Time Manager (Emma) User Guide

 

Time Manager

Time Manager (also known as Emma) is a personalized calendar management tool that assists a user in scheduling meetings and organizing events, drawing on learned models of user preferences to provide solutions that are tailored to an individual. Time Manager does this by integrating commercially available calendaring tools and user-interface technology with state-of-the-art algorithms for scheduling, negotiation, and preference learning.

 

Within Time Manager, users can specify meeting requests through either a form-based or restricted natural language interface. Time Manager suggests possible options to the user, drawing on its model of current constraints and user preferences to produce solutions that are likely to suit a particular situation. With Time Manager’s interactive graphical interface, the user visualizes and manipulates current and potential schedules in a natural and intuitive manner. Information about preferences (the user's and others) can be displayed to help the user make appropriate scheduling decisions.

 

Time Manager's personalization builds on a number of learning capabilities. In particular, Time Manager learns

 

Learning occurs unobtrusively in the system, drawing on implicit feedback from user actions in response to choices presented by the underlying scheduling module in the system. Additionally, users can provide explicit feedback to improve the learning, in the form of ratings or rankings for scheduling options.

Installation

Users must perform the following steps to install and run the Emma client:

 

  1. Download and run the installation utility
  2. Run the configuration wizard (launches automatically on first use of Emma)
  3. Launch background Emma processes (launches automatically after installation)
  4. Launch scheduler UI with keystroke, tray icon, or shortcut
  5. Shutdown Emma

 

1. Download and run the installation utility

Download the installer using the download link on the Time Manager overview page and run it.  An installation wizard should appear.

 

IMPORTANT: On the last page of the wizard, we recommend that you leave the box labeled “Start Emma” checked. Doing this will start the background Emma process, which, in turn, will launch the configuration utility (described in the next step).

 

Note: A program group called CALO Emma will be added to your Start Menu. We recommend that you add the shortcut Run-Emma to the Startup group. This will add approximately four seconds to your boot time, but will make access to your calendar and scheduling functions almost instantaneous.

2. Run the configuration wizard

If you did not allow the installation utility to automatically run the configuration wizard, you must now start it manually. You will find a shortcut for this in your Start menu called Configure-Emma. It is critical that you complete the second pane of the wizard, which includes fields for your full name, your calendar ID, and your calendar password. The remaining panes are optional, but will help Emma know you better.

 

More detail on the configuration process is provided in the Configuration section.

3. Launch background Emma processes

Emma automatically starts after the installation, provided you leave the checkbox labeled "Start Emma" checked. To launch Emma manually use the shortcut: Start | Programs |CALO Emma | Start-Emma. When Emma starts, no user interface will appear. Instead, a blue emma_logo16 icon will appear in the Windows taskbar tray. Most of the Emma functionality can be accessed via right-click options on this icon.

4. Launch scheduler UI

To start a scheduling session, or simply to look at your calendar, do one of the following:

 

 

Any one of these three actions will launch a scheduling window that allows you to schedule a single meeting. Emma supports multiple scheduling windows to be active at any given time. If necessary, Alt-Tab can be used to bring the Emma window to the foreground. After scheduling a meeting (or to abort a scheduling task), simply close the scheduling window using the X icon in the upper-right corner.

5. Shutdown Emma

 

Beyond these steps, services that support Emma should be configured by the system administrator. See the README.TXT file in the installation package for more information.

 

Configuration

The configuration wizard enables you to initialize your identity, set the calendar server to store your scheduled meetings and events, define defaults, and initialize your preference model. Emma currently supports Zimbra and Google calendars. You should do this once before scheduling the first meeting. Emma allows the user to run the wizard at any time to change settings.

 

The configuration wizard can be started as follows:

 

The first pane of the wizard, shown below, outlines the contents of the wizard. Click Next to move on to the next pane.

 

startConfig.PNG

 

It is critical that you complete the second pane of the wizard, shown below, which includes fields for your full name and your calendar-access information. Fill in your name and email address. If Emma is connected to your LDAP server, it will fill in the email address automatically.

 

blankConfig2.PNG

 

To configure your calendar, select the box called "Calendar Configuration Dialog." This dialog can be accessed at any time via the menu item "Configure Calendars."

 

The dialog that appears, shown below, allows you to manage your accounts, and select particular calendars for viewing and scheduling.

 

preCalendarConfig.PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Select "Add account" or "Edit account" as appropriate. The account detail fields will appear, as below.

