Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
Have I found a glaring hole in the market for calendar-type applications, or can someone fill it for me?
Within the enterprise, tools like Exchange handle the arrangement of meetingsreasonably well. But even there, it's a take it or leave it deal. The meeting organiser offersone timeonone date. Potential attendees reply yes or no. That's it.
Once you move outside the enterprise, it seems to get a whole lot harder, and I'm not sure I understand why, given that it's actually just a series of quite simple questions that need to be asked and answered.
The best tool I've found so far isMeetOMatic. This does some of what I want to do, as it allows me as meeting organiser to specifypossibledays for my meeting, and then poll recipients for their availability on those days. It's infinitely better than offering a single meeting time and date that they either take or leave.Butit is only as granular as 'morning' or 'afternoon', it doesn't allow them to rank their preferences in any way, and - very importantly, as I want to use this for teleconferences - it can't handle time zones.
There are some subscription-based commercial offerings, but they seem to have way too many odd features, and not enough emphasis on the simple job of finding a time that people want to meet.
So, here's what I want. And I'd probably pay to have it, because doing it the way I do just now sucks upwaytoo much of everyone's time.
As meeting organiser, I want to be able to visit a web page, and manage all of this there.
I want to be able to specify a number of possible dates (exactlyas MeetOMatic does).ButI want to be able to specifymytimezone, and chunk the day down into half hour units (not “Friday afternoon” as MeetOMatic would allow, but “Friday, between 12:00GMT and 15:00GMT, and between 17:30GMT and 21:00GMT).
I want to be able to specify the desired duration of the meeting.
I want to be able to specify the e-mail addresses of those whom I wish to invite, and have them automatically sent an e-mail, inviting them to the meeting.
I want each recipient to be asked - once - their timezone.
They should then be shown all the possible meeting times - translated to the time it would be for them, not the time it would be for me.
For each possible time, they should be able to say whether they are available or not.
For each time that a recipient has said they are available, they should (optionally) be able to flag them as something like 'preferred' or 'available if I really have to be (ienotpreferred)'.
The system should send me, as meeting organiser, an e-mail to let me know that someone has responded.
The system should offer a meeting management web page of some sort, allowing the meeting organiser to clearly see who has responded, and what their preferences are. It should be easily possible to view the responses from all recipients on a single screen, and to find the most popular times.
It should, ideally, be possible to easily refine the display, dropping times no one could manage, dropping times only one person could manage, only showing times everyone can manage, highlighting preferred times, etc.
So that's what I want. I don't really want any other whizzy bits. Just invite a load of people, and manage their responses.
Signed. In the blink of my mouse's red blinking eye thing. I only wish it had been around back inmy GIS days, as I and others struggled against the intransigence (and, at the time, lousy data) of those who controlled access to the data we needed.
Making a common pool of basic data (whether geographic, European, or otherwise) available to third parties stimulates a market for innovation and the development of value-added applications. It always has. This provision ofbasic datain no way impacts upon the data provider's (or anyone else's) ability to make money from the rich applications and higher value data sets that they might seek to layer on top. Instead, the providers of these commercial services find themselves with a larger and more informed market than they might otherwise have had.
We see this quite clearly in the USA, where various Federal agencies make mapping data available. There's an extremely healthy market for third parties cleaning up the basic data, adding ATM locations, etc.
Free basic data gets you so far. It opens your eyes to possibilities. It enables you to try things out. It allows you to spread your wings, and to push some boundaries. To go to the next level, it may not be enough by itself.
Sign the petition. Everyone wins. It may take some of the entrenched dinosaurs of the European mapping space a decade or two to agree, but they'll get there. You may even be surprised to find these agencies staffed by people who - on the whole -doget it. They just need sufficient ammunition to change the rules under which their Governments expect them to operate. 'Trading Fund', indeed. Who ever heard such a silly idea?
Regular readers of the various places in which I blog or have blogged will know that, from time to time, I have expressed a degree of dissatisfaction with both the opening hours and the OPAC of my local public library service.
It is therefore only fair to mention that I arrived home tonight to discover that the library is experimenting withSundayopening, and that they are holding special events for children on some of those Sundays, rather than sticking them all during the day on week days, as theyappearto have done in the past.
Needless to say, I'll be there. Now all I need to do is persuade the children...