Fucking Cell Phones

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Thad
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:51 am

If I had to buy right now, I'd probably be leaning OnePlus 3 myself. Now that Google has apparently abandoned the Nexus line, it looks like a good choice for a good, reasonably-priced phone.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Mothra » Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:50 pm

Holy fuck is the OnePlus 3 bigger than I expected. This is gonna take some getting used to.

Also:

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby beatbandito » Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:53 pm

Are you enjoying the 1+3 so far? I meant to mention my disappointment in the 1+2 I have when you and Thad mentioned it, but I couldn't really place why I was disappointed. My old Ascend Mate 2 was a work horse, middling display, poor sound, no frills but it worked. Simple and easy standard apps for task and file management, great battery and big 'ol screen.

1+2 was a lot fancier at the time, when I first got it I couldn't get a replacement USB C cords anywhere. The body is pretty sleek and the custom UI was similar, but nothing seemed to just work right. I still fight with the ingrained call app and getting some devices to recognize it for some reason. The battery also makes me sad, but nothing can compare to the AM2.

So I guess this is why I said nothing, there isn't much more than an anecdote on my personal experience with their phones.
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby sei » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:14 pm

Thad wrote:If I had to buy right now, I'd probably be leaning OnePlus 3 myself. Now that Google has apparently abandoned the Nexus line, it looks like a good choice for a good, reasonably-priced phone.


What're the drawbacks of Google's Pixel line? Expensive pricing? No longer pure stock (or closest to stock)?
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:25 pm

That's it in a nutshell, yeah. The Nexus line had a great price for the hardware you were getting; the Pixels are, based on the reviews, the best Android phones ever, but they also cost twice as much as the Nexus did.

I don't know enough about the new features on the Pixel to really decide whether they're for me or not; I hear the voice command stuff is great but that's never really been my bag. I usually run CM; the main reason I'm not running it on my Nexus 5 right now is that it broke support for Sprint wireless back in Lollipop. (And the reason I'm not running it on my Samsung tablet is that it doesn't support the video out port.)

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Mothra » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:22 am

beatbandito wrote:Are you enjoying the 1+3 so far? I meant to mention my disappointment in the 1+2 I have when you and Thad mentioned it, but I couldn't really place why I was disappointed. My old Ascend Mate 2 was a work horse, middling display, poor sound, no frills but it worked. Simple and easy standard apps for task and file management, great battery and big 'ol screen.

1+2 was a lot fancier at the time, when I first got it I couldn't get a replacement USB C cords anywhere. The body is pretty sleek and the custom UI was similar, but nothing seemed to just work right. I still fight with the ingrained call app and getting some devices to recognize it for some reason. The battery also makes me sad, but nothing can compare to the AM2.

So I guess this is why I said nothing, there isn't much more than an anecdote on my personal experience with their phones.

It's weirdly big. I don't like how big it is.

I don't know how I'm gonna feel in like a month, but right now, I'm not nuts about the design.

Software looks fantastic though.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby sei » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:33 am

Thad wrote:That's it in a nutshell, yeah. The Nexus line had a great price for the hardware you were getting; the Pixels are, based on the reviews, the best Android phones ever, but they also cost twice as much as the Nexus did.

I don't know enough about the new features on the Pixel to really decide whether they're for me or not; I hear the voice command stuff is great but that's never really been my bag. I usually run CM; the main reason I'm not running it on my Nexus 5 right now is that it broke support for Sprint wireless back in Lollipop. (And the reason I'm not running it on my Samsung tablet is that it doesn't support the video out port.)


I ran CM for a few years. Got really damned sick of shit like my GPS or cellular data antennas not working due to phone updates. Also, various manufacturers employ firmware and hardware surprises to encumber custom ROM usage. Think things like Samsung's Knox.

The phone ecosystem is generally pretty terrible. The Nexus line was great. It was behind on hardware, but it was worth it to escape crapware, bad update delays, TouchWiz/MotoBlur, and carriers finding new and creative ways to encourage you to update early.

The Nexus 5x/6P stock experience is great. Only complaint is lack of AdAway when not rooted.

Would love to see something less painful for using custom ROMs and custom ROMs which don't spontaneously break things. Failing that, a way to run stock while modifying the hosts file to block advertisers. May have to check adguard out some time, but I hear it kills battery.
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Mothra » Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:13 am

Update: I'm getting used to the OnePlus 3's gigantic size a lot faster than I thought I would. Typing on this thing is mighty nice.


