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[#] Sun Feb 21 2021 18:08:17 EST from Nurb432

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I do hope you are right.  But i keep seeing commercial encroachment/entrapment and infection. And attacks from the likes of oracle on the fundamentals.

 

My nature is to always see the dark side of things.  Most of the time i'm unfortunately, right. . but sometimes i hope i'm wrong.



[#] Sun Feb 21 2021 19:15:52 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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Oracle has been trying to take ownership of other people's open source assets for 20 years. It ain't happening. All they're doing is pissing people off.
They'll succeed about as well as SCO.

[#] Thu Feb 25 2021 12:21:41 EST from Nurb432

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whohooo pinephone ETA Monday. 



[#] Fri Feb 26 2021 11:06:40 EST from Nurb432

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Or not.  Customs just ate it.  "On hold"

 

Thu Feb 25 2021 12:21:41 EST from Nurb432

whohooo pinephone ETA Monday. 



 



[#] Fri Feb 26 2021 14:43:27 EST from nonservator

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The Pinebook Pro doesn't look bad, but aren't they still working on making the phone actually able to be used for phone calls?



[#] Fri Feb 26 2021 14:57:13 EST from Nurb432

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My understanding is it can do that now if you want to talk to people. But who does that? :)  its the 'smart phone' pieces that are in-flight.  Sure, not all the software is 'ready for prime time general use' but its close, and they are functional. Just not "optimal" ( at least that is what i read.. we will find out soon ).  Biggest issue is the conversion of some 'desktop apps' to a phone screen format is not trivial, not that they dont exist.. 

 

i love my Pinebook Pro.    Other than that damned iSO keyboard.   I got mine early on, 3rd batch of pre-orders, before they had ansi keyboard option.   As i have other desktop and server devices with that chip I was thrilled to have a RK3399 based laptop, that wasn't a Chromebook.   Tho ironically, now that you can run Linux under chromeOS without having to 'screw' with it, my RK3399 Chromebook gets used more, due to its flip around screen.  It has all 3 worlds: Linux, ChromeOS, and Android...  Just tight on intenral eMMC.

 

Oh if you get a PPro, and want to use a m.2, watch what you get. Some dont fit in the case very well due to thickness. They 'fit' but the case is a bit under stress, not a good thing. instead of expensive trial and error, i just pulled that back out and got a larger eMMC instead. 

Fri Feb 26 2021 14:43:27 EST from nonservator

The Pinebook Pro doesn't look bad, but aren't they still working on making the phone actually able to be used for phone calls?



 



[#] Fri Feb 26 2021 16:40:56 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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That sucks. 

 

Fri Feb 26 2021 11:06:40 EST from Nurb432

Or not.  Customs just ate it.  "On hold"

 

Thu Feb 25 2021 12:21:41 EST from Nurb432

whohooo pinephone ETA Monday. 



 



 



[#] Fri Feb 26 2021 17:08:02 EST from Nurb432

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Uncool. Friend of mine ordered one a couple of days after mine. his arrived today. 

 

Mine must still be on a bench with a JTAG attached to a laptop, so they can install their spyware. 



[#] Mon Mar 01 2021 15:55:53 EST from Nurb432

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Whoohoo its here.

All i can say so far is it was packaged professionally.  Not hat i'm a fan of unboxing videos, but its nice to see they care and didnt just toss it in some cardboard box and wish for the best.

Going to load the default mobian and see what it does.  I guess there is a 17-in-one multi boot image too, to try out various interfaces and apps ( distributions ). 

Fri Feb 26 2021 17:08:02 EST from Nurb432

Uncool. Friend of mine ordered one a couple of days after mine. his arrived today. 

 

Mine must still be on a bench with a JTAG attached to a laptop, so they can install their spyware. 



 



[#] Mon Mar 01 2021 19:30:52 EST from Nurb432

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More to come over the next few days but my first out of box impressions:

Seems solid enough physically. Nice to have a back that can come off and replace the battery with no fuss.  neat it has hardware switches to turn things off like the cameras or radios.. For you security paranoids. 

Its a Allwinner A64, and man can you tell. Its pokey.  Now, keeping in mind its a 200 dollar phone, its not THAT bad, but coming from a high end device like i normally use, you can feel it.  Some of this may be due to 'raw' Linux and what really are desktop graphic libraries. I need to try android for a fair comparison, perhaps this weekend.  I suspect the eMMC is slow too as load times are dismal on apps. Just a feeling. not tested that theory yet. My typical test video from YT @720p did ok however so i suspect GPU is enabled. ( being a Mali 400, mature OSS drivers are around )

Didn't notice at the time i ordered but its WiFi is a Realtek RTL8723CS, which means only 2.6G.  Was wondering why it didnt see my 5G SSID. that is why.

Mobian. well, as i expected, its clunky. Some of the apps really are not meant for a phone screen. An example i tried from its store was Calibre.. and ya, it was not formatted for the smaller screen.  This should improve over time tho.  Launcher, eh, nothing special, and it works. Just a bit odd coming from android. Going to try that 17-in-one boot this weekend. try a few others. Im sure each will have its strong and weak points.

It did recognize a HDMI video monitor via USBc, but as of yet not sure how to make it do something with it.. Status bar said 'docked' but didnt do anything for me.. For now its just a pretty background image. Mouse worked too. One of my thoughts was "carry it all day, get home stick it on a dock and you have a real machine with desktop apps".   Might work in principle, but speed would be a factor.

Not yet tried cell service, but i dont see why that would be a problem.

BT and some music may be tomorrow. 

Its clearly still a work in progress but so far its not 'unusable' just some compromises.  

 



[#] Tue Mar 02 2021 15:21:14 EST from Nurb432

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Mobian, gone. As much as i wanted 'Debian for mobile' just didnt work out. Now trying another OS.

One thing to note: this is an ARM board, so its really finicky about your boot images. If they are not 100%, it wont even power up with an error ( other than on the debug port ).  So, you didnt kill your device, its just a bad image. And i have run into several of them today.  Resorted to the 'factory manjaro' image, after i blew up Mobian trying something else.

The 17 in one has 'jump drive' as one of the options. It mounts the eMMC as a drive on your PC so you can use tools like etcher to flash.     Else you are stuck trying to DD from the SD card over after you boot into an OS on SD.  Doable but a pain.



[#] Tue Mar 02 2021 19:03:41 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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So what can you *do* with it? Is a smartphone usable without either of the big app ecosystems?

[#] Tue Mar 02 2021 19:38:22 EST from Nurb432

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Now that i have a distribution that seems usable that is on my agenda. "what can i do"

 

Currently it can make/take calls ( if i shove in a sim ) and txt message. Has a web browser so you can get to any of the main tools that Google, Microsoft, etc. have without needing an app anyway. Does have local apps for things like calendar, notes, telegram ( im sure more, that is just what is there now on the screen, my interest next is going to be jabber ) Unsure what it does yet, but it has 'account logins' for own/next cloud and google.  I killed off my test nextcloud so cant connect to it, but i suspect that is the route to go with these things and not google. The google one errors, i need to see what the error actually means tomorrow when i have some free time ( and what it does give me when i do get it connected ).  Didn't see an email app, but must be there somewhere. But, lots of web mail is responsive to screen size these days anyway.  Oh, its got music picture gallery and video too.  ( not tested any of that yet, but its there ).  Weather picked up my location via GPS, so in theory any web based map would work at least.  I didnt see a native map application. 

Of course this is just one Linux distro, others would be different.   There is still android ( AOSP ) and a webOS variant for non-Linux options. 

In theory while its true you dont have the google/apple stores, you do have access to bazillions of packages for Linux.. Just some may not do well on the small screen. 

 

Tue Mar 02 2021 19:03:41 EST from IGnatius T Foobar
So what can you *do* with it? Is a smartphone usable without either of the big app ecosystems?

 



[#] Wed Mar 03 2021 16:46:13 EST from Nurb432

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Ok one huge issue : Battery life.  ( and level detection ). It sucks juice like no tomorrow.   Both mine and that friend's ( hes still on Mobian ).  OS Bloat (TM) must be doing it 



[#] Thu Mar 04 2021 18:14:57 EST from Nurb432

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The google sync thing, just for drive via "KDE Online"

I guess ill spin up a test nextcloud this weekend and see what that does.

As expected many apps dont do well with portrait mode since they are still desktop apps, but many are doing surprisingly well with landscape. Just small.



[#] Sun Mar 07 2021 18:35:34 EST from Nurb432

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I didnt get around to setting up a nextcloud server but i did mess with the device more.

Overall verdict is that unless you are a true techie and are ok with short term limitations to get out of the other ecosystems ( or security paranoid ), its not ready yet.  Basics are there, phone, sms, music, video, calendar, web, etc. as mobile formatted apps.  But not tons.  I do see that changing little by little as more of these sorts of devices become availble ( i think there are 3 now, this was not the first ).  Gotta start somewhere.

Sure, everything you might ever want is availble via a Debian package, but many things just dont work on such a small screen.  The mobile apps available ( kde based stuff. ill stick with that ) work, *if* you need specialized apps that only exist on a mobile platform you might be hurting. 

