StartApp - new kind of scummy advertising on Android

As if AirPush wasn't bad enough, there is yet another scammy advertising platform in the Android world -  StartApp. Apps with StartApp will add a bookmark to your browser, and install a widget like this on the home screen:

(image source: TechCrunch)

With a generic search icon, it will surely fool unsuspecting users into using its likely scammy search services. The site looks they cloned Google's look, and filled it up with advertising based on your search terms. With AirPush, it's easy to tell who's doing this by downloading AirPush Detector - lucky for me, StartApp's bookmark did not encrypt any information at all. Here is the full URL:


By decoding this base64 text we get:

  "Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.7; en-us; HTC Vision Build/GRI40) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1",
 "phoneModel"=>"HTC Vision",
 "request_timestamp"=>"Sat Dec 17 09:57:02 PST 2011",

These scumbags are not only trying to hijack people's search, but also sending this information essentially in cleartext, every time someone does a search using their widget button or bookmark. In case anyone was wondering, the offending app that I had installed was Place the Box.


iOS 5 beta almost bricked my iPhone 4

While upgrading from iOS 5 beta2 to beta4, my iPhone4 stopped responding, and the screen wouldn't even come up. Home+Power didn't do anything, and XCode wouldn't even recognize the device. Luckily, iTunes was still picking up the device - but when I try to restore the phone, it would fail with a vague error message (error number 1600 or something). After setting up a Genius Bar appointment and googling around for about 30 minutes, I found out that this error is because I am trying to install iOS 4 on a device that has iOS 5. Then I read shift + restore (actually, it was Option + restore for me) allows you to pick the ipsw file.

tl;dr iOS5 temporarily bricked my iPhone4, but iTunes restored it with ⌥ + restore fixed it.


Insane in the membrane

Insanity Day 10 complete! I'm dying over here...


Day 1 face


I went a month without posting again...

Purple Monkey Dishwasher. And here is a random picture from today:


Weekend goals #6

Forgot to come up with one til just now... I noticed I'm usually getting only 1 thing done, so I decided to try something new this week. I'm going to keep all the old ones in the list, and add 1 new item per weekend. I'm thinking prioritize the new one at #2 just to keep the items from stagnating too much.

  1. Lift/Scala (wk 5)
  2. MacRuby project (new!)
  3. Honeycomb app (wk 1)
  4. HTML5 game (wk 3)
  5. Learn You a Haskell (wk 1)
  6. Erlang project (wk 2)
  7. Devices data in mongodb (wk 2)


4505meats $55 burger

To be fair, it's $55 for 10 patties and basically everything you need to make the burgers with except the grill. I had been sorta kinda following Ryan Farr's blog, and when Richard posted a link to the Best Damn Cheeseburger video, I had to give it a try. 3 bags of chicharrones was $20 extra, and totally worth it. Mouthwateringly good:

Weekend goals #5

  1. done! -- Finish my bort gem and publish it.
  2. oops never got to this -- Work a little more on my html5 game.
  3. or this -- Lift/Scala.


Weekend goals #3

New weekend goals:

  1. Play around with ImpactJS.
  2. Stretch goal #1 Make a Tapjoy plugin
  3. Stretch goal #2 Post a game on Chrome store


this weekend's goal

  1. load a selection of our devices domain on mongodb, just to see how it handles "big data"
  2. erlang
  3. some simple android tablet game
  1. downloaded some data... never played around with it. Maybe this will be my 20% project
  2. got through the first chapter
  3. nope!


G-Slate first impressions

I am a T-Mobile whore and of course when a 4G tablet running Honeycomb was announced, I had to snag this one. Some thoughts on this after ~10 hours of ownership:

  1. T-Mobile is CHEAP! -- MSRP at launch: $750 (no contract). After 2-year contract instant rebate, mail-in rebate, and early bird promo code discount, I got this for $430 + tax. Compare this to $730 for 3G iPad2 with 32gb, or $800 for the Xoom, both after carrier discounts. Currently paying $30/mo for 200mb, most likely I'll need to upgrade to the $60/mo plan that gets 5gb.
  2. It's really THIN -- as you can see in the picture above, it's a really thin/short device. What's crazier is that WXGA (1280x768) means it's still not fully 16:9, so you would still see black bands around anamorphic widescreen movies.
  3. Pre-Honeycomb app support SUCKS -- some apps just won't load, some apps will be stretched out all funny... and some are just simply not showing up, like Google Voice. How hard is it really to port Google Voice to 3.0?
  4. Bloatware sucks (I'm looking at you, Quickoffice and Zinio Reader), but for the first time an awesome game came PRELOADED that I otherwise would not have purchased: "Need for Speed Shift" is really fun on this device, and good response for HD 3D game
  5. 3D video recording is GIMMICKY, but fun. I do sorta wish they had included a 3D camera though. This is not built in to Android, but looks like LG just put something together. Not horrible, but still very gimmicky and requires those red-blue glasses.
  6. Without ROOT, so much potential is being held back. No tethering, no removing these preloaded garbage, no screenshots... but I'm too selfish to sacrifice this device for the greater good.
  7. I have way too many things telling me what's going on -- whenever I get an email or there is a meeting in 10 minutes, 3 devices, a browser, and a desktop notifier all tell me this...


Geeking out this weekend

This weekend I think I'll geek out a little...

  1. Learn You a Haskell
  2. Root Android G1 from work
  3. Play around with G-Slate (3a. write an Android tablet app?)
1 -- didn't get to finish... only got to page 22
2 -- oh crap totally forgot about this one
3 -- UPS or T-Mobile fucked up and now I won't have it til tomorrow morning... T-Mobile had better give me a refund on the shipping costs.
3a -- I did download the Android version 11 SDK and played around with it. Writing an app, not so much.

random update

I really should update my blog more often than just whenever I get a new gadget (hint: tomorrow)... here's a recent picture:

Also, just created an Angel List account... now what?


Goals for 2011

No resolutions, just goals.

  1. Build and launch a sequel to Cool Curlings
  2. Learn at least 2 of these: CoffeeScript, Python, MacRuby, Haskell, Lisp
That should keep me busy between a full-time job and two kids.

New baby!

Probably should have posted 3 weeks ago, but:

Emily Ye-Jin was born 2010-12-18 at 22:44 PST!
At home
Alex <3 sister