Simon Willison’s Weblog


Tuesday, 6th November 2012

Is there a way to uniquely identify the device of the user that are connecting to a web app or a website?

If the device is a mobile phone running an app it’s very easy to create a permanent identifier for the application/device—it can be generated once the first time the user runs the app, stored locally and then passed to Facebook with every future request. Think of it like a browser cookie, but unlike browsers the app developer can ensure the cookie is never deleted once it has been created.

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What are the top Apps/Mobile conferences & events for 2013?

The biggest is still Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February—tens of thousands of attendees and representatives from pretty much every mobile company.

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How do media outlets get the presidential election results that they report?

When I was working for the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas back in 2004 the results were compiled at city hall and made available to reporters / other concerned parties via FTP in a terrifying CSV format. I don’t know if the technology has evolved much since then, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was much the same today.

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Events (leisure): What would you think of a conference that had longer hours?

I agree with Lenny Martin, for most events this would just be too long. There’s one exception: events that provide a sit-down dinner and have a talk during that dinner. PyCon UK in Birmingham have done this in the past and it was great—the conference itself ended around 6pm, you have an hour and a half to yourself, then you sit down for a banquet-style meal at 7:30pm with the other attendees. Their dinner speaker was a local historian talking about the science history of the local area, which was a really nice complement to the rest of the conference.

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2012 » November