Monday, July 25, 2011

Reflecting on recent events, lies, rumors, and "drama" surrounding AllDroid


I’ve been writing this and reviewing it for many weeks now so some reference will be a bit outdated but no matter how badly I wanted to address these issues, I had to get my facts straight (literally HAD to) and wanted to do my best to be sure it was informative and as unemotional as I could manage. This has turned out to be a major learning experience for me and I believe it is helping me grow as a person. At the least, I can honestly say that I’ve tried in a major way to help the Android community and now I realize that I’ve put more time and energy into AllDroid than I should have and I will continue to do what I can, but I cannot make AllDroid the priority it has been since December of 2009 when Brent was running the site, it was hacked, and I came onboard to help out. I WILL support the community should they want to use its name a resources to make something more (within reason of course). As it always has been, my goal is to support Android by helping developers through the use of AllDroid (with its current tools, and any I can add by request). Hopefully this includes connecting developers to end-users as well through tools like the forum which is only a part of what I envision AllDroid being. At one time I discussed adding a wiki to AllDroid and as most people should know by know, a former admin of AllDroid tried to realize that idea in his own way, but I’d like to give it a chance to be what it should by offering to provide a fully user-managed wiki. If you have any interest in this, please say so by mention @AllDroid on Twitter, by contacting me on the site, or by gmail and I will provide instructions on how you can become a wiki contributor on the site.

The main message:

I've spent the last couple weeks dealing with, absorbing, processing, organizing, and reflecting on the events surrounding AllDroid since December 2009 and in particular, events triggered by a choice @Speeddymon made and lies regarding that event which have cascaded into one of the largest social conflicts that I think the Android community has seen. If I’m wrong there, blame my perception please and not my ego. I’m sure it seemed larger to me than anyone else because of my position in the situation.

Before a detailed explanation, I want to clarify up-front that my choices regarding @Speeddymon and his actions had nothing to do with any other person in the Android community, least of all one who has proven himself a hypocrite by claiming to the world that he is the reason I "tried to get @Speeddymon fired" (which is itself a complete lie). I call this individual a hypocrite because at the same time he says that I committed this untruth, he claims it was in retaliation toward him.

Not only is he in no position to know such a thing and therefore is arrogant in indicating such a thing, it just isn't true and so he's made himself the center of a situation that had absolutely nothing to do with him. To me this sounds like a text-book example of being ego-centric. Some would say that I’ve done the same and it would be true except that I’ve always acted to help developers and acted on facts that I verified myself with very few exceptions. Ironically, the largest of those exceptions involved the very same person now attacking me based on this lie that I was trying to get @Speeddymon fired. Seeing now that he has no integrity, I may owe Koush an apology (for accusing him of using someone else's work without giving due credit).

In nearly the same breath that this person  made these accusations (I’ll leave him to identify himself or be identified by his cohorts who know the truth), he was calling me narcissistic. That's like the kettle calling the pot black. Not only does he demonstrate the very trait he tries to assign, but he demonstrates ignorance or delusional tendencies while doing so.

The last few weeks have been very trying for me as I’ve hopefully learned another hard lesson in life and matured as a result. When I think of my thirteen month-old son, I hope even harder that it hasn’t all been in vain.

In December of 2009 I was contacted in regards to a website which had been “hacked” and needed some help both recovering and then hardening itself to protect against future attacks. This happened at a time when I was getting involved in Android development, the development of software or hacks for the Google Android operating system which runs on many, if not most, popular smart-phones these days. Because of this, and what I’m currently feeling is a personality flaw of mine, generosity, I decided to help out and ask nothing in return.

I was well-received, or so it seemed, by the owner and the other two site administrators as well as most of the community. Everyone was grateful for my assistance and professional knowledge. I think many were relieved as well that I wasn’t another “kid”, as there are far too many in this so called community. After some time, this led to me being given more and more responsibility and say in how the site was run and various affairs relating to the site.

Jump forward to March of 2010 when the owner was in over his head, way too involved in politics and various social issues surrounding various developers and teams within the community, most of who were looking for too much power, recognition, or in general just seem to have too much ego. It’s my opinion that the owner got sick of how ungrateful most of these benefactors of the site were proving to be and he blew a fuse. He decided that despite making a decent amount of money each month by running the site, that he was better off bringing it down entirely, backups and all, than he was continuing in his current capacity or even handing it off to someone else.

I heard rumor that he was looking for someone to buy the site, but he was asking WAY too much in light of what it was at that time and so nobody bit. I approached him after the fact to try and understand why he choose to do what he did and I never did get an answer. Somehow in those talks though, we came to agreeable terms where he would sell me the website for a significant amount, but he would then apply a very large discount for me in light of my services. This was a major tax mistake on his part since he’d owe taxes for the sales price and what he got in cash was roughly what he’d owe in taxes, but that wasn’t my concern and I had no pity after what he’d done to me and the rest of the community by bringing the site down.

