OpenSTF Dock Ready to Farm Clicks

Deep in the heart of a Chinese click farm — and probably used by the company your company hired to build an ‘app’ — is a magical device. Call it a Beowulf Cluster of Phones. Call it the farm. By any name, it’s a whole bunch of smartphones, smart watches, tablets, and other Smart Things all controlled remotely. This is OpenSTF, or a Smartphone Test Farm. You can build your own, but as with anything requiring a whole lot of cables and devices, if you don’t plan it well, it’s going to look like crap.

[Paul] needed an OpenSTF device lab, and found the perfect product to repurpose into a great looking enclosure. This device was the Griffin MultiDock 2, a charging station for smartphones and tablets ostensibly designed for classrooms. There really isn’t a lot going on inside this $500 phone charger, with a few modifications this enclosure can become an awesome phone farm.

This charging station is not meant to be used this way. On the outside, there are ten USB ports for ten different devices. Inside, there are three four-port USB hubs providing ten ports. ADB simply doesn’t work with this setup, so [Paul] had to completely replace the USB brains of this device. With new USB hubs, an Intel Compute Stick, and Sugru, [Paul] got OpenSTF up and running. While this would have been a fantastic waste of money had [Paul] bought this phone charging dock at full retail price, he didn’t. He apparently picked this up at a reasonable price, giving him a great looking phone farm that works just like he wanted.

18 thoughts on “OpenSTF Dock Ready to Farm Clicks

    1. Set up several dozen phones, and have them all search and click the right links on Google. Few days go by and the target site is suddenly at the top of the search rankings. It’s easier than it sounds.

        1. That’s not how that works at all, they prepaid for a certain number of ad-exposure view/clicks or time, if you could bankrupt someone like this I guarantee it already would have been exploited and fixed in the past.

  1. So Google is manipulated by phone farms, the magic ranking algorithm, the AI, the supercool dudes who work there – all led by the nose by a bunch of phone farmers. The emporer’s clothes are begining to look a bit threadbare.

  2. I thought they used phone farms to test apps on as many different makes and models as they can. With so many different phones out there, all with different capabilities, just because a phone is running a given operating system doesn’t mean it will run all apps correctly. The screen resolution alone can make a big difference in how the app is displayed in all orientations.So enter the phone farm, where they can all be tested before being released. Unless, of course, it’s a company like Microsoft who prefers to release the software first and let the public find all the bugs.

    1. Nah, MS has giant test sites. The Mac one alone is historic – from Apple II to latest generation.
      But MS has also lost control over their code base. They can’t just replace a component with a modern version – so many layers of legacy and whole industries depending on obscure 80s workarounds to make their plants work.

  3. Looks like a great way to test apps on a variety of different phones simultaneously. Very useful if you don’t want your app to exhibit unexpected behavior on different band phones or in conjunction with different software updates etc.

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