I love Team Trafikks "Bus Oracle". Basically it's a web site where you can ask about bus schedules using "natural language". So you can give the "oracle" questions like "when does the next buss from A to B leave?", or even more advanced questions like "when do I have to take the buss from A to be at B after 19.00 Monday?". The "oracle" is implemented as a student project at NTNU, and made available by the bus company in Trondheim.
At the moment the “oracle” is available on Team Trafikks webpage or by SMS. There is no open service interface to implement your own clients, but I love to use this small, but brilliant service, as an example in various presentations. I’ve implemented both Live.com and Sidebar gadgets using the service previously, but I haven’t gotten around publishing a version running on the final version of Windows Vista until now!
The gadget is really simple and let you ask the “oracle” questions directly from your Windows Vista Sidebar. To install the Gadget simply click the button bellow:
Tip: A Gadget is just a zip compressed folder with a .gadget extension. In order to get the “proper” installation experience you need to add a new MIME header on your server. Simple register the application/x-windows-gadget MIME-type with the .gadget extension.
I’ve also written a MSN Messenger robot allowing you to ask the “oracle” questions directly using MSN Messenger. The robot have been a little unstable, but I’ve finally gotten around to make the code more robust and found a more reliable host for the server. To access the “oracle” on MSN, simply add firstname.lastname@example.org as a new contact on MSN Messenger.
If you live in Oslo there is a similar service available from Trafikanten. A MSN Messenger robot is available at email@example.com, and I’m currently working on a Sidebar Gadget version as well.