Best Smartphone Companion for Surface Devices

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by dstrauss, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Yeah this is actually a case where the manufacturers are giving the people what they want , cheap phones, but inherent in cheap phones is a short shelf life. The Moto Gs and Samsung Aseries phone only make sense if they are replaced 18-24 months.

    Google is to blame here too with Project Treble. They announced it but have done virtually nothing since to promote or support it. We tried supporting to with a couple of our apps. The problem was that every security update that google released, our app would pop a warning that it needed to be updated when in fact it didn't, it was just that it was running on a "unknown build of Android" and the "update message" just meant that the app and the framework were out of sync for detection.

    PS: Google's part in this is kind of like MS was in the Windows 95 days where apps would throw an error about an unknown DLL when in fact it was just newer than what the app was built to expect.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
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  2. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    So I'm going to both praise Samsung and ding Samsung in the same post (with Google getting the ding as well).

    I've been setting up and configuring a bunch of the new Samsung A50 phones today. So for the praise; this is very nice from a hardware standpoint. Very good screen, reasonably fast processor and decent base level storage. My initial impression is that its 85% of the current S10, but for 40% of the price.

    So now the ding: Out of the box, it requires 22 play store updates, and 16 Samsung Galaxy app updates. Not to mention that it needed two system updates as well. This is on a phone that's only been out for a few weeks.

    And the mess of it is either the consumer spends 2 hours getting the phone fully patched up and secure, or if they don't know any better they use it in partially updated state which at best leads to an inconsistent experience , and at worst leaves them vulnerable to various exploits that might be out there.

    Google has a hand in this too. They could do a lot more than they are to get their partners to be better, but they choose not to.

    Ok end of rant :)
     
  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Funny, MS doesn't seem to have so much trouble keeping Windows consistent on devices as Google does with Android. Your expert assessment as to why that is, @desertlap ? Just briefly, of course. And don't forget: is MS less evil/lazy/(data-hungry/other vile traits we like to lay onto Google!) or is it the open-source nature of Android that's mostly the culprit? (Makes me wonder: which side of the fence is Linux closest to?)
     
  4. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Given the telemetry that windows send back to MS, plus the fact that they haven't been very candid about it I think MS and Google are pretty close in the "evil" department

    MS does have a bit more consistency in build out because every vendor has to pay a license on every system. The rules on Android are much more byzantine with different tiers (staring with the fact that anyone can just give a base load of the OS (like the Chinese white box makers), a highly customized version (like amazon does with the fire tablets) , and more or less full build outs with the play store etc but still customized to a degree (like Samsung, LG ,and Moto).

    And with that, what you pay and what you can do ,is all tied to that.

    The only company I can speak to about the customization specifically is Samsung. They have told us, and they strongly believe, it is their customizations of Android that is a competitive advantage in the market just as much as the hardware is.

    Interestingly around the time of the S6 and S7, Samsung offered "reference Android" versions of the phones. Allegedly they didn't sell well enough to justify continuing doing that. Of course it was a chicken and egg situation as the "reference" models were almost impossible to buy. And I dare say the vast majority of consumers didn't even know they existed.

    And plain Linux itself such as Ubuntu (not Android) is by far the most telemetry free privacy friendly OS to use....Until you start adding 3rd party apps which do much of that on their own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  5. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    I recall reading before that the amount of personally identifiable information in crash logs or memory dumps made some people uncomfortable (iirc an alleged MS employee commented on that on Ars). I haven't found anything more specific than that. Any nuggets of wisdom you can safely share?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  6. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    That's part of the issue is the lack of candor from MS about what they are sending. But the sheer volume is surprisingly high.

    The best data we've seen is they constantly collect what apps you've used, for how long and when, and in what combination. As well as what build of Windows and patches, drivers and extensions installed as well as hardware configurations.

    It's all anonymized allegedly and MS actually does a better than most job of securing it.

    The two issues I see are who they might share it with and what tools are applied to the data shared. And with AI getting better by leaps and bounds at putting seemingly random data together to create an identity profile, who knows?

    eg. It's not hard to figure out it's you specifically if they know that the data comes primarily from two IP addresses typically from one during the day and one at night, and that you visit sites like ESPN and web MD and you have an iTunes account and you visit Fox News and fidelity financial and .....
    Anyway you get the picture and again it's the utter lack of transparency (other than the occasional "ms employee" blog post) that makes me suspicious.

    For me it goes back years ago to when Robert Bork was a nominee for the Supreme Court and a paper revealed his blockbuster rental habits. I'm not making a judgement on Bork in anyway, but I was appalled that was made public.
     
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  7. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Yeah that kind of stuff isn't great. It's kind of to be expected, but until they come out and say "we send your browsing history as part of our debugging efforts" it's easy to be a little complacent. I'm also curious how much info is stored in these 2GB memory dump files that my Win 10 install seems to generate on a weekly basis. Is that stuff (partially) sent to MS? Does it contain fragments of documents that were open at the time? I personally would appreciate more clarity on that from MS.
     
  8. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    In 2019 (probably this entire century) privacy is a myth and NONE of the carriers, ISP's, cloud services, online sales (looking at you Amazon), or hardware vendors have clean hands. NONE.

    I'm not even sure that @Bishop 's scale of some vendors are "less evil" than others fits the bill anymore.
     
  9. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Thanks for that. :thumbsup:
     
  10. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    As I've said before it's truly a Faustian bargain and no knows that better (and profits more from) the companies themselves . The only thing we can do right now is keep after them to be better and call them on the more egregious failings
     
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