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posted by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the my-way-or-the-highway dept.
quadrox writes:

"It used to be possible for Android apps to access any kind of storage on an android device through the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission. Writing to the SD card is useful for many different kinds of apps, e.g. file managers or cloud storage synchronization. However, the latest version of Android will no longer allow apps to write anywhere on external storage media, instead apps will only be allowed to access app-specific folders on SD cards. Android Police has an excellent writeup of the changes and the implications for users."

[ED Note: This is bound to irritate power users that rely on their SD cards for additional device storage.]

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State of the Site: 02/23/2014 108 comments
Well, we've survived our first week as a functional website, and have yet to go belly up because of it. The speed and growth of our community is staggering to say the least, and we are working hard to get this site fully operational. I'm pleased to announce that a development VM is now available for public consumption, and if you're interested in site development, one should join us in #dev on irc.soylentnews.org. Beyond that though, I've got a few points to address on and updated statistics to share ...
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mrbluze on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:02PM

    by mrbluze (49) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:02PM (#2355) Journal

    This is really annoying. What's the point of an SD card then? If this continues, my next device will not be an android.

    --
    Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by elf on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:09PM

      by elf (64) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:09PM (#2359)

      The SD card can still be used, but only in an area that is specifically assigned to the app and in that area there are no restrictions on what can and can't be done. For most of the apps out there that will be no issue at all. But for photo apps (as the article says) I can see this being an issue because you can't update delete files. Maybe they will resolve this by adding extra permissions (hopefully!)

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mwvdlee on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:07PM

        by mwvdlee (169) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:07PM (#2409)

        So I'll have to give up my "Books" folder that I use with multiple reader apps?

        • (Score: 1) by SuggestiveLanguage on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:06PM

          by SuggestiveLanguage (1313) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:06PM (#2792)
          At this point we can wait until FirefoxOS [mozilla.org] releases hardware in North America or KDE/Vivaldi [ubergizmo.com] releases something besides vaporware.

          Either way, the open mobile market isn't looking very good right now.
          • (Score: 1) by cykros on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:52AM

            by cykros (989) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:52AM (#3179)

            I think I'd opt for going with Jolla before FirefoxOS. No offense to Mozilla, but I prefer them in the browser department over the OS side of things. I use the web for at most 50% of what I do...and most certainly do not want my computer to be centered around a browser.

            There's some hope there, and if I can make sure that Ingress will run on Jolla successfully, I'll be looking to toss it on my existing Samsung tablet.

            If I don't get to set the permissions for my filesystem, it's not my filesystem.

            • (Score: 1) by SuggestiveLanguage on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:37PM

              by SuggestiveLanguage (1313) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:37PM (#3418)

              I think I'd opt for going with Jolla before FirefoxOS. No offense to Mozilla, but I prefer them in the browser department over the OS side of things. I use the web for at most 50% of what I do...and most certainly do not want my computer to be centered around a browser.

              I would be happy with Jolla or any other option willing to deliver a good enough product.

              As for Mozilla, it seems that they have little stomach for the North American market. Perhaps because they don't want to bite Google's hand yet, but that's all conspiracy talk.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Namarrgon on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:01AM

        by Namarrgon (1134) on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:01AM (#3215)

        First, as some have said, apps with the appropriate permission can still read from SD cards. So your common books, photos, downloads folders etc are still accessible.

        Second, as the article mentions, Kitkat also introduces the Storage Access Framework [android.com]. With this API, a DocumentProvider [android.com] can manage files and make them available for read and write access by client apps, whether located on a local SD card, LAN, cloud server, or elsewhere.

        --
        Why would anyone engrave Elbereth?
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RamiK on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:18PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:18PM (#2363)

      It's a sensible default restriction. After all, you wouldn't want any trivial App accessing the SD card. However, there should be a specific permission made for file-managers to access the SD cards without having to root.

      That said, I can't say having no SD card stopped me from recommending or using the Nexus. So, it's no deal breaker as far as I'm concerned.

      --
      compiling...
      • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:55PM

        by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:55PM (#2391)
        No external SD card was a deal breaker for me when it came to the Nexus. Perhaps it's because my carrier's data connection sucks, perhaps because I'm old fashioned, but I pre-load all my music/movies/tv to my phone/SD card so I can still access media when my data connection is too slow. I'm very careful about what apps I install on my phone though, so I've never had enough installed where I needed to move the app install to the SD card though.
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by ArhcAngel on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:45PM

          by ArhcAngel (654) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:45PM (#2587)

          Memory OEM's hear you load and clear. That's why the wireless USB Flash Drive [amazon.com] was created.