I did try various web alternatives to native apps i have, outlook, teams, jitsi, etc and they all seemed to work so its not like you are screwed. So many platforms now support either reformatted for small screens or that "responsive" thing so a lot fo stuff we use, you dont really need a native app.  It needs data anyway.. so its a wash in those cases i think. If you are tied to Apple that may not work, i have noting to test for them.  Google stuff, is good enough to get by. 

Battery life is still a bit low, i left it running all day ( sleep ) and it was about 60%.  Unsure why it was so bad the other day, but i did get 2 system updates since then. 

Not yet tried it as a mobile desktop you can stick into a docking station, but may not bother since the speed is so low.  I have seen others do it so i suspect it would work fine, including regular desktop apps. 



[#] Wed Mar 10 2021 01:50:51 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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My problem with these devices is, once I quit social media, I find that there isn't a LOT I *want* to do with them on a day to day basis. 

They're portable Social Media devices, at this point. 

I mean, mine has an app that aligns my telescope to the stars so I can find Orion's nebula - and that is nifty. I can control my lawn and my pool and my plugs and my locks with it... which is good and bad, in some cases. There are probably some other useful things I use it for. Music streaming and GPS when I'm travelling. 

And I've got a ton of retro-platforms loaded on it - that I occasionally use to pass time. 

I wish it had a good WebCit mobile front end. 

 

Tue Mar 02 2021 19:38:22 EST from Nurb432

Now that i have a distribution that seems usable that is on my agenda. "what can i do"

 

Currently it can make/take calls ( if i shove in a sim ) and txt message. Has a web browser so you can get to any of the main tools that Google, Microsoft, etc. have without needing an app anyway. Does have local apps for things like calendar, notes, telegram ( im sure more, that is just what is there now on the screen, my interest next is going to be jabber ) Unsure what it does yet, but it has 'account logins' for own/next cloud and google.  I killed off my test nextcloud so cant connect to it, but i suspect that is the route to go with these things and not google. The google one errors, i need to see what the error actually means tomorrow when i have some free time ( and what it does give me when i do get it connected ).  Didn't see an email app, but must be there somewhere. But, lots of web mail is responsive to screen size these days anyway.  Oh, its got music picture gallery and video too.  ( not tested any of that yet, but its there ).  Weather picked up my location via GPS, so in theory any web based map would work at least.  I didnt see a native map application. 

Of course this is just one Linux distro, others would be different.   There is still android ( AOSP ) and a webOS variant for non-Linux options. 

In theory while its true you dont have the google/apple stores, you do have access to bazillions of packages for Linux.. Just some may not do well on the small screen. 

 

Tue Mar 02 2021 19:03:41 EST from IGnatius T Foobar
So what can you *do* with it? Is a smartphone usable without either of the big app ecosystems?

 



 



[#] Wed Mar 10 2021 06:22:37 EST from Nurb432

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Wasn't webcitNG going to be 'responsive'? 

 

( i hate that term btw )



[#] Wed Mar 10 2021 08:16:05 EST from zooer

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Wed Mar 10 2021 01:50:51 AM EST from ParanoidDelusions

My problem with these devices is, once I quit social media, I find that there isn't a LOT I *want* to do with them on a day to day basis. 
They're portable Social Media devices, at this point. 

 

I don't have social media accounts.  The one thing I like about a smartphone is the calendar.  But I would rather go back to carrying around a day planner.  When I write something into a day planner I remember it, when I type it into the online calendar I don't remember it.  (or maybe I am getting old)

On rare occasions I use maps, but a stand-alone GPS would be fine. 

I could go back to text messages and wait until I get home for an email.

One thing my family likes is the Viber messaging app.  The family seems to use that frequently for keeping in touch, sending pictures and videos.

 

 

 

 

 



[#] Wed Mar 10 2021 13:42:06 EST from Nurb432

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Really that has always been the case of a phone. Even from the beginning, just that the underlying methods have morphed and (d)evolved over the decades ( like e-mail, video. ).

 

But that said, if you remove all the social aspect of the device, i still have use for mine. 

  • Mobile music. I have had that since i was a child in grade school, thru all sorts of iterations over the years. Other than this last year at home, its my primary music source.
  • Camera.   Sure its not as good as my real camera, but its with me all the time. 
  • GPS/maps. I dont travel or trail running these days, but it was a great thing to have.
  • security . monitoring my home cameras and water detection units.
  • Remote control. I have IR on mine, so it runs my TV/video player/stereo/etc
  • Weather ( at least during spring.. tornado alley )
  • Car diagnostics ( Bluetooth to ODB adapter )
So not totally useless, at least for me
Wed Mar 10 2021 01:50:51 EST from ParanoidDelusions



They're portable Social Media devices, at this point. 



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