US20020165894A1 - Information processing apparatus and method - Google Patents

Information processing apparatus and method Download PDF

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US20020165894A1
US20020165894A1 US09734340 US73434000A US2002165894A1 US 20020165894 A1 US20020165894 A1 US 20020165894A1 US 09734340 US09734340 US 09734340 US 73434000 A US73434000 A US 73434000A US 2002165894 A1 US2002165894 A1 US 2002165894A1
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user
method
computer
communication
invention
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Mehdi Kashani
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NEW AGE UTILITIES SA
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/26Power supply means, e.g. regulation thereof
    • G06F1/32Means for saving power
    • G06F1/3203Power Management, i.e. event-based initiation of power-saving mode
    • G06F1/3234Action, measure or step performed to reduce power consumption
    • G06F1/325Power saving in peripheral device
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/1613Constructional details or arrangements for portable computers
    • G06F1/1632External expansion units, e.g. docking stations
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/26Power supply means, e.g. regulation thereof
    • G06F1/266Arrangements to supply power to external peripherals either directly from the computer or under computer control, e.g. supply of power through the communication port, computer controlled power-strips
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/26Power supply means, e.g. regulation thereof
    • G06F1/32Means for saving power
    • G06F1/3203Power Management, i.e. event-based initiation of power-saving mode

Abstract

An information processing apparatus and method featuring a general self-administration model, which can be supplemented and augmented by other professional operation models. The apparatus is multi-function in that it includes within a portable and mobile housing, a plethora of peripheral devices such as printer, scanner, GSM modem, landline modem, camera, etc. The invention is self-optimizing for a particular user. This is accomplished by having the user's operation of the apparatus, in other words, the sequence of application buttons and predefined input fields that are selected to accomplish a task to be recorded and stored in a task list. The task list is updated and optimized dynamically by a corresponding server, which maintains a comprehensive and evolving list of all possible tasks. The execution of the tasks can occur with or without interaction from the user. Thus, the invention functions as a ‘virtual user’. In other words, a ‘digital clone’ of the user.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention [0001]
  • The present invention relate generally to a computer system, more particularly, to an information processing apparatus and method that, among other things, records and optimizes a user's application preferences and specific button selections indicating a user's procedures for performing tasks and then storing those tasks by providing an optimized task list, with each procedure being useable with changeable variables without the necessity of redefining the procedures for the selected tasks. [0002]
  • 2. Description of the Related Art [0003]
  • Present day personal computers and accompanying peripherals are commonplace in any typical business administration system. Many software packages are available which claim to simplify, automate and ease the administrative process . . . a process which can encompass the management of correspondence, the production of literature, accounting and financial administration, telecommunications and other such activities. [0004]
  • Business organizations possess many such computers and software packages. Most, if not all, of the computer and, software packages' information are at least partially incompatible with one another. This fact further exacerbates the difficulty in synergistically and cohesively integrating the separate and distinct computer unit/software combinations into an effective common tool for an organization. Therefore, an enormous burden is placed on an entity to train its personnel in the use of such a “networked” system as well as maintain such systems, especially when adding or upgrading software/hardware, which is a monumental task. It is no wonder that even modestly sized businesses have been forced into the expense of Information Processing Departments. It is also no surprise that many employees of these organizations, both management and staff, find that the information processing “tail” wags the company “dog”. In fact, the “tail” has frequently supplanted the “dog” to the point where, for example, a computer virus is able to temporarily cripple even one of the most sophisticated organizations, the United States Pentagon. [0005]
  • To keep pace with the exponentially expanding use and development of computer/hardware, increasing demands are being placed on individuals to learn more and more, even faster and faster, so they can compete in this current age of rapid information processing. It is often the case, particularly with small businesses and individuals, that they can simply not afford the cost of software training. For larger businesses, training does not produce immediate benefits, as it takes time for users to assimilate the information they are presented with at a training session. Only through repeated application of newly learned tasks, will individuals be able to automatically apply them in their work. Further, due to the inherent conflicts in naming screens, and procedure requirements to initiate a particular task in any given software program as compared to the next, a worker skilled in one brand of word processing software, for example, will have substantial difficulty when asked to start using a different brand. This is true even though, for all intents and purposes, the tasks asked to be performed are the same for both. [0006]
  • With the rapidly expanding volume of information that is bombarding each user from every corner, whether it is the world wide web, our day-to-day work or school, today, people are provided with more information than ever before, but have less and less time to filter through, prioritize and act upon such information. Many forms of prior art overlook the physical restrictions of time and lack of expertise, with regard to information technology, which professionals are currently faced with. [0007]
  • In addition to hardware, software and training, many users are expected to intelligently choose supporting services, such as cellular network providers, World Wide Web service providers, and IP telephony providers; in fact, the list of such services and related providers grows daily. Mistakes in choice are frequent, especially with, but not restricted to, novice users. Such errors in judgment cost time and money and either leave the user with hardware that they did not originally require or cannot operate, or software that they will not use to its full potential. [0008]
  • Most importantly, every computer user has a unique pattern of use. Typically, 80% of a user's work is accomplished through repeated use of only 20% of his/her software's available features. This is commonly referred to as Pareto's Rule, with the 20% commonly referred to as the “vital few”. The 80% of available software features and functions that are not needed or used by any particular user is still customarily available to all other users through the GUI (graphical user interface) system of menus. While every user's “80/20” profile is unique, most new users have a common, limited set of features that are needed even if the sequence of these features vary significantly from person to person. Consequently, the attempt to provide every possible software feature to every user necessitates the depth, nesting and complexity of current GUI systems. As a result, the GUI is an inefficient fit, to a greater or lesser degree, for each individual user especially those unfamiliar with computers. [0009]
  • Over the years, a number of approaches have been designed to tackle this problem of inefficient fit. Because of their inherent limitations, none have been successful. This is especially evidenced when trying to teach someone who is new to the information processing world. Software entrepreneurs have developed “shortcut” utilities of various designs as a “cure”. While not specifically marketed as such, the intention of these utilities is to address each user's “80/20” pattern of often repeated tasks. [0010]
  • These shortcut utilities take two forms; macros triggered by key combinations and icon palette macros. Macros triggered by key combinations typically take one or both of two forms; macro utilities and text replacement utilities. Macro utility programs provide shortcuts to functions and processes such as opening applications and files, making menu selections, and performing multi-step operations. Macro utilities, such as TEMP, MACROMAGIC, and KEYBOARD EXPRESS for the “WinTel” platform and QUICKEYS for the MACINTOSH are all activated by the user via keystroke combinations. MICROSOFT WINDOWS' interface offers many key combination shortcut macros to operate various controls, menus, etc. To activate these macros, the user must press at least one “control” key (e.g. <alt>), in combination with pressing a single “non-control” character (e.g. <x>). [0011]
  • Users find it very difficult to develop an mnemonically consistent scheme for remembering such key combinations. The combinations tend to be so arbitrary that it is difficult to use mnemonic logic to memorize the cryptic key combinations. Further, many key combinations only work a given way in specific application programs, further restricting the combinations that are available. The user's limited ability to remember and reflexively recall more than a few cryptic key combinations severely limits the usability of macro utilities. Many people are so intimidated by the cryptic nature of macros they refuse to even consider their use. To expect a new user to make use of this ability is not practical. [0012]
