# Coding

Work in progress
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Gnarg! Why is there no way on vanilla Android to view the packagename of an installed app? List My Apps to the rescue!

Monday, June 29, 2020

I actually really hate the colorscheme of DummyDroid. I somehow managed to more or less copy the SUN Microsystems colorscheme by accident - and that already looked dated 20 years ago.

Well, if anyone has a good suggestion on how DummyDroid (and therefore the Raccoon apkdownloader should look in the future, contact me!

Friday, June 26, 2020

I’d really love to work a bit on Text Fiction. Bringing GLULX Support to Android would be great. Though I’m afraid adding another engine basically comes down to writing another app.

Fun fact: developing an app like Text Fiction is an upfront investment of around 40k €. I still get spam emails from scavengers trying to buy it off me for a couple hundred bucks.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Hm, France published its version of the corona virus warn app. Seems like I should add a commenting/rating feature to Raccoon. This is probably one of those things where you should be allowed to voice concerns, even if you don’t have the app installed (not that having an app installed is a meaningful requirement for allowing reviews in the first place).

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

DummyDroid won't download APK files when mocking a Lineage OS device (or any custom ROM for that matter)

With Android and Play, figuring out device compatibility is somewhat of a black art. Which really just is a nice way for saying 'the whole Android ecosystem is one giant compatibility hack'.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Ha! Fun! When you ask Google Play for anything, you get a binary blob in response which must be parsed, using the protobuf library. There are two version of that library available (v2.x and v3.x) that implement version 2 and 3 of the protocol buffer language respectively. Since the two languages are incompatible with each other, I always assumed that the libraries would be as well, but that’s not the case! Version 3.x of the library is actually backwards compatible and able to properly handle blobs created with v2.x!

Why is this so great? Well, Play is inherently tied to version 2 of the language, but the v2.x library lacks a lot of useful features, such as the ability to export a binary blob to JSON. You can only format a message as plain text which kinda looks like JSON, but won’t be parseable. For small stuff that’s sufficient, but you are completely at a loss when dealing with something bigger, such as search results.

So, here’s the same search result (“test”) in the plain text and in the json format. The later can easily be inspected in existing tools (Firefox for example).

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Preview: Dummydroid 2.0 - The new app compatibility checker and GSF ID generator

We all know the problem: Google Play only allows us to download apps, compatible with our device and accessible from our current location. Well, that can be helped.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Hm, a lot of people come to the blog lately, looking for a split APK merge tool. I actually just had an idea how to make one. The stupid thing just is that it would not work on Android versions that don’t support App Bundles, so I don’t quite see the point.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Does anyone have a cool idea what to do with the wishlist feature on Google Play? Technically it’s just a bookmarklist for digital goods (works for apps, music, books, …) that have a store page. Seems like a shame to implement it the way it was intended to be used (as a self imposed pester power item).

Made a bit of progress on the bypass sms verification code when signing up for a new Google account. The whole system is breathtaking from a technical, legal as well as a psychological persepective.

At least on Android, the user is deliberately steered into a “sunk cost falacy” type of situation that suggests that s/he just wasted a couple hundred bucks on a toy that won’t work properly unless connected with a Google Account. Of course, the phone screen is too small to read the terms compfortably and the default is to skip reading your contract anyway. If you want to know what you actually agree to, you pretty much have to look at the wire protocol (it is a lot). How on earth is it that we don’t have laws against this?!