By April 2010, I had ownership of the domain, complete rights to the name, and I was rebuilding the site. Jump forward to May 2011. The site now has 14,096 users and I’ve had my share of challenges since bringing it up, much of them the same that the previous owner did, but I had a business interest and I’d like to think I had better judgement, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other so to speak.

That May, I flew to San Francisco to attend Google I/O 2011, a conference that Google has every year where they share new information, education developers, give some VERY nice gifts to attendees, etc.. I was meeting three others there; one of whom I had bought the plane ticket for, and all three of whom I was putting up in a very nice hotel, within walking distance of the conference for a discounted rate using an investment I have in the area. There was a fair bit of conflict at the conference, but nothing overt and far more than I realized until afterwards... Events which didn’t surface until an unrelated event came to light and was either misunderstood, or abused. That event is what’s made my life Hell recently

In May, I received a phone call from someone we’ll call @Speeddymon for semi-anonymity sake. He was previously an admin for AllDroid, but before I took over. I invited him to be an admin once I was in control, but quickly had to dismiss him because he got upset about something and decided to email all the registered members of the site saying some things that were not appropriate and did the site more harm than good. I felt that that was a demonstration of rash behavior and poor judgement on his part and because of my business interest in the site (really, the debt I took on to obtain the site), I couldn’t allow that or risk more of such behavior.

Speedy called me to let me know that he was now working for the company which hosted my website and out of curiosity, he had done some research and sleuthing which resulted in him discovering a phone number in my accounts’ contact information that appeared to be a number from the United Kingdom. He thought he would do me a favor and call to let me know about it so I could correct it. Taken at face value, and especially coming from any other employee at this company, I would have been happy to find out about such a catch, said thank you, and thought nothing more of it except perhaps for making a mental note of the above-average customer service.

Coming from @Speeddymon, though, a couple questions and concerns came to mind. For starters, why had he even thought to begin poking around about my site. As a person, I wouldn’t have said that I disliked @Speeddymon, but I couldn’t say I trusted him highly, either. In reality, the year before he had done something for me that was notable and kind so I held somewhat conflicting opinions of him depending on whether the context was business or personal. Since this was a business context that included not only my website, but my employer and others, I was very nervous.

Then, I had to wonder whether he was supposed to be accessing such information, especially without first getting my permission. As I knew him, I expected him to be working there in a technical capacity and didn’t believe he had much reason to get into their customer account records. I later found out that I was correct. He was not authorized to access our account and his employer considered terminating him for this alone. Finally, there was the simple fact that I didn’t want him having all the information available in that account in light of the impression he had previously made on me and the volatile nature of the community in which we are both active and fairly well heard thanks to Twitter and our reputations.

My first instinct was to call my hosting company and report the incident and ask that he be restricted from my server and account but I realized that if he meant harm, he already had access to all the information and that would mean little and more importantly, I’d be putting his job at risk and I really didn’t have any wish to see him affected so drastically. After talking with my wife and reflecting on the issue more, I realized that our company was potentially at risk, as well as our partners and @Speeddymon needed to know that was he did may have been well intentioned, but it was very unprofessional and inappropriate. Given the fact that this was a business matter, I knew it would be irresponsible for me not to address the issue and from personal experience and making a similar mistake myself, I knew that it would be inappropriate for me to confront @Speeddymon directly so I had to call my hosting company.

I dreaded the idea because I was going to have to address the issue by voice and that way I would have to respond on the fly and didn’t have the benefit of time to consider everything I said carefully in advance. In writing, I can deal with conflict just fine, but in person and on the phone, I get jittery, have trouble talking and start stuttering, and I can’t focus well so it’s likely that things don’t get resolved nearly as well. When I’m angry, that’s less true, but I wasn’t angry at this point. I also was very nervous about whether I’d be able to clearly and sincerely get across to whom ever I spoke, that I didn’t wish any harm to come to @Speeddymon or his job and that I wasn’t angry, but I felt obligated to all the people dependant on me as CIO for our company (NOT AllDroid, but the job which pays my bills), to take appropriate measures, so I made the call.

Both on the phone and shortly after in writing I reemphasized that I did want to see the issue addressed, but I did not want to see harm come to @Speeddymon in any sense if it was avoidable. Of course, I knew that the ultimate decision was out of my hands, but at the same time, his employers should feel far less obligated to terminate him and far more likely to only reprimand him, if even that. As it turned out, he was not terminated and in fact, he didn’t even receive the worst type of reprimand, but his quarterly review wasn’t going to be favorable. (I was told this by one of him more immediate managers later on.)

