Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Survey On the Future of Open Source, and Lessons From the Past

Drakino Re:This isn't always good though (97 comments)

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.

about a year and a half ago
top

Survey On the Future of Open Source, and Lessons From the Past

Drakino This isn't always good though (97 comments)

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.

about a year and a half ago
top

Android Approved By Pentagon

Drakino Such a bad article (160 comments)

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.

*sigh*

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

Apple Outsources A5 Chip Manufacture ... To Texas

Drakino Re:Samsung, not Apple. (330 comments)

Apple created the demand, and Samsung is the company that can meet the demand Apple has created. Credit is fine to apply to both companies, not just one or the other.

more than 2 years ago
top

Apple Outsources A5 Chip Manufacture ... To Texas

Drakino Re:Asia goes up! (330 comments)

Their Mac Pro towers are assembled in the US (as seen on the bottom label from a 2008, 2009 and 2010 model). I wonder how much of that workstation cost is assembly, vs the high priced server level hardware.

more than 2 years ago
top

Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?

Drakino Re:Smart phones are not private (478 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?

Drakino Re:Where is iOS intrusive? (478 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?

Drakino Re:Smart phones are not private (478 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit"

Drakino Re:Doesn't Matter (447 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit"

Drakino Re:Doesn't Matter (447 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit"

Drakino Re:but but but... Apple (447 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit"

Drakino Re:Doesn't Matter (447 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
top

Dolphin, a 3rd Party Android Browser, Relayed URL Data

Drakino Re:Meaning... (179 comments)

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?*

more than 2 years ago
top

Apple's Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) Now Open Source

Drakino Re:Why not... (526 comments)

Processing power still matters today. With the shift to more and more mobile computing platforms (lighter laptops, advanced smartphones, tablets), efficiency keeps us from needing to plug in as often. Also if you have a view of wanting to help the environment, it's less power wasted.

more than 2 years ago
top

Apple's Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) Now Open Source

Drakino Useful for Airplay (526 comments)

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 :-)

more than 2 years ago
top

Apple's Siri As Revolutionary As the Mac?

Drakino Re:Purely out of curiosity (692 comments)

If you don't have contact entries specifically labeled "Mom" "Brother" etc, then yes, you need to provide this information somehow. Either by telling Siri once, or by editing the address book.

about 3 years ago
top

Apple's Siri As Revolutionary As the Mac?

Drakino Re:Purely out of curiosity (692 comments)

(Reply written before most other posts, was distracted by work, going to post anyhow even with some now redundant info. Hope it helps.)

Android's voice recognition is mostly a search input box, driven by voice instead of text. It's pretty clever how Google built the system, they used voice input from the old GOOG411 number to help adapt it to different languages and accents. For the most part though, it will parse what you say and do the equivalent of "I'm Feeling Lucky" on google.com.

It also does dictation for typing in notes, or other apps. Basically anywhere the keyboard will appear, voice can be used as a dictation input.

Siri is a step beyond what Google offers, due to the conversational style of input vs just basic voice commands/dictation. You can say "Joanne Moore is my mother" to Siri once. Later, saying "Text Mom that I'll be late for dinner", and Siri remembers mom = Joanne Moore, or whoever. This just scratches the surface, the other power of Siri is the capability to understand questions like "Do I need a raincoat today?". It turns that into a search of the weather at the current location, scanning the days forecast for the possibility of rain. A followup of "what about Saturday?" would cause Siri to recognize this is a followup request, and it would link it to the previous weather query. The logic is in the Siri system, not in a search engine being queried. Minor detail, and either approach can work.

Google can improve their services on Android by improving what Google.com does, and this benefitting web users as well. For Apple, they have to decide what services to tie into. Many queries in Siri are farmed out to Wolfram Alpha. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri_(software) has more info on other services it integrates with to try and answer questions. If none of those work, it defaults to running a web search similar to Android.

about 3 years ago
top

Police Using Apple iOS Tracking Data For Forensics

Drakino Re:Whoa, whoa. (208 comments)

*sigh* Ok, let me try to explain this more carefully for you.