          • (Score: 2) by dilbert on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:11PM

            by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:11PM (#2615)
            Thanks, I wasn't aware these existed. I still think I'd prefer to have a traditional microSD card/slot, but alternatives are never a bad thing.
            • (Score: 1) by ArhcAngel on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:24PM

              by ArhcAngel (654) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:24PM (#2629)

              I'd prefer to be rich, thin, irresistible to women, and healthy but for now healthy will have to do.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:51PM (#2443)

        The Nexus 5 is a total piece of crap. It's darn near impossible to do a simple thing like edit or delete a calendar event. And don't get me started with Hangouts or the dialer. If that's stock Kit Kat, you can have it. Even Windows Mobile 6 was better.

        The movement sensor for landscape/portrait view is WAY too sensitive too.
         

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by thegothicguardian on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:55PM

          by thegothicguardian (425) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:55PM (#2671)

          I heartily disagree, and find the Nexus 5 to be a high-quality device. Stock Android does not have the most desirable usability, but it is profoundly simple to use a more customizable ROM such as AOKP [aokp.co] and free app replacements for the dialer and calendar.

          The sensor in my Galaxy S2 was incredibly finicky, but this phone works every time, and never accidentally. You can even turn off automatic rotation.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MrGuy on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:38PM

      by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:38PM (#2377)

      I don't get this criticism.

      This is like complaining that an app can only access a certain subregion of the devices' RAM, rather than the entire contents of the device's RAM. Which, by the way, has pretty much always been the case (and Android devs work hard to close any workarounds on this).

      An app that's restricted to its own sandbox of memory and storage is self-contained. Which makes it safe. I don't have to worry that Candy Crush is secretly looking up what other games I own and sending that information on to the developers. Because it can't do that.

      You can still create an app that can store stuff on the SD card. You can still create an app that read from the SD card. You just can't write an app that can read what OTHER apps have written to the SD card, or write stuff to the SD card that LOOKS like some other app wrote them.

      Where's the use case for apps that can read other apps data?

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mrbluze on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:45PM

        by mrbluze (49) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:45PM (#2380) Journal

        Android 4.3 allows you to have apps on your SD card. It doesn't mean the apps can read each other's data, so why restrict it, other than as a kind of DRM perhaps?

        --
        Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mindriot on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:55PM

        by mindriot (928) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:55PM (#2390)

        How about PDFs I store on my external SD card, synchronize with my work laptop, and occasionally annotate in Acrobat while on the go on my phone? What if I switch PDF readers because some other one offers better annotation capabilities? What about my timesheet app which can export to various spreadsheet and text formats, to be edited by me before e-mailed off?

        I'm all for sandboxing apps' internal data, but if I store stuff on my external SD card, then I want to at least have the option of having a neutral common file area. Which just stores files, instead of locking them into a particular app. Let it be my business if I want to work on files using different apps.

        --
        soylent_uid=$(echo $slash_uid|cut -c1,3,5)
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by dilbert on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:00PM

          by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:00PM (#2399)
          +1 mod parent up.

          I know the average user has the IQ of a ground squirrel, so google tries to protect them from themselves, but those of us who know how to actually use a 'pocket computer that also makes calls' shouldn't be limited by sandboxing all of an apps data.

          Perhaps they could make it an option in the settings, like how they (currently) allow apps to be side loaded by changing one setting.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:07PM

          by zocalo (302) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:07PM (#2408)
          That's my (possible) beef with this too, although I do think the general concept is a good move from a security perspective. I move my SD card of data between several devices, most of which do not run Android, so now I'm going to have to use some obscure directory name to locate my files instead of what I, the *user*, want?

          This either needs to be optional, or (perhaps a better option) there needs to be a public directory on the SD which is a free for all storage area for general data alongside the app specific stuff. App specific stuff can still be locked away where it can't be tampered with by $rogue_app, but leave the storage of my documents and data up to me please, Google.
          --
          UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
        • (Score: 1) by mmcmonster on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:17PM

          by mmcmonster (401) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:17PM (#2468)

          Hopefully a neutral folder on the SD card will develop as the application writers find they don't live on a desert island.

