A $99 Android Tablet That Doesn't Suck

The last of my Android tablets, a Nexus made by LG, died over a year ago. It had stopped being updated years before that. This is why I had not bought a replacement:
I don't like Samsung's Android extensions and bloatware, and how that delays updatesI won't buy a cheap tablet with an out of date version of AndroidThe Pixel Slate is a software platypus, part Chromebook, part Android tablet, and expensiveI don't use Alexa, and I don't like the lack of Google Play Services on Amazon Fire tablets Except for Samsung, Google has done a terrible job cultivating tablet manufacturers to make good Android tablets at good prices. Amazon Fire tablets, which are great for consuming Amazon media content, don't run a lot of apps I use. The choice has been between Samsung, or cheap and underpowered tablets running versions of Android that are obsolete right out of the box, and never updated thereafter.
Recently, I was listening to a tech news podcast and heard, in passing, abo…

Legal Compliance Is Insufficient in Stopping Hate Speech on Social Networks

US law is especially liberal when it comes to free speech. This puts hate speech, however you define it short of a call to violent action, under the protection of the First Amendment. For the foreseeable future, the fight against hate and violence must operate in this context.

This feels unsatisfactory when the killer of eleven people in a Pittsburgh synagogue vented his hate on the social network Gab leading up to the attack, even announcing his intention to act.

Social networks can, in fact, be much better at containing the problem of online hate speech. You should raise your expectations of social networks to help solve the problems of fascist, antisemitic, racist, and sexist speech. Here's why:

Social networks and hate speech Social networks are privately run, and have the freedom to limit any kind of speech on their platforms, for any reason. You have no right to have Facebook publish your posts. For example, selling illegal drugs or passing around copyright works belonging t…

Telirati Tips #1 Sony RAW Noise and Bricking Problems and Solutions

Here we'll take a short break from mobile telecommunications, IoT, project management and other Serious Topics to cover a little photography. I recently found some commonplace problems with my camera, and solutions to those problems: Noisy RAW filesBricked cameras when updating
I set out to see if a firmware update would cure a problem with excess noise in RAW images from my Sony a6000, and on my way to find out, I discovered that Sony's Mac OS X firmware updater is a flaming bag of poop that bricked my camera. What I learned on my way to a solution is probably applicable to other similar Sony cameras.
The Sony a6000 is a wonderful camera. I bought one when it first came out as an upgrade from my NEX-5. In silver, it has a classic look without pandering to hipster faux 1950s rangefinder affectations. With 24 megapixels in an APS-C sensor, it packs prosumer DSLR specs into an under $1000 compact camera body. Sony's mirrorless product line got me back into photography, start…

Telirati Analysis #18 The QUIC Brown Fox Jumped Over the Top of Carrier Messaging, or Allo, Duo, WebRTC, QUIC, Jibe, and RCS, Explained

At Google I/O 2016, Google announced two new messaging products: Allo, for text messaging, and Duo, for video communications. These are the most recent in a series of messaging products Google has created, none of which have succeeded in attracting a really large user community the way that other messaging products have done. Google doesn't release figures for monthly active users of Hangouts, while WhatsApp has a billion users, Facebook Messenger and QQ have 850 million, and WeChat has about 700 million. The stakes in messaging are very high, and, so far, Google is an also-ran.

In 2015, it looked like Google might go in a different direction, perhaps acting as a spoiler for proprietary messaging apps that don't interoperate and don't use carrier protocols like SMS and MMS. Google bought a company called Jibe that makes next-generation messaging servers for standard telecom protocols called Rich Communications Services, or RCS. If Google based a messaging system on RCS it w…

Telirati Analysis #17: Google jukes around Oracle's copyright play, and what Oracle is missing out on

Android is client Java Android applications are, by several orders of magnitude, the dominant form of client Java software. The only widely used interactive Java applications, other than Android apps, are integrated development environments (IDEs) which are big, complex software creation tools.

Oracle is breaking the business of software creation Oracle, which now owns the leading proprietary implementation of Java, should be grateful that client Java has been revived. Instead, Oracle has decided this is an opportunity to litigate poorly established parts of intellectual property law, vexing Google, Android developers, and tool-makers in the Android ecosystem. Oracle has made various claims, one of the most destructive to software development in general is that software interface specifications, usually known as "APIs" or "application programming interfaces" can by copyright protected.

This claim is deleterious to the whole software business and nonsensical. It is…

Telirati Analysis #16 Practical project management

Software projects and traditional project management tools have always been a dangerous combination. But, you can understand the attraction: Gantt and CPM chart editors can be a delightfully visual way to plan a project. Even a novice gets a thrill of insight and the feeling of control.

Project management tools were originally made for creating big, expensive physical objects, like bridges, subway lines, and skyscrapers. These projects merited hiring professional project managers, and the nature of the projects left little room for ambiguity: Either 27 floors of steel are up, or not. Either the interior framing up to the 10th floor is ready for the electricians and plumbers, or not. In this world every measurement of task completion is represented by a physical object that can be directly inspected. Almost all the tasks in these physical-world projects have been done thousands, even millions of times before. Anomalies are relatively easy to spot, and few such anomalies are dangerous …

Telirati Analysis #15 Write Less Android Software

You have a substantial budget. You have an army, perhaps a foreign mercenary army, of developers. You've got experience delivering big Web projects this way. But your Android project might as well be Afghanistan. Unexpected limitations, difficult bugs, poor performance, and bloat plague you for weeks and months.

Android devices have become big, but Android is still for small, limited devices Some Android devices have become capacious and powerful. The processor benchmarks for flagship handsets rival processors commonly found in PCs. The RAM capacity in most phones is still less than half what you get in a typical PC, but that's still quite a lot.

You have cross-trained some of your best Java experts on Android. They know how to engineer big Java projects. But you find unexpected problems. Why don't the same engineering approaches that work for your Web projects work for Android?

The reason is that Android is, still, a clever little OS for clever little devices. Android ma…