 

duringCalendarConfig.PNG

 

Complete the configuration fields by providing the following information (for either Zimbra or Google).

 

Zimbra Example:

 

Google Example:

 

If you enter the account information correctly and the calendar server is accessible, then all calendars in that account will appear, like below.

 

goodCalendarConfig.PNG

 

For each calendar, check or uncheck the following:

 

If you started the wizard using Configure-Emma, then you will automatically enter the preference wizard after completing the configuration process.

Preference Wizard

Emma's preference wizard allows you (optionally) to initialize your calendar assistant to reflect your preferences and needs. As you use the assistant, these preferences and needs are adjusted by Emma's learning capability to reflect more accurately your preferences in practice. The wizard allows you to specify

 

These declarations are made through the four windows illustrated below.

 

You can mark each 30-minute block in a week with a label that indicates how much you prefer meetings at that time. There are five labels, each of which can be selected on the left-hand side:

 

For example, to set “Preferred” times, click on the “Preferred” button in the left-hand toolbar. Then, click on 30-minute blocks to mark them as preferred. Clicking on a row or column will set many blocks at once.

 

Emma treats lunch as a special time. The pane above lets you direct Emma on how strongly to “protect” your lunch period. There are three options:

 

The option you choose will affect the ordering of scheduling options given by Emma.

 

 

Emma will deliver reminder “popups” about meetings. We intended to make these reminders customizable through this pane. However, in the current version these settings are not referenced, so you should skip this pane by clicking Next.

 

 

The relative importance pane above is optional and can be safely skipped. It allows you to indicate preferences over satisfying particular types of meeting constraints. Dragging one box above another box tells Emma that you find that box more important. Each box represents a different type of constraint:

Test Calendar Access

You can check that the calendar has been properly configured and that your calendar server is running as follows:

 

This will cause a dialog to appear that shows the results of several tests, including calendars. If the information says that calendar servers were not reachable, you should verify all the settings in the calendar configuration dialog.

Specify Rooms that You May Want to Book

 



After you complete your selection, Emma will keep track of the schedules for these rooms. Inside the scheduling window, the “Location” drop-down box will always show rooms that are available for the selected time.  The location feature is available only for Zimbra calendars for which rooms are configured. Consult your Zimbra system administrator to enable this feature for your account.

 

Scheduling Guide

Emma Capabilities

Emma can help you schedule meetings with one or more participants. It enables you to

 

Emma has the capability to

 

Typically, the organizer of a meeting will enter in preferences and constraints for a meeting, along with a list of desired participants. Based on schedule and preference information retrieved for other participants, the organizer will choose one or more possible meeting times. The organizer can optionally request feedback from other participants on multiple scheduling times before choosing. Participants will be notified by email of the meeting details both when the meeting is first scheduled and when changes are made. When possible, Emma will add and modify meetings directly on the calendars of other participants.

Start a Scheduling Session

To initiate a scheduling session or to simply look at your calendar, do one of the following

 

 

As shown above, the right side of the Emma interface displays a fully enabled calendar interface. This interface provides you with a view into your own calendar and the ability to manipulate events on that calendar. It also enables you to view your own preferences in the current context as well as the calendars and preferences of others.

 

You can drag an event (for which you are the organizer) to another time slot. With a right-click of the mouse, you can delete, reschedule, or modify that event. If the event is organized by someone else, then you can decline the event.

 

The left-hand portion of the Emma interface supports creation of new events. In the top third of the left-hand pane, you can specify features of the desired event; in the bottom third, you can dynamically see options; and in the middle third, the current candidate is displayed. You can iteratively explore, select, and refine a candidate event.

Specify Meeting Requirements

Most calendaring tools, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook, obtain meeting details by having the user fill in a form or enter natural language (NL) specifications of when to schedule the meeting in the calendar. In contrast, Emma allows you to specify the scheduling problem either directly or as a set of constraints that confine the scheduling options.

 

The information you provide can be less specific (an afternoon next week) or more specific (Bob is an optional participant). Emma provides an assisted NL interface to help you specify temporal constraints and preferences for the meeting, participant requirements, and other descriptive elements.

 

 

 

 

Whenever you add participants to the list, your Emma will attempt to retrieve their calendar information and preferences. If possible, Emma will pull down the schedules of the other participants directly from the server (Zimbra only). Otherwise, Emma will attempt to contact the Emmas of the other participants and request both schedule and preference information. For the other participants, each individual Emma will do all the work. The exception to this is when you use the “Explore options” feature described below.