          Maybe a Documents Folder with standard set of subfolders for Photos, Documents (yes, yes, a Documents folder in a Documents folder -- Any better ideas?), eBooks, Music, Videos, etc.

          • (Score: 2, Funny) by stigmata on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:46PM

            by stigmata (1856) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:46PM (#2535)

            Where do MY documents go? I don't want just any "Documents" I want "My Documents". And "My Music", "My Pictures", and "My Videos".

          • (Score: 1) by cykros on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:04AM

            by cykros (989) on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:04AM (#3188)

            Better ideas? Yes. Call the parent Document directory "Home". Oh wait, that's what *nix has been doing since the 70s.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by threedigits on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:20PM

          by threedigits (607) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:20PM (#2562)

          Apparently only write permission is being restricted, thus applications can still read the whole SD card, but only write/delete in very specific places.

          This has two beneffits, namely: (1) applications will not left cruft behind when removed, and (2) they will not be able to erase or modify each other files.

          Sounds almost like a good idea...

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by mindriot on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:29PM

            by mindriot (928) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:29PM (#2756)
            I think I could live with that as long as I can purposely make exceptions, e.g. for file manager apps. I guess it's fair enough to have default settings that will be safe for most people, but at least keep the access to power user settings available (behind an "I know what I'm doing" checkbox if you must). I don't like being treated like I'm stupid...
            --
            soylent_uid=$(echo $slash_uid|cut -c1,3,5)
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:07PM (#2407)

        You mean "where is the use case for allowing the photo editing app to read the files stored by the camera app"?

        Or "where is the use case for allowing the photo viewing app access to the porn downloaded by the browser app"?

        Or even "where is the use case for allowing the email app to attach the files created in any non-email app"?

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @10:03PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @10:03PM (#2907) Journal

          But if you don't store the photos from your photo app in the cloud in order to reload it from there into your photo editing app, then how can Google learn about your photos? And how is your carrier supposed to earn on your data if you don't transfer it to the cloud and back?

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by joshuajon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:44PM

        by joshuajon (807) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:44PM (#2721)

        From my perspective it's because the main issue is there's no granularity to the control. There are apps that NEED to have full access to the SD card (ahem, file manager?) in order to function. This will make them effectively useless.

        Yes, file permissions are good, no - this is not the right way to achieve them.

      • (Score: 1) by cykros on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:57AM

        by cykros (989) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:57AM (#3182)

        The use case that can read other apps' data? If that includes save content, I can see a very large number of use cases. Any time you're editing a file in one app and viewing/listening to the content in another, you need that ability.

    • (Score: 1) by animal on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:38PM

      by animal (202) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:38PM (#2481)

      I think it's actually good. Good for the average joe user. Malware wont be able to erase/modify contents on the SD. As for the rest of the power users, who doesn't have his/her smartphone rooted? Not really a big deal.

      • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:51PM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:51PM (#2597) Journal

        I don't have mine rooted. I live in an area where I don't get cell coverage except from a specific point in the kitchen. As a result, I make extensive use of TMobile's wi-fi calling feature which makes my phone perfectly functional as a phone even when I can't get signal from the tower. If I rooted my phone, I couldn't use that feature. I suppose there are other VOIP options, but then I'd have to pay extra for a third party VOIP provider, maybe have to deal with a second number too.

    • (Score: 1) by mcgrew on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:19PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:19PM (#2512) Homepage Journal

      Tizen looks promising. It, too, is Linux-based.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 1) by bacon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:41PM

      by bacon (280) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:41PM (#2654)

      Time for a Soylent phone?

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Michael.Jackson on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:06PM

    by Michael.Jackson (1266) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:06PM (#2357)

    Win8 can't have all the fun.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:11PM

    by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:11PM (#2360)

    Yeah, that could be annoying. I have a "Beer Tracker" app I wrote for my phone. I brew my own and use to write what hops, grains, yeast, special additions I made to my beer in a little book, but decided to write an app that let me do it on my phone, because I kept losing my pencil.

    I'm not sure how this will affect my app, which isn't for distribution. The app makes use of a DB on a separate SD card I keep in my work room with my beer stuff. I don't know how it's possible my pencil keeps disappearing, but for some reason I have no problem not losing a tiny SD card.

