hall of shame


Google have implemented my idea to make Google Books TTS work like an audio player – it can now work in background and being controlled with bluetooth headset – so I can play, pause and rewind paragraphs of the book read by speech synthesizer just as it was music. This is soo fantastic!!

I have been proposing this solution to Amazon to implement in Kindle for Android, but for years they did not listen. I have switched to Kindle application after Amazon bricked my Kindle3 3G reader with a software update (and all other devices worldwide). Now I just wait until Google Books allow to import my Kindle library, and I will never go back to Kindle. Greedy loses twice.

I am really unhappy that Google’s Android 7 started living with its own life against its user will. Android 7 will turn on and off Bluetooth connectivity on its own and scan the area itself, even that you turn off the Bluetooth device by hand. It looks that you have no control over your own phone anymore! Shame on you Google! Really poor design idea ๐Ÿ™

Update: I have reported this issue to Google Security Team, they got interested, so this does not seem to be a “standard feature”.. maybe a phone design flaw or firmware/microcode bug..

Google Chromecast is a device that allows you to stream audio-video content over WiFi network from Application to a HDMI enabled display. This works really nice when you want to watch Netflix or show some movies from your mobile device on large screen TV/Projector.

Recently, Google released a new line of Chromecast devices that support audio only and higher resolution displays, renaming Chromecast to Google Home. This rebrand also replaced mobile application for devices management. New application forces user to have working internet connection, use localization, and sign with google account in order to work. There is no way to roll back to old application. Not really cool.

I have found and reported one nasty bug in this new Google Home application (version 1.19.29), that prevents you from discovering and setting up old Chromecast devices after Factory Defaults Reset or WiFi password change (so it can connect to your WiFi again). I only have old device so I am not sure how this affects new devices. You will not be able to discover your Chromecast device over WiFi when Localization Services are disabled and according permission was not granted!! In order to connect to your Chromecast:

  • Reinstall or clear application data/cache.
  • In startup configuration wizard you must grant access to localization services. If you do not enable localization and allow it to work granting permissions, you will not find your Chromecast later on.
  • Search now for a Chromecast device still in setup wizard, you will find it, only if you did previous step correctly.
  • Note that when you find a device that way, you can skip sign in with google account.
  • If you do not grant localization permissions you will not be able to detect your chromecast device anymore.

I hope this has nothing to do with killing old line of devices with a software update. I also hope Google will fix this issue in next releases and they really don’t force users to give up so many personal information (why do they need GPS/Bluetooth running for a simple WiFi connection otherwise)..

Why only NEXUS devices are sensible choice for Advanced Android Users and Developers? Because NEXUS device vendors provide source code and device drivers.

This makes is possible to re-compile and re-create any customization of the Android by advanced users and developers. The most popular among them is CyanogenMod based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project).

Why is such customization really necessary? Because Vendors does not keep up with the Android development, their releases are flawed, contains unwanted modifications, quite often development is abandoned just after product release.

I know that Drivers Development is time and money consuming task for Vendors. Still, providing source code for device drivers would make it possible to run alternative and/or customized OS, also prolong device life for second-hand users in poor countries. Vendor sells the device anyway and Users can make fixes and customization. Why this Win-Win scheme is so hard to achieve in reality? Is really enforcing sales with mass garbage so important?

Another HALL OF SHAME entry goes to Google for missing reliable Voice Dial functionality. It is over 5 years of bleeding edge development of Android, thousands of people in the most powerful IT corporation on this planet, most advanced Text-To-Speech and Speech-To-Text engines available, and still, no reliable Voice Dial function. People that use phone to work simply need a Bluetooth or Wired Headset that is able to correctly dial a designated phone number they want to make a call. These are daily work basics. Learn from Apple iPhone. Until these basic functionalities are provided first I see no reason to introduce thousands of not-yet-working or never-working-will-one-day-fix stuff that only create false image of endless possibilities, potentially, but not at all functional in the real world scenarios..

I have Accessibility, Text-To-Speech, Voice-Input, OK-Google, Google Search, Handsfree, Voice Dialer, Google Voice Typing, Offline Speech Recognition, Bluetooth and Wired Headset Support. Still, it is impossible to dial a phone number via Headset that would not involve touching the phone. Really sad ๐Ÿ™

Update: After several days of struggle (using unsupported flashing tool and ripping the firmware from an official software that declined to work) I have managed to run Android 6.0 (7.0 is already out) on my mobile. Here Google seems to have replaced “Voice Dial” application with “Google Search” and now you can ask Google to dial a number for you. Well, it only works when you are online, and now Google knows exactly what you do all the time. What a breakthrough! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have recently bought Xperia M5 mobile phone (400EUR) and SBH54 bluetooth headset (100EUR) both from Sony. W was previously happily using cheaper Xperia Z1 Compact mobile phone (250EUR) and Motorola HT820 bluetooth headset (30EUR). I DID NOT EXPECT TO GET SUCH A CRAP FROM SONY!

