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December 22, 2014

Open Gardens

ForumOxford: Internet of Things Conference 2015 listed among 40 most important #IoT events to attend this year ..

What a nice way to end the year ..

Jeremey Geelan who created a list of the top 40 Internet of Things Conferences to attend in 2015 has added the forumoxford : 2015 Internet of Things conference  to the list of 40 important Internet of Things conferences for 2015

Date: 6 November, 2014

Venue: Rewley House, University of Oxford
URL: forumoxford : 2015 Internet of Things conference

co-chaired by me and Tomi Ahonen. Now in it’s 10th year. Mark the dates!

full list again  list of the top 40 Internet of Things Conferences to attend in 2015


by ajit at December 22, 2014 06:08 PM

December 21, 2014

Brad Frost » Brad Frost | Web Design, Speaking, Consulting, Music, and Art


During my atomic design talk at Smashing Conf in Whistler, I joked that adding images of Beyoncè to your designs is a surefire way of getting approval from clients. So Chris Balt took the next logical step to come up with an image placeholder service that inserts a random image of Beyoncè into your designs. Well played. Let the design approvals commence!

by Brad Frost at December 21, 2014 11:45 PM

Open Gardens

Space Clouds: Turtles in Space – Learning to Code

Here is something I have been thinking as part of the Countdown Institute.

The Countdown Institute  teaches young people aged 10 to 16 to learn programming skills using Space exploration

I have been a fan of Seymour Papert’s Turtles based on my work at feynlabs.

Turtles in Python(Python Turtles) and in general(Turtle Graphics) are a great way of learning to code.

Object Oriented paradigms (like Turtles) are an easy way to start learning Programming (as opposed to Procedural Paradigms) because they help to tie back to the problem / context easily. The Turtles concept also downplays the more complex aspects of OO programming such as Inheritance and Polymorphism.

Countdown helps enables young people to learn coding by solving problems in a specific context – in this case – Space exploration.

But we need a simple and a consistent way to model problems. Space Clouds is a data/modelling layer which relates Space exploration to coding within Space exploration. We can think of the Space Cloud as a unifying Data layer / software objects/class. It is a consistent way of modelling a problem and getting kids  to code

From a programmatic standpoint , we have varying space objects(Satellites, Drones, Planets, Space missions etc).

Like an Object (such as a Turtle) – each of these are Objects have behaviour and data

Each lesson starts with describing (modelling) the objects involved in the ‘world’ – ex in a high altitude balloon – jet stream could be defined as part of the space cloud.

This is a very easy paradigm to understand for a Child .. ie I switch on a device and the ‘sky lights up’ so to speak.

Depending on the problem – the Objects could be Planets, Satellites, missions(Orion, Rosetta)

Space Clouds is a simple, context specific modelling language for the context of space exploration created with the goal of teaching young people to code. Space Clouds is Programming Language agnostic. Current modelling languages like UML are designed for modelling entire systems and are not really suited for learning to code. 

The idea of Space Clouds can be thought of as the concept of in ‘Turtles in Space’

A recent blog on learning to code said that No-fuss setups and Task Oriented tools are key features to get more kids to code.

Space Clouds takes a similar approach by simplifying (limiting) input in early stages and connecting to a specific context

Image source Valiant turtle – wikipedia



by ajit at December 21, 2014 08:04 PM

December 19, 2014

mobiForge blog

Mobile networks statistics 2014

The mobile networks section provides you with the latest statistics on the world's largest mobile network operators, mobile-broadband adoption and 4G-LTE coverage. You’ll also find out about the average mobile data use and its cost.

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by pawelpiejko at December 19, 2014 03:33 PM

Brad Frost » Brad Frost | Web Design, Speaking, Consulting, Music, and Art

Style Guide Best Practices

Style guides and pattern libraries are essential tools to help Web teams maintain sanity while creating experiences for our multi-device Web.

The benefits of style guides are many: they establish a common language, make testing easier, save time and effort, and create a useful reference to keep coming back to. And most importantly, it lays a future-friendly foundation for your organization to modify, extend, and evolve over time.

Make it happen

Obviously, in order to incorporate style guide best practices, you first need a style guide. Where to start? I’d recommend checking out all the great resources, tools, and examples on Styleguides.io to get buy-in from your organization.

A good first step towards establishing a style guide is to conduct an interface inventory to document your entire existing interface. It’s also essential to choose the right tools to help create your style guide.

