Linked by David Adams on Thu 31st Mar 2011 16:41 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption If you download and use what appears to be a version of the commercial "Walk and Text" Android app from a file sharing site, you're in for a surprise. When you run it, it shows you that it's being "cracked" but it's really gathering information from your device, in preparation for an e-smackdown. It sends a bunch of personal information (name, phone number, IMEI) off to a server, and, just for lulz, text messages everyone on your contact list:
Order by: Score:
Nice !
by Neolander on Thu 31st Mar 2011 16:59 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

This is the way all illegal file sharing should be taken care of. No need to stigmatize P2P networks, create ineffective DRMs, or write laws which cannot be applied in practice

Reply Score: 3

RE: Nice !
by WorknMan on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:57 UTC in reply to "Nice !"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

This is the way all illegal file sharing should be taken care of. No need to stigmatize P2P networks, create ineffective DRMs, or write laws which cannot be applied in practice


I agree, as long as they offer people REAL trial periods and not this 15-minute bullshit they currently have implemented. There's waaaaaaaaay too much crap (both on the Android marketplace and the Apple app store) to be buying stuff sight unseen.

As it stands, downloading stuff from the underground is the only real way people can try out an app before purchasing, and IMHO, it's rather arrogant to assume that everybody downloading like this is a pirate. Granted, 99 out of 100 of them are, but still ...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice !
by JAlexoid on Thu 31st Mar 2011 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice !"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

With in app purchase, they can offer whatever periods they like....

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice !
by looncraz on Thu 31st Mar 2011 19:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice !"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

T_H_A_N_K___Y_O_U_!_!_!_!

I have been burned by so many programs which had good demo versions and claimed that the full version was capable of doing what I needed, so I put down the money just to find that the program failed to maintain quality after purchase.

One such program is ChrisTV. The lite version has no problems gaining access to my capture, and the sound. So I assumed that it would be able to do a good job recording from that while permitting me to watch the stream in full-screen. I was wrong! The output from the recording was useless. Absolutely garbage!

Thank G-O-D I was smart and "pirated" it. Now I know I didn't need to waste my money!

Of course, it works the other way as well:

I've tried, literally, dozens of video-editing applications trying to find one that could handle ALL of my SIMPLE needs for one project, and I needed significant time with each one, without restriction, to determine which would be the best suited.

I eventually discovered the best would be one I would not have expected at all: Cyberlink's PowerDirector.

I now OWN it. Why?? Because it does the job I need with as few steps as possible while more expensive programs were unable to match the ease of use vs required feature set.

However, half of the apps I tried could do it, but could not create the proper end result, or were unable to import video streams properly, or could not use my video card to accelerate mpeg encoding, or would crash once the project was too large.

It took me about a year and would have cost THOUSANDS to find the ONE program I needed... thank G-O-D for "piracy!"

Not to mention the hundreds of movies I own which I would have NEVER seen without being able to download them.

Then there are simple utility-style apps which are simply not worth the money, such as Debut.

$70 for a simple app that merely captures video/audio to a file?? Are they NUTS!?!?

BTW, the full version offers NOTHING over the free version... seriously... NOTHING! I wrote them and told them two improvements to make:

1. Permit full-screen while recording
2. Drop the price to $20 or less.

I also pirate EVERY version of Microsoft's apps. Not because I like them ( in fact, I don't use any of them ), but because you can bet that I will run into a customer which is stuck using it for some stupid reason and I will need access to the app to fix the darn thing - or re-install it after the customary Windows re-install...

--The loon

Edited 2011-03-31 19:10 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Nice !
by MamiyaOtaru on Fri 1st Apr 2011 15:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice !"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

I assumed that it would be able to do a good job recording from that while permitting me to watch the stream in full-screen. I was wrong! The output from the recording was useless. Absolutely garbage!

Thank G-O-D I was smart and "pirated" it.

Maybe the output from the full version was crap because it was a pirated version? ;)

Srsly though the argument rings false. If your pirated version had functioned fine, there's no way you would have turned around and paid for it. You would have already had it, working. People say they'll test it and then pay the devs, but once they have the product functioning the
motivation drops way down.

Sure, in your anecdotal and totally verifiable account you ended up paying for Cyberlink's stuff. That's not the way it usually plays out though.

Not to mention the hundreds of movies I own which I would have NEVER seen without being able to download them.

If they are worth your hundreds of hours, they are worth remunerating the people who made them possible. Personally, I watch next to no movies and don't care about sending Hollywood money. But if you are watching hundreds of the things, it's a bit of a stretch to say you are owed them for free. Unless you are claiming that after having downloaded them and tested them to see if they match up to your high cineastic standards, you turn around and pay for them? Like I'd believe that?

