Monday, May 4, 2009

The Setting is Mightier than the Sword

Yesterday I updated my phone to Cupcake.
Before I did I bought a used White G1 off of craigslist for $180, so I could root and hack one phone in peace, and still have a stock version of the OS to test on on the other.

I followed these instructions on how to gain root, and then updated to JesusFreke 1.5. Go donate to the guy he does good work.

It was a very satisfying, and nerve racking. But I'm now able to play with full cupcake before most other people.

A list of my impressions will be for another post, but now I want to continue talking about the whole settings mess that is Cupcake.

Final Answer - it's "mostly" way overblown.

The major problem, that sparked this whole mess was GPS. You don't want programs turning GPS On/Off whenever they want. It was bad when it was discovered, and it still is. Google, in making their changes, wanted to force any location aware app to have the user do it. This is very simple from a programming perspective actually. And you can immediately take the user to the page in the settings app that turns location services on/off. My guess is that the power drain from the GPS receiver is a lot. And this was the only fair way to do it. A few other ideas have been proposed, but this is by far the easiest for them to implement.

The problem is the collateral damage. What other settings are going to suffer from this.

Wifi, still works. That was always part of the API.
Bluetooth, still works. This surprised me until I recompiled ToggleBlu today and tested it on my phone, it works under 1.5, even though it's a hack, even though it's using a hidden API. All bluetooth users can relax.
2G/3G, never worked anyway.
Airplane Mode, still works.

I suspect those are the major settings that people were using settings apps to change.

Brightness. OK this is one that IS still editable, but I haven't figured out exactly how just yet. I know it's editable because Toggle Settings has released a cupcake version that can change it. I am working on a few theories.

I now have a "real" website!


Breon said...

Thanks for digging into this more and clearing a few things up.


Breon said...

by the way...your new website is dope ;)

keep up the good work.

benderamp said...

>Google, in making their changes, wanted to force any location aware app to have the user do it. This is very simple from a programming perspective actually. And you can immediately take the user to the page in the settings app that turns location services on/off. My guess is that the power drain from the GPS receiver is a lot. And this was the only fair way to do it. A few other ideas have been proposed, but this is by far the easiest for them to implement.

Probably it was, but I can see here another moment - try to open security and location settings activity and try to click on the "Using wireless networks" checkbox - you will receive license agreement dialog with the following text: "Allow Google's location service to collect anonymous and aggregate location data. Collection will occur regardless of whether any applications are active." plus two buttons Agree and Disagree. If you press Disagree the tower-base location service will not be enabled.

So, as soon as enabling this type of location service requires from user accepting the agreement, allowing to turn this on programmatically brings a problem from this point of view - google won't allow 3rdparty applications to enable this option siletly. So making this option read-only gave the solution and as soon as GPS on/off option were stored in the same place it was switched to read-only mode either just for a company.

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