Working on creating my own “App Store”

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working on coding my own “App store“, as an alternative to the Android market. It’s been a lot of work, but at the same time, it’s been fun and challenging, and it really helped me get reacquainted with my long-lost PHP skills. Although there are still quite a few problems to solve (such as how users will get updates, and how application purchases will be done), the site itself for the store is finally starting to look great, and in the not-so-distant future, it should serve as a pretty good way to distribute the free versions of my applications. In order to make the user experience as good as possible, I will also be incorporating some of the new features introduced in HTML5. The site as it is takes advantages of exciting new CSS3 techniques, JavaScript, and web fonts.  Personally, I believe that the site will look great when it’s finished, and I can’t wait to release it! There is still a lot more work to be done, but I believe that I have reached a significant milestone in the process of releasing this to the public, and I realized that I haven’t written very much for quite some time now, so I wanted to let you guys know that I’ve been busy coding, and I have no intention of giving up coding. Stay tuned for more updates!

Fun Fact: This post contains the brand new official HTML5 logo, which practically just came out.

I’ve Been Completely BANNED From the Android Market

In case you were wondering where all of my applications went, Google decided to suspend my entire account and all applications on it on December 29th, 2010 at 8:46 PM (UTC). This is very disappointing, frustrating, and depressing, especially since I am no longer allowed to upload any new Android applications. I believe that Google went too far and should have only suspended the infringing applications instead of banning my entire account, since I had many legitimate, non-infringing applications on it, such as EliteGuard, Currency Converter, Simple Dice, Find the Mouse, and InfiniteSMS (I don’t believe simply removing the SMS sending limit qualifies as infringement). Here is the message I have received from the Android Market Support Team:

Hello Dylan,

After a regular account review, your Android Market Publisher account has
been suspended due to multiple violations of our Terms of Service. You may
view these terms here:

http://www.android.com/us/developer-distribution-agreement.html (Section
4.4).
http://www.android.com/market/terms/developer-content-policy.html

Please note that Android Market Publisher suspensions are associated with
developers, and may span multiple accounts.

We are not inclined to reverse this decision.

Regards,
The Android Market Team

An hour after receiving this message from Google, I decided to try to appeal the ban, with an apology letter directed toward the Android Market team. As of January 3rd, 2011, I have not received any reply from them at all. A copy of my response to them is below:

Dear Android Market Support,

In addition to the applications that infringe upon your terms of service, I had many ‘legitimate’ applications listed that cause no harm to any devices or networks, or infringe on your terms of service in any way. I would like to appeal your decision to suspend my account, and I would like to request a specific list of infringing applications and how they infringe upon your terms of service so that I can remove those particular applications from the market if I am given another chance to distribute my applications on the Android market. Although you say that I have multiple violations of your terms of service, the only application I wrote that I am aware may potentially infringe on your terms of service is “EliteBomb”, my text-bombing application, of which I had multiple versions listed. When I uploaded this application, I was not aware that it was against your terms of service, and I would like to apologize for any misunderstandings. I realize that you don’t have to unsuspend my developer account, but given another chance, I would like to keep my applications that do not infringe on your terms of service listed, and upload more applications in the future. I have no intention of abusing the privilege of uploading Android applications. I will not upload another text bombing application, given the chance, without your prior consent.


Dylan Taylor
http://www.dylanmtaylor.com/

Unfortunately at this point, it doesn’t look like I will be able to get my Android market developer account back, and this is really frustrating and depressing. I truly would like to continue to develop and support my applications for Android, but it does not look like Google will allow me the privilege of doing so, so I shall begin to look into alternative means of distribution. This is a truly disappointing and sorrowful moment for me. :-(

