Can someone explain to me why we are still required to sign our Android apps?

With Android O, we are well into the second half of the alphabet (no pun intended) and the Android packagemanager still requires apps to be signed. Why exactly?! Read more ›

Posted in Android, Rants, Security

Answering support mail is fun…

There are tons of reasons, why Raccoon might not find an app (or produce any search results to begin with). Today, I learned of a new one: user tried to mimic a Gingerbread device (I’m not happy with little “details” like this one being kept back till the 10. email!).

I’m not quite sure what to say here, except the following:

  1. Raccoon allows you to experiment. That’s the whole premise. However, if you choose to do something outlandish and it doesn’t work, don’t come running to me. At least not without telling me precisely what you did! You are not the only one sending me support mails and I simply don’t have the time (or the nerve) to drag it out of you in hour long email conversations!
  2. Google changed the wire protocol somewhere between Android 2.x and 4.x. Given that Gingerbread is a dying breed, Raccoon only supports the newer format. If you use DummyDroid to obtain a GSF ID for an ancient phone, you simply won’t see any search results. Play then switches to compatibility mode and sends data, Raccoon can’t make heads or tail out of.
  3. An Android app can specify the minimum and the maximum OS version, it will run on. Only the first one is required, though and since Android tries to stay backwards compatible at all costs (usually the cost of all sanity), most app developers keep it open ended. That is, if an app was written in the Gingerbread days, it can very likely be downloaded with a Nougat profile as well.

Considering the last two points, I won’t add Android v2.x support to Raccoon. That train has left!

Posted in Android, Rants

Using an icon pack with any Launcher

Just had this crazy idea. It is probably unworkable and legally questionable, but here it goes: icon packs. If you want a consistent look on your homescreen, you need to install a custom launcher and download a pack that likely contains a lot of icons for apps, you do not have. In other words, it’s a giant waste of valuable storage space and you are forced to use a different launcher. Read more ›

Posted in Android, Coding, Tinkering

Should an APK downloader increase an app’s install counter?

Most people probably think that Google Play determines app popularity by how often the APK file gets requested (one download = one installation). Intuitive, but wrong: Read more ›

Posted in Android, Coding

Status update on Raccoon v4.1

Looks like v4.1 will be a lot big bigger (in terms of code changes) than anticipated. The things I wanted to be in there:

  • More user friendly import feature: instead of manually selecting APKs in a file chooser, select a directory (tree) to scan for Android apps.
  • Add commandline support for updating apps again.
  • Add Paypal alternatives for paying for premium features.

The things I have actually been working on so far: untangling code. It’s marvelous how you always end up asking yourself what the hell you were thinking a couple months ago when you wrote the original code. Anyways, I’m mostly done with cleanup, so I can focus on features now.

UPDATE: Just got an email asking for clarifications. Raccoon v4.1 is planned to be a service release and won’t introduce new premium features. Premium features that are already unlocked will automatically carry over. There is no reason to wait for v4.1 if you want to unlock.

Posted in Android, Coding

Google really doesn’t want paid apps on Play, do they?

I just had this magnificent idea: why not put an app on Play that serves as a license key for Raccoon? Once you download that app via Raccoon, it automatically unlocks the premium features. No need to manually mess around with keys, no need to deal with Paypal. In fact, you could even stay entirely anonymous by using Play gift cards! Read more ›

Posted in Android, Coding, Rants

Puh, close one – thought my good old Nexus 7 had finally died.

That moment when you press the power button… and nothing happens. Dead battery? Unlikely, the tablet had been hooked up to the charger all day. Crashed? Maybe, but if so, the software locked up completely. I can’t even connect via ADB any more (the tablet won’t even list as an USB device when plugged into my PC). Fried? Hopefully not! I won’t get spare parts for it and even if, it wouldn’t be worth it. Read more ›

Posted in Android, Rants

Maybe Android would be a less shitty ecosystem if we stopped giving smartphones to children?

Largely ignored fact #1: making an app drives every developer into debt. Time is money and anything more substantial than a fart generator requires an up front investment of several months of (full time) work. Offering the end result (literally) for free is like giving away a car.

Largely ignored fact #2: for various reasons, even primary school pupils already call a mobile phone their own these days. They use apps, but have (usually) no means of paying for them.

Read more ›

Posted in Android, Rants

“Pssst! You can pay to remove ads from my app” *facepalm* #fail

Sometimes, I really wonder what app developers are thinking (if at all), when offering to remove ads through in-app-purchases. Read more ›

Posted in Android, Rants

DF-DFERH-01 Error when updating apps

Just came across Raccoon’s update mechanism failing with a cryptic error message. Not quite sure what caused this. However, there was talk the other day about Google invalidating a tremendous amount of auth cookies (effectively logging everyone out). Read more ›

Posted in Android