Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I'm Free

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A combination of three sensors (phone, door, light switch) are used to determine if you're in your office and available. An intranet web site lists the status for all offices in a company.

I spend far too much time getting up, grabbing a stack of paper, and walking across the office to talk to someone just to find they're on the phone, out of their office, or have their door closed (meaning "leave me alone" or they're in a conference). Having such a resource would save me trips and time. Maybe even add an "alert me when free" feature.

Worldgineer, Oct 16 2008

Similar _22On_20the_20phone...or_20office_20walls
[phundug, Oct 16 2008]

You can see everyone else http://www.theforce...trailer/senate1.jpg
Awesome for paper darts too [Texticle, Oct 16 2008]

Xerox: Portholes http://portal.acm.o...ation.cfm?id=142982
[hippo, Oct 17 2008]

Xerox: Portholes (paper) http://courses.medi...eness/portholes.pdf
[hippo, Oct 17 2008]


       Is John Inman in his office?
wagster, Oct 16 2008

       You need an office design in which you can see everyone else, like in the link. Walking over there with a stack of papers is not straightforward though.
Texticle, Oct 16 2008

       Xerox EuroPARC used to do this (in the late 80's/early 90's). See the 'Portholes' links. You could peek into anyone else's office from you workstation. Just prior to you grabbing an image from the camera in their office, they would hear the noise (I think) of a creaky door opening, so they'd know to stop picking their nose. It was combined with loads of other cool technologies which I could go on and on about - e.g. everyone wore IR-transponder badges, so the building computer would always know where you were, the result of which was that wherever you were in the building, if the phone rang, it was for you. This also meant that you could look into the history of people's movements and ask, for example, what you were doing last Wednesday afternoon - the answer would come that you were in a certain meeting room and certain other people (identified by their badges) were there also. All very clever.
hippo, Oct 17 2008

       Yeah - was about to say the ParcTab system.
Jinbish, Oct 17 2008

       Email's great for certain types of information. I'm an engineer and use drawings and calculations - both of which are clumsy on a computer screen. The stack of paper is usually a roll of marked-up drawings and a notebook with my calculations. There's usually a few pencils as well, and sometimes a calculator or manufacturers' catalogs.   

       [mia] That doesn't tell me if the person's on the phone or has their door closed.
Worldgineer, Oct 17 2008

       Knocking is the polite thing to do. When you've done it, you can enter. You don't have to wait for a reply as come in. NONONONO, just knock and ENTER straight away. You sound overly polite and shy. Forget the knocking and just barge in from time to time. INTERUPT!!
zeno, Oct 18 2008

       Why not just a small speaker to broadcast the snoring into the hall.
theGem, Oct 18 2008

       [zeno] Around here, doors are always kept open except when a lack of interruption is desired. Knocking (and I suppose even barging) is certainly within politeness standards, but is reserved for time-critical work.
Worldgineer, Oct 20 2008


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