EliteBomb SUSPENDED From Android Market

Google has decided to pull all three versions of EliteBomb, “Lite”, “Plus”, and the regular version without any formal notification what-so-ever. In fact, I didn’t even realize that my EliteBomb applications had been pulled this holiday season until I was notified by some of my customers. All I know for sure is that my last EliteBomb Plus order is dated December 22, 2010, which means that the applications were likely pulled between the 22nd and the 23rd. I have no intention of discontinuing support of the applications that have been pulled. I contacted them regarding this matter, but unfortunately, because of the holiday season, or some other unknown reason, I have yet to receive a response from them despite emailing them about it several days ago. Originally, I decided to wait until I received a response from them before writing up anything on my website, but out of frustration and due to emails from some of my over 45,000 EliteBomb users, I decided to post this anyways to let you guys know what happened. I hope to have EliteBomb back up soon, but if that is not possible, I will likely release a modified version that is acceptable on the Android market, under a different brand name. I was thinking along the lines of “Phoenix Text Bomber”. ;)

New EliteGuard AdMob Advertisement

In order to reach even more users, I’m now running a new advertisement for my brand new anti SMS bomb application, EliteGuard, across all of my applications that serve AdMob advertisements. This advertisement is an image in the same style as the ones for EliteBomb Lite and FiOS WEP Calculator. Check it out:

New EliteBomb Plus Gingerbread Screenshots Added

I’ve been working on cleaning up the market pages for my applications, and I noticed that the screenshots I had on the EliteBomb Plus page looked really stretched and unappealing, so I fired up my Android 2.3 emulator to get some better looking screenshots for use on the Android market. After playing with my app in the emulator for ~15 minutes, I finally got a really nice set of screenshots for the market, and I thought I’d post them here as well. Enjoy! :)

Simple Dice Accelerometer Support Added

In the latest update to Simple Dice (1.6), I added support for using the device’s accelerometer to detect shaking movement and roll the dice. The new version is available to download in the market right now. Check it out!

New FiOS WEP Calculator Advertisement

In an attempt to get more downloads of my FiOS WEP Calculator, I created a new advertisement that I will be running on AdMob. This new advertisement is much better than the plain text advertisement that I have been running previously, and will likely get many more clicks and downloads than the old version. Anyways, here it is:

EliteGuard Plus SMS Protection Now On The Market

I’m pleased to announce the release of EliteGuard Plus SMS Bomb Protection on the Android market. EliteGuard is an application that is able to block SMS bombing attacks with a very minimal impact on battery life consumption. EliteGuard is automatically started when your device turns on, and can be easily disabled with a single click inside the EliteGuard application. I have personally tested EliteGuard, and it works wonderfully on my Samsung Epic 4G, and I am barely even able to tell that it’s running. Because EliteGuard runs passively, meaning that it only checks for an SMS bombing attack upon receiving an SMS message, EliteGuard uses absolutely no additional battery power unless you receive an SMS. EliteBomb is currently in an early stage of development, so there are not very many features yet, but I plan on improving it and adding many more features in the future, such as the ability to view a log of messages received and how many of each message was received. At the moment, EliteGuard keeps track of those statistics internally, but nothing is actually displayed to the user. EliteGuard is currently available in the Android market for $1.99, and I highly recommend getting it. It’s the perfect compliment to EliteBomb Plus. Also, here is the high resolution application icon that I used for EliteGuard:

Beginning Work On EliteGuard

I’ve begun working on my latest project, EliteGuard SMS Bomb Protection, and I have the logo in addition to a good amount of the actual source code completed. EliteGuard is going to be an application to protect you from being text bombed. Right now it only prevents against repeated messages, and upper/lower case variations of the same message, with no additional changes, but in the future I plan on improving the spam detection logic to automatically determine if the text bombing application is making very slight changes to the original message in order to get around spam filters. I plan on getting EliteGuard into the Android market soon, although initially, it won’t have very many features available. As EliteGuard is right now, it doesn’t display logs of messages received, but it does internally keep track of how many of each message was received. Also, EliteGuard is capable of blocking messages received, even if the messages are from different senders. Because EliteGuard is only active when SMS messages are received, it has a very minimal impact on battery life, and the impact on battery lift should actually be less than if you were to receive all of the messages when you were getting text bombed, since there is no longer a need to use precious battery life to vibrate the phone, play a sound, or display an incoming message notification.  If you want to be protected against SMS bomb attacks, make sure to download EliteGuard from the Android market when it’s available.

Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Software Development Kit Released

The Android 2.3 software development kit was recently released which means I will be updating the screenshots in the Android market to have the new look, and checking my applications for compatibility. Stay tuned for more updates!