When Audrey Needs a Little Help

Audrey does a lot of great things by herself but sometimes needs a little help around the house.  For example, she runs the pool pump as often as necessary to keep the pool sparkling but she doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to emptying leaf baskets or back-washing.  So when these tasks are necessary, she let’s me know that they needs to be done.  There were two things to consider before I could teach her how to do this:

  1. When I am travelling, she needed to be able to ask my house-sitter to help.
  2. When I am home, I need her to be able to add the tasks to my to-do list since I am a big fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology.

So first I created a method to let Audrey know if I have a house-sitter and that house-sitter’s SMS address (to send messages to their mobile).  If the house-sitter is not me, then she will just send the text messages to the house-sitter for help.  If I don’t have a house-sitter set, then she will send me an email with the request.

Next, I needed to be able to convert that email into a task on my to-do list, categorized correctly.  I came across a great article by Travis Illig that does just that.  A good solution but my workstation needs to up all the time which conflicts with my desire to reduce my carbon footprint.

Although this was a good first step but my next step is to not use the desktop script but actually give Audrey access to my Outlook calendar through a popular Homeseer plugin called pjc-Outlook Plug-In.

I know some think that this kind of stuff goes a little too far but as far as I am concerned, my time is valuable and believe that a digital life assistant is a mandatory assessory for the people that want the most from life.

Details for the Geeks


For the tech on how I did this, here are the ingredients:

Remember, I am not a professional coder by any means so edit for your own purposes and use at your own risk.

'=============================================================
' notifications.txt
' Passes the appropriate message to the housesitter
' Lee Rogers 9:02 AM 1/23/2010
' Ensure that Z1 device contains the txt email of the housesitter
' Create an event to run a script with parameters like
' notification.txt("main","Check mail, key in laundry room, mailbox B2")
' http://digitallifediaries.comSub Main(pmessage)
mto=hs.DeviceString("Z1")
mfrom="system@email"
msubject=""
message=pmessage
hs.sendemail mto,mfrom,msubject,message
hs.writelog "Notifications", message
End Sub


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