I wrote them and told them two improvements to make:
...
2. Drop the price to $20 or less.

just lol


I'm as against draconian DRM and stupid laws as anyone, but the justifications for piracy are increasingly unpalatable for me. Your first bit, about finding a program that will actually work, is the most sympathetic to me. Programs that insist on costing money need a fully functional demo that accurately reflects the final product and it sucks when they don't. But it's increasingly hard for me to follow the thread from that to "I'll get it for free then pay for it afterwards I swear"

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Nice !
by Morgan on Fri 1st Apr 2011 16:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice !"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Srsly though the argument rings false. If your pirated version had functioned fine, there's no way you would have turned around and paid for it. You would have already had it, working. People say they'll test it and then pay the devs, but once they have the product functioning the
motivation drops way down.


I don't know, I tend to believe him, if only because I made a similar decision with one of the most "pirated" pieces of software out there: Windows 7. Though, I didn't download a cracked copy; I was running the final RC from Microsoft, and I had installed it around November 2009. Technically I had until March 2010 to continue using it in a fully functional state for free, and of course I could download it illegally if I wanted to, but I went ahead and bought it in January. Why? I was that impressed with it; in fact I bought the Ultimate edition as that is equivalent to the RC in features.

Granted, I got it at a steep discount from my part time job, and I willingly admit that was influential in my decision. But for the first time since DOS 6.22/WfW 3.11 I was actually blown away by how good a Microsoft OS can be. It now resides next to Slackware on my main PC, and since it's the retail version it will soon move to the Dell D620 I'm about to buy to replace the desktop (again, at a discount from work).

The way I see it, these days there is no reason to even "pirate" software in the first place. (And I still loathe the use of the misnomer "pirate" but for ease of communication I will use it.) These days there is a free, and usually open source, alternative to most of the best mainstream software out there, especially operating systems. The vast majority of what we use our computers for can be accomplished with free software, and if one absolutely has to have functionality not available with free alternatives, I'd say it's time to buy what you need.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Nice !
by umccullough on Fri 1st Apr 2011 17:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice !"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

But it's increasingly hard for me to follow the thread from that to "I'll get it for free then pay for it afterwards I swear"


So, you've never donated to a FOSS project after finding their software useful?

And, the "pay what you want" concept always fails right?

Just because there are a large number of "freeloaders" out there, doesn't mean that everyone is. I think it says more about your own personality if you believe that nobody would ever pay for something after getting it for free.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Nice !
by Bounty on Fri 1st Apr 2011 15:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice !"
Bounty Member since:
2006-09-18

Then there are simple utility-style apps which are simply not worth the money, such as Debut.

$70 for a simple app that merely captures video/audio to a file?? Are they NUTS!?!?


WTF? Then don't buy it. If it's so simple, why don't you write it, and give it away for free. I guess only your time has value.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice !
by looncraz on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 17:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice !"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

"Then there are simple utility-style apps which are simply not worth the money, such as Debut.

$70 for a simple app that merely captures video/audio to a file?? Are they NUTS!?!?


WTF? Then don't buy it. If it's so simple, why don't you write it, and give it away for free. I guess only your time has value.
"


The issue at hand is that the app is so close to what I desire that two simple changes would make it worthwhile for me to buy the program. I don't program for Windows. Period. I do the odd program for backups, or to simplify a task, but I can't stand the feel of programming in Windows ( no idea what it is, really, I just feel dirty... ).

I would actually need to buy two copies as well, as I have two VHS capture stations setup to backup my HUGE collection. I want to watch the VHS movie, in full screen, while recording it into a 720x480 NTSC stream. That is all.

Even though the full version offers nothing over the free version, I want to buy it. That is my real problem. $70 is too much. $20 would be just great. I plan on recording hundreds of VHS movies ( as I watch them ) and saving them to my server.

The program does record well, but that is all it actually does. It is the best app I have found for the job, but it is not worth $70. $20, I'd dig into my PayPal and buy it and continue to request full-screen ( or, as I often request - and rarely get, access to the source - with restriction - so I can add the feature myself ).

I have a moral issue with running programs without rewarding the authors - being a programmer myself, I know how much work goes into these things. But I 'sold' my most complex works for FREE, $15 on DVD. Naturally, a business could not do that, but $70 for a $20 utility is crazy.

Normally, you can't find another more suitable application for a task, and would end up paying huge amounts for one simple feature ( I actually can't even find any program to do it, except Debut ). This is the only time I would consider pirating a large program that is reasonably priced - when I have no need for anything, except one tiny little feature. Then I write the authors to see if they might consider making a stand-alone app.

If I had to use Adobe Photoshop for one little operation that GIMP could not accomplish, I would not even think of paying for the full program. It would be stupid. However, if I found that Photoshop was better all-around and I enjoyed using it, I'd just make it part of my next project budget and purchase!

