The war against adware

Recently an article popped up about a paid virus protection app being number on the Google Play Store. This app as it turns out, is malicious. (Link for the lazy: virus protection on google play is secretly malware )

Another twist/publicity jump from Microsoft is that they are now cracking down on any and all malware that is challenging to uninstall, looking at you random toolbars and programs that come with “free” downloads. (Link for the lazy: microsoft cracks down on malware)

 

This is an interesting turn of events for security in our modern time. This year has shown Americans stand against the NSA and learn more about data freedom than ever before. But how did something so malicious slip past the Google reviewers? I am all for an open source code for the operating system, but I want to trust something as simple as an anti-virus program.

Malware on Android is no secret, it runs rampant in APK files that are not always on the Play Store. Apple has the same issues but they have a swifter acting review process. There are tens of millions of applications on both app stores, but there has to be something in process to check on every applications behavior. Things like this are going to ultimately hurt independent developers in the long run, and there is always a need for creative independent developers.

Steam has an independent “store” called Greenlight. Everything is voted on by the community and if the community vote wins then it is then allowed on the Steam Store. This process allows for far more scrutiny and security for the user. Look back to when Flappy Bird went viral and then made a quick exit, all of the copy cat applications thrived and hit ad revenue jackpot and more and likely mined personal data from your phone.

To keep this short and simple, be careful and read in detail the privileges applications are granted when you install them. There are other ways to monitor applications built into the Android operating system, but you have to use common sense and learn how to read real reviews from fake ones. Your personal data should remain personal.

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Piracy and YOU

Piracy has been making its round again through the courts, and I am curious about my followers thoughts. 

First I would like to point out the most recent court ruling that struck my interest. http://rt.com/usa/ip-constitute-person-copyright-suit-973/

That article states that the unique address given to your PC is not a person, therefore it cannot be the only thing used to say you were the pirate for certain media content. That got me thinking, what is stopping anyone from pirating any content anymore? I would love to watch movies on my time and access new content whenever I want to, so what is stopping me from pirating? 

There is always an ethical argument to “stealing” digital media from companies, but what if the company that produced the movie you want to see made it readily available? What if you could watch a new release from the comfort of your own home? 

Media companies already know that the entirety of the world would pay a premium to see movies from their own home, but what happens to movie theaters if that idea ever comes to fruition? Would they fall or succeed even more? 

I hate the movie theater on opening weekend because of the rude guests, the messy people and having my vision blocked by everyone in front of me. Also, why bring a 4 or 5 year old to a midnight release? I would much much prefer watching a new release from the comfort of my own home and on my big screen. Heck, my ceiling mounted projector can simulate the movie theater just as nicely, aside from the annoying crowd.

Don’t get me wrong, I love enjoying a movie with people that are considerate of others and people that don’ text and talk during the entire movie. But that situation only happens once in a blue moon.

So with this small rant, how do you all feel about piracy and peer to peer content vs waiting 8 months to see the movie on dvd? I am really interested in seeing the conversation about this topic so chime in and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

Networking 101

I am currently revamping my home network and would like to share a few tips.

First, we need to decide on our network needs, do we need wireless or wired? 

If we need wireless things get interesting. But if it is wired you need to design the flow of cables and make it aesthetically pleasing.

If we are going the wireless route real planning is needed. For my current situation I have a two bedroom apartment with all wireless needs. So for this project I am placing the modem (cable companies use this to provision the internet rather than cable tv) and the router as close to the middle of my house as possible. I am doing this because My computer room and bedrooms are no where near eachother so I am hoping to create a network bubble in my house.

The first issue at hand is finding a router that can handle my needs and offer great signal through all sorts of walls. I decided on http://amzn.to/N50guU Image 

I chose this router for its dual band capabilities and the fact that it comes with the most user friendly and secure software built into the router. The dual band makes my network a bit more interesting because of the 2.4ghz band and the 5ghz band. Most networks run on 2.4ghz,along with radios, microwaves, cell phones and a host of other appliances.  That complicates networks and causes unnecessary congestion. My intention is to have the computers and my media server all on the 5 ghz band and everything else on the 2.4ghz. When using the higher band you have to have a shorter distance between you and the router, 10-15ft to be exact. Take into consideration walls and anything else you can think of before setting up something like that. When setting up the two bands you will be creating two networks, so associate a name that will separate the two accordingly. 

The next part of this process is playing with the settings and antennae to make your network suited to your needs. You could plug and play and just run a basic set up or you can fiddle with the settings and tailor the network specifically to your needs. Since I will be primarily blogging, gaming and streaming media to my tv I will make sure I give priority to my pc over anything else on the network.

The next part of this is securing your network. Network security is a major college degree for a reason, but to keep it simple here: DO NOT EVER USE “PASSWORD” FOR A REAL PASSWORD. Your network provides entry to all computers and media devices and if you want to keep that secure make sure you use something that is unique to you and not your neighbors and passing people. The most secure way to do anything for a network is to just run all ethernet cables, but that is a huge mess and not very great to look at.

To wrap this up, get a great router and set it some place close to all of your devices, make sure the settings are made so you can have optimal bandwidth, and secure it like Fort Knox.

UPDATE!!

In the past few weeks I have been re-building my computer set up, and I am proud to announce that it is almost done!

For those that do not build a custom set up, I want to share some simple benefits of a custom build over a Best Buy purchase. 

1. You actually know the potential of your computer, and you know how to make your computer faster/ more efficient. Just like a car, any modifications you make you make the computer more personalized to your needs. 

For instance, I added a new video card, 8 gigs of high end RAM(Random Access Memory) which is used to open up applications faster and make sure they  run at an optimal pace, a second monitor for productivity and a new CPU cooler. The CPU cooler will make my processor last longer and future proof it slightly. The last improvement I am planning on making is a new SSD(Solid State Drive). The basics for SSD’s are improved loading times. There is alot more to them that can encompass an entire blog, but your computer will boot faster and load any program stored on the drive much faster. 

All of these modifications have/will improve my editing, gaming, and overall experience. My computer is tuned to my specific needs rather than an extremely broad use. Most prebuilt computers that you buy are all going to be poorly cooled, have a poor lifespan and overall make you an angry consumer. 

2. Building a PC is like adult legos. You can do it with limited knowledge and a limited computer skillset. 

3. Building a PC can actually save you money in the long run. Prebuilt computers are cheap for a reason, you are expected to buy a new one yearly. Whereas my custom build will need little updates if any every 2 years.

 

Overall, I am very satisfied with my computer as of right now and I most certainly recommend every one of you to do some research and custom build your next computer. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about building and if I don’t know I will certainly know where to point you to find your answers.

The candy saga

THE SAGA OF MINI GAMES

February 17, 2014 · by  · Bookmark the permalink. · Edit

What happens when a mega company steals from a minor company that no one has ever heard of? Just ask King, the creator of the game Candy Crush.

The game maker in question is Albert Ransom of Runsome Apps Inc. the game that he created was called Candy Swipe and it was created in 2010 whereas Candy Crush was released in 2012. 

     
 
CandySwipe

Open letter to King.com who wants to cancel the registration of the CandySwipe trademark.

Dear King,

Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the android game, you will still get the message saying “…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…” I created this game for warmhearted people like her and to help support my family, wife and two boys 10 and 4. Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, “Sweet!” are nearly identical. So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knockoff. So when you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for “likelihood of confusion” (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga). Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.

I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it’s my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me.

This also contradicts your recent quote by Riccardo in “An open letter on intellectual property” posted on your website which states, “We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.”

I myself was only trying to protect my hard work.

I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am. Because I now know exactly what you are. Congratulations on your success!

Sincerely,
Albert Ransom
President (Founder), Runsome Apps Inc.

Link to confusion between CandySwipe and Candy Crush Saga

Link to Trademark Opposition – http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91210162&pty=OPP&eno=9

Link to recent Gamezebo article featuring this story.

What you see here is an open letter that Ransom released to the public addressing the trademark for the word “candy” that King tried to place. King is attempting to trademark the use of the word candy and profit wildly from it. All from a game that was completely copied. 

The point hat I am trying to make here is to boycott Candy Crush. If King can steal a game idea, icons, and color scheme we are going to have a bigger problem in the future with other games and even technologies. This is a problem that needs to be nipped at the bud.

Another recent example of copying is in the form of Flappy Bird. The entire game was based on Mario 1 and 3. The bird that you see was actually a fish from the early Mario games and everything else was the exact same color and scale. Luckily for the creator, Nintendo said they had no interest in pursuing damages. Shortly after all this the game was pulled and all dust was settled.

This feels like the beginning with no end in sight when it comes to the King vs Runsome Apps debacle. The public outcry against King is just beginning and online communities are ready to come out with their torches.

Preview Blog!

This week we are going to look at the LG GFLEX. A first device to feature curved glass, and a self-healing rear. It feels like LG is becoming relevant again, and with that relevance there is going to be more competition. Consumers win in a battle like this, which is awesome if you ask me.

First, let us look at the design.

Now, you can see how different this phone really is. From first glance it looks on the wider side, but the curve and rear buttons should make this feel less bulky I think. The device sits at  6.3 x 3.2 x 0.34 inches and 6.2 ounces, so for the category of devices (phablet, i.e.: HTC One Max or Galaxy Note 3) it is one of the biggest devices on the market. The rear buttons are a staple of the new Lg lineup, the same buttons appear on the LG G2 device. They make bigger phones feel more natural in hand and help keep phones thinner as well.

Now let us talk about that “self-healing” back. What I mean by “self-healing” is that the device has the ability to shed away scratches on its back. This feature feels a bit more like a gimmick, but I will test this out in person later this week. This feature does however allow for a better caseless experience. Most people that walk into my cell phone store always ask about the otter box cases, which are not bad but they increase the size of the phone drastically.  This next video will display the LG research department testing the self-healing versus a traditional cell phone back.

What’s in a name? Glad you asked! The GFlex takes its name from the ability to be a flexible device. I am still skeptical on the longevity of a device that can flex non-stop like this one. The idea is to make a larger device feel smaller in your hands, you still get the luxury of a huge screen but the feeling of a normal sized device. This on paper sounds pretty OK , but I doubt that it will function like this in the real world. One thing that I do see being effective with this device is the ability to disperse energy when you drop it. The curve will also help the screen be protected when dropped on the ground. No more pebbles causing your phone to shatter everywhere, and sitting on your phone will not cause any more issues internally with the device. For the last bit of my preview blog, I leave you with a short clip of the device being flexed.

 

 

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The New Year

Technology began the new year with a huge showing of whats to come at the Computer Electronics Show. http://www.cesweb.org/ This event had new cars, new computers, new hardware, new phones. It was a who’s who of the tech world.

This year though, the most popular booth at CES was the GoPro booth. For those of you that do not know yet, GoPro is a brand that makes versatile and durable hd cameras. This brand used to be extremely niche, left only for the extreme athletes and explorers. GoPro is now branching out to more than just the enthusiasts, they are now a more thought about idea when camera shopping. Imagine having a device that could mount almost anywhere and survive any condition? Sounds nice doesn’t it.

CES is the best way to ring in the new year for any small business. The more people attracted to the booth, the better the sales forecast and attention spent from bloggers like myself. But the best part of CES is meeting the owners and creators. Each booth is like a small shop, you get to see and touch all the new prototypes and projects along with soon to be released products.

With this in mind, be on the look out for my next blog introducing Mobile World Congress!