Friday November 7, 2008

Android Considered Harmful

The new Google Phone's Android platform apparently has a very serious (but hilarious) bug.  When the phone starts, it opens up a command shell with root privileges in the background, and everything you type on the keyboard is sent to that shell.  For example, if you type "reboot<enter>", it reboots the phone.

Does it make me a bad person that the first question that occurred to me upon reading about this was, "Hmm, what would be the best way to get a G1 user to screw themself over?"?  Here's my suggestion, which uses chat:

Q: Hey, got a minute?
A: Sure    [or whatever -- gets them to hit <enter> and prepare for a new command]
Q: Somebody told me, but I forgot: what's the worst thing you can type at a Unix command prompt?
A: rm -rf /    [and hilarity ensues]


This only works with people who know Unix, though—a non-tech-savvy person can only respond, "Hell if I know".  Can we come up with things that we can reliably get a non-geek to type?  Here's a thought: if you can get someone to type "<enter>yes [anything]<enter>" (which must happen all the time in messaging and chat) it will start up the Unix yes command, which will run forever and peg the processor.  I'll bet that runs down the battery really fast.  Fun!

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
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Comments

Convince people that :(){ :|:& };: is an emoticon for... something.

Posted by: mph at Nov 7, 2008 6:03:08 PM

:(){ :|:& };:

Hmm, looks like a surprised man with a neckbeard, from which two small animals, one bored, the other disfigured, are peeking out. That'll be tricky to slip into conversation.

Posted by: The Tensor at Nov 7, 2008 6:09:46 PM

Unfortunately for Google and its fans, the Google Chrome (just as the Android) is also not so successful as has been expected. I guess, the only two guys who are really cool in Google are Brin and Page. The others are not much better than their colleagues from Microsoft...

Posted by: Словари at Dec 1, 2008 4:39:02 AM

Does anyone consider the Android bug not a feature?

(PS: A long time ago, one of my newly-hired co-workers asked across the cubicles, "How do you get rid of a file?" We answered, quite reasonably, "rm ". Moments later, he was heard to be uttering colorful language. Apparently, the file he wanted to delete was "*".)

The emoticon is a long-faced man with a funny hat chewing on an ampersand.

Posted by: ZZMike at Jan 28, 2009 5:37:38 PM