Honestly: this is probably up there with the G2x in my list of favorite Android handsets.
Two quick notes:
Engadget says "If you’ve read what we had to say about the G2x and the way it simply flies through homescreens […], you’ll know that we have a high bar for Android perfomrance already set, but the Galaxy S II beats it anyway." They don’t seem to be aware that the TouchWiz launcher has always had custom scroll views which not only performed much better, but had inertia closer to that of scroll views on iOS and Windows Phone 7.1
TouchWiz has been getting much better over time. TouchWiz on the Galaxy S phones was horrible, it got much better on the Galaxy Tab, and now it seems to be blossoming into a really nice Korean knockoff of the iOS. Seriously.2
Fun fact: if you put a Bada phone next to a Galaxy S, scrolling inertia and performance is identical. Yeah, I spent quite a bit of time in a Future Shop in Quebec City scrolling home screens side by side. ↩
Did you see the Galaxy S II’s book app? Because really, you should take a look at its book app (bottom right of the picture). Also, what’s with LG? They seem to be ripping off TouchWiz. Compare the dock icons in that screenshot to these. ↩
A while back when I was fantasizing about owning an Olympus PEN E-PL11, I gave away an app idea on this blog. I wanted people to stop making a billion and a half apps that apply filters and let you adjust the hue/saturation of pictures, and start making apps to quickly review the photos you’ve imported from a camera via the Camera Connection Kit, tag them with metadata, and upload them to Flickr.
Photosmith just came out and appears to be capable of all of that.2 It’s capable of much more though. On-the-fly photo rotation. Tagging with star ratings, color codes, or ITPC metadata. You can zoom in to 100% on up to 21MP RAW images. You can upload stuff to Facebook, Flickr, or Dropbox. But the killer feature is being able to do all that work on your iPad in the field and syncing all of those photos and metadata up to Lightroom when you’re back at your computer.
I don’t use Lightroom; while I’ve heard lots of good things about it, it seems inevitable to me that Adobe will fuck it up somehow like they always fuck up everything they do. But man, this is awesome stuff.
I still really really want one, even though I am completely incapable of justifying the purchase because I take so few pictures. ↩
The only thing I am uncertain of is whether or not photo upload is something you initiate per-photo or if you can upload multiple pictures at once. I haven’t purchased the app yet so I can’t say. ↩
consolidated.db is a cache file for speeding up cell and Wi-Fi triangulation, which is pretty much what I’ve been saying since the original story broke out.
Apple does admit to receiving some Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data, albeit in “an anonymous and encrypted form”. This is going to set off a few flags in some people, but it’s likely just reporting back with GPS coordinates once the GPS finally wakes up and cell/Wi-Fi signal data in an attempt to improve the location database.
The one suspicious bit in the Q&A is when they say “the reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly”. Prior to iOS 4.0, the location cache was stored in plist files, which don’t scale well to big sets of data. The large sets of data being accumulated would almost have to be a reason taken into consideration when switching over to a SQLite database.1
People who were really freaking out about consolidated.db either had bigger trust issues in Apple to begin with or lacked the technical knowledge to understand what a cache even is and why you would want one. I doubt this Q&A will change anything in their eyes.
consolidated.db does appear to be maintained by Core Data… I haven’t seen the old plist caches from older versions of the iOS, but if both were maintained by Core Data, it is possible that Apple just switched formats without delving into the meaty part of the code where such a “bug” could be hidden. ↩
Insomnia decided to drop by tonight for an encore performance. For the second night in a row, I lie here in bed, incapable of falling asleep, knowing that I’ll make up for the lost hours of sleep by passing out in the early evening tomorrow, and then at night, that little bastard Insomnia will drop by uninvited yet again and mock me as I toss and turn in my bed, desperately trying to escape its clutches.
Because people tend to be really sensitive about spoilers, I’ve rot13’d two theories I’ve come up with while playing Portal 2. You can decode these theories by pasting the content below into this site.
Va gur ergeb Ncregher Ynof cneg bs gur tnzr, Pnir Wbuafba bppnfvbanyyl oevatf hc gur angher bs gur crbcyr hfrq nf grfg fhowrpgf: nfgebanhgf, jne urebrf, naq bylzcvnaf. Yngre ba, Ncregher Fpvrapr fjvgpurf gb hfvat ubobrf, naq gura gurve bja fpvragvfgf nf grfg fhowrpgf. Vg vf nyfb fnvq gung gur grpuabybtl erdhverq gb genafsre n uhzna’f vagryyvtrapr vagb na NV argjbex vf lrg gb or qrirybcrq. Pbhyq gur crefbanyvgl pberf lbh frr va gur svanyr or snvyrq nggrzcgf ng genafsreevat grfg fhowrpgf’ oenvaf vagb NVf? Gur fcnpr pber jbhyq or n snvyrq nfgebanhg genafsre, gur nqiragher pber pbhyq or n snvyrq jne ureb/bylzcvna genafsre, naq gur snpg pber pbhyq or n snvyrq fpvragvfg genafsre.
