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Messages - Daniel W

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1
Update #45 says that (empty) printed circuit board manufacturing is "slightly delayed" due to Covid. PCB components mounting is moved to mid-December, immediately followed by packaging and assembly. The factory still expects to ship the first units to Planet before Christmas, who will immediately ship them onward to backers. That could, if accurate, mean approximately this:

First Mass Production: Cosmo-09/26/19 >> Astro-11/20/21 >> #45-12/16/21
Start to Ship: Cosmo-10/12/19 >> Astro-12/06/21 >> #45-12/23/21

Though I'd love to be wrong, I do personally, at this point, given how absolutely choked both international and domestic logistics tends to be around Christmas, not expect one single backer to receive their mass produced Astro in 2021, and I suspect some of the less common keyboard layouts will, again, get caught up in the CNY.

2
Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Re: Flickering Screen ON New Cosmo
« on: November 29, 2021, 09:08:39 am »
Hi and welcome to the sometimes quirky world of the Planet Computers devices.

On low brightness settings, I have noticed, especially in a particular text editor, that my screen backlight brightness occasionally varies a little bit up and down, in step with the flashing of the cursor. In a wider context, that makes me believe that the exact level of brightness sometimes depends a bit on what, precisely, the Cosmo is doing at the moment.

To be clear, I wouldn't call phenomenon I sometimes observe flickering; it is more of a cyclic slight increase and decrease in backlight intensity, in pace with the cursor, and, for me, it only happens under certain circumstances.

If your screen is actually flickering, regardless of your brightness setting, what app(s) you are using, the battery charge level, how intensely the CPU is working etc, I would suspect a bad connection somewhere, which might require a repair under warranty.

3
Hi. This post is about using an external keyboard with Android. If you use Linux, I'm afraid I can't be of much help.

After pairing or connecting an external keyboard, you may have to set the keyboard layout for it. Android was kind enough to slip me a notification for that purpose, but the setting can be found in Settings > System > Languages & input > Physical keyboard  > [keyboard model] > Set up keyboard layouts > [Language of choice] Android keyboard. Please beware that there might be a [Language of choice] Gemini keyboard in the list too, which I suppose is intended for the internal Cosmo keyboard. For me, it gave an incorrect mapping, so stick to the Android variety.

You may stop reading now. The rest of this post is just me rambling about, trying out a few external keyboards I dug out of a storage bin.

I am typing this on an old external Bluetooth keyboard. The sticker on the back says "Linocell art.94059 IK47313". I think that's just something my domestic reseller made up, but it should be enough to find a picture, would anyone be interested. The keyboard is meant for a tablet. As far as I can tell !"#%&/()=+?'*ˆ,.;:-_@£$˜ seems to work for me, but when I press < or > I get an § instead. That kind of makes sense, as the physical layout is a bit odd. The < and > are physically located on a key where I would expect to find § (on a Swedish keyboard). Worse, { [ ] } seems unavailable. Not good for coding then...

Now I'm trying out an old USB keyboard. It's a bit broken, but after setting up the layout, I can now type all the special symbols §½!"#¤%&/()=?+\@£$€{[]}ˆ˜'*-_.,:;<>|

Finally I am trying a "Deltaco TB-109I Bluetooth 3.0 Macro Keyboard", which is a tad silly, as it is smaller than the internal Cosmo keyboard (think media PC remote control). From a typing perspective, it's on par with, say, my old Nokia 5510, which I, back then, thought had a "good" keyboard. This experience is giving me a refreshing reminder of how much better the Cosmo keyboard is than most "smartphone keyboards". Anyway, let's test symbols now: §½!"#¤$%€&/()=-_{[]},;.:'*ˆ˜<>||+?\ well, some keys are in odd places and there's no F12 (not that the Cosmo cares). Oh, look even its square-inch-and-a-half trackpad works, and gives me a cute little mouse cursor on the Cosmo.

In summary, with the correct layout set, I can get external keyboards to work pretty well. Obviously I have only tried Swedish layouts. Perhaps there are bugs in other layouts, in which case some remapping tool would be needed, I suppose.

4
Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / Re: Some notes and impressions
« on: November 09, 2021, 02:53:27 pm »
Hi and welcome to the Cosmo crowd, I suppose. Here are my notes on your notes, in the hope that you might find something useful.

