April 30, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, we covered the release of the HTC One and gave you a quick glimpse of its performance. Shortly after, we gave the One a home on our forums for both the international and some US carrier variants. Now, however, we have also created a forum for the T-Mobile HTC One variant.
Similarly, we covered the release of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and gave the international version a forum here last month. However, now we are happy to also give the AT&T and Sprint variants their place as well.
Those looking to get in on the discussion can do so by visiting the links below to the newly created forums:
This is a multipart series on planning the XDA Development Conference to be held in Miami August 9 – 11 (http://www.xda-devcon.com). We want to give everyone a sense of what the event’s all about—and maybe some insight on what it takes to put on even a small conference.
Before we start, we want to apologize for stupidly using the same web “event” template (as well as some sponsorship language) as the Big Android BBQ. We’ve since changed our site, and we have no excuse other than that we’ve been focused on organizing a great event—and the website was the 100th thing on a long list of to-dos. In any case, the Big Android BBQ is still the premiere Android community event (which we still plan on sponsoring again this year)—and it is very different from our DevCon. So, please consider this an official apology.
First thing’s first: Putting on a conference is expensive: similar to a multi-day wedding, without all the flowers. This is a true community event. All the speakers are graciously contributing their time and expertise (for free). All sponsorships and ticket fees are being plowed back into the event, and we (XDA) are making up the difference. XDA moderators (and even some wives) will be organizing and staffing the event. It is our way of trying to give back to the development community that has made XDA so amazing. If there’s anyone out there who wants to attend but for whom the conference registration fee is too much, send a message to the DevCon contact email (email@example.com). We’ll send you a code for a free ticket.
The hardest part of organizing a conference is making it different and memorable. Free food, fun, and giveaways can help (and we’ll have all that); but the key is being interesting, educational, and unique. Our goal with the event is to interactively cover a broad range of development topics, and attendees should be prepared to contribute actively to the discussion. We hunted for presenters who could go well beyond a PowerPoint to engage an audience while teaching. And in addition to all of those speakers, every attendee will have the opportunity to get on stage, present a project, ask questions, and solicit feedback. We expect to have attendees with all levels of development skills– so please don’t feel intimidated. XDA is all about community and learning. DevCon will be the same.
We’ll leave you with bios of just a couple of our speakers. All of this is on the DevCon website, but for those too lazy to click over, hopefully this will help you get interested:
From HTML to LEDs, or Android to Arduino — Pearl Chen takes on a cross-disciplinary approach to her work. With over 9 years of professional experience in web technologies, Pearl has a body of work that includes Facebook campaigns for Google Chrome and microsites for Nike. Pearl also tackles more unusual jobs such as modifying the guts of Nintendo Wii controllers and dynamically creating origami objects from SMS messages.
Pearl was most recently the Senior Manager Research & Technology at the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab and is now working independently as an educator teaching web development, Android, and electronics — while also building tools for other educators.
Alongside contributing to open source educational resources hosted on Github, Pearl is a published author and contributed the NFC and Open Accessory API chapters to Professional Android Sensor Programming published by Wrox.
Pearl enjoys building tools for other educators and her goal is to raise the bar for technology education by using collaborative platforms to help construct open source curriculums, and by creating engaging and effective educational user experiences.
Justin Case, known as jcase, is a mobile security researcher, CTO of Applied Cybersecurity LLC, a contributor to the popular Android blog AndroidPolice.com and the developer of many Android exploits.
Justin will be discussing vulnerabilities and common security shortfalls in Android applications and firmware. He will also be walking the audience through identification of a vulnerability, and development of an android root exploit. Additionally, he will be speaking about application and firmware security, citing and explaining common mistakes and how we can mitigate them.
April 21, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Recently, XDA added a set of forums focusing solely on App Development. We knew that XDA was missing a central hub for app developers to converse about things like development tools, prototyping, analytics, monetization, testing, security, localization, education, and so on. In addition to the forums, we are providing assistance to app developers in any way we can.
