The InterviewIt’s the day before Christmas and there are a lot of items that have popped up that might be of interest.

Music

Michael Bublé’s Christmas (Deluxe Special Edition) is free on Google Play right now with 19 Christmas favorites and one not. Useful if you’ve found out that you’re in charge of music at your Christmas gathering.

HTC

Another new HTC Service Pack popped up on Google Play. Once again in typical HTC fashion the updates are listed simply as “bug fixes” – whether this fixes the last round on newly-introduced bugs that disabled several people’s phones or not I do not know, although going by the reviews some people’s screens now refuse to turn off, so there’s that little present to some people.

An OTA for some HTC One M8s was released coming in at about 50MB. It appears to be some new radio firmware and preparation for the Android L Sense deployment that is expected fairly soon. If you’re rooted and on Sprint, the firmware is here for download.

Movies

The Interview has been released for $4.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy on Google Play and YouTube after being yanked from theaters after alleged North Korean terrorist threats. It’s now become something people want to go see because somehow that’s fighting back against terrorism, but in the next round of Sony hacks I’m expecting to find out that the threats were made by the marketing department.

Bugs

Skype on Android had a bug as of two days ago that allowed anyone to force connect a call effectively eavesdropping on you according to this post on Reddit. The bug can be exploited as follows:


1) Have 2 devices signed into your skype account. Desktop and phone will do.

2) Call the target’s android skype account with device 1.
3) Disconnect device 1 from it’s net connection as the target phone is ringing.
4) Target phone will immediately call you back.
5) Pick up with device 2.

The piece says Microsoft is aware of the problem and will be fixing it shortly.

Development

A new community has been started over on G+ to provide a unified base for open development ROMs that isn’t tied to a ROM itself (like CyanogenMod derived ROMs are). Might be extremely useful now that CyanogenMod is incorporated and splitsville with its former hardware partners and seems to be on their own path.

Samsung on the ropes

Samsung evidently closed %0.16 of all the stores they opened in 2013, so obviously they’re going down in flames. Or not. Probably not.

Declining sales is generally sited as the reason that one store closed (in London), but who knows. When we reach three closed stores we’ll take a closer look.

Image from Drew Sanders’s feed

Amazon offering 40 paid apps for free

While I mentioned the Grinch in the last piece, evidently I managed to miss about 40 other paid apps for free according to Android Police. So go and grab ’em.