Fucking Cell Phones

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Thad
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:05 am

...welp, my dumb ass bought a GSM phone even though I'm on a CDMA network.

Anyway, I got my Nexus 5 fixed. Power button, like I thought. Found a place that's open on Sundays and did it for $45. (The guy did say "I quoted you $55 on the phone, right?" and I'm not entirely sure if that was an honest mistake or if he was trying to stiff me, but once I said "I think you said $45" he didn't try to argue with me.)

I was planning on fixing the N5 anyway; I was figuring I'd figure out something to use it for, media player or Ubuntu Touch test machine or whatever. So I don't feel too put out that I bought the OPO; now I'll just use it as my test device.

I installed WaveUp and Simple Reboot on the N5 so's I don't need to push the physical power button as often. I still find myself hitting it every time I want to put the phone to sleep, though; I haven't found a good software alternative for that (other than setting the sleep timeout low and waking the phone if it goes to sleep when I don't want to; generally I just set the timeout to 5 minutes and hit the button if I want to turn the screen off, but maybe I'll see if 1 or 2 minutes works for me).

Installed Ubuntu on the OPO. It's interesting. It feels like it would have everything I need for a daily driver, if only the programs all worked correctly. The Nextcloud app doesn't actually seem to do anything except open the web frontend of my Owncloud instance; I'm not sure if that's a problem with the app or because I'm trying to use a Nextcloud client to connect to an Owncloud server. (Nextcloud is a fork of Owncloud; I'm not sure how compatible it still is.)

I use Keepass to store my passwords, and neither of the Ubuntu Touch Keepass apps works. I try to open my database file and nothing happens. No error; the app just stays on its home screen as if I never tried to open anything.

I haven't tried installing Anbox yet. That's the program that lets you run containerized Android apps. If it works decently well then presumably it'll make up for any functionality gaps in Ubuntu Touch itself.

I could probably combine all this rambling into a blog post at some point. I expect this whole experiment isn't quite over yet.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby mharr » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:55 am

Seems like with Lutris and Anbox we're pretty close to a turnkey general audience version of Linux that could kick the Windows store deservedly to the curb.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:28 am

Can't get the flashlight app to work either, which reinforces my guess that app permissions (access to filesystem, camera, etc.) are set in some non-obvious location.

Tight default security is a good thing. But Android's got the right idea with asking for permissions at install or first run time.

Also the Tiny Tiny RSS client app randomly fails and just displays a blank screen when I try to load a feed until I quit and restart it, but seeing as exactly the same thing happens on TTRSS-Reader for Android, I can't really hold this against the Ubuntu client in particular.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby beatbandito » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:07 am

My Huawei just updated the ui to suck in that last os patch, and added more bloatware. Chinese cyber terror at its finest.
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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:45 pm

Significant updates today on both the Librem 5 and the PinePhone, with both devices set to start shipping within the next few weeks.

While this is a significant step, the phones are still a ways off from being ready for end users; their first runs are a big step up from dev kits, but devs are still the intended audience. I'd say we're looking at alpha software running on beta hardware at this point. Pine64 expects the first commercial run of the PinePhone in March, while Purism expects the final mass-produced version of the Librem 5 in Q2 with a second version by the end of 2020.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Niku » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:53 pm

It's not a phone, but we don't have a smartwatch thread, so:

Image

They finally made a smartwatch that does exactly what I want a smartwatch to do and that doesn't look like a tiny fucking marshmallow cube jutting off of your wrist, so I jumped in for a splurge before putting the rest of my vacation payout into savings. The Fossil Hybrid HR a.) has an e-ink screen, so it has more than two weeks of battery life before needing a charge, b.) shows notifications for texts and phone calls (and other various apps but those are literally the only two things I want/need so it's all I've turned on) and c.) has light fitness stuff for steps, sleep tracking, heartrate, etc. It has some quirks both charming and not (the only way it lights up is via old fashioned tiny lights illuminating the screen for you, which I like, but while you can customize the widgets in the circles on the screen each widget itself has very little customization for fine-tuning exactly what you want the watch to do for you). It's cleverly designed to spin the watch-hands when you flick your wrist so if they're blocking any of the info you can quickly get a glance at your steps or the weather or whatever, and puts them at 9 and 3 when showing notifications so you can read them easily. And you can customize the background with round grayscale images of your choice so you can do subtly nerdy things like use the Mother-logo Earth, and plenty of folks have already made a bunch of neat, tasteful images that look nice on the face. If you'd rather slap baby Yoda or the screaming-at-cat meme on your wrist or something, there's that too.

