Category: Instagram

Runaway Android apps

[UPDATE June 5, 2014] Multiple observations confirm: Instagram (which behaves (mostly) properly on Wi-Fi connections) becomes a CPU hog on carrier (cellular) connections. Not sure why, will report here if I find out more.

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[UPDATE June 2, 2014] In an effort to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside my Nexus 4, I installed two utility apps:  and . Lookout scans and monitors for malware, and offers a bunch of other security features; Watchdog alerts me when an app exceeds a certain CPU threshold.

First impressions are great. Phone runs cool. Interesting observation: When I kill Instagram — the worst offender — through Watchdog, it stays dead. By comparison, when I used to force-stop Instagram via the Android device (system) settings, it would often start up again right away by itself.

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My phone (Google Nexus 4) has been getting really hot lately, draining the battery in the process. I started monitoring running Android processes and services, and found out that several apps sometimes don’t close when I tell them to, but keep running and consuming CPU cycles and battery juice. The biggest offender is Instagram, followed by Facebook (which starts on boot and keeps running (and restarts itself after a force-stop, the nerve!)), Google Play Music (which seems to randomly start itself on a whim, or possibly gets launched by Google Drive), and MailDroid (as ).

[UPDATE May 17, 2014] Adding Snapchat to the list of runaway apps that must be force-stopped after every use.

My response:

  • Remove the Facebook app, which I have been threatening to do for a while. I am not leaving Facebook, just removing the app from my phone.
  • Scale back the use of the Instagram app, and force-stop the app after each use.
  • Scale back the use of the Google Drive app, and force-stop Google Play Music after each use (confirm cause-and-effect).
    • [UPDATE from a ]: “Google support told me to uncheck the box Settings > Accounts > Google > Accounts > [myemail]@gmail.com > Sync Google Play Music. I had sync checked before the update as well, but it caused no problems. In any event, this didn’t do all that much good. The app is like the freakin’ Terminator — force stops won’t kill it.”
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Disabled Google Play Music. Problem solved.
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Also wiped a ton of other Google shit off my phone. It felt great.
  • Stay away from the MailDroid app.
  • Monitor Android system activity regularly for runaway apps and force-stop them as needed.
  • Reboot my phone daily.

The 2014 A.T. Rank of social media networks

[UPDATE May 31, 2014] Several readers commented that the table in my original post (bottom) was misleading, making it look like Google+ was my second most-preferred social media network, whereas its placement (second) in the table was due to the fact that G+ scored the most gains since my last ranking. Fair point.

To correct this misunderstanding I now also present the same data in a table (below) sorted by “2014 RANK”.

SERVICE 2014 RANK 2013 RANK CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR DYNAMIC INDEX
Instagram 10 9 1 11
Twitter 9 10 -1 8
Stellar 8 8 0 8
Google+ 7 4 3 10
LinkedIn 6 5 1 7
Facebook 3 7 -4 -1
Pinterest 2 4 -2 0

 

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My annual ranking of social media networks comes out early this year. This time I only rank services I currently use, unlike the 2013 and 2012 rankings where I also ranked networks I had used in the past.

The table is self-explanatory, and the numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me. Google+ shows the biggest gains, whereas Facebook drops to the bottom.

SERVICE 2014 RANK 2013 RANK CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR DYNAMIC INDEX
Instagram 10 9 1 11
Google+ 7 4 3 10
Stellar 8 8 0 8
Twitter 9 10 -1 8
LinkedIn 6 5 1 7
Pinterest 2 4 -2 0
Facebook 3 7 -4 -1

The A.T. Rank of social media networks

This is the annual update of the authoritative A.T. Rank of Social Media Networks. A notable change from last year’s list is the addition of Instagram, which  three months ago and instantly fell in love with.

SERVICE

A.T. RANK

A.T. ACCT STATUS

WHAT’S GOING ON

Twitter

10

Active

Retains last year’s top spot. Still the most valuable network, by far.
Instagram

9

Active

Camera phone photographer’s playground.

8

Active

Surfaces great content from other networks.
Facebook

7

Active

Love it or hate it, but don’t ignore it. This is where everybody hangs out.
LinkedIn

5

Active

Recruiter’s heaven, good for business intelligence and little else. Endorse me for “bikes”.
Pinterest

4

Active

The fastest growing referral network.
Google+

4

Active

Nerds and squares.
Flickr

3

Dormant

The faded dame of social media.
Tumblr

3

Deleted

Acquired by Yahoo! — almost certainly the kiss of death.
MySpace

2

Deleted

Where indie bands’ dreams go to die.
Diaspora*

1

Dormant

The open-source Facebook. There ain’t nobody home.
Findery

1

Dormant

The latest venture of Flickr founder Caterina Fake. Pin notes on a map. Formerly Pinwheel. Nicely done but deserted.
foursquare

0

Deleted

Users populate 4sq’s database for free.
Klout

-1

Deleted

FreeCreditReport.com for dunces.

 

Android 4.3 “improvements”

[UPDATE October 14, 2013] Android still allows itself to be taken down by Snapchat. This began on August 5, 2013 with the release of Android 4.3, and continues to this day. Just how secure is Android?

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[UPDATE October 9, 2013] Snapchat points the finger at Google, says a bug in the Nexus 4 Android 4.3 operating system — an issue out of Snapchat’s control — is to blame for the device crashes and reboots.

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[UPDATE September 13, 2013] Snapchat still crashes the phone, after 3 Snapchat updates and one Android update. Phone vibrates for about ten seconds, like it’s in the throes of death. Then reboots. Why is it so easy to crash the phone?

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As a proud owner of The Google Phone (a.k.a. Nexus 4), I was excited about the release of Android 4.3 (codename “occam”), and promptly installed it. So far I have seen the following “improvements”:

  • Snapchat crashes and reboots the device (as described and discussed in )
  • Some Instagram filters have adopted a weird green hue, as seen in the image below [UPDATE August 8, 2013] Instagram relased an update this morning, and the green hue is gone
  • No other damage so far
  • [UPDATE August 23, 2013] Three (three!!!) Snapchat updates after the release of Andriod 4.3, and the crashes seem to have disappeared. I applaud Snapchat, but keep wondering why Google/Android hasn’t taken any action. It seems to me that now Snapchat knows how to crash Android but chooses not to. Android watches idly and passively.
  • [UPDATE August 24, 2013] Snapchat crashed and rebooted the phone.
  • [UPDATE August 27, 2013] Android 4.3 updated itself to 4.3. Weird numbering sequence, but whatever. As long as the device stops crashing and rebooting, I’m cool. Snapchat hasn’t crashed since the 4.3 to 4.3 update, but I haven’t used it much. Unconfirmed reports from another Nexus 4 user indicate that the crashes still occur, although less frequently. Same user reports that friend with iPhone 4 also complains about Snapchat crashing their phone.

Now before you say that Snapchat and Instagram are silly and don’t I have anything better to do, let me say that this is not about Snapchat or Instagram or any application per se. I am bewildered that an advanced OS like Android would allow a previously-installed application to repeatedly crash the device following an OS upgrade. No matter what the cause of the crash, it’s not the app’s fault.