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Messages - NormMonkey

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Cosmo Communicator - Android / missing auto rotate
« on: June 24, 2020, 12:08:45 pm »
After upgrading to V22 I've turned the Android auto-rotate option on, which is nice.

I have noticed an issue: I have a couple of apps which ALWAYS open in portrait mode.  I don't know how I managed to get these apps this way.  When using these apps, they open to portrait and will not auto-rotate to landscape.  Pushing the Planet button does not rotate back to landscape either.  I can do CTRL+SHIFT+R or use the Planet menu bar force-rotate option, which does rotate them, but when I open the app again later it's back to portrait.

None of these apps have a built-in option to lock rotation.  (some apps do have a setting for this, like Librera, but not the ones giving me trouble)

Does anyone else have this, where just a couple of specific apps don't auto-rotate?

Cosmo Communicator - Android / V22 is out.
« on: June 24, 2020, 12:01:53 pm »
CPU SPIKE / HIGH DRAIN / HIGH TEMP ISSUE - maybe resolved in V22

I've only been on V22 for a day, but my issue with certain apps intermittently causing CPU spike seems to have disappeared.

I had an issue where occasionally the temperature near the rocker switch would go very high.  Battery drained much faster.  This could go on for hours if unnoticed.  Opening/unlocking and going to the desktop, and then scrolling back and forth between desktops was very jerky whenever this happened.  The issue would often go away just by closing and re-opening, but I also found it disappeared as soon as I opened GSamBattery app.  I noticed in GSam that CPU would spike to constantly 100% during these occurrences.

(I installed GSamBattery to try and track down what was going on, and then once I discovered it has temperature alerts, I set that up to detect whenever this strange CPU spikes occurred)

Over time I discovered that there were a couple of apps that shortly after using them, this CPU spike event would occur much more frequently.  However, it didn't necessarily happen right when a particular app was just used.  I could have my phone tucked in a pocked for a half hour and no problems, then suddenly the issue starts.

Since V22 I have tried using those apps to see if I could get the issue to recur, and so far it hasn't.  So that's good.


I also noticed that after V22, my weechat running in tmux running in termux, would ping-time-out while the phone was closed.  It never did that before V22.  I guess that is the new more aggro power saving in action?  I was able to resolve that by allowing tmux to hold a wakelock.

Finally, I did NOT notice much improvement in battery drain under V22.  My battery was pretty much down to 15% by the end of the day, as it normally has been.  NOTE that I didn't turn the wakelock on until later in the day.

Cosmo Communicator - Android / V22 is out.
« on: June 23, 2020, 09:08:56 am »
Did my V22 update this morning, and CODI went through on the first try!  AMAZE!

Phone had just rebooted and finished the V22 update.  I just turned off the Cover Display from the Quick Settings pull-down, then in the Cover Display Assistant app, DOWNLOAD and then FLASH NOW.  Downloaded the flash and resource image was fast.  It started the resource image first (the one that takes longest) and it stayed at 0% for quite a long time, enough to make me start to worry.  Then it finally started and took a long time to get through.  I kept the display awake as it progressed.  The flash image was much faster, and then it was done!

It has been awhile but I think I did the same procedure last time (turning off Cover Display from Quick Settings menu) and it went through on the first try as well.  That was back at the update to V19 and I probably did the CODI update right after the Android firmware update as well.

Times before that, I have suffered through trying to get the CODI update to go through and conking out several times.

Cosmo Communicator - Android / v22 is coming this week
« on: May 12, 2020, 03:46:25 pm »
Quote from: cam1965
We are working on the following features:

* Suspend and Resume - on open / close

* Initial Voice Call telephony support
Both have now been implemented and are being tested.

I wish PlanetC would work on features people want instead of whatever this is.  What good is having telephony if linux suspends when it is closed?  Won't we miss all calls, texts, messages, etc.?  Is suspend / resume on open/close a useful feature?

I must be missing something.

Cosmo Communicator - Android / V19 Firmware Battery Life
« on: May 12, 2020, 02:00:09 pm »
Quote from: a1astair
I have resisted updating my Android firmware and am still on V19.

Up until a few days ago, I always got a day's battery life - even with CODI enabled.

Now if I leave it unplugged sitting there doing nothing (WiFi on as normal), I can pick up my phone and it isn't responding. Turns out the battery has drained and it has turned itself off. I estimate it is losing 25% charge in a little over 2 hours.

I haven't changed anything with the setup on the phone - nor have I installed any new apps.