  • Text substitution utilities provide the ability to replace a short string of typed text with long and/or formatted text. For example, a user may define the code word “evp” to trigger the substitution “Executive Vice President”, or define a short code word like “nad” to be replaced by a series of predefined text lines (name and address in this case). There are several utility software products available to accomplish this within single applications. For example, text replacement utilities for single applications are usually handled with the program, WORD 7.0 for WINDOWS 95. Another example of this approach is SHORTKEYS for the MACINTOSH platform. Recognition of the user's words by these utilities is limited to the purpose of replacing one text string with another. These utilities are writers' aids only. They do not enable the user to use this concept for controlling computer processes and functions. [0013]
  • Icon palette utilities are used to give macros a visual presence and context. The macros are activated via mouse clicks. The icon palettes are an attempt to use a visual interface to overcome the cryptic and, therefore, hard-to-remember keystrokes needed to use macro utilities. Often, macro utility products offer icon palettes as a second alternative interface for accessing the macros. In this approach, a computer macro, process or function, is assigned on the user's screen. Examples of such utilities are included in NORTON NAVIGATOR for WINDOWS 95 and in both QUICKEYS and ONECLICK on the MACINTOSH platform. [0014]
  • The existing shortcut utilities, however, do not offer the user an integrated approach to creating, managing and using shortcuts for content services, retrieval services and commands. Their interfaces are inconsistent and far too difficult to organize and remember. Because the user must assemble his/her shortcuts using a collection of different software products, he/she loses any potential advantage due to the delay with cumbersome and time-consuming management of these shortcuts. [0015]
  • It is clear from the above, that the current trend of sole reliance on window-based user interfaces has seriously constrained the user's ability to fully utilize his/her computer. Although the window-based user interface has revolutionized the computer system and has allowed millions of people to use computers, even many more millions, such as older and new users as well as third world inhabitants, are excluded. Therefore, what is needed is a system and method that provides any user with an efficient, convenient and natural way to utilize his/her everyday language to work with applications, files, control commands, and the like, that form the user's “vital few”. [0016]
  • Even more importantly, there is an unanswered need for a system and method that enables the user to have his/her actual use of the computer to be recorded and analyzed so that the procedures used for a particular task will be available for future use. Further, when the procedures for a complex or specialized task, e.g., a physician's diagnosis of an illness, are utilized, it would be especially valuable for future use by that physician in the treatment of other patients. Equally important is the availability of that information to the medical community, at large, which is involved in similar tasks and can, then, reference that accumulated knowledge. [0017]
  • The theory of self-actualization hypothesizes that a human's normal behavior is to satisfy the basic needs of food and shelter first, and then to move on to satisfy more complicated needs. As soon as complicated needs are fully satisfied, a human can then move to a state of self-actualization, is to become all the human is capable of being. Self-actualization is a difficult process. In fact, most humans never reach self-actualization, in part, because of his/her inability to utilize the entire capacity of the brain as well as the demands of fulfilling basic needs first. [0018]
  • What if a machine could assist a human toward self-actualization? If a computer were used to learn the user's complicated task-oriented procedures to satisfy needs and assist in that need directed process through enhancement of the senses and intellect, the computer would enable the user to grow and self-actualize. Thus, by definition such a computer would self-administer to the user. By functioning essentially as the user's “digital clone”, the computer is the user's alter ego . . . keeping track of and performing the user's tasks whether simple or complex, either with or without the direct involvement of the user. [0019]
  • Thus, a symbiotic relationship is created. The clone learns from the user through analysis of the user's daily tasks by recording and analyzing the procedures selected by the user to accomplish those tasks. In this way, the user and the “digital clone”, together, would be able to accomplish a substantial increase in the number and complexity of tasks per day that otherwise could not be accomplished with the user's unassisted abilities and time constraints. [0020]
  • The abilities of the “digital clone” could grow with the user. As the user becomes more experienced, so does the clone. Additionally, the clone will find more efficient methods for the user to accomplish his/her tasks, thus working together with the user to achieve self-actualization. [0021]
  • The current state of the art has attempted to a much lesser degree to fulfill a user's need for fast and efficient access to frequently used procedures. However, the prior art incorrectly attempts to solve this problem by creating macros and icons. [0022]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,974,413 issued to Beauregard on Oct. 26, 1999 discloses a semantic user interface, wherein a user is allowed to enter “commands” in his/her everyday natural language in order to control the operations of the computer. All commands are language-based and user-defined. These commands can be entered from any context of the user's computer (any application or operating system workspace). The commands allow a user to launch applications and navigate within applications by using language rather than clicks from a pointing device such as a mouse. It also allows the replacement of keystrokes with stored words or keystrokes. The system also keeps a complete archival record of all the text content the user provides as input, regardless of which application program or operating system window the user is operating in at the time. The combined set of all user defined commands and the memory of all the input text that is stored in the archive constitutes the personality profile and is transportable from one computer to another. Although this invention tends to mitigate some of the inherent problems with current day computer systems regarding macros and language, this software is designed to run on current day computers. [0023]
  • Thus, all of the inherent drawbacks of present day computers will be inputted into this invention as well. These disadvantages include: a long learning curve to master several software applications, the inability to ergonomically adapt to a particular user, the language barriers, the “80/20” problem, etc. New developments in software have exceeded the user's learning curve. Although software exists that can do practically anything a user requires as noted above, the human user cannot keep abreast of the potential benefits of all existing software. Rather, software applications vary so greatly with respect to general set-up that a computer user must learn every new application, making mastery of a great many applications time-prohibitive. [0024]
  • MICROSOFT OFFICE is an attempt to minimize a user's learning curve by creating a package of software commonly used in most business offices that, generally, has a similar GUI for each application. In theory, a user mastering WORD, for example, is supposed to have little difficulty mastering EXCEL, ACCESS or OUTLOOK. Although the concept of having the same set-up for all applications was attempted, the implementation by MICROSOFT and others has not occurred. Few computer users would confirm they have mastered all MICROSOFT OFFICE applications, and are fully capable of using the applications to their potential. Rather, MICROSOFT OFFICE provides semi-similar screens, with very different applications, thereby making it virtually impossible to fully transfer the knowledge one has of WORD, for example, to EXCEL. While the screens are similar, there are also significant differences between applications for, essentially, identical button selections. [0025]
  • Presently, software applications do not have one common screen and one tool bar for every application. Instead, a typical application provides one of more tool bars having a myriad of scrollable of selection preferences, most of which are rarely, if ever, used. Further, users differ greatly in their preferences. One user may never employ another user's ‘must-have’ ‘button selections’. Thus, logically, the tool bars should be completely customizable to meet user's needs, depicting only what is needed. While the present art has this ability though customization of a toolbar in one application it is not reflected in the same toolbar of a different application, therefore the user is required to duplicate the steps carried out during customization within each application possessing the very same type of toolbar. [0026]
  • One attempt to correct this problem is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,805,167 issued to von Cruyningen on Sep. 8, 1998. This patent discloses a popup menu with directional gestures. Using this invention's capabilities, the computer operator can design menus containing most frequently used commands and use these menus with existing applications without revising the applications. Thus, menus with many items are managed by scrolling or by progressive disclosure of the menu items. Although this invention allows for user-specific menu options, the inherent problem still exists; the user must design these menus using his/her “vital few”. Where the user will only be able to create these custom menus using his/her “vital few”, the remaining 80% of the software's capabilities, including those capabilities that may dramatically increase the user's efficiency, will be unknown to the user. [0027]
