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Comment Re:This isn't always good though (Score 1) 97

Android does provide a meaningful alternative, but I don't see it providing overall a better mass market alternative in some areas. If a security hole is found in the OS, how quickly will it get to every Android phone once patched by Google? That is not an answerable question, because it's simply not possible with the current setup to do so.

Also, no OS upgrade on an iPhone is forced. Never has been, and shows no signs of changing. Hell, iOS even asks if it's okay to update carrier settings.

And no, the fragmentation issue is not FUD. It's real, and thankfully Google agrees. The Android developers at my job are very happy with the Google Play Services API changes, as we have a product already shipping that will improve in the next major version. Fragmentation is why our Android team is larger engineering wise. It has a real cost to my business. We personally don't care to get deep into the open arguments, we just want a good platform to ship our product on. And again, credit to Google for addressing some of the pain points, but it's being done not in an open way. I doubt the source to GPSAPIs will ever be released. So going back to the point of the article, and my first comment, open is not always showing to do good in this example.

Drop the attempts to have an us vs them war with Android vs iOS. The sooner you do, the sooner you realize each side has unique benefits and downsides both can learn from. Clearly Slashdot still has the us vs them mentality so engrained in it, that meaningful commentary still is missing. I'll be taking my leave again for about a year or so and see how things change.

Comment This isn't always good though (Score 2) 97

It's great to see Open Source used as a tool to help foster healthy competition where it otherwise may not happen. But it's also potentially bad if the Open Source path leads to worse results for end users.

Take for example the iPhone/Android comparison made. The iPhone took control away from the mobile phone carriers in regards to the device, allowing all iPhone users to see updates all at the same time. It also put a dent in the phone crapware problem. Android has done nether, suffering problems because devices can't be all easily updated. Google today announced that they will be updating APIs through Google Play. All because their attempts to update those APIs at the OS level failed due to carrier and device manufacturers holding up, or never providing OS updates. Google is only regaining control and providing better user experience on Android by becoming more closed, at least when it comes to how they deal with carriers and device manufacturers.

Comment Such a bad article (Score 1) 160

Lets see what the article says...

Why the DoD chose Android? The reason was simple: open source.

This seems to say that there was only one reason, and it's due to the open source nature of Android. If this was the only reason, why did they also continue to support Blackberry?

Using Apple's iPhone or iOS by government officials is a risk, especially when used by non-American officials. Apple tracks your movement through the built-in GPS chips.

(They linked to an old Ars article born in the hype of locationgate)
And yep, so does Android. And Windows Phone 7, and Blackberry, and Symbian, and any other AGPS system. Locationgate was a big deal only because people made it so. The "app" that was written to show the problem didn't actually plot the correct data, it "obscured it to protect people". The unobscured data would have shown it was simply the locations of cell towers and wifi spots, not where the phone was. Buy hey, why let facts that have been well known for over a year get in the way of posting a sensationalized story a year+ down the road.


We need a Jon Stewart of the tech world to at least make fun of these types of horribly inaccurate stories to get some entertainment value out of them. And on a side note, it's sad how many people giddily blast Fox News for always being inaccurate and sensational, while also liking the exact type of inaccurate and sensational stories in the tech world.

Comment Re:Smart phones are not private (Score 1) 478

Citation needed for the iPhone and Carrier IQ part. Your link lacks any reference to iPhone or iOS. Apple has never allowed carriers to install custom versions of iOS on the phones. They only allow carriers to send Apple information for carrier specific settings such as APN, that Apple then distributes to the appropriate iPhone owners.

Apple did way more to loosen carrier control over phones then Google has with Android, RIM with Blackberry, and Microsoft with WP7.

Comment Re:Where is iOS intrusive? (Score 1) 478

And the two bugs were:
- The cached data of locations of WiFi and Cell towers was stored in a directory incorrectly flagged for backup to the PC/Mac.
- Turning off Location Services didn't clear the cache.

Apple also did change the behavior of the cache to clear entries after a week, which I find annoying. I've noticed the difference in time it takes to find me when I want to use location services when I'm out and about in the larger metro area on the weekends.

The rest of the bugs were in the so called "journalists" the blogged about it, turning it into locationgate thanks to the internet echo chamber.

Comment Re:Smart phones are not private (Score 1) 478

There is no "automatically" with iCloud. It has to be turned on. A new device with iOS 5 will ask, just as it asks about location services, and the ability to send the diagnostic info to Apple. There are no defaults, every user has to make the choice.