Any ideas or is this just another Planet quality & reliability issue?

On mine, there is something that occasionally causes the CPU to max out and the battery drains very fast.

There are a couple of tell-tales for this:
* Temperature goes way up in the area near the fingerprint reader
* Screen refresh rate is impacted, looks very jerky when sliding from one desktop to another (or any scrolling, really)

To counteract these, I always check if scrolling looks jerky before I put my phone away, and I have set up temperature alerts.  

Between these two measures I usually catch the problem within a few minutes of whenever it starts (you can see very clearly when it starts in GSamBattery's charts, the CPU goes to max, the battery drains fast and the temp starts creeping up).

If I catch it early the battery drains by just a few percent capacity, so I still get a full day on one charge.

This happens around 0.5-2x / day, ish.

Very much looking forward to the battery improvements in V22, whenever that comes.

Astro Slide - General Discussion / Astroslide
« on: May 12, 2020, 01:47:26 pm »
Quote from: vldmr
Not quite -- physical keyboard does not use screen space, which for me makes a big difference, especially when using terminal.
I seriously do not feel Astro form factor is very innovative - its just a bar(brick) phone with keyboard slapped underneath. Does not excite me.

That's true about the screen space, a very strong point and I completely overlooked it when I was thinking about it.

As I use the Cosmo mostly in thumb-typing mode, I find its size awkward.  As well (on mine at least) the hinge spring while open isn't strong so the screen flops a bit as I type, but even if it were strong it's still awkward to use compared to on-screen kbd.

I feel like I would prefer on-screen keyboard in portrait mode for most cases, unless trying to use ncurses type interfaces like weechat - that would be rough.  Normal shell-prompt terminal stuff is fine in tmux on termux in my experience.

That to me is a strong point of the Astro: I'd be able to use my phone like a normal slab smartphone when I want, and use the physical keyboard when I want.  A slab phone with a keyboard slapped underneath would be great, assuming the slider is durable and the keyboard works better and fits me better than my Cosmo.

Using the Cosmo keyboard continues to be a pain for me with the increasing frequency of double-keystrokes and misses.  When I first got it I felt like it was getting better, but I was wrong.  I feel like part of that is keyboard quality and part of it is a mismatch of its size fitting my hands.  If I got an Astro and it was the same experience with the physical keyboard, I'd be sorely disappointed.

I'm also very unsure of the Astro's camera.  The Cosmo's 24MP camera was very hyped but what I have is a 24MP potato.  It's a disappointment to use, and I've no reason to expect better from the Astro's 48MP camera.

Astro Slide - General Discussion / Astroslide
« on: April 30, 2020, 11:46:54 am »
I think @DanielW is right, PlanetC will have to keep innovating and producing new products with IGG campaigns until a bigger player like Nokia buys them, or they fold.  Who knows what other cash flow sources they have, but I imagine their IGG campaigns are the majority.  I don't see their web site sales being all that significant.  Each successful IGG gives them a big bolus of cash which they survive on until the next.

Overall I think they're doing a really good job.  The Gemini is a really innovative form factor, and the Communicator improved on a lot of its shortcomings.  Now they've got another innovative form factor in the Astro Slide.  We must really hope that they've learned enough in designing the Gemini and Communicator that the Slide hardware won't need a second revision.

If they make it to being acquired by a bigger player, they'll have the resources to produce more polished and robust hardware, and more stable firmware.

In the meantime, their devices are capable of being daily drivers, but barely.  They really satisfy as devices for linux lovers and hackers, and for people that yearn for a physical keyboard.

In the meantime, your contribution gets you a device that's more than just a developer's toy, but something that's less than a shelf-ready retail product, while helping PlanetC on their journey to success.

Unlike true investors, we don't really benefit from PlanetC's success.  Our benefits are the perk itself and continued support e.g. firmware updates, while they continue to survive.  There's no other return on investment for us beyond feeling good about helping PlanetC succeed.

I'm honestly on the fence about the Astro Slide.  I like PlanetC and I want to support them.  That said, I wish I had the money to keep buying these devices, but I don't.  I took a chance on the Communicator when my last phone broke -- I kept using the broken one while waiting eagerly for the Cosmo for a year -- and while I don't regret it, I can't say I'm very happy with it either.  What I really wanted was something I could run linux on, and something with a good physical keyboard 'cos onscreen ones bug me.  

