Carlsmith and others said that users might find it tedious to handle
large volumes of electronic mail messages via the phone. Likewise,
large companies, who are among the likely customers for unified
messaging products, typically have a telephone and computer
infrastructure, made up of many independent pieces, already in place.
``It is difficult to sell an integrated solution into a fragmented
environment,'' Carlsmith said.
It's PRECISELY that a universal inbox finally holds out promise of reducing information load to reasonable levels.
* it has the "whole picture" for traffic analysis, to learn who's important, what's information you originally requested, what's routine, what's unexpected, what's personal and what's professional.
* it understands link cost, knowing what to reach you by AirFone for, what to leave faxed at your next hotel, what you need to hear FIRST, what followups you MUST listen to before launching a missive back.
* it understands how to digest info onto the single page you're going to receive over the grainy camelgram in India. It knows how to speed up the speech on a clear line; it knows how to remodulate for low-bitrate satphone coders; it knows when you put it on speakerphone for your colleagues and doesn't speak the next steamy header from you-know-who.
* it knows how to reply across media, to fill in web registration forms, book flights, and to fill you in on unusual weather ahead -- MIT SLS' Galaxy has demonstrated all these and more for years.
* but the difference from all these previous generations of personal * secretary products is the grail of a Personal Memory. A single point * of contact for all the info that courses through your veins -- well, * that would be a lot like a filesystem? Or wouldn't it? Disk is cheap * -- I'd like the few dozen gigabytes of stuff I see every year * around, if only I could retreive it intelligently. I want it * annotated, tracked by person/issue/date. I want it indexed. I want * it on me, like a lapel pin. I want it everywhere.
And then what will our wondrous 21st century killer app have rediscovered?
Ted Nelson's Xanadu.
Doug Englebart's oNLine System
The joys of a professional secretary
The honesty of a true journal
What's new is all in the networking: technologically (ad hoc munchnets) and personally, as it filters/seeks/tracks people for you.
Yeah, I know this isn't for anyone's mother.. yet. It's for me -- I want to build what I want: a virtual me, one who's more competent in so many ways. And the very, very first step, is a mirror world of my garbage flow.
Forget recognition: a 3Gb HD -- less than a single DVD-ROM -- can store a week of continuous telephone-quality speech, uncompressed. Call it a lifestream, a guardian angel, a demonically possessed Teddy Ruxpin, I need it.
======================================================================== General Magic, amazingly still in business so many strategies later, quoth:
Portico is a virtual assistant that acts as a single point of integration for critical information and communications. With one phone call, Portico provides mobile workers with integrated access to people, appointments and news -- all coordinated from voice mail, email, faxes, calendar programs, address books, even web-based or satellite news feeds.
And since Portico is the world's only second-generation virtual assistant, it allows people to interact using natural language patterns, rather than artificial voice commands. You can ask Portico to place a call, read an email or make an appointment -- even interrupt the conversation -- the same way you'd talk to a co-worker.
Portico is also accessible from the Web, giving mobile workers a choice between looking for messages or listening to appointments from any phone or web browser any time they'd like.
I've always wondered why I've never quite had the guts to lay out the whole munchkin problem, and hence why it differs from Jini or MANET alone; and why my overcommitted career makes some vague kind of sense as a pathway to that goal.