research app


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  1. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    I'm looking to have an app developed that counts the number of button presses during a day. It will not log the keys that were pressed. Just a total of key presses. This will be used with a questionnaire about cell phone use which will be used for a study called project iThumb at the University of Waterloo (Canada). If the app, or another, could also record the amount of time you spend doing different things on your phone (gaming, browsing, emails, texting, scheduling, listening to music), that would also be very helpful. The app would record these things and when the participant brings their phone in, we would then dl the info from their phone to insure that they are willing to divulge this information.

    Does anyone know if this app already exist or if it can be made?

    Thanks

    D
     

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  2. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    Hey, I go there!

    My guess would be that you wouldn't be able to have knowledge of every key press from an app unless you installed a custom version of the Android OS on it. Then it may or may not actually be easy but I'm guessing this defeats the purpose seeing as your subjects wouldn't want their phone wiped and have a fresh version of android installed.

    Here is my source:
    Keypress and touch event debugging - android-platform | Google Groups

    Short answer, if you want to wipe your subjects phones and install a custom modified version of android it's possible.

    Doable but likely not a feasable solution for your use case.
     
  3. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hey,

    So would it be possibly to make an app that could record how much time your spend texting, emailing, IM, scheduling, browsing, calling, listening to music, watching videos, taking pictures and gaming automatically. So we could just install the app on their phone and it would record how much time is spent doing each (or most) of those things?

    D
     
  4. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    Well I know for a fact it's possible to see all running services on a phone because applications like 'Task Killers' exist. Furthermore through a quick look in the developer reference manual I found the following property that would be on all applications which would let you know if the application is being viewed by the user.

    public int importance The relative importance level that the system places on this process.
    and
    int IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND Constant for importance: this process is running the foreground UI.

    This could get you to the point where you have a percentage of the amount of time that a user has run a certain application. However you would need someone to categorize the apps that the user has run, alot could be automatically categorized however some would have to be manually categorized. But thats what grad students are for right?

    I could look into this for you because it sounds like it might be interesting to code. I don't have a working computer right now though and I don't know how soon I will have it (it's being repaired) because of this it would probably take me around a month and a half to get any kind of prototype working.
     
  5. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hey,

    So you think it would be possible to make this app which we could install on anyones android phone and have it log the time spent doing those above mentioned tasks recorded so we can dl the info when they bring their phone in? Also would it be possible to indicate if they left the task open and then just forgot about it? Say someone reads an email and then just sets their phone down without closing their email. It would log the time until they exit the email and start another task right. Could you make it so if the phone went into standby/the screen went dark that it would log the time as being not in use? Just so we dont have a task where someone read an email for an hour when actually it was only 2 minutes. Also we would want it so each individual tasks' time is recorded. So 2 min for this email and 4 for this one, not 6 min for emails. This way we have raw data that can be used in more ways if we need to.

    D
     
  6. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    Yes, you could just download the app from the market place and install it on anyones android phone and log the data of which application is being used, when, and for how long. It could be saved in a spreadsheet file on the phone and then just downloaded off of the phone when necessary. I believe it would be possible to determine when the phone is sleeping and log the time as not being in use.

    Doing things specific to an application like determining when a user sends/views e-mails is signicantly trickier. Not only are there probably dozens of e-mail sending applications available for android but you would need some kind of way to interface with each e-mail client to make the e-mail client tell you when a user is viewing an e-mail. The same would go for texting or figuring out which song a user is listening to, that kind of reporting would require the e-mail client or music application or text messaging application to have some kind of way to access itself. So this granularity of reporting is not feasable.

    When would you want the app?
     
  7. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    Would you be able to tell what each app they are using does? Or just the name? Also could you determine when people are just using the internet to send emails? Same thing with SMS. Things like Kik (or if theres another BBM type thing for android)other text messaging would be hard to determine but if we could get the time for sms that would be a big help. Also we do not need to know whats in the email or what song it is. Just the amount of time spent doing each app. We have a questionnaire we are having people fill out with these questions and we want to use this app as a kind of verification for the questionnaire.
    We would want the app fairly soon. The Prof is looking into his finances to see what money has availible so I should know more about that kind of stuff shortly.

    D
     
  8. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    Just the name, but it would be possible to get a list of apps that are e-mail apps, or a list of apps that are texting apps, then arrange things into categories. Any apps not in the list would have to go to manually be checked.