To assist app developers, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce takes a break from talking about how to become a hacker and hacker schools and asks you what you want to hear about regarding app development. Jayce will then find experts and get their insights on the topics you want to hear about, so leave a comment and tell us what you want to know, and be sure to check out this video.
We might be the only site on Earth that doesn’t beg you to register at every turn. Outside of posting, guests on our forum can do almost everything members can, including downloading attachments. The rationale for this is that we want to do our best to keep the forums clear of junk posts (cue the chuckling from the people who already think XDA is overrun by noobs). Our moderation team does an outstanding job of keeping XDA ‘on topic’ and free from spammers and other ne’er-do-wellers.
So, we’re not popping champagne to celebrate this milestone. But still, 5 million members is pretty impressive. It took 10 years to get there, and we’re kind of proud of it.
April 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Some may say that we here at XDA like to celebrate from time to time. And why wouldn’t we? After all, thanks to the hard work from the many talented developers who call this little place on the web home, we’re able to do much more with our mobile devices than their manufacturers ever intended.
How exactly do we celebrate? Often, it’s through various fun contests. So at this time, we’d like to thank both our contest entrants and our supporters who have given us the goods that we then shared with you.
Let’s start with our most recent contest, which was in honor of reaching 100,000 subscribers on our YouTube channel. This contest was sponsored by XDA itself. While the winners of the two Nexus 7 tablets have not yet returned our messages, they are Niko Novak and Almir Vuk. So if either of you are reading this, please send a PM to yours truly or XDA TV Admin JimmyMcGee so we can send you your tablets.
Next up is our Valentine’s Day contest, which was sponsored by SolidRun. This RD-exclusive contest asked entrants to come up with fun and exciting development projects in order to get a chance to win a CuBox unit from SolidRun. The winners for this contest were Dexter93, regaw_leinad, and netham45. Those who are are interested in obtaining their own CuBox unit at a discount can do so by visiting this link and using the following coupon code for a $10 discount: XDASE10-001
Finally, we held a contest back on Thanksgiving asking users to give thanks to their favorite developers. This contest was sponsored by Poweramp (two Nexus 7 tablets) and Meizu (Meizu MX Quad-Core Phone). Rather than the initial two winners, this contest ended up having three winners: Quarx, ::indie::, and srijithn (Meizu MX Quad). Those interested in giving Poweramp a try can do so by visiting their website and Google Play listing. Similarly, those interested in the MX should check out our review.
Thanks to all who entered and to those who made these contests possible. We look forward to having many more contests in the future!
There’s so much stuff happening on XDA that it’s sometimes tough to get a handle on it all. Obviously we have root tools and a bevy of ROMs, along with all the related conversation. However, we also have people discussing specs of upcoming devices, talking about what cases provide the best protection, providing community tech support (in practice shaming online efforts by phone manufacturers), posting screenshots of their home screens, and even just letting loose in our off-topic forum. And for the past several years, some of the most popular forums on XDA have been populated with developers discussing the challenges of building apps and then releasing their creations to the community. This is especially evident by the popularity of our Android Apps and Games forum.
We’re not sure if there are any (other) great communities out there for app developers to converse about things like development tools, prototyping, analytics, monetization, testing, security, localization, education, etc. But we do know that the XDA was missing a central hub for all of that. There is obviously much related discussion spread through several general or OS-specific forums and even in the device-specific app forums. But there has never been an organized set of forums that app developers could call their own to help them be better app developers. Today, we’re changing that with our new set of App Developer Forums.
It’s still early and the forums have generally sparse content, so we’re asking anyone that has something to contribute pertaining to app development (tutorials, guides, tips, etc) to please make some posts in the new forum so that everyone can benefit from you knowledge. If you’re not an app developer (or an aspiring app developer), please do not post in this forum.