But this is where I differ from most: the programs I buy make me money, I simply pass the costs onward to the customers in the end. This way I really don't care about paying $20/30 here or there for programs to cover a complex project - and I know I'll need them again.

That is why I bought Cyberlink PowerDirector ( & Producer, actually ) - I found the program to be more useful than the other four or five similar programs I already own ( some of which are no longer useful, such as DVD Complete ). It wasn't exactly cheap, but it ain't some small utility app either, this thing takes care of me from beginning to end. I can even use it to touch-up my VHS recordings and attain GPU-assisted encoding speeds, which makes it worth the money.

Then they go through Handbrake for the final shrink ( by far the best app for the job! ).

Handbrake is a great free program, and the author and I have spoke on many occasions back in the BeOS day.

Speaking of BeOS: I bought virtually every BeOS program out there that was for sale. Even if I had no need in this case - I supported the entire platform, and anyone who did so as well[+ I was poor & in high school at the time]. After my house fire, I ended buying what I could find again, but then BeOS died... and when I changed to my current system last I found I could no longer hack it up enough to run BeOS, so I was forced to use Windows XP ( yuck ) & Ubuntu ( also, yuck ).

I like Windows 7, however. And this is the first Microsoft OS, since Windows 3.1 ( well, as part of OS/2 Warp 3, IIRC ;-) ) that I have purchased ( for myself that is... my customers always buy legal - I have a business to run, and piracy goes against that ).

I just bought the OEM version from NewEgg. $100 is pretty much top dollar for an OS, me thinks.

Eh, me ramble....

--The loon

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice !
by gerg on Thu 31st Mar 2011 19:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice !"
gerg Member since:
2011-03-16

As an android developer, I can tell you the 15 minute window for the vast majority of applications is extremely fair. Far too many people fail to understand they are purchasing an application for a buck or two which requires hundreds, if not thousands of man hours to create. And that's completely ignoring the massive support headaches and version incompatibilities (requiring a massive testing matrix) created by Google.

You're talking to a developer who had less than 1000 sales, 4.75 rating for a long time, and over 250,000 pirate installs.

I've had pirates demand support who then negatively rated me when support was not provided - which completely ignores servicing a single support request destroys all profit associated with the sale and actually places you into the negative.

I also had several friendly pirates say they'd be happy to donate for using the application but had no option but to pirate since it was available in their country. As such, i wasted time adding paypal support, per their request. Remember, I received many such emails specifically requesting this. To date - zero donations.

Piracy on Android is a massive problem. Piracy is the single largest reason why so many developers are forced to go the ad ware route. And yet, now users are getting mad at developers for making money the way possible thanks to pirates and Google's anti-copying incompetence. And even worse, pirates are now actively working to strip adware, a developer's sole source of income, from applications. And still worse yet, many of these pirates then turn around and either resell these applications or make money from ad ware by providing works created by others.

If you're the least bit upset, you need to smack around every pirate you can find. They are literally taking money from developers and are the direct cause of much unhappiness on the Android platform.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: Nice !
by WorknMan on Thu 31st Mar 2011 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice !"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I agree with you that piracy on Android is a huge problem, but where you and I disagree is whether or not the 15 minute trial period is 'extremely fair'. I thought the 24 hour trial they had was more than reasonable, and if you're building an app/game that people are tired of using after 24 hours, you should probably find another profession. The reason I say this is to point out that yes, there ARE a few of us 'honest pirates' out there. Not many, but a few. So keep that in mind if you ever decide to start dicking with people's phones/contact lists; you WILL end up with some 'false positives'.

Also, I am one of those people who uses an ad blocker on my Android phone. If there's a paid version of an ad-supported app, I'll choose to purchase every time. But if you don't offer a paid version, well... guess you're shit out of luck; your negligence is not my problem.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Nice !
by gerg on Thu 31st Mar 2011 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice !"
gerg Member since:
2011-03-16

The problem with the 24 hour refund period (which historically went as far as 48 hours) is it was, by far, excessive. With very few exceptions, it doesn't take 24 hours to review an application. If it does, you should have deferred your purchase until such time you can commit the time required to evaluate. Generally you know within the first couple of minutes. And frankly, its even a tiny minority of applications which can not be reviewed in something less than five minutes.

The biggest problem with twenty four hours, especially for games, is people would download, play the game until content, and then uninstall. The issue is, the user got their $1 worth of fun but the developer didn't get his payment in exchange. It was extremely common.

Seriously, what exactly are you evaluating where you need more than five or ten minutes? Furthermore, what do you need to evaluate beyond fifteen minutes which user comments haven't already helped guide. That is, after all, one of the primary reasons developers are subjected to abuse and frequently flat out lies - is to protect you, the user.

