Here’s the video on Vimeo!
finally it’s over :D
I submitted a older version of code by accident tho… but nevermind, the bug is still there for both versions >_>
Here’s the video on Vimeo!
finally it’s over :D
I submitted a older version of code by accident tho… but nevermind, the bug is still there for both versions >_>
Where the Cool Things Are is a social networking platform presenting stories of different activities and objects around the city where users interact with mobile phone devices and real life objects. Where the Cool Things Are encourages interpersonal interaction by informing users the hottest and most discussed physical objects at their interest and share their thoughts and stories with others. Where the Cool Things Are requires web service and real-time location service to access the user location and gets the story entry ‘hot spots’ displayed on the personal device. Whenever the users encounter any interesting object or place with QR code attached could easily create a new story entry via their personal device, share what they think about this object or their interesting personal experience with others.
Categories and Subject Descriptors
D.3.3 [Programming Languages]: Language Constructs and Features – abstract data types, polymorphism, control structures. This is just an example, please use the correct category and subject descriptors for your submission. The ACM Computing Classification Scheme: http://www.acm.org/class/1998/
Social Network, QR Code, Mobile Phone, Design, Interaction, Interpersonal Communications, Tagging, Stories.
Internet of Things, Social Network, QR Code, Interpersonal Communications, Objects, J2ME, Design Computing, GPS, Real-time Location Service, Tagging.
The theme of my final year human-computer interaction project for the Design Computing course is how could mobile computing address matters of public interest including climate change, sustainability, public health, war, poverty and terrorism through a 「internet of things」?
Connecting people is a very important element of mobile phones, it is the one reason for people to use phone in the first place. Social networking web services like facebook and twitter are successful because they help users to keep in touch with people in the most efficient way. We email. We IM. We blog. We wiki. Ever since the rapid increase in internet and social network services’ popularity, people turn to social networking web services as a means of communication instead of face-to-face communication.
Social networking seems like a better tool for communication as we’re not distracted by the person’s physical presence and condition. We could easily spend hours on facebook or twitter and forget about the ‘real world’. Previous studies and reports tend to associate social networking as the death knell for face-to-face interaction.
Some recent studies show though, social networking drives to more face-to-face interaction opportunities indeed. Some users first make contact with people via the social network before actually meet them in person. In some cases, social network brings people that would have never met together offline. Despite the time spent on social networking, the research has shown that 27% people increased face-to-face social interaction.
Many social network users start their everyday with checking friends’ social status and updates – Digital Morning . Social network is now a part of their daily activities and also act as social glue between friends.
The concept of Where the Cool Things Are is decided base on this research result and creates a social networking platform. It is designed to encourage social networking users to strengthen their interpersonal communication by making contacts with people on the platform and interact with the real-life community around them by increase their chance to meet in real-life with ‘hot spots’.
2. TECHNICAL AND FUNCTIONAL DESCRIPTION
Where the Cool Things Are has very basic technical and functional requirements – a mobile phone. People are rapidly embracing Smartphone, almost every single mobile phones comes with a built-in camera and integrated GPS. By using the most common personal devices and technologies, users simply need to point the camera on mobile phone towards any QR code on objects they encounter with to scan through the most discussed objects and see what the other people in the city are up to. The stories and comments of a selected object generate a tag cloud on the map which provides the user a clearer idea what the object is about in general.
The story entry ‘hot spots’ are displayed like the radio station with user location in the center and broadcast their stories on the map. Users can look up the map to explore what interesting things are around them and meet people with same interest on the spot. This application encourages people to interact with the real-life community by providing a tool that allows them ‘Treasure Hunt’ objects that they are interested in.
The main function of Where the Cool Things Are is to scan the QR code on encountered objects to browse through the stories and comments of other users left for it.
With a camera and web service on the mobile phone, user can create a new story entry with the QR code on objects and share the experiences and story. Objects can be tagged by keywords which make it easier for others to search for related entries.
Data of each object including its information and users’ stories will be used to generate a tag cloud, which appears when its ‘hot spot’ get selected. This provides a brief concept to the user what are people talking about on this object.
Commercial users can promote their products or places via putting QR codes and offer more information or freebies to the general users. General users can share their own experience or stories about that object or place with others as a community.
Java based mobile phone with built-in camera, web service and integrated GPS will be the prototyping platform for Where the Cool Things Are.
