Android Guy Weekly: Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs

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In this week’s episode of the Android Guy Weekly we’ll talk about technology, politics, and animal husbandry. No, really! Somehow me manage to tie it all together into a common thread, but you’ll just have to watch the video to see what I mean.

Operating systems and brand-names aside, when someone goes to buy a new smartphone or tablet, or install a new app, they fall into one of two groups: those who buy the product because it’s what they’ve been told to get, and those who are more fully-informed about what they’re getting and why.

To tell them apart we’ll call the first group “sheep” and the second we’ll call “sheep dogs” and “wolves”. Neither side is “right”, nor is either side “wrong”, and there’s nothing inherently bad about either side.

Sheep go along with their lives, not aware of the dangers that are around them, content to be sheep.

Wolves and sheep dogs both look very similar to the sheep. They both have long snouts, bushy tails, and sharp teeth. The difference between the sheep dogs and the wolves is simply that the sheep dogs care about the sheep, whereas wolves prey on them.

Sheep dogs live among the sheep. They keep the sheep out of danger and when a wolf comes around, they protect the flock. Wolves are people who don’t care about the well being of the sheep. They exploit your money and your privacy for their own gain.

We’re still not talking about platforms, just types of users. After all, there are wolves, sheep, and sheep dogs using every platform, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

A few platforms have an approval process that submitted apps must pass through before they’re included and made available for users to install. One platform doesn’t have an approval process. Talking heads have tried to convince the sheep that the “approval” process ensures their safety, and that the other approach is dangerous.

I’ll be frank: the approval process doesn’t guarantee your safety — in fact, it might be more dangerous than the other approach. How can that be? The approval process provides a false sense of security. The sheep trust that every app has been scrutinized to ensure that it’s not doing anything it shouldn’t be. They’re putting their blind faith in an undocumented, inconsistent process that these companies have put in place.

The other method allows anything and everything to be submitted, and relies upon the sheep dogs to protect the flock by rating bad apps poorly, submitting warnings in the comments, and even reporting the offending apps to the store’s administrators.

One group of people depend upon others being good-natured, and for a fallible system to protect them from those who aren’t. The other group recognizes that everyone has an agenda, and it’s up to them to figure out what it is, assess the risks, and make their own decisions.

Which group are you in?

For those of you who are sheep and go blindly along, putting your faith in an approval process, we, the sheep dogs, would like to invite you over to our side.

Don’t go blindly along. Get educated. Do your own research. Make your own decisions. When you come across things that are dangerous, take action!

For those who are happy being sheep, that’s okay. When you’re ready to make the leap and come over to our side, we’ll welcome you. In the meantime, the more sheep dogs we can recruit, the safer all of us will be.

There’s your homework! Take action! Share this article with five of your friends and get them to commit to sharing it with five of their friends. Report back your success in the comments below.

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.