Appendix A

User Instructions

Concur is a Newton application that will help you schedule meetings with another Newton user. Continued use will cause Concur to learn your meeting scheduling preferences so that meetings may be eventually be scheduled with little more than the tap of the pen. This appendix provides you with instructions on how to operate Concur. For an understanding of how Concur operates or the philosophy behind its design, please refer to the main document.

Installing Concur

Check to be sure you have 95K of free memory before installing Concur. You can do this by referring to the free space indicated in the memory section of the Newton's preferences. If you decide to install on a PCMCIA memory card, check the free memory space presented after you tap card in the extras drawer.

Use the Newton Connection Kit to install Concur just as you would any other application. Please refer to the Newton Connection Kit manual for further information on how to do this.

Setting Preferences

Before using Concur, you should set your preferences. Do this by launching Concur and tapping the preferences button.

The top portion of the preferences view allows you to identify those days of the week you cannot make meetings. For many people, Saturdays and Sundays are not available. You can specify this by checking the boxes for the days of the week you cannot attend meetings.

It is good practice to only check those days you are absolutely unavailable. While you may not want Friday meetings, do not preclude Concur from selecting that day if necessary. When Fridays are presented, you will be given the opportunity to accept or reject them and Concur will, in time learn your preferences and schedule accordingly.

Also, you may specify times of the day that are inappropriate for meetings. For example, midnight to 7am are not good for most people. Specify these times by moving one of the three cannot meet anyday sliders to cover the range of times you simply are not available. Again, do not specify a lunch hour unless you cannot make a meeting at that time under any circumstances. It is is better that Concur learn your preferences here too. You may only need two of the sliders. You can make the third one ineffective my moving both of its sliders so that they are masked completely by another.

You will want to be sure the learning module is activated by checking the box.

If you feel strongly that certain meeting characteristics are more important to you than others, you can specify this preference by moving the relative importance slider knobs. Move them to the right if the characteristic is important or to the left if relatively unimportant. Middle settings are appropriate if you are ambivalent.

The tolerance for automatic action is a slider that allows you to specify the quality of the reasoner's recommendation before Concur is allowed to perform without your intervention. For example, if Concur is examining the possibility of a 7 o'clock meeting and has learned that you don't like 7am meetings, Concur will move away from that time automatically if the recommendation (or degree of match) is better that your slider setting. If the slider is all the way to the left, Concur will take no automatic actions. If the slider is almost to the left, but not quite all the way, only the highest quality recommendations will be taken automatically. It is good practice to begin with the slider to the left and gradually move it to the right as you gain confidence that Concur is performing as you would.

Tap OK to accept the new settings or Cancel to revert to the previous ones. Note: Preferences are not saved until you actually quit the application.

Scheduling a meeting

To find a mutually agreeable meeting time for you and another Newton user, both of you need to launch Concur. One or both of you need to select an approximate time to try for and a duration. Do this by tapping the small diamond to the left of try for and once again to make your choice. The meeting may eventually be scheduled before this time, but this tells Concur when to start searching. Likewise, tap the diamond to the left of duration to select the duration of the meeting.

When done, both of you should aim your Newtons at each other and tap connect from a distance of about 2 to 4 feet apart. Remember, only one of you need specify the meeting duration and approximate time to try for, but there is no harm if both of you do it.

At this point Concur will attempt to make an infrared communications connection with Concur running on the other Newton. Both of your calendars will be examined, your learning module's recommendations applied and a mutually available time will be presented to one of you. If that time is acceptable, it will be presented to the other person, assuming their learning module doesn't recommend otherwise. When both of you agree to the time, you will be given the opportunity to add the meeting to your calendar. You may view that meeting from the built-in Dates application later.

You will be asked to pass judgement on a mutually available meeting time with the view shown above. If the time is acceptable to you, simply tap concur. If you would like to be presented with an earlier or a later time, tap that choice. Before doing so, however, you may want to select one of the radio buttons (15 min, 1 hour or 1 day). This will cause Concur to look for a time an hour away or, perhaps, a day away. Of course, if you wish to abandon the proceedings altogether, you may tap quit.

As long as you tap earlier or later, Concur will continue searching for meeting times all the while learning from the experience. When both of you decide upon a meeting time, you will be presented with the following view. You may enter the place of the meeting and any other notes you wish to enter.


Original paper: Copyright 1995 by Larry Bugbee
This HTML rendering: Copyright 1997 by Larry Bugbee
All rights reserved.