IMOHO, I'd be fine with maybe something as long as thirty minutes or an hour but anything beyond that is completely out of line and is unjust to developers more so than users. The twenty four hour period was just abusive on developers and simply unnecessary.

As for the ad-blocker, that's really unfair. You need to keep in mind, most developers are ONLY able to generate income from ads because pirates prevent a profit otherwise. With licensing now available, that starting to change, a little, but you're still taking money out of the developer's pocket. You're punishing the developer for the actions of pirates; which makes it doubly wrong.

Developers would love not to have to mess with ad ware, as it makes the applications bigger and takes time to add. But realistically, what you're doing only harms developers and the platform. I sincerely wish you would reconsider. At the least, what you're doing is very unethetical. You're accepting the application in exchange for displaying ads. As such, you're taking from the developer and not fulfilling your part of the contract.

Edited 2011-03-31 22:39 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Nice !
by WorknMan on Fri 1st Apr 2011 01:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice !"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Seriously, what exactly are you evaluating where you need more than five or ten minutes? Furthermore, what do you need to evaluate beyond fifteen minutes which user comments haven't already helped guide.


Geez, where to begin? Alarm clocks (want to see if it actually works?), weather widgets that are supposed to update hourly, apps (such as email clients and rss readers) that you need to configure/sync, gps applications, location-based services, games that may take longer than 15 minutes to download, etc.

What if you have an app that runs in the background, and you want to see how much of a drain on the battery it is? What if you want to download some apps in an airport that you want to try out on the plane?

I agree that 5-10 minutes is more than enough time for many apps (since you know immediately that many of them are garbage), but one size does not fit all, so I will continue downloading from the dark web as long as this policy is in place. I don't want to feel like I am racing against the clock when evaluating something.

Perhaps they should let the developer choose the trial period? Then you would know instantly that when a dev gives you only 15 minutes, the app/game is not even worth bothering with. And btw, the user comments are nearly universally useless. Either somebody is bitching that it doesn't work on his particular phone, or you get a 1 star review that says 'this app sucks' without any explanation whatsoever.

As for the ad-blocker, that's really unfair. You need to keep in mind, most developers are ONLY able to generate income from ads because pirates prevent a profit otherwise.


So why not offer a paid version along-side the ad-supported one? Or offer an in-app option to disable ads for a fee? Instead of pirating, I think most people would just opt to put up with the ads. But for the rest of us who will not put up with ads under ANY circumstances, don't assume that just because there are pirates out there, you can't make a profit. Believe it or not, some of us actually would like to give you money. Hell, I even donate to some developers of free apps/custom roms, just because they ask nicely.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Nice !
by gerg on Fri 1st Apr 2011 14:00 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice !"
gerg Member since:
2011-03-16

"Seriously, what exactly are you evaluating where you need more than five or ten minutes? Furthermore, what do you need to evaluate beyond fifteen minutes which user comments haven't already helped guide.


Geez, where to begin? Alarm clocks (want to see if it actually works?), weather widgets that are supposed to update hourly, apps (such as email clients and rss readers) that you need to configure/sync, gps applications, location-based services, games that may take longer than 15 minutes to download, etc.
"

Most of that depends on core Android services. Contrary to many user comments, applications are not generating bad locations. This is almost always a bug in Google's database. Thusly, application has zero control of it. As for alarms, again, that's a core android service. Either your device works or it doesn't. Synchronization is generally something which can be done quickly. Most games do not take that long to download. Some game content does take consideration duration; but comments will generally steer you here.

Most importantly, you're also ignoring that a charge back process exist. So while its not widely known, its actually fairly easy to get your money back. Developers have zero say and they always side with users so long as the app costs less than $10 or $20 bucks (sorry, forget exact amount). Which means, 99+% of all android apps have zero risk to users. For fundamentally broken apps, such as you suggest, which are actually extremely rare without corresponding user comments, its almost impossible to take a hit as a user even without the charge back process.


What if you have an app that runs in the background, and you want to see how much of a drain on the battery it is? What if you want to download some apps in an airport that you want to try out on the plane?


This is what user comments are for. As for the plane, that's pretty unreasonable.


I agree that 5-10 minutes is more than enough time for many apps (since you know immediately that many of them are garbage), but one size does not fit all, so I will continue downloading from the dark web as long as this policy is in place. I don't want to feel like I am racing against the clock when evaluating something.


Honestly, most developers couldn't care less about users who use pirate downloads for evaluation basis. The problems stem from those who claim this and yet constantly use the application and never pay for it. This is, unfortunately, the vast majority of pirates.