The Cosmo doesn't have a row of five RGB LED's anywhere so, as I seem to faintly recall, the idea was that the Cosmo version of Ledison would use the CoDi to show the color patterns, but I have never read about anyone getting that to work and, at this point, I have stopped hoping it will ever get fixed. Since it, on my unit anyway, more than doubles the battery life, and also because mine is so buggy, I have just turned my CoDi off from the settings menu. Before I did so, it kept waking up for everything and anything, such as when AirMail or Google Play were merely checking for mail or updates. Quite often it woke up for no apparent reason at all, and stayed on for 40 seconds.

As far as I know the LED's on the outside of the Cosmo lid works as follows: The quick start guide that came with my Cosmo, says the LED above the camera hump is a 'Wireless Indicator LED'. I have occasionally seen lit in magenta during phone calls, which I think tells me I only have 2G coverage at the moment. I have seen other people say it's magenta when Mobile Data isn't working, which I suppose it isn't on 2G, so that might be the actual meaning. It turns on in red when the Cosmo is in flight mode and in blue when the mobile hotspot is on (with the lid closed).

The LED in the other end of the lid, below the fingerprint rocker, comes on in red, when charging at below 80% battery level, at which point it turns yellow. Then it turns green at around 95% charge. The same LED blinks slowly with short flashes in yellow when there are unread SMS or MMS messages. I think it flashes in yellow for missed calls too. Mine flashes the same way, but in green, when I have unread Skype messages. It flashes red when battery saver mode has turned on due to low battery level, but not if I manually turn the battery saver mode on.

Then there are the two LED's on the fingerprint rocker itself. Their behavior seems a bit erratic at times. As far as I understand, when the CoDi wakes up in its locked state, both are supposed to be red. After unlocking the CoDi with the fingerprint reader, both of them turn blue. When the CoDi is enabled, but sleeping, they occasionally light up in either red or blue, seemingly for no reason.

While the phone is ringing, the left LED is green and the right is red, to indicate which way to press the rocker to answer or dismiss the call. They are also red/green when the CoDi is showing the contact list, call history or the keypad for manual dialing. In that state, pressing the green side is supposed to call the selected/entered number, while pressing the red side should return to showing the time and date.

When a compatible media player is playing and the lid is closed, the LED's in the rocker are flashing alternatingly in blue, which I personally find so distracting that I avoid playing media on the Cosmo, with the lid closed. This can also happen when Spotify on my Cosmo detects that Spotify on my PC is playing... I got rid of that by turning off "Spotify Connect in background" in the Spotify settings on the Cosmo and then swiping away from the list of recently used apps (the square navigation button).

There is no picture browser on the CoDi as far as I know. The closest thing I have found is that the CoDi media player UI can show album art. I have personally only gotten this to work with Spotify, but I can neither get it to play files from the local file system, nor get it to reliably change tracks or pause from the CoDi. The media player UI detects VLC, but just shows its default cone icon and can't control the playback. Someone mentioned the opensource media player Vinyl, but for me it behaved much like VLC. If some actually supported local media player could be found, creating, potentially silent, local media files with whatever "album art" one would want to display on the CoDi could, perhaps, be a really messy way to show small still images on the CoDi.

Yes, upgrading CoDi firmware is a pain. Flight mode and DND seems to help a bit, but it can still be really tedious. It's just one of the many bugs related to the CoDi, it seems. It would indeed be nice if Planet would opensource the CoDi firmware. The closest things we have, seems to be the projects mentioned here: https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?topic=36060 but, as far as I know, the micro controller they chose is very limited, so it might not be possible to do all that much.

Regarding the keyboard, my Cosmo has, in my opinion a noticeably better keyboard than my Gemini, so my experience differs from yours. On the Gemini the keys were a bit wobbly and unreliable, lest I hit them dead center. On the Cosmo, I initially had a similar issue with the space bar, which would only register if I hit the center third of it, but I fix that by putting a small piece of a thin self adhesive label under the key cap (like so: https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?topic=34914). For a while, my Cosmo typed a double 5. I removed a few key caps in that area, to make sure the rubber mat was clean and flat. Whatever I did, solved the issue, as it was gone after reinstalling the key caps.

The "Battery usage" doesn't work for me either. I haven't bothered trying to solve it, but I might try that GSam Battery Monitor.

I have personally set Settings -> Display -> Advanced -> Font size to small and Settings -> Display -> Advanced -> Display Size (using Shift-Control-C) to Custom (360). In my opinion, that allows me to fit a reasonable amount of stuff onto the screen, while still being able to read even the finer print in most apps.

