Flutterby™! : Data flow

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Data flow

2002-07-02 19:04:53+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

Some things I'd like to see have an IR port, or maybe scannable data in barcode form, or BlueTooth[Wiki], so that they could quickly and easily drop data to my Palm[Wiki] for later incorporation into budgeting and calendaring applications:

  • Gas pumps and my car's odometer, to automatically log maintenance and mileage information.
  • Anything that prints receipts, like the grocery store cash register.
  • Any invoice, for that matter.
  • ATMs (obviously).
  • Radio commercials
  • Key facts about public radio or similar interview show topics, book being pimped, author's name, etc.
  • Event announcement posters.

What places do you find yourself transcribing data?

[ related topics: Wireless Dan's Life Cool Technology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-07-02 20:48:04+00 by: petronius

The receipts and atm porting into a Palm sounds very interesting for somebody who needs to track the stuff for taxes or expense billing. Then, dumping it into Quicken, and thence to TurboTax....it makes me dizzy!!

#Comment made: 2002-07-02 21:23:20+00 by: Shawn

Well, I don't use finacial apps on my Visor, almost never keep track of mileage (don't have a need to) and the wife likes to have hard copies of reciepts to enter into Quicken and file away in boxes. I'd find the media information very handy to be able to snag though.

The biggest transcription issue I have is entering the shopping list, but then I'm currently just using the Tasklist app for that. Someday I'll either find something that has all the features I want or get around to writing it myself.

#Comment made: 2002-07-02 21:58:38+00 by: topspin

If receipts/invoices/ATMs... all the little paper spitters... printed a code/number which identifies that specific data to the company whose services you just used (and many already do,) then I can see a niche for a "middle man" company which can connect with various banks/companies and retrieve your info upon syncing your PDA.

You only enter the invoice/receipt/transaction # and business identifier code into a PDA program and the "middle man" handles securely getting the data and distributing it to your PDA and/or desktop. The specific purchases of consumers are already being kept by retailers and credit card companies, so tapping this data shouldn't be a major problem.

Until things like Bluetooth become ubiquitous, this could be a business opportunity for some of y'all.

#Comment made: 2002-07-02 22:20:22+00 by: meuon

wasn't XML supposed to make all of this trivial. Oh, yea.. nobody makes money from it.

#Comment made: 2002-07-02 22:56:02+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shawn, I don't do any of those things right now either, but I'd like to. The flash that came to me was much the same that inspired me to write the first set of code that made Fluttebry work; if I can make the new process an easy offshoot of the old process, then I'll actually do it. In that case it was adding a Bcc to mail I was already sending to friends and mailing lists.

Topspin, one of the reasons I propose to do it this way is that having a back-reference requires a lot of infrastructure at the store end, and a central repository. Having an IR transmitter and a microcontroller inline could cost a buck or two (there are some memory buffering issues that might drive up the price).

Meuon, I've been very careful to stay positive and upbeat about XML recently. I think happy thoughts and stay in my happy place and avoid that nasty evil realitycynicism about XML because if I start to look at all the reasons XML won't save the world then those bad evil voices get too loud. Besides, I'm getting quite adept at telling people that no, not all ASCII characters are valid XML characters, and no, you can't simply entity escape the ones that aren't, and yes, you have to be conscious of character set issues which you formerly never cared about, and yes, any time I get an allegedly XML feed from someone I usually have to run it through a preprocessor to make it valid XML because... XML is a wonderful tool, but as you well know and ties in to my anti-GUI attitude, teaching someone how to use a hammer doesn't make them an architect.

#Comment made: 2002-07-03 05:22:28+00 by: petej

A nice solution someone implemented for radio was a button-sized device which, when you clicked it, noted the time of day and broadcast a very low-power FM signal across most of the FM band, and noticed which station responded (audio, I guess; I wonder how small this thing really was, now that I think about it). You could then grab the data and call up the radio station and ask what was playing, or if the station had a website, you could get the data from there. Ironically, I heard this on an NPR report, I think, but attempts to find the report on NPRs site, and later Google where unsuccessful. Nifty idea, anyway, even if it only solves two of seven problems.

#Comment made: 2002-07-03 06:19:54+00 by: Hanan Cohen

Phone Numbers! Any device that can dial a phone number should have a "record" button. When someone wants to dictate a phone number, all you have to do is tell them "I am recording the number now, please dial it" and the number is stored on your device for later. You add the name and it's ready for the next time ou want to use this number.

#Comment made: 2002-07-03 17:45:29+00 by: other_todd

I hope I don't draw too much fire for this, because I mean it in only the most pleasant and loving of ways, but: You people really amuse me.

I will go to my grave kicking and screaming before I own or use a PDA. If I can't write it down, fold it and put it in my pocket, or remember it without needing to write it down, or use it infrequently enough that I can just keep it on my computer at home or work, then it's gotta be something I didn't much need to remember in the first place.

But, hey, mileage varies!

#Comment made: 2002-07-03 18:12:03+00 by: Dan Lyke

Even relying on my PDA extensively, I still finish out every day with way too much paper crap in my pockets. Receipts for this or that, bus transfers in case the Muni cops decide to check the validity of my being on the subway (like if I got past the person guarding the gates they'd care?), that kind of thing. The PDA is my pocket full of Post-Ittms. That, and right now it has Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure[Wiki] on it, so not only do I cut down on the paper I'm carrying, I can get literate while I ride the bus.

#Comment made: 2002-07-03 21:48:22+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

todd; My particular mental make up, while it makes for some really fun creativity, has the side effect of not being able to remember much of anything. In that sense, my Visor has been an absolute godsend. Now I can actually accurately make appointments, retrieve addresses and phone numbers, and keep track of which books I have and haven't read when I go to the store.

Dan; I don't even want to though. For me, anything that has to do with finances is something that I'm going to want to sit down and get in my lets-talk-money mode of thought. The way my mind buzzes and flits about I'd run a serious risk of losing or mis-analyzing data if I tried to track my finances on the fly.