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Rooms in your Om

How do we use our computers? We perform different kind of activities, depending on what we need to do, or what we like to do. For most people, there's only a few types of activity. For example, my computer is mainly used for : - software development - 3D image or movie creation - sound manipulation - e learning - flash games - e mails - and now, blogging of course :) So, only 7 types of activity. My family have several projects going on, but these projects always belong to one of these types of activity. One project often involves using several apps together, depending on the type of activity.

In a house, each room is associated with a type of activity (kitchen) or with a person (bedroom). Here we follow the same concept.

In Om, the graphical environment is part of the os. When you reach the start screen, instead of a desktop, you land on a Room selection screen. The screen shows the different Rooms where you can go. Some of them are dedicated to one type of activity, some of them are locked with a password. Visually, each room is represented by a rectangular image containing a title. You can change the image file, the title, height and width, and location of the Room on the screen. When you enter the Room, you reach a desktop that looks like a classical Windows desktop. But it's not only a multiple desktop feature.

A Room is not just a desktop, it's an application-merging, project oriented environment.

It means that basic functions like open-project, open-recent, save, save-as, close, and especially undo/redo now belong to the Room, not to the applications.

Home Automation

On Tynan

I don't think I've written about it before, but I've been into home automation for a really long time. I can't remember exactly when I started automating things, but it was definitely no later than 1999, seventeen years ago.

Back then I used something called X-10. It was flaky, and if you wanted more than just remote switches for your lights you needed to have a windows computer running some fairly janky software.

I very optimistically bought a couple dozen motion detectors and programmed my place such that I would never have to hit a light switch. As I walked around lights would dim up and down based on where I was. I even had a sensor under the bed so that if I got up at night the bathroom lights would dim up a little bit.

Unfortunately there was also a bug I never solved that would occasionally turn all of my lights up to full brightness in the middle of the night. To cope with this I began to sleep on my stomach with my eyes in the crook of my arm. This went on for so long that it conditioned me to continue sleeping that way, even today.

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