N Obernyvf oyhrcevag va Unys-Yvsr Rcvfbqr Gjb fnlf Ncregher Fpvrapr Ynof & Nqzvavfgngvba vf ybpngrq va Pyrirynaq, Buvb. Va gur ergeb cbegvba bs gur tnzr, na negvpyr va gur HC Cvbarre Cerff unf gur fhogvgyr: “Pnir Wbuafba gb Oevat Fpvrapr, Vaqhfgel gb Hccre Zvpuvtna”. Qbrf Ncregher Fpvrapr unir gjb frgf bs snpvyvgvrf, be jrer gur Ncregher Fpvrapr snpvyvgvrf zbirq? Gung fbhaqf vafnar, ohg fb qbrf gur vqrn bs xrrcvat byqre snpvyvgvrf haqre gur znffvir cerfrag-qnl snpvyvgl. Vs Ncregher Fpvrapr unq fhcrecbegnyf, guvf jbhyqa’g arprffnevyl or hasrnfvoyr.
Whenever a story comes out about Android malware, iOS users are the first to point fingers and laugh. But what is “Android malware”? Android malware tends to be apps using as many permissions as possible to access data on your device and send it back to remote servers. Those permissions are exposed to you when first installing the app, and you must choose to allow the permissions the developer requested in order to install the app. The issue of Android malware isn’t so much the nature of the “open” marketplace; the issue comes from vague permissions, which leads the user to ignore them altogether.
This is a tricky issue. You don’t want to display too many permissions because then that becomes a wall of text no one reads. Logically, you want to group them together when showing them to the user… but what about something like doubleTwist? doubleTwist is a wonderful Android music player1 that uses the “Phone calls” permission to pause music when you answer a phone call. Of course, you wouldn’t necessarily get that from reading that permission’s description, which is “read phone state and identity”. Most people just skip through the permissions screen, as there isn’t enough info for them to find out what the permission is used for in that specific context.2
Apple, to my knowledge, only has one feature that explicitly asks for user consent: location services. Apps do not need to ask for your permission to do anything else on the system. SpyPhone is an application you can run on your own phone (if you have a developer account) that lets you see everything that is accessible to App Store apps via public APIs. There is a lot of stuff people can get, and ultimately, all that stands between the developer and all that info on your phone is Apple. You are counting on Apple to notice dubious activities during the approval process. If they screw up and miss an app, or a developer somehow manages to sneak the code in post-approval, you will most likely never know.
But barely anyone mentions this. Everyone is too busy making quips about Android malware to realize that while Android’s system is technically better at enforcing permissions, it is failing because of the way it’s presented to the user. The iPhone has literally nothing enforcing permissions (excluding location) other than Apple’s approval process.
Where am I going with all of this?
Whenever something like “Android malware” comes up and you are tempted to post a snarky tweet or blog post about it, put that energy into doing some actual research. Everyone needs to stop posting gut reactions to sensationalistic headlines, dig down one level deeper, and discuss the underlying issues, otherwise, this just becomes a big political debate with people flinging attacks at each other without anyone fact-checking anything.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this in the past, and that I’m slowly getting better at writing about this stuff in a more thoughtful manner. If no one else is onboard to write more profound analysis of this stuff, then I have lots of writing to do.
Definitely one of the best-designed Android apps out there. ↩
You can press the “View All” button on the permissions screen and extended descriptions will appear for each description. While they do give you a better idea of what “read phone state and identity” is, it does not tell you what subset of that permission is actually being used by the app. ↩
“Everyone, focus on Killing Floor. We’re definitely getting Portal 2 once we finish it. It’s gonna knock-off at least 2 hours.”—The Valve ARG wiki, a couple minutes before Killing Floor knocked five minutes off the countdown, despite having the lowest progress rate. Gabe must be rolling on the floor right now.
Lots of people are reacting to Fred Wilson’s post where he reiterates that developers should be developing for Android first, and everybody seems to be missing common sense: If you are writing an app for any platform, you need to ask yourself who the target audience is, and then determine what platform(s) to develop for based on that target audience.
It doesn’t matter how much market share Android has; if you are targeting a certain demographic and that demographic simply doesn’t use Android, you’re wasting your time. Develop on the platform that makes the most sense first.
If I asked you to name five apps that use iAds, you probably couldn’t. I can name maybe two or three off the top of my head. As much as Apple wants people to use them in their free apps, they simply aren’t as widespread as other ad platforms.
That said, if you’re like me and love iAds because they feel more like HTML5 & Co. tech demos, you’ll probably like that you can now use iAd Gallery to sift through them instead of hunting for iAds.
Those 5-star reviews are pretty suspicious though.
"Well, A-I seem optional. 1-5 seem pretty standard across all clients already?"
Actually, upon further inspection, these guidelines don’t seem like they’re meant for Twitter clients, since it would be silly to write up a document when you’ve previously said people shouldn’t be making clients anymore. This is more likely meant to be a document for Web services using Twitter as some kind of data source.
My main concern is whether or not Twitter clients on the market today will have to give up their individual style to conform to Twitter’s display guidelines. If Twitter’s own clients are the most common way people interact with Twitter and each individual client is a tiny blip on the radar, why does it matter how different Twitterrific or Friends are from Twitter’s?