Mobile Processing is used as the programming language for building the prototype version of Where the Cool Things Are. Several J2ME libraries are used for the implementation.
QR code is another important component which encoded with a unique ID of the object that is required when accessing object data from web server.
2.3 Visual Design
Where the Cool Things Are is a simple mobile phone Java-base application. It uses a similar user interface with buttons and keypad access as other Java-based applications. Due to technical constraints, touch screen user interface is not implemented for the prototype version.
Google Static Maps API can Google Charts API are used for displaying story entry ‘hot spots’ and map view. The map is set with a zoom level that can provide clear path view for users.
Ideally tag clouds would be shown whenever users select a ‘hot spot’ on the map with their keypad. Object is selected according to the number on the ‘hot spot’, on screen will display a tag cloud which its information is generated by the story entries and discussions about that object.
Search function is implemented in this prototype version and results of the search will be displayed as ‘hot spots’ on map according to user’s query.
3. USER EXPERIENCE
Where the Cool Things Are is a simple and easy to use mobile phone application with interactive interface and Google Maps display. Users can use it as an ordinary social networking platform that does mirco-bloging on one same object, or use it as a media to make contacts with new people who shares similar interest and have the opportunity to meet in real-life.
It can keep the users updated with the hottest and most discussed objects and places around their area, and provides a general idea what that is about with a ‘hot spots’ map and tag clouds.
Tony is an average 20-year-old university student with no particular favorite activities or hobbies. He spends hours on the computer with no purposes. Like many other people in his age, his IM shows online 24/7 and he checks his facebook and twitter updates at least twice a day. Some of his new friends from university called him nerd, but the fact he just simply hasn’t discovered something that he is passionate of doing.
On another ordinary day, he saw a mobile phone application Where the Cool Things Are is available for download, so he just gives it a go. He left the application un-launched on his phone for days until one day he is waiting for his belated friend in a café at the city. He launched the application and finds out it’s using his GPS data to position his location. He reads the instruction and discovers the application can decode QR codes, so he decides to test it with the QR on the café menu. He quickly is directed to the story entry page of this QR code object – the café. He browses through the entries from others and surprisingly finds out people complains a lot about the hygiene problem. So he leaves the café instantly and continues to play with this application.
He soon discovers there is a massive group of map pins near his location; he clicks on a random one and a tag cloud pops up. With this tag cloud he realizes that pin represents another hot spot – a figure from Japan. He then decides to go and have a look, and finds out it’s a figure exhibition. The entry that he read is a winning figure and he really likes it, so he decided to add a new story entry about this figure. After this exhibition, he finds himself in love with figures and checks the application regularly for similar exhibitions. On another ordinary day and his same friend is late again, he follows a new ‘hot spot’ related to figures to a new exhibition held by his university. In that place he finds his hobby and new society.
The public interest that I addressed from above in regarding to the design brief is ‘improving interpersonal social interaction’, which is related to social well-being of public health, which I believe is part of the public interest.
The concept of Where the Cool Things Are embraces the concept of ‘Internet of Things’, which gathers the stories of objects from different people to create the ‘Internet of Stories’. The concept is to enhance the relationship between social interaction and social networking – to bring users together online and offline.
Mobile phone is used as the prototype platform for Where the Cool Things Are. It is a mobile phone based project with no microelectronics technology involved at the current stage. It was meant to be a realistic current-technological-possible application for mass users. However, the completion with the ideal interactive interface elements is yet to be implemented at current stage due to technical constraints.
 Bowman, M., Debray, S. K., and Peterson, L. L. 1993. Reasoning about naming systems. ACM Trans. Program. Lang. Syst. 15, 5 (Nov. 1993), 795-825. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/161468.16147.
