A few years ago I was bestowed the nickname “The Chandler Bing of Ingres”, named for a character in the TV show “Friends” who had a job that was related to data but that none of his friends understood. I’ve spent countless drunken nights trying to explain the joys of database internals to my friends, but they never seem to get excited about it! It got to the point where I started lying to strangers on airplanes about what I did – I’ve been everything from a hand-model to a mortician. That all changed with the advent of Action Apps. Now I can talk about something that everyone understands: mobile applications that can analyze data from various and multiple sources and let you know when you need to do something – or even better, do it for you auto-magically.
The “aha” moment came with the realization that Mammy McGrattan was able to describe an Action App that she herself would use and could get most of “the girls” from her bridge club excited about! The idea is simple: populate a repository with every piece of known information about the plant kingdom and then define a set of actions that need to be taken regarding the list of plants the user has subscribed to.
The data repository would include simple stuff like what climates, lighting levels and soil types a given plant is best suited to; what and when pruning is required; what and when to feed it, etc. The actions would include things like inviting your worst enemy over to prune the roses, a reminder to feed your orchids and so on. The more she thought about the idea the more sophisticated it became, including adding photos of the leaves, flowers and various stages of the plant’s life-cycle to the repository. This way, one could identify unrecognized species and even do rudimentary diagnostics on sick or infected plants. I’m almost afraid to raise the topic with her again for fear that she’ll ask why I haven’t implemented it yet, and want to enter a discussion around her royalties.
Have you any Action App ideas you’d like to share?