I'm taking an online writing course that has a pretty hefty discussion-board participation requirement. One of the discussion topics was to explain the difference between the different types of argument appeals one can make: Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Considering that the definitions of those things are right out of our textbook, pretty much everyone was basically posting the same things with slightly different wordings. So, being the smart-ass that I am, I decided to try to mix it up a little.
Here, in its entirety, is my poorly written explanation of why one might want to use a particular appeal over the others:
Logos, or "an appeal using logic" is the most effective form of argument. According to a famous study, less than 10% of all arguments made by not using logic-based data and reasoning are effective in changing the mind of someone with an opposing viewpoint. Less than ten percent. That means that over 90% of all arguments that do use logic-based data and reasoning are effective. From this we can infer that the most effective way to argue one's point is to include relevant statistics and numbers -- after all, the numbers don't lie. Definitely choose Logos, because it's the best.
Ethos, or "argument from authority," is clearly the most effective tactic to use in an argument. I've had thousands of arguments with people, and believe me when I say, it's the way to go. In addition to personally participating in thousands of debates -- all of which resulted in me convincing the other party that they were wrong -- I've also served as an argument consultant to dozens of other famous arguers. Remember the Bud Light "tastes great VS less filling" debate from some decades back? Well, that was never conclusively decided because of the fact that I was coaching both sides on their arguments. This resulted in both sides of the debate having foolproof, undefeatable arguments, so the debate rages on. I'm just that good. So take it from me when I say that you should certainly choose Ethos for your argumentative needs. It's the best.
This brings me to Pathos, or "an appeal to the heart." I could tell you that this is the best tactic to use when formulating an argument, but I feel that it might be better to mention an argument from the past that didn't use Pathos. Remember that fateful day in September of 2001, when both towers of the World Trade center were spewing black plumes of smoldering death into the skies? Well, people all over the city were warning that those towers would fall, and that all those rescue workers should get out now, lest the death-toll rise exponentially. Sadly, though, those warnings were filled with facts and figures, delivered by civil engineers and mathematicians who didn't have the foresight to attempt to appeal to the emotions of those making the decisions. Unfortunately, as a direct result of this lack of Pathos-knowledge, these early-warners watched with tears in their eyes as the towers indeed collapsed exactly how their facts and figures said they would. If only they had tried to appeal to the hearts of those in power rather than their minds... If they had, then hundreds of people might not have lost their lives that day. Don't let this happen to you; always argue using Pathos, as it is clearly the best strategy in an argument.
Lest everyone think I'm a total Google Fanboy, I'd like to suggest a really, really simple tactic folks like Cyanogen can take to continue Android innovations while complying 100% with the licensing of Google's "experience" apps.
The crux of the issue is that, without the proper license, it is illegal for Android ROM developers to distribute these apps as part of their ROMs. It'd also be illegal for someone like me to host them myself so that people can simply install them after installing a custom ROM. "Ok," you might say. "Then how am I supposed to get these applications if it's not legal for anyone to give them to me?"
Ah, but there's the catch. There are organizations that are licensed to distribute them. T-Mobile, for instance, is probably the most widely-known, as all our phones will download updates containing the apps whenever a new Android release comes out. Usually there's a bit of detective work involved, though, in determining the URL for these updates. But you know who else is licensed to distribute them, and makes them extremely easy to find/download? HTC.
What would need to happen is that the user could themselves download the relevant firmware update file from HTC's website and save it on their SD card -- which is perfectly legal. The user could then update to a Google-free firmware from someone like Cyanogen. If this Google-free firmware update happened to check for the existence of the official Google-app-including firmware image as part of its setup procedure, and extracted the Google bits out of it, everyone could have the best of both worlds.
The ROM developer would not be distributing the apps. The organization that is distributing the apps is licensed to do so. Everyone wins.
If you haven't heard, there's been a bit of a dust-up today between Google and its throngs of Android phone users. If you have heard, chances are you heard it post-spin, where Google is painted as being this horrible evil dictator, violating the 'spirit of open source.'
That couldn't be further from the truth. Here's what's actually going on.
Google's Android phone platform is, in fact, an open source operating system. Any phone manufacturer who wants to license Android for use on their handsets can do so, completely free of charge -- but there are a few caveats. Anyone deploying an Android device has to choose between a few different Android packages, including the "with Google" option, which allows the manufacturer to use Google's good name to promote their device. However, the "with Google" package requires that you deploy all the software the way Google demands. No deleting GMail and including Hotmail instead, for instance.
If the manufacturer does want to remove GMail and include Hotmail, they can still totally do that -- they just can't use Google's name to advertise their product. Oh, and they also can't include some of Google's popular apps.
While the operating system is open source, some of Google's applications are not, and are rather restrictively licensed, giving Google a bit more control over how they are used. The idea is they don't want someone's crappy modified Android install soiling their good image.
