Apr 7, 2008

Dreaming of the future...

(Prompted by this blog post on Nepomuk.)

I love envisioning the future; it makes me feel like Leonardo Da Vinci, sometimes. It's one of those areas where I know I can't be much worse than even experts. Plus, since I'm not actually predicting, just dreaming, it's OK if my predictions don't come true.

dream of KDE 4.5 with Nepomuk+Strigi power!!!
*There's a new Contact application that brings together all your email, IM, VoIP, and Facebook contacts.

*Amarok uses Last.fm to find all the similarities between your music collection and your Facebook friend's music. When playing songs, it shows a little note, saying "Your [friend / co-worker / brother] Joe likes this song too." With a right-click, you can suggest a track to any of your contacts.

*When I type someone's name in a search box, it gives me options to send an IM (if they are online), email, message their Facebook directly.... That might be in a "Contact" pane. In another pane, it might show pictures of Joe, emails/IM logs from Joe, Joe's Facebook/Twitter status, and files on my computer from Joe. Another pane provides suggestions of files I might want to send to Joe such as recent pictures of Joe I took, or something I've sent to many of Joe's friends.

*I can type "old english essay politics" in the search box, and it will find it even though the words "old", "english" and "essay" are not in the filename or the document itself. It found the word "politics" (and associated words like "democracy") in the file, detected the name of my English teacher, knew which years I was her student, and thus knew it was "old" even though I updated the file it last week.

*Bob sends me an email asking when the Block Party and ice-skating event is. Since the Block Party is scheduled on Facebook and the ice-skating event on my co-worker's Google Calendar, KMail asks "Do you want to tell Bob that the Block Party is this Tuesday and the ice-skating is Mar 23?" and will write a template email for me. In KDE's internal calendar, Bob is marked as "possibly attending" those events. If he later replies, "Great! See you there" KDE marks him as attending, and updates my grocery list accordingly. (Earlier I got an email saying I was responsible for bringing punch to the block party.)

*Haha, and now we're getting to where the fridge orders more food... I always end up there somehow. :-)

Those last few examples bordered on AI, but regardless, this is going to be a great leap. Using an ontology and marking the relationships between files will help computers finally understand what files are. I might have a scan of piano music, a photo I took on vacation, a drawing my brother made in the GIMP, and a screenshot of my desktop, and all the computer sees is four JPEG images. Once that limitation is breached, I think computers will become much more helpful to people.

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