Posts made in August, 2012

Founders discuss Mindings on community radio

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Media

Founders discuss Mindings on community radio

Stu discussing Mindings with Streetlife Radio Presenter Jason Bird (Mindings running in the background!)

Today Mindings‘ creators Stuart Arnott and Ian Pleasance appeared on StreetLife Radio’s “Lunchtime Jam Show” with presenter Jason Bird.

Streetlife Radio is Waltham Forest’s only community radio station, and is run from Waltham Forest College. It’s a true community radio station, run by students from the college, as well as partners such as the Waltham Forest Youth Support Service, providing free training opportunities for the unemployed and engagement opportunities with Forest YMCA and the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

Living in the area, Stuart and Ian were invited on for the two-hour show.  They discussed Mindings and some of the wider subjects of  social care and digital inclusion – Stuart being a presenter on the “Disruptive Social Care Podcast“.  They also managed to fit in answering pop-quiz questions, dancing to Agadoo, and discussing Terry Wogan singing “The Floral Dance” (Stuart insists the reason was to do with the power of a picture or a song to stir memories…)!

A video may follow…

The Mindings Team

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Mindings beta-testing foreign language support

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Features

We were recently touched by the story of an elderly Chinese man, living with dementia, in a care home outside London. He speaks almost no English so his communication with others is very limited – compounding the feelings of loneliness and confusion that dementia brings. So, it raised the question, could Mindings work with non-Roman characters?

This is something that we’d considered before as clearly the people who could benefit from Mindings most of all would be people with families living a great distance away. In particular, young Chinese and Asian people – great world travellers – living far away from their parents and grandparents.

However, on hearing the story we thought, “let’s just give it a try”. An afternoon later we had it crudely working. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start!

The good news too, is that it’s not just Chinese. We’ve added the following fonts:

  • Batang (Korean)
  • Browallia (Thai)
  • YaHei (Simplified Chinese)
  • MingLiu (Traditional Chinese)
  • JengHei (Japanese)
  • Traditional Arabic (Arabic)
  • David (Hebrew)

So, we’re looking for some help! We’d love to have beta testers try it our for us.

  • Are you a native speaker of any of the above languages?
  • Do you have a family member who might like to set Mindings up in their home to try it out?
  • Can you let us know what tools people use on iPhones, Android phones, Blackberries etc to send text messages and run calendars with non-Roman fonts?

If anyone would like to help us, get in touch and we’ll set you up with a free test account!


The Mindings Team

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New shared calendar feature lets families co-ordinate care

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Features, News

New shared calendar feature lets families co-ordinate care

Mindings has four core features – captioned pictures, text messages, social media content and a calendar.  Whilst being useful we’ve always been aware that the calendar was a bit basic. We’d always planned to update it, but we considered it “good enough” for now. And then we learned something…

You likely already know that Mindings was cared by founder Stuart Arnott for his technology-shy family. The sharing of pictures was the primary motivation, with text messages and sharing Facebook pictures and Statuses coming close behind. The calendar was a bit of an afterthought so not a lot of thought went into it.

When Mindings was rolled out to beta testers, it was quickly discovered that few people actually used the calendar. It was just too basic and difficult to use from a mobile device. Then, one day, one of our beta testers who uses Mindings with her mother who lives with Alzheimer’s said “if someone is caring for a person with a serious medical condition it’s unlikely that only one person is doing the caring”.

At that point we realised that a new calendar was a necessity. So we set to work, and it’s now been rolled out to the live site for everyone to use. So, with the new calendar:

  • It can be linked to external calendars (such as iCal and Google Calendar) for true multi-user use.
  • We have a new, clean and intuitive display for ease-of-use.
  • New options have been created to use the calendar – for example as the day goes on, events that have passed will fade out

We’ll let you know about more features we’ve added, but in the meantime go to the “Calendar” tab in the Mindings Admin Site and have a play!

The Mindings Team

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How Mindings new feature lets you know your loved-one is okay

Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in Features

GotIt!One of the most powerful features of Mindings is GotIt!

With GotIt! the person using Mindings can let the sender of a picture or message know that it’s been received.

GotIt! works across different kinds of content – pictures, text messages (“Text-O-Grams“) and Facebook. It works in different ways and does different things, but the point is that all the user needs to know is that by touching the GotIt! icon on the bottom right of the screen (or pressing the Space Bar if they’re using Mindings on a computer) they’re letting the sender know they’ve seen the picture or message.

So, what does GotIt! actually do when the user touches the icon?

  • If you sent an SMS text message to Mindings, GotIt! send you a text message back
  • If you sent a picture via email, GotIt! send you an email back to the same address
  • If you sent a picture via MMS, GotIt! send you a text message back to the same phone number

and if you have Mindings connected to the users Facebook account

  • If a Facebook picture is displayed, GotIt! “Likes” the picture on the senders Facebook account
  • If a Facebook Status is displayed, GotIt! “Likes” the Status on the senders Facebook account

A Text-O-GramSo, by sending pictures and messages to Mindings, you get responses back – letting you know the user is well, and interacting with the world.  How reassuring is that?

And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve added two additional features.

  • We’ve made GotIt! optional
  • We’ve added the option for Text-O-Grams to “pause” Mindings.

We’ve found that by making Text-O-Grams pause Mindings, the user is more likely to notice the message and respond (motivated by wanting to see pictures of their family again!). Once the user acknowledges the Text-O-Gram Mindings continues.

So, go to the “General Settings” tab in the Mindings Admin Site and try it out!

The Mindings Team

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