About a year and a half ago, we introduced the XDA Job Board to aid both community members looking for new employment opportunities and companies wishing to fill various positions. Unfortunately, however, these efforts have been abused by our robotic forum goers—failing to realize that much like Trix Cereal, jobs listed on XDA are for humans. Despite rumors that resistance is futile, we on the XDA administration team have deemed it necessary to shut the forum down in order to protect against the enemies of the Federation.
OK, OK. April Fools! We’re not actually closing down the XDA Job Board. We’re also not helping you stalk those poor lost souls running inferior OSes, and Jordan’s not leaving us. *PHEW* However, we would like to see more use come of the XDA Job Board.
If you are in Human Resources, or are otherwise recruiting for a legitimate full-time job or large development project, please send me a complete description at jobs (at) xda-developers.com from a valid company email address. We will do our best to validate the job before posting it live.
For those unfamiliar, GitHub is the most popular software repository, and it is used by a large portion of the XDA community for code management. We’ve added the ability for XDA users to add a link to their GitHub page in their profile. Just go to Edit Details in UserCP and add your GitHub username in the field towards the bottom of the page. Then, when someone clicks your name while in the forums, they can check out your work by hitting the link in the drop down. We’re likely to support other repositories in the future.
It is truly great to see that the United States has a rather active Government that worries about its people. Its people have opportunities to speak their mind and make requests to all the branches of this bureaucratic machine, and they are bound to get a response in one shape or another. This seems to be the case for the “little petition that could,” in which over 114,000 people expressed and shared their concerns with the US Government regarding network unlocking of devices legally purchased. This petition received official replies from the White House and the Librarian of Congress, and gained nationwide interest, thus making what many thought would be a silly “nerd rage-filled rant” into a topic of national importance. However, as with most systems, this one is not one without its faults and pitfalls, thus making it quite imperfect.
For the sake of illustration, just imagine that you had a 3 year old silver Civic that was dying and that you wanted a bright red Ferrari. Someone told you that if you worked hard enough and made a certain amount of money within a 2 month period, there would be a chance for you to get your hands on the wonderful beast. Two months later, you had completed your target, got all the money you needed, some people winked at you when you asked if you would get it (raising your hopes in the process). Then, that someone puts a blindfold on you and takes you outside. You proceed to take the blindfold off and upon opening your eyes, you see your 3 year old silver Honda Civic, but with a fixed engine.
Are you happy to have a car? Sure, but to say that you are disappointed would be the understatement of the year. You are simply baffled and trying to pull yourself together in dismay as to what kind of person would lift your hopes high up in such a manner. This was the case for the bill that everyone in the mobile scene was waiting for. Earlier yesterday, US Senator Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee) along with several other Senators from both parties announced the drafting of a new bill that they were hoping to pass in the hopes of addressing the issues raised against the Librarian of Congress’ new incarnation of the DMCA. More specifically, the bill, known as the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, was aimed to target the cell phone unlocking debacle as well as the consideration for tablets. At first sight, the law addresses the main concern presented to Congress, but when you sit down and analyze it a bit further, its that fixed up 3 year old Civic.