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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:42 pm

The good news is, the thing about open-source software is that there are never not going to be custom versions of Android.

The bad news is, actually making them accessible takes money and resources.

xda-developers is a great site, but it relies on a labyrinth of links to files stored on free hosting sites that may or may not be there a year from now.

And Github...well, Github's great, but aside from its questionable financial situation, it's not really the easiest place to set up a bunch of links to a bunch of binary downloads for hundreds of different architectures.

LineageOS...we'll see. If they can get backing to keep up a site that's basically the same as the CyanogenMod one, that'd be great; if they can't, we'll see what else they can come up with. If they don't manage to catch on, I guess somebody else will.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby sei » Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:43 pm

And Github...well, Github's great, but aside from its questionable financial situation, it's not really the easiest place to set up a bunch of links to a bunch of binary downloads for hundreds of different architectures.
Yeah, hopefully it doesn't go the way of sourceforge and start packaging shitware in with binary downloads.
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:58 pm

Ideally I'd like to see the big tech companies (Intel, IBM, Google, maybe Apple and MS) recognize how much value it's generating for them and just pay it whatever money it needs to stay up and running, no-strings-attached, as a writeoff.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby sei » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:31 pm

Wonder what it'll take for it not to go the way of OpenSSL's funding issues.
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Mothra » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:01 am

Mothra wrote:Update: I'm getting used to the OnePlus 3's gigantic size a lot faster than I thought I would. Typing on this thing is mighty nice.

Final update on this thing: The size is annoying the shit out of me. Don't get this phone.

Not a deal breaker by any means, but it kinda sucks.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby beatbandito » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:22 pm

I like my phones like I like my women, bigger than average with a great battery life.

I don't know if 1+3 is running the same version of oxygenOS as the 2 but after the latest update I can't find any simple way to 1) alter the battery percent in any way to acknowledge it is charging (after having to turn any battery display on from the default off) and 2) put the phone on vibrate only. There's always been a separate physical control for 'silent' and 'priority' that I never used because every cell phone since vibrate became a thing has let you click volume down until its on vibrate only. But nope, now you can only bring volume down to the lowest volume, and from there it's absolutely no notification of any kind for any messages outside of specific whitelists. Nothing in between.
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:01 pm

PureNexus developed an irritating habit of spontaneously rebooting. Between that and my general dissatisfaction with the Google panopticon, I gave Ubuntu Touch a shot for a few hours yesterday. (It's been abandoned by Canonical, but is still under active development by a community effort called UBPorts, which means it's got way fewer resources behind it than it did, but also that its future development will be a lot more amenable to pushing for compatibility with existing standards, and, by definition, more sensitive to community concerns.)

It's a pretty different idiom from Android (no ubiquitous three buttons at the bottom of the screen, though their functionality is there; swipe from the left edge of the screen to get a dock, from the right edge to get a Windows 7-style list of open programs, and the Back button is handled at the app level), but I could get used to it, and the list of available apps seemed sufficient for my day-to-day use.

The only real problem was that the phone didn't work.

I fucked around with the settings for awhile but all I managed to accomplish was to change what it said under "carrier" from "Sprint" to "none".

So I decided to give LineageOS another shot. (Well, technically my first time using it as LineageOS, but I used it plenty when it was Cyanogenmod.) It appears that I've mostly fixed the Sprint issues I had with it before.

I'm also seeing how far I can get without Gapps. Most of the apps I need are FOSS and available on F-Droid, though I've also installed the Amazon app store, and grabbed a few apps from apkmirror.com (a site which hosts popular apps from Google Play as plain old apk files; I did some research and it seems legit). I still haven't found a FOSS keyboard that works as well as SwiftKey.

At any rate, Lineage is working well so far (though it seems to be draining the battery faster than PureNexus did, for reasons I've yet to determine). But I thought Ubuntu was pretty impressive, and I intend to give it another shot someday. Maybe once they finish updating it to a 16.04 base.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:35 pm

Started having a problem with my old Nexus 5 back in November. I blamed it on a bad LineageOS update, but it's since become clear that its power button connection is failing; today it went into a boot loop as if the button is being held down (this is apparently a common problem).

I don't really want to buy a new phone right now, as there are some potentially-interesting GNU/Linux phones on the horizon in the next few months, so right now I'm looking at old OnePlus Ones on eBay (they're well-supported by third-party firmware and they go for around $50-$60).