Despite the fact that his job had only been mildly affected, it became clear that he spoke to others in the community about what had occurred and then he spoke about it publicly on Twitter. Both of these actions were unprofessional and more examples of his poor judgement. I wouldn’t have minded if he had been entirely truthful about what happened, but I soon had very prominent figures in our community saying that I was trying to get him fired and talking about how his children and food were at risk because of my actions. Those comments began to spread and before I knew it, I was a target of cyber-bullying from people who, in some cases, were perhaps not even ½ my age.

If that weren’t enough, someone began to create Twitter accounts to impersonate me and on them, published personal details about me which I didn’t make available to the general public. One might argue that these results were self-fulfilling prophecy, but then again, they were proof that my decision was not only justified, but wise in the long run because if I hadn’t spoke up an @Speeddymon had later become upset with me about something else, and he taken advantage of information or access he had, I might not have had the grounds or evidence to expose him.

I’ve spent the last week dealing with services to help protect the information which @Speeddymon had accessed, conferring with legal council about whether to take action and how, and generally trying to manage the situation. There is no doubt that @Speeddymon has caused my reputation to be harmed, my sites’ reputation to be harmed, and given everyone in my family and two business to worry about what may be to come, but in an ironic twist, traffic for my site is on an upward trend and user registration has picked up as well.

The reason I think things came to this point and why the damage is as bad as it is has to do with how I’ve handled myself prior to these events. I believe I’m a very giving person and expect all my friends (and many strangers) would say the same. I was born into a very poor, single-parent household as the oldest of 3 children. I can remember more than a few times as I grew up where I looked toward extended family members or strangers and thought to myself how they could do some little thing, or give up some small pleasure for the briefest of times to give or do something for me and it would mean the world to me. Those memories and the idea behind them have stuck with me throughout my life and I’m now in a position to give back to others in many different ways and I both refuse to be a hypocrite by forgetting those memories and at the same time, I long to make a real difference for others even if only in the littlest ways as I see it.

The combination of my passion for Android (yes, I’m a geek at heart) and my personality is what led me to take on the project of my website. It’s cost me many sleepless nights as I took to heart what others have said about me, nearly always when my intentions were misunderstood or because someone was being actively ungrateful for my help (which I take personally even in many cases when I shouldn’t.) The site has also cost me 100’s of hours in development, research, social networking, and countless other small tasks. That is time I could have put toward my business and perhaps made significant money on; many in this community don’t yet appreciate the concept of opportunity cost because their time isn’t fiscally valuable. Even if my time weren’t worth money to the extent it is, I would have much preferred to spend it with my wife, son, friends, gaming, or engaging in my hobbies if it wasn’t being found valuable by others in the community. As if that’s not sacrifice enough to warrant appreciation, I’m also indebted $1,000’s for the money I borrowed to obtain the domain and rights to the name in order to rebuild the site under it’s previous name so it would benefit from its status on Google, it’s familiarity amongst previous users, and for the pride so many members had for it.

The ultimate insult to my efforts and the site would be for someone to say that I and, or the site don’t matter and have made no real difference. With a user-base of 14,096 members, roughly 500 active users at any given time during the day, around 1,000 visits to the site per day (which is extremely low now compared to where it once was), and more than 9,000 posts in the forums, it would seem silly for someone to make such a claim, but someone has. As a result of the situation @Speeddymon has created, someone that I once thought I could be friends with, someone that I’ve tried time and again to help and support so they could be free to contribute to our community, someone that I once respected in-spite of their age, and someone that I trusted enough to make an administrator on my site has said just that. In fact, two such people, one of which has burned me before and still received my forgiveness and a second, undeserved show of trust made these claims. These people are now building a site of their own with the belief that they can do better or be received better. I’ll be interested to see if they get to learn the same lesson I have and eventually realize how ungrateful and deluded they’ve been. I say deluded because they continue to believe that my intentions are almost completely different than they are, that I’ve done all this for money or attention, that I’m manipulating and insensitive (when in fact I’m extremely insecure about being misunderstood when I offer to do good because this world is so cynical), and because for saying things like this, they would accuse me of only trying to seek pity though I only continue to try and help others understand me and demonstrate where their assumptions of perceptions have been wrong.

Most of all, they don’t have perspective enough to see how my efforts have brought thousands of people together to share information, help each other, promote development, and enable me to do things to help developers which could not be done if everyone didn’t have such a place to come together. I look at my site like an event. Without performers, an event is disappointingly incomplete, but without someone to create the event, it can’t happen and without spectators, the event has no purpose. I created a venue, promoted an event, drew spectators, attracted performers, and ultimately created a situation where the spectators and performers benefit magnitudes more than if they were left on their own. I don’t claim that someone else couldn’t or wouldn’t have done it, or that I even created the best site; there are others much larger than mine (one even used content from my site before I was the owner so they could have presented much the same service and resources). The fact though is that I DID do all these things and a large number of people have benefited in a number of ways.