    --
    "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
    • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:57PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:57PM (#2602) Journal

      A pencil costs a dime. An SD card $5 to $50 or more depending on size, when you bought it, etc. I bet you lose dimes all the time, but feel a little bummed if you lose a ten dollar bill. So you pay more attention to the ten bucks. To solve this problem, just buy a Mont Blanc pen for your brewing notes. At $415, I bet you never lose this pencil: http://www.montblanc.com/en-us/shop/writing-instru ments/meisterstck/black-resin-gold/classique-mecha nical-pencil-05-mm-12746.aspx [montblanc.com]

      • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:14PM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:14PM (#2618)

        Nice, Too bad they only deliver to the US.

        I like the database anyway it's nice to be able to run stats on my brewing habits. I created a recipe based on the most popular and amounts of ingredients from my app... Unfortunately it wasn't very good. Who would have thought that raspberry and jalapeño don't go well together in beer, they're so good on their own.

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:59AM (#3098)

      You need a pecil that cost $8, then you wont lose it.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by gallondr00nk on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:26PM

    by gallondr00nk (392) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:26PM (#2371)

    The obvious call would be simply to fork it, but the situation is more complicated than that.

    There was an excellent article on Ars [arstechnica.com] recently detailing Google's strategy.

    In a nutshell, while the Android OS in itself is open source, Google provides the option for manufacturers to use Google Mobile Services. This part isn't open source, nor is it completely free to the manufacturer. GMS has also been gradually adding more features while letting those in the base Android setup lay dormant.

    Manufacturers are free to not use it, and some don't, providing their own suite of APIs in place of those provided by Google. The trouble, as the likes of Amazon have found, is that often game developers in particular just use the GMS API and thus their software depends on it. To get a fully featured Android setup, you're more or less obliged to use GMS.

    It strikes me as little better than the "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further" tactics that Microsoft are known for.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mojo chan on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:51PM

      by mojo chan (266) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:51PM (#2384)

      It is because phone manufacturers were not active enough in providing updates and security patches, so more stuff got moved into GMS. It isn't fair to say that base Android has been dormant though, as Cyanogen proves by providing almost everything Google's distro does but fully open source. It is true that a lot of features have been added via Google apps lately, but those features depend on Google services so could never have been a base part of Android anyway.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by dilbert on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:06PM

      by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:06PM (#2406)

      It strikes me as little better than the "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further" tactics that Microsoft are known for.

      This made my morning!

      Don't forget Apple/Amazon type companies either. They can (and have) uninstalled/removed ebooks and apps you've paid for without any warning.

      Cyanogenmod is the only reason I still use Android. I don't have any GMS apps installed on my phone.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by quacking duck on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:00PM

        by quacking duck (1395) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:00PM (#2454)

        > It strikes me as little better than the "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further" tactics that Microsoft are known for.

        This made my morning!

        Don't forget Apple/Amazon type companies either. They can (and have) uninstalled/removed ebooks and apps you've paid for without any warning.

        Cyanogenmod is the only reason I still use Android. I don't have any GMS apps installed on my phone.

        Just to correct or clarify which companies actually have used the infamous kill switch: Amazon has remotely removed books from users' devices (ironically, 1984). Google has remotely removed apps from Android users' devices [engadget.com]. Both for legal or ethical reasons, and I'm sure users "agreed" to it as part of the TOS to even use the devices, but reasons are irrelevant, the fact they did so is what counts.

        Apple, for all the criticisms of big brother and outrage over the *ability* to remotely remove user-installed apps, has never actually done so.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:14PM (#3644)

          I don't know about removal, but Apple has certainly killed apps before. I've personally lost access to GBA4iOS, or anything installed with MacBuildServer. The app still sits there, sure, but it won't launch unless I roll back the system date to before Apple revoked that certificate.

          However, it may be a different story with paid content or apps. Then again, I've never bought anything....

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:14PM (#2619)

        Where did Apple remove ebooks or apps from people's phones? Not simply pulling from the store but actually wiping them from the device? It's also interesting you call these companies out yet strangely don't mention that Google has remotely wiped apps themselves. Sounds suspiciously like a lie of omission. [cnet.com]

  • (Score: 1) by nightsky30 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:35PM

    by nightsky30 (1818) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:35PM (#2375)

    I can see this as being security minded, but it does limit the end users' abilities :/

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by lajos on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:43PM

    by lajos (528) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:43PM (#2379)

    This is an awesome opportunity for a true open source phone os to gain some market share.

