I just thought of a new project for my Jewish Calendar website. I want to create a Tellme extension so people can call an 800 number to get candle-lighting times.
Over the past 4 years, I have used my hebcal.com site as an experimental test-bed for various web technologies. It all started when I wanted to learn Perl CGI.pm, so I created a web interface to the hebcal for Unix command-line app. Then I decided to add hebrew text, so I had to study up on Unicode and UTF-8. I even decided to learn PHP by adding an email subscription feature (might’ve been a little easier if I had written it in Perl like the rest of the website, but I wanted to learn a new language).
The next obvious format to support would be VoiceXML. It looks pretty easy to hook into Tellme Studio so people could get candle-lighting times by telephone when they’re travelling. Instructions could be as simple as:
- Call Tellme at 1-800-555-TELL
- Say extensions
- Dial 00613
- Dial or say your 5-digit zipcode
- Listen to the candle-lighting times for your area
No fancy WAP-enabled cellphone needed. No clumsy embedded browser interface. Just a normal 12-button telephone and your voice.
Just gotta find the time to code the thing. It’ll probably get done before other ten hebcal feature requests that are in the queue.