  • The latest version of MICROSOFT OFFICE features tool bars where the scrollable list is limited in accordance with frequency of selections. That is, the features that haven't been selected frequently will not be shown when the tool bar button is scrolled. However, this does not solve the problem of providing a common tool bar for each application. [0028]
  • With the advent of portable laptop notebook computers and personal digital assistants (PDA's), there had to have a corresponding advancement in portable power supplies to power such equipment. Size, weight and life before recharge are the primary design considerations. [0029]
  • Amongst the most frequent complaints expressed by portable computer users, the battery life is foremost. The fundamental principle of reducing average power consumption is quite simple; turn ‘off’ any device, which is not currently in use. This policy is very straightforward to implement, but ignores the reality that any device which is currently unused may be required at any given instant. If it is required immediately after it was turned ‘off’, both the time required turning the device ‘off’ and the time required to restore it to its power ‘on’ state are wasted. This delay will impact the responsiveness of the system. The key to power management, which is unobtrusive, is the anticipation of the future device's utilization requirement of the user. [0030]
  • The computer industry has developed some methods of minimizing this problem with respect to portable notebook computers. However, the industry focuses on laptop computers only, and does not contemplate the potential of peripheral devices running off the laptop computer battery. Thus, all available solutions to the battery life problem are geared to a laptop computer without any peripheral devices. [0031]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,787,294 issued to Evoy on Jul. 28, 1998 discloses a system for reducing the power consumption of a computer system and method thereof. In this patent, the inventors disclose a method of lowering the power emitted to various notebook computer components by use of a programmable power supply that alters the current operating frequency and voltage of the computer's microprocessor to match current operation conditions. In other embodiments of the invention, this programmable power supply and the programmable frequency generator may be attached to other system components in the computer system. Although this invention is quite useful in accomplishing minimum expenditure of power to unused system components, this power supply controller works only for components contained inside the computer, the components typically being microprocessors or VLSI silicon chips. Peripheral modules such as a scanner, a printer, and a fax machine cannot be controlled by this programmable power supply. [0032]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,847,543 teaches the use of an AC adapter with automatically optimized output voltage and power. This device adjusts the AC adapter's voltage and power settings, depending on the charge state of the battery and whether the computer is ‘on’ or ‘off’. Although this device minimally controls the life of the laptop battery, it does so only on an ‘all or nothing’ basis. Thus, this device is not conditioned by the use of certain components or modules connected with the laptop, but rather only by whether the laptop is turned ‘on’ or ‘off’. This device only reduces the voltage in response to the charge state of the battery, not by decreased usage of a particular module or component of the laptop. This ‘all-or-nothing’ variation of the voltage will work to only give minimum prolongation of battery life. [0033]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,905,900 issued to Combs et. al. on May 18, 1999 discloses a mobile client computer and power management architecture. This reference discloses an energy management control program having a plurality of cooperating components permitting a designer to choose from among a plurality of foci for energy management. [0034]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,796,982 issued to Iwami on Aug. 18, 1998 discloses a switching regulator, an information processing apparatus and a control method for same. The switching regulator is controlled by a feedback voltage, which is selected to be of minimum value from amongst the various power lines present. Although this invention succeeds in minimizing output voltage based on a minimum required voltage from a plurality of feedback voltages, this invention fails to completely shut off voltage from a peripheral computer module not presently in use. [0035]
  • Therefore, considering the above inventions, although many attempts of curbing this problem have been publicly disclosed, these solutions would not be applicable to a device consisting of more than just the computer apparatus, such as peripheral computer modules including a fax machine, scanner, printer and the like. [0036]
  • Personal computer systems in general have attained widespread use for providing computer power to many segments of today's modern society. However, today's business person no longer requires just one office, but rather, the telecommunications age has made global businesses ever popular, thus giving rise to a record-high number of business travelers and the need for a portable office. Currently, with the advent of cell phones, palm held mini-computers, and laptop personal computers, it has become commonplace to see a business traveler ‘loaded to the nines’ with multiple heavy bags in order to transport his/her “portable” offices. However, these ever-expanding portable offices are very bulky, heavy and inconvenient. These portable offices also lack such necessary items as a scanner, fax machine, photocopier and printer. All of these attempts to create a “portable” office, although valiant, have not quenched the need of a truly portable and mobile office. [0037]
  • The general trend in consumer electronics today is toward the integration of communicating and computing facilities into a single unit. Examples are laptops wirelessly connected to remote hosts (e.g. PC at home), personal communicators that combine a phone, an organizer, and many more functions into a single electronic device, etc. This integration of wireless communications and computing raises potential problems with Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). [0038]
  • During wireless transmission, high-power radiation from a transceiver interferes with the processors and other electronics in the computing section of the device. This is especially the case for high instantaneous power, discontinuous transmission as found in time division multiple access (TDMA) communications (e.g., GSM, D-AMPS, DECT). Transmission takes place in a burst format with short but repetitive bursts with high energy levels. Cross-talk between the transceiver and the computing electronics will likely disturb the signal levels in the digital electronics, giving rise to errors in the computing process. Other access methods that use continuous transmission (FDMA, or CDMA) can use lower instantaneous power levels, which are less likely to interfere with the computing electronics. [0039]
  • During wireless reception, the transceiver is opened to receive the burst from the antenna. However, now any electromagnetic radiation from the computing electronics can disturb the reception. This is especially a problem in high-speed, digital electronics, where steep edges and spikes at the signal level transitions can produce considerable radiation. With the ever-increasing clock frequencies of digital electronics, radiation from the computing electronics to the receiving unit will become more and more of a problem, irrespective of the kind of access method used (TDMA, FDMA, CDMA, etc.). [0040]
  • If future integrated communications/computing devices continue to use TDMA wireless cellular communications now implemented worldwide, then an efficient means of suppressing the mutual interference between transceiver and computing electronics must be found. One attempt to reduce such interference is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,842,037 issued to Haartsen on Nov. 24, 1998. This invention provides for an interference reduction in TDMA-communications/computing devices. First, an interrupt signal is sent from a transceiver to a computing device when the transceiver is about to transmit or receive information. In response to the interrupt signal, the computing device stacks current status and enters an interrupt routine; the computing device is then released from the interrupt routine after the information has been transmitted or received. Although this invention works to reduce the interference, because there is only an interrupt signal and not a complete isolation of the TDMA ground return from the Computer system ground return, an elimination of the interference is not accomplished. Therefore, there exists a desire in the art for a novel circuit construct to reduce the effect of this unwanted noise by isolating the TDMA (e.g. GSM) ground return from the Computer system ground return. [0041]
  • Another problem experienced by today's “portable office” user is the threat of a breach of secure information. To many, this is of utmost concern because his/her laptop often contains confidential files that have the potential of creating substantial damage if released to the public. Whereas in a traditional office, one would have a security system in the building, (e.g., cameras, night watch force) in addition to the individual office security (e.g., locked office, locked desk, locked file cabinets, and password required computer system entry), with the portable office, the only current security is an optional password requirement for operating system/network access. The password requirement for access to the operating system/network access is only minimum security. Often the passwords are short and the code can easily be broken. Additionally, this security does not prevent someone from removing the hard drive or from simply taking the entire portable computer home with them to work on breaking the operating system security code. Thus, there exists a desire in the art for a multi-level security device incorporating difficult-to-break requirements for entry. [0042]
