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Old 09-07-2009, 11:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Seeking BlackBerry users for usage study

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My name is Earl Oliver. I am a Ph.D. candidate in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. I am conducting a study to understand how BlackBerry users interact withtheir devices. Understanding how users interact with their devices is fundamental to the design of systems thatutilize periods of non-usage to exchange information with other devices using opportunistic wireless communication.

To participate in this study, you may load a simple application on to your BlackBerry smartphone. This application runs as a background process that recordswhen the device’s screen is turned on or off, and when the device is plugged into a power source for charging. The application is totally non-invasive and will not affect your use of the device. You may withdraw from the study at any time by revoking your consent to participate in the study, or by uninstalling the application from your device.

The application periodically uploads logs that contain an anonymous usage pattern. Usagelogs contain no personal or identifying information.

To participate in this study, install the application by entering the following URL into your BlackBerry browser:

blizzard.cs.uwaterloo.ca/eaoliver/blackberry/Usage.jad

For more information on this study, please visit:

blizzard.cs.uwaterloo.ca/eaoliver/smartphone_usage.html

You may also contact Earl Oliver at +1 519-574-6512 or eaoliver at uwaterloo dot ca.

This project has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance though, the Office of Research Ethics at the University of Waterloo. You may contact this office at +1 519-888-4567 ext. 36005 if you have any concerns or questions resulting from your involvement in this study.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (Its All About the U!)

You have IRB approval from institution? Did this site permit this?
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Who should I ask for permission?

Earl
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Because it's a privately owned site... and it's just good manners to ask.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You're asking us to install spyware on purpose?! Um.......no. Not on a bet.

What assurances do we have that this piece of software isn't some password recorder? No offense, but you're a new member with no history here, and you're asking the community to purposely compromise the security of their BlackBerrys. All we have is your word that this isn't some malware.

Last edited by rambo47 : 09-08-2009 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry Earl, even though you have received approval from your University's ethics committee, I will decline to participate.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I can appreciate everyone's apprehension. Gaining the trust of participants is always a difficult problem when conducting these types of studies.

My usage logger only records when the BlackBerry screen is turned on/off and when the device is plugged in to charge. No personal identifying information is collected. Moreover, the Office of Research Ethics at UW is aware of my study and can answer any concerns regarding it.

I've uploaded the source code to my website:

blizzard.cs.uwaterloo.ca/eaoliver/BacklightLogger.java

I understand everyone's concerns and appreciate any support I can get.

Earl
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think that many of us don't like to take risks. If we can be 100% this is safe, and backed up I'm sure many of us would help.
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