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Another idea: "Contextual Search"


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Little intro (you can skip this if not interested)

So... I got myself an iPod nano last week. And I'm enjoying it very much.

But I decided, since I'm always carrying around already anyway, why not

take advantage of some of the 'calendar' (ical format) and 'contacts' (vcard format)

features that it has?


The task

So I searched my whole C: partition and mailbox for relevant contacts and their

associated contact information... in order to put it into vcard format and transfer

it to the iPod... and I was thinking "what an incredibly boring and time-consuming



A possible solution: 'contextual search'


Then I remembered my 'magnetic folders' idea... and I realized that, there is a pattern

to these things... people's contact information normally is in a file, for example :


- file with email address and name

- file with name and phone number


Then, the name can often be "guessed" from the e-mail address itself.

E.g. firstname.lastname@mycompany.com


With an intelligent search engine, and some level of pattern recognition,

the computer should fill out the vcards I want to make *for* me, and/or

put them in my address book.


For example:


- I receive an e-mail from john.doe@company.com, containing telephone number

- I already created a text file some where with notes about John Doe

- I receive more e-mail messages from John Doe, without the contact info

- When cleaning up my mailbox, I delete the original mail containing John Doe's phone number


Now when I want to create a vcard of John do, or put him in my address book, I have several


- The information I need is spreaded across the entire filesystem

- I lost the telephone number when cleaning up my mailbox

- I still have to manually enter all info into vcard format. That may not be too bad for one or a couple of contacts, but if I have dozens of contacts it's a lot of work...



Sample Implementation


A sample implementation of the solution:


Create a 'contexual search' + action which searches the entire file system,

uses pattern matching to determine phone numbers, e-mail addresses, address

information, ... and exports this information into the desired format, in this case:

vcard. So in fact it tries to auto-fill in the fields for you.


Of course, 'automatic' may also mean 'has errors', so an intermediary step is advised.

One possiblity is to show a special 'view' in e.g. Kontact that shows the suggestions

the tool made. Then you can either approve it, or edit some fields before approving,

or rejecting it (bogus entries).


If this had already been running, I wouldn't have lost John Doe's phone number, since

a big 'feature' of the solution is: 'as soon as there is file activity, and it matches a rule: do something with it'.


And there you go, automatic address book entries by searching through e-mails, files

on the filesystem, and exporting it all to a relevant format, be it vcard or some other

standard format.


Someone sends me e-mail with their phone number in, to my addressbook it goes. Someone

hands me a CD-Rom with a business proposal or presentation, it gets added (after approval).


Never loose sight of your contact again... at least that's the whole idea...



Discussion also running on SuSeforums.net: http://www.suseforums.net/index.php?s=&amp...st&p=128020

Edited by Darkelve
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Aargh... another Apple salesman! They're everywhere!! :wall:





methinks you need to buy an apple



Anyway, someone on the Suseforums (see link at bottom of first post), already gave some reasons why this could give problems...


so perhaps this one's just wishful thinking...

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