Actually use a device and do some research, kids! Yes, the terms of service has all the info about what happens when you turn on these services. But to say any of this happens automatically from day one with a device is incorrect.

Privacy between you and your cellular provider is a completely different subject though.

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 2) 447

Why should I drop it? Most people don't forgive other companies (Apple, Microsoft, etc) for grievances done over a decade ago, and yet Google gets a free pass after a week?

I'm not bringing it up to use as a fanboy attack like many others do. I'm bringing it up to illustrate the dangers of blindly believing Google's "open" message. It's open until they decide it's closed. There is nothing stopping Google from doing the exact same trick for future Android devices. I want to see Google do good, and keep Android open. The Honeycomb situation should not be forgotten, so we can try and pressure Google to stay on message more frequently.

Part of me (call it the tin foil hat part of my mind) has to wonder if Honeycomb was closed for as long as it was to prevent Amazon from using it to fork for their Fire tablet. Ultimately I think that if it was part of the motivation, it;s more damaging to Android as a whole in the tablet space. Some devs are going to be targeting 2.3 for the Fire, and doing lowest common denominator ports to 3.0/4.0 Android tablets, leading to a poorer experience for everyone.

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 2) 447

If you want to nit pick meanings, fine, though to get stuck doing so misses the larger picture. To most people, Android means a phone, running Google's Android OS, and Google's Android applications such as the marketplace, Gmail, Maps, etc. The marketplace, maps, Gmail and other common apps that come with every Google Android certified device are not open.

The reason I make a distinction between open and closed here is that yes, on Linux, almost the entire stack is open, from the proper Linux kernel, to the Gnome/KDE windowing environment, to the browsers, e-mail apps and other common programs bundled with a typical Linux distribution.

Yes, Android is functional without the closed bits Google doesn't ship, but only functional to engineering minded people who need a good OS to build their own mobile platform or device.

One interesting part that changed from open to closed is the handling of AGPS location caching. Remember, that same thing everyone blew up at Apple over last year? Yeah, Android does the same, and the open code revealed it, and the complete hiding of it inside some closed location API Google provides with Google Certified devices.

Comment Re:but but but... Apple (Score 5, Informative) 447

You mean the smartphone location fiasco where it was discovered that *gasp* AGPS caches data on phones, including Android, Blackberry, iPhone and WebOS? Yep. Typical internet echo chamber amplification that turned it into an attack point for fanboys who didn't actually do any research.

Apple did have one legitimate bug in the situation. The cache was in a folder marked for backup to computers, due to it living in the same location as the settings file to toggle what apps can use location data. This was fixed, and the cache was reduced. I personally preferred the old cache time, since it meant my phone found my location when I wanted it to quicker. But they bowed to the pressure from the echo chamber anyhow.

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 4, Insightful) 447

Only parts of Android are open source. Other parts, including key infrastructure pieces and the majority of apps people use that ship on the devices are closed.

And open source here is a license that doesn't require Google to disclose the source when shipping, leading to every Android Honeycomb tablet that shipped this year being a closed platform until this week.

Google has severely muddied the meaning of open and open source compared to what we are used to from the GPL and Linux worlds.

Never let your hatred of Apple, Microsoft or whoever to cloud your judgement of the companies you do cling to. Google's "open" message is eerily similar to FUD messages Microsoft was spreading in the 90s when it came to Java and "open computing". The quicker we hold these companies accountable, the quicker it improves. Getting stuck in fanboy wars and putting on the blinders helps no one.

Comment Re:Meaning... (Score 1) 179

It is, and has been for a long time. Just move on. In fact, not even sure why I came back recently. Very few people here are actually interested in real facts, too many of them are slanted towards RMS crazy land. *pssst, I hate cell phones, they are used to track you and will remotely spy on everyone. Oh, can I borrow yours to make a call?*

Comment Useful for Airplay (Score 4, Insightful) 526

Keep in mind any Airplay compatible device can use ALAC, but can't use FLAC. This includes the Airport Express units that have been out since ~2004 or so, and the newer non Apple devices with Airplay compatibility. This is likely a move to assist with 3rd parties wanting to integrate more with Airplay, as the relevant network pieces (Bonjour) are already out there in source form.

Sadly I'm sure most people here will go on and on about how it's not FLAC, and whatever. For once, just at least appreciate that Apple is continuing to throw some interesting things out to the OSS crowd instead of deciding to nitpick it to death. If you don't want to use it, thats fine. Just really tired of the nitpickery and general negative outlook geeks around here tend to have. Cheer up for once :-)

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