Xperia M5 D6503 has several issues that makes it a phone for a child, at most, including Bluetooth Headset problems that makes it impossible to talk, UTB OTG problems, no MHL support (HDMI-over-USB), no Cardboard VR support, no Repair from Xperia Companion for unlocked devices, and many more. This is NOT a phone for a developer not even to the working person, just a crappy toy. I consider ALL XPERIA “M” SERIES AS JUNK! The only sensible well designed both hardware and software seems to be “Z” series, maybe “X”, DO NOT WASTE TIME AND MONEY ON XPERIA “M” SERIES.

SBH54 Bluetooth Headset looks really promising “wearable assistant”, but at the moment it cannot really work well with one device, not to mention offered multipoint (only two peers at most!!!) connection that worked well in older devices. For instance I had no problem with 10 year old Motorola to listen MP3 from a computer and have a phone ready to talk in the same time which is not possible with SBH54. I only get frustrated with this crap, and other users as well complain on your official forum. This device is still a pure chaos and works unpredictably. Cannot really perform its basic function “headset” with Xperia M5. Android application does not work as Service and disappears when you need it most. You need to pair it again with the same devices after poweroff. Headphones sound it very good but they break apart. Its not really useful nor reliable in any way at the moment. Hope it gets a firmware update soon and I could take it out from the trash.

sbh54

This is really sad because hardware looks very well for both devices. In theory parameters and functions look fine as well. However, Software/Firmware makes it useless buggy annoying junk. Shame on you Sony for releasing such a buggy junk! I am happily placing Sony, XperiaM5 and SBH54 into HALL OF SHAME, with no respect to those two unfortunate failures. Time-To-Market is not worth the Respect and Customers that you loose.

World is now at point now where companies release happily a new product that is still at early prototype stage and don’t even give a shit about that.. people loose time and money for this crap..

Note: After all struggle and years of play with Android I consider only NEXUS to be sensible and reasonable choice to work with. Sorry.

Sony Xperia phones are my favorite. Very good and durable electronics, amazing photo camera, nice utilities on top of standard Google Android OS. I have also always respected Xperia for allowing users to unlock their phones for Open-Source Firmware Customization on this amazing hardware..

xperiacompanionfail

Unfortunately, Sony seems to have this habit to make a bad decisions, so amazing hardware is not always followed with a good software. This is why Open-Source Customization is so important. I have already found several nice devices with a really bad firmware. What is more, this corruption seems to spread, and Sony blocks factory firmware restore for an unlocked devices with their official Xperia Companion utility. This means unlocking a device does not only Voids a Warranty, but also silently makes it Impossible to Go Back to a Stock Firmware! This is really bad idea.

emma

Luckily smart people tends to predict and help each other out. Developer team of Sony Mobile released EMMA utility (nice name by the way) that allows you to re-flash mobile that is unlocked in case something goes wrong or you simply want to get back to a stock firmware.

Open-Source Firmware Customization will become a standard, even for large enterprises, with mutual benefit to their customers, because looking at the big picture we are part of the same eco(no)system..

Today is my last day with HBO in Poland. I could not even imagine how bad can commercial mobile application be until I found HBO GO PL Android. This is such FAIL that I am not going to pay anymore for this crap. I have waited over a year for things to get better. I bet most of the 5 star ratings are fake. You don’t give a shit about user feedback, so users will to the same with you. Goodbye HBO..

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 18.02.41

On the other hand Netflix has just entered Polish VoD market with a far better application. They responded to my feedback in less than minute and implemented suggested (localization) changes in two days. Now that is good cooperation! Learn from that!

I have just bought next inexpensive Xperia M5 phone with pretty nice hardware. However I already found those things to be missing or deliberately removed:

  • USB OTG does not work (solved).
  • CardBoard VR does not work.

Update regarding USB OTG – “it’s not a bug its a feature” – after you connect a USB device using OTG cable you need to run “Detect USB device” application that will make OTG work. Considering security this may be a good choice to allow external devices by hand.

My Knidle 3 3G e-book readerย (leading product of Amazon, one of the most expensive model) has stopped working this week for no apparent reason. It is not even two years old device. It was not damaged mechanically, electrically, nor any other way. It simply does not want to power on. I am not alone with this problem. As it is over one-year warranty period the only thing Amazon can offer to me is to purchase a new product. Perfect example of Planned Obsolescence. Amazon – no, thank you, you have lost my trust ๐Ÿ™

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