Archive for category Android

Bluetooth and how its used in POSIT

Hi everyone! My name is Elias Adum and I am a part of the UCOSP Winter 2012. I’m currently in the POSIT team and I’d like to talk about Bluetooth technology and how we are currently using it in our project.

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices. It creates small networks with high levels of security that can connect several devices to exchange information.

I decided to implement a Bluetooth synchronization plugin for POSIT because I wanted to provide users with an additional method to share Finds. I realized that there will be cases where users will have no access to a WI-FI or data connection but there will still be a need to transfer and/or update Finds from one device to another.

To use the plugin, the user can go to ‘View Finds’ and select from the menu options ‘Bluetooth Sync’. Then from the menu options one can either connect to another device or make own device discoverable to others. After the connection is established, the user selects the Finds he/she wants to sync and clicks the ‘Send Selected’ button and voila! Finds will be transferred from one device to the other.

I really hope this plugin proves useful for our POSIT users!

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FBI vs Android Locks

Hello everybody! My name is Andrew Matsusaka, one of the Winter 2012 UCOSP Team members. Instead of posting about project updates found here I’d like to talk about security today, starting off with the power of Android locking mechanism.

Android devices have a locking mechanism that can be very difficult to break. After a certain number of failed attempts, the user’s Google e-mail address and password is required to access the information. Since so much personal data is stored on these devices, it’s nice to know that even the FBI can’t break in.

According to this article from Wired, the FBI was unable to access a suspects personal data during an investigation. You would think the FBI with all of their expertise in security would be able to access the data through various means. After consulting with several forensic experts, it appears the Android locking system cannot be bypassed through software. The next step would be reaching the data via hardware, however that carries risk of damaging the phone and losing the data itself.

The only way to gain access to that data was by issuing a warrant for data retrieval from Google. Apparently it is fairly common for personal data to be provided to law enforcement for some investigations. Google released a statement saying: “Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal process. Whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.”

When mentioning this topic to the rest of the team, Yemi mentioned a program called TrueCrypt that is designed to allow hiding encrypted data while at the same time having legal plausible deniability. For those of you interested in maintaining their data with utmost secrecy may want to give this program a try.

The subject of online security is becoming a bigger concern as technology becomes a larger part of our lives. Just to give you a jump start, an article by LifeHacker called How to Stay Secure Online covers basic steps many of us should be taking when using the Internet.

On another note, just to put some faces to our developers for this Winter 2012 UCOSP team, I found a picture taken of us during the Vancouver code sprint.

UCOSP Winter 2012 Team

From left to right: Brittney Franzoi, Rob McDiarmid, Andrew Matsusaka, Yemi Ilupeju, Elias Adum, Eric Enns

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POSIT: Project Launch Summary

Over the past few weeks the POSIT team has been developing our project ideas for the term. The small nature of our team allows for a lot of detailed feedback and guidance from our mentors during our weekly meetings. Their input has helped our project proposals reach their current level and put us on the road to achieving our goals for this semester. Here’s what we’re working on:


1. Ensure a consistent user interface between the phone and tablet. Below is the updated tablet design:

2.  Develop a generic synching library for all synching procedures so that new synchronization methods can be easily implemented in the future.

3. Enhance the map display to allow for the grouping of Finds by location. This will give users the ability to easily discover patterns of interest in their Finds.

4. Improve the Bluetooth communication of Finds to simplify information sharing between users.

5. Allow for the “scanning” of bar codes to read in Find information using the phone’s camera.

6. Toggle Plugins on/off, such as the SMS, Twitter, or Tracker Activity Plugins, so that testing is less intrusive to the rest of the application.

We’re enthusiastic and can’t wait to see the improvements take effect!

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POSIT: Tools to help our meetings

As the UCOSP term continues on our weekly meetings become more elaborate and sometimes being able to showcase how the app works is key. Since we use Google+ hangouts we are able to share our own computer’s screen or a window. We have used this feature to look at specific code in eclipse and to in the early meetings to demonstrate the POSIT project site. To showcase POSIT on our phones we have had to hold up our phones to our webcam which would be unsteady and sometimes blurry.

So I decided that I should find a solution to this. I armed myself with my Google search knowledge and searched away. These searches led me too and both apps which will copy and display the screen buffer through an adb connection on your computer in a window. Both had similar features with android screencast having the ability to accept certain inputs from the computer.

In our last weekly meeting I demoed these applications and expect to see them as a common utility used in our upcoming meetings.

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POSIT: UCOSP Winter 2012 begins!

Hello! My name is Yemi and I am a part of the POSIT team this year. Throughout this season, myself and the rest of the Winter 2012 team will be blogging our fun developments, fixes and ideas we come up with. By now, you are probably wondering who the rest of the team is so let me introduce them:

In this team: Andrew Matsusaka, Eric Enns, and myself (University of Manitoba), Elias Adum, Brittney Franzoi, and Rob McDiarmid (University of Toronto). The team is headed up by Ralph Morelli (POSIT mentor) and he is helped by Trishan de Lanerolle.

By the way, everyone on the team is a real stand-up guy (and girl :D ) and they really know their stuff!