 

Emma displays the date and time preferences of the other participants by changing the background color for each time slot. The colors are the same as those used in the preference wizard described above. The background color is the “average color” of all participants, including you. This allows you to pick the “greener” options, which are the time slots most participants prefer. To view the specific preferences of a single participant, mouse over that participant’s name in the lower-right pane of the calendar widget.

Explore Options

Emma enables you to explore options in different ways: by scrolling the mouse over the various options and seeing them highlighted relative to your own schedule and preferences, other peoples' schedules and preferences, or a combined view with all the schedules and preferences shown. You can also select a shortlist of potential solutions to send to the participants for rating. The user’s eventual choice will influence the system's preference model for that user. Options the user has at this stage include:

Customize an Option

You can also select and drag a specific time for a meeting by directly manipulating the calendar display.

 

 

You can help to train the preference learner by clicking the star at the top-left of the window to activate the five-star rating mechanism. This mechanism enables you to rate options for the current situation. Here is an example of the display.

 

Ask Participants to Rate Options

You can ask other participants to rate options by performing the following steps:

 

Commit to a Choice

To commit to a meeting simply invoke “Schedule This” for the desired option. The meeting will be added to your calendar and messages will be sent to each participant’s Emma asking for confirmation and commitment. Alternatively, you can opt to send a confirmation message by email.

After Scheduling

Once you finish scheduling a meeting, the other participants will be notified via email. Emma will attempt to put it on the calendars of the other participants (Zimbra only). Otherwise, if the other participants have Emma running, their Emmas will put the event on their calendars for them.

Changing and Deleting Meetings

 

After meetings are on your calendar, a meeting can be modified in several ways: (1) through drag and drop, (2) through dialogs on the calendar pane, and (3) through rescheduling by using the full Emma interface. Finally, you can delete a meeting from the calendar. We go through each of these options below.

 

It is important to understand that many calendar entries cannot be modified. For example, you often do not have permission to change calendar entries created or managed by others. In these cases, UI actions will be restricted, as explained below.

 

Changing Meeting Times through Drag and Drop

If you have permission to change a meeting, you can click and hold on the darker top bar of the meeting and drag it to a new location.

 

 

After you release the mouse button, a progress bar appears briefly and will disappear once the update has been made on the server.

 

If you do not have permission to modify, the meeting will stay locked in place when you try to drag it.

 

Changing Meeting Details through the Dialog Box

If you have permission to change a meeting, you can right-click on a meeting for editing options:

 

 

In the menu above, you can choose “Change Event Details”, which launches the dialog below.

 

 

This dialog lets you change the summary, the start and end times, the participants, and the location. If Zimbra is set up to use locations, the drop-down menu will show you locations (it does not filter those that are unavailable).

 

When you click Submit, the changes will be sent to the calendar server. Updates will be sent to all participants by email. If possible, Emma will automatically change the meeting for the other participants.

 

Changing Meeting Details through Rescheduling

In the right-click menu for a meeting (shown above), another option is “Reschedule Event”. This option takes you through the scheduling process again for this event, allowing you to check schedules and preferences of others and to utilize Emma’s ability to generate scheduling options.

 

When you select this option, a new scheduling window will appear with all meeting details filled in, just as you had them before choosing the option originally. You can go through the scheduling process in the same manner as when scheduling the first time.

 

Note that this feature is only available for meetings that you scheduled with Emma.

Deleting a Meeting

The final item on the right-click menu for a meeting (shown above) is “Delete Event”. This option will remove the meeting from your calendar and send notifications to all participants. If it is a recurring meeting, you will be asked whether you want to delete this instance or delete all instances.

 

When meetings involving other participants are added or deleted, those participants will simply get emails about the changes – they will not be asked questions or otherwise interrupted by the Emma interface. When possible, Emma will automatically update their calendars. If when rescheduling, you ask other users to rate scheduling options, they will be presented with a dialog.

Schedule from an Email Message

If you receive an email request announcing a meeting or asking for a meeting to be scheduled, you can copy the relevant text into your buffer and initiate a scheduling session directly by performing the following:

The meeting data will appear in Emma's meeting details window, thus seeding the scheduling process.

Generate a Free-Time List

You can generate a handy "free times" list to share with people requesting a meeting via email. Just specify any meeting constraints in the normal meeting details box and click on Generate Free Times List. The displayed list can be easily cut and pasted into an email message.