 Helen Leggatt, Are social networks jeopardizing face-to-face interaction? accessed 05NOV10 http://www.bizreport.com/2010/11/are-social-networks-jeopardizing-face-to-face-interaction.html#
 Redcay E, Dodell-Feder D, Pearrow MJ, Mavros PL, Kleiner M, Gabrieli JD, Saxe R. , Live face-to-face interaction during fMRI: a new tool for social cognitive neuroscience. Accessed on 10SEP10 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20096792
 Kurth, S. B. and Wiest, J. B., 2007-08-10 “6. Face-to-Face Interaction and Technologically Mediated Communication” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City Online <PDF>. 2010-10-
 Kathy Sierra, Why face-to-face still matters! Accessed on 25OCT10 http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/04/why_facetoface_.html
 ExactTarget and CoTweet, Socal Mythbusting accessed on 27OCT10 http://www.exacttarget.com/sff/index.html
 Mitch Frazier, Lauren Sanders, New Research Dispels Interactive Marketing Myths Social Media Drives Face-to-Face Interactions accessed on 27OCT10 http://www.exacttarget.com/company/news/Article-View/ArticleId/432/New-Research-Dispels-Interactive-Marketing-Myths-Social-Media-Drives-Face-to-Face-Interations.aspx
 Dirk Singer, Social Media Increases 「Face to Face Interaction」accessed on 30OCT10 http://www.socialmediatoday.com/dirktherabbit/226552/social-media-increases-face-face-interaction
Okay let me list out all the things that I Should Have Done and those I Have Done and those I Could Not done
- GUI : DONE
- QR Code decoder (camera) : SHOULD BE WORKING
- Google Static Maps (HTTP) : DONE
- Update Map with GPS (GPS, HTTP) : DONE (depends on phone GPS signal)
- MySQL database setup (web server) : DONE
- PHP communication (web server) : DONE
- Maps marker (location from database, HTTP) : DONE
- Search function (database, HTTP) : DONE
- Display entry - TEXT (database) : DONE
- Display entry - IMAGE (database) : NOT WORKING <ig03.php>
- Path Direction (database, HTTP) : WILL TRY LATER
- Access entry from Map (?) : ***NO CLUE***
- Design Document : DONE 1900 words
- Video Demonstration : WILL DO AT LAB LATER
Think it’s time to move onto making Video…
Time Left : 9 hours 29 minutes 11 seconds
Finally finished writing my Design Document, can not believe I spent almost 6 hours on it, 1908 words… The longest essay I’ve ever written in my life!
Time to work on the code a bit and then head off to uni for my video
* No idea how to record my video demonstration while I have no suitable phone *
my N97 mini can do most of the work but starches every single GUI element…
mysql_connect(“localhost”) or die(mysql_error());
I really thinks the error function sounds very funny - die()?
$good_side = “the only lucky thing of working with MySQL and PHP is that, there are always help and the problem I’m having, there was always someone been there and solutions are there online”;
$bad_side = $_GET(‘Mobile_Processing’);
$bad_side = “still pain in the arse, there is no clue or help for you”
PHP and MySQL is fun, but would be better without the deadline pressure. Learned a lot of things on my own or during the process of helping out others - seriously I’m a n00b as well, what help could I possibly offer T.T?
I just realized even I have a Nokia phone but I still cannot test anything on mine, because my N97 mini’s resolution is way too big to be developing on. I have a old old 5610, but somehow it doesn’t allow any .jar file that I create to install. The only thing I can do is to hang around in the lab and wait for someone with a Nokia phone comes in - and I need GPS as well, so even worse case scenario.
Finally got a QR code library that seems possibly working now - thanks to Tamara. The MZXing QR code library works perfectly fine on Tamara and Cming’s E70 series Nokia phones, but unfortunately not on my N97 mini as well. But at least I know the code is correct and works properly on old phones, which is great. Although I won’t be able to test the QR scan and decode functions, but I presume it’ll work perfectly fine and gets the data I want from the QR code for me. I’ll just skip this part and work on the data mapping and object tagging which according to Andy these should be the main components of my project.
As my application aims for people to share their stories and feelings towards a physical object in the city, those entries of stories and comments as well as the object information itself need to be stored online. I’ve decided to use MySQL to store my application’s data and call the data via PHP, therefore I signed up for a one month membership for the web server service on Hosting24
I’ve never used PHP before and for the database I’ve only learned about basic Oracle SQL only, I hope I can pick up the codes and syntax in time to finish off my project prototype implementation.
I’ve decided to use the Google Static Maps API for my app implementation, not as playful as a interactive one for sure, but it seems like to be the only way to do so :(
One good thing about Google Statics Maps API is that it uses the HTTP protocol via web request only, no extra components are needed and for addition, the statics maps can use custom icons, which can make a dull map looks much prettier :P Those icons must be chosen from one of the Google Charts API
the more original QR code library for J2ME - from Japan 2007
a little bit newer… last updated 2008 still no luck working on my phone :(