Perhaps they should let the developer choose the trial period? Then you would know instantly that when a dev gives you only 15 minutes, the app/game is not even worth bothering with. And btw, the user comments are nearly universally useless. Either somebody is bitching that it doesn't work on his particular phone, or you get a 1 star review that says 'this app sucks' without any explanation whatsoever.


That's one of the reasons why developers almost universally loath user comments and rarely, if ever, monitor them. Just the same, for any application which has more than a trivial number of downloads and reviews, critical issues are extremely likely to be reported. So while comments are extremely abusive on developers and applications, they do work well to protect consumers. As a consumer, you may have to read a couple pages of comments, but that's hardly unreasonable.

As for the ad-blocker, that's really unfair. You need to keep in mind, most developers are ONLY able to generate income from ads because pirates prevent a profit otherwise.

"So why not offer a paid version along-side the ad-supported one? Or offer an in-app option to disable ads for a fee? Instead of pirating, I think most people would just opt to put up with the ads. But for the rest of us who will not put up with ads under ANY circumstances, don't assume that just because there are pirates out there, you can't make a profit. Believe it or not, some of us actually would like to give you money. Hell, I even donate to some developers of free apps/custom roms, just because they ask nicely.
"

I'm sorry, I thought the answer was obvious. Its because a paid version frequently means it will be pirated and once pirated, completely (or largely) guts the developer's income. Thusly, you're argument boils down to, "I don't care if developers get paid so long as they create a version which ensures they don't get paid." As I said, this is starting to change now that licensing options are available, but that too requires lots and lots of development to do right.

Contrary to what you may believe, the licensing code absolutely is not a couple of minutes, out of the box solution. And releasing a "pro", paid version, is frequently impossible because of pirates for 99% of developers (historically, again, starting to change). Which is turn, is frequently one of the main reasons why a licensed version may not be available.

Small developers have finite time. Frequently, the paid version is released only after the product has stabilized and proved financially viable (else the additional time is pure waste - which can destroy a small developer) via the ad ware route. Which basically means, you and others like you, can be one of the single largest reasons why a paid version is not available. So again, you're argument boils down to, "I'm not supporting developers because they don't create the applications I want because I'm not supporting developers." Again, as I originally stated, extremely unfair for developers.

Again, by blocking ads, you are not only helping to create the very problem which you are railing against, but are unethically failing to meet your societal and contractual obligation. Which ultimately means, you're part of the problem with Android's ecosystem, regardless if you want to admit it or not.

I sincerely hope you'll reconsider your position after hearing the other side. For a healthy ecosystem to function, requires both producers and consumers. Thus far, the consumers have been brutally dishonest and unfair with the producers. Ask yourself, would you want to be treated dishonestly and as unfairly as you've been treating developers? Unless you're a hypocrite, the answer is extremely unlikely to be, "yes." After all, if you find value in something (implied by its existence on your device), its not unreasonable for you to pay where you find value. That's how capitalism works.

Sincerely,

P.S. Sorry for hosed quoting - what's displayed isn't what was entered and the article looks nothing like what it did in the preview. I'm pretty sure its an OSnews bug.

Edited 2011-04-01 14:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Nice !
by WorknMan on Fri 1st Apr 2011 17:49 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nice !"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I'm sorry, I thought the answer was obvious. Its because a paid version frequently means it will be pirated and once pirated, completely (or largely) guts the developer's income. Thusly, you're argument boils down to, "I don't care if developers get paid so long as they create a version which ensures they don't get paid." As I said, this is starting to change now that licensing options are available, but that too requires lots and lots of development to do right.


Well, wherever there's paid applications, there will be piracy. Case in point, it's fairly trivial to pirate apps on iOS as well. In other words, if you release paid applications for ANY platform, people are going to pirate it, assuming it's any good. Of course, I don't like it any more than you do, but it's just as certain as death and taxes. But, if the piracy problem is so bad on Android that you absolutely cannot make any money with paid apps, I'd rather see you not develop applications for Android at all than to have you release apps with adware.

For the record, I don't block ads in specific apps; I block them across the entire phone, just as I do across my entire PC. So I may not know ahead of time that your app has ads, since Google (at least the last time I checked) marks apps with adware as 'FREE'. So perhaps you devs should have a talk with Google about their blatant false advertising, so at least I'll know which apps to avoid. Either way, you're not makin' any money from me without a paid version.

If I haven't made my point abundantly clear, I will NEVER, EVER (knowingly) install/run apps that force me to look at ads, unless I need them to survive. If that means you can't make money writing apps, then perhaps it's time for a career change. I do not consider apps infested with adware to be a legitimate way of doing business. But hey, that's just me.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Nice !
by No it isnt on Fri 1st Apr 2011 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice !"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Tell me, how do you rate a paid app you haven't bought? As far as I can tell, you only get access to rating when you've installed an app through the Market.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice !
by gerg on Fri 1st Apr 2011 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice !"
gerg Member since:
2011-03-16

Tell me, how do you rate a paid app you haven't bought? As far as I can tell, you only get access to rating when you've installed an app through the Market.


