Let's face it. The patent system is a mess. Applying for a patent can be a process that takes years. Then there's the issue of prior art. Is this patent valid? Was it obvious? Should it have been granted in the first place? And that's without getting into whether or not other devices infringe. It can be a huge cluster of ugly. Enter AskPatents. This new Stack Exchange site has been set up to crowd source the finding of prior art and researching whether or not patents are valid.
One small and two major sites that have a long history of distributing pirated Android apps have been seized in a first of its kind operation conducted by the FBI, DoJ, and a variety of U.S. and foreign governments. These sites are:
Each of the taken down hosts is now displaying this FBI seizure notice
According to PC World, FBI agents downloaded numerous copies of paid Android apps as part of the operation before seizing all three domains and executing nine search warrants on August 21st.
The Android launcher has always been ground zero for device customization, and most launchers make at least some concession to user options. But TSF Shell, which we've covered before, surely takes the cake for sheer flexibility. The latest update, to Beta version 1.6.0, adds a dazzling amount of new features. Granted, most of these are eye candy - something that TSF never lacked in the first place - but a few of them are genuinely useful.
I've written more than a few of these giveaways for products covering just about every aspect of Android development, and written by dozens of authors. But this one... well, this is special, because it's a series of LiveLessons from none other than former Android Police contributor Ian Clifton.
This contest is now over. Here are our winners, selected at random:
Mario II Valenzuela
Congratulations, guys - all of you will be contacted for your information in the near future!
Script Kitty has actually been around for a while, but after receiving its 2.0 update last week, it's now a serious contender for one of those must-have apps (at least for anyone with an ssh-enabled server). I downloaded and set it up in a matter of a few minutes (including generating an RSA key for key-based auth and adding said key to a few Linux servers), and now have a stupid easy way of doing certain things very quickly without having to even resort to ConnectBot.
It seems like most books on developing for Android are geared towards beginners and those who are accustomed to developing for other platforms or using other languages, while fewer help you put that extra layer of polish and shine on your app. With hundreds of thousands of apps already on the market for you to compete with, that's exactly what you need: something to kick your app up a notch or two.
Today, I uninstalled the Amazon Appstore and bought all the FAOTD (free app of the day) apps I've been really using. Why did I do it? Because, mildly put, the Amazon Appstore app, which is required for all Amazon-installed apps to run and perform their license checks, has affected my battery life in very negative ways. Even if you never open it, it will keep running in the background, using up valuable CPU cycles, keeping the device awake when it should be sleeping.
The Google Maps team added support for Street View in Israel's major cities this past weekend - Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. If you haven't had a chance to check out Street View yet, it can take you on a virtual stroll down city streets right inside Google Maps - on the web or on your Android device.
For example, to check out Tel Aviv's views, download Street View on Google Maps, head over to Google Maps and punch in "Tel Aviv, Israel." Then click on the city name, Street View, and voila:
Pan, click, move, show your friends and family - it's especially impressive to those who have never seen Street View in action, which could be the case if, you know, you actually live in Israel.
Whether you are trying to score a great deal or just read the product descriptions, you've probably used Woot before. In fact, there's a good chance you've already used the service on your Android device, as there are several Woot apps available in the Play Store. But Woot Check, a brand new app from GT Media, the developers of SeekDroid, takes things to an impressive new level.
Side note: Technically, Woot Check was GT Media's first app, but it wasn't anything special at the time and what you see here today is a completely rewritten product that benefitted from all the experience of developing SeekDroid.