    Apple was always a dick. Windows phone, probably the same although I have no experience with it. Google was nice, but now pulling some dick moves.

    Just like timothy and dice fucked up slashdot that opened the door for soylent news, we'll finally see some free phone os gain momentum.

    Until then, I'm not updating my phone to kitkat (not that they would offer it for my rooted devices anyway).

    • (Score: 1) by quadrox on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:54PM

      by quadrox (315) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:54PM (#2389)

      Yeah, I am hoping for some true linux based OS for phones. Perhaps Sailfish is going to be it, but at first glance it seems to trying too much to keep things simple. Currently I think android still has the best UI concept, although they are slowly trying to make it more crappy and "user friendly" as well.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by joekiser on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:16PM

        by joekiser (1837) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:16PM (#2467)

        I had a Jolla phone for about a month. The UI still has a long way to go, and Android support is very buggy.

        Currently typing away on a BlackBerry 10 device. It's not OSS, but IMO its the best current-gen smartphone OS around. I sideload Android apps from my wife's Moto G; BBRY does a great job at making the Android apps feel native. Then again, I'm not a smartphone "power user." Basic web browsing, banking, Mint, and Flappy Bird is all I need.

        --
        Debt is the currency of slaves.
        • (Score: 1) by lajos on Wednesday February 19 2014, @09:07PM

          by lajos (528) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @09:07PM (#2861)

          My wife has the Q10 for work. It's an amazing device, superb build quality and the keyboard is, as with all BB phones, the best physical keyboard ever.

          The OS is also very well designed. The swipe shortcuts need some getting used to, but I think you'll be very happy with whichever BB10 phone you are getting.

          Too bad BB came a bit late to the party with it.

    • (Score: 2) by Cyberdyne on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:58PM

      by Cyberdyne (403) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:58PM (#2393)

      Wait, this isn't slashdot?

      This is the moment I realised that typing in 'soylentnews.org' into my URL bar has already become second-nature.

      • (Score: 1) by SpallsHurgenson on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:33PM

        by SpallsHurgenson (656) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:33PM (#2478)

        I just type "s" in the address bar and Firefox fills in the rest. Sometimes I end up at Soylent, sometimes I'm back at Slashdot. I'm never quite sure which until I see the red (or green) bars.

        Not that I mind either way since I read and comment on both sites and - for the moment - both suit my needs for news and entertainment (I expect that will change eventually if Dice pushes forward with the beta). So I end up wherever and just start reading stories and typing a response.

        Anyway... back to the topic at hand.

        The SDD card is one of the biggest distinctions between Apple's devices and the Androids. In the (admittedly few) discussions I've had with Android users, the ability to plug in an SDD card was one of the features that drove them to select Android over iPhone. Limiting its usage seems counterproductive; what use is an SDD card, Mr. Anderson, if you are unable to save?

        • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:33PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:33PM (#2761)

          Or that article about how Windows phones were permanently integrating a plugged-in SD card into their partition. It's right up there with editable PDFs in the "Oh God It Burns" division of the "Purposes Which Were Never Intended" department.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 1) by evk on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:58PM

      by evk (597) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:58PM (#2395)

      Having put my money on Jolla, I hope you're right. (:

    • (Score: 1) by locus on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:28PM

      by locus (1834) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:28PM (#2425)

      Would be interesting to see another open source OS gain any kind of market share but I'm not holding my breath...

    • (Score: 1) by linsane on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:46PM

      by linsane (633) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:46PM (#2588)

      Perhaps facilitated by a one week 'Andcott'? "Googcott"? "KitKott"?

  • (Score: 1) by SGT CAPSLOCK on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:53PM

    by SGT CAPSLOCK (118) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:53PM (#2386) Journal

    It'll make my phone practically useless for a lot of the things I do.

    -- is what I thought until I realized that apps which need access to storage devices can simply request root permissions to negate this. Well, I'm hoping that's how it works anyway!

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by quadrox on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:57PM

      by quadrox (315) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:57PM (#2392)

      Yes, many slashdotters will have their phones rooted, but i still think it's a development in the wrong direction. I don't want more lockdown and less choices forced on me all the time. If I wanted an iPhone I would have bought one - those can be jailbroken too. But it's not what I want, so they should stop pretending.

      • (Score: 1) by SGT CAPSLOCK on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:04PM

        by SGT CAPSLOCK (118) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:04PM (#2404) Journal

        I'm with you on that! Well, I just wish there was a way we could have our cake and eat it too.