  • The current high security access systems in use today in buildings and research labs include inter alia password-based door locks, pass-card access door locks, voice recognition devices, retinal scans, and finger print access pads. Although these devices work well in a large scale building or office, the excess weight and space some of these devices would add to a portable office is significant, particularly considering the current desire to constantly design lighter and more compact portable computing units. The voice recognition device, however, could be integrated into the hard drive of the unit and thus take up only limited memory space. [0043]
  • However, there is a disadvantage to a voice recognition device. Current devices require the user to recite a fixed word or phrase to gain access to the computer. The device is programmed to allow access only to the user whose voice is recorded into the memory of the computer. Simply recording the user reciting his/her fixed word or phrase can break this security code merely by recoding the user's voice reciting the word or phrase and then playing it back to the computer. Thus, a non-fixed voice recognition device requiring a recitation of a non-predictable word or phrase would eliminate this method of breaking into the system. Therefore, a portable and mobile information processing system and method that meets the ergonomic needs of the user is not found in the prior art. [0044]
  • SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • It is an aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that suits the ergonomic needs of the user. [0045]
  • It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that shortens the learning curve for the user. [0046]
  • It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method having a circuit that reduces the effect of interference noise experienced when using a GSM and a landline modem connected to an audio device (PC-Sound card etc.) when sharing a common power supply. [0047]
  • It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method having a voice recognition security device that requires the recitation of unpredictable, randomly selected words or phrases by the user to gain access. [0048]
  • It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method having a smart power system that automatically senses the use and non-use of a peripheral computer module and either increases, decreases or eliminates the voltage to said peripheral computer module accordingly. [0049]
  • It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method having a truly one-package portable and mobile office. [0050]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method having a one-package portable office that includes a personal computing device, a cell phone, fax, photocopier, scanner and printer, GPS, camera, etc. functioning as an integrated unit. [0051]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that adapts to the user and ultimately become the user's ‘digital clone’. [0052]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that has a computing system that has a smart archive system. [0053]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that has a substantially identical GUI for each program application. [0054]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that optimizes the performance of the user's tasks. [0055]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that has a touch pad keyboard that adapts itself to be ergonomic to the specific user in any language and physical set-up of the keys. [0056]
  • It is another aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method having a universal conversion module that can convert any format of information such as e-mail, fax, application data file, etc., to any different format with a single button click. [0057]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user via GPS to contact an ISP server for the closest local dial up Point of Presence (POP). [0058]
  • It is further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user to either receive or store or send a communication when the user is not available or present. [0059]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user to coordinate all communication settings from a single interface simply by choosing a new location, for both land based and cellular telephone operations. [0060]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user to access the Internet and search the World Wide Web for work or interest related information, powered by a multi-site search engine without the delays associated with current commercial browsers and to activate WWW based media (video, audio, newspapers, etc.). [0061]
  • It is a further aspect of the present in invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user to dictate directly into the computer system, and have the voice converted to text using the user's own unique vocabulary. [0062]
  • It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user to print and photocopy in either color or black-and-white. [0063]
  • It is the final aspect of the present invention to provide an information processing apparatus and method that enables the user to access all system functions through the standard user interface of the “office environment”. The single clicking of a mouse on various items within an office will take the user to the specific function. [0064]
  • The invention is an information processing apparatus and method featuring a general self-administration model, which can be supplemented and augmented by other professional operation models. The apparatus is multi-function in that it includes within a portable and mobile housing, a plethora of peripheral devices such as printer, scanner, GSM modem, landline modem, camera, etc. [0065]
  • The invention is self-optimizing for a particular user in that the user's operation of the apparatus, in other words, the sequence of application buttons and predefined input fields that are selected to accomplish a task are recorded and stored in a task list. The task list is updated and optimized dynamically by a corresponding server, which maintains a comprehensive and evolving list of all possible tasks. [0066]
  • Further, additional options for the input fields can be obtained from the server or other corresponding servers. The user is provided the option of executing sequential or parallel tasks from the task list either immediately or according to a predetermined time schedule or system events occurring within the apparatus itself. The execution of the tasks can occur with or without interaction from the user. Thus, the invention functions as a ‘virtual user’. In other words, a ‘digital clone’ of the user. [0067]
  • Additionally, the user can project and review different task models to ultimately determine a personal set of preferences, which are recorded and stored in a preference list. The preference, of course, will be unique to a particular user. Interactive or deferred notifications in accordance with the selections are provided when a task is executed with an altered set of input fields and a deviation has occurred from the task model that was based upon a task stored in the user's personal preference list. All personal data such as preferences, the user's particular button selection sequences, predefined input fields, etc., as well as work documents, e-mails, and so forth, are stored in and continuously updated in a substantially indestructible magnetic media, colloquially referred to as a ‘black box’. Also, the critical information can be transmitted to a memory card that is brought within transmitting distance of the apparatus so that this information is permanently stored for the user as needed. [0068]
  • The invention is ready-to-use in that all software and hardware components are included therein and are fully configured. Also included is a proprietary extendable communications module having a universal converter. The universal converter is capable, via a single click of a button, to change any input to any output that is sensible and feasible, e.g., speech to text, fax to speech, text to speech, etc. In that a common graphic user interface is provided for all applications, the apparatus is easy and intuitive for the user to learn, especially novices. [0069]
  • Other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will become obvious from the following detailed description that is given for one embodiment of the present invention while referring to the accompanying drawings. [0070]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the information processing apparatus in accordance with the invention. [0071]
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the communication devices used to form the ergonomic interface of the invention. [0072]
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram depicting the external and internal communication systems used as part of the invention. [0073]
  • FIG. 4 is a summary of communications systems and other hardware used in the invention coupled with the checkpoint module. [0074]
  • FIG. 5 is a further summary depicting the flow of information between the checkpoint module and the universal converter. [0075]
  • FIG. 6 is a further summary depicting the physical boundaries of the client hardware platform and connections with the corresponding WWW server and other modules within the invention. [0076]
  • FIG. 7 is a depiction of the flow of information through various modules to the general self-administration model. [0077]
  • FIG. 8 is a depiction of the conversion tools and network required by the universal converter.[0078]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Overview [0079]
  • Philosophically, the invention can be best appreciated by studying the works of Charles Darwin. See, [0080] Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel C. Dennett, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996, page 43. Applying the theory that Darwin formulated for his explanation of the Origin of Species, it is apparent that this concept can also be used to describe so many different people having so many different needs and strategies that must be met by their respective computers and software. The principle of natural selection is the unifying insight into the inventor's approach to his information processing apparatus and method.
