Regarding Android Malware

I’ve been reading a lot recently about 21 applications in the Android Market that contained malware, a potential timer, and other miscellaneous bad things. While I’ll agree that this is a very bad thing, I think it’s more of a failing of the Android Market than the device itself.

As phones are becoming more and more like full blown computers, it stands to reason that if the user of the phone installs an application (app)  and gives it the permissions it asks for, it’s going to be able to do what ever it wants. This is a given. The fact that this kind of thing is possible to me is a t estimate of the power of the platform. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’d argue the inverse. The same thing is possible in any computer Operating System.

Where the real failing is here is the fact that these applications were available for download from the Android Market. I don’t advocate Google installing rules like Apple where developers survive at Apple’s whim, but I do think that some checks should be put into place to verify the quality and authenticity of the apps being distributed by the Market. Google is putting it’s name and the Android name on this market, and applications that come from the Market should be at the very minimum authenticated.

It should be noted that installing more stringent checks on the Market won’t prevent this type of thing entirely, as Android isn’t the iOS, and applications don’t have to go through Google to be installed (this is a GOOD thing). Because of that, it will always be important to verify that the apps you’re installing on your phone are trustworthy, but at least make the apps that are being distributed by the Market trustworthy.

iPad 2: Yawn worthy

OK, so the announcement has been made. Details are had by all. After a review of those details all I can say is, *yawn*. The iPad 2 is nothing interesting. They’ve finally added the cameras, and they’re upgrading the OS (incrementally). Nothing to write home to Mom about.

Here’s a chart that compares the specs for the iPad 2 to it’s competitors in the market.

To me it looks like pretty much everything on the market already still beats out the iPad 2. I’ve heard rumors that the iPad 3 will be coming out this year as well, and it’s really the one to watch. I have a lot of doubts about that. I expect Apple to maintain it’s schedule and not put out the iPad 3 until next year. By then, even the dust the iPad 2 is eating right now should be settling down leaving the iPad family of devices definitively behind everything else on the market.

Xoom vs. iPad

This is a truly great comparison of the Xoom and the iPad that I found over at Droid Life. I’ve seen others try to compare the Xoom to the iPad 2, but trying to do that is completely unrealistic as there currently are no released specifications for that device. Any comparison would be complete guess work. It’s worth noting that even the most optimistic of these comparisons only bring the iPad into the range of “comparable” to the Xoom, but they’re still guessing. When Apple releases the specifications, then we can start making that comparison.

The iPhone 4 for Verizon has Arrived (sorta)!! Finally!!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the momentous day has finally arrived! The iPhone 4 for Verizon has arrived, or will arrive as of the 10th of February.

Personally speaking, I wish it had gotten here sooner.

Why is that you ask?

I’m flat out tired of hearing about it is why. It’s been endless speculation about the iPhone for Verizon almost since the iPhone itself was announced. Finally, it’s here! Welcome to the Verizon network! It’s still second rate compared to Android phones that are already on the Verizon network, but who’s paying attention to that?

At last, we can all shut up about it and move on. Amen.

Answers answers…

A few days ago, I put up a post where I detailed my thought process for picking up new “computer” for my parents.  I was having a little bit of difficulty choosing between a NetBook and a Tablet.

Here’s the problem:

My parents are not particularly savvy computer users. Over time, they’ve mastered some of the basics. E-mail, video chat (kinda), and …. well that’s pretty much it. Their computer is many years old, and is limping along at this point. My parents don’t really need a full blown computer for what they use it for. At the time they purchased it, what they have was the best choice on the market, but now there are better ones out there. Sometime, in the next couple months, they’re going to need something new.

My Choices:

  1. NetBook.  Small, full keyboard, inexpensive, full copy of Linux can run on it no problem. With a NetBook, and installation of Ubuntu 10.10 with Unity and Skype would pretty much meet their needs. One can be picked up for a couple hundred dollars, and the form factor is fairly familiar. It’s still more than they need, and my parents could be easily confused if they get off the beaten path.
  2. Tablet. Small, compact, and at the time of my original writing, too limited. I needed Skype at the minimum, or a working version of Google Talk with video. None of the Android tablets on the market offered this. I like the simplicity of the device.

Enter CES. The Consumer Electronics Show has been on, and there have been amazing revelations. The biggest and the best for me, the Motorola Xoom.

This thing is just all that pretty. The hardware specs are off the charts. The accessories add a handy doc that along with an external hardware keyboard has the tablet operating like a traditional computer. This along with Skype’s announcement of full video support for Honeycomb pretty much sealed the deal for me. It will still be a few months before any purchases are made, but ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

Linux in 2011

Looking back on 2010, I think that it was a good year for Linux. Now that 2010 is over, what does 2011 have in store for Linux?


Android really took off in 2010, and it’s going to continue it’s meteoric rise in 2011. It’s going to be hard to read technology news that’s not going to mention Android. We’re going to be seeing Android running on anything and everything, including possibly the kitchen sink.


Tablet’s are really going to come into their own. Apple started the ball rolling, but it was an anemic first try. Little better than a glorified phone with a big screen. They’re going to probably try to correct their mistakes with an iPad 2, but by the time they do, the market will be saturated with Android devices that are cheaper and more capable. Don’t expect it to change Apple’s marketing any though. They’ll still try to take credit for everything up to and including the air we breathe.


Look forward to seeing Wayland starting to appear on your Linux desktop. Ubuntu and Fedora are already officially heading that direction, so it’s looking like we’ll probably see other distributions head that way as well. I’m expecting Mint and SuSE are probably going that direction, though that’s not been announced by either.


2011 will probably be the year for Unity. Right now, Unity exists in almost a pre-release form, but 2011 will be the year that it comes into it’s own. Now well it’s received will be something to see, but after using it for a while on my NetBook, I’ve grown pretty used to it, and am actually starting to really enjoy using it. There is still quite a lot of work to do on it, but given a year I think it will really be an interface to contend with.


The Cloud will continue to grow and flourish, and it’s well being can only be a good with for Linux. The more applications that move to the cloud, the less that are application specific, further weakening Microsoft’s hold on the market, and freeing people to move to a better OS. I’ve already written a full post on this, so I’m not going to spend more time on it here.

Looking back, 2010 really was a good year for Linux, but based on the things that I see coming at us in 2011, I’m expecting 2011 to be even more so.

So, with that in mind, let’s begin.