While I thought this keyboard would break in and become more usable over time, and while I thought I could get used to touch typing on the smaller keys, I still make enough mistakes and I still get a lot of double-keys and misses that it's not a great experience.  I rarely use it on a desk, so I mostly thumb-type with it.  It's just a bit too big and unwieldy for that kind of thumb-typing, it's just a bit too small for good touch-typing and the double/zero-keypresses don't help.  It's taken months to reach these conclusions.  In the beginning I was totally in love with the keyboard and I had a ton of enthusiasm for the Cosmo.

If anything, what I've learned from my Cosmo journey is that the Devuan method -- rooting and then running linux from an SD card via Termux and VNC -- seems like a great way to enjoy linux, and any rootable Android can do this.  As for the keyboard, I think if I'm thumb-typing anyway an onscreen keyboard is no better or worse than the physical one, and if I'm at a desk I'll use my Thinkpad BT keyboard w/ trackpoint -- it's what I use for my work and personal PCs and it's everything I want and need.

(I admit I haven't done the Devuan thing yet ... equal parts me being lazy about putting in the time and effort, some FUD about killing my daily driver with a rooting gone wrong, and a dried-up well of former enthusiasm about the Cosmo)

Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / Poor battery life
« on: March 11, 2020, 12:53:39 pm »
Quote from: steeph
[RE: Keyboard backlight]
I don't think it stays on when it's closed. It's good that it stays on while the screen is on and maybe a bit longer. But it usually never turns off when it's sitting on the desk open and left alone. But at other times the setting changes to off while it's in my pocket so I also can't trust it to be always on. It feels like it's always off when I pull it out in the dark.

I did check to confirm the backlight turns off when the lid is closed on mine.  If I turn it on, it will stay on if I leave it sitting on the desk open, even when Android locks.  
I'm OK with this.  I usually just use [Fn]+[Shift]+( | [N] ) to change the kbd brightness so it's not much bother to turn on or off.  I also usually have it at the lowest brightness when I turn it on, so I'm pretty sure the power drain is negligible especially since this Cosmo has poor battery life to begin with.  (that might get better with the new firmware which is supposed to significantly improve battery drain)

I haven't ever had the keyboard brightness do an un-commanded change.

Quote from: steeph
[RE: settings go back to default]
I've read about it at least once here. So, I'm not sure if you're lucky or I'm unlucky.

I haven't had this happen where all settings go to default.

However, I *have* had it happen where I have touched the CoDi screen while my Cosmo is open, and accidentally turned things on or off that way.  Like today I accidentally turned on battery saver mode when I touched CoDi while Cosmo is open.  

It has been noted in the forum (and I have confirmed) that even when the Planet logo is showing, CoDi will accept input.  You can swipe the controls down and poke icons.

I always lock my device with fingerprint lock before putting it in a pocket so accidental CoDi input won't do anything, but if yours is unlocked or swipe-locked that might explain some of your un-commanded settings changes.  WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Battery Saver, etc. can all be accidentally switched from the CoDi menus.

Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / Poor battery life
« on: March 09, 2020, 02:29:51 pm »
Quote from: steeph
Some of the problems I have on a regular basis: The status LEDs activate randomly. Maybe it means something, idk. Often they don't turn off when closing the lid, which is especially annoying when I was playing media before closing. It never stops blinking. After opening the lid the display turns on and sometimes just when I want to unlock it it turns off again. All I can do is close and open again, hoping it works this time. Two times I had to reboot in this state. About once a day it reboots on its own. Usually while I'm not using it. Sometimes while typing. It seems to be random. Since my SIM card is locked I'm offline until I notice it. Sometimes it doesn't turn back on on its own, sometimes it does. Sometimes the display stays black after the reboot. Then all I can do is enter recovery mode and reboot. Keyboard backlight doesn't turn off when it's not used. Sometimes the setting changes to off when the device is closed for a while. The CoDi update app notifies about its background activity all the time. I have to delete the notification almost every time I open it. Sometimes it does actually find a new CoDi version. Even when there is none. Camera quality is very bad. I stopped using it. Maybe in the summer it will be of more use when there is more sunlight. All Cosmo settings are reset to default on every reboot. Some apps are only usable in portrait mode. Autorotate doesn't work though. Sometimes it rotates for no apparent reason. Then I have to force rotate which rotates it back to landscape instead of portrait as usual. This sometimes crashes the app I was currently using, sometimes not. Bluetooth turns off when I'm not using it for a few days, WiFi can't be turned off at all. Do not disturb doesn't turn off after the set time. Sometimes while do not disturb is on incoming calls ring for about a third second then become silent. Battery usage data is not available. I lost all files on my SD card once and have no idea why. Scrolling background pictures are incredibly complicated to set up. I once brought it into a state where it rotated the screen at a rate of more than 1 Hz because I chose a file with the wrong dimensions apparently. I managed to change the background back after two days. Sometimes while charging the device unlocks without being touched. And so on. Probably all of this can be fixed in software. I'm looking forward to it. But right now I'm saving up for a different device.

