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A large black and white display made of a electronic paper surface, and a low powered micro controller server.
Normally it is on 'sleep mode', waking up only on certain 'interrupts' such as light turning on, or timed alarms, or button presses, to update the screen.
Using a low powered communication
chip, such as wifi, or bluetooth, it should automagically connect and sync to your laptop, phone or a external web server.
To be future proofed, it should read data only in XML format, and it shouldn't be smarter than a semi dumb terminal (give just enough intelligence to do simple no syncing screen updates like updating clocks, or image changing).
To save power, it should be in sleep mode most of the time, and only update every time the lights is on, or a sound is made. (Perhaps as a courtesy, a small LCD screen should blink to indicate if the device is updating the time or not.)
This will be useful for students, businessmen, and cubical workers.
[Ian Tindale, Jan 03 2011]
How do you like them apples ?
Well, not much, actually ... [8th of 7, Jan 03 2011]
||Dont restrict it to XML if you intend to future
proof it. Its highly likely that the dominant use of
XML wont stay as recognisable XML 1.0 in the
future. At the moment, there are many viable
alternatives that skirt round the inefficiency and
high overhead of present XML, such as JSON
(which is the most prevalent alternative to
survive), but even that has trended toward
specialisation to hold object hierarchies and away
from document engineering.
||One of the things that annoy me about people on
the halfbakery trying to use their fake XML markup
is that they get it utterly wrong (and invalid).
However, the way in which they get it wrong is
interestingly consistent in two main ways. First,
they seem unaware that the first token after the <
is the identifier of the element (in other words,
the tag name) but after the first space, the tag
name ends, and the parser is now looking for
attribute identifiers. If it finds an attribute, it
expects an equals sign, then a value to be present
inside a pair of quotes. For example:
||<made up fake xml tag to indicate a mode of
delivery>Hello, Im speaking in some other voice
right now, so leave a message and when I return
to normal Ill ignore it</mufxttiamod>
||The <made> is the element name, which contains
a few invalid badly written attributes, such as up,
fake, xml, tag, etc and none of them have their
equals sign and none of them have their values,
and none of those values are in quotes, so its all
invalid. Then theres a missing closing tag to the
element (there should be a </made> at the end).
But there is this weird </mufxttiamod> instead,
which never had an opening tag to it.
||So you can see, XML is not intuitively the way
people expect it to be designed. The closing tag
design choice could have (apparently) easily gone
the other way, and at one point they were
considering having it just close with a </>. I think
this would have been far better. But one of the
fundamental problems with it, in my opinion, is
that it is inherently and invariably a container
format, and theres no way round that (if you
disclude empty elements). Sometimes, outside of
object serialisation and hierarchy wrapping, we
need it to not contain, and for ease of use, I think
most people dont think that way so easily as
wed like to think, in a document engineering
||Why would you want to bist a dispay?
||Well, you wouldnt want to ast it, or monost it.
||[+] but rather complicated for an e-paper calendar. Those cheap little LCD clocks back in the '70s ran for years without changing the battery and that included the electronic timekeeping circuitry. You'd probably use more energy if you use a motion sensor to determine updates than you would simply updating the portion of the e-paper devoted to clockiness every minute.
||FlyingToaster, - I seriously doubt we really did
have LCD clocks back in the 70s which ran for years.
I mean, look weve only just got to the stage now
where we have a phone that has a full-front LCD that
can tell the time, most of the time, and even that is
at the technological leading edge of technology, so
much so that it finds it impossible to even wake
people up on New Years day until the 3rd.
||Hah ! How'd ya like THEM apples ... ?
||I used to have a fridge-magnet LCD clock (tiny thing cost less than a dollar) that ran for well over a year. The main point though was that running a motion sensor would probably use more energy than just updating the clock part of the poster.
||okay, so i shall modify that to point out its a bad idea to have active motion sensing.
||What about just light sensing, or sound sensing?
||//light sensing// Well, you could make it powered by piezo crystals connected to tympani: just yell at it until the time changes.