From all of this, I’ve concluded that I cannot loan so much of myself out to strangers in the form of time, energy, emotions, passion, or money. I should have gone into this project with all the same intents of benefiting this community, but having set boundaries for myself to prevent being crossed, taken for granted, lied to, and effectively stolen from. Not everyone understands my nature or appreciates my efforts. Combined with the fact that I expect others to be thoughtful or at least appreciative as I am and my oversensitivity when someone expresses a lack of gratitude or isn’t thoughtful, I set myself up for too much heartache.

In a community where confronting someone for dishonesty, plagiarism, abuse, or other valid concerns is frequently considered “drama”, an environment then which at least according to the most outspoken clearly has no respect for integrity and by the same token demonstrates a lack of maturity, this is a time-bomb and in my case, the bomb has gone off.

From here forward I must not make personal connections with users of the site. I must use funds the site generates to pay off the debt it has created and perhaps a minor amount to maintain the site. I must not trust users to be admins if they aren’t properly hired and under contract, and most importantly, I must stop investing so much time and emotion into the site. If i can find this balance, I believe I can continue to contribute to the community while recovering my investment and keep from overextending myself.

The facts:

“He [@Speeddymon] no longer has access to any of your servers or your information. At [AllDroid’s hosting company] our techs’ ONLY responsibility is to care for our customers. Tom’s actions against you and your Alldroid efforts left us no option other than to terminate him. I fully believe he understood this, hence his resignation.”

Ask yourself this, “if I were @Speeddymon and did nothing wrong, why wouldn’t I fight to keep my job? More to the point, why would I resign and why would my manager, who should know me far better than this guy, rainabba, not take my word over his unless rainabba presented undeniable evidence of wrongdoing or my manager knew the truth independently?” Also, why quit when that would deny you unemployment unless you’re too rash and irresponsible to see that far ahead (which is the pattern of behavior which prompted me to call my host when I discovered @Speeddymon had access to our account information and possibly our server)?

Something else which must be understood here is that the account and server which were accessed included information far more sensitive than what AllDroid would expose. I had to act in the interest of FAR more than AllDroid. For that very reason, I can’t even put proper emphasis on this, but the scope of this issue is larger than even @Speeddymon knows and that’s why his original decision was grounds for termination originally. I was enlightened by the same supervisor I quoted above that he had considered terminating @Speeddymon in the beginning and I’d like to believe that my pleas he not be fired had an impact on his continued employment... Employment that lasted until he continued to badmouth a customer of his employer and ultimately acted against his employer by acting against their customer (more lack of perspective or a sign that he was more concerned with “being right” to the public than keeping his job).

My motivation, perspective, and an abstract on how I see myself and AllDroid:

I’m a fan of break-dancing or b-boy style dancing as some know it. I find it fascinating how the style can vary so dramatically from one region to the next. I’ve spent what some likely consider far too much time on YouTube watching the most amazing dancers display strength, coordination, balance, and creativity which I can only dream about having. Then one day I ran across a social media post where somebody said, “You have to see this video. I wish I could move like that.” and for me, that’s bait I cannot pass up; not even when I should be doing work or homework and so I clicked the link and once again, found myself on YouTube.

Immediately the video struck me because the setting wasn’t typical. I’ve seen numerous solo acts where talent; that’s what they call dancers and many other players in the performing arts, showed off their moves in the most random of places. They might use a sidewalk in front of the local convenience store with nothing but a large piece of cardboard on the concrete. The dancers preferred location could also be a local park where the setting is green, lush, friendly and they can draw a crowd of people already looking for leisure or entertainment. In virtually every setting, everyone is energetic and happy.

I don’t want to say those dancers are generally less talented, but most often I’m impressed by dancers in a different type of setting; dancers on a stage who are either performing as part of a larger show or a competition. The venue, or location of those shows can be as common as a school gymnasium, or as high-profile and impressive as a Broadway stage, but this video was something that appeared different and that difference struck me. Not only did the venue strike me, but something more unusual did as well. There wasn’t one dancer on the stage, but instead there were four.

The stage didn’t look like a stage inside any sort of theater, but it did look to me like a stage none the less. I could see four large pillars, two on either side of the dancers. The pillars looked like something I’d expect to see in a great, ancient Greek building. The kind which were run vertically with what looked like pipes cut in half long way and the inside was facing out. In the background I could see a DJ who was clearing controlling the music. As the video played out it became clear that there were multiple cameras recording video and spectators around three sides of the stage.