I'm replacing an old Fitbit HR with this thing, so it's basically just an upgrade across the board in terms of functionality and looks; the limitations might turn some folks off, but it's just what I needed.
Image

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:10 pm

Finally bit the bullet and swapped my 2013 Nexus 5 for a used Pixel 3a.

So far I haven't been able to install a Gapps-free ROM. LineageOS isn't officially supported on the 3a, which I knew; Dirty Unicorns isn't either, which came as a surprise (turns out it supports the 3a XL but not the regular-size 3a). I tried an unofficial port of LineageOS but it errored out on partitioning and wouldn't boot; I tried an unofficial version of AOSiP but it bundled Gapps. If I wanted Gapps I'd use the damn stock ROM. GrapheneOS looks promising but all its downloads are broken and I'm not sure I want to deal with the hassle of compiling from source. (ETA: I dropped a message to support and they got back to me promptly. I was seeing out-of-date links because the links are updated via JS and I use NoScript. There's a <noscript> tag that explains the issue, which I presumably would have seen if I'd blocked JS at the browser level instead of through an extension. So I guess I'll be trying GrapheneOS! Still and all, though, this seems like something they should have handled server-side instead of through JS, as I have to assume there's a lot of overlap between GrapheneOS's userbase and NoScript's.)

Google's got something called Android Flash Tool now that lets you flash a recent AOSP build to a Pixel phone. That sounds promising (it's intended for devs to test whether their apps are compatible with upcoming versions of the OS, but provided there's a way to get a recent stable release and regularly add security patches, it seems like something I might be able to use as a daily driver). But in practice it seems pretty damn poorly designed. Instead of the usual process of downloading an image and running a script from the command line to load software with ADB, the Flash Tool does it all from the browser -- which sounds more convenient, until you actually use it and find out that it reboots your phone, then downloads the OS image, and presumably installs it after it's downloaded. I say "presumably" because I've tried three or four times and it's never completed a download; it says it's lost its connection to the phone and has to restart. I suspect the cheap third-party USB cable I'm using but I haven't had a chance to test another one. (The phone came with a C-to-C cable, and I don't have any USB-C ports on my computer; I grabbed the C-to-A cable my wife uses to charge her phone overnight and I think it may be unsuitable for data. Might try the one that came with her phone later tonight, but I'm on call until 5 o'clock so I can't mess with my phone until then.)

This process is, of course, dumb, and seems specifically designed to make it a very inconvenient way for someone to install AOSP on a phone they intend to use as a daily driver. You can't download the image unless your phone is plugged in, you have to sit and wait with your phone on a boot screen while the image downloads, and if there's a communication error with your phone you have to start the download again from the beginning.

So for now I'm using stock Android. Which would be fine if it weren't for all the damn Gapps bits. Sure is great getting constant notifications that the Gmail account I use exclusively for logging into Google things got some more spam. I'm sure there's a way to make it shut up but seeing as I intend to flash the phone again I don't want to spend too much time setting things up the way I want.

Haven't decided what I'm going to do with the old Nexus yet. For now it's still get all my stuff on it and I'll leave it that way until I can get my settings moved over to the Pixel. I've already got an old OnePlus One I use to test Ubuntu Touch. Since LineageOS still supports the OPO, I might put Ubuntu on the Nexus and use the OPO for Android gaming. (Is War of the Visions any good? Kotaku makes it sound like there's a solid game underneath all the F2P upsell bullshittery.)