  • By having a large variety of inheritable skills (through storage in computer systems), which constitute recorded procedures in the invention, these different procedures will tend to have different payoffs for different individuals and subgroups of the user population. Under Darwinian theory, these different individuals and subpopulations would tend to diverge, each pursuing their favored sort of excellence until, eventually, there is a distinct division. With biological systems, transference of inheritable characteristics implemented by DNA mutations and modifications is possible only from parent to child, and even then, frequently “hit or miss”. However, by using the inventor's methods, this divergence is eliminated since the entire optimized skill set is “inheritable” by one computer communicating with another computer or with the user. In essence, this method provides a new modality for increasing man's knowledge exponentially in volume and in speed of transference from one individual or subpopulation to another. [0081]
  • The present invention features a method of computerized self-administration encompassing many contemporary software packages and devices that are in common day-to-day use. Users are exposed to functionality as it is required. This is unlike the prior art where all functionality is presented to the user from first execution. Obviously, the user is then blinded by choice. Furthermore, other methods provide many features and claimed benefits, which a vast majority of users will never actually require in normal practice. The user, however novice, still bears the costs of development of these complex software packages, even when they typically only utilize 20% of this functionality. [0082]
  • The invention method restricts the amount of delivered functionality to that which is relevant to the general self-administration model. This is all that is necessary for the vast majority of individuals. However, additional operations models can be added to augment the general self-administration model. Typical examples are professional models that would assist doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. The invention method is complemented by a computer system, which does not require prior knowledge of peripheral interconnections, software drivers, operating systems or software installation procedures. The delivered article in hardware or software is ready-to-use from the first moment it is powered “on”. [0083]
  • A goal of the invention is to deliver a system that works in any language, while still retaining a consistent look and feel from one user to the next. The consistency in look and feel is maintained regardless of the functionality being delivered at any moment. When a user is typing a letter, the format of the toolbars used is identical to those used when music is being played or when the user is browsing the World Wide Web. Such consistency considerably shortens the learning curve for novice users. [0084]
  • A novel universal conversion module is included in the software system, which is capable of translating any computer document or streaming media based communication to any other document or streaming media based communication, where sensible and feasible. Information stored as a raster image, such as a received fax or scanned document, can readily be converted to a text document, which in turn can pass through a text to speech conversion. Wherever it is sensible and feasible to provide such a feature, the functionality has been put in place to support this philosophy. [0085]
  • To achieve the same functionality that is provided by the invention, the user would be required to spend enormous amounts of time and money selecting and installing dozens of individual software applications. The prior art provides many such software options. However, many of these are mutually exclusive. This is illustrated by the fact that software system “A”, when installed, may overwrite the files installed by system “B”, rendering system “B” useless. Software companies actually expect users to be aware of such problems and even go as far as expecting the user to resolve the issue. Clearly, this requires a vast knowledge of computer hardware and software, in particular, operating systems. Such skills in information technology are well beyond even advanced users. [0086]
  • The invention is ready-to-use, since it does not require installation of any software. Compatibility issues are, therefore, eliminated. The cost of ownership is reduced. The time taken to reach a point at which production of work can begin is also correspondingly, substantially reduced. [0087]
  • The invention is designed so that it continuously monitors the user's interactions with the invention and seeks ways to facilitate and provide an ergonomic user environment. Procedures, which were not envisaged at the time of software development, can be described by the user or added to the system's toolbars or can even be shared with other users. [0088]
  • If a procedure is frequently used, the system can automate such procedures and execute them without further need for interaction with the user. Thus, the user does appear to exist “virtually” in many places, simultaneously, as tasks are executed in parallel, perhaps, even in many distinct locations. Further, the user can predetermine the time of execution, the frequency of execution and even the triggers that will cause the execution of any task. A “virtual” existence is gradually established as the system takes over tedious or burdensome tasks that would normally require the close attention of the user. For example, important messages, which are received by the system, can be automatically forwarded by any sensible and feasible method, to the user wherever the user may be at that particular moment in time. Therefore, even when the user is away from his/her normal place of work, he/she is not isolated from the invention and the rest of the world provided there is at least one method of electronic communication available to the user. [0089]
  • The invention, in addition to providing all of the above benefits, also allows the user to seek a mentor via a proprietary Internet Service Provider (ISP). The mentor can be located anywhere in the world, again, as long as there is at least one method of electronic communication available to him/her. A mentor is not restricted to the form of a physical being. A software system containing the procedures of an expert, behaving as a digital representation of the expert, becomes possible. Such mentors are provided or facilitated by a corresponding infrastructure, that is, another apparatus having the same capabilities and design configurations of the invention. Consequently, the user is able to draw from the source of expert procedures that have been based on the knowledge of those who are recognized as the best in their field. As noted above, such procedures can emanate from other users of the invention, or from any other source of information, as long as the information can be transmitted and received by a sensible and feasible method as provided in accordance with the invention. [0090]
  • Preferred Embodiment [0091]
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, universal user [0092] 600 is meant to include any individual irrespective of native language, novices, particularly, those users who are physically challenged and may be unable to use other types of information processing systems. User 600 communicates with invention 10 through at least one client communication device 603 further described in detail in FIG. 2 or other external communication devices 602 as further described in FIG. 2. The aforementioned communication devices are said to form an ergonomic interface 728 (as shown in FIG. 2), which is used to contact client hardware platform 616, further details of which are contained in FIG. 5. Client hardware platform 616 is defined as a mobile personal computer system, being hardware, supporting software drivers and an operating system known to be required to support invention 10.
  • Ergonomic interface [0093] 728 utilizes bimodal communication channel 608, being a wireless or physical connection, in order to reach communication systems 634 described in FIG. 2. Additionally, communication between invention 10 and world 604 can occur through channel 610, identical in nature to channel 608. Communication systems 634 also facilitate communication with Global Communications Network (WWW) 676 and a proprietary server acting as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) 638.
  • Communication systems [0094] 634 permits user 600 or world 604 and invention 10 to communicate through communication module 620. Communication module 620 is a collection of devices, which permit information to move in and out of invention 10. Communication module 620 interacts with checkpoint 622, illustrated in FIG. 4, in order to authenticate any communicating party by means of a layered security system contained within checkpoint 622. Only after checkpoint 622 has authenticated user 600 or world 604, may communication with invention 10 begin.
  • When information flows to and from invention [0095] 10, this information may involve incompatible sources or occur in ways, which are not preferred by user 600. In this instance, universal converter 624 changes the form or content of any input to any output, which is both sensible and feasible. To illustrate, converter 624 may take a facsimile received in the French language and covert it to spoken English language using processes of optical character recognition, language translation and text to speech, all of which are known in the art.
  • Client hardware platform [0096] 616 further includes other devices 614. Those compatible devices required by any professional to complete tasks and having related professional tools 628, which collectively allow the use of client hardware platform 616 in execution of said tasks. For example, professional tools 628 could include a blood pressure monitoring system connected to the invention, or other divergent tools such as musical instruments connected through ports and connectors 784.
  • Motherboard [0097] 618, ubiquitous in modern systems, is illustrated as a means of connection to black box 630 (See FIG. 7) a backup device and memory card 632 (See FIG. 7), a low capacity lightweight backup device. Both black box 630 and memory card 632 may be connected through bimodal wireless or physical connection. Special consideration is given to backing up the work product and information content of invention 10 as this information is viewed as the lifetime digital experience of user 600 and, as such, becomes irreplaceable if lost.
  • Client hardware platform [0098] 616 is powered either by external electricity 626 or from a battery connected to power devices printed circuit board (PCB) 612, permitting the system to be either static or mobile. The purpose of PCB 612 is to integrate and control power to connected input and output devices as described in FIG. 4, thus increasing the performance of said battery.
  • The aforementioned converter [0099] 624, by maintaining compatibility between invention 10, user 600, world 604 and WWW 676, provides a single connection point, channel 700, to the operations models 640. Channel 700 allows information, especially procedures 650, to flow to and from the operations models 640. Operations models 640 permit those working in similar ways to use a common module for completing tasks through the use of procedures.