        I hate every mobile operating system I've come across so far. I mean, I really hate them - as technically minded as I am, I hate them enough that I don't even bother to research them to understand -why- they have the flaws that they have. I just accept that they're not what I want, and I keep hoping something better comes along.

        I've heard rumors of x86-based phones -- I wonder if those can run a real version of Linux that I can actually admin properly...

        • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:35PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:35PM (#2764)

          I wonder if those can

          Because the reason these OSs are the way they are is totally because of technical limitations. Totally.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by pjbgravely on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:55PM

        by pjbgravely (1681) <pjbgravelyNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:55PM (#2495) Homepage

        Yes, many slashdotters will have...

        Did you mean Soylent newsers? Or is that Soylenters? Or Soylentites?

        • (Score: 1) by osiguru on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:36PM

          by osiguru (1148) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:36PM (#2644) Homepage

          I hereby declare my platitudes to the Soylentite god of Soy.
          Here comes the rice.

        • (Score: 1) by halcyon1234 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:44PM

          by halcyon1234 (1082) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:44PM (#2656)

          Yes, many slashdotters will have...

          Did you mean Soylent newsers? Or is that Soylenters? Or Soylentites?

          'round these parts, son-- we're just people.

          --
          Original Submission [thedailywtf.com]
        • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:40PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:40PM (#2769)

          I would suggest "Soylusers" (luser [jargon.net]). Soylenters would also suffice.

          "Soylentils" sounds too cutesy to me...and I'm not a fan of either soy, or lentils.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 1) by soylentsandor on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:38PM

        by soylentsandor (309) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:38PM (#3511)

        Yes, many slashdotters will have their phones rooted(...)

        This site is called SoylentNews mate!

        You must be new here...

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by SGT CAPSLOCK on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:00PM

      by SGT CAPSLOCK (118) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:00PM (#2397) Journal

      An addendum:

      As far as apps requesting root permissions go, I already have a ton of them. XPrivacy/PDroid/etc be damned - I have more applications running as root on my phone than I'd -ever- allow outside a sandbox on my PC.

      I started to ask myself why just now, and I realized that it's pretty much due to the reason we're talking about here: Android and its consistent mangling of permissions. The only way for any useful application to do its job is to press that "allow" button when su pops up asking for root access, and just hope that it isn't plotting against me...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Lagg on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:03PM

    by Lagg (105) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:03PM (#2401) Homepage Journal
    First you stop doing tablets with expandable storage of any kind and now you're doing this? Thankfully my nexus one runs an older cyanogenmod (since none of the recent ones support it) so I won't have to deal with this. But what the hell is their problem lately? Why is there such a mad dash to remove any small amount of user serviceable parts? Now people will be stuck with internal flash unless they hassle letting the app have an allocation? What will Google and Apple do next? Not only solder in the battery and have no sd card slot but also remove the USB port and tell people to charge and debug wirelessly using Apple FireWipe(TM) or Google RadioWave(TM)? Goddamn it. Going to jump on sailfish/jolla the first chance I get.
    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by SGT CAPSLOCK on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:11PM

      by SGT CAPSLOCK (118) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:11PM (#2410) Journal

      Sailfish looks beautiful.

      But, are the people behind Jolla/Sailfish aware that:

      1. spyware is not a feature; and
      2. the idea of "permissions" needs to be -way- more than an afterthought?

      I wish I could find info about those two particular topics! Unfortunately, the trend seems to lean toward installing spyware by default and either completely locking down a phone from its owner, or implementing a half-assed scheme for permissions. (or both!)

      • (Score: 2) by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:55PM

        by Dopefish (12) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:55PM (#2783)

        From what I know about the Jolla team, they are way more open source and power user friendly than even Google is with Android. Heck, Jolla gives you a proper GNU/Linux userland and access to the command-line in SailfishOS. That has to count for something. Too bad I don't see anything from Jolla hitting stateside anytime soon...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hankwang on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:26PM

    by hankwang (100) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:26PM (#2422) Homepage

    I see a lot of resistance here, but I think this is a good thing! I have always felt uncomfortable with the fact that most apps require SD card access and Internet access. Although they have legimate reasons for doing so, it means that any confidential data on the sd card can be leaked by a rogue app.

    • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:52PM

      by dilbert (444) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:52PM (#2445)
      Root your phone and install a firewall. Then you can use apps and not allow them network access.

