Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Your information is somebody's asset

The Electronic Frontier Foundation published an article about the disposition of assets belonging to the defunct magazine that included the personal information of their 1,000,000+ former subscribers. The parties in the case reached and agreement to destroy all personally identifiable information as suggested by the FCC.In this instance, things ended well for the former customers.  However the law is unclear on how to handle corporate assets such as customer lists.  

I recently received an email from Derek Sivers, the founder and former CEO of CDBaby. I've bought CDs and mp3s through CDBaby in the past, so my information was part of CDBaby's corporate assets. What is interesting is that Derek Sivers contacted me a couple of years after he sold CDBaby. Siver's email was a, "Hi, I wanted to tell you about my new projects." Definitely not creepy, and interesting enough for me to click through a couple of links. However, using a contact list from his former company seem incongruous. I wasn't the only one:

@sivers What's up with this email you sent out to old CDBaby members? Did you take a list of emails/purchases/credit cards when you left?  (from Jon Ursenbach)
Derek Sivers replied:
@jonursenbach I got to keep my database of clients and customers for two years, yes. Many are good friends. 
His email also mentioned the last album I bought from CDBaby, so I'm fairly sure he has access to complete database. Thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine I can check on the privacy policy around the time I bought my last album from CDBaby.

So Derek Sivers is not another company, but when he sold the company he became an external party that had access to CDBaby's customer database. No being a lawyer, my best guess is that Siver's access to the customer database falls within the letter of the CDBaby's privacy policy.  Having sold a company, I'm well aware of the details and negotiations that go on during a sale. But having access to the customer database as a condition in the sale of a company strikes me as out of the ordinary. 

I do believe that the email Sivers sent was genuinely part of a friendly hello, get in touch, soft marketing campaign. However, it was unexpected and makes me just that more leery of blanket privacy policies. CDBaby continues to have a similar privacy policy:

We don’t give or sell your personal info to any other company - EVER! (Not even your email address!)
Only the musicians whose music you purchase will know who you are. If you don't even want the musician to know who you are, you can easily change your customer account settings to remain anonymous.
In contrast, Bandcamp (my current favorite place to buy music from independent musicians) has a very detailed privacy policy that specifies the conditions that determine how your personal information is shared, including the transfer of assets in the event of the sale of the company. The Bandcamp privacy policy is very clear that any information I provide becomes the property of Bandcamp. This isn't much comfort, but at least I know what I'm giving up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Updating a T-Mobile myTouch to Froyo (Cyanogenmod-5)

During last week's geekgasm, I upgraded my T-Mobile myTouch to Froyo because I've lost all hope of T-Mobile providing an OTA Froyo upgrade. There are many sites that describe how to root an Android phone and the Cyanogen site has minimalist install instructions, so these are notes are for the process I muddled through. They are as much for me as for other folks.

A couple of things before starting. 
  • Back up your SD card or use another one, this process will wipe out all your data, photos, etc. 
  • All the download links here are for an old style myTouch, not the one with the earphone jack on the top, or the myTouch Slide. The process is the same but you will have to find images for your phone.
  • There are points during the install where it seems nothing is happening or the install is locked up. My advice is to wait and don't be impatient and reboot. The boot cycle after loading a ROM can take quite a while.
  • As a convention, green text is a summary of what you are going to do and red text are steps I ignored.

Updating the myTouch to Cyanogenmod-5
  • Downgrade your myTouch to 1.5 to install a custom recovery image that can load a custom ROM.
I. Downgrade to Cupcake

1. Download the Original SAPPIMG.nbh:
Original SAPPIMG.nbh
2. Plug the phone into your computer via USB. Select Mount by pulling down on the notification bar at the top of the phone’s screen and selecting the USB notification. You should now be able to access the sd card in your phone on your computer.
3. Now, put the .nbh file that you just downloaded on the root of the SD card (NOT in any folder, just on the sdcard itself).
4. Unplug the phone and turn it off.
5. Turn on the phone by holding the Volume Down button and the End key until the bootloader screen comes up.
6. Hit the End key to start the update. DO NOT INTERUPT THIS PROCESS.
7. Once it is done, hit the trackball to restart the phone. You now are on the stock Cupcake firmware.
II. Flash a Custom Recovery Image
1. On your phone, goto Settings > Applications and make sure Unknown source is checked ON
2. On your phone, goto Settings, SD card and phone storage, and click Unmount SD card.
3. Then click Format SD card (it should automatically remount after this).
4. Plug the phone into the compuer via USB, then pull down the notification bar and click on the SD card notification. Then click mount.
5. Download this APK and the recovery image and save it to your computer:
Amon Ra’s Recovery Image
6. Once they are saved to your computer, copy them both to your SD card (do NOT put them inside any folders on the SD card, just put them on the SD card itself).
7. Unplug the phone from the computer once they are downloaded to the SD card.
8. Goto the Market and download Linda File Manager or any file manager program if you do not already have one.
9. Open the file manager and goto SDCard and then find the FlashRec apk file and click it. If asked tell it to use Package Installer to open it. It should automatically install the apk.
10. Open the FlashRec program and click on Backup Recovery Image and wait for it to finish.
11. Once done, click on the empty text box in the FlashRec program and type:
Then click on the Flash Custom RecoveryImage button and wait for it to finish.
12. Turn off the phone and turn it on into Recovery mode by holding down Home and Power to turn it on (keep holding until the recovery screen comes up has a bunch of text on a black background). So long as that screen comes up, LEAVE IT ON THAT SCREEN, you have done it correctly and can now go on to loading a ROM .
III. Partition Your Memory Card for Hero ROMs, Swap, and Apps2SD 
1. With your phone STILL in recovery mode from the How To Root procedure, click on Partition SD Card > Partition SD (this will erase everything off of your memory card).
2. When it asks you, select 96mbs for Swap, 512mbs for ext2 and fat32 for the remainder
3. Once it is done partitioning the memory card, click on Partition SD Card > SD: ext2 to ext3 
  • At this point you can load Cyanogenmod-5 (Froyo 2.1)
Once you have the custom recovery image loaded, you can load a basic rooted ROM such as the Generic MyTouch ROM w/ Root – Here 
Instructions from
1. Root your device and install Clockwork Recovery (ROM Manager on the market) or Amon_RA's recovery (Dream / Magic)
2. Do a Nandroid backup!
3. Install the DangerSPL if you don't already have it
* NOTE:  I skipped the steps in red because the myTouch was already wiped from the downgrade to Cupcake 1.5, so I didn't see much point in doing a back up. Using the custom recovery image I loaded the Cyanogenmod-5 ROM directly.
  • if you want the google apps (who doesn't?), download the google apps image (don't unzip)
  • copy the files to the root of the sdcard by plugging the myTouch into the USB port and selecting USB-MS Toggle in the Recovery mode menu 
4. select WIPE in the Recovery mode menu
5. Install the ROM from the zip file
6. Optionally install the Google Addon if you want Google Applications like Gmail and Market
  • Feeling more adventurous?
Try a nightly Cyanogen build, I'm running one and it's been very stable. You can also install Clockwork Recovery, which is a recovery image with a user friendly front end. Makes loading ROMs much easier.