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Something I have been thinking about is what I’m calling Context Computing. There are the little things that bother me when I’m using a computer and doing something specific, and to solve these problems I have this idea where my applications or most likely operating system looks at what I’m doing and adjusts the settings of all other applications to suit my desired set-up. In a nutshell think of it as desktops or OS-X spaces that go beyond just showing and hiding certain windows or applications.

Some examples of what I would like it to do

Situation 1.

I am working in my graphics applications and based on the fact that I have Photoshop, TextMate and maybe Dreamweaver open.

So the computer should do the following.

* Mute my new email notification sound.
* Mark me as busy in any IM client I have open.
* Fire up my ‘working’ playlist in iTunes but lower the volume.
* Check that I have the right screen settings and chosen calibration file in the OS settings for correct display and also change the desktop background to a nice neutral gray so my eyes are not tricked on color evaluation.

Situation 2.

I have Logic Studio open and have incoming audio from my Firewire 410 interface, so clearly I have an instrument plugged in and might be recording or jamming.

So the computer should do the following.

* Mute all system sounds and notifications other than those generated by Logic or my audio interface application.
* Hide all applications except Logic and my audio interface
* Reconfigure my audio settings so everything is set out thru my Firewire 410 and disable any other applications that might be changing the sound (I use Hear and/or SRS iWOW) so I am only hearing the raw Logic audio thru my studio speakers.
* Mark me as busy on any IM client and close any applications that I have listed for this particular context, for example I don’t need my email client open and Logic will appreciate the extra memory it might free up.

Now I am sure we are a way from this kind of computing and operating system, but it sure would be nice if someone could solve the problem. My programming skills are not up to it, but who knows maybe one day I’ll figure it out.


  1. I know what you mean but I don’t think there is any easy solution to this. Remember clippy the microsoft paperclip of mass annoyance was in a way an attempt to bring in context aware help. However we all know how well that went down.

  2. Oh my Clippy…there’s a nightmare for us all 🙂 At times I’d pray for a Blue Screen just so it would go away LOL

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