Inspiration

I was listening to NPR's TED Talks show, and the speaker said how the 90-year Calendar had changed his life. I perked up. Apparently, he was referring to another TED talk and how that speaker had slipped in the 90-year Calendar idea at the end of his talk. Then he explained the concept. As soon as I got home, I fired up Excel and made a 90-year Calendar for everyone in my household.

What it does

The 90-year Calendar shows your life if you live to be 90 years old, as a series of weekly X's, crossing out the weeks you've already lived. Then, you populate those weeks with the significant events of your life. For example, births, deaths, moves, marriages, etc. What you end up with, is a snapshot of your life, and how much time you have remaining. What are you going to do with what you have left?

How I built it

As an Alexa skill, I really wanted to capture the visual aspect of the 90-year Calendar. I started with using Alexa Presentation Language (APL) to render the X's as SVG elements. My Alexa skill's lambda function is written in Python.

Challenges I ran into

The documentation for APL and APL for Audio (APLA) are mostly written in JavaScript. As a Python developer, I found myself struggling to translate the documentation from JavaScript to Python. I also had difficulty scaling the Calendar, which is best presented in Portrait mode, to Alexa screens that are basically Landscape mode.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm proud of being able to get the APL to render correctly at different sizes.

What I learned

APL, APLA, SVG.

What's next for 90-year Calendar

I need to be able to capture and store a customer's life events and accomplishments and then render those in the Calendar view.

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