Cyanogenmod Installer is a one-click Android app that unlocks your bootloader, roots your device, and flashes Cyanogenmod's OS onto it. Cyanogenmod is a free/open fork of Android, where much of the proprietary Google elements have been replaced by open equivalents, giving you lots more customizability and privacy in your device. For example, the Cyanogenmod device locating feature lets you find your phone, but makes it much harder for third parties to track you using the same feature. The company raised $7M in venture capital in September, and this is the first serious change the the OS since then, and it's a huge improvement. Previously, installing Cyanogenmod was pretty tricky and arcane, and was a huge barrier to adoption. Now you can download an app from the Play Store, and install with one click.
Flashing a custom operating system to a smartphone is generally a complicated process, but now a user needs only download the app and the desktop software, connect the phone with the desktop, and then hit "start." With this new system, Cyanogen Inc. hopes to “[make] replacing and upgrading your current Android installation as simple as a few clicks,” according to a press release. There's a list of supported devices on CyanogenMod's wiki, but be aware. Several reviews of the app remind potential installers that rooting your phone is an easy way to brick it or void Google's warranty.
CyanogenMod publishes new Installer app on Google Play [Megan Geuss/Ars Technica]
Coffeeman 500's Useless Box - Multi Switch project is an open-source hardware project that's an ambitious variant on the beloved "Useless Machine" -- 2010, 2010 (Lego)), 2010 Political edition), 2011 (HOWTO), 2012 (politics), 2013 (fancy), 2013 (advanced) (vs human), 2016 (most useless), 2017 (vs twisty vase).
Last week, I linked to a critique of Google's new "confidential mode" for Gmail and Google Docs, which purports to allow you to send people documents without letting them print, copy or forward them.
Bejamin "Mako" Hill (previously) is a free software developer, activist and academic with a long history of shrewd critical insights into the ways that free software, free culture and the wider world interact with each other.
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