My Story with Google Play Developer Admins

When I first posted my first app, it was a fun joke app. I never wanted to make money and I didn’t think I was breaking any copyright laws, and I still don’t but we’re past that. The app was up for a while with no issues but I lost my signing key so I could no longer post updates. So I had to stop the app and reupload  new one. When I reuploaded the app it was immediately flagged. I think because it looked exactly like my previous app, because it was. I tried disputing but all I got was a frustrating generic answer that I could not dispute; horrible support. I had such a high to build apps but it was crushed by Google Play’s Developer Admins. I felt frustrated and it ruined my experience across other Google platforms because I had 2 flagged apps posted to my account with only one chance left, MAYBE, if by the graces of Google they decided to not arbitrarily delete my account. There’s not much competition so for people that make this their livelihoods, they’re left hopeless and screwed.

“This particular app has been disabled as a policy strike. If your developer account is still in good standing, you may revise and upload a policy compliant version of this application as a new package name.” (From the email about the suspension of my app… Is it really worth risking another strike on my account?)

With 2 strikes from the same app, I felt like I was walking on egg shells. I lost my motivation to develop or learn about developing Android apps.

I just recently contacted the Google Play Team again. I was actually surprised with how responsive they were being. They actually seemed to be there for any questions I had. Though, still offered no real solutions for me. I even felt like the member was avoiding my biggest question, “With 2 strikes, what happens with if I get another?” She referred me to the help page. I have to at least say that I can tell they’re working on giving better support, it’s noticeable.

I’ve heard of other developers just having their entire accounts ruined because of some small mistakes, and then I’ve heard of other people just developing, collecting money, then when their account get flagged they ditch it and get another one; those are the bad people. I, I only wanted to make a small joke app for some friends on my account I had future plans to make a small dev company out of.

I understand that the Play Team needs to protect themselves from being sued, but Android developers are their entire being. They need developers to make these apps for them, and the last thing they want to do is piss them off. I’m not really an Android developer, and I really had any super big plans of being one. But I could have been, and they could have lost a good one.

Solution: Possibly do a PRECHECK on apps before allowing them to be posted to the market, like Apple does. I know a lot of apps are posted everyday and there would be a longer waiting time, like with Apple apps, but wouldn’t that stop a lot of spam and stop decent developers from getting a strike against their account? Also, offer some strike removal system, like after a year or 6 months of good standing, remove the strike. This would hands down bring me back to the Android developing platform for Google. Finally, maybe provide better and more interactive support to your developers. These people already paid a $35 license fee just to be able to post apps to your store, give them some more support.

My solution: I’m distancing myself from relying on Google products as much. I still use Google over Bing, for now (O.O), and I also use YouTube all the time. But I’m now deleting my Google Business account, which I’ve paid $10/month for the last 2 years, and instead using Amazon as my cloud service, they’re way cheaper too. Although, I really do recommend Google Apps for Business, I’m sorry… I can’t lie.

Also, check out some of the links below for more some other people like me:

Posted in Computers, My Life

Deassociate Phone/Device with Google Play

Device

Okay so after hours and hours of frustrating research and time on the phone with Google Apps for Business, I’ve found a solution to an issue plaguing several people, including myself. When your phone or device is stuck and associated with your Google Play account. It can get very annoying and very messy, especially if you’re a beta tester and you just want to download an app. Before you know it, you have a hundred devices on your Android Device Manager list.

My OCD, was KILLING me seeing phone Galaxy S5 on my business account, instead of my personal account. Ugh. So right after getting off the phone with Google, I kinda gave up. Read a bit more, and saw something about the device being removed after 9 months of inactivity. So that’s some hope, I guess.

But wait! Right after I gave up, I was just browsing my account, and light came down from the heavens…

(SKIP HERE FOR THE GOOD STUFF)

So let’s begin.

If you want to remove a device from your Android Device Manager list:

Navigate to the following link on the account you would like to remove the specific device: https://security.google.com/settings/security/activity?hl=en

Find the device that you want to remove. In my case, my Galaxy S5. But for demonstration purposes I’ll be removing an old dev phone.

Before…

3

What it should look like after you click “Remove”

Device

Sorry I don’t have a picture of the big red remove button, because I’m not about to risk and put myself through that hell again, but believe me. You should be seeing it right now.

