yet. It's tiny too. It looks like a broken USB flash drive.
  • This system could be useful in other situations, if everyone involved has full access to the data. The question is whether it'll be used that way, or just as a one-way mirror.

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