If you are not a graphical designer with elite Photoshop skills you might want to try out the Android Feature Graphic Generator that I have built last year: http://www.norio.be/android-feature-graphic-generator/
We’d like to invite you to our next session on July 8th, 2015! It’s conference season again and we’re organizing a get-together to discuss the most important announcements from WWDC, Google I/O and the BUILD conference. To recap each event, we have invited the following speakers:
• Litrik De Roy & Peter Kuterna (Google I/O)
• Mike Seghers (Apple WWDC)
• Nico Vermeir (Microsoft BUILD)
VRT will be once more hosting our event in Brussels, which will start at 19:30 on Wednesday, July 8th. You’ll find us in the “Press room” on the 9th floor (follow the "mobel" signs). See you there!
Litrik De Roy has been a freelance Android developer for more than 5 years. He has created apps for big brands and small businesses, for fun and profit. He has strong opinions about Android apps and how they should be built.
Peter Kuterna is a consultant at XT-i NV and crafts software in Java with a focus on Android and mobile backends.
Mike Seghers is a software architect @AppFoundryBE. He focusses on iOS development and software architecture in general. Mike has worked on apps for Devoxx, VRT and others. …
Nico Vermeir is a Microsoft MVP in the field of Windows Platform Development. He works as a .NET developer at RealDolmen Belgium since 2010. He spends a lot of time on keeping up with the rapid changing world of technology. He loves talking about and using the newest and experimental technologies, especially in the mobile world. In 2011 Nico founded MADN, a user group focusing on Windows 8 and Windows Phone development. Nico is also member of Microsoft’s Extended Expert Team, a team of community leaders and technology experts that focus on delivering community advice for everyone. He also wrote “Windows 8 app projects, XAML & C# edition” published by Apress.
One thing that really annoys me about Apple is how it is using its reality distortion field to twist the message about privacy. Only a week ago, Tim Cook said this:
”I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be. So we don’t want your data. “
“We don’t think they’re worth have your email or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold-off for God-knows-what advertising purpose.”
And then, at the WWDC Keynote, they announced the new Apple News app. What does this app do? Well… I quote from their product page:
”The stories you really care about. The more you read, the more personalized the News app becomes, refining the selection of stories delivered to your screen so they are relevant to you. Easily share articles with others and save them to read offline. News stays on top of the stories you’re interested in. So you can, too.”
So… how can Apple learn what it is that you are interested in, and deliver that information to you without tracking people?
Granted, at the keynote, Craig Federighi also displayed a slide pointing out the privacy features for Apple News. These included:
Not associated with Apple ID
Not linked to other Apple services
Not shared with third parties
You’re in control
Clearly pointing their fingers at Google.
First of all, this is a weird way of doing things. Not having the news targeting data linked to your Apple ID means that it can’t be used across devices. Your iPhone and your iPad won’t know which is which. And if you buy a new iPhone, you will have to teach your news app all over again from scratch.
What’s the point of that? That’s not a privacy issue. That’s just terrible UX.
It’s also not linked to other Apple services, meaning that Apple won’t be able to show you news from where you are in Apple Maps, compared to your personal interests. That seems like a weird limitation, and again, poor UX.
Finally, we have the “Not shared with third parties”.
It’s so annoying. Why, because neither is Google.
It’s the same thing. Google isn’t sharing anything. No advertiser sees any user data, ever.
It’s like when you advertise in a newspaper. You pay the newspaper to display the ad in the right section. But as an advertiser, you have no clue as to who it reaches. You just know it has been targeted right.
That’s how Google Adwords work.
More to the point, tools like Google Analytics work almost exactly like Apple News. It too is anonymous, not associated with people’s Google IDs, uses randomized identifiers, not linked to other Google services, nor is it shared with third parties.
Granted, you can add aggregated demographic data to this as well, in which case it does link to Google Adwords, but it’s still anonymous, and you have no way to track that on an individual level.
I get so annoyed by this. Apple is promoting itself as the savior of privacy online, bashing Google and others with vaguely misleading statements along the way.
That said, there are genuine concerns about privacy as well.
For instance, there is a real problem around the whole industry of data brokers. These are companies who are buying and selling user data to the highest bidder, from anywhere. For instance, when you go into Target to buy a t-shirt, they will end up knowing your age, income, social status, your food preferences, and sometimes even your medical history.
Similarly, when I then go into another store a week later, then they suddenly also know that I bought a T-shirt.
That’s not right. That’s terrible! It should be illegal for companies to buy/sell/share their data. (and indeed it is in my country).
If I go into a store, whatever I do and whatever I buy in this store should be kept between the store and me. It is a massive violation of trust when that store sells this information to others.
That is a real privacy problem.
This also extends to websites. If I visit a newspaper, what I read should not be bought and sold by other companies. That is an interaction purely between me and the newspaper.
The newspaper can target me all it wants based on the interaction that has taken place between us. But when I then visit another newspaper, they shouldn’t be allowed to know what topics of articles I read elsewhere.
This is the whole concept of privacy.
Apple is doing this right because what it tracks is kept within Apple. Which is good. And that is also how Google works. Whatever you do on Google, stays with Google.
But the rest of Apple PR bashing about privacy is just that, PR.
Look at Apple Music, which will be available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows and Android. Here you can create your own playlists, follow artists, like, comment and share things.
The only way they can do that is by linking your actions to your Apple ID. How else would it be able to show you the playlist on your phone that you just created on your Mac? How else would it be able to keep track and notify you across devices when there is an update to something you engage with?
So, Apple is using your data, just like everyone else. As Apple says on their site (about Apple Music)
“Enjoy recommendations handpicked just for you or explore everything they find that’s new and noteworthy in the world of music. It’s all yours.”
“Even with a library this massive, finding the music you’re looking for is easy. The intelligent search engine remembers whether you’re looking in your local library or the Apple Music library, so you get results from the place you expect. You can also browse music you’ve looked for previously, and see what searches are trending.”
”Tell us what you like. Discover something you’ll love. When you tell us the genres and bands you’re into, we’ll bring you more suggestions from our experts who know and love music. They’re out at the big shows and the small gigs, combing scenes to bring you emerging artists and deep cuts, and creating playlists that feel like they’re coming from a friend who knows exactly what you want to hear.”
”The more you listen, the better we hear you. When we make recommendations, we consider what you tell us you like. Whether you love a song or not, your feedback helps our suggestions get better and better. But we also pay attention to what you actually play. So if you’re an EDM fan with a secret affinity for big band music, we’ll find you more stuff that swings. And drops the beat.”
How is this not exactly the same as what Google is doing with their services?
Oh, you say. But Apple isn’t using this to sell advertising. Really?
Here is the description of ad targeting for the Apple News app:
”Monetization of Apple News Format content is simple with iAd, Apple’s advertising platform. When monetizing with iAd, you’ll have access to iAd’s segmentation capabilities, so your advertisers can reach just the right audience within your content. iAd targeting is accurate and scalable, and based on registration data from hundreds of millions of validated Apple users.”
So, when Apple said that Apple news was anonymous, not associated with Apple ID, uses a random identifier, nor linked to other Apple services, that apparently only applies to all the things that aren’t iAds. Because with iAds, they can accurately target your content to millions of Apple users.
Again, just like Google.
Add that Apple recently announced they will support ad blockers in Safari on the iPhone, thus blocking newspapers from earning money that way. While iAds does work in their own news app... well...
This is why I get so annoyed when I hear Apple’s PR machine talk about privacy. First, we have Tim Cook saying: “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be. So we don’t want your data.“
Then they launch two new services; Apple Music and Apple News, both featuring individual targeting, tracking and tailoring. Including integration to iAds.
I call shenanigans.
Both Apple and Google track what you do. Both companies use that information. And both companies that keep information within themselves, thus ensuring your privacy stays intact.
There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, as they both show, doing this creates much better products for you and me.
Let’s instead focus on the much more important issue of data brokers, and how data from one site is sold or given to others, thus causing one company to know what you did in another store.
That is the real issue we should be dealing with. Not how data is used between us and the individual companies that we have chosen to be a part of.
1) They are going to make an application that will ask your Apple credentials on a platform they described as totally unsecure, full of viruses, malwares, etc. That means that your Apple Pay credentials, iTunes credentials, and all their services that handle your money are on such an unsecure OS? Will they admit they lied a little bit?
2) They will have to provide a great application with the great Apple experience on an OS they described as fragmented, a nightmare for developers.
Will they launch a crappy application on a few flagships devices only or admit they were wrong and they can provide a great application for everyone?
Of course they can provide a great application, and avoid the horrible iTunes for Windows) but is it a good idea? Will it be a benefit to work on a great experience?
What do you think?
- Attacker controls the browser of the user on their Windows/Linux/Mac desktop (not Android).
- Attacker steals Google credentials that allows installation of an app from the Play Store on any of the devices that the user might have.
- App is automatically installed, like installing any app from the web version of the Google Play Store.