Click that button.

Go to the Android Device Manager in Google Play.

Boom! It’s gone!

Yes. Just yes. Much frustration later. That’s why I’m sharing this with the internetz so maybe you won’t have to go through the same pain.

Thanks guys!

Posted in Computers

I wanna be a millionaire

I’m just watching this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wky9cLHTc7g). And I’m thinking… I could have done this. I’m 20 now so I’m not a teen anymore, ehhh, but it’s not too late. I should stop wasting so much time, and start making moves.

Posted in Uncategorized

Intellectual Property Infringement by Developers on Google Play

I’m getting more into Android development, or I was until Google’s Android team stabbed me in the back.

To make this story short, I posted what was basically a soundboard, with clips of Mathew McConaughy’s famous quotes. It was a joke app I made after a few friends and I started this running joke of “I was flying space ships before it was cool to fly spaceships.” in a Matthew McConaughy voice (Interstellar Movie + Lincoln Commercial = Funny but overused joke).

Here’s the weird thing though. I had originally made the app (io.mxb.matthewmcconaughysoundboard) and it stayed on the market for a week before I went to update it and realized I had lost the password to my keystore. I had to reupload my app with a new package name (io.mxb.soundboard. matthewmcconaughy), and when I did, not even an hour after uploading, I received the infamous email stating I had infringed on intellectual property.

This is a notification that your application, Matthew McConaughey Soundboard, with package ID io.mxb.soundboard.matthewmcconaughey, has been removed from the Google Play Store.

REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of the intellectual property and impersonation or deceptive behavior provisions of the Content Policy. Please refer to the IP infringement and impersonation policy help article for more information.

Your app and/or elements of its listing on Google Play, including title, description, logo(s), or promotional screenshots must not include unauthorized usage of protected works belonging to a third party.
Your app icon and promotional screenshots must not contain images that appear confusingly similar to existing products.
This particular app has been disabled as a policy strike. If your developer account is still in good standing, you may revise and upload a policy compliant version of this application as a new package name.

This notification also serves as notice for remaining, unsuspended violations in your catalog, and you may avoid further app suspensions by immediately unpublishing any apps in violation of (but not limited to) the above policy. Once you have resolved any existing violations, you may republish the app(s) at will. Before publishing applications, please ensure your apps’ compliance with the Developer Distribution Agreement and Content Policy.

All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and payment transaction fees) from you.

If you feel we have made this determination in error, you can visit the Google Play Help Center article for additional information regarding this removal.

The Google Play Team

I thought I was protected under Fair Use. But I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know. I’m just very upset and confused. I even attempted to appeal their decision, most likely made by a bot. They denied reinstating the app and stated that their decision was final.

I’ve seen several apps with celebrity soundboards, some even with ads and paid versions. But I had no intention of putting ads or making a paid version of the app. It was just a free, funny app idea I had from a friend.

After much frustration, I actually found the keystore password, allowing me to use the orginal app I developed, which wasn’t flagged because it was unpublished. This saved me much headache and motivated me to sorta stick it to the Google Play team. I modified all the images in the app to represent my idea of way they should look like, more comedic. Because that’s how I see Matthew McConaughy.

My new description for the app is:

*This is a FAN made app and was not endorsed by any organization or individual. I really like Matthew McConaughy, he’s a great actor and I thought I’d honor him by putting together some of his best lines in a compilation of a work of art and parody.*

Ever wanted to carry around one of the best actors to date? Now you can!

This is my first app, and I’m very happy you’re here! The other version of this app, was removed by the Google Play Team. It really hurt because I love Google, and their products, including Android. I attempted to appeal the decision but was declined almost immediately. I felt really horrible and like everything was very impersonal. I lost all hope and motivation app development. But after reading several blogs, talking to some friends, and reading as much as I could on intellectual property and infringement, I’ve decided to take on this app again.

The images and sounds in the application are completely changed to represent how Matthew McConaughy has changed over time. From a funny guy, to romantic comedies, to flying spaceships. The images and sounds are also meant to bring on a certain feeling in the app user and are derivative works of art.

This app is protected under the fair use. Again this is fan made and was not endorsed by any organization or individual.

I clearly state several times, that this is a fan made app, and a derivative work. Clearly protected under law.