In the meantime, I read a post suggesting that I try throwing the N5 in a freezer for 15 minutes and see if that helps. I figure that's less invasive than opening the sucker up, so I tried that and now I'm waiting awhile before I turn it on (putting it in the freezer produces condensation and I want to make sure it's dry; usually that wouldn't take too long in a desert, but as it happens it's a rainy day, so I'm going to give it a few hours). If that doesn't work, then I'll try opening it up and seeing if there's anything I can do to fix the power button (ideally without having to solder anything; I'm not great at soldering and I'm particularly not great at soldering tiny things).

Nearly all my data's backed up (again, this issue started back in November, and I've been wary of my phone crapping out since then), so there's no real tragedy if I can't get it to power back on. But being out a phone until the replacement comes in would be a pain in the ass.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:28 am

Expanding a bit on the "potentially-interesting GNU/Linux phones" comment in the previous post:

I tried Ubuntu Touch about a year ago and it felt like it was pretty close to ready to use for a daily driver, but I couldn't get it to work with Sprint. I'm hoping this has been fixed, but...it's never a good sign when you search for something and the second match is your own post asking for help, with no replies. I figure I'll try it again once I get that OnePlus One, see if I have any better luck this time. If I still can't get it to work...well, at least if I have to go back to LineageOS, the One supports version 15.x (as opposed to 14.x on the Nexus 5).

Purism's Librem 5 is coming, but man, $700 for its spec set really puts a premium on escaping the Android/Apple ecosystems. I wish Purism the best, but that phone is going to have to get some fucking fantastic reviews for me to even consider that price point.

I'm most interested in the PinePhone. At $100, I do not expect it to be good; I'm expecting, basically, a Raspberry Pi that can make phone calls. But I really only use my phone for web browsing and phone calls anyway. Worst-case scenario? At least I'm only out $100, not $700.

Also there's the Necunos Mobile, which...is a 1200-euro "phone" in scare quotes because it has no cellular modem. It pretty much screams "someone fucked up very badly at some point during the development of this product, and everyone knows it, but they're trying to spin it as a security feature and hoping they can bluff their way to a few sales before they go bankrupt." If nothing else, hey, at least it looks like a nice device for developers to play with. Will it really support Plasma Mobile, postmarketOS, Maemo Leste, Nemo Mobile, and LuneOS? If so, that's pretty impressive. But I'm still not paying 1200 euro for a phone that won't make phone calls.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:08 am

Couple last stray thoughts before bed:

In case anybody doesn't know why I'm using the "GNU/Linux" nomenclature: the OS that people typically call "Linux" uses the Linux kernel with the GNU userland. The creators of GNU have been advocating for the OS to be called GNU/Linux for years, for ideological reasons.

Regardless of ideology, "GNU/Linux" is a meaningful distinction now because there are now two popular OS's that use the Linux kernel but don't use the GNU userland: Android and Chrome. Strictly speaking, if you refer to Linux-based systems, that includes Android and Chrome; specifying "GNU/Linux" means you're not referring to Android or Chrome. Most smartphones are Linux phones, but few are GNU/Linux phones.

Beyond that: when I mention that 2019 looks to be an interesting year for GNU/Linux phones, I don't mean that they're going to be terribly usable or feature-complete. I don't think they'll be usable for the typical end user. They won't be as accessible as desktop Linux has become in the past decade (my grandpa uses Mint). But I think 2019 could be the year that GNU/Linux phones become usable as daily drivers for the same people who used GNU/Linux desktops as daily drivers fifteen or twenty years ago.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:18 pm

...so the guy I bought the OnePlusOne cancelled the sale with no explanation 10 minutes after I won the auction, and 5 minutes after the other similarly-priced OnePlus One auction I was looking at ended.

Tried to fix my Nexus 5 but whatever's wrong with the switch is beyond what a Q-tip and some alcohol can fix. Whatever the problem is, fixing it is going to talk desoldering the switch from the board, which, again, I've got no interest in attempting.

There are a couple of local places that fix phones, and I suppose I could call around for quotes. There was nothing irreplaceable on there, so I'm not sweating it, but if it's like $40 I could see maybe paying to have it fixed so I've at least got a phone for a few days while I wait to get a new one, and then I can put the N5 to use somewhere -- as a music player in the bathroom, as a test machine for Ubuntu, or whatever.

I am annoyed and frustrated, but ultimately these are First World Problems. I can go a few days or a week or whatever without a phone; I've still got e-mail, and if I really need to make a call, my wife's got a phone and I've got a regular old landline at my desk at work.

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