The four dancers were located in a diamond shape relative to the cameraman so that one dancer was closer to the camera than the other three. This dancer began to perform on their own with a slow beat playing then all at once the music picked up speed and the other three joined in dancing with the same moves. Choreography like this isn’t common with this sort of dance so once more I find myself taken back and pleasantly surprised. Not only were they synchronizing at times, but they were cooperating so that at any moment, a dancer might be able to execute a move that would otherwise be impossible if they were dancing solo. That’s saying something if you know how incredible the moves are which these dancers can do on their own. Their strength can make it seem as if gravity is not a factor in their show. I once saw a dancer who moved around the stage as if they were strung up and only put their toes to the ground on occasion to slow their movement around the stage for fear they would fly right off of it otherwise.

Unless you have participated in an event like this or helped organize one, it’s easy to take for granted all the effort and preparation required to make even a one hour show possible. In the case of this particular video, it was clear that someone had to secure the venue itself. That means finding a time that the location is available, the performance doesn’t interfere with the surroundings, the entertainers will be available, supporting services can be found, etc. Then the venue must be prepared by decorating, setting up lights and speakers, preparing seating or standing areas, putting up signage to indicate details about the event, maybe even building or configuring a stage depending on whether one exists or can be customized for the type of performance. Growing up, I was involved in choir performances and I always like this part of the event. The atmosphere was slightly tense, but with a positive feel that made it exciting instead of stressful. I was always interested in mechanical and technical details too so one could argue that a performance is more than the product that most will see and that’s something special. Even more so in light of the fact that you can’t typically buy admission to that part of an event. You have to have special skills or contributions and be accepted by the greater group of people making the event happen.

Once a venue is prepared and talent available, spectators must show up in order for an event to be considered successful by most individuals definitions. That does not happen on its own. There are a number of a ways in which an event can be made known to potential spectators and the process of doing this is generally known as promoting or marketing. Promoting is something I’ve found I can only do when I’m truly passionate about what it is that I’m promoting. An example of this would be a website I run by the name of AllDroid. Being a software developer that loves electronics and the ability to stay connected to others, the Internet, and media on the go, it’s only natural that I get excited by mobile technology. Today that generally means “smartphones”. AllDroid is what I consider an “Android enthusiast site”. It helps spread information and software related to the Android operating system created by Google for battery powered, mobile devices. When one of these devices is released with new technology or abilities, I’m like a child in a toy store about to explode with anticipation of getting to buy and go home with the latest, greatest new toy. This makes it very easy for me to promote my web site. I do this on a daily basis when I talk with people and hear they might have use of my site, by advertising with other sites who share similar interest, by using professional services that expose ads for me elsewhere on the Internet, and likely in a number of other small ways.

All these preparations for an event are critical to making an event the best it can be. Why does the event matter though? The dancers are incredibly talented and if you saw one on the street corner, I wouldn’t expect you’d be much less impressed than if you saw them at an event. The event does offer a few things though that combined, are significant and this video made me realize this.

One dancer can be quite something to behold, but when four of them work together as a team, the results are far beyond what any of them could have dreamed of doing alone. At one of these events, it can be expected that many such talents will be brought together so once the promoting has made the event known to an individual, that person will have many more opportunities to observe such talent than if they left it to chance or even if they went looking on their own.

Without the support of everyone who brought the event together, the talent would still find it difficult to make their skills known to the world. This means the everyone from the architect that designed the venue, the people who pushed brooms to clean up the construction site, the event managers, the designers, the sound engineers, the promoters, the financial backers, right down to the spectators that showed up to watch the talent and cheer them on so they would try that much harder to do their best; every last person was in a way just as important as the talent. Without the event, they are talented and can entertain a few. Without the talent, the event is virtually pointless. Together though, something amazing happens and a great many people are better off.

Watching this video of four dancers working together at an event made me realize all this then draw an unlikely parallel. My website is like an event. It has financial backers, architects, engineers, promoters, spectators, and like an event, it must have talent to be complete. The talent (Android developers) can work on their own and they will accomplish much the same, but they won’t reach all the people who are passionate about their work and appreciate the fruits of their effort. Like in the entertainment industry, their can be other benefits of a talent working in the context of an event. It typically generates revenue in any number of ways and that lets the people who manage the event provide benefits to the talent and spectators so that every-one's experience is better in the end and perhaps even allows them to compensate the talent in some way.

When everyone involved understands this and does their part, everyone involved should end up better off then if they worked alone, outside of an event. I built AllDroid to help support the Android development community, and in a way I think I understood this instinctively, but I’m not sure all the potential spectators (users and members) and talent (developers) in my community does and that saddens me because I know Android will be less than it could be so long as that’s the case.