I just reposted the app, and we’ll see what happens. I’ll update this post soon.

Link to app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.mxb.matthewmcconaugheysoundboard

Posted in Computers, My Life, Notices, Philosophy

A Website Vulnerable to Hackers

I found a pretty cool site while browsing Facebook, I don’t want to give any identifying information that might get them hacked so I’ll just say they stand for something I do as well. I found their site to be deadly vulnerable to several methods of hacking so I wanted to let them know. I sent them email. I rarely do this, I’ve done it a few times for some sites that I think needed help and support a good cause. This was one of them.

The best way I found to go about it was here, below is the email, below that is the picture I uploaded to my Facebook. (***** and the red lines are censoring information that could identify the site.)


Hey guys,

(Included President because of seriousness, but mainly for Webmaster)

Just emailing you to let you know your site has several vulnerabilities that could be easily exploited by a hacker. I found your site on the ***** ****** facebook page. I *********** ****** *******. ******** ******.

But with all that aside, I would say you need to immediately fix these vulnerabilities. Your site has a bit more visibility now and someone that would want to, could easily take down your site, get root, upload viruses to exploit your users, and much worse.

If you can't fix these vulnerabilities, I would honestly take the site down completely, back everything up, then remove it from the server, and replace everything with a single HTML file that says the site is "Underconstruction - Follow us on Facebook or Email us for questions." or something like that.

It's really not a joke at all and I would take this advice.

Okay so the biggest and most dangerous vulnerability I was able to find is a file inclusion inside your default.php file. Code in the file allows for remote inclusion of other files from external websites, and also allows for me to browse every file on your system. The best way to defend against this is by parsing out any / and periods and also only allow local files from a single directory.

Also, you have a bunch of folders that aren't holding much and are not needed.

And finally some XSS vulnerabilities.

If you need help, let me know.

Keep up the great work. ********** ******* ******* ******** *****. ******** ******* ***** ******** ******* ****.

-Brandon

Posted in Computers, My Life

The Gay Whopper

I love this video, I thought I’d share it with you guys. I got full goosebumps and almost cried while watching it. It’s amazing!

Posted in Uncategorized

Google Drive Unlimited + Raspberry Pi

I’m extremely excited about this post. It’s not a full post, nor a tutorial by any means, but really just me bragging I guess.

So basically I’ve set up my Raspberry Pi to sync with my Google Drive. You’re thinking, oh big deal, who cares? But now with the Google’s recent news of unlimited space for only $10 a month, I’m extremely excited. I’ll be moving pretty much everything I have on my local media to my new cloud source. There are gonna be some issues, like encryption, which I don’t want to do without. But shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

One of my plans is to upload all my media and then start streaming ALL my media from my Google Drive to my Raspberry Pi running RaspBMC.

If you’re interested in the project, I’ll be posting more updates soon, but feel free to comment too.

 

Posted in Computers, My Life, Notices

Cosmologist vs Cosmetologist Difference

Carl Sagan

An image I made to demonstrate the difference.

Posted in Uncategorized

MXB.IO (New Domain)

Just registered a new domain with the new .io extension. Thought I had to get mine before it was too late. Of course, because of the short extension, I wanted to get a short domain. Five letters, not including the period. Super short. I might start a URL shortener or something. Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve been kinda busy. But I did draw this nifty artwork up in honor of my new domain.

I was going for a cartoony look...

I was going for a cartoony look…

The domain will most likely direct to the same server and directory brandonmxb.com does.

Posted in Art, Notices

My JARVIS-like Program

Just wanted to blog about it so I didn’t forget, because I’m taking a small break from a large project to practice reverse engineering software.

I’ve been working on a very large project by myself. I’m coding it in Java. I guess I don’t really have a name for it, but I did just think of a likely competitor. JAVIS.

Just Another Very Intelligent System

Much like JARVIS, but because… well… it’s coded in Java, so… Jav- you get it.

So plans include, when I continue work on the project soon, to start coding that name into the project. Give it more personality. It’s probably a girl.

When the project is very stable and useful, I’ll most likely release the source. For others to take a part, learn from, use.

If you’re seriously interested, get a hold of me.

Peace!

-Update-
Project released open source. Enjoy! https://github.com/BrandonMXB/JAVIS

Posted in Computers