In this and two following articles I'd like to take a look at three different areas of personal data storage, how I see a majority of people handling these three issues and what my personal theoretical approaches regarding them is. This is going to be purely about data storage and security, not transport security, which is another topic on its own.
The questions mainly are:
First of all, the three distinctions of data storage I'd like to make, and also how I'm splitting the articles, are the following:
Let's start with email storage. Where are your emails stored? The vast majority of Internet users have an email account with one of the big free email providers or they might have an account that is provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Maybe you even use some shared web hosting somewhere which comes with shared email servers. Whichever of these is the case: your emails are effectively stored with a third party, an ISP that is not you.
Let me ask you this: where is your mail stored? And by mail I actually refer to physical mail: letters. Where are they received? Surely you have a mailbox at your home, or you might have a post-office (PO) box. Most likely you'll be receiving your mail at your mailbox in front of your house and then store it safely inside your home. Would you want your letters to be sent to a third-party that is sending you a copy but also storing all your letters within their own house? Probably not.
I believe we have a major misunderstanding how we are treating Email currently. We are giving away our email data to big companies that make a living with it (among with other services). Always keep in mind that you're most likely not the customer when using a free service, you might be the actual product. If events in the last years regarding the NSA and Edward Snowden have shown us anything, it's that our data stored at big ISPs is most likely easily accessible by governments.
Instead of using such a centralized infrastructure, we should be decentralizing Email in the same way our usual mail system works. When you go back looking at the development of email, it actually was meant to be exactly like that.
My suggestion for email therefore is this:
This just a very brief overview of why I suggest hosting your own email server. There are lots of other things to consider and running an email server is by no means an easy task, I understand that.
As a concluding suggestion, I'd like to introduce the website PRISM Break which lists free and open alternatives for all kinds of proprietary and closed solutions. Specifically for mail servers: PRISM Break Mail Servers
In my next article I'll be taking a look at preference storage, where to save application preferences, what to do with browser syncing and phone syncing.
Article NSA parody logo cc by EFF. Article title in reference to "All your base are belong to us".
With the A588T, Lenovo released a neat Android 4.4 based flip phone on the Chinese market. It comes with a touchscreen and also allows the user to completely flip the screen by 180° to make it usable as a conventional smartphone. It doesn't seem to very popular as documentation on it is very scarce and I can't even seem to be able to find an official Lenovo product page.
Since the model I got my hands on is only intended for the Chinese market, it comes with several restrictions:
Yes, 3G won't work outside China Mobile networks which is, for the most part, limited to mainland China. While most of the phone initially seems to be available in English, after updating Lenovo store and other apps, they are only available in Chinese, dropping English language support. Quite the bummer.
The biggest drawback is support for the hardware keyboard, however. It always seems to suggest Chinese and not English input. I somehow got it to suggest English at one point but it's far from proper T9 support like we had back in the days. I have yet to find a proper solution for this. Either way, this is not part of this guide.
I wanted to have Google Play available and also get root access, since I like to be in full control of my devices. Most of this article is based on the video "How to Root every MTK China Phone" by ITXtutor. Do note that the general idea of this article does indeed work with other MTK devices, only some aspects (like the firmware) are Lenovo A588T specific.
This guide is relying on tools for Windows and is therefore meant for Windows only.
As prerequisites you may want to download the following tools:
As I'm assuming everyone knows how to extract and install these files, I won't mention that as an extra step. You may require to install additional ADB and device specific USB drivers. I'm not covering this for every device, for the Lenovo A588T drivers are included within the "FlashTool" folder of the firmware linked above.
If you'd like a fresh start or upgrade your firmware, flash Lenovo A588T firmware version S044 on your phone using MediaTek Smart Phone Flash Tool. Be aware that this will delete all your data stored on the phone and is a completely optional step:
Follow these steps to create a full backup of your current ROM:
Now that you have successfully created a backup, it's time to install CWM recovery:
After CWM recovery has been successfully flashed, it's time to see if it's working alright. Boot your phone into CWM recovery by holding down Volume up, Volume down and the Power button at the same time. If you end up in the CWM recovery menu, everything is working as intended. It should say something along "rua1 autoCWM" at the top of the screen.
Installing SuperSU and Google apps are a piece of cake now:
Congrats! You should now have SuperSU as well as Google apps installed successfully. This will give you root access and the full app range of Google's Play store.