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Grath » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:33 am

Given how much of Android is built on the assumption that you have Google apps, wouldn't it be easier to just turn off notifications from the ones you don't intend to use? Should just be a long press on a given notification and "turn off notifications", don't even have to dig through settings.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:02 am

It depends on what you mean by "easier".

I'm sure there's a way to disable all the notifications I don't like, and figure out how to get rid of that fucking Google News feed to the left of my homescreen, and all the other fiddly default shit I don't want.

But now that I've found a ROM I can actually install over the thing, I'd say it's easier to just start from a fresh install without any of that shit and just put the shit I want on there.

Plus, disabling all the annoying stuff isn't really my ultimate goal. I don't want Gapps. I don't want an un-uninstallable copy of Gmail on my phone, because I don't use Gmail. I don't want Google monitoring everything I do from my GPS coordinates to every app I install.

A couple of years back, I went to Flagstaff and had my wife take a photo of me in front of my old freshman dorm building. The photo app asked me if I wanted to tag the photo with the location, Cowden Hall. That shit creeps me the fuck out. The default behavior of my camera should not be to check my fucking GPS coordinates. I'm sure there's a way to disable that, too, but I shouldn't have to; it shouldn't be doing it without my opting in in the first place. I know there's a way to disable contact syncing, too, but I forgot to do that one time and now Google has every phone number that was in my phone at the time.

I'm an Android user pretty much by default -- because I don't want Apple's locked-down you-don't-own-your-phone-we-do experience. I don't want Google's stalkerware, either, but on balance the undesirable elements of Android are a lot easier to purge than the undesirable elements of iOS.

I was hoping I'd be using Ubuntu Touch on a PinePhone by now, but no such luck. Even if Covid-19 hadn't thrown manufacturing and shipping into chaos, it still probably wouldn't have worked with my carrier, and UT still isn't quite there yet in terms of usability.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby mharr » Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:52 am

Putting a proper OS on there sounds easier mostly in the long term sense that you won't be fighting an endless running battle against an enemy with root access.

FWIW though, I believe system apps can be uninstalled for real using ADB without too much buggering about. Can be a useful quick fix for friends and family tech support.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:07 pm

Got the phone set up pretty well (even syncing my calendar to my local Nextcloud now). Still a few teething problems. The main one of which is that, after I had to replace the power button on my old Nexus 5, I got into the habit of not turning the screen off before I threw it in my pocket, just letting it shut itself off after the timeout. Worked fine on the N5; does not work on the 3a. The 3a seems to have a much more sensitive screen; I could throw the N5 in my pocket and it wouldn't generally accidentally press anything (occasionally I'd open it up and my calendar would be open from the desktop or something). I threw the 3a in my pocket with my grocery list open and when I pulled it back out the damn thing had toggled every grocery on the list. My grocery list had 140 things on it.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby mharr » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:28 am

This might be "Is it plugged in" level, but does your chosen os offer software mistouch prevention? It's usually buried somewhere in the accessibility settings.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:58 am

mharr wrote:This might be "Is it plugged in" level, but does your chosen os offer software mistouch prevention? It's usually buried somewhere in the accessibility settings.

Doesn't seem to. I've looked under Accessibility and I've also searched settings for "touch", "tap", and "accidental".

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:38 pm

GrapheneOS has been working fine as a daily driver, except that I haven't been able to receive MMS messages (phone calls and SMS work).

Finally decided to troubleshoot that today and discovered mobile data isn't working (which I hadn't noticed because, y'know, I've been in my house and on wifi pretty much the entire time I've had this phone).

Upon further research, it looks like GrapheneOS doesn't support mobile data on Sprint. So I guess I'm back to looking for ROMs, sigh.

You know, I'm not thrilled about the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, but I'm really hoping that it results in all Sprint's many obnoxious compatibility issues going away.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:28 pm

I've been looking at various options for an alternative ROM, and found a link pointing to a guy named invisiblek who posts weekly builds of Lineage for the 3a and a handful of other devices.