This year, the POSIT team had its UCOSP code sprint in Vancover from Jan 20-Jan 22. We all stayed at the Holiday Inn and did the 40 minute trip from there to the University of British Columbia for the better part of that weekend. All code meetings were held at the UBC and it was quite an experience! We even had the right distribution of MAC to PC users (even :P )

To help coordinate our meetings and because Skype is so passe, Google Hangouts was our weapon this time. Don’t laugh:

HFOSS UCOSP Group google hangout

HFOSS UCOSP Group Google hangout

During the weekend, we set up our environments on both laptops and phones (POSIT is an Android app). I can tell you that I am very excited about the possibilities of POSIT. I downloaded (by mistake) the medical version of the POSIT app and its cool how many ingenious ideas can come from the basic concept of creating Finds and manipulating that information from a central location.

Throughout this season, the team will identify app issues (because knowing is half the battle) and fixing them (because fixing is half our evaluation marks :D ). But i can tell you this, we polled ourselves as a team this past weekend and everyone on the team joined the POSIT project because of the good it can do, and its cool factor, of course, so expect good things!

Well that’s it for now. A line in our POSIT site says: “If you want to improve POSIT, we love you”. The whole team is raring to go get on coding, fixing and blogging, so yea,

“We love you too POSIT”.

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Ryan’s UCOSP Update

So the term has come to a close and I thought I’d give a short retrospective of my time working on POSIT. First of all, I’d like to thank all the people involved in UCOSP for making it what it is and letting us be involved in it. I know I’ve found it to be a very educational and rewarding experience, and I think the other students on my team feel the same way.

We started off the term with an experimental version of POSIT that had been rebuilt with a pluggable architecture that would hopefully make it a lot easier to customize the app according to clients’ needs. However, since the new architecture was fairly new, the actual functionality was pretty rough. For this reason, our UCOSP team spent much of the early part of the term helping Ralph and Rachel out with testing and patching bugs while they continued to build features back into the new architecture. As POSIT got incrementally nicer each week, we would then gleefully load the new version onto our phones and do horrible things to it until it broke.

Later in the term, as POSIT was getting more stable, we each chose individual projects to expand POSIT’s functionality. All of us eventually decided on function plugins for the app, which I believe have already been discussed by other members of my team. Here’s an overview of what my teammates have accomplished:

Twitter Plugin – Stanley had a neat idea early in the term to combine POSIT with Twitter. His plugin uses the Twitter4j library to give users the ability to post finds to their Twitter accounts. The wiki page for Stanley’s plugin is available here:

Camera Plugin – POSIT’s camera functionality is one of the things I found most striking about the app when I was first introduced to it. Gordon’s plugin puts the ability to take pictures and associate them with your find back into the app using the new architecture. Find out more about it on the plugin’s wiki page:

Tracker Plugin – Another nifty feature that was begging to be added back in is POSIT’s tracker functionality. It provides the ability to track the path of someone’s expedition when using the app. This was Kalin’s project, and you can read about it here:

Location Aware To Do Reminder Plugin – Without disparaging anyone else, I think Eric’s plugin is probably the coolest. His To Do plugin allows you to set reminders for yourself that are linked to a find’s location. It monitors your own location and will alert you when you are in close proximity to the reminder location. You can read all about it on the wiki page:

SMS Plugin – This was my plugin, so forgive me if I spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about it. I wanted to do something similar to what was done with the version of POSIT used in Haiti. The deployment of wireless Internet in Haiti isn’t exactly ubiquitous, so for them it was important that they be able to share data without relying on the Internet. For this reason, they built a whole synchronization system that used SMS messaging. My plugin’s functionality is a bit simpler than that. I implemented SMS functionality merely as a way of sending and receiving a single find over SMS. The tricky part about this was that, while the Acdi Voca app knew exactly what its Find object looked like, I had to contend with the fact that the user might be using a Find Plugin about which I don’t know the details. I’m pretty happy with the result, and my hope is that the code I have written will also be of help to anyone who wants to extend POSIT’s SMS functionality even further. The wiki page I created for the plugin is here:

And that just about wraps up everything I have to say! Thanks everyone again for letting me be involved with this. I think it’s great what you guys are doing and I wish you the best of luck in future terms.

Ryan McLeod

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POSIT: UCOSP Team Progress

Hello! My name is Gordon Leung and I’m in my final semesters of my Computing Science Degree from Simon Fraser University. I think POSIT is an application that can be used for fun as well as a practical tool for recording data. It not only allows users to share their favorite destinations, but can also be used to keep track of data when you’re out in the field.

Now it’s time for another progress report from the POSIT team! During the past few weeks, we have all been working hard to integrate our individual project proposals into the POSIT application. We’ve successfully integrated one of the student’s project proposals so far. This new functionality notifies the user when they have reached a point of interest! The user sets the reminder by specifying a particular date and location. When the user is near the location on the desired date, POSIT will notify the user of the reminder.

Another new functionality that is coming soon is the ability to tweet your finds. If tweeting your find isn’t satisfying enough, we’re also adding in the ability to send finds using SMS. We’re also adding back the basic functionality to take pictures of your finds. The tracker activity, which allows you to trace your route of how you came about your finds is also being reimplemented after being redesigned.

POSIT is becoming more and more awesome. But, during our progress we also faced many challenges. One of my biggest challenges is having to work with an emulator. Unfortunately I think I’ve reached the limitations of the emulator as our application has gotten more and more advanced. Programming on an actual phone probably would have made a huge difference in every aspect.

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