Issue 68

2 September 2020

by Lori M Olson

DRD068: How the new Alberta RCMP crime reporting app is handling your data ought to be a crime itself.

OPED ― Our Unvarnished Opinion

Since the last issue I had to say something nice about an app, this week I’m back to ranting about an app.

The new online crime reporting app for the Alberta RCMP uses Google Maps. It is a requirement, when you use it to report a crime, that you pin the crime location using Google Maps. I noticed immediately when I was checking it out that there is a Terms of Service (TOS) link on the Google Map.

So, of course I tapped on it. Lo and behold the content you upload, submit, store, send or receive through Google Maps is subject to Google’s TOS, including the license in the section called “permission to use your content”. So here we have a police crime reporting app but hey, the data is going to belong to Google. 😡

This was just a bad choice on the part of the app developers. There are several other mapping options they could have chosen, including OpenStreetMap for example.

Please remember that security and privacy are your responsibility when you are creating your applications and make sure that people’s private information, like a crime report is not going to end up belonging to Google or Apple or Microsoft. ― WNDXLori

After what must seem like an eternity, the DragonRuby Game Toolkit Tutorial has launched! It’s everything you need to know to build games with the DragonRuby Game Toolkit - Game Jam Edition. Why not enroll today for free. Your low res game greatness awaits!

DRSH ― Dragon Riders Slack Highlights

We have all run into this: our app demands we store some information which is either kinda secret or maybe even really secret. Obviously you can’t just leave that in plain text so what options are available to us? It’s at times like these we wish we could listen in on the conversation between some folks who really know the subject so we can learn how to do it better ourselves. Oh, right. That’s exactly one of the things the Dragon Rider’s Slack team is able to do: enable us to learn from others. Here’s a great thread which includes Brett Walker, Andrew Havens and Martin Kolb which sheds a lot of light on the subject of how to make those app secrets a little harder to hack.

ANDROID ― Nothin’ but…

Have you ever wanted to separate your ever-growing, ever-more-confused Android resources file into multiple folders? Didn’t think that was possible? Ah, but it is. This great, really brief article by Bevan Steele explains: Multiple Resource Folders in Android.

GOTW ― Gem of the Week

So, if you stumbled across a RubyMotion library called Motion::Lager you would naturally assume it was some sort of diversionary beer pong simulator or some such similar waste of time. But you would be wrong. Motion::Lager is a full featured logger for Ruby Motion. Get it? Yeah, that’s pretty clever but you’ll still have to explain to your team lead that you’re not playing some sort of online drinking game. After all, you can do that in all the spare time freed up but having a decent logger at your disposal.

COMM ― Community

If you’re apt to lament the state of affairs in mobile app development you may want to take a trip down memory lane all the way back to 2007. In case you’re wondering that was just before the iPhone was first released. The state of affairs in mobile apps before the iPhone? In just one word? Brutal. These tweets from Joanna Stern and Benedict Evans just begin to tell the tale of woe. It should make us all appreciate how good things are now, by comparison.

AHTW ― App Highlight This Week

Speaking of which, there is a pretty good chance the first game we played on our shiny new ‘personal computer’ (if not our phone) was Solitaire. If you really want to remind yourself of these good (?) old days, take DragonRuby Solitaire out for a spin. What’s old is new again. Playing this makes us want to listen to that old, warped, vinyl copy of Frampton Comes Alive! And you thought it was his wah-wah pedal that made him sound like that.

DRGTK ― DragonRuby Game Toolkit

In addition to our big announcement of the DragonRuby Game Toolkit Tutorial, there are yet other opportunities to learn and of which you may want to avail yourself. For example, the ever-popular RoguelikeDev Does The Complete Roguelike Tutorial has attracted the attention of the JavaScript community which created a JavaScript port. In turn, this attracted the attention of the DragonRuby community which created a DragonRuby port of their own. What goes around comes around. Eventually.

HAHA ― And They All Laughed

Those of you who have suddenly relocated your work life to your residence (because of you-know-what) may have struggled with the setup of the slick two monitor arrangement you had back at the office. However, once you’ve accomplished that, maybe you’re on that slippery slope to… (image: Brooke Bourgeoois / The New Yorker)

That’s a Wrap!

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“Without privacy, there was no point in being an individual.” – Jonathan Franzen

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