Additional details: Following is largely my opinion mixed with facts and is subjective and highly emotional as a result. You have been warned:

This will also be the last I have to say on this subject publicly and will serve as a new milestone for the site. I will also no longer act in such a personal manner because I’ve received so much personal abuse as a result of my attempts to connect this way. This saddens me because there are many who I’d like to give personal time and attention to in an attempt to support their efforts to further Android, but if this community does appreciate my efforts, it is a very small group who voices it. I am grateful for all the efforts that have made AllDroid what it now is. I’ll say one more time that without users and developers, it would be nothing and then my efforts truly would be in vain. This also serves as proof that they haven’t been and that is why I will continue to support the community via AllDroid.

I really wish I didn't have to address such things because only a couple weeks ago I would have called this person a friend and didn't think him capable of being selfish or mean but he's proven beyond a doubt that I was wrong. I do have to wonder how much is his doing though because as smart as he is, life experience is worth a lot in both knowledge and wisdom for those who choose to learn and grown over time and he is currently under the wing of someone roughly 10 years older who has twice now shown that he is not above acting without integrity either out of greed and/or anger.

The person to which I refer once did great damage to AllDroid for his own personal gain only to be burned by the very people which he foolishly thought would reward him. After he admitted publicly his wrong-doing, I choose to show forgiveness (something I'm beginning to see is a personality fault of mine) and once more I invested time, energy, hope, and trust toward this person thinking that the entire Android community could benefit. When I choose to stand up for my principles with the intent of strengthening the community by calling out someone who was acting selfishly and dishonestly, this person turned tail and hid, making my time and efforts a waste.

The latest two of which I speak are now partnered up and have been spreading the same lies and hateful words towards me again, without having any way of knowing the truth. Neither  of them did the adult thing and contacted me when they heard the outrageous claim which @Speeddymon made to ask my side or to even see if there was a discrepancy. I'd say that is proof that they had no interest in the truth and were only looking for an excuse to defame me and AllDroid. Of course, by their own admissions, they were already biased towards such behavior because they had made up their minds collectively (including a 3rd person, even) about me and although I can't say that collective opinion can be entirely wrong, based on the amount of interaction they had with me, I can say that they were all mistaken about my motives and that it tainted their opinions of me which in combination with their lack of life experience and maturity, appears to have led to some nasty results.

These same people have also been pasting the contents of messages (and even a voicemail which to me seemed like it worked against them) which were not meant for the general public and without proper context, these also are very misleading and as such I feel should be seen as lies or attempts to manipulate the truth in their favor. Nothing I’ve said privately embarrasses me or makes me regretful except that I didn’t slow down to say it better and without all the profanity and insults (no matter how much I still feel they were due).

I am not naming anyone but @Speeddymon because at this point, if you as a reader don't know the other names, then that's immaterial. If from here forward they don't commit further libel against me, then they're just more players in this huge Android community and they will suffer the natural consequences of their shortsightedness, lack of judgement, etc.. I will say that I find it incredibly ironic that those other individuals now run a site of their own, using so many of my ideas, and appear to have so many people fooled into thinking that they are not the lieing, back-stabbing individuals they have proven themselves to be. Let me go on record saying that I don’t feel sorry for anyone who ultimately gets burned by them. I’ve done everything I could to help the community and do my part to expose them. Their lies combined with their intelligence have succeeded in putting me in a position where I have little choice but to sit back and watch them build that site, then burn all the people they will. Mark my words, they will do it too. Likely in a way that people don’t even know it’s happening.

Following is a very long-winded and thoroughly thought out explanation of what has gone down regarding @Speeddymon, as a matter of facts, not opinions or lies as others have provided. After that, you will find an explanation (proof if you like, and at least a couple people should see it as just that) of my intention in obtaining, building, maintaining, and continuing to run AllDroid.

This is the last I will speak on the matter in public. I could continue to provide public replies to these individuals but it's like arguing with a fool; it's pointless. Some people choose to see things their own way, independent of facts and reality and you cannot sway their view or opinion. I think in some cases this is unintentional and is the result of believing some things to be true which are not, and not knowing or understanding where the faulty facts begin. That in turn affects their interpretation of other facts or events and gives them different meaning. The classic example would be "rose-colored glasses". If you didn't know you were wearing them, nobody could convince you the world actually was a different set of colors than you see. As I continue to try and explain/teach/enlighten/etc these people to the reality of certain situations, they are only able to understand it based on the experiences and knowledge they have to work with. If they make bad assumptions as well, then this becomes an impossible task. When their opinion is that I'm only trying to justify my actions because they disagree with them, then my attempts to explain actually become counterproductive and I'm left with no choice but to let them believe as they will.

I do have the ability to address others who have heard what those confused individuals have said and are open to hearing truths and opinions (labeled as such instead of facts) so that accurate judgements can be made. Even then, I suspect that some people just won't see things the way I do and that is also something which I will just have to let be.