There are several concerns regarding the wording on the write up like the fact that it will still be up to the carriers to grant you an unlock code while you are on contract. On the flip side, at the very core, the law would reinstate the 2010 exemption that made it legal for people to pursue other “venues” to get their devices unlocked. It still grants a lot of power to the carriers, but at least it does not grant them complete control, which the removal of said exemption was achieving. The problem (the elephant in the room if you will) is the fact that the law fails to address the main, biggest point of this entire ordeal: why is this in the DMCA in the first place? Why are we depending on the (lack of) knowledge of someone who is not an elected official to determine the future of our rights as consumers with products that we legally own? In other words, why is this harbored/lumped with a law SPECIFICALLY made to tackle piracy? Unlocking cell phones has 0, zip, null, nada to do with piracy and/or intellectual property rights. Yet the decision on this will be based solely on the following:
9 upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights,
10 who shall consult with the Assistant Secretary for Commu-
11 nications and Information of the Department of Com-
12 merce and report and comment on his or her views in mak-
13 ing such recommendation, shall determine, consistent with
14 the requirements set forth under section 1201(a)(1) of
15 title 17, United States Code, whether to extend the exemp-
16 tion for the class of works described in section
17 201.40(b)(3) of title 37, Code of Federal Regulations, as
18 amended by subsection (a), to include any other category
19 of wireless devices in addition to wireless telephone
So, the Library of Congress needs to hear from, at least, two departments before anything can be done. Again, this is someone making actual law without being part of the overall process and certainly not someone who is chosen, but rather who applied for a job vacancy. Congress had a wonderful opportunity to separate the wheat from the hay and decided to simply apply a fix. Why a fix you ask? The DMCA exemptions and provisions are revised every 3 years. If this long standing provision was taken out without much thought or consideration, who is to say that we will not be here once again 3 years from now? CTIA will certainly still be there much like the little red guy standing on your left shoulder telling you to set your building on fire. They went through great lengths and found a twisted enough argument to sound pseudo-plausible, and 3 years is an eternity in terms of mobile development. So, chances are that we will find ourselves here fighting once again. However, lets assume that we fix it yet again 3 years from now. We will be back in 2019, this time around from within the Matrix and trying to avoid Sentinels.
There are enough experts on the scene to give the people who need the explanation, the best possible and most logical, level-headed argument they will ever get to hear. And best of all, it comes from the people with the people’s interest in mind. I made a small point in my previous article about the Library of Congress’s statement about the general public being consulted prior to amending DMCA. Maybe they should follow their own processes and ask ACTUAL PEOPLE as opposed to corporation conglomerates when the time comes to make law.
It looks like we have gotten quite good at making noise, so maybe we should make one final stance before this band-aid comes to pass. Please share any and all articles with colleagues, media outlets, your Congressmen and Senators, all the people who need to see this in order to make the voices heard. We did our share of work, we expressed our views and told them why things should be different. Please, lets try to push forward so we can finally get rid of that Civic and go for the Ferrari.
You can find the entire proposed law in the following link and the official announcement made by the Senator of Vermont by following this link. Additional links with interesting articles can be found in PublicKnowledge and TechDirt,
Thanks for reading.
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]
Around the middle of last year, we realized that in order to best moderate the forums of newer devices, we had to close the forums for a handful of old, legacy devices. We now have a few more forums to add to that list. Just as before, while these forums will be closed for posting, they will still be completely accessible for your read-only viewing pleasure.
Like last time, our criteria for closing forums was post activity. More information on the specific criteria used can be found in our previous announcement. Hopefully by closing these legacy forums, we will allow the site’s moderation teams to focus on XDA’s more active forums, instead of having to worry about cleaning spam in old forums to which very few still contribute.
February 21st was a rather interesting day for those of us in the mobile scene. What seemed like an ordinary day for many, was the day that marked the beginning of a real fight to regain our freedom to unlock SIM cards. That day 100,000 signatures were reached in the petition started over at We the People website. The latest installment in the saga, after almost 2 weeks of silence, was that earlier today, the White House issued a statement, as promised, regarding the petition. Now, before we get to the nitty gritty, we will have to make one point crystal clear: Nothing has happened yet other than the House having made a statement and taken a stance on the entire issue surrounding the DMCA. So, if and when you read on media outlets that SIM locking is once again legal, please, read into the most recent developments first.
