Updated Again: Samsung and LG’s build of Android 5 (Lollipop) for the G3 and S5 (some) missing core OS librariesPosted: February 6, 2015
Update 2015-02-23: It appears the Android 5 build on the Samsung S5 in certain markets is also broken in this way. Vote with your wallets, people. Or retweet our rant.
Just a short post to rant about LG.
Our European users, where LG is first rolling out their Android 5 update for the G3, have reported an issue with RescueTime. It turns out the issue is actually with LG’s Android 5 build.
It appears that LG has pushed out a variant build of Android 5 missing an entire library that is part of the SDK specification for build level 21 (Android 5), the “android.app.usage” API.
Android 5 removed the old system level features RescueTime used to make the product work, but replaced those features with better, more robust, and safer features in the app usage API.
For some reason, LG has managed to produce a build that apparently selectively rips out this part of Android. I haven’t read the fine print, but I wonder if this violates Google’s more recent licensing of Android that attempts to reduce fragmentation.
How are developers supposed to build apps for the Play Store, if manufacturers break the core SDK like this?
We just made a change to how we record time spent in Google Docs and Office Online. You will now be able to see the type of document you’re spending time on, instead of just having everything grouped under the generic “Google Docs”, label.
Changes that affect the lower level data stream are a pretty big deal for us, so they don’t happen too often. We thought this one was worth doing though, because it will help you understand your time more clearly. And, importantly, it will make time spent on your online productivity tools compare more precisely to your time spent on tools you install on your computer.
Here’s the gist:
- When you enter in a Google web application from Google Drive, for example open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets (they have about 3 different names for it, that is one), that will get tracked separately from time spent on a presentation opened in Google Presentations (aka Slides).
- Similarly, using the same web applications in hosted google accounts (aka Google Apps), they will be broken out to the various web apps, with the suffix ” – Google Apps”.
- MicroSoft Office Online (aka office.live.com) applications will be broken out as Word – Office Online, Excel – Office Online, PowerPoint – Office Online.
Hello from our sometimes Android camp.
UPDATE 2015-01-11 Version 4.1.0 released today adds support for website tracking for users on Android 5. Here ceases the regular blog updates, since all major goals are reached!
UPDATE 2014-12-12 We released RescueTime for Android v 4.0.0 (app version not OS version) today. This release is a major rewrite we have been working on that we accelerated to get out the door in order to support Android 5. Everything looks like it is working well, though we are still working on website time tracking for Lollipop.
UPDATE 2014-12-03: We have successfully re-engineered the app to use the android.add.usage API Google has introduced. We hope to release this update soon, but it is going to be coupled with a major revision of the app including many other features. Stay tuned!
Android Lollipop has introduced a totally new way to gather system statistics that we are assessing and implementing. The have also completely deprecated a system interface we were depending on to produce RescueTime statistics (read: rendered non-functional).
The upside is, in the future we may be able to improve our statistics. The downside is, that until we can get an update out the door, anyone who uses Android L (5) will cease to get app usage time from Android.
Sorry, and thanks for your patience!
A number of you, especially international users, are affected by a very annoying bug in Samsung’s build of the Android OS. The unfortunate situation is that this a Samsung bug, and not something we have the ability to do much about. This Samsung bug variously causes these behaviors:
- Installing RescueTime and enabling “website details” causes Text To Speech to be active. This one seems to be mostly solvable through ridiculously complicated systems settings changes.
- Installing RescueTime (and enabling website details?) causes misbehavior of certain alternate keyboards, especially Swype. Doesn’t appear to be a solution to this yet.
Samsung has at certain times claimed to fix this bug, but it is as if they are using some stub code that contains the bug, and keep re-introducing it in different ways. The bug has to do (it seems) with Samsung incorrectly responding to other apps Accessibility settings, when they should not.