"I" and I alone know my intentions and can only tell you this much: I don't believe in lying. It's contradictory to the nature of the universe and serves nobody well in the end. Practically, it just doesn't make sense because lying creates work and potentials that work against ones own self. Even more practical, I have a bad memory and so lying to people would be about as sensible as picking fights with angry junkies who have nothing to lose. I'd be setting myself up for disaster. I believe in win-win-win scenarios. I don't say win-win because in the real world, there's almost always "you, me, and them". When anyone loses, well, someone loses and that idea doesn't make me feel good. I'd rather work a little harder, be honest, perhaps gain a bit less in the short term, but know that nobody loses while I enjoy my keep and more importantly, I have the foresight to know that if everyone wins, the future will hold more opportunities for me than if someone loses. When making decisions in my life whether they be personal or business, I keep this in mind and always seek solutions that are win-win-win.

You have two reasons to believe all of that, either because it sounds good and you want to, or because it makes sense. Since you've not been in a situation where you can know that my decisions were not based on other motives, that's all you can know, but why believe otherwise if you haven't seen evidence of anything else? THAT is what I'd like to get through to these people who seem to think I have some evil master plan. At this point, one in particular sounds downright paranoid when you consider that because he still thinks that I'm just manipulating people when all my actions have been for everyone else's good and I continue to lose by running AllDroid... except for the knowledge that I am helping Android in various ways (which he feels differently about of course).

If you have been following recent events and after reading the following you can see without a doubt that @Speeddymon has lied, others have believed those lies and acted on them to include sharing them with you, which in turn makes them liars, you then have to ask yourself how much of what they've said you can believe. The thing about someone who will lie is that they rarely do it just once if they're any more than a child who still hasn't come to understand how futile lies are. If you're knowingly going to invest your time, contributions, energy, trust, etc.. in someone who would lie to you, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment or even disaster.

In closing:

In any case, my interest is ultimately in Android and so I will no longer get sucked into the childish politics that so often seem to affect this community. Clearly cohesion isn’t a priority and too many developers would prefer to work autonomously for AllDroid to be what I hoped it would, but it will remain to support any developers who want to use it. If even one developer uses it and makes a difference, then I haven’t failed. Lastly, you'll find that because of their guilty conscious, the unnamed parties that this document doesn't refer to by name will likely have something to say about all this and if they do as they always have up to this point, they will use the term "drama". I've come to understand that they use this word to refer to issues they don't want to deal with, especially now this means issues which show them for who they really are. Watch for this tell-tale sign (assuming they aren't smart enough to read all the way to this point and as a result, avoid that which they've done so many times before as a result).


Friday, July 22, 2011

Toshiba Thrive Review and AllDroid announcement

The review will be a WIP for a couple days, but I wanted to announce immediately that I have added forums for the Toshiba Thrive AT105 at (specifically at Interestingly, other major Android enthusiast sites are ignoring this amazing tablet (the best of them all right now in my opinion).

Details on the 32GB that I'll be reviewing can be found at:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wireless Companies and my Frustration

In March, I purchased a rather pricey piece of electronics from Verizon Wireless that was being advertised as “4G”. In some of their materials they qualified that equipment as “4G upgradable” to indicate that it wasn’t actually able to use their LTE network just yet, but it would.

Four months later, an eternity in the technology world, their LTE network has been running nicely for some time and the 4G upgrade for this device is still not available. At this rate, the device will be obsolete before the upgrade is made available and if that occurs, then Verizon Wireless will be guilty of misrepresentation but my opinion is that they already as because even now, they still have commercials and posters that display their “4G Devices” and they include this device that I’m talking about.

Verizon Wireless has also been making changes to their service plans and the most significant of those changes relates to their shift toward “tiered plans”. In the past, if you’ve paid for data on a device, it’s been “unlimited” (which really wasn’t if you read the fine-print, but that didn’t apply to many people or circumstances). They changed the game though. If you aren’t already a customer on one of their “unlimited” plans, then you’re forced to subscribe to one of their tiered plans. I am one of the “grandfathered” customers so I pay $29 for unlimited 4G data. If you go buy a 4G device today, you will pay $30 for 2GB of data ($15/1GB), $50 for 5GB of data ($10/1GB), $80 for 10GB of data ($8/1GB), then $10 per additional 1GB used thereafter. This means that if you’re a “typical” user, you will pay as much as me and I have unlimited data, but it also means that you pay the most compared to all other users. The more data you use, the better your rates get until you use more than 10GB at which point the pricing begins to go back up.

I not only fail to see the logic here, but it looks to me like Verizon is trying to push customers away. Especially true when you look at how other carriers are providing truely unlimited plans as lower price points. Most people don’t need to speed that Verizon’s LTE network provides so they don’t have incentive to pay those rates and if you buy a 4G device, you MUST use a 4G plan. This means that you soon won’t be able to get the nicer phones without also paying the higher rates for data. What is Verizon thinking?