Make it cross-disciplinary

Family Reunion
One of the biggest pitfalls I see with style guides is that they are often created with only one discipline in mind. Developers create code standards and libraries to make their lives easier, while designers create interface pattern libraries to establish consistent design patterns.

Of course these are nobel endeavors, but a larger, more worthwhile goal is to create a tool that’s useful for designers, developers, project managers, business owners, and even third parties. A style guide can serve as a watering hole that helps everyone at an organization speak the same language and builds awareness/appreciation of the system.

Make it approachable

Yelp Style Guide

In order to be useful to everyone, the style guide should clearly convey what it is and why it matters. Some style guides (typically developer-specific ones) tend to be a bit muddy or jump straight into code samples. This can intimidate other disciplines and lead them to believe the resource isn’t for them.

Presentation matters, so take the time to design an approachable style guide.

Make it agnostic

Feature Block Pattern for South Tees Hospital Style Guide
Pattern-based design and development requires you to blur your eyes a little bit. When creating a design system built for reuse, it’s essential to take a step back from the current context and name things in an agnostic way. “Carousel”, not “Homepage Carousel”. “Filters” not “Product Grid Filters”. “Radio Button Group” not “Gender Select”. And so on.

Naming patterns in an agnostic way reduces duplication and leads to smaller, more efficient, more portable systems.

Make it contextual

Frost Finery Pattern Lab Lineage

Pattern libraries can be great, but they can often be an abstract concept. Too many pattern libraries in the wild don’t provide context to how and where patterns get used. Where are “Horizontal Tabs” used? What patterns make up the checkout template? If I make changes to the “Accordion” pattern, what’s going to break?

One of my favorite features of Pattern Lab is its ability to show what patterns make up any given pattern, and also show where the patterns are employed. This helps teams understand how global a pattern is and where they need to test/QA if changes are made to a particular pattern. The ability to traverse between in-context and out-of-context is massively helpful for designers and developers.

Make it maintainable

Creating a style guide that is perfectly in sync with the production environment is the Holy Grail.

CSS and JS can be easily migrated from one place to another, but pattern markup is where things can get challenging.

I highly recommend Ian Feather’s article on how Lonely Planet created a style guide that is integrated with their production environment. Make a change to a pattern in the style guide, and boom, it’s updated in the production environment. Super clever stuff.

Lonely Planet Style Guide

Unfortunately it’s difficult to scale this kind of solution (the myriad of available backend environments makes things difficult), but I’m encouraged by the tools, techniques, and thinking around this issue. The next version of Pattern Lab will allow people to use the templating engine of your choice, which can help get markup much closer to your backend production code. Also, things like the Pattern Lab Component Builder by Evan Lovely automagically updates the style guide whenever Sass gets changed.

It’s important to strive toward an automatically in-sync style guide to prevent the resource from becoming out-of-date and obsolete. Note: if you have experience/ideas of using Pattern Lab to keep the style guide and production environment in sync, please let me know.

Make it part of your workflow

The Guardian Style Guide
A style guide needs to become an integral part of your organization’s process and workflow if it’s to continue to be a useful resource.

As sad as I am to admit it, the majority of style guides I’ve delivered to clients have been abandoned. It’s challenging to bake style guides into an organization’s workflow when you’re on the outside. True changes to process needs to come from within. Like most things, the real challenges here are people and organizational issues rather than technical ones. Thankfully I’m seeing more teams step up to the plate and champion style guides as the cornerstone of their workflows.

Make it visible

Starbucks Style Guide
A style guide can only be useful if the organization knows it’s there. That’s why I strongly recommend making your style guide public.

Gasp! Horror! Wouldn’t that cause us to lose our competitive edge?


There’s much to be gained by being open and sharing more, and making your style guide public is no exception.

Large organizations almost always have issues with the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. Documentation and resources are often buried in internal wikis or behind logins or some other unnecessary/archaic crap. By making your style guide public you’re not just making it visible to the outside world, you’re making it a lot more visible to the people within organization itself. And after all, those are the folks that will be making use of it.

Also, sharing your style guide serves as recruitment tool that shows you’re up to speed on modern Web best practices, and gives a glimpse into your tech stack, style, and workflow.

Make it bigger

IBM Design Language

Pattern libraries for Web teams are proving their worth over and over again. So why not widen the scope a bit, and create a hub for the many other areas that could benefit from a style guide? Brand assets, design language, voice and tone, and writing can and should be consistent and available. Use the Web style guide to start a broader conversation.

