Getting in touch with users who (anonymously) left poor ratings on Google Play

Let’s say you just published a brand new app on Google Play, then the first couple of days are crucial. Every review/rating counts and nothing will get your blood pressure up like unjustified downvotes. Let’s face it, some users plain are assholes (e.g. those who see ratings only as a means to extort you). Others might just have misjudged your app and would reconsider if asked nicely, but that’s the problem! Play doesn’t let you communicate with your users (efficiently). Sure, the Play console allows you to reply to reviews, however, that’s a pain and doesn’t work when a user only rated. Read more ›

Posted in Android, Tinkering

Another day, another cold call

Telephones… you wish, Alexander Graham Bell would have come up with a design that mandates a conductive plate in the earpiece, so you can remotely shock your peer in case s/he says something stupid, behaves like an asshole or both, is a telemarketeer. Read more ›

Posted in Rants

Google Play, GSF ID, useragent, app compatibility?

I get asked fairly often (in various ways) how Google Play determines if an app is compatible with a device. Read more ›

Posted in Android

Fingerprints are NOT passwords!

The three basic rules for password security are:

  1. Never write your password down. Someone might find your note.
  2. Never use the same password for different services. Otherwise you give the operators of one service access to the other.
  3. Change your password when it gets compromised.

Fingerprints violate all of these rules. You leave them (write them down) whenever and touch a smooth surface. You only have ten fingers, so you’ll end up reusing your credentials for different services. Got a front door with a fingerprint lock and a passport? Congratulations, you just handed the keys to your home to every country, including your own, you visit. Good luck, changing them!

Posted in Security

Simple hardware hack to make your PC fast again

Did you ever have feeling that your computer has been getting slower lately? Got dropping Framerate for no apparent reason? Everything generally feeling more laggy, even though the software stayed the same?

Read more ›

Posted in Tips and Tricks

The pitfall of the digital assistant

Food for thoughts: digital assistants with voice recognition are suppose to save us time: we can simply speak our mind and they already know how to perform complex tasks, thus saving us the hassle of pushing buttons and carrying out multiple steps manually.

All digital assistants are made by companies that want us to buy more stuff. Advertising only works when we spend as much time as possible with the advertising agent.

Do digital assistants really save us time?

Posted in Persepective

Raccoon, Google Play, APK download and the offertype

One of the cool features of Raccoon is the ability to downgrade apps when a developer screws you over with an update. However, in order to do so, you must supply the following download parameters yourself: Read more ›

Posted in Android, Coding

Update on the “Bypassing region restrictions” thing.

Wow, this ipCountryOverride thing is tough. I mean, with mccMncOverride,  the content/format of the value is obvious. But how does Play expect a country to be specified? Could be a two letter country code, could be a locale string, might even be a number… Read more ›

Posted in Coding

Help Wanted: Got a phone/tablet with a debug build of Android 6 or higher?

I’m kinda stuck here, trying to keep Raccoon up to date with the latest changes on Google Play. It’s nothing critical (yet), but we are missing out on some fancy stuff since Raccoon can’t interpret some of the data it gets from the servers (wouldn’t it be lovely to have a clientside filter for removing adware from the search results?). Read more ›

Posted in Android, Coding

Bypassing region restrictions on Google Play

I keep forgetting this, but since I’m in the process of phasing the akdeniz library out of Raccoon: it may not actually be nescessary to use proxies to bypass region restriction on Google Play. There is a HTTP GET request parameter called “ipCountryOverride” that sounds like you could tell Play: “hey, I’m on vacation here, please give me the app selection of my home country”. Likewise, there’s also “mccmncOverride” which probably does something similar for carrier locked apps.

The values are loaded by the keys “finsky.ip_country_override” and “finsky.mcc_mnc_override” respectively through Context.getContentResolver().

Not quite sure what to use as values, yet.

Posted in Android, Note to self