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Where I went yesterday, via my Android phone

You know what? I’m glad this whole phones keeping track of everywhere you go thing happened, because, pushing all those pesky, minor concerns about privacy away, it’s really kind of cool!

Hot on the heels of the iPhone tool that showed us the smorgasbord of data that’s being stored, someone decided to see what Google / Android does. It turns out they store location information as well, just, no way near as much as Apple

After a period of time, 12 hours for cellular data and 48 hours for WiFi data, has passed, the location data is renewed by a new request from Google. It is also limited to a maximum number of entries so that the database doesn’t grow too large. 

Swindon says that the location file pulled from his phone contained roughly 13,000 entries related to cellular network tracking. By contrast the Android file is limited to only 50 entries in the cellular location database.

via The Next Web

Maybe it is just a bug, or lazy programming or whatever on Apple’s part, but it makes sense, especially in Google’s case, where they delete / refresh the data, and you can see it being useful for location-based services.

This same someone that decided to see what Google do, created a Python script that you can feed the Wi-Fi and Cell cache files into, and then output into a .gpx format, to eventually visualise on Google Maps, so I just went ahead and tried it out, purely with my Cell cache file.

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Samsung Galaxy S. First impressions.

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I was forced to buy a new phone yesterday, my previous phone being an HTC Magic. I bought a Samsung Galaxy S based purely on the word of 3 different people. I didn’t even know the specs on the thing. I didn’t even know how it looked. Thank god then that the phone is so frakn amazing, because buyer’s remorse is a bitch!

Oh, and this ain’t no detailed Engadget review going through each aspect of the phone. It is purely what I’ve experienced over the last 1.5 days.

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My year with Android keyboards

I was looking through Android and Me’s Top 10 app downloads of the week [a great weekly perusal], and came across SwiftKey, touted for its word prediction capabilities, and thought I might as well try it out. Several hours later and I can’t contain my love for it, but I was feeling nostalgic, and felt compelled to chronicle my year in Android keyboards.

I think it’s actually a bit past my one year Android anniversary, and no doubt the marriage will only continue to blossom, although I might have to cheat on Mrs. HTC Magic soon. There were also no problems with the ceremony and venue, like others have sadly experienced recently.

Thanks to Android Central for the majority of the keyboard screenshots; I honestly couldn’t be bothered.

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Upgrading an HTC Magic to CyanogenMod 5.0.7

I’ve got a HTC Magic [Australian, through Vodafone, 32B]. I’ve had it for a year now. It’s old, the hardware is somewhat antiquated, but I still love it to bits, and thanks to crazy kids like @cyanogen, it can stay up to date, OS wise.

I recently switched from 4.2.15 to 5.0.7, but the switch was not without its hiccups, so I thought I may as well try and simplify the XDA instructions [as they’re somewhat overwhelming for n00bs like me], and add in some additional steps/information that they might take for granted.

I’ll repeat it again, I was rocking CyanogenMod 4.2.15 before this, meaning that I’ve already rooted my phone. Surprisingly, it was an absolute bitch to get back to 1.5 since I’d upgraded to vanilla 1.6.

Oh, and I should probably add in a disclaimer. There’s a chance you’ll brick your phone, and I refuse to take no responsibility for it! Having said that, it’s pretty safe. “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit”

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I’m a Grooveshark VIP member now

I’ve been raving about Grooveshark to anyone that cares to listen, and I finally took the plunge today to become a VIP member. At $3/month or $30 a year, it’s just dirt cheap, especially considering my penchant for blowing large amounts of money on seemingly useless things/causes, like destroying my liver!

Oh, right, I should probably mention what Grooveshark is for the uneducated. Or just let Wikipedia do that for me.

Grooveshark is an internationally-available online music search engine, music streaming service and music recommendation web software application, allowing users to search for, stream, and upload music free of charge that can be played immediately or added to a playlist.

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Listen and TWiT

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Listen is a Google Labs experiment and by far my new favourite Android app, and a must for anyone with an Android phone.

Listen is basically a web audio / podcast discovery app that allows you to search, subscribe, download and stream in such a simple way that I found my listen queue filling up pretty quickly. Downloading has been easy & quick enough through 3G; haven’t bothered with WiFi since it downloads speedily and I can actually make a dent into my normally wasted data plan.

You can tell that it’s a Labs experiment though, with a few strange things that stood out initially, but no doubt Google will be all over it soon enough, and I’m eagerly awaiting v1.0.4.

Gripes / Wants:

  • No support to play other audio / other media on your phone – It only played podcasts that are downloaded through Listen, and strangely, it removes the audio extension on anything it downloads, so the file becomes incompatible with other audio apps unless you add in the .mp3 or .m4a extension
  • I thought I’d had an “ah-ha!” moment the other day when I realised I could use the scroll wheel to seek with accuracy, but then found the seek bar to creep back to its original position, with the scroll wheel doing nada
  • Some kind of web / desktop interface tied to your Google account [you need one to use the app anyway] almost seems like a must

Download Listen via the QR code below

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Coincidentally, my love of Listen has a great deal to do with the gloriousness that is TWiT [This Week In Technology]. I humbly apologise to @renny510 and @pkattera for not heeding your advice earlier. I’ll probably have another mini rant about it sometime, but I’m already waiting for the next episode with as much anticipation as I would a JJ Abrams TV show. Luckily there’s a backlog of 200+ episodes that I can fall back on, not to mention the broader TWiT network, with podcasts like TWiG [This Week In Google] and others from Leo and the gang.