Very soon after the first Android device's release, clever hackers figured out a way to bypass the security T-Mobile included on it, allowing them to install custom installs of Android, based on newer, better code than what the devices were originally shipped with. Sure, that newer code would eventually be handed out to all devices, but many of us nerds are rather impatient, and would rather use it now. Crashes and all. So a sort of "community" of hackers was born, eventually culminating in several really popular Android distributions that included all sorts of really awesome functionality that was either not "prime-time"-ready -- or was flat out barred from inclusion by the carrier. (In this case, T-Mobile.)
This has been going on for roughly a year now, and several people have risen and fallen as the de facto "ringleaders" in charge of assembling the components into updates that mere users can apply to their phones. Many of these updates happened to include all those applications that Google has specifically licensed to be only distributed by those that comply with their licensing demands, and today finally caught the ire of Google.
Google has sent a Cease & Desist letter to the maintainer of arguably the most popular of these Android distributions, citing his inclusion of applications to which he does not have the proper license for distribution as the activity that needs to be ceased. He's no longer able to include GMail, Google Maps, etc., in his releases, which arguably makes his builds extremely undesirable for most users.
As you might expect, people understand this licensing issue, and completely realize that it's not good to be in blatant violation of an application's distribution license. Just kidding! In actuality, people are going "ape shit," threatening to buy iPhones, yelling obscenities at Google, and being all-around poor sports about the whole thing.
"Google is violating the spirit of open source!" cry many.
Online petitions have been made. There's an "app" in the Google Market which is currently the most popular Market download of the day, that essentially demands that Google re-license these apps so that people can continue to use them however they want. Facebook groups demanding the same thing are thriving. Twitter has gone nuts.
There's a funny thing about the "spirit of open source," though: many, if not most, open source projects are licensed in such a way that the code cannot be used in commercial applications without following the requirements of the license. It is never OK for someone to violate the license. When, as invariably happens, some company does violate the license, people go nuts. Likewise, nobody ever expects to be able to include someone else's proprietary functionality in their open source app. Yet, in the "spirit of open source," Google should just throw out their licensing altogether so that these whiny, entitled, whineyfaces can continue to use them on a distribution of Android that won't, and cannot license them properly?
That's a bunch of crap. Google is in a bit of an awkward position, having angered a significant amount of its Android user-base, but they are completely in the right here. Does it suck? Yes. But should Google be expected to give away everything for free just because people have been using it illegally for a year? I'll leave answering that as an exercise for the reader.
(If you'd like to check your answer against the correct one, here it is: "No.")
UPDATE: Some are suggesting that Google's inclusion of proprietary apps in an open source environment is a bad thing. This may well be the case, but you knew about it before you bought an Android phone and/or started developing for the Android platform. You chose to accept that fact, and now you have to live with it. Google didn't suddenly remove the apps from the source tree and 'closed source' them; they were closed source from the start.
UPDATE: Someone made this silly Hitler-meme-video, effectively illustrating the attitudes of these whinyfaces:
Twenty years ago, author Douglas Adams and photographer/naturalist Mark Cawardine traveled the globe in search of some of the most endangered species imaginable. This resulted in the superb book Last Chance to See, which I highly recommend, due in equal part to the extremely interesting content and the wonderful way that Douglas Adams looked at everything. I had the pleasure of experiencing it originally as an audibook read by Adams himself, which I believe increased the enjoyability immensely. He's downright hilarious. If you haven't read it, I suspect you'd like doing so.
In any case, long-time friend of Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry, has set about attempting to revisit all of the endangered species Douglas did twenty years ago in order to see how they're doing today. He's joined by none other than Mark Cawardine himself, lending an extremely knowledgeable air to the whole endeavor as he once again attempts to photograph these rare, splendid creatures. The BBC has filmed each leg of the journey, and has been broadcasting the resultant documentary, likewise entitled Last Chance to See. Thus far, it's been equal parts educational, hilarious and heartbreaking.
The programme is available via iPlayer, unless you happen to live outside the UK. If, like me, you don't actually have access to all the fine programmes the BBC airs, it can quite easily be acquired via the usual dark underbellies of the Internet to which we all frequently turn in order to acquire content that licensing issues prevent us from accessing legitimately. Three episodes have aired thus far, and it really behooves you to make the effort to track them down. You'll thank me later.
Like most of the stuff I've done on android, my most recent app, "Send RSS to Google Reader" came out of being frustrated that Google's Mobile Browser wasn't smart enough to detect RSS feeds, and also wasn't smart enough to allow you to subscribe to them in Google Reader's Mobile interface, except by doing some cut-and-paste gymnastics.
The first version required that you actually display an RSS feed (or find the link to it yourself), and then use the Android Browser's "Share this page" functionality to pass the url on to Google Reader by way of my little app. This was incredibly cumbersome.
Now, thanks to some Yahoo Pipes magic behind the scene, you can be viewing any web page, hit the 'Share this page' menu item, select "Send RSS to Google Reader" and it will auto-detect any RSS feeds that happen to be part of the page. If there is just one, it sends it over to Google Reader Mobile where you can subscribe with a single click. If there are more than one, you are presented with a list of them, and can click any one of them to send it over to Google Reader Mobile.