Phil Nickinson

Instead of using this sentence to write a proper lede, quite possibly with (or without) a bit of wit, can we agree to stipulate that there are what I believe to be a few decent thoughts on the other side of this post, past that "Read more" thing that does double duty of breaking up a long-ish post and keeping the front page clean while, yes, requiring you to add one more click to your experience here at Android Central?

Holy crap. That sentence itself should have had a "Read more" break. It's been one of those weekends.

So, yeah. Click on through to the other side for a few thoughts on some of the goings-on of the past week or so.

Cat and mouse ...

Folks have been asking about the HTCRUU repository being demanded to stop using HTC branding and hosting RUUs -- which factory images for HTC devices for full restores -- and Rootzwiki's story opining that such a takedown could lead to the end of custom ROMs as well.

I'm not going to dive into the legalities of this. As far as I'm concerned, you shouldn't be hosting something that doesn't belong to you. Custom ROMs based off OEM code are an ethically gray area, generally winked at by manufacturers, and we've never seen any major crackdown against them, so far as I know. RUUs (that stands for ROM Update Utility, btw) are a different story. HTC (and other manufacturers such as Motorola) has been vigilant about them for years. Sometimes takedowns seem spurred by leaks of unreleased ROMs, other times it was from hosting a repository of current and legacy ROMs. Either way, you want to distribute someone else's work, you're putting yourself in harm's way, particularly with HTC's RUUs and Motorola's SBFs. It's been going on for years and partially led to the "retiring" of the infamous Conflipper from the Windows Mobile ROM scene in 2010. None of this is new today.

I think it's a little early to worry about custom ROMs based off Sense or any other manufacturer ROM -- there's just not any real precedent to get excited about yet. Doesn't mean it can't happen, though. And that brings things back around to the purpose of the Android Open Source Project, after all.

The unlocking gestapo? Not so much ...

We can all agree that this thing where the ability to legally SIM unlock your phone so that it'll work on a network other than the one from which you purchased the phone is a bit silly, right? Technically this falls under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which you're probably more used to from those letters from your ISP after some ill-fated torrenting. Why the DMCA? From the Federal Register (emphasis mine):

"... proponents asserted that the owners of mobile phones are also the owners of the copies of the computer programs on those phones and that, as owners, they are entitled to exercise their rights under Section 117, which gives the owner of a copy of a computer program the privilege to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program under certain circumstances, such as to permit the program to be used on a particular machine."

OK, then. That this sort of thing needs to be legislated is a little ridiculous, but it does give the carriers more teeth than a section of a terms of service might.

I've unlocked phones through carriers before, and it was a quick and easy process. (Now that I think about it, though, I don't believe that phone was under contract.) Why unlock? Or me, it's to be able to use another SIM card overseas, which usually is a lot cheaper than using my carrier's international roaming package. That said, international data rates are much cheaper than they used to be, and there's something to be said for the ease of walking off a plane in a foreign country and having your phone just work.

Nobody's going to come knocking at your door if you happen to SIM unlock your phone today. But it remains to be seen what your carrier could potentially do should it discover you're trying to get around your contract. I'm willing to bet, though, that we might only see action in extreme cases. This is not keeping me up at night.

If you haven't yet, read Jerry's take on the whole thing.

The bullet points ...

  • A really good read from Stephen King (yes, that one -- he's far more than a horror writer) on the state of guns in the U.S. It's available as an Amazon Kindle Single. If you're that worried about the 99 cents going to the Brady Campaign, borrow it from a friend. Great ideas on gun rights. Or gun control. Both.
  • The CNet/CBS thing: A shitty situation happening to good people. There might not be a good way out of this. A lot of good folks are going to have to make some tough decisions. I don't envy them.
  • On the other hand, folk tend to have short memories these days. 
  • OK, maybe not everybody. Seriously, people need to chill.
  • Hey, Delta Air Lines. That's a sweet update to your iPad and iPhone apps. Let's get it on Android already, m'kay?

Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: Let's just do this already ...


