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Android Filter App - Gauging Interest
By paul
3/11/2013 1:35:51 PM
Hi All,

It has been a very long time since I've posted anything, although I have been checking in occasionally and reading most of what gets posted. I have to say that I am inspired and motivated by everyone who continues this fight.

Things in my own life are going well. I'm still attending meetings here and probably will continue to do so for a long time to come.

I have written an Android application which makes use of OpenDNS (http://www.opendns.com/ ) to filter internet content on my phone.

-=== tech talk - skip this if you don't care how it works ===-

OpenDNS is free, and will allow you to filter a great deal of unwanted content simply by using their FamilyShield DNS servers. However, for even better functionality (Filter reporting, custom blocked/allowed domains, etc.) you can create a free account (Give your wife/sponsor the password) and provide OpenDNS with your mobile phone's IP address.

The only problem with using OpenDNS on a phone is that the cellular network is always giving your phone a new IP Address (and almost always re-setting the DNS servers to the network default). This is where my app steps in. It runs as a hidden service and simply waits for the OS (Android) to make changes to the network. When a change is announced by the OS, the app reports the new IP address to OpenDNS and re-configures the DNS servers (all behind the scenes and automatically). The app is completely idle until a network change is detected so it should have little to no impact on battery or performance, and may actually improve internet speed by using faster DNS lookups.

This app will block ALL internet activity on a phone that is directed to/from inappropriate sites, whether from apps or web browsers.

-=== end of tech talk ===-

Here's the caveat. This app requires root on android and therefore requires a fair amount of work to setup. Hence my question to the community. Is anyone actually interested in this kind of an app? I would still have some work to do (setup instructions, etc) to get it ready for anyone to install. And I'm not going to bother if the root requirement is too much for people to care about.

Let me know if you have any questions. But I really just want to know if its worth working on any further. For me, it works great, so I thought I'd offer.

Comments:

YES    
"I am desperate to find a way to.not be able to email from my phone. This is Killing me!"
posted at 17:16:04 on March 11, 2013 by Anonymous
YES    
"I am desperate to find a way to.not be able to email from my phone. This is Killing me!"
posted at 17:16:14 on March 11, 2013 by Anonymous
YES    
"I am desperate to find a way to.not be able to email from my phone. This is Killing me!"
posted at 17:16:23 on March 11, 2013 by Anonymous
Alright    
"So how does one root their phone?"
posted at 18:31:13 on March 11, 2013 by g1rlie
That is the (not so) tricky part...    
"@G1rlie -

Rooting is slightly different for all phones. So all I can really say is if you have an Android phone it shouldn't be too difficult to google it (Just search for "How do I root Galaxy SII, or Droid 4, or whatever your phone happens to be.) and give it a shot. That being said, rooting voids your warranty. I won't tell anyone that they *should* root their phone simply because I won't assume any responsibility if something unintentional happens to your phone during/after rooting. Also, you may have to root you phone again if it ever gets an update from the carrier.

Anyone who might be interested in this app can look into the pros/cons of rooting their phone on their own, if it is still something that seems doable and worth the effort then I'll be happy to continue working to get the app ready for public consumption.

The fact that this app requires root is the single biggest hurdle to actually using it. That being said, I believe it is far more powerful than most other filters that simply ask you to install another browser and use it instead of the built-in one.

@Anon -

You can certainly log into your OpenDNS account and explicitly tell it to block gmail.com or yahoo.com and email will completely stop working on your phone (built in apps and browser based email will all stop). At that point your smartphone would be a filtered browser, maps, text messaging and phones."
posted at 21:36:11 on March 11, 2013 by paul


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