US 20070214188 A1
A time zone management system and method for a date-book like application. A user can associate a time zone with an event or appointment, especially on a palmtop computer. The event can be associated with the time zone by selecting the time zone as an attribute from a details menu, or other suitable user interface mechanism or other mechanism. The user can select a display time zone, and all events to be displayed are translated to the display time zone to be displayed on the palmtop computer.
1. A method of management of time zone information in a calendar application, comprising:
storing an event associated with a block of time;
storing a time zone attribute associated with the event;
establishing a display time zone for display of events;
translating the block of time associated with the event from the stored time
zone to the display time zone; and
displaying the event as occurring at the translated block of time.
This application is a continuation application of application Ser. No. 09/940,321, entitled “TIME ZONE MANAGEMENT,” filed Aug. 27, 2001, to be issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,219,109, assigned to the assignee of the present application. The subject matter in the above-identified co-pending and commonly owned application(s) are incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates generally to the field of computer programs implementing date-book like applications. More particularly, this invention relates to a time zone management method and apparatus particularly suitable for a palmtop computer.
As the components required to build a computer system have reduced in size, new categories of computer systems have emerged. One of the new categories of computer systems is the “palmtop” computer system. A palmtop computer system is a computer that is small enough to be held in the hand of a user and can be “palm-sized.” Most palmtop computer systems are used to implement various Personal Information Management (PIM) applications such as an address book, a daily organizer (i.e., a date-book like application) and electronic notepads, to name a few.
Among the most popular features of such palmtop computers is the daily organizer which operates on the palmtop computer and synchronizes to a similar application on a user's desktop computer. Such applications of the palmtop computer have made managing appointments and events easier and more convenient for many users. However, rapid advances in communication and travel have caused many people to commonly have dealings with associates all over the world. This makes management of an event calendar more challenging due to the need to operate across multiple time zones. Heretofore, the date-book functions of computer applications in general including palmtop computers has been inadequate to deal with the problems associated with maintaining a calendar of events occurring in multiple time zones.
Consider for example the following situations:
1. You are in France and schedule an appointment for a phone call with someone in California. You both want to deal with the same time and time zone to create the appointment, but still see at what time this will translate in your own local time zone.
2. You are in France and schedule an appointment for a phone call with someone in California while you will be in Tokyo (or may be you don't even know where you will be at the appointment time). You want to use the California time to set the appointment, and see it displayed in your local time, even if you have changed time zone since you set it.
3. You are in France, and schedule a meeting with someone in California, but this meeting will take place in Tokyo. You both want to be able to use Tokyo time.
The present invention relates generally to methods and apparatus for time zone management, particularly with palmtop computers. Objects, advantages and features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of the invention.
In one embodiment of the present invention, a time zone management system and method for a date-book like application lets a user associate a time zone with an event or appointment, especially on a palmtop computer. The event can be associated with the time zone by selecting the time zone as an attribute from a details menu, or other suitable user interface mechanism or other mechanism. The user can select a display time zone, and all events to be displayed are translated to the display time zone to be displayed on the palmtop computer. This provides many advantages including simplifying the use of the palmtop computer across time zones so that events can be entered directly in a particular remote time zone, but displayed in another time zone of the user's choosing.
In one embodiment consistent with the present invention, a method of management of time zone information in a calendar application, includes storing an event associated with a block of time; storing a time zone attribute associated with the event; establishing a display time zone for display of events; translating them block of time associated with the event from the stored time zone to the display time zone; and displaying the event as occurring at the translated block of time.
A palmtop computer having time zone information management, consistent with certain embodiments of the present invention has a programmed processor and a display. A calendar application runs on the programmed processor to store an event associated with a block of time, the calendar application further operating to store an event time zone attribute associated with the event; store a display time zone for display of events; translate the block of time associated with the event from the stored time zone to the display time zone; and means for displaying the event as occurring at the translated block of time on the display.