They seem to have introduced the bug in some revision 4.1, then sort-of fixed it in some iterations 4.2, then re-introduced it in other ways in 4.2.1, at this point it is hard to know which Samsung devices have the issue. Galaxy 3 seems to be the biggest offender.
Here is a comprehensive discussion of other app developers hoping to get Samsung to do something about it:
and another thread: https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=23105
and another about keyboards: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1924208
For users with the TTS and Talkback problem: from what we hear from users if you go to your phone’s system Settings -> App -> All and disable BOTH Google TTS Engine AND Samsung TTS Engine, the spoken text problem should go away.
For users with the Swype and other keyboard problems, we are still looking at recommendations, and will update here. Some users may have success by simply switching the RescueTime Accessibility Service to OFF under system Settings -> Accessibility -> Services -> RescueTime (switch to OFF).
Our current plan of action is to add a feature that detects if you are on Samsung devices, and if you select web site details, give you a warning and a link to this post.
This week, a security vulnerability known as the Heartbleed bug was discovered to be affecting major websites across the internet. RescueTime’s servers have been updated to address this issue.
All requests to RescueTime use SSL (HTTPS). All requests are terminated by Amazon using their Elastic Load Balancing Service. This service was patched to eliminate the Heartbleed bug on April 8th. This means users are currently protect against leakage resulting from this bug.
Additionally, as of April 9 all RescueTime server systems have been patched for the bug, or have been identified as not vulnerable. This is more a precaution than requirement since users do not directly connect to any RescueTime servers.
RescueTime is in the process of updating all passwords used in the administration of the service as the dependent services themselves are updated to protect against the bug, e.g. when the site service we use announces they are patched, we then update the password.
However, for further guarantee of security RescueTime will also update its server SSL certificates used in HTTPS and other privileged resources over the next week. We will make a second update when that is complete.
What should you do at this point?
It is now safe to change your password on www.rescuetime.com. You may also want to read our list of general steps you can take to browse the web safely while other websites are responding to the Heartbleed vulnerability.
(Firefox users: up vote this if you want support on Firefox for Android: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=908224)
We just pushed an update for our Android app that adds the ability to report on time you spend browsing on your phone or tablet. Get it here:
To do this, we needed use Android’s Accessibility services, and this requires an elevated privilege you will need to manually enable. Our app will walk you through this when you click the “Enable website logging” option. However, here is a brief explanation of the process:
1) Open up the RescueTime app and click the settings button (the gear icon). Click the “Enable website logging” option. This will automatically take you to the system Accessibility Settings screen, if it needs to be enabled.
2) Find RescueTime in the Services list on the Accessibility settings screen and select it. On older devices you may already see an “on/off” switch for RescueTime here, just select On and you are done.
3) After tapping it, on newer devices it opens the screen for enabling the service for RescueTime that has a description of the service. Click “On” to enable it. This automatically signals RescueTime to begin looking for site info in browsers.
4) Achieve success! Supported browsers are: the stock Android browser, just called “Browser”, the Nexus series stock browser (a version of Chrome), Chrome (the version in the app store), Chrome Beta, and Dolphin. Not supported: Firefox and DolphinMini.
A really quick sunset, the kind you see in the tropics. REALLY quick. I’m thinking: tomorrow. This being the kind of sunset where no new data is accepted from these old client apps.
We have new plugins for both Firefox and Chrome that replace the old. They have been out for quite a while now, and the old one has been de-listed for a long time. Here’s where the new one is (links to extension galleries):
I imagine this affects no actual person, only zombie systems that are enjoying harassing our site, but if you are a person or sensitive “good” zombie currently using the old plugin, please switch to the new one.
IF you are an old plugin user, you can follow these steps and keep your old data:
1) Open the full dashboard on our site from the plugin: https://www.rescuetime.com/dashboard
2) Click “settings” top right and set an email address for yourself, and add the password
3) Delete the old plugin from your add ons/extensions list
4) Add the new one https://www.rescuetime.com/browser-plugin and register using that email address