I read up on him and he looks to be legit; he's got profiles at xda-developers and Github. So he seems trustworthy. (Lots of sites offering custom Android ROMs don't. I won't link to them, but in my search for 3a ROMs I've seen a ton of results from getdroidtips.com and cyanogenmods.org, both of which look dodgy AF.)

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 11, 2020 3:51 pm

...and the invisiblek build has Gapps. Damn it.

I'm probably either going to have to just accept Gapps in my life, or build the fucking thing myself from source.

...should probably try the invisiblek build first, though, see if it even works with Sprint data. No sense going to the trouble of compiling it myself if it's not going to work when I'm done anyway.

ETA: Elsewhere in the thread I saw somebody allude to "GSI/Treble images"; turns out that means Generic System Image. Guess I'll try one of those. Andy Yan's LineageOS build looks promising. And Gapps-free. (And yeah, Sprint data works on invisiblek's build, so I expect it'll work on other LineageOS builds too.) But he "strongly advises" trying phhusson's AOSP first, so maybe I will.

ETA 2: Did a bit more reading on what the different variations of AOSP-phh are. It looks like "aonly" is for phones that don't support Seamless Updates and "ab" is for ones that do; vanilla is just stock AOSP, while FLOSS appears to be vanilla plus all the shit I usually install manually after a fresh install (su, F-Droid, Aurora Store, Fennec, K9 Mail, Nextcloud, OSMand, NewPipe). Looks pretty good, though I'm not sure why phh thinks I need a calendar/contacts sync and Nextcloud (which offers that functionality). And given that Github appears to be capping my download speed at around 30KB/s, it might actually be faster for me just to download Vanilla and then install all that other stuff directly from F-Droid.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:48 am

I have had a couple of days.

I've got the PHH AOSP build booting on my phone, but once again can't get Sprint working. So I'm currently downloading the latest LineageOS GSI build. Guess I'll try it tomorrow.

(I also tried building LineageOS from source, using SolidHal's Docker container method. I started it last night, then thought it had hung, up until I got a notification that I was running out of hard drive space. Goddamn thing had been pulling files the whole time, and had filled up nearly all of the 65GB I had free on my /home partition before I stopped it. ...Not that I want to deal with that again, but if I do I'll have to put it on my 3TB drive instead of the SSD that my /home partition is on.)

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:24 am

mharr wrote:FWIW though, I believe system apps can be uninstalled for real using ADB without too much buggering about. Can be a useful quick fix for friends and family tech support.

I should probably put a pin in this, because at this point I've tried a shitload of ROMs and the correlation I'm noticing is that ROMs with Gapps work with Sprint data and ROMs without it don't. My best guess is that if GMS detects a Sprint SIM, it deploys some kind of proprietary Sprint program to make it work.

I've got a few more ROMs to try before I give up on a Gapps-free experience. And I'm also going to try and see if microG will work as a substitute. I really like the PHH/FLOSS ROM; if I can install microG on that and get it to work, great. But if none of this works, I'm thinking I'll fall back to that invisiblek LineageOS build and then yank out whatever shit I don't want. (This would be easier than starting from stock, because LineageOS comes with less shit I don't want out of the box. Only problem is I suspect I'd have to yank Gapps back out after every monthly update.)

I wonder if my cell data would still work if I installed a GMS build and then removed GMS after the initial setup.

(edited to correct "GSM" to "GMS". GSM is a type of cellular network (which Sprint isn't, it's CDMA); GMS is Google Mobile Services.)

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:35 pm

GMS alone isn't enough to do it; I tried the official Google build of AOSP+GMS and had the same issue.

That doesn't mean that GMS isn't needed for it, but it means that there's something some of these ROMs with GMS are doing on install that the AOSP+GMS ROM doesn't.

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Re: Fucking Cell Phones

Postby mharr » Sun May 10, 2020 12:45 am

Anyone know a way to remote control an android device with a busted touchscreen? Found my old Shield portable in the lockdown junk purge, it came back to life when I snipped out the smashed display and plugged the remains into the tv, but it's a faff doing anything with just the d-pad.

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