People purchase it and then immediately issue a refund. Thusly allowing them to rate and comment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Nice !
by No it isnt on Fri 1st Apr 2011 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice !"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Sounds like an awful lot of trouble to go through to get back at you. You must be doing something stupid to make it worthwhile.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Nice !
by gerg on Fri 1st Apr 2011 17:36 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nice !"
gerg Member since:
2011-03-16

You mean like your troll? The effort required of your idiotic troll is more or less the equivalent effort. You more or less proved the point.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Nice !
by No it isnt on Fri 1st Apr 2011 18:02 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nice !"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

It's not a troll, and it's part of a broader public discussion on a site I happen to frequent, in contrast to downloading and rating your app, which is between you and your customer only. And even if I were trolling, poking fun of your inadequacy on a messageboard would be quite different from trying to do you direct economic harm, and requires a different kind of motivation.

Actually, I think you just proved my point, in that you're angry and rude and someone one might want to do harm. Stop being an asshole, and people might stop buying your app just to rate it poorly.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Nice !
by kaiwai on Sat 2nd Apr 2011 02:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice !"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

<gets on high horse>

You've hit the name on the head; I know when I was kid back in the Amiga days I used to pirate all my software, especially games, for a number of reasons - with the lack of access to said games being the biggest factor (I'm in New Zealand and most games were released in the UK, add to that being a kid earning $17.50 per week delivering news papers and the pound to $NZ conversion being horrific you can see why).

Fast forward to today and I have a full time job and part of that has come the 'realisation' that there are people out there who make their living writing software and for people like me to buy - legitimising piracy is a game anyone can play, or as Martin Luther said, "reason is a whore" and thusly people will reason their way out of anything they do. I'm in a situation too where I can see people thieve products from said place of work and I can see the cost it has on the bottom line - it isn't just a matter of a few cents but a culmination of a person here and a person there each taking what they think that they deserve.

For the record I reward good software companies and punish bad software companies by refusing to purchase their software. When a company puts out a great piece of software I'll praise them, write on my blog and even make a video praising their product. For example the Omnigroup I have purchased OmniGraffle Pro, OmniOutliner Pro which have been great pieces of software and I'm proud of the fact that I have paid for them. Same goes for Panic Software, Red Sweater Software and Bare Bones Software.

The problem is that so many people see their own piracy as a victimless crime, "oh, its only me", "I'm sure they're making millions" and so on. Legitimising what they do with some sort of David and Goliath comparison. If you can't afford the software then don't use it - I know it is shocking for some but just because you really, really, really want something doesn't some how flip ethics on its head in justification of what ever you want to do. I couldn't afford Microsoft Office at one point so I had to put up with using Lotus Smart Suite many years ago until Microsoft came out with the 'Home and Student' where I saved up the money ($230 or so) and purchased a copy. Same can be said with Creative Suite CS5 and all the software.

</gets down off high horse>

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Nice !
by clhodapp on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 05:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice !"
clhodapp Member since:
2009-12-04

1) Being an Android developer does not make you more qualified than any other person familiar with the Android ecosystem to say whether a 15 minute window is "fair" for users, except for maybe when referencing your own apps or those you have personally used (and then, only on an app-by-app basis). I do suppose that you being a developer does help bring some balance, though: comment sections on tech sites seem to be excessively pro-consumer sometimes..

2) You are mixing two things without making a case for why they should be mixed; There is no reason that increasing the length of an app's trial period should result in an increase in piracy. In fact, so far as I can reason, it can only decrease the chance that that app is pirated because a user may decide that the app is so crappy that it's not worth pirating. Also, if a user goes through the effort of downloading the app from the market (a precondition enjoying an app's trial period), then they are unlikely to pirate it, since it takes less effort to simply pirate an app as compared to the sequence of buy->return->pirate.

3) Clearly a 15 minute trial period is too short in a great number of cases. As has been stated, some apps are designed to do tasks at occasional intervals, etc. Also, what if you are downloading the app over 3g? It is possible that you will spend a great deal of your trial period simply acquiring the app. Also, I have had it take a couple minutes for the app to register as returned due to the market being buggy (I know, this is Google's fault, not the developer's). As such, it is quite possible for a user to get significantly less than 15 minutes to try out an app.