Having gotten the disclaimer out of the way, let us get onto the good stuff. As stated above, the White House has issued a statement in response to the petition, which at the time of this article, has over 114,000 signatures, about 14% over the minimum requirement. The condensed version of the response essentially states that the administration and technology experts, including the FCC agree with our stance, and that the unlocking model currently in place does nothing to hurt the market or to put intellectual property in jeopardy, the latter of which was the biggest argument used by the CTIA to convince the Librarian of Congress. Keep in mind that DMCA was conceived to stop piracy and IP theft, and locking GSM devices to carriers does neither of the aforementioned. Luckily for us, there are people out there with a dash of common sense who can see past the bogus statements by the carrier/manufacturer conglomerate.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has sent a somewhat lengthy letter explaining everything that should be modified in the new implementation of the DMCA. Lots of information to go through in the linked 36 page (PDF) letter to the Librarian of Congress. This goes through several (if not all) key points of the Act and how various parts need to be modified for either lack of scope or overall non-sensical dribble. An added bonus of this letter (on top of the already great push for the purpose of our petition) is the fact that the NTIA and the FCC have provided the Librarian with a great definition of what a Tablet actually is. If you recall back sometime last year right after the original draft of the updated DMCA came to light, there was an interesting point made about tablets and how exemptions to tablets should not apply as they constitute a different kind of device. Our good friend XDA Developer TV Producer azrienoch essentially explained how this was a bunch of non-sense. The new provisions would effectively lump tablets and smartphones in the same group since the dividing line between them is almost invisible at this point. A tablet can effectively do anything a cell phone can, so this new arrangement could certainly put a few things back where they should be.
Shortly after the White House made the official announcement, the Librarian made a statement in response to it. The response essentially does absolutely nothing to address any of the points being brought forth by the NTIA. However, it does go on to state that before an exemption is either added or removed, a lot of factors are taken into consideration and said amendments are done as per stated procedures. Well, quite honestly following a procedure does not mean that something cannot go wrong.
The question of locked cell phones was raised by participants in the Section 1201 rulemaking conducted between September 2011 and October 2012 by the Register of Copyrights, who in turn advises the Librarian of Congress. The rulemaking is a process spelled out by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in which members of the public can request exemptions from the law to enable circumvention of technological protection measures. In the case of cell phones, the request was to allow circumvention of technological protection measures controlling access to copyrighted software on cell phones.
I would LOVE to know if said members of the public actually include any public as in people from the public sector (and not multi-billion dollar companies). Based on the fact that 114,000 have signed this petition, the answer is either no or they asked people who had no idea what they were answering. Granted, we are a, somewhat vocal, minority and as such, our opinions on certain matters can indeed be overlooked. However, more often than not, since we can normally see past a few things that people take for granted, we are right about these things. As such, listening to what we have to say is what people know as “sound reasoning”. We know what we are talking about, we don’t sugar coat things, and we certainly do not need lobbyists telling you what you need to hear.
Look, we know that rule making can be hard when you have screaming businessmen (lobbyists) jumping in circles around you. We know that because clowns are quite distracting after all. However, if you are making rules to protect, you need to focus on who or what you are protecting. You are protecting IP from pirates and we applaud you for that. However, you do NOT need to cripple people’s entire existence and put them in the hands of people who, for the most part, are not IP owners at all (carriers, in case you are curious). The letter from the NTIA actually had a nice section (with foot notes) explaining how most companies will charge a fee or force you to a certain length of service before your device can be unlocked. If that is not enough to convince you that maybe, just maybe, this is not worth it… especially since carriers do NOT own the devices or the software in them (thus, no IP to protect), then I strongly suggest that you turn in your resignation and let someone a tad more competent look at this.
To the White House and the Obama administration, thank you very much for caring about us and most of all, for having the capability to recognize idiocy when you see it.
Thanks for reading.
You can find the entire response in the We the People website.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
February 27, 2013 By: egzthunder1
XDA-Developers was, is, and always will be a community for developers to come and share their knowledge with others. The keyword in my statement is community, and as such, we must not forget that the people who we communicate with on a day to day basis via this wonderful medium known as the Internet (and our forum) are human beings as well. Because of this, we are all subject to see real life events cropping up from time to time. As a community, our duty is to support each other so that the community can survive and evolve. Today, we bring some unusual news regarding the case of one of our members, XDA Recognized Developer ChiefzReloaded aka Ryan Scott.
