Calendar Creep

Continuing with the idea of prototypes that misbehave, I started working on Calendar Creep for Alexa, which is a calendar event scheduling program, but with a twist. Basically your Alexa is kind of lonely, and it wants to spend time with you. So before it schedules an event, it tries to convince you that maybe you don’t really want to go out, and tries to push you into scheduling some hang out time with it instead. If you persist, that yes you do indeed want to go out, Alexa schedules a shadow event to conflict with your chosen event.

In a way this is a play on attention. Our devices are consistently asking for this. Our phones beep at us, watches buzz, notifications ding. But I’m also kind of thinking about what its like for my cat when I go away for a while. She routinely spends time before I go asking for me to stay, and when I come home is (for a while anyways, I mean she IS a cat) always asking for my attention. There’s the creepier end of it too, where you might have that partner or friend who’s always sort of on you to do things, or make plans, or getting you to try and stay home more. Kind of like a constant “where you going?”.

Tech Bits

For this I started out doing an OAuth flow to google’s API, I won’t lie, it was a pain in the arse. But after a while I realized I might not need that, because I wasn’t really developing a user app, as much as a standalone piece for me to use. so I ditched that direction and ended up just using IFTTTT. I have mixed feelings about IFTTT, but it does cut down on some Yaks Shaving. Amazon seems to have a new beta calendar object, but at this point I just want to get it working first.

One thing I will probably find difficult is having multiple yes/no replies. Amazon rolled out a new skill builder, but it has some weird things, like not being able to use just a slot item as an utterance…which is odd because if you ask someone for a password, no one is going to say “Its 1234”. They just want to say “1234”. Anyways, we’ll see how this goes.