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Smartphone addiction could be changing your brain

Dear readers and customers,

as app developers we ourselves not only love to use apps. We also try to keep them as clean as possible.

And with this statement we don’t mean explicitly we’re providing bug free apps before releasing them into the wild. This is common sense.

In a world full of addictions, some of them completely new since the release of the iPhone as the first smartphone in 2007, we explicitly avoid the following techniques:

* infinite scroll
All of our developed apps, as well as all of the websites we create and maintain by the way, never used any form of infinite scrolling. Today, almost any so called “social media” app or website uses this addiction technique in some form. We don’t want to mention those here. If you want to read further about this behaviour of the “bottomless bowl” technique, which affects humans, we recommend reading the experiment by Brian Wansink

* pull to refresh
As of our newest round of app updates, we eliminated this kind of refresh mechanism from all of our apps. Our websites never were affected, though. We built the mechanism in when Lollipop came out (2015 or soon thereafter) to try to experiment with new forms of refreshing when they first appeared in the smartphone operating system Android. Unfortunately, in the meantime it became clear this technique is too similar with those of slot machines. And we all know how gambling can be of a hassle for quite a lot of persons.
We are happy with it, to be honest: not only are we assured that our refresh mechanism as it was implemented was very good the way it was. We also found out that elderly persons have problems even recognising Android design patterns which are too obscure to them. Oldie but goldie, we stayed with the refresh button and a cute coloured progress bar.
Fun fact: we never were sure about this design pattern and if we should use it for all our apps. So, the only app in our portfolio which we spared with this mechanism all the time was zockerseele.com (oldschool won, woohoo! ^^). Otherwise we wouldn’t even have the code to revert anymore…

* no likes
Both of the mechanisms mentioned kick too much Dopamine into your brain, a neurotransmitter which can induce halluzinations if you abuse it too much. A lot of street drugs are responsible for it, e.g. Cannabis or Ecstasy. Third in this row are the likes, or likes in general.
Well, here this was a pure coincidence that we dropped out of Facebook completely in 2015. So none of our apps nor websites are affected since the aforementioned date.
The problem is not only the function itself but also the colour: red in most cases. The sum of phenomenons sets users in a “feedback loop state of social confirmation”. This is an official quote from Facebooks co-creator Sean Parker

As you can see, there are easier things to check if you develop apps for smartphones and tablets than human psychology, of course! Other techniques, like “the ratings of relationships”, we didn’t have to mention as we never developed dating apps. But there are other and more problems today which should be investigated and eliminated further by app developers in the near future.

Some of the new modifications in our case happened by chance. Others by mindful decisions. Or just experience.

But be assured that by now all of our apps you download from official repositories (Google Play Store, Amazon App Store and Opera App Store) lack those new-age manipulation techniques.

We hope that other app developers will follow and we gave them some good arguments using/avoiding design patterns in use today. Please show some responsibility. Thank you.

And never forget: there’s a world outside of your smartphone or tablet which is worth fighting and living for!

Only the best wishes to y’all,
the aethyx staff


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P1050037
(Android construction site graphic, CC0, Mike Linksvayer)

Dear readers & customers,

it’s fall 2019 and in the meantime we were able to update all of our Android apps!

Most of the new key features stay the same for all of our apps, here is a short overview about them:

  • all apps show an appropriate colour theme now
  • they are all Android 9 (Pie) compatible
  • and now they should run on all available Android 64bit devices out there

Of course there were some specific updates too, please check them out (they’re still for FREE!) and show us some love for our work: Visit our Android app porfolio on the official Google Play Store.

What will follow the coming weeks are bringing these releases online for the Amazon as well as the Opera app store, too.

At the moment we’re quite confident with our current app portfolio. We still got more work to do with our open source web browser app, YAABy, which will definitely occupy us for the coming years. Our apps for our ezines won’t be updated too heavily anymore. We realised what we wanted and think it’s the perfect time to promote them now. As updating is time consuming and costs a lot or resources, we still need your help! Just use the donation buttons here or on our project websites to keep us running and we’re able to afford our caffeine!

Enjoy, and always think about tomorrow.

The bestest,
the aethyx staff


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Bankrupt Key

Dear readers and customers,

at the end of 2018 “The Atlantic” posted a pessimistic article about the future of online advertising. In short: there is none. We’ll be thrown back to the 19th century soon.

One of the more disturbing facts herein was the mention that not only online only websites (“Vice”, “Buzzfeed” named in particular) are affected but mainstream media, too. As such, we as an indie online publishing house with online websites for German speaking countries are no exception here, unfortunately.

Looking back into our own archive, you only need to read the headlines to see the truth:

08/14/19: “How Google violates our patience policy as indie publishers”
03/11/19: “Eliminating advertisments from our mediae”
06/01/18 “AETHYX MEDIAE supporting Ethereum”
01/24/14: “Yes, we do accept bitty coins (Bitcoin)”
11/24/17: “We’re under attack”
07/22/10: “Sponsors wanted”

Although we’re young, agile and can act really, really fast, the problem financing our projects was/is a hardcore impediment since our humble beginnings.

So far, we failed miserably to break through these vicious cycles.

