Nickie Coby (puppybraille) wrote,
Nickie Coby
puppybraille

Let me introduce you to Sandy

As part of my goals for the new year, including some I didn't write publicly, I wanted to get more organized. I've had issues where I've got about three calendars, and nothing was ever on all of them. Some things were on my BrailleNote, some on my computer, some on my cell phone and some in my brain, never to be seen again. I started reading about services, and finally settled on one. I think I made the right decision from both a personal and an a ccessibility perspective. This is my review. It's not intended to be comprehensive, it's simply my perspective on the service.

First, who is Sandy?
Sandy
is an email-based personal assistant. She is a computer, but uses natural, human language. You can talk to her by saying "Remind me that the next pain blog carnival entries are due February 20". Sandy would then email me on February 20 and tell me that the entries are due. It's pretty simple.

Sandy
is my new personal assistant. She works through email, text message, a web interface
Twitter
Jott
and probably other services. I can use any of those services to tell her about anything I need to remember, and she reminds me when I tell her to in whatever format I want her to. Sandy even has an RSS feed for me, so when I check my
Bloglines
I can see anything I created. Working with Sandy is like working with a great professor who believes in accessible formats. I think anyone with a visual impairment can relate to the way some formats work for some things, but not for others. I know, for example, that audio works great for an english novel, but reading French with anything other than Braille is challenging. Sandy adapts to whatever system I need. She even emails me a file which allows me to plug a contact or appointment back into Outlook, for example.

The web interface Sandy uses is really easy to use. It's accessible, using forms and no captchas. If I want to, I can go to the web site and look at what I have to do that day. And I can mark to-do list items done. Since I'm working on using positive reinforcement with myself, I like that I can ask Sandy what has been tagged with done, and she emails me back a list. That's a great pat on the back.

Tags are another feature I like. If you look at my blog or my
Delicious
links, you know I think tags are great. I like that I can tag appointments with things like @pain, @health and @phone and know that they are health and pain related, and need to be done through the phone. Then when I have time, I can look for phone-related items and do them all at once. And if I know that I want to find all of my pain-related stuff and do it at once, I can do that too. It's pretty specific.

There are also sharing features. So if I am working on an accessibility project with five of my readers, and we keep sandy in the conversation, she can remind all of us about the things we need to get done. All I need to do is copy her on the message and say "Sandy, remind us to sign the
Yahoo! Accessibility petition
tomorrow, for example. I can see this feature being incredibly helpful.

I highly recommend this service for the accessibility, reliability and visibility of reminders, appointments, todos, contacts and web addresses. If you're trying to get organized, Sandy may be who you're looking for.

Just so you know, I have no financial relationship with the company. The only compensation I receive for this review is the satisfaction of writing it. In other words, no one paid me off and there's no reason for writing this but telling you about Sandy.
Tags: accessibility, blogs, college, internship, just plain life, notes to self, technology related, tool box
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