  • One such example of this is administration model [0100] 642. Administration model 642 is a novel framework for the day-to-day administration of user 600 or the user's business. For example, covering common activities such as sending e-mail, writing letters, telephone calls, etc. are accomplished with administration model 642 serving as the facilitator. Administration model 642 can be adapted and extended through specialized models known as other professional models 644. Administration model 642 and professional models 644 are all encompassed within operations models 640.
  • The purpose of operations models [0101] 640 is to allow users to create and execute procedures in order to achieve maximum efficiency while performing tasks. Operations models 640 includes real world objects 646. Real world objects 646 are commonly known items like in-tray, out-tray, office and the like, and screens 648. These items are a collection of application displays, predefined input fields, buttons, GUI's, and finally, documents, which are items of information with related properties. Where document is a data file containing any information stored by invention 10 e.g. text, sound, video, or address book entries and the like. Properties are specific information contained in a document, e.g. properties such as “name” and “address” relate to a higher level term such as Address Book 964. A document is said to be created when new information enters invention 10 and is stored. A document is extracted when existing information is drawn from storage contained within invention 10.
  • Real world objects [0102] 646, screens 648, buttons 652, predefined inputs 654 and documents 656 are all required in order to enable procedures 650 within any operation models including administration model 642.
  • Procedures [0103] 650 is the essence of the novel method disclosed herein. Procedures 650 is recorded by monitoring the use of buttons 652 and predefined inputs 654 in relation to documents 656. Predefined inputs 654 enable user 600 to perform actions and state preferences for the way in which tasks are completed, a predefined input, when set to a particular state, is said to be a preference. Those predefined inputs 654, which form preferences, are recorded in a desirable preference list 674.
  • Buttons [0104] 652 and predefined inputs 654, when related to any item 656, from procedures 650 which are recorded in a dynamic task list 672, which also logs the use of previously recorded procedures. When buttons 652, inputs 654 and, at least one document 656, are used in an executed procedure 650, then a completed task 662 is formed. The use of procedure 650 is for completed task 662, logged in the task list 672. Gradually, the number of procedures 650 recorded in the task list 672 grows, as does the list of preferences record 674. The tasks in tasks list 672 and recorded preferences 674 may be repeated either by user 600, in person, or by delegation, through clone tasks 670. Clone tasks 670 are defined as the “virtual” user 600. “Virtual” is defined as being an automated processor which executes any procedure 650 with or without additional collaboration with user 600 in order to complete a task.
  • Many clone tasks [0105] 670 can be executed simultaneously, restricted only by the processing power of the embodiment, though for the purposes of this disclosure the use of ten “virtuals” would be seen as extreme with three or four being the norm. For example, it would be possible to search the WWW for information, send and receive e-mail, print letters and use invention 10 as a telephone answering machine while performing tasks 662. The number of procedures 650 and preferences 654 is, again, restricted only by the size of the storage medium used in the embodiment, but, again, for illustration, a normal user would not exceed two hundred unique procedures 650 and one hundred preferences 654. The number of possible procedures 650 is restricted by the number of sensible and feasible combinations of application buttons 652 and predefined inputs 654.
  • User [0106] 600 may also search the WWW 676 and collaborate with compatible WWW sites 684 which contains new options 686, or proprietary ISP 638 which contains universal options 680 in all supported languages, in order to find additional options for predefined inputs 654. Additional options can be assessed as per each user's individual requirements. The suitability of new options, in relation to the user's own tasks, can be assessed in a process known as task models projections 664. During task models projections 664, user 600 examines new options and those options recorded in preference list 674, which flow through channel 696, in order that the user can select ultimate preferences for any procedure.
  • The ISP [0107] 638, being a specialized WWW server optimized for the collection and distribution of procedures 650, also maintains a universal procedures list 678, containing procedures 650, which have been published to it by every user 600. Universal procedures list 678 is monitored and manipulated by a team of people 702 who are specifically optimizing procedures for reuse by all users of invention 10. Furthermore, team 702 controls the content of universal procedures list 678 by filtering out unsuitable procedures 660, which do not result in a completed task of benefit to users 600 of invention 10. Team 702 can be bypassed by users 600 of invention 10 by sourcing professional procedures 688 direct from corresponding WWW sites 684.
  • The flow of data from task list [0108] 678 and professional procedures 688 is facilitated through a communication method such as the WWW connection 676. Professional procedures 688 flow to the R and D team 702 through channel 690 whereas field options 686 flow to team 702 through channel 692 as the nature and use of these information types differs within the invention. The proprietary server 638 offers numerous other services 682 as described in FIG. 8.
  • Channels [0109] 690, 700 and others similarly illustrated in FIG. 1 show the system's wide flow of procedures which occur in order to complete the tasks of user 600. Procedures 650 is created and recorded through the use of operations models 640, e.g., self-administration model 642, and are stored in procedures list 672 and preference list 674. Reuse of procedures begins with digital clone 666 and the optimization and projecting of tasks 662 and procedures 650 incorporates features of WWW sites 684 and ISP 638.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, ergonomic interface [0110] 728 between user 600 and communication systems 634 is illustrated. As previously described, user 600 may utilize at least one device from client communication devices 603 or at least one compatible communication device such as those in other external communication devices 602. Pad 730 provides a universal keyboard and touch pad like interface enabling user 600 to control invention 10 and pad 730 includes a flat display, such as a gas plasma or liquid crystal display, rather than a mechanical switch-key array. The use of pad 730 permits the configuration of the keyboard to be easily changed to any layout and alphanumeric characters. Consequently, any language/alphabet can be effortlessly implemented. Furthermore, as a wireless device, pad 730 can be carried in a mobile fashion and may be used to control compatible domestic devices such as garage doors, house lights, appliances, etc. To further ease of use, the display of pad 730 can be set to display a graphical representation of any of the aforementioned domestic devices.
  • Client communication devices [0111] 603 further includes a typical computer display 732; a touch-screen membrane responding to user input by pressure to the membrane 734 mounted over display 732; a mouse 736 or similar pointing device; a microphone 738 and speakers 740 used in voice command or telephone modes; a camera 742 used for video conferencing, video recording and still picture photography; a personal digital assistant (PDA) 744 which attaches to invention 10 and synchronizes internal representations of information stored by invention 10, such as address book 964, diary 962 and the like; electronic identity card 746 which is utilized for rapid authentication of user 600, and is chosen from devices such as a proximity card or magnetic card which are well known in art; graphics tablet 748 utilized in sketching; signature recognition and annotation of documents; and joystick and joy pad 750 (utilized in navigation of system toolbars and increases the ergonomic nature of the interface for challenged users.) All client communication devices 603 and all external communication devices 602 are compatible with at least one device in communication systems 634.