A user with an iPod Touch (a device that has a WiFi radio that can detect WiFi base stations, and also use one for internet access, but no GPS chip at all) is joined to an open network at a convention. He opens Google Maps, pulling in data tiles for the area nearby, and these get cached to the devices flash memory. Also cached to the device flash memory are the latitude and longitude of all the base stations in the area, say for a 2 mile radius (just as an example).

The user then walks away from the convention center, and the iPod drops off the open WiFi network, thus the device has no active data connection. It does however have the cached map tiles, and information about other WiFi networks. Using triangulation, the iPod can still place a blue location dot on a map drawn from the cached tiles saved earlier. It's not as accurate as GPS, but possibly good enough, especially if on foot. The more WiFi access points it can see, even if they are secured, gives the device more reference points to calculate location.

Along the way, the user takes a photo of something interesting. Due to the cached WiFi data, the photo ends up having pretty accurate latitude and longitude information added to the EXIF data, assuming the user enables geotagging of their photos.

Thats the part about why this cache is useful for the iPod Touch and iPads with WiFi only, with no 3G or GPS chips inside.

Now, the second part, why not use the device saying "I'm here". I'm assuming you mean the GPS chip. A pure GPS system takes a while to lock onto a users location from a cold start, and even a warm start can take a while. GPS chips also consume a decent bit of power, especially during cold start situations and while trying to obtain a positive position lock. One way to accelerate a lock is to already have a rough idea of where the device is. This speeds up the lock as it can then figure out what the GPS constellation looks like currently, and pick up the right signals to then get a better position. I'm not going to go too in depth on how GPS works, as Wikipedia can fill you in there.

The basic point is that GPS takes a lot of power, WiFi scanning takes less power, and cell tower scanning is even less power (due to the phone already having to keep track of towers to make sure the phone part works). Using cell tower triangulation results in a pretty poor location result, due to the low density of towers. WiFi positioning can be far more accurate, due to the smaller radius of the signal, and the higher density in most cities. And GPS gives the best location since thats what it was designed to do. By balancing all three and using cached data, you can provide a user useful location information quickly, without causing too much power draw or data consumption (counting against monthly quotas, and adding latency to the location calculation).

more than 3 years ago
top

Police Using Apple iOS Tracking Data For Forensics

Drakino Re:The security issue is similar to others (208 comments)

Timestamps on any cached data serve to indicate how old it is, so that the program can decide if it's time to attempt a refresh due to the data possibly being too stale.

And more then the last few data points are for the reason Apple gave at WWDC. It's for their iOS devices that don't have constant data connections like the iPod Touch.

Don't get me wrong, I see the potential privacy issues here if my phone was lost and someone rooted around in it, and I do think this situation could be addressed to still provide the same offline benefits without the risk. I'm going to dig deeper on it this weekend, just to see how they pull down the WiFi points in particular. I want to see if searching for something in a location far away ends up causing Apple to cache WiFi points even if I haven't personally visited the area, or if it only seeds them around the location of the device.

more than 3 years ago
top

AT&T Admits Network Can't Handle iPhone, iPad Traffic

Drakino Re:iPhone drove that..... (298 comments)

It's possible to do it both ways. Contracts do exist for most European countries as an option, along with subsidized phones.

And sure, it's possible in the US to buy a phone then pick service, but it's a pain. Between your mentioned T-Mobile 3G issue, and the lack of price incentives with AT&T on unsubsidized plans, it's not much of a choice.

And while I don't see the GSM vs CDMA thing as an anti-consumer conspiracy, I do find it might annoying. It would have been nice to see the FCC step in and guide the market towards one standard back in the early days. By having the split setups, it's impossible for nearly every phone to roam onto another network for emergencies. One standard would have allowed the carriers to cover the landmass easier, by signing roaming agreements to cover the areas they don't specifically cover with their own equipment. Some roaming agreements do exist today between the compatible carriers, but it's far from being as good as it could be.

Thankfully the future may get better in this regard. Verizon is transitioning to LTE now, as is AT&T, and many other smaller providers. Once Verizon supports voice over LTE, then maybe we can start moving more towards the situation the EU areas have.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

Drakino hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

top

Drakino Drakino writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Just testing the journal. Not sure if I'm going to keep something like this here, or continue to use blog and have it on my personal server.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?