Make it last

No organization wants to perpetuate the “burn the whole thing down every 3-5 years” style of redesign. A good system is built to stand the test of time, and establishing a solid style guide can help make that happen.

That’s not to say things can’t change. But establishing a design system now makes those changes easier down the line. After all, even with an entirely new design, you’ll still need buttons, inputs, image types, and so on. Style guides are beneficial from Day 1, but become much more valuable as time goes on.

As someone who helps organizations do better work, I’m absolutely thrilled to see more people embrace style guides as an effective way to create and maintain resilient design systems. If you have questions or are interested in a workshop about style guides and more, please do get in touch.

by Brad Frost at December 19, 2014 02:36 PM

Martin's Mobile Technology Page

Socks and (Raspberry) Pis for Christmas

I like personal gifts for Christmas and very much appreciate self knitted socks and other self-made things. Personally, I have to admit that handcraft is not a strength of mine so I have to resort to other things. This year I think I might have the perfect personal gift, however! I can't knit socks and pullovers but I've decided to put an BananaPi based Owncloud server together for the family and configure their smartphones to talk to that server instead of Google. That should be the equivalent of least three pairs of hand made socks :-)

by mobilesociety at December 19, 2014 11:04 AM

London Calling

Sneak peek at the new IBM Interactive Experience London Studio


This morning, Matt Candy and I had a sneak peek at the new IBM Interactive Experience Studio in London – and it is very impressive.

It is part of a $100M commitment by IBM to develop 10 studios and hire 1,000 new people.

I showed one of my clients the space before it was finished and even then they wanted to stake their claim on one of the desks for a project we’re about to start.

See some more pictures below (slideshow takes a few seconds to load) and look out for the official launch early next year.

If you enjoyed this blog post you may like other related posts listed below under You may also like ...

To receive future posts you can subscribe via email or RSS, download the android app, or follow me on twitter @andrewgrill.

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by Andrew Grill at December 19, 2014 09:07 AM

December 18, 2014

mobiForge blog

You've been throttled, but don't stop browsing!

With the roll-out of LTE networks across the world over the past few years, and all the associated excitement about super high-speed mobile connections, it can be easy to forget that slow-to-grindingly-slow is the normal connection speed across large parts of the world. In Asia Pacific, for example—the world’s fastest growing mobile market—65% of all connections were 2G only in 2013.

by ruadhan at December 18, 2014 11:15 PM

December 17, 2014

Brad Frost » Brad Frost | Web Design, Speaking, Consulting, Music, and Art

Future Learn Pattern Library

The team at education startup Future Learn used atomic design as the backbone of establishing their new pattern library.

I especially love how they shared why the first stab at a pattern library didn’t work:

Finding specific information was often time-consuming, as the elements were listed in one (very!) long list. We didn’t apply a methodology to the way we organised the styleguide, so there wasn’t a specific pattern on how we create individual parts and how all the parts fit together.

We saw the styleguide mainly as a front end tool, so designers weren’t involved in creating it. As a result, a lot of the terminology used was different, so the styleguide wasn’t helping to facilitate a shared understanding across the team. It also meant that design rationale wasn’t documented in the styleguide – it didn’t explain why the elements were the way they were and didn’t provide guidance on how and when to use them.

There wasn’t a lot of live code either, so it got out of date quickly. Very soon we had mismatches between UI elements on the platform and their documented versions. Contrary to our expectations, it didn’t serve as a reliable reference for fixing front end bugs. It also wasn’t effective at helping us to maintain and improve consistent use of elements on the platform.

As the FutureLearn site was growing, the need for a better reference point for designers and developers became more apparent. So we started working on the pattern library. And this time, designers and developers were both involved in the project.

They also shared their process on how they rolled up their sleeves and made this all happen, which involved creating an interface inventory of their existing interface.

I’m so thrilled to see more teams using atomic design to create and maintain their interface design systems. Great work Alla Kholmatova and team!

by Brad Frost at December 17, 2014 08:54 PM

Martin's Mobile Technology Page

Upgrading Ubuntu With Minimal Downtime And A Fallback Option

When it comes to my notebook that I use around 25 hours per day I'm in a bit of a predicament. On the one hand it must be stable and ultra reliable. That means I don't install software on it I don't really need and resort to virtual machines to do such things. On the other hand, however, I also like new features of the OS which means I had to upgrade my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS at some point. But how can that be done with minimal downtime and without running the risk of embarking on lengthy fixing sessions after the upgrade and potentially having to find workarounds for things that don't work anymore!?