  • External communication devices [0112] 602 includes: a telephone 760, (used to issue commands to the invention via voice, touch tone or text message); remote PC 764 (any computer system or similar information processing device); thin clients 766 (systems which typically use a form of internet web browser to access remote information and services); mobile phone 768 providing identical functionality to telephone 760; facsimile machine 770 (used to issue instructions from printed pages and the like); and other devices 772 can include any compatible communication devices which are compliant with the communication systems 774.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, user [0113] 600 utilizes at least one of client communication devices 603 or other external communication devices 602 to form an ergonomic interface 728. Ergonomic interface 728 must use at least one of the following: telephony 780, wireless transceivers 782, ports and connections 784 or broadcast systems 786. Telephony 780 communicates through invention 10 through voice, fax, data and the like. Wireless transceivers 782 provide communication through radio or infrared transceivers 818. BLUETOOTH 814 is emerging as a wireless network technology of choice for both portable and non-portable devices alike. X10 816 is a wireless network technology. This technology is intended for use in communication between computers and domestic devices, including video recorders, televisions and the like. Ports and connectors 784 are traditional methods of physical connection between computers and peripherals, computer networks and the like. Broadcast systems 786 typify systems, which utilize mass unidirectional communication between a transmitting station and a large number of receivers.
  • The aforementioned, viewed as originating sources, have corresponding destinations contained within invention [0114] 10. To begin with, modems 796 originate and receive calls from other parties including voice, fax and data transmission. The PC-CARD 806 is traditionally used as a form of expansion slot for portable computers and is illustrated as a means of attaching an external mobile phone 808. External mobile phone 808 may be required for communication if the internal mobile phone 802 is temporarily incompatible with the environment in which invention 10 is situated.
  • Transceivers [0115] 798, viewed as local to invention 10 corresponds to transceivers 782. Transceivers 769 is the distant end of a wireless connection between invention 10 and user 600 or world 604. Broadcast receivers 794, which may optionally require a decoder 787 in order to decrypt signals, are used to receive TV, radio and global positioning information 810.
  • An object of invention [0116] 10 is to increase the use of integrated WWW telephony, commonly referred to as IP communication or voice over IP, IP meaning WWW protocol. In pursuance of this goal, telephone companies 790 and similar are linked to WWW communication 792 through gateways and WWW service providers 793. The integration of subscription and billing information of the IP communication is described in detail in FIG. 8. Communications systems terminate at checkpoint 812 where communication with invention 10 is secured and filtered as described in FIG. 4.
  • Referring FIG. 4, checkpoint [0117] 812 has a primary object of maintaining the security of the system and confidentiality of stored, received and transmitted information. Considering that the personal characteristics of user 600 may change, either temporarily or permanently, layered security 840 has been invented to accommodate said change. It is possible that authentication of user 600 will fail when one of the methods in security 840 is used, in which case an alternative method is used until the authentication process is completed successfully.
  • Layered security [0118] 840 contains voice recognition 870; a novelty of invention 10 is that a sentence is constructed from random words taken from the recorded vocabulary of user 600, and user 600 is required to speak the sentence of random words. The voice recognition system rejects the user's request for authentication if any word is mispronounced.
  • If user [0119] 600 had only a single spoken password, then this could be recorded and played back during a security attack. The random sentence approach renders recording and playback useless in this case. Facial recognition 871 is used in a traditional way to recognize key facial features of user 600. Fingerprint recognition 872 is used to authenticate user 600 who is required to touch a small scanning device, which reads the surface of the finger. Signature verification 873 uses a digitizing process, which allows user 600 to sign on a graphics tablet in order to authenticate a unique signature or sequence of pen strokes. Electronic identity card 874 is a standard form of security, using a magnetic strip or miniature transceiver mounted on a plastic card or similar form factor. Password authentication allows user 600 to enter a sequence of alphanumeric characters or other symbols.
  • Once authentication has been achieved, the flow of information passes through various devices within invention [0120] 10, also reaching universal converter 900. As information flows between checkpoint 812 and universal converter 900, a number of filter processes are applied including; content control 842 which governs the nature of material entering invention 10, as user 600 may allow other users to utilize invention 10 and where care must be taken to prevent offensive material being presented to people who do not desire this information; anti-virus protection 842 which is a constantly updated device which scans documents for viruses as information enters invention 10; compression 843 which is a method of reducing the size of a document in order for it to be stored on a low capacity medium or transmitted from invention 10; encryption 844 which is a device which scrambles information to protect its content and is applied to stored and transmitted information and confidentiality which is a novelty of invention 10, whereby all recipients contained in an address book are marked to indicate that each recipient may or may not receive confidential documents. If an attempt is made to transmit a confidential document to a recipient who lacks indication for receipt of such information then the transmission is blocked by invention 10 and user 600 is notified. Others 846 are those filters and security checks, which may be required by other professional tools, operations models or by user 600.
  • Checkpoint [0121] 812, being the overall container for aforementioned security checks and filters, is coupled with quarantine 848 which is an area designed to store documents which are unchecked or have failed to pass through Checkpoint 812, perhaps due to the presence of a virus or other reasons. For example, a document containing a virus will be placed in quarantine 848, or, a confidential document, which was destined for an unauthorized recipient, will be held in quarantine 848. User 600 is required to take individual action on a per-document basis to clear items from quarantine 848.
  • Converter [0122] 900 is also closely related to motherboard 618 so that access can be gained to input devices 820 and output devices 822, both being a collection of contemporary peripheral hardware, which may ultimately be utilized as sources and outputs for the conversion process.
  • Unified sheet-feeder [0123] 850, known in the art, provides paper management within the client hardware platform 616, whereby paper is fed into at least one device being a printer, document scanner or combined printing and scanning device. Sensors 828 is a collection of devices used by invention 10 to collect information regarding the environment of user 600. Said information may be recorded and stored for later recall, utilizing a corresponding emitter 830.
  • Moving now to FIG. 5, an overall summary is formed of the client hardware platform [0124] 616 and those parts of invention 10 which are resident therein, now collectively referred to as client processor 910, meaning all parts of invention 10 which are close to user 600 as opposed to those distant devices that form part of any corresponding WWW system and the like. The devices comprising client processor 910 are encapsulated within boundary line 911. Said system 910 is now a mobile device, supporting many forms of inbound and outbound communication, providing for connection of many compatible external devices such as professional tools 628, containing client communication devices 603 and being subject to optional control by user 600 through the use of any compatible communication device including those in external devices 602.
  • Details of the corresponding server's client hardware platform [0125] 616 and software elements are disclosed in FIG. 5, block 638, which obviates some of those devices known to be required to form a WWW service provider. List 914 now obviates the corresponding list of professional, personal and domestic devices, which may be replaced with identical functionality contained within system 910. Being mobile, portable and universal, the said system supports user 600 in any language and sensible and feasible environment in one integrated package.
  • However, invention [0126] 10 is known to function on other hardware platforms such as those supplied by personal computer manufacturers, such as DELL, COMPAQ and ACER, all of whom provide desktop and mobile computing solutions, though in order to support all functionality of invention 10, the addition of all disclosed input and output devices is required and said manufacturer's computing systems must be connected to proprietary server 638 and related WWW systems. Furthermore invention 10 is known to function without any specialized “client” hardware, utilizing only a common form of communication such as those listed in external communication devices 602 used to send and receive information to and from the invention. Continuing, where invention 10 is embodied purely as a collection of software services residing on a WWW server, where the disclosed manner of storing, publishing, distributing and optimizing of procedures are implemented. In the art, such an embodiment is referred to as an Application Service Provider (ASP). An ASP provides access to software for a potentially massive number of users; each user having a basic device possessing a minimum amount of hardware, required to support input and output operations, where the majority if not all of the software resides on the WWW Server or similar network server, owned by the ASP. Again, in the art, the terms “thin client” are used to describe a device normally utilizing a WWW browser or GUI, in order to facilitate communication with a WWW server or other server, where information processing occurs.