4) At risk of putting words in your mouth, it would seem to me that your reasoning in thinking that 15 minutes is "plenty" of time is that you personally think that users should get no trial time at all because that would result in developers getting more money, especially if their apps were crappy. This argument seems to come directly from the RIAA/MPAA school of thought. All I can say is that a user is way more likely to pirate rather than pay for an app if they are worried about that app's quality, so I would expect that trial periods probably help curb piracy of high-quality apps. (Note that I am perfectly willing to retract this argument and substitute it for a simple "no way" if you legitimately believe that all apps can be fairly evaluated in 15 minutes).

5) I agree that 24 hours can easily be WAY too long for a particular app. For example, the app could be a creative work, such as an interactive comic book, designed to be consumed in a couple of hours at maximum. For this reason, I really wish that the app's developer could specify a trial period, with options ranging between ~30 minutes at the extreme short end to ~1 week at the extreme long end. I also wish that there was an API for the app to be able to lock down some functionality when it had not been paid for (this way, something like tax document preparation software could allow the user several days to complete their taxes, but not allow the user to actually submit the tax documents without paying.). The only risk is that I could see stupid users marking the app down in reviews as a result (literally, I can see them writing "Could not submit taxes during trial period. 1 star. SSGS" or some such. Why do people feel the need to put the number of stars they are assigning in the text of their reviews and to list the make/model of their phone when it isn't relevant? Oh? Am I ranting? Ok I'll stop).

Edited 2011-04-03 05:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Go Android
by tuzor on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:18 UTC
tuzor
Member since:
2007-08-07

Edit: my bad there's already an article about it (clearly shouldn't be on the sidebar)

Android is the best platform ever cause it's open.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_15/b4223041200216.h...

There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans.


Edited 2011-03-31 17:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Go Android
by Praxis on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:20 UTC in reply to "Go Android"
Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17

I think you posted in the wrong thread.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Go Android - "best platform ever"?
by jabbotts on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:53 UTC in reply to "Go Android"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I reserve that kind of adulation for full distro implementations rather than Java stacks that happen to have a Linux kernel under them. I also reserver it for developers who actually produce the next version openly rather than claiming "open source" only after the major version release.

but that's just me..

Reply Score: 2

RE: Go Android
by JAlexoid on Thu 31st Mar 2011 19:10 UTC in reply to "Go Android"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

early access

No if it were just "access" instead of "early access", I would agree. The Chinese knock off manufacturers will still get their sources in a few months, but big companies will have to adhere to Google's requirements.
That was supposed to be done from the beginning.
I think ODMs have pushed Google too far by abusing their open right to remove Android openness from the end user.
There are 36% of users with access to market that are still susceptible to rage against the cage type of attack. And it hurts Google and Android, while ODMs just don't care...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Go Android - "ODMs just don't care"
by jabbotts on Thu 31st Mar 2011 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Go Android"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Nonsence.. they care very much.. about selling you a new brick of hardware just to get that update. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Go Android
by WorknMan on Thu 31st Mar 2011 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Go Android"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Think you posted to the wrong article.

Reply Score: 2

I'm appalled.
by MORB on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:40 UTC
MORB
Member since:
2005-07-06

Such an interesting idea and the guy didn't use it to its full potential.

Instead of that lame message, he should have made the app send to the contacts goatse, tubgirl, lemonparty and other random shock pictures or videos.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:45 UTC
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

While I sympathize with the developer, on an emotional level, I can't help but feel that behaviour like this justifies my decision to limit the non-game closed-source software on my system to my BIOS, nVidia drivers, Flash, and Opera.

(The BIOS because I have no choice, the nVidia drivers because I'm addicted to playing Minecraft on my Fermi GPU, Flash because it hasn't yet annoyed me enough to justify the PulseAudio dependency a Gnash+Lightspark combo brings, and Opera for testing websites I develop.)

Minecraft aside, all the closed-source games run in some form of sandbox. (Usually DOSBox or Snes9x... and yes, the cartridges in my garage do exist)

Reply Score: 3

That's illegal, right?
by wannabe geek on Thu 31st Mar 2011 17:52 UTC
wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

Is the author of this malware known? Is he the developer of the original application? Can anyone be so dumb? IIRC, gathering user information and sending messages on their behalf without their consent is clearly illegal, regardless of how the user got the application. I don't know in America, but here in Spain, while there's no legal punishment for unauthorized downloads, the law is very strict with any breach of privacy like the one described.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, they had it coming for trusting a crappy security model. Object capabilities FTW.

Reply Score: 11

RE: That's illegal, right?
by wizard on Fri 1st Apr 2011 07:12 UTC in reply to "That's illegal, right?"
wizard Member since:
2011-04-01

Not in Spain only, in my country such behaviour is considered as a crime and probably the guy would be punished for:
- gaining access to digital data not dedicated to him (including private details)
- using such data to defame people
I think law in most european countries is simmilar if it comes about private details protection, altrough I'm not an expert.

