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Worldwide Ace » Smart Phone, Stupid User

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Smart Phone, Stupid User

11 September, 2014 (08:51) | Technology

android

A little over a month ago, I got a smart phone. Suddenly, the world opened up to me in new and interesting ways, and despite having adopted Smart Phone Luddism for years fearing the repercussions on my life, it’s enabled so many positives that I’m easily eating crow for my anti-smart phone campaigning.

One downside to waiting so long to adopt a smart phone is that my techie, power-user status has fallen behind the times. In the last week, I’ve had the following conversation with my phone and the Internet:

Me: “Wow! This is cool, but I want to do more with my phone and remove some of this bloatware. How do I do that?”

Internet: “Root your phone! It’s easy! Here’s seven ways you can do that.”

Me: “Cool! Wait, is there any risk to this?”

Internet: “Oh sure. You could brick your phone, void your warranty or prevent yourself from getting important security updates.”

Phone: “Please don’t kill me!”

Me: “But you’re running so slowly and painfully and keep doing stupid things related to programs I don’t want!”

Phone: “But I’m so useful! And I’m still new!”

Me: “Oh. Well then how do I make sure I’ve got an out.”

Internet: “Back up your phone!”

Me: “That makes sense. I’ll do that… Wait, how do I do that?”

Internet: “Here’s seven ways to back up your phone! This is my favorite one!”

Phone: “I’m downloading it!”

Me: “Awesome! So as soon as I back my phone up, I can root you and start playing. Are you done yet?”

Phone: “Yes! Now just back me up!”

Me: “Ok! Run it phone!”

Program: “I need root access to work.”

Phone: “Oh no! It wants root access! We don’t have root access yet! Get root access! Quick!”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Program: “You want to run me? Give me root access. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.”

Me: “…”

Program: “What’s the hold up? Give me root.”

Me: “So you’re telling me that in order to run you, you need root.”

Program: “Yes.”

Phone: “Yes.”

Me: “And if I give you root, then we can back my phone up.”

Program: “Yes.”

Phone: “Yes!”

Me: “And once I’ve got my phone backed up, then it’s safe to root my phone.”

Phone: “Yes!”

Internet: “That’s the idea.”

Me: “And you don’t see a problem with this?”

Internet: “Haha! Fooled you!”

Me: “…”

So while I suspect I will figure it out eventually, I feel like I’m at a relative standstill. As much as I’d like to start playing around and turning my phone into the power machine I think it should be, I’m mind-blown at the circular logic some of these guides are employing, each linking to another that forgets where we started.

And to top it all off, a friend threw a rooted, flashed phone at me that he wants reset to stock, so I’m trying to figure out how to reverse engineer that one while I haven’t even rooted my phone properly yet.

Oh, to be an aging power-user…

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  • TheOldBear

    Root! Root! Root! for the Home Team…. While I take absolutely no responsibility for this advice, you need to think about the difference between getting “root access” to your phone and to using said “root access” to delete or change files and/or to install an updated, modified, or different version of the operating system. Getting root access just allows you to read and write files in the root directory of your phone. It’s a higher level permission, if you will. Once you have it, you can copy all the files and the existing operating system as a backup, not just the files to which the lowly user is restricted.

    Of course, once you have “root access” you can use your powers for good or evil. You can delete all that bloatware (as you call it) or save things like custom apps to the top level “root” directory. Provided that you don’t delete or overwrite anything necessary for the operation of the device, you should not have a problem. And having a back-up should let you put things back they way they were if you screw up.

    However, you then may be tempted to replace the operating system with a newer, slicker, or more customized version and that could be either a blessing or a curse. Caveat emptor, as they say. If there is really some function for which you need a new or modified operating system, it might be worth doing some research and making the change. However, if you’re just interested in having a different operating system just because you can, you might want to step back and think about what you stand to gain — or lose.

  • Ben

    You’re spot on.

    I don’t have a need or desire to flash a new rom on my phone. I simply want to clean some space and get rid of a few apps that are from companies owned and operated in a way with which I disagree that may well be collecting my data.

    As for backing up, I will be doing so before I royally screw anything up. To mod is human; to backup is divine.