When I recently upgraded from a 512 GB SSD to a 1 TB SSD and got rid of my Truecrypt partitions a few weeks ago I laid the foundation for just such a pain free OS update. The cornerstone was to have an OS partition that is separate from the data partition. This way, I was now able to quickly create a backup of the OS partition with Clonezilla and restore the backup to a spare hard drive in a spare computer. And thanks to Ubuntu, the clone of my OS partition runs perfectly even on different hardware. And quick in this case really means quick. While my OS partition has a size of 120 GB, only 15 GB is used so the backup takes around 12 minutes. In other words, the downtime of my notebook at this point for the upgrade was 12 minutes. Restoring the backup on the other PC took around 8 minutes.

On this separate PC I could then upgrade my cloned OS partition to Ubuntu 14.04, sort out small itches and ensure that everything is still working. As expected, a couple of things broke. My MoinMoin Wiki installation got a bit messed up in the process, Wi-Fi suspend/resume with my access point also got a bit bruised but everything else worked just as it should.

Once I was satisfied that everything was working as it should I used Clonezilla again to create a backup of the cloned OS partition and then restored this to my production notebook. Another 12 minute outage plus an additional 3 minutes to restore the boot loader with a "Boot Repair" USB stick as my older Clonezilla version could not restore a Ubuntu 14.04 Grub boot loader installation after the restore process.

And that's it, Ubuntu 14.04 is now up and running on my production PC with as little as two 12 minute outages. In addition, I could try everything at length before I committed the upgrade and I still have the backup of the 12.04 installation that I could restore in 12 minutes should the worst happen and I discover a showstopper down the road.

So was it worth all the hassle other than being able to boast that I have 14.04 up and running now? Yes I think it has and here's a list of things that I have significantly improved for my everyday use:

  • Video playpack is smoother now (no occasional vertial shear anymore)
  • The dock shows names of all LibreOffice Documents now
  • Newer Virtualbox, seems to be faster (graphics, windows, etc.)
  • MTP of more phones recognized
  • Can be booted with external monitor connected without issues
  • Nicer fonts in Wine Apps (Word, etc.)
  • Nicer animations/lock screen
  • Updated Libreoffice, improved .doc and .docx support
  • The 5 years support period starts from 2014
  • Better position to upgrade in 2 years to 16.04
  • Menus in header save space
  • VLC has more graphical elements now

by mobilesociety at December 17, 2014 07:45 AM

December 15, 2014

London Calling

How to avoid having your social media team become a “social switchboard”

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t called a switchboard for years.


Some of the millennial readers of London Calling may not even know what a switchboard is.

A quick primer: when telephone networks were first introduced, you couldn’t directly call a number, so you had to have your call manually connected by an “operator” who would literally patch your call from one phone to another, via the switchboard.

In business, the switchboard for a long time became the focal point of the company, and to reach anyone, you had to call a central number, then be transferred to the right “extension” by the switchboard operator.

I am sure that companies still maintain the switchboard function, but on pretty much every business card and email signature I come across these days, there is a direct desk number and a mobile number – even fax numbers seem to be disappearing [read what a fax machine is here].

Which brings me to the point of this post.

After many years, the telephone switchboard is becoming less useful, however in the social media space, it seems like many companies are developing a social media switchboard.

I believe the switchboard analogy is fair, as if you tweet a company’s @name, then in most instances, a person on the “social media team” picks this up, and then they have to decide the most appropriate person or department to respond to the tweet. In some cases the tweet is copied into an email (yes really!) and sent onto another department for action.

Now I am sure that some people reading this will by now be screaming at the screen saying “you are so wrong, we answer all the tweets ourselves”.

But herein lies the problem

When a piece of social media content enters a company and is triaged by a single, central team, then there is a risk that it either never gets to the right person/department at the right time, or an opportunity for a detailed response is missed.

I have started to present my concept of how companies are investing in a social media switchboard rather than federating this amazing social media insight throughout the organisation.

Watch me explain the social media switchboard problem in this 1 minute video, part of my 30 minute keynote at the New York Brand Innovators conference in December 2014.

Who is missing out when a social media switchboard is in place?

New employees

Social media content not obviously actionable by the social team may be missed – and the next bright millennial you have been trying to find may go unnoticed because the content they are directing at your company (or a competitor) isn’t something that the switchboard is set up to respond to so it goes unanswered.