The CyanogenMod team has made a public Google+ post explaining the entire situation, which is quite grim. It seems that for the past few months, Ryan has been going through some rather disturbing events. He has been diagnosed with a disease known as Necrotizing Fasciitis, which for all practical purposes, is a skin and flesh eating disease. This is a rather rare and quite lethal condition. Ryan has been in and out of the hospital for at least the last 3 months undergoing heavy treatment to try and stop progression of this disease. However, since the United States does not offer a free, public healthcare system (and please, this is NOT a political debate, so keep the opinions on this matter to yourselves), the hospital and general medical bills are quickly setting him and his family into financial distress. They are already in VERY deep debt, and the current situation points to it not getting better any time soon, unfortunately.
Several hundreds of people have started different projects, donation drives, and all sorts of different activities to try and raise money to help him in this very difficult situation. We do not usually ask the community to donate their hard-earned money. However, this situation does call for as much help as humanly possible. Ryan is a husband and father of two and the amount of financial, mental, and physical strain that this must be putting on him and his entire family is something I would not wish to my worst enemy.
So, how can you help? At this point in time, every little bit helps. Anything you can do to alleviate the burden will be highly appreciated. Cyanogen’s Google+ post has the following information regarding the possible venues to help out:
+Polo Heysquierdo has started an Indiegogo page for Ryan athttp://www.indiegogo.com/projects/scott-family-fund. This page has some more details on Ryan’s condition and a method for you to help the effort.
Additionally, a huge community favorite and someone who the CyanogenMod team loves, +Deth Becomes You has started an auction with proceeds aimed at helping out Ryan.https://plus.google.com/u/0/107290707477228775864/posts/BYfaDHZeJKt
Additionally, and the most direct way to help, would be to donate to Ryan’s Paypal account (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly. Again, this is not something that we normally would write or talk about in the Portal, but this is a life or death type of situation and we figured that one way to help was to try and push Cyanogen’s announcement forward. If you have ever felt the need to help your fellow dev, now is a fantastic chance to get started.
Please spread the word as much as you humanly can. Any and all help will likely be highly appreciated by Ryan’s family. Those of us behind the scenes at XDA, we wish him and his family all the best, and wanted to assure him that we will help support them in any way we can.
Thank you for reading.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
Today is Valentine’s Day! To all those celebrating, we at XDA would like to extend wishes for a day stuffed sappy heart-shaped objects, loved ones, and much mobile development.
Many of our more hardware-focused community members have heard of the Solid-Run CuBox computer. CuBox is a small, fan-less computer measuring in at approximately 2 × 2 × 2 inches. It comes with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed, but the device also supports Debian and Android, among others. It is a low-power ARM-based computer that can stream and decode 1080p content, use desktop-class interfaces such as KDE or GNOME under Linux, and do all of this in under 3 watts, with less than 1 watt standby consumption. Those interested can learn more on the CuBox product page.
In order to help promote development for the device, Solid-Run is looking to give away 3 CuBox units to Recognized Developers who come up with interesting and unique development ideas for the device.
Simple. First, visit the contest thread! Next, tell us what you intend on doing with the device if you are one of the lucky winners. Share with us your development ideas, provide ample details, and remember to keep things feasible. Winners will be determined by myself and XDA Elite Recognized Adam Outler.
Now for the technicalities: This contest will run from today, February 14, until next Thursday, February 21. Due to previous difficulties we’ve encountered when mailing internationally, this contest will be open to US residents (or those with proxy US shipping addresses) only. Please only submit one entry per Recognized Developer. Those with multiple entries will be immediately disqualified.
Thank you for your contest entries and for being a part of the development community! Good luck!