5
Cosmo Communicator - CoDi / Re: CODI battery life
« on: November 05, 2021, 07:32:26 pm »
That the CoDi starts up in a few seconds doesn't have to mean it never shuts down completely. Simple things, that loads a small firmware, rather than booting a complex operating system, can start in a few seconds. Even the 1982 0.001GHz Commodore 64 would be ready for use in about 3.5 seconds afters being powered on. The same probably holds true for the microcontroller in the CoDi.

Nevertheless, the CoDi sure seems to use a significant amount of power when on, even when dark and idle. My somewhat aging battery has had a hard time lasting all day lately, until I forgot to turn the CoDi on one morning (I keep the phone in flight mode with the CoDi off at night, since I value my sleep more than nocturnal notifications). That morning (ok, almost noon) was on Wednesday. It is now a bit over sixty hours later, slightly after midnight on Saturday, and while the battery is falling fast now, I'm still at 25%, so it's quite concievable that I would have been able to get three days (of very light use) out of a device that struggles to reach one day with the CoDi on. Sure, it is a bit inconvenient not to see who's calling or texting, but if the impact on battery life I have noticed so far, turns out not to be a fluke, I guess this is how I'll roll while wating for Godot... em, I mean Astro.

6
The Astro update #43 (10/27/21) provided these "guesstimates"
16th November - All materials arrive for PCB mass production - many have already arrived
End of November - Astro PCB mass production
30th November - All materials to arrive for Astro Assembly
1st half of December - Astro Assembly and packaging
Mid-December - 1st Shipment of Astro Slide from factory to Planet warehouse

Fitting the events above, as best as I could, to makoshark's milestones, gave me these earliest possible dates:
(PCB) Production Start: Cosmo-09/03/19 >> Astro-10/28/21 >> #43-11/16/21
GMS Approval: Cosmo-09/06/19 >> Astro-10/31/21 >> #43-ongoing as of 11/05/21
Ready for Assembly: Cosmo-09/18/19 >> Astro-11/12/21 >> #43-11/30/21
First Mass Production: Cosmo-09/26/19 >> Astro-11/20/21 >> #43-12/01/21
Start to Ship: Cosmo-10/12/19 >> Astro-12/06/21 >> #43-12/16/21

By "earliest possible" I mean that the "End of November" Astro PCB mass production cannot possibly begin earlier than 11/16/21, when the required materials are expected to have arrived, and will likely not begin until a few days later. Likewise, the factory cannot possibly be ready for assembly earlier than 11/30/21, when the materials for that are expected to have arrived, and will likely need a few more days to set everything up. Further, shipments from their warehouse cannot possibly begin earlier than "mid December", when the first shipment to the warehouse is expected, and will, based on the Gemini and Cosmo, not begin until a week or two later. December 16 isn't specifically mentioned by Planet anywhere, I just picked that as the middle of December.

One date to keep in mind might be Saturday 01/29/22, which, as far as I know, is the last working day before the, certainly well deserved, Chinese New Year holidays. New Year's Eve is on Monday 01/31/22 and on Tuesday 02/01/21, the year of the Water Tiger begins. What hasn't left China by 01/29, isn't likely to go anywhere until after the Lantern Festival on Tuesday 02/15/22.








7
Hi Nicolaj.
One of the car mount kits should be on its way to you now. I sent you a PM with a tracking link.

8
Hi.

Sorry for the delay. I had kind of stopped watching the thread.
Yeah, sure. PM me an address, and I'll put one in the mail as soon as I can.
/Daniel

9
The camera issue was addressed by Shuntcap's custom builds of the camera software.
While Shuntcaps lovely custom builds alleviated multiple quality issues, they are, by neccesity, rather basic, lacking even white balance control, and the viewfinder is, for technical reasons, pretty slow. I am, however, mainly looking forward to better camera hardware, with better optical resolution, faster and more accurate focus, better dynamic range etc. A main camera module clearly surpassing my 2013 Samsung would be nice.

Oh, well, I'm getting off topic. Would mass production actually begin on Monday (October 11), we could perhaps push all the estimated dates 17 days earlier (than October 28), but as I read Update #40, Planet will place the order for mass production on Monday, not actually begin mass production, so I think the actual date when the factory begins assembling Astros for backers, might remain to be determined. That said, I'd love to be wrong.

10
Add to that further post-Covid delays, the ongoing electricity shortage in China, the general chip shortage and the Chinese New Year in early February, and the Astro might end up a full year late... :P

I did some similar, though cruder, estimations for the Cosmo, https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?topic=35829 and it ended up arriving much later than my estimations. While it would be nice to get it before Christmas, as long as my Cosmo works, I am in no real hurry this time (getting by on a Gemini while waiting for a Cosmo was painful, though). That said, I do look forward to not needing the CoDi, perhaps finally getting a working compass and a better camera.