      Not so useful for things that require internet like weather or dropbox, but very useful if they only require internet to serve ads (or upload your contact list).

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by SixGunMojo on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:58PM

      by SixGunMojo (509) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:58PM (#2450)

      This article is about restricting access to the external SD card (think microSD). Most apps on android will always ask for sdcard (internal storage) permissions to create folders to store their data in and internet permission to serve ads

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:56PM

    by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:56PM (#2448)

    After my beloved Evo 4G took a tumble, I finally broke down and, for the first time, bought a late-model smart phone. It was a nexus 5 (w/ Android 4.4.2). I'd avoided the line in the past because of the lack of an SD card, but decided that I'd lived on a 2GB card for a few years in the Evo, so I could probably do without one with 16GB internal storage.

    Bzzt. I was wrong. They also removed USB Mass Storage support (and no, MTP is not a reasonable alternative), so moving data onto or off of said storage was way more painful than it needed to be. And, for some strange reason, the drivers clobbered the TWAIN configuration on my Win7 box, so the only thing I could "scan" from became the Nexus?

    They also basically bypassed /etc/hosts completely, crippling the lightweight ad blockers (AdAway, AdFree Android, etc.) so I basically had to use AdBlock for Android, which is essentially a proxy server, and screw with my local BIND server to make up for losing the non-adblocking uses of hosts. And ye flipping gods, don't even get me started on the abortion that is Google Now. You read about it and get the impression that you just have to install a new launcher to get rid of it. If only!

    The worst part of the whole thing is that while they were designing this thing to be the perfect foolproof social-network-terminal idiot box, they kind of forgot that they were making a phone. Everything involved in phone calls just sucked: hardware-wise, the radio could barely register a signal, the audio was barely audible in both directions, and bluetooth was spotty at best.

    Software wasn't much better. We already know that Google's aware of "make the common case fast," so why the hell should the default screen for the dialer NOT be a damn dialing pad, since there's another icon right next to it for the phone book? No, they give some arbitrarily-sorted Metro-tiled mess showing me pictures of people I've talked to in the past week. And this one's admittedly carrier specific, but since it happens to be specific to MY carrier - there's also no option for voicemail other than Google Voice. No thanks!

    After a week of fighting with it, I just had enough, and shipped it back to Google (still waiting for my refund), and just bought a refurbished Evo 4G. I'll try to keep this one safe and running for a long time (hey, it's worked so far for my 1000-series PSP), but after seeing where it's going, I'm pretty much done with Android now.

    --
    "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
    • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:02PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:02PM (#2456)

      Oh, I forgot, but in the interest of fairness, they did do one phone-related thing right.

      They finally re-added the voice-dial confirmation prompt that's been missing since GB, if not froyo (been so long I can't remember).

      --
      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by menkhaf on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:30PM

      by menkhaf (1186) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:30PM (#2526)

      I've got a Nexus 4 so I feel your pain.

      Instead of MTP I've just been using adb to transfer files. It's fairly easy to set up and use.

      I'm running the CyanogenMod 11 snapshot 3 (just flashed it), and here /etc/hosts blocking works fine. I'm using AdAway from F-Droid.

      Overall I'm pretty happy with it, but I haven't been running stock Android for a long time, so take it with a grain of salt. The only things I'm really missing are the hardware keyboard (ex-N900 user here) and the inability to properly record phone calls. It's my phone, dammit, I want to be able to record my conversations!

      • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:33PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:33PM (#2575)

        I thought about switching to CM, but the truth is that my experience with it hasn't been all that positive on phones. On tablets (Asus Transformer, Nook Color), it's fantastic, but I've always had communications issues when I tried it on a phone. Admittedly, this was back when CM7 was current, so things might have improved since then. The truth is that I was just so disappointed I decided it was better to get my $350 back rather than keep jumping through hoops.

        And I really feel you about the call recording. You'd think that would be easy to do, but none of my phones have ever been able to. :P

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Jerry Smith on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:16PM

    by Jerry Smith (379) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:16PM (#2465) Journal

    Okay, I get the part where an app gets a dedicated area to work with. But how would that work out if I mount my phone as a volume, for instance to quickly move a few gigs of pdf's to the other side?
    (I like reading)

    --
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
    • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:39PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:39PM (#2714)

      Don't worry, you can't do that anymore (they removed USB Mass Storage support a while back). If you've got a rom or an OEM install that put it back (I think some Samsungs do, i.e.), then they'll probably work around this limitation too.