    I doubt it would be possible to see if someone is using the internet for e-mails or a browser or anything like that.

    It MAY be possible to find out when a user sends SMS messages, although I'd have to look into that further.

    I doubt it would be possible to figure out when an e-mail is sent. I also doubt it is possible to see when a user is reading a certain e-mail.

    The final result would be something like this:

    Gmail, 30,
    Phone, 60,
    Angry Birds, 120,
    The Weather Channel, 3,
    Facebook, 30,
    Wikidroid, 10,
    Browser, 40,
    Handcent SMS, 5,
    Messaging, 4,
    Idle, 1440,

    In addition I could have it also have a spreadsheet like:
    Gmail, 1:30 pm - 1:45 pm,
    Idle, 1:45 pm - 2:01 pm,
    Messaging, 2:01 pm - 2:05 pm,
    .
    .
    .
    .

    I may or may not be able to add SMS times and call times on the above spreadsheet. When I finish the above I'll see if I have time to investigate adding additional functionality.

    Programming takes time, since I don't have my computer right now I am not sure when I can finish. Since I am doing it in my free time and have a full time job I'm not sure when I can finish.
     
  9. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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  10. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    A list of apps would be good. Just the most widely used ones. If there is an app that isn't on the list we cna look it up and categorize it manually. I have found a couple apps for my blackberry that tell me when I was looking at my email. They did not tell me when for how long I was writing my email though. So something like that would help/should be possible. I don't know much about programming but I figured since Android was open source that it would be possible to do more. Any information from texting would be useful. We do not want what the message says though for privacy reasons.
    We would want it in the spreadsheet format so we can easy manipulate the data how we want to.
    Time line looks good to me. What is your quote for the app? I wouldn't go too far into writing this app until we work out a payment. It would have to be a contract pay. So we pay __$ for you making the app however long it takes.
    Are you on campus this term?
     
  11. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    I'm mostly doing it for a hobby, I'd do it for $XX dollars though just for resume bragging rights so I could say I got paid for android app development. It really is an arbitrary number. I am doing a workterm right now in Waterloo, very close to campus.

    I would also only work on it under the condition that I have rights to the source code and can use it in any way I want afterwords. Since you are not trying to make a profit off of the app or the source code I don't see why this would be a problem. I will of course give you a copy of the source code incase you want to modify the program at any point afterwords.

    Android being open source makes it significantly more powerful and means you can do alot more. However any modifications to Android itself (not an app but android itself) would require you to wipe everyones phone and reinstall a custom version which obviously isn't what you need since you need to install it on multiple subjects' phones. You do need to make a distinction however between the Android OS being open source and the applications running on the OS being closed source.

    I can look into adding more complex features and interacting with e-mail apps after I finish the core functionality of logging the time a user spends on each application. Because of the vast number of different e-mail apps on an android phone and the fact that a special interface would need to be made for each one, I cannot promise anything.

    Putting it into spreadsheet format would be easiest and best way to do it.

    Still waiting on my computer, I'm hoping it will be shipped back to be soon. Maybe at the end of next week.
     
  12. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hey,

    Sorry I took so long to get back to you but I've been off sick with tonsillitis. I'll send an email to my boss about all of this and we'll go from there.

    D
     
  13. blandger

    blandger Member

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    It seems your estimate is too optimistic. :)

    I would recommend to start from most hard tasks, proof of concepts for them and find solutions before digging into app programming.
    'Fugure out how to check if user process' is far from reality, imho.
    As for me you can double or even triple your estimated 50 hours.
     
  14. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    Hey, thanks for your advice! It turns out it was fairly easy to check to see if a user is using a process. I have to do some more fine tuning and testing to make sure I have everything working but android provides a facility to see all running applications and applications have an item on them which can be tested to see if it's visible to the user. I have a proof of concept right now that prints out the current application the user is using in the status bar.

    I think the biggest trouble will be writing out the data in a good format, optimizing the app so it doesn't severly drain battery life, and of course fine tuning and bug fixing.
     
  15. GingerEffect

    GingerEffect Active Member

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    No problem, Sounds good.

    I'm working on it right now in the mean time regardless out of curiosity. I have a proof of concept if your interested that currently works, it prints the current application in the notification bar. Send me an e-mail if you'd like to see it.
     
  16. d4hall

    d4hall Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hey,

    dont see your email anywhere but I sent a private msg to you over the forum with mine in it.

    D
     

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