This frustration led to to walk into a Sprint store so I could find out about their “4G” service (by the way, nobody has real 4G, they all just use the term anyway, but Verizon has the closest thing right now). The first sales person I spoke with was rude and uninformed so I just walked away and looked for another one. The only other sales person was with a customer, but near a phone I wanted to look at so I couldn’t help but overhear his sales pitch as I checked out the phone I wanted.

He was trying to help the customer decide between two very similar phones, both high-end with lots of features. The customer asked him about battery life and he told her that, “this one will have slightly better battery life because it has a little bit slower CPU” which is like saying, “you’ll eat less food while traveling in this car because it has a weaker engine” in a world that doesn’t have speed limits. The reality is that the slower the CPU is, the older is likely is and that alone means it’s most likely less efficient, but it also means that the screen will be on longer as the user waits for the phone to complete tasks and the screen on a smart-phone is the biggest battery consumer by far. In other words, he had no clue what he was talking about and as a result, was misleading her to what may be the wrong phone for her entirely.

This steered me away from Sprint because I don’t want to be dealing with a rude, ignorant, dishonest company. Then there’s the fact that their “4G” service is available in a VERY limited number of places, isn’t very robust, and their 3G service is onbearably slow, especially compared to the unlimited 4G I get right now with Verizon.

I’m just fed up with the wireless industry right now. It seems like all the providers are so desperate that they’ll say and do anything (think of all the AT&T vs Verizon commercials we’ve been exposed to, most of which were completely misleading) and they are getting away with it. I thought the FTC existed to protect consumers from this sort of behavior, especially when it happens with near-monopolies like Verizon and AT&T.

I think I’m going to look for and possibly try to initiate a class-action lawsuit against Verizon for talking me and 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of people into buying 4G devices that aren’t actually 4G yet because they need upgrades that aren’t available or because service isn’t available yet and they don’t bother telling the consumers. Same with AT&T. There’s a study that says something like 60% of iPhone 4 users think they have 4G phones because the iPhone 3G and 3Gs were 3G and iPhone 4 has a 4 in the name. I’m sure the carriers and Apple aren’t ignorant to this trend otherwise they wouldn’t have gone from the 3, to the 3G, to the 3Gs to the 4.

Is the US on the verge of complete ruin?

So congress is still discussing the debt-cap issue and as our country nears this cap, the consequences are beginning to show. As a disabled veteran of the USMC, I receive disability benefits and I’m currently going to school thanks to benefits from the Montgomery GI-Bill, a plan which I choose to pay into nearly 13 years ago. The government has had my money for all this time and now I’m being told that I may lose those benefits.

I can’t even invest in our own government with security? That wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t see our government giving BILLIONS of dollars to private companies that have failed to thrive and should be gone now. Companies which made horrible decisions, practice bad business, have proven themselves corrupt and put our entire country at risk, and are now taking money DIRECTLY out of my pockets. As if paying those companies through my illegally collected federal tax dollars wasn’t enough to disgust me.

As a veteran I find all of this almost impossible to stomach, but what really takes it too far, is thinking of the active-duty troops facing the fear of loosing their pay. As far back as history goes, all major militia have been paid for their service. The way the US structures its military and the support for them, there are 10’s of thousands of troops putting themselves in mortal harms way over seas right now, who also have family here in the states who rely on the paychecks these personnel receive. If they lose their paychecks, the families here who already suffer fear for those they love and the separation that is inherent in the service of our military, how have to fear for their own very survival. The most basic things like food and shelter are at risk.

If sympathy for them isn’t enough motivation to straighten out this mess, the reality that our military will not perform anywhere near optimal levels when they find out their family is facing such fear (or the reality should it occur) should be enough. That means that as a country, we’ve spent the money to put our troops out there (and imagine if that decisions was bad to begin with), put their lives in harms way, all in the belief that it’s needed to secure the future of our country, and now it would all be thrown to the wayside because of wasteful spending and mixed up priorities.

Imagine if we hit the cap, can’t pay our military, things begin to fall apart, another country understands this and takes advantage of it, then we lose lives and/or assets over-seas as a result, THEN our countries moral will take a dive and that will further damage our economy.

All this because someone chose to bail out a bunch of worthless, corrupt thieves called “business men” who would give themselves multi-million dollar bonuses for doing what? If instead someone had the wisdom to intelligently invest that money in other ways and approve the “Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act”, then none of this would be an issue right now.

Our government has already let the terrorists win their war (TSA is the proof) and now they’re playing the very real possibility of destroying our country because of mismanagement of spending and debt. How sad it all is.