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Astro Slide - Hardware / Re: Back side of the display ugly?
« on: October 03, 2021, 02:32:02 pm »
I think we need to factor in that the Astro tries to achieve something no other slider, to the best of my knowledge, ever has, namely to completely slide the screen away from the base, leaving 100% of the bottom area available for the keyboard.

All other sliders I know of, exposes somewhere between 50 and 80% of the bottom, hiding some of the mechanics between overlapping parts, at the expense of cramped keyboards. Essentially, the Astro tries to combine the keyboard area of a clamshell with the outside main screen of a slider, without exposing the keyboard on the back of the device, as 360 degree hinges does.

While pebble-smooth phones may be visually pleasing or just so plain that there isn't much design left to potentially object to, I don't really care how my phone looks, as long as it works well. I open my Cosmo about thirty times a day, so if a minimal acceptable life span of the Astro is three years, the rock-up slider must work flawlessly about 33000 times.

Regarding Apple, I doubt they'd approve this form factor, at all.

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Hi!

Yes, I know there is a Sell/Wanted subforum here on OESF. Fairly little seems to happen there, so I'm posting here instead. Sorry if that's not the intended way. For logistical reasons, this is mainly directed to people in Sweden. I'm still writing this in English, as it's the lingua franca around here ;-)

Anyway... once upon a time, I backed a Planet Car Mount kit, weird logistics made me end up with two, and I no longer need them.

I briefly used one, with the air vent clamp, but I never used the suctions cups. They still have their original protective plastic attached. Letting them just age in a cupboard, feels kind of dumb, so: Would anyone in Sweden want a car mount kit, or two?

Feel free to ask me stuff below or PM me, if you prefer that.

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Gemini PDA - General Discussion / Re: How robust is a Gemini?
« on: August 17, 2021, 07:56:11 am »
I have a similar experience as jakfish. While my x25 Gemini is a somewhat crude first generation product, the typing experience isn't the best (not sure if later batches are any different), and the lack of a proper rear camera meant I kept carrying my old phone around too, my Gemini worked well during the nearly two years I used it frequently.

Since then, it has, still in good order, been in storage, as I am now using a Cosmo, which came from the factory with tiny hairline cracks around a few of the magnets, and parts of the middle hinge has spontaneously fallen off, though neither has affected its usability. While I can't say for sure that the Cosmo is less durable than the Gemini, I can, at least, say that the Cosmo does not appear to be any more robust than the Gemini.

Both are clamshell devices and, as such, a bit more delicate than monoblock phones. As the small quantities means the Planet phones must be fairly cheaply made, by a third party, there are some quality issues with both, so whether you get a good one or not, seems to depend a bit more on luck than it would, were you to go with a major brand.

As the latest (last?) Gemini firmware available is from May 2019, I would, due to the lack of Android security updates, currently only recommend the Gemini for Linux use.

14
Network coverage specifications were included in the "Astro Slide Campaign - Week 42 Update". It was sent by email as backer update #17 on January 11, and is also available here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/astro-slide-5g-transformer/x/16342699#/updates/all

In, short, these frequencies and bands are listed as supported:
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G WCDMA/HSPA+/UMTS: B1/2/5/6/8
3G CDMA/CDMA-EVDO1X: BC0(800MHz)/BC1(1900MHz)
4G TDD-LTE: B34/B38/B39/40/41(Full)
4G LTE bands: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B38/B39/B40/B41/B66/B71
5G bands: N1/N3/N28/N38/N41/N77/N78/N79
As this list is six months old, you may have to ask Planet if it's still valid.

On its own, that bunch of numbers might not say all that much. These lists might be helpful:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_5G_NR_networks
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks

Though, as you write that carriers are changing frequencies for the 5G rollout, those lists might not be up to date or may not accurately predict the near future. Perhaps your carrier can tell you which bands they will have support for.

The Gemini supports relatively few bands, so whether it will or won't be supported, might not be a good indicator of Astro support. Overall, the Astro is, according to Planet, supposed to cover enough bands to, provided a valid SIM card, basically work in all countries that has a cellphone network. Then again, I suppose, there is a bit of marketing speak in that statement. Best of luck.

15
Yes.

The bottom of a Cosmo pops off the same way as the top (and bottom) of a Gemini. On my particular Cosmo, I don't even need any particular tool, a few fingernails does the job for me, but it should be safe to use the Gemini tool, or a corner of some old credit card (or similar) that you don't care too much about.

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