Monday, February 25, 2013

Superuser getting a much needed overhaul

Superuser Update on the way!

  Many people know and love root permisions on their Android devices, and with that comes the app to manage it all, Superuser.  This has long been a staple for advanced users and there have been other variations on the app, SuperSU has even been recommended on some devices for stability and updates.  Well, meet the new Superuser from +Koushik Dutta that will out do the rest.  Why you may ask?
As per Koush himself:
* Superuser should be open source. It's the gateway to root on your device. It must be open for independent security analysis. Obscurity (closed source) is not security.

* Superuser should be NDK buildable. No internal Android references.

* Superuser should also be AOSP buildable for those that want to embed it in their ROM.

* Maintenance and updates on both the market and source repositories should be timely.

* I want to be able to point users of my app to a Superuser solution that I wrote, that I know works, and that I can fix if something is wrong. Yes, this is selfish: Carbon does not work with some versions of Chainsdd's Superuser. SuperSU works great, but I am not comfortable pointing a user to a closed source su implementation.

* Handle multiuser (4.2+) properly

* Handle concurrent su requests properly
  This gives me great assurance that my permissions will be handled properly and well maintained.  As was mentioned in the original post there will also be implementation of an Android permission for Superuser Access which will cause apps to list the need for su request in their list of permissions on the play store.  This is something that goes unnoticed for the most part for an average user, as they just allow the apps automatically.  The new app will prompt that an app will try to request su, when it doesn't have the permission listed.  The idea is to encourage developers to change their practices to make it obvious that root will be requested.  

  This will not only be a positive for the app itself, but for the development community as there will be a reliable, open, regularly updated and proper source, with requirement for transparency from app developers.  Give the test build a shot, or build your own copy from source!

Pitfalls of the Android OEM

Why Android MUST be skinned by an OEM

  With recent talk of the new flagship handsets for both +HTC and +Samsung, the One and Galaxy S IV respectively, there comes the usual debate over what issues everyone has with the OEM. The first and foremost gripe is to "get rid of Sense/TouchWiz" and use stock AOSP. Please note: I am a huge proponent to AOSP and use the latest nightly of CyanogenMod on both my S3 and N7. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The real appeal of CyanogenMod

  Recent news of Canonical using CyanogenMod as the base for it's Ubuntu touch UI has me thinking how influential the project really is. I've been a firm believer since I was introduced to root and custom ROM's. I remember having my EVO 4g rooted and being afraid to try AOSP as if it was more likely to brick my device, despite the ill fated sudden death syndrome associated with cm on the EVO. I ended up using cm 7.2 and flashing nightlies until the device was discontinued with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich and cm 9, the stable release was impeccable!

  Now with my Nexus 7 and Galaxy S III, I am running the latest nightlies on both and thoroughly enjoying it. Nexus 7 gains enough improvement over stock for me to bother with flashing it not to mention the possibility of gaining cool mods that make it through the gerrit pipeline. Galaxy S III, a  whole other story, is 3 Android versions ahead of its stock form not to mention the customization over TouchWiz. TouchWiz has it's highlights, though the downsides far outweigh the good for my taste. 

  Now, to the heart of the issue: why is CyanogenMod so popular, and what benefits does it offer?  First off what is the goal of the project? The third party distribution offers to greatly extend the capabilities of your Android device. In reality AOSP has really benefited from the project and has adopted features from it. WiFi tether stemmed from the custom ROM community as well add the quick settings toggle, to name a few. Not to mention the patches and fixes to the general Linux kernel, security related also. 

  Where is the project headed? That is the beauty of it, as far as the community will take it. New features and patches are added daily, alongside AOSP updates being merged when released. So, the real appeal is that you will always have the latest features and patches and regular updates, nightly if you choose. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Camera upgrades on the way?

This is awesome news! Google will be finally stepping up into true competition with the rest of the market. Not that a phone really needs an "insanely great camera," in my opinion, as far as megapixels, but overall quality and software is important. Google owns the market with the new photo sphere, and I expect to see more innovations along these lines.

Source: BGR
Google executive promises ‘insanely great cameras’ on next-gen Nexus phones

Blocking of internet rights, a restriction of growth

In this article, Google's chairman discusses the state of North Korean technology, and their restrictive laws on tech and the internet.

Google chairman addresses the state of North Korean technology, Internet policy

It may be sad to think of not being able to jump on Facebook and see how friends and family are fairing, especially those who live far away; Or maybe even look up a YouTube vide on "how to," do something. That is the state of North Korea, and as argued in the article this would greatly hinder growth, limiting the ability to learn.

Think of all the available resources for programming, fixing devices, modifying (physically), or even simple how to use something, like a review. To limit this limits the base knowledge of a population to the minds of those who are able to teach, which in this case sounds like they would be restricted by the government as well.

I would hope we continue to receive a free and open internet.  Now, restricting

HTC press event tomorrow

There has been a lot of talk about upcoming devices, I remember the hype of last years HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S III. This year is hoping to be similar another HTC One and the SGS IV.

Having been behind on the tech front last year, having the HTC Evo 4g, I was excited to see the new devices and ended up with the SIII. I made the decision based on wanting to leave Sprint and frustration with HTC over their bootloader shenanigans. +T-Mobile stole my heart and I was wanting the Galaxy Nexus, however it was removed from market to make way for Nexus 4, and the SIII was a great deal and a great handset.

This year, I am not so impressed with the upgrades, being that the SIII is still a strong competitor and the new devices seem incremental. I am also sold on the Nexus brand, and hope Google realizes the popularity they have gained and produce more handsets to fulfill the demand. 1080p screens seem to be taking the market, both HTC and Samsung are said to be touting them this year, along with 5 inch form factors.

I am unsure I can be excited about any device, other than Nexus, at this point, due to locked bootloaders and lack of updates. 4.1.2 seems to be the newest version on any non Nexus handset, and by my count that is 3 updates behind! I would rather these companies play it safe on the device side with one or two handsets and maybe a tablet every year, or so, and maintain them with updates. Google is pushing updates more frequently, and I understand that it takes time to review and rework the code for their custom versions, though I feel they don't give enough attention to the software.

Source: The Verge
We’ll be live from HTC’s press conference tomorrow at 10:00AM!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bitcoins? What's the deal?

I will say I am a bit confused on this topic and do not fully understand it. Could this become a reality for a more public use? Anyone know more and care to share your ideas?

Bitcoin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia