Saturday, December 18, 2010

Android application permissions

I saw this in the news earlier and figured it warranted a response:

At least for android, an application's required permissions are displayed while downloading and installing apps.  Here is a walkthrough:

Here is a list of permissions developers can request:

The consumer of an app is always presented with a list of permissions before the app is downloaded and installed. It is up to the consumer to read that page and decide how much they trust the developer. Anything that requests access to location, contacts, phone state or phone identity should be scrutinized. Here is a tutorial someone wrote up on the subject:

As long as a phone user can read and takes care when they get to the permissions portion of installing an app they won't take any risks they're unaware of.  The wsj has tried to sensationalize a topic by claiming users don't know.

If you own an android device just remember to read while you shop for apps and enjoy other's work safely.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

android frf91 what's new

So i just received frf91. The very first thing i noticed had to do with the car dock. It seems like new in this version the home screen will rotate when the phone is in the car. This means that the landscape use in a table for the home screen. I'm very excited about this feature. What else is new? I will post pictures as i find out. Post a comment if you make another discovery.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Android 2.2 FRF85B

It's funny with all of these system updates I'd like to see a what's new in each one. Or maybe I don't want to know? Anyway, just received FRF85B, seems to be legitimate so I've installed. Noticeably faster in the camera app. Hard to tell, but I think the browser may have eeked out a little faster too (though that may be attributed to the recent restart only). Aside from that I've not noticed anything new, and have not noticed one piece I'd like to see fixed in Froyo... The soft keyboard swipe down to hide the keyboard doesn't work the way it used to. I always have to use the back key to hide the keyboard now. The swipe left-to-right for voice input also seems more touchy... have to get it just right. Anyway, aside from that I didn't notice anything new at all? What about you? Spot something new and different?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FRF83 Official Froyo Update Started June 23

Screenshots to follow in about an hour.
I've already noticed lots of new changes. A new darker template for both Gmail and email applications, the browser is noticeably faster, and updated camera application. Something weird happened first reboot after the update- Google Voice disappeared from my home screen (changed to the default icon and said app not installed) so I had to delete it and drag it out from the app drawer again. As promised, here are some screenshots:

Thursday, May 27, 2010 URL Shortening Call

Need to shorten some URLs? I put together a quick and dirty page to do it:

I wanted to use for my android app links and had to do some digging to find out how to make the call, but in the end had some success.

For now, if you go to the Caller you can see what's going on if you look at the JavaScript for the page. I have the look-up posting back to my page to prevent the cross-domain issue, but if you're running it say from your local machine you could just change the url in the JavaScript to and it should work with IE.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Android Market Update WoL Wake On Lan Wan Now Available

WoL Wake On Lan Wan is my newest Android Application.
I was looking for a WoL app that wouldn't FC on me and would support any UDP port, IPs and Domain names, multiple packets, multiple profiles, one-click widgets... so I made my own. The application is robust, extremely flexible, and powerful.
Want to know more about WoL? Have a Linksys Router you're having trouble configuring? Depicus is also a great source of information and tools.

Here is the current feature-set:
  • Multiple Profiles - It can store as many as your external storage can handle. Saving the profiles on the external storage also allows the user to share profiles with other phones if desired. Just look in the WoLANWAN directory and copy any .dat file to another phone's similarly named directory to share a profile (I use Astro for my Android File Explorer needs)
  • Profile Grouping - Want one widget for both your WiFi and WAN configurations for the same computer? Now you can group them and create a group widget that sends packets to all the computers in the group. Have a data center with loads of computers? Group them and wake up your entire data center with one touch.
  • IP and Domain Support - Not everyone has a dedicated external IP for WoW and so they turn to dynamic DNS like to provide a fully-qualified domain name that resolves to their machine. On the other hand when using WoL on an intranet there's probably no need for domain name because the IP is fixed or known.
  • UDP Ports 0-65535 - OK, I didn't test ALL of them but, I did test a non-standard port for my own implementation and it worked like a champ. Why limit a user to 7 or 9? You know what your firewall needs!
  • Toggle Broadcast - With the ability to turn broadcast on for profiles to use while connected to WiFi and turn it off for profiles to use while connected to 3G/Edge/G etc WoL Wake on Lan Wan has you covered.
  • Send Multiple Packets - It's UDP... meaning connectionless. Packets can lose their way sometimes in the internet, so sending a configurable number of packets at a configurable interval is a great way to make sure the message gets to the remote computer. This is also great for testing your router and machine configurations (I use a tool called Wake On Lan Monitor).
  • One-Touch Widgets - Do I really have to open the application and pick a profile every time I want to wake up my computer? No! Of course not, we know how lazy... er.. busy you are so with One-Touch Widgets you can save your precious energy. This is also really handy if you have loads of profiles and frequently use one at the bottom of the list.
  • Sorting - With a bunch of different profiles, it's nice to be able to see them alphabetically, or reverse alphabetically, or more recently changed - you get the idea.
  • Localization - The application is now localized in French and Spanish... very poorly. If you would like to submit a change to some of the poorly localized UI feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog here. Also, if we're not localized in the language that you're interested in please email me so that I can give you a list of strings to translate.
  • CSV Export and Import - As wonderful and amazing as phones are, it sure is a pain to type on them. That's why with the new CSV export and import you can export a sample and then type a bunch of them in from a computer. Import the new CSV and voila no need to peck away on your phone for hours on end. For those of you who may be having trouble here is the order the columns should be in the CSV: Name, MAC, IP or Domain Name, UDP Port, Broadcast ("true" or "false"), Subnet Mask, Send Multiple ("true" or "false"), Packet Count, Interval (seconds). Also, please note that every column must be filled with a value.
  • Tasker task export - But wait, there's more! I finally had a chance to purchase Tasker (cool app!) and added a Tasker export to the context menu (long-press) in the main screen. You can also create it yourself by using the Action Intent in Misc. The settings are Action=com.benfinnigan.wol.widgetlaunch Cat=Launcher Extra=CPATH:<Enter the name of the profile or group profile here>
  • NO ADVERTISING - Seriously? For something as simple as a wake on lan app, no one wants to be bothered by ads.
Here are some screenshots and the QR Code:

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Car Dock Screen in Android 2.2 (froyo)

While looking through the Froyo Emulator I found something else interesting. It looks like the card dock screen has been changed as well.

It looks like there is a difference between a day and night mode (and automatic which I assume senses ambient light to determine screen brightness). There are a lot of empty slots which I assume we can get custom shortcuts into, but I haven't figured out how yet.

Here are some screenshots:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Pin and Password Screen Lockout in Android 2.2 (FroYo)

While everyone else is out tooting their horns excitedly about tethering built into the new Android 2.2 (Froyo) release I've found something else to get excited about.

That pattern screen lock was a real deal-breaker for even enabling screen locking on my Nexus One because I didn't see much point. Anybody with enough time could look at the grease lines on the screen and come up with a likely pattern. Thankfully, it looks like Android 2.2 (Froyo) has PIN and Password screen locking options (why wasn't this in there at the beginning?). Anyway, here are some screen shots from the emulator: