egzthunder1 · Dec 21, 2012 at 12:00 am

Silly Goat, You Can’t Use Android!

It seems that Google has a few “funny” coders in their coding team. At this point, you are all likely familiar with the good ol’ fashioned Easter Egg normally hidden in every Android version since Gingerbread. Essentially, tapping frantically on the build number on an AOSP-based ROM normally displays an image related to the version in question. Another a tad more recent includes the fact that developer options are not easily accessible either in 4.2 as they are hidden in a similar manner and are unlocked by tapping 7 times on the build number. With the release of the Nexus 4, some coders over at Slashdot found yet another bit of funny code in Android’s API sources, which prevents goats from using your device.

We are not certain whether this is an intended security feature or not, but unless you want to have a goat calling their mountain cousins, resulting in long distance charges, this is a fantastic feature. In all seriousness,  when snooping around the code, Ovidiu Lactu came across a very unique piece of code, which apparently gets called when the device is in use. The isUserAGoat method included in one of 4.2’s API seems to allow the phone to prevent you from using it if it determines that you are indeed one of these somewhat friendly farm animals. Moreover, the method can apparently determine whether or not the user is subject to teleportation. According to another user’s comment on Slashdot, Chromium seems to have a similar “joke” as it does have a method that allows you to see the number of teleported goats with its task manager.

Some people see this as a very serious flaw in the code, and criticize this as a childish move by the software giant. All we have to say to people complaining is that if it bothers you so much that coders at Google have the time to do this and add placebo pieces of code that serve absolutely no purpose other than to amuse people capable of finding them, then you should get out more. Put your phone/tablet/laptop down, and enjoy some sunshine. Google knows perfectly well that the ones capable of finding these bits are hobbyists for the most part, and can definitely appreciate some humor while digging through thousands upon thousands of lines of code.

All in all, well played Google…. well played.

I was looking at the new APIs introduced in Android 4.2. While looking at the UserManager class I came across the following method:

public boolean isUserAGoat ()

Used to determine whether the user making this call is subject to teleportations.

Returns whether the user making this call is a goat.

How and when should this be used?

You can find the original article here.

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[Thanks jerdog for the tip]
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