To share the problem now with all those media outlets scattered through the entire Internet makes us feel a bit less isolated and desparate. But the problem persists to this day. And we are turning 10 next year…

Well, yes. We’re so many in here and yet all so financially handicapped. And there are equally as many reasons why this is fact today. Let us list a few, shall we?

Whether it was a rise of 12% for advertising online in 2017 alone; the duopoly of Google and Facebook; systematic underpayment; malware spreading through advertising; etc, pp.

Despite all that there’s still the feeling that we use and support an outdated paradigm about advertising in general in a new medium, the WWW, which just won’t work anymore.

And we think this is very good!

And no, we don’t offer anything else than f**king stupid donations buttons!

Because, reading through this all, and we only need our own few archived posts here, what this money machinery is built up upon, this is just disgusting. We weren’t asked to use or support it, we were just forced too. Not a good sign for our media landscape in general, nor for us as a species.

Support what you <3! As long as it’s possible, at least.

Thanks for reading and your support,
the aethyx staff


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Dear readers and customers,

here is AETHYX MEDIAE, your friendly and most independent online publishing house from Europe!

Today we want to tell you about a neverending tale of How Google is violating our patience policy as indie publishers!

We’re developing Android apps inhouse since 2013, to be exact. During these times we never got any problems with them regarding any kinds of violations.

This is no wonder as we do our business seriously, and represent open-source to the fullest with all its quirks and hacks and stuff, but never illegally or bad or intentionally wrong, etc.

It’s mid August now and we already had to eat five takedowns since January. All because of the same fake bulls**t reason:

Google Play Store vs. AETHYX MEDIAE

This is a snapshot from the automatically generated Email you get when your app is taken down but with no further information what the problem was exactly.

In the past we didn’t ask them what the problem was. We just provided them a new APK, let them check it, and were good for the next couple of months.

This time we tried a different approach and asked them for a more detailed answer.

This is the answer followed by a graphic which, according to Google, violated their policy:

“During review, we found that your app violates the Payments policy. You can read through the Payments policy page for more details.

For example, your app provides methods for users to donate without using Google Play’s payment system in app and in the store listing. Please refer to the attached screenshot for further information.

Donations may only be collected within an app under certain conditions:

Donations are only permitted for validated non-profit charitable organizations (for example, a validated 501(c)(3) charitable organization or the local equivalent).
Donations must be facilitated via a web browser, and any collection must be made through a secure payment system.

You can learn more about in-app billing in the Android Developers Help Center. Note that all of these conditions need to be fulfilled for us to reinstate your app.”

This is the same nonsense they send you automatically when your app is taken down. It simply means we aren’t allowed to use donation(!) buttons we designed ourselves(!) on our own(!) apps and websites.

Don’t believe us? Then here’s the graphic with the “violation” in red:

Google Play Store vs. AETHYX MEDIAE: the fake violation

For historical reasons we didn’t change the naming of the file, we just resized it to get down to the violation from us according to Google.

As if this wouldn’t be enough, “Big G” knocked us down another time.

This time, same(!) EMail, we would violate a “YouTube autoplay policy”:

Additionally, during review, we also found that your app violates the Device and Network Abuse policy by enabling background play of YouTube videos.
One example to illustrate background play is YouTube video continues to play even after the screen is locked. Please refer to the attached screenshot (1) for further information.

Please update your app to fix these issues. You’ll need to disable background play functionality of YouTube videos in your app before submitting it for another review. You may also want to double check that your app complies with all other policies listed in the Developer Policy Center as additional enforcement could occur if there are further policy violations.”

They sent us a snapshot here too:

Google Play Store vs. AETHYX MEDIAE: fake YouTube violation

We think there is no more concrete way to tell you in one Email “we don’t like you, and we don’t support what you do, either”. DAMN.

If we wouldn’t have asked for a more detailed description about the first “violation”, we wouldn’t have received the second one about YouTube autoplay. Oh my…

Well, we’re the underdogs here, we can’t do anything about rules made by Google. Their Play Store still is the #1 reason why developers publish Android apps and this never changed and it will never change in the future.

So, what we’ll do, we can only nod our sad head and comply with them. As always.

As we’re already on our way out from tainted and non-GDPR-complying advertising schemes (as promised by us in an article back in March this year), we’re thinking about bringing back Google Adsense at least for those projects which offer Android app functionality. We never used Google Payments and don’t know what this is, and as far as we’re concerned we just won’t use it in the future for the reasons found herein, obviously.

For the time being, we can’t provide a working Android app for the aforementioned project. Let’s hope for the best!

Good luck to all the Android indie developers out there.

Take care,
the aethyx staff


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“Summer time, and the living is easy…”

Dear readers and customers,

it’s summer plus holidays and all over Europe the heat waves are rolling.

So we’ll keep this entry as short as possible:

DSCF31316
Linux sign which says “Please don’t mind this sign”, Chemnitz, Germany

For those that are more into reading, we strongly recommend the following post by Michael Aldridge from 2nd of May:

https://michaelwashere.net/post/2019-05-02-what-is-open-source/.

Android. Debian. Upcoming revolutionary open hardware movements like RISC-V.

We <3 what we do and how we do it: we support open-source!

Happy summer holidays,
the aethyx staff


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