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Google, Android and the iPhone: A collaborative rant

Well, me starting today’s Wave [a daily thing with high school / uni mates] with Techcrunch’s review of the Nexus One led to some fantastic discussion [it’s normally not tech-heavy at all, which made it even better reading for me], so I’m just going to dump a crapload of it here. Because it’s my blog, and I can! With a few minor edits.

A: “Google’s angle is the open apps community, and how they can nurture collaboration, distribution, encourage participation, and grow loyalty that way. As opposed to Apple’s ease of use (consumption) store.”

B: “Dunno man, I hope it works but I’m kinda doubtful how mass market it will be. Cos Apple’s closed system allows them to control all the content which has both pros and cons, but for the mass market probably more pros”

C: “The iPhone only has ONE PERCENT handset market share… this article just came out today, it sums up things well – Android or iPhone? Wrong Question

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B: “Wow, yeah that changes things quite a bit actually. Cos I can imagine Android being the main platform for mid-level smartphones and above. If it ends up replacing Win Mobile or s60 (?), then yeah it’ll actually get a good chunk of the market without crossing over to Apple land. If Android starts appearing on Nokias I might seriously consider going back to a Nokia phone.

One hurdle though would be the hardware that powers it. You’ll probably have varying degrees of enjoyment using the platform. Sony and Nokia have always been a bit slow on adopting the newest processors so it might hurt Android’s chances there. Anyway if the next Nokia N9X series is an Android I will be buying one.”

D: “Sif, give up on Nokia it’s crap.”

E: “Nokia is sticking with Symbian but changing the UI.”

B: “Man Symbian is always changing its UI but it’s never actually that good compared to its competitors. It was great 3 years ago when there was no competition but now it’s different.”

….

F: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/01/analysis-yawn-google-introduces-iphone-clone

E: “Retarded article from an obvious iPhone user.”

D: “So basically you fight his argument by calling him an “iPhone user””

E: “I’m not fighting.”

D: “Doesn’t make any of what he says incorrect. Maybe a bit inflammatory”

E: “No it’s a bit stupid. Google ain’t in the business of making hardware nor do they give a shit about a superphone that has all the features mankind can think of, that isn’t their strategy. Their (nice!) strategy is to have people use Google for email, search, navigation, etc.

What they want is the exposure to the mobile market, exposure to more ad revenues period. Google isn’t in the business of selling stuff to consumers, their business is ad revenue.

I think the guy has lost the point, if they were to make a superphone, the be all and end all of all phones they would piss off their partners (Motorola, Sony Ericsson, etc) who’d probably just abandon the platform. The more phones out there and the more products using Android and using Google specific apps the better their bottom dollar is.”

D: “Look there’s nothing wrong with the phone, but when you brand it GOOGLE PHONE then that’s what it becomes in the market”

C: “They’re not branding it as that. People are

D: If you can buy it through google.com/phone I think it speaks for itself”

C: “Fine”

E: “Dude it’s marketing, Google Phone or a phone by Google gets people interested. Fuck if HTC brought out the same phone no one would give a shit or even notice. But what this has done is brought all the media companies to cover it… If they can use their name to give Android the attention it deserves then all power to them. One thing “Google Phone” has over HTC is awareness.”

D: “I think both articles are right. It’s obvious to me that Google is targeting to be a superphone eventually, and it’s late to the race. But the population of phone users is big enough and diverse enough for both of them to “win” in their own rights

C: It’s all about the $$ from ad revenue

D: “I‘m saying that there is enough market share to go around for everyone, so the article you linked is right and I agree, but that doesn’t change that Google is still aiming to have a superphone

C: Yeh, but I’m saying that that’s a secondary goal. Like, if they thought about it, they’d think, we want all this mobile ad revenue, etc. That’s the first thing, and then, yeh, how the fk do we do that? Create a mobile OS that we can dump on a shitload of phone manufacturers that functions as well as the iPhone OS.

D: “What’s this got to do with anything at all? As proven above it’s still a Google phone. You can pay someone else to do something and endorse it, it’s still your phone

E: You don’t get it, it’s not about the phone, it’s Android they’re pushing. Putting their name on it creates Android awareness, that’s all. If a mainstream consumer were to now walk into a phone store and go can I have a Google phone, they’d be like can I play with it, etc.

They’d understand there’s other shit out there that functions just as well as the iPhone. They’d also be told there are other phones that use the same OS and have different price points, etc.

D: You somehow treat the OS and the phone as two totally separate things. If this was true, then why even bother, and just work with HTC with one of their previous phones to make it work better

E: Come on try selling a HTC phone which has an Android OS and market it compared to selling a Google phone. Fuck half the idiots out there don’t know what an OS is.

D: And those idiots are really going to see the Google phone and go, OH BUT I CAN GET A SAMSUNG WITH THIS SAME OS.

No they’ll just get the Google phone

E: No but it creates awareness about the OS period. That’s the point, I doubt you’ll see many Google branded phones in the future... Ok, let’s say two years later they come for a new phone and there’s a bunch of Android phones, Nokia’s own Symbian OS based phones and the iPhone. What they had before is the Google phone and they want something similar. What do you think they’re going to choose?

D: This is on the assumption that there are no more Google phones. My prediction is, even if this is not what they are anticipating (please), that in 2 years the other phones get edged out and the Google phone becomes the main Android phone in the market.

Regardless of the OS, functionality in the phone trumps all for the consumer, and even now it seems to me the Google phone beats all the other alternatives”

Thanks to you all! I was a mere spectator, and may not necessarily agree with it all, but I loved reading it. Didn’t know how you felt about being named so I stuck with random letters.

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