[Status LEDs activate randomly] - I have this problem too

[Reboots on its own] - I have this problem too, but more like once a week.

[keyboard backlight doesn't turn off] - Does this mean [a] keyboard backlight stays on when lid is closed, or keyboard backlight stays on when not touching any keys but does turn off when lid closed?  Mine behaves like .  I kind of like this, I often use it to read in the dark and I like seeing the keyboard even if I'm not typing.  But it would be nice to have the option to poke a key like [Ctrl] to wake the keyboard backlight up.

[CoDi update notification] - I haven't had this problem.  Although I do find my CoDi wakes up even when persistent notification changes state, like if battery level goes down a percent or my step count goes up.  CoDi wakes up *a lot*.

[Camera quality is bad] - I have this problem too.  Hello 1999, would you like your high JPG compression potato-quality camera back?  I find myself apologizing to people for my camera's picture quality a lot.

[Settings reset to default] - I haven't had this problem.

[Rotate sucks] - I sort of have this problem.  A bunch of apps don't work well in landscape, so I force rotate them to portrait.  Most apps seem to remember their rotation state and so when I run them again, I don't need to re-force-rotate them.  However, sometimes it doesn't work right and it is super-annoying because the app usually loses state when it rotates.  Like, if I'm logged in (e.g. to banking) I get logged out and have to re-auth.  Or if I'm halfway through reading a long page, it forgets how far I've scrolled and goes back to the top.  Or stuff that I was typing in a textbox disappears.

[Bluetooth] - Haven't had any problems with it turning off and on.  I do have a smart-watch constantly paired.  I have noticed that when I pair to other devices (like headsets) then all devices (watch and other device(s)) disconnect for brief periods but then reconnect again.  Happens randomly.

[WiFi] - My WiFi has behaved perfectly, but I always leave it on even when out and about on mobile data.  I only turn it off rarely (like if I'm in the car loading directions and I'm close enough to the house to get WiFi signal but the signal is very poor).

[Do not disturb] - This turns on and off for me at the proper times and seems to work consistently.  I haven't received calls during Do Not Disturb mode so I don't know about the thing where it rings for a brief moment.

[Battery usage data] - I have this problem too.  I use the GSam app.

[SD Card files gone] - I haven't had this happen yet.  My SD card is set up as as shared device, not an Android exclusive device, maybe this only happens in the latter case?

[Scrolling pictures] - I haven't changed my background picture yet.  Maybe now, after your horror story, I won't.

[Device unlocks] - I have the reverse problem... my Cosmo occasionally locks itself spontaneously.  Maybe once per day.  Doesn't seem to matter if I was typing or just reading without touching any screen or buttons or keys.

I totally understand your frustration.  Even with the fewer issues I have, I'm considering whether I really want this as my daily driver.  If I were in your shoes I'd probably be looking for a better daily driver.  The camera quality really bugs me.  I'm also disappointed that the HDMI output only mirrors the display, seemingly in hardware with no future hope for change.

I've also realized that there are good Bluetooth keyboards out there and thanks to this forum, there is a way to have Linux running well under Android using Devuan.  I haven't tried this yet but really looking forward to it.  The two big reasons I backed the Cosmo were for the keyboard and for linux.  I realize now that I could probably answer those with BT-kbd and with Devuan-method using any modern Android phone.

Cosmo Communicator - Linux / Login required and encryption in Termux
« on: March 09, 2020, 01:31:05 pm »
Yep, this is do-able with encrypted filesystems like encfs, encryptfs, gocryptfs, cryfs etc.

I would look into gocryptfs.

This might be helpful also:

[EDIT] If you are just looking to encrypt a file or two, you can also use just openssl or gpg, see here:

If you combine this with a shellscript you could do e.g.:

Code: [Select]
#!/usr/bin/env bash
if [ "$1" == "enc" ]; then
   < commands to encrypt from blah.plain.txt to blah.enc, move blah.plain.txt to blah.plain.old on success >
elif [ "$1" == "dec" ]; then
   < commands to decrypt from blah.enc to blah.plain.txt, move blah.enc to blah.enc.old on success >
  echo "Usage: $0 ( enc | dec )"
  echo "  enc: encrypt your plaintext file"
  echo "  dec: decrypt your cipher file"

Cosmo Communicator - CoDi / CoDi stays black
« on: March 09, 2020, 01:25:39 pm »
I guess I'm lucky, I haven't seen this happen on my CoDi yet.  