Reply Score: 2

RE: That's illegal, right?
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 2nd Apr 2011 19:06 UTC in reply to "That's illegal, right?"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Is the author of this malware known? Is he the developer of the original application? Can anyone be so dumb? IIRC, gathering user information and sending messages on their behalf without their consent is clearly illegal, regardless of how the user got the application.


Agreed, using personal information without end-user consent/knowledge in order to get revenge on pirates is a terrible idea.

I don't know in America, but here in Spain, while there's no legal punishment for unauthorized downloads, the law is very strict with any breach of privacy like the one described.


I'd imagine/hope that any legal jurisdiction with privacy laws on the books would frown on that sort of thing.

Reply Score: 2

umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

Assuming the app being shared publicly is the same app available for purchase (the article mentions the use of the Licensing service to detect if it was legally purchased or not) - I bet Google pulls it.

The fact that the app has "dormant" code which can trigger this behavior in the event that it detects a certain configuration (i.e. non-licensed usage) means the app probably violates some TOS that Google imposes for apps published to their app store. At least, I hope it does.

Reply Score: 3

Just goes to show...
by mrhasbean on Thu 31st Mar 2011 21:46 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

...how dangerous it is to allow unchecked applications onto a device that has constant and unrestricted access to global data networks.

Again, any thinking person could see something like this happening. Should they have pirated the app - of course not - but two wrongs does not a right make, and collecting then using another person's private information covertly is a bigger crime than the the pirating.

Reply Score: 1

nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

You can afford the data plan but can't cough up a few bucks to the developer?

If a program is under 10 bucks then I don't care if there is a trial or not.

I don't mind supporting an indy developer even if I don't end up liking the game or program.

Android has a major downside which is that it has attracted all the cheapskate pirates of the world.

Google needs to act, it's really a big freaking mess.

Reply Score: 3

gerg Member since:
2011-03-16

You can afford the data plan but can't cough up a few bucks to the developer?

If a program is under 10 bucks then I don't care if there is a trial or not.

I don't mind supporting an indy developer even if I don't end up liking the game or program.

Android has a major downside which is that it has attracted all the cheapskate pirates of the world.

Google needs to act, it's really a big freaking mess.


And that's really the sting of it! People are buying a luxury good (smartphone) with a premium plan to support data and then people are going to extreme measures to steal income from people who have worked very hard to provide the applications they are enjoying.

Its all but impossible to view these people with an extremely low opinion, even rivaling that of a common thief.

As an android developer, I've even compiled custom versions for people in poor countries. Generally it was that the device was provided by work and a couple of other tearful details. Of the dozen or so free copies I provided, I only ever found one copy show up on pirate sites. At which, I stopped providing gratis copies altogether. And this behavior isn't alone. I know a lot of developers want to help and advocate the platform and their own product, but pirates are literally stealing income, screwing over developers, and hurting the platform.

Please, absolutely do not support pirates in any ways...but I digress...

In short, thank you for your stance! I wish more people were of good character, such as yourself.

Edited 2011-03-31 22:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

It's a similar situation to pc gaming piracy where there is a high cost of entry to a luxury product and yet piracy is much higher than on consoles which have a lower cost of entry.

I have a recent post on it actually
http://www.binplay.com/2011/03/comments-from-crysis-2-pirates.html

With Android the software could be tied closer to the hardware which would at least reduce casual piracy. For pc gaming I think the answer is building the game around server generated data. Indy devs have to just chalk up most pc installs as pirated which is a shame. Even that humble indy bundle where you could name your price was pirated.

Reply Score: 1

Not so clever
by demosthenese on Thu 31st Mar 2011 22:51 UTC
demosthenese
Member since:
2011-02-01

If they have posted this app themselves to be freely available, there is no theft or piracy by the downloader. That the app acts as a trojan leaves them vulnerable to an unauthorized computer use charge, which can carry a gaol sentence in the UK and I suspect in most of Europe. Add to that the unauthorized texts have a monetary value, so we can add theft to the list of crimes.

They will probably get away with this, but it is a risky strategy.

As for try before you buy, I am surprised that app stores don't seem to be subject in the UK to the distant selling act ... the customer has an absolute right to return the goods for a refund within 7 working days of purchase.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by fran
by fran on Fri 1st Apr 2011 19:21 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

i almost banned a few users today,(whose veiwpoints is always contrary to my own), changed the theme and post some gaming and hardware news.


Then i got the April fools message:-(

Edited 2011-04-01 19:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Broken link
by Johann Chua on Sat 2nd Apr 2011 07:26 UTC
Johann Chua
Member since:
2005-07-22

Could someone fix the link to the story?

Reply Score: 2