A palmtop computer having time zone information management, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention has a programmed processor, a display and a user interface. A calendar application runs on the programmed processor to store an event associated with a block of time, the calendar application further operating to: store an event time zone attribute associated with the event; store a display time zone for display of events; translate the block of time associated with the event from the stored time zone to the display time zone; displaying the event as occurring at the translated block of time in a daily time grid on the display; wherein the display time zone is established by a user selection from a display time zone user interface element forming part of the user interface; wherein the event time zone is established by a user selection from an event time zone user interface element forming part of the user interface; wherein the event time zone is established by a user selection from an event time zone user interface element forming part of the user interface.
The above summaries are intended to illustrate exemplary embodiments of the invention, which will be best understood in conjunction with the detailed description to follow, and are not intended to limit the scope of the appended claims.
The features of the invention believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself however, both as to organization and method of operation, together with objects and advantages thereof, may be best understood by reference to the following detailed description of the invention, which describes certain exemplary embodiments of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
In the following detailed description of the present invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be recognized by one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details or with equivalents thereof. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components and circuits have not been described in detail as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the present invention.
Notation and Nomenclature
Some portions of the detailed descriptions which follow are presented in terms of procedures, steps, logic blocks, processing, and other symbolic representations of operations on data bits that can be performed on computer memory. These descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the data processing arts to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. A procedure, computer executed step, logic block, process, etc., is here, and generally, conceived-to be a self-consistent sequence of steps or instructions leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities.
Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated in a computer system. It has proven convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.
It should be born in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from the following discussions; .it is appreciated that throughout the present invention, discussions utilizing terms such as “processing” or “computing” or “translating” or “selecting” or “translating” or “displaying” or “recognizing” or the like, refer to the action and processes of a computer system, or similar electronic computing device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the computer system's registers and memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computer system memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices.
Time Zone Management in Accordance with the Invention
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail specific embodiments, with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an example of the principles of the invention and not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments shown and described. In the description below, like reference numerals are used to describe the same, similar or corresponding parts in the several views of the drawings.
Turning now to
In one exemplary embodiment, in order to enter an appointment or event, the user taps the space adjacent the desired time and then enters the event in a special area of the device designated for data entry. In the example shown, an event 132 identified as “CONFERENCE CALL WITH YOSHIDA” has been entered and stored in association with a time block starting at 6:00 pm and ending at 7:00 pm. This event is still selected as indicated by the shading of the “6:00” time indicator 116. In order to alter the time zone or make other entries associated with the date and time, the user can select the “details” button 120 (by tapping the button with a stylus) to bring up an “EVENT DETAILS” menu 130. This menu can be used in a conventional manner to add notes, alarms or other attributes to the event. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, this menu can also be used to change the time zone associated with the event (the event time zone). The user can select a default time zone as a device preference to prevent the need to enter an event time zone unless it deviates from the default time zone. This default time zone appears in block 136 and will be associated with an event unless specifically changed by the user.
In order to change the time zone associated with the currently selected event, the user selects the “TIME ZONE” block 136 in the EVENT DETAILS menu (again, by tapping the block with a stylus) to bring up a list of time zones in a “SELECT TIME ZONE” menu 210 as illustrated in display 200 of
Once a time zone has been associated with the event as described above or using any suitable alternative for making such an association, it is saved as an attribute associated with the event. The user can display appointments and other events in any display time zone and the appointment (event) times are translated from the stored event time zone to the display time zone. This is illustrated in display 400 of
If the user wishes to change to another display time zone, the user can select the time zone button 420 to bring up a “CURRENT TIME ZONE” menu 515. The user can then adjust the display time zone as desired. In this example, the current time zone (the display time zone) can be changed to Tokyo time by selecting the TOKYO block 525 from menu 515. This causes the display 500 to indicate Tokyo time at 104 and shift the event 112 to 6:00 pm as illustrated in display 600 of
Time zones are commonly associated with a number of hours difference (plus or minus) from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Thus, in order to translate between two time zones, the difference between the two time zones and GMT can simply be subtracted. For example, Tokyo time is GMT+9 hours while Eastern U.S. Standard Time is GMT −5 hours. Thus, to translate a time between these two time zones, one simply subtracts so the difference is 14 hours. In many cases, the date might also require correction in any time zone translation and should be reflected in block 24.