On the other hand, I do see it happen quite often where the rocker LEDs get stuck on.  They should turn off when the CoDi is off, but they are often on all the time.  Usually blue, less often red.

Mildly annoying when the phone is on the table beside the bed.

Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / Maybe goodbye..
« on: March 09, 2020, 01:00:03 pm »
Quote from: NVDSYPE
You have also the 2 exposed USB-C ports, when you make a phone call in the rain, one will be exposed. Really sad to hear that about your CC. What also exist are USB-C port,audio jack protectors, so no liquid or dust can enter.

Water ingress is usually detected by little stickers in various places inside (on the battery, on the PCBs, etc.) that permanently change to a pink colour when exposed to any moisture.

Some of those stickers are really sensitive, intended for use inside devices that are supposed to be IP67 or similar, like most modern cellphones.  

If the factory used the more sensitive stickers in the Cosmo I would not be surprised if they trigger in less than ideal circumstances.  Like, say, if you have your Cosmo in your pocket and it starts raining while you're waiting for the bus and your clothes get wet, and you don't change until you get (home | work | whatever).  Or you go for a nice jog and take your Cosmo in a pocket for music, and it's a foggy morning and you're quite damp by the time you get back.  Or it's raining very lightly and you take your Cosmo out to check bus schedules and a drop or two gets on the keyboard or screen.  Pockets are warm places.  (nevermind that my Cosmo can get quite warm even without being in a pocket, especially when whatever rogue process causes random battery drain)

Considering the vast majority of cell phones these days are fairly waterproof e.g. IP67 / IP68, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the most commonly available water ingress stickers are meant for such devices.

[EDIT] just found this quote here:
LSIs are not triggered by high humidity, however, if that water vapor is allowed to condense then any water that condenses on the LSI will trigger it. Keeping a cellphone in a humid car overnight is enough to trigger one or more LSIs. A cellphone in your pocket might suffer the same fate.

I wonder if any water ingress stickers are readily visible if we take the front and rear covers off?  The covers are supposed to be pretty easy to remove.  

Wouldn't it be a hoot if they were, and everyone on the forums here checked their Cosmos and we all discovered the stickers have reacted for everyone who carries their Cosmo as a daily driver?

Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / Camera
« on: March 06, 2020, 12:51:17 pm »
I don't suppose while you were looking around at the driver, you noticed anything about enabling RAW mode?

Might not help with the binning issue, but the pictures I've gotten always seem quite processed and fairly low quality (what I would equate to "quality=75" when using ImageMagick), regardless of how high I set the quality parameters in the app.  RAW mode would at least help with that.

Has anyone tested if the camera still does its binning shenanigans if the available light is very high?

Cosmo Communicator - CoDi / Error updating Codi
« on: March 06, 2020, 12:40:20 pm »
This is a known issue with the CODI updater.  

Various other folks in this forum have noted that
* enabling Airplane mode and shutting down as many apps as you can may help;
* even still, it can take a few tries to get a successful update.

Personally, I turn CoDi off from the Quick Settings menu and then update.  I don't bother with Airplane mode or shutting apps down.  

This works well for me but not perfectly, meaning not every update succeeds on the first try but some did, and I haven't had to retry more than twice to update any file.  I've done two CoDi releases and each release provided two files to be uploaded, so 4 points of data isn't really enough to make a conclusion.

Cosmo Communicator - Android / HTML support when writing in AirMail
« on: March 06, 2020, 12:28:35 pm »
I tried out PlanetC's AirMail app when I first got my Cosmo.  AirMail is supposed to be based on K-9.  I have been using K-9 for a long time on previous Android devices.

I quickly gave up on AirMail after I discovered a number of annoyances, and went back to the K-9 I know and love.

I just thought I would call this out in case there are folks who are staying away from K-9 because they tried AirMail and didn't like it, and thought that they wouldn't like K-9 for the same reasons they didn't like AirMail.

I'm not saying you will love K-9, like any app it receives mixed opinions, but I am saying that if you had a bad AirMail experience please don't assume K-9 is the same.

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