      --
      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
      • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:44PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:44PM (#2723)

        * Pedantry fix: Brain fart. I actually deleted and replaced e.g. with i.e. Not sure why. I blame the brewing migraine.

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
      • (Score: 1) by Jerry Smith on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:35PM

        by Jerry Smith (379) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:35PM (#2825) Journal

        Don't worry, you can't do that anymore (they removed USB Mass Storage support a while back). If you've got a rom or an OEM install that put it back (I think some Samsungs do, i.e.), then they'll probably work around this limitation too.

        Well, not exactly the answer I hoped for :(

        --
        All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
        • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @09:55PM

          by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @09:55PM (#2898)

          Yeah, that sentiment seems to be a recurring theme, the more I look into current and ongoing android development. Sorry to be the messenger. :P

          --
          "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by stormwyrm on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:00PM

    by stormwyrm (717) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:00PM (#2499) Journal
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:23PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:23PM (#2520)

    I heard this somwhere before, but it is something to toss out. Could it be that Google does not what you to have an SD drive at all, but rely on their wonderful "cloud" storage instead. Once your 'data' is in their cloud it becomes a sweet rich course for ad mining (regards gmail).

    Like another poster, I want to have all my music/books local as I don't have good service or band width. I rooted and converted a Droid Global to t-mobile and love that I can muck stalls, drag fields without blowing up my data plan. This, to me, would seem to be the first step in pushing app developers to read/write to the Google Drive/cloud environment, leaving only application specific data (internal workings) local. If this were the case, that would suck. I was looking to upgrade, my girlfriend has a Nexus 4, but with not micro SD, I don't like it. Samsung and G4 was my next bet and I feel like I better get one soon before I cannot have my own data on my own micro PC (phone).

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:42PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:42PM (#2719)

      I heard this somwhere before, but it is something to toss out. Could it be that Google does not what you to have an SD drive at all, but rely on their wonderful "cloud" storage instead.

      If memory serves, I'm sure where you "heard that before" was from the Google mouthpiece who said exactly that, when justifying the lack of external storage on the Nexus 7. (At least, the first sentence.)

      --
      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
      • (Score: 1) by bucc5062 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:58PM

        by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:58PM (#2736)

        Yes, that was it. Thank you. When I read that I thought, how so Apple of them to simply start to decide how I want to use a device I bought. This is why I reject the Nexus even though I do liked the features.

        --
        The more things change, the more they look the same
  • (Score: 1) by jcd on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:45PM

    by jcd (883) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:45PM (#2586)

    Can we just use symbolic links to connect apps to a shared pool if you want them to? I know it undoes whatever security you earn with this move, but if you have a folder full of ebooks, for example, and want to be able to use multiple readers without duplication, the two of them could point to the same directory.

    --
    "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
    • (Score: 1) by adolf on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:33PM

      by adolf (1961) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:33PM (#2972)

      Symlinks? On FAT32?

      How?

      --
      I'm wasting my days as I've wasted my nights and I've wasted my youth
    • (Score: 1) by jor on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:56AM

      by jor (1606) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:56AM (#3144)

      The thing I love about this thread: people are reading an awful lot of "eBooks" and "pdfs".

      I know, I know, some of you are probably actually reading eBooks. Don't get mad at me if you are. I suspect they are a bit overrepresented in the complaints versus the lack of complaints about not being able to watch and listen to questionably obtained movies and music. Just saying.

  • (Score: 1) by computersareevil on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:50AM

    by computersareevil (749) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:50AM (#3093)

    This is yet another reason why if the application or OS comes from Google, I refuse to update it. I have the 4.2 upgrade sitting on my Nexus 7 nagging me to udpate, but it will never happen. Every time I update a Google product, it loses functionality. I first learned that with the Tracks app. Then it was Maps. And so on. I will not upgrade it, ever.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:23PM (#3614)

    I was planning to dump my iPhone for Android later this year, to gain more freedom. However since I must sign in to google just to use their map app (mapquest is still free, for now), and now I can't even drag and drop files from my phone without using an app, is there any advantage over ios, taking this trend into account? I can hop on Cyanogen for a while, but eventually going droid will just come back to bite me, no? I already hated google enough, now this?? Ugh.