The same can be said for other areas of the business such as:

  • Supply chain
  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Product development

In each of these areas of the business, it is unlikely that the social media team would be able to realistically look out for all areas of the business, then capture and relay on specific content that matters most to these teams.

My view is that for social to work inside large organisations and provide real business value is to have it federated among the organisation.

And when we talk about companies graduating from “doing” social media and instead becoming a social business, it is worthwhile looking at the definition of a social business.

How does social media 2.0 work in an organisation?

Let’s look at the normal flow of social media content into an organisation.

Content comes in – either direct or indirect to an organisation (mentioning their @name directly or via use of a relevant keyword picked up by a social media listening tool).

Instead of being intercepted by a human on the “social switchboard”, powerful text analytics or psycholinguistic analysis is applied and then the content is routed to the most appropriate person in the organisation – with full workflow management. If it is not actioned by someone in a timely manner, then an alert is fired off.

How would this work in practice?

Just as it works today, we know how to get our message direct to someone, either by their direct email address, direct line, twitter, LinkedIn profile or mobile number.

The intelligence (and the workload) is federated throughout the organisation, rather than relying on a “switchboard” to capture and process the message.

In this federated model, the right person gets the message, and a service like IBM Watson learns how the content is used, and smart analytics is applied to the content received, and how it is distributed is analysed to see that the right people are getting the right content.

Social media reports are not the answer

While we are discussing this, can we stop doing those weekly “social media reports” that get emailed around that no-one actually reads??

I simply don’t understand how can you produce a static report and expect people to action it?

I heard about a company the other day that emails (yes emails!!) thousands of people each week the “social media report”. When asked how people collaborate in this insight, the response was “well of course they can’t”.

My view is that teams that persist in this behaviour won’t be around in a year’s time when your CEO sees that your team has just become another expensive switchboard.

Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below or tweet me @AndrewGrill.

If you enjoyed this blog post you may like other related posts listed below under You may also like ...

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by Andrew Grill at December 15, 2014 02:36 PM


EU Japan FTA

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Preparations: EU Japan FTA trade negotiations initiated: At the 20th EU-Japan Summit of May 2011 the EU and Japan decided to start preparations for both a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and a political framework agreement (Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA). For updates and further details see: http://eu-japan.com/eu-japan-agreements/eu-japan-trade-negotiations/ … Continue reading EU Japan FTA

The post EU Japan FTA appeared first on Eurotechnology Japan.

by fasol@eurotechnology.com (Gerhard Fasol) at December 15, 2014 12:32 PM

December 13, 2014

Martin's Mobile Technology Page

Walking Down Memory Lane - 10 Years Ago, My First 3G Mobile

V800-1Is 10 years a long or a short timeframe? Depends, and when I think back to my first UMTS mobile that I bought 10 years ago on this day (I checked), the timeframe seems both long and short at the same time. It seems like eternity from an image quality point of view as is pretty much visible in the first picture on the left which is the first picture I took with my first UMTS phone, a Sony Ericsson V800 - Vodafone edition. Some of you might see another UMTS phone on the table, a Nokia 6630 which was a company phone so that doesn't count.

On the other hand, 10 years is not such a long time when you think about how far the mobile industry has come since. Back in 2004 I had trouble finding UMTS network coverage as mostly only bigger cities (population > 500.000 people perhaps) had 3G coverage at the time. Back in 2004, that first UMTS phone was still limited to 384 kbit/s, no HSDPA, no dual-carrier, just a plain DCH. But it was furiously fast for the time, the color display was so much better than anything I had before and the rotating camera in the hinge was a real design highlight. Today, 10 years later, there's almost nationwide 3G and even better LTE coverage, speeds in the double digit megabit/s range are common and screen size, UI speed, storage capacity and camera capabilities are orders of magnitude better than at that time.

Even more amazing is that at the time, people in 3GPP were already thinking about the next step. HSDPA was not yet deployed in 2004 but already standardized and meetings were already held to define the LTE we are using today. Just to get you in the mindset of 2004, here are two statements from the September 2004 "Long Term Evolution" meeting in Toronto Canada:

  • Bring your Wi-Fi cards
  • GSM is available in Toronto

In other words, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity in notebooks was not yet the norm and it was still not certain to get GSM coverage in places were 3GPP went. Note, it was GSM, not even UMTS...

I was certainly by no means a technology laggard at the time, so I can very well imagine that many delegates attending the Long Term Evolution meeting in 2004 still had a GSM-only device that could do voice and sms, but not much more. And still, they were laying the groundwork for LTE that was so far away from the reality at the time that it almost seems like a miracle.