So far, this might be a security concern. An attacker that is able to exploit your browser can pretend to be you and act like you. Which is usually the whole point of exploiting right :)
Now the tricky part: the user needs to actually activate the app. At 3:06 in the video, you hear the researcher say that the user has to click on the app, which is correct. Possibly, because it has "an attractive icon". Then they go on stating that even without clicking on the app, it could be launched from a bookmark or web page. However, they don't show how that would look like for obvious reasons, since the user would get a dialog asking if the web page should be openened in the browser or using the app that was installed.
If the app is started, it pulls in additional payloads. The video talks about replacing the Paypal app. That would require a user to enable the "Unknown sources" option on their phone, triggering a warning dialog. Then the replacement app would be installed manually by the user, no Google Play Store involved. The video actually shows that the user has to confirm installation and it has very different UI compared to the normal install UI.
When that happens, the app can steal information and data, but still within the app sandbox. For example, it couldn't steal data from your banking app.
Now everything after 3 minutes into the video is something that is not a new way of exploiting Android devices. In fact, most malware that is coming from what ever source (alternative app stores, torrent sites etc) would act this way.
IMHO the video is biased and not very scientific in a multiple ways:
- It assumes your browser can be easily hacked, but I'll let that slide
- It assumes that malicious apps can live long and prosper on Google Play and they show an app being installed that does not have a malicious payload (as far as I can tell).
- They don't show you the prompts and security warnings an Android phone would show you in this scenario.
Here's the video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jd45lfnkefb4lp1/mitbandroid-vo3.mp4?dl=0
Article (Dutch): http://www.volkskrant.nl/tech/groot-lek-in-android-telefoons~a4089416/
And how launching an app from the browser would really look: https://twitter.com/botteaap/status/614784118883287041
I don't want a fucking splash screen when launching Maps. This is fucking bullshit and here's why :
- This is slow. Or at least, it seems slow. 'cause yes, only games that (down)load a lot of shit use a splash screen. By the way, after the splashcreen, Maps is still loading. So what the fuck are you doing while displaying the splashcreen? Nothing?
- Maps is as normal on my phone as the phone composer. Are you going to put a splashcreen on that too?
- What value does it give to your users? A nice logo and all? Get rid of what doesn't give any value.
Agreed, during previous editions the panel often answered "We are not allowed to discuss possible future plans" or "That may or may not happen in the future". But there were always 1 or 2 gems among the answers.
- NorioIndependent ICT consultant, 2008 - present
- Inventive Designers1996 - 2007
- IBM1994 - 1996
- 8 Ball Pool
- KU LeuvenInformatica, 1989 - 1993
- Sint-Jozefscollege, Aarschot1983 - 1989
Onzinnig geblaat over 'groot Android-lek' - Computerworld
VU-onderzoekers en media kloppen FUD op.
How to avoid flickering and black screen issues when using VideoView?
VideoView is the most straightforward way to show video content in layout. It took a few lines of code to setup and show for example mp4 fil
A Curated List of IDE Plugins for Android Development | JetBrains Intell...
In addition to being the IDE of choice for many professional Java developers, IntelliJ IDEA is also a favorite platform for plugin developer
Android UI Patterns: How We Created Scalable UI - A Case Study
I rarely get to write about projects I've been involved myself so writing this one make me very happy. For more than a year I've been workin
What happened when a die-hard Android fan tried the iPhone 6
I agreed to ditch my beloved OnePlus One for a month and go full Apple native. Come on, how bad can it be?
Forget EU's Toothless Vote To 'Break Up' Google; Be Worried About Nonsen...
As was widely expected after leaking out a few days earlier, last week the EU Parliament "voted" on its proposal to support the breakup of G
Google's trusted places just made my life so much easier
I don't make a habit of counting how many times I unlock my phone, but I'm willing to believe the stats that say the average user does it hu
5 important things to know about security in Android 5.0 | Computerworld
Fun features aside, Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop release introduces some important improvements to security -- some of which have yet to be
Tim Howard, the U.S. vs. Belgium Loss, and How to Deal With It: The Q: GQ
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images I would like to begin with a series of contradictory statements.The U.S. was thoroughly outplayed by Belgium; it
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors, and My Own Patent Apologies
It's hard for me to believe that I have sat on a this draft blog post for almost 6 years. But I'm stuck on a plane this evening, inspired by
Ingress: The game that reveals Google's secret war to control London
Google's intriguing augmented-reality game has dedicated players fighting to control locations around the world. We join the players in Engl
Android™ 4.4.3, KitKat® Rolls Out to Moto Devices This Week
An amazing phone experience is more than just the physical device you hold in your hand. We know that the complete phone experience is about