Yeah. It was called the HTC hd2 forum on xda.

Pretty sad that thing probably runs a newer version of android then your device too lol.

So we're pimping gun control propaganda at Android Central now? Really? Shame.

Let's stick to the reason we're all here, please.

I sort of agree. However, as a news site of any kind, it's difficult to ignore issues that do/will eventually affect us all, including issues completely unrelated to the main purpose of Android Central.

Much to our chagrin, politics can/does find its way into nearly every aspect of our lives.

Besides, why would you write an essay on a hot-button political topic like gun control, then put it behind a paywall? If he really wanted to insert his thoughts into the conversation in an effective way, he'd have posted this on his blog for anyone to read for free, and linked it widely -- as (for example) author Larry Correia did with his post "An Opinion on Gun Control". King's actions are a publicity stunt to get his name in the news, not a serious attempt to influence the debate.

People these topics affect us all. Politics such as gun control can stop stupid apps like all of those many gun sounds, from popping up in Google Play.
It's our right to be able to purchase stupid apps for whatever reason we deem necessary.
But simply put politics can make your device less enjoyable if you don't pay attention to what law makers are doing.

Stay in the know people!

Oh well. I used to like HTC back in the G1 days. But no updates, no vanilla android anymore, and a different phone for every carrier does not keep customers around. We are all painfully watching HTC die a slow death, and it's a shame. They could have been better than Samsung.

Maybe I live under a rock (possible), or maybe I just missed something somewhere (likely)

Can someone point me toward what Phil is talking about with CNet/CBS?

Oh yeah. THAT. Cheap dirty politics.

Thankfully (as a Canadian) most of this stuff doesn't affect me too much. I still can't stand it though....

Thanks for the link to my story on RootzWiki about HTC ;-) I'm inclined to agree that HTC's probably not going to go after everyone who posts a custom Sense ROM as I concluded, "To be blunt, however, I don't think HTC is terribly concerned about heavily modified Sense-based ROMs. I suspect that HTC is more concerned about unauthorized distributions of stock firmware, especially of pre-release test builds (though the lawyer apparently demanded that seven custom ROMs be taken down from James Taylor's site as well)"

That said, HTC has every right to be concerned about unauthorized RUU distributions, and one issue the company allegedly mentioned in its email to the host is that if a user flashed one of these files and something went wrong (e.g. user error, or the file was corrupted or an outright misrepresentation of an official RUU), that user would almost certainly blame HTC.

While I don't blame on HTC on going after people putting their sense software on non HTC phones, I do blame on HTC on going after people for updating sense software on htc phones or creating new roms with sense software altogether. For me, I have an HTC one V which HTC says that they are not updating to Jellybean. If HTC don't want to do it for financial reason, that's fine. But I don't think it is right that HTC is going after people who put sense software on an Jellybeam rom.

STFU about gun control, abortion, gay marriage, etc. unless there's an app for it or a phone/tablet that does it. We can go watch CNN and FOX fling monkey poo at each other all day long on those topics. That's not why we come to AC.

It's an editorial folks. Phil can talk about whatever he wants. That's how it works. Surprised and amused by the STFU comment. Grow a thicker skin. Freedom of speech is something we should all protect. I'd like to read what Mr. King wrote but I will not contribute to the Brady campaign.

I woul dreally like to read what Stephen King wrote, except right there on the cover of the linked page it says:

All profits will benefit the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

So to read the eassy I must fund a political group whose goals I oppose.

Gues sthat means I'm not downloading it.

No, I am all for preventing gun violence, however I differ with the Brady group on HOW to acomplish that.

I guess the better phrasing here would be that you support their "goals", but disagree with their "methods".

I'm right there with you on that one.

The first part of this article doesn't make sense because I didn't come from the Android Central's homepage. (well actually I did, but just clicked on the image link at the top of the page) I went looking for the Read More link. lol

I clicked to just comment that if there isn't anything on the lead-in on the main page worth reading, I'm not going to go to the article. I didn't read this article.