Liked Google’s True Moonshot (Stratechery by Ben Thompson)

Google could do more than just win the chatbot war: it is the one company that could make a universal assistant. The question is if the company is willing to risk it all.

What, though, if the mission statement were the moonshot all along? What if “I’m Feeling Lucky” were not a whimsical button on a spartan home page, but the default way of interacting with all of the world’s information? What if an AI Assistant were so good, and so natural, that anyone with seamless access to it simply used it all the time, without thought?

Source: Google’s True Moonshot by @stratechery

Bookmarked GitHub – AntennaPod/AntennaPod: A podcast manager for Android (GitHub)

A podcast manager for Android. Contribute to AntennaPod/AntennaPod development by creating an account on GitHub.

I have long searched for a means of keeping record of the podcasts I listen to. Jeremy Cherfas recently discussed the script that he uses, but this was via Overcast which is not on Android. I have tried using URL Forwarder, but have had issues as the share feature includes the title and URL. I also tinkered with sharing via my feed reader, but that felt tedious.

I previously used Podcast Addict. I was happy enough with everything, other than the fact that I was unable to pull my listening data. In my semi-regular search for alternatives, I came across AntennaPod, an open source podcast player. From my initial experience, it looks and feels similar to Podcast Addict. However, unlike Podcast Addict, it provides access to the database. I am now tinkering with how I can do some sort of manual analysis once a month. This is not quite a webhook or an integration with something like IFTTT, but maybe might provide that if I can get it working.

Bookmarked Excerpt: How Google bought Android—according to folks in the room (Ars Technica)

Androids: The team that built the Android operating system is a new book from longtime Android engineer Chet Haase. Haase has been on the Android team since 2010, and he interviewed dozens of Googlers for this book, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at early Android development. With Haase’s permission, we’re giving readers a look at chapters four and five of the book, “The Pitch,” and “The Acquisition.” That portion covers the independent Android Inc.’s search for venture capital and the team’s eventual meeting with Google. The book is out this weekend in eBook and paperback (Amazon, Google Play), and Haase is donating proceeds to Black Girls Code and Women Who Code.

In an exceprt from Androids: The team that built the Android operating system, Chet Haase discusses how the Android platform came to be acquired by Google, rather than go down the path of being carrier-centric. Interesting to read this alongside the history of Firefox OS.
Replied to Ask Me Anything (AMA) (BoffoSocko)

In the spirit of the old “Ask Me” pages on Tumblr or the popularized version of Ask Me Anything on Reddit, and partly as an IndieWeb experiment, I thought I would have and own my own Ask Me

Chris, I have a question about your use of URL Forwarder for generating posts on Android. As a solution, I really like it, however I find that when I use it I often get a blank post. This seems to be because when I share some links, Android include both the title and the url. I was wondering what you do about this and whether you had found a way around this. All the discussions about Android’s Share function that I have read focus on pinning apps and that sort of customisation, rather than how to customise what sort of link is actually shared.
Replied to by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (
I was looking into the possibilities of Progressive Web Applications lately on the back on Jeremy Keith’s discussion of the ‘layers of the web‘. Could this potentially replace Press This or URL Forwarder?
Bookmarked Android: a 10-year visual history by Verge Staff (The Verge)

Ten years later, here’s a deep dive into every version of Android.

The team at Verge look back on 10 years of the Android operating system. With a focus on the stock open sourced code it is interesting to consider what has been developed outside of this. It is also interesting to compare this with Mozilla’s efforts to enter the mobile market with Firefox OS.
Bookmarked Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary (Ars Technica)

From the archives: Android is open—except for all the good parts.

Ron Amadeo outlines the limits to Google’s the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The reminds me of their work with maps and the fact that other platforms and providers are seemingly locked in or working with a second-rate solution.


There have always been closed source Google apps. Originally, the group consisted mostly of clients for Google’s online services, like Gmail, Maps, Talk, and YouTube. When Android had no market share, Google was comfortable keeping just these apps and building the rest of Android as an open source project. Since Android has become a mobile powerhouse though, Google has decided it needs more control over the public source code.

Google’s real power in mobile comes from control of the Google apps—mainly Gmail, Maps, Google Now, Hangouts, YouTube, and the Play Store. These are Android’s killer apps, and the big (and small) manufacturers want these apps on their phones. Since these apps are not open source, they need to be licensed from Google. It is at this point that you start picturing a scene out of The Godfather, because these apps aren’t going to come without some requirements attached. While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to Android—Google’s Android—and members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. That’s right, joining the OHA requires a company to sign its life away and promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.

Bookmarked swentel/indigenous-android (GitHub)

indigenous-android – An app with extensions for sharing information to micropub endpoints and reading from microsub endpoints

I have started testing the alphas version of Indigenous on Android:

An app with extensions for sharing information to micropub endpoints and reading from microsub endpoints.

Here are my initial observations:

  • Connecting with Apeture: So far I have been unsuccessful with my efforts to connect to Aperture, although the display has changed.
  • Starting with a capital letter: One of the minor points I had was that responses begin with lower case, rather than a capital. On a desktop this is fine, but it can be frustrating on a mobile device.
  • Share Via: Sharing the native ‘Share’ functionality often adds the title and link into the link field. I have found this when sharing from Twitter and Inoreader.
  • There is no means of ‘cancelling’ a post. If you open the window to ‘like’ a post but then change your mind, there is no obvious answer for cancelling the action, as clicking ‘back’ has the same consequence as clicking ‘post’.

I am sure there are other things, but at least this is a start. Maybe I need to look at the issues on Github and add my issues there.

Replied to Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones [Updated] (Ars Technica)

If you granted permission to read contacts during Facebook’s installation on Android a few versions ago—specifically before Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)—that permission also granted Facebook access to call and message logs by default. The permission structure was changed in the Android API in version 16. But Android applications could bypass this change if they were written to earlier versions of the API, so Facebook API could continue to gain access to call and SMS data by specifying an earlier Android SDK version. Google deprecated version 4.0 of the Android API in October 2017—the point at which the latest call metadata in Facebook users’ data was found. Apple iOS has never allowed silent access to call data.

Isn’t WhatsApp built on access to your contacts? And isn’t it owned by Facebook?
Replied to Using Android Apps on Chromebooks by Eric Curts (

Many programs have BOTH and Android version and a Chrome Web App version. For example, you can use the Android mobile version of Google Classroom, or you can use the Chrome Web App version which takes you to the Google Classroom website instead.

Although the versions will be similar, there are often differences between the Android version of a program and then web version of that same program. For example, the Android version of Google Classroom allows the user to take pictures and videos with the device camera, whereas the web version of Classroom does not.

I recently purchased an ACER R11. I was intrigued by the ability to use the device as both a laptop and a touchscreen tablet. I was also interested in investigating Android Apps as they were unavailable on my other device. I have been pleasantly surprised.

I like the ability to download videos for offline use, as well as listen to articles using the Pocket app. I am still working out the various affordances and have found that not every app is useful. For example, although the Inoreader app makes it easy to flick through posts, it is much easier to open articles up in the browser.