  • FIG. 6 further summarizes the system to a single page view, but provides a context for the functionality within converter [0127] 900 now further disclosed. Universal converter 900 is a device that converts information, in analogue or digital form, from any input format to any output format where sensible and feasible. “Sensible” means that the conversion provides some benefit to user 600, resulting in increased performance in related communications systems and devices, or increases the number of types of communication available to user 600; “feasible” meaning that the conversion is actually possible within a technical context using existing contemporary information technology devices. A collection of conversion utilities is held internal to converter 900, each having an ability to convert an input to at least one output. For example, utility A converts facsimile to text, utility B converts text in English to text in French, utility C converts French text to audible speech, therefore, utilities can be coupled end-to-end in a pipeline fashion where the output of one utility is compatible with the input of zero or more other utilities. The example shows that A linked to B linked to C results in a conversion from a facsimile document to spoken French. Many utilities exist that convert data formats, such as spreadsheets, word-processor documents and sound files and the like, enabling converter 900 to draw upon an increasing source of utilities and, therefore, increasing the number of compatible inputs and outputs.
  • Continuing with FIG. 7 which illustrates the disclosed operations models [0128] 640 and specializations thereof, including said model of administration model 642. Backup 630 is now disclosed in more detail in so far as it contains a snapshot, being the entire information content as stored by invention 10 at a particular moment governed by user 600. Backup 630 relates to items arranged within real world objects 646 to areas within backup storage. Such that content of smart archive 1000 is a copy of smart archive 958; personal data 1002, address book 1004 is a copy of address book 964, task list 1006 is a copy of evolving task list 672, diary 1008 is a copy of diary 962, preference list 1010 is a copy of updated preference list 674, domestic appliances 1012 is a copy of domestic appliances 984, personal trainer log is a copy personal trainer 675, incoming/outgoing log 1016, web directory is a copy of the preferred websites of user 600 generated by web browser 974. Others 1020 relates to copies of data generated by professional tools and the like. Media center selections 972 is a copy of options settings created by media center 972.
  • Temporary backup [0129] 632 is a portable backup device, connected in an ad hoc fashion, using at least a cable or wireless transceivers 782, in order that data changed since the last backup to 630 is now copied to backup 632. Backup 632 is any device with at least random access memory and an input output controller such that information transfer can occur to and from temporary backup 632.
  • Referring to FIG. 8, the universal conversion module [0130] 624 is explained in detail. Each of Blocks 302, 304, 305, 306 and 307 are each conversion utilities. For example, Block 302 may be a conversion utility such as DRAGON DICTATE. This program converts speech to text. Block 304 may be another conversion utility such as WINFAX. This converts one word processor's format to another, or one spread sheet format to another. Blocks 306 might be used to converts text to speech. Each of blocks 302 to 307 have at least one input and at least one output, further identified as T1-T6 and T1 to T4, and T6-T8, respectively. As can be seen, there is no output for T5.
  • Network [0131] 320 is shown with compatible inputs connected together with their corresponding outputs. Thus, a conversion matrix is created. For example, T1 308 is sensible and feasible communication form such as speech in English. T1 308 passes through conversion process 310, such as DRAGON VOICE DICTATION to T6 316 which a text output in English. Continuing through conversion process 312 which could be fax handling such as WIN FAX, output T2 314 is provided as a fax transmission. Similarly, T2 314 passes through to conversion process 316, such as translation package to reach T7 318 which provides text in German. Consequently, as noted above, by networking the conversion tools together, any sensible and feasible communication format can be converted to any other format.
  • The illustrated embodiments of the invention are intended to be illustrative only, recognizing that persons having ordinary skill in the art may construct different forms of the invention that fully fall within the scope of the subject matter appearing in the following claims. [0132]

Claims (18)

    What is claimed is,
  1. 1. A method of information processing using a computer having a screen, said method comprising the steps,
    clicking at least one button on said screen of said computer;
    selecting at least one option from a predefined field;
    defining a procedure based on steps 1 and 2;
    storing said procedure in a dynamic procedure list if said procedure is different from all procedures in said dynamic procedure list;
    executing said procedure to complete a task.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of triggering said procedure through an event occurring within said computer.
  3. 3. The method of claim I further comprising the step of triggering said procedure through an event occurring external to said computer.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1 wherein said at least one button is selected from the group consisting of tool bar buttons and dialog buttons.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1 wherein said option is selected from the group consisting of radio buttons, check boxes and combo-boxes.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1 wherein said procedures is additionally defined using an extracted item wherein said item is defined as a document associated with its properties.
  7. 7. The method of claim 1 wherein said procedures is additionally defined using a created item wherein said item is defined as a document associated with its properties.
  8. 8. A method of security to present an unauthorized user from using a computer, said method comprising the following steps:
    displaying a plurality of words in an authorized user's language;
    recording the user's verbal responses to each of said plurality of displayed words to define to a security word list;
    randomly selecting from said security word list a plurality of words that defines an authorized word list;
    recording a potential user's utterances in response to said authorized list; and
    comparing said potential user's utterances of said authorized word list to said authorized user's responses of said authorized word list wherein an authorization is granted or denied to said potential user based on said comparison step.
  9. 9. The method of security of claim 8 further comprising at least one of the following methods, in any order, selected from the list of methods consisting of:
    using facial recognition techniques;
    using fingerprint scanning techniques;
    using signature verification programs;
    using password entry to grant access; and
    using other voice recognition techniques.
  10. 10. A computer apparatus comprising:
    a microprocessor:
    at least one output device;
    at least one input device;
    at least one landline modem;
    at least one cellular modem;
    at least one memory storage device;
    a universal communications module having a converter; wherein said microprocessor, said at least one output device, said at least one input device, said at least one landline modem, said at least one cellular modem and said universal communications module are integrated with one another to provide an ergonomic interface having multi-functionality and housed together within a portable, mobile case.
  11. 11. The computer apparatus of claim 10 further comprising a substantially indestructible module that is adapted to storing the information contained within said computer.
  12. 12. The computer apparatus of claim 10 further comprising a backup device that is associated with said computer via a wireless connection.
  13. 13. The computer apparatus of claim 10 further comprising computer software utilizing the method claimed in claim 1.
  14. 14. A computer apparatus comprising software utilizing the method of claim 1.
  15. 15. The computer apparatus of claim 14 wherein said computer communicates with a proprietary application service provider also utilizing the method of claim 1.
  16. 16. The computer apparatus of claim 14 wherein said computer is a thin client.
  17. 17. The computer apparatus of claim 16 wherein said thin client communicates with proprietary application service provider utilizing the method of claim 1.
  18. 18. A method of universal conversion of one format of communication to another format of communication, said method comprising the steps of:
    Selecting a plurality of communication conversion tools, wherein each of said communication conversion tools has at least one input format and at least one output format;
    Networking said communication conversion tools together such that a conversion matrix is provided, wherein said conversion matrix connects like output formats to like input formats of said communication conversion tools;
    Inputting a communication form;
    Informing said network the communication format of said inputted communication form;
    Choosing an output communication format;
    Matching said input communication form to said output communication format via said matrix;
    Outputting the chosen communication form.
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