In the event the current palmtop computer is able to receive indications of a time zone change (e.g., from a wireless service provider, a network or other communication), the display time zone may be updated semi-automatically in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention illustrated in connection with display 700 of
The current invention may be implemented as a computer program running on a palmtop computer or other computer system. One exemplary palmtop computer system is illustrated in
Also included in exemplary computer system 800 is an alphanumeric input device 850 which in one implementation is a handwriting recognition pad (“digitizer”) having regions-forming part of a touch sensitive display for data entry. Device 800 can communicate information and command selections to the central processor 812. System 800 also includes an optional cursor control or directing device 856 coupled to the bus for communicating user input information and command selections to the central processor 812. In one implementation, device 856 is a touch screen device incorporated with the display. Device 856 is capable of registering a position on the display screen where the stylus makes contact. The display device utilized with the computer system 800 may be a liquid crystal device, cathode ray tube (CRT), field emission device (FED, also called flat panel CRT) or other display device suitable for creating graphic images and alphanumeric characters recognizable to the user. In one embodiment, the display is a flat panel display.
Signal communication device 860, also coupled to bus 810, can be a serial port for communicating with the palmtop computer's cradle. Device 860 can also include an infrared communication port and an interface to a radio frequency transmitter receiver (transceiver) 870 to permit wireless communication using antenna 880.
The various operations described heretofore can, be implemented as computer controlled processes stored as program instructions that are carried out on programmed central processor 812. The operations described above can be broadly described by the processes shown in
With reference to
With reference to
With reference to
Elements of the various user interfaces not explicitly discussed herein operate in a manner similar to that of conventional elements as used in the Palm Operating System version 3.0.
With the invention described, the exemplary situations discussed previously are readily handled as follows:
1. You are in France and schedule an appointment for a phone call with someone in California. You both want to deal with the same time and time zone to create the appointment, but still see at what time this will translate in your own local time zone. In this case you simply decide on the common time zone and both parties use this time zone for the event and display time zones.
2. You are in France and schedule an appointment for a phone call with someone in California while you will be in Tokyo. You want to use the California time to set the appointment, and see it displayed in your local time, even if you have changed time zone since you set it. In this case you simply set the appointment using California time as the event time and set the display time for the current time zone you are in.
3. You are in France and schedule a meeting with someone in California, but this meeting will take place in Tokyo. You both want to be able to use Tokyo time. In this case, both parties can simply use Tokyo time for the event time. The time can be displayed using the display time as Tokyo time.
Many other scenarios present themselves and can be handled in a similar manner.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments based upon use of a programmed processor. However, the invention should not be so limited, since the present invention could be implemented using hardware component equivalents such as special purpose hardware and/or dedicated processors which are equivalents to the invention as described and claimed. Similarly, general purpose computers, microprocessor based computers, micro-controllers, optical computers, analog computers, dedicated processors and/or dedicated hard wired logic may be used to construct alternative equivalent embodiments of the present invention.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the program steps and associated data used to implement the embodiments described above can be implemented using disc storage as well as other forms of storage such as for example Read Only Memory (ROM) devices, Random Access Memory (RAM) devices; optical storage elements, magnetic storage elements, magneto-optical storage elements, flash memory, core memory and/or other equivalent storage technologies without departing from the present invention. Such alternative storage devices should be considered equivalents.
The present invention, as described in embodiments herein, is implemented using a programmed processor executing programming instructions that are broadly described above in flow chart form that can be stored on any suitable electronic storage medium or transmitted over any suitable electronic communication medium. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the processes described above can be implemented in any number of variations and in many suitable programming languages without departing from the present invention. For example, the order of certain operations carried out can often be varied, additional operations can be added or operations can be deleted without departing from the invention. Error trapping can be added and/or enhanced and variations can be made in user interface and information presentation without departing from the present invention. Such variations are contemplated and considered equivalent.
While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, permutations and variations will become apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended that the present invention embrace all such alternatives modifications and variations as fall within the scope of the appended claims.