3-generations-mobileI close for today with the second image on the left, that shows my first privately owned GSM phone from 1999, a Bosch 738, my first UMTS phone from 2004 and my first LTE phone, a Samsung Galaxy S4 from 2014 (again, I had LTE devices for/from work before but this is the first LTE device I bought for private use). 15 years of mobile development side by side.

by mobilesociety at December 13, 2014 09:32 PM

Check The Hotel's Wi-Fi Speed Before Reserving

Whenever I make a hotel reservation these days I can't help but wondering how good their Wi-Fi actually is or if it works at all. Most of the time I don't care because I can use my mobile data allowance anywhere in Europe these days. Outside of Europe, however, it's a different story as it's more expensive so I still do care. Recently I came across HotelWifiTest, a website that focuses on data rates of hotel Wi-Fis based on hotel guests using the site's speed tester. Sounds like an interesting concept and it's promised good speeds for the next hotel I'm going to visit. So let's see...

by mobilesociety at December 13, 2014 03:57 PM

Brad Frost » Brad Frost | Web Design, Speaking, Consulting, Music, and Art

Building Design Systems from Atomic Elements

The folks at UIE have shared a video of my talk on atomic design at UXIM 2014 in Denver. I’ll be speaking and giving a full-day responsive design workshop at UX Mobile Immersion 2015 in Salt Lake City in 2015. You should come!

by Brad Frost at December 13, 2014 04:34 AM

December 11, 2014

Martin's Mobile Technology Page

Smartphone Firmware Sizes Rival Those Of Desktop PCs Now

Here's the number game of the day: When I recently installed Ubuntu on a PC I noticed that the complete package that installs everything from the OS to the Office Suite has a size of 1.1 GB. When looking at firmware images of current smartphones I was quite surprised that the images are at least the same size or are even bigger!

If you want to see for yourself, search for "<smartphone name> stock firmware image" on the net and see for yourself. Incredible, there's as much software on mobile devices now as there is on PCs!

A lot of it must be crap- and bloatware, though, because Cyanogen firmware images have a size of around 250 MB. Add to that around 100 MB for a number of Google apps that need to be installed separately and you are still only at about a third of a manufacturer's stock firmware image size.

by mobilesociety at December 11, 2014 06:00 AM

December 10, 2014

London Calling

CIPR Podcast on Social Business

On Friday 5th December, I participated in a podcast to talk about Social Business.

Hosted by Russell Goldsmith, it featured Ben Smith from the RealPRMoment, and Emma Hazan, Deputy MD from Hotwire PR.

A replay of the podcast is available below, or you can subscribe and download from iTunes.

At just over 30 minutes, it is well worth a listen if you work in PR, or any aspect of social media.

If you enjoyed this blog post you may like other related posts listed below under You may also like ...

To receive future posts you can subscribe via email or RSS, download the android app, or follow me on twitter @andrewgrill.

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by Andrew Grill at December 10, 2014 01:38 PM

mobiForge blog

Free service to identify device type, browser and OS

If you are looking for an easy and reliable way to identify device type (mobile, tablet, desktop, TV etc), OS and browser in your web applications, then you may want to check out a new free tool for that express purpose released by DeviceAtlas.

by mclancy at December 10, 2014 12:46 PM

December 09, 2014

Martin's Mobile Technology Page

You Can't Hide Your Location From Google With A VPN

Observable-wifis-smHere's an interesting observation I recently made when I used a VPN in a hotel and came across a website that asked for my location details in the browser. I was confident Firefox would not be able to find out where I was as I used a VPN tunnel to my gateway in Paris. I thus pressed the 'yes' button, expecting that the website would then tell me that I'm in Paris. Much to my surprise, however, it came up with my exact location. How is that possible, I thought, my IP address points to my VPN server in Paris!?

A detailed answer can be found on Firefox's Geolocation info web page here. In addition to the IP address, Firefox also gets the list of nearby Wi-Fi access points and sends that to Google's location server. At the location there were only two Wi-Fi access points in addition to my own as shown in the screenshot on the left but that's enough for Google to locate me.

Incredible on the one hand and scary on the other. It's no problem in this case as Firefox asked me for permission before sending the data to Google and the web page. But it shows how easy 'others' can pinpoint your location if they manage to get a little piece of software on any connected device you carry that has a Wi-Fi interface.

by mobilesociety at December 09, 2014 07:06 AM