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Topics - zevv

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Astro Slide - Hardware / keyboard technology and dust/sand resistancy
« on: April 09, 2022, 03:59:19 pm »
I've been the - generally happy - owner of a gemini since 2018, which I use as my daily phone. The device is holding up remarkably well after all those year, with the exception of the keyboard: there tends to gather sand and dust between the keyboard mat and the PCB, making a number of keys very hard to register, especially the keys on the outside like ESC and backspace. I don't dare to take off the keys and clean the mat anymore, as this can not be done without breaking at least a few key notches.

Does anyone know if the astro uses the same keyboard technology, i.e., is it a rubber dome/mat keyboard again?

Gemini PDA - Hardware / A year with the Gemini
« on: April 14, 2019, 01:23:04 pm »
So, has it been a year already? The day I put the Gemini in my pocket, I felt as if it had always been there - we made for a perfect match from the start. I have been carrying and using the Gemini for 365 days now - a good reason to make a little writeup of my experiences.


Not much to tell here. On arrival I installed Termux, Firefox and K9, which make up about 90% of my interactive use with the Gemini. I never enabled any google accounts or services, and not having access to Play store nicely keeps me from installing too much cruft. I was bothered to hell though, by the keyboard ghosting and speakers being out of phase - luckily I know how to build a kernel, so I made some hacks and workarounds to fix that, and I never updated the kernel since.


This is the interesting part, in my humble opinion. My first impression of the build quality was "fair" to "ok", but I was not convinced the device was up to the task to travel in my trouser's pocket day after day. It has now stood the test of time pretty well.

The year was not without accidents, including - but not limited to:
  • Me bumping into a table or door handle, the Gemini taking the hit. Repeatedly.
  • A straight 1.25m drop from my hands onto concrete. Once.
  • Sitting on the Gemini (closed). Daily.
  • Sitting on the Gemini  (opened!), in a soft couch. Once.
  • Elliptical curve from my pocket onto the pavement when getting out of my car. Three times. This is mainly due to my favorite pants having crappy pockets.
  • Sand. Aaargh! Sand. Sand is bad for the gemini. Very bad. The keyboard is not. at. all. able to handle any sand. If a single grain of sand gets stuck in the sliding part of a key, it is game over for the day, and canceling evening plans to spend a few hours on the kitchen table: popping the keys, cleaning with canned air, and putting it all back together. This happened twice. I wonder why I even considered taking it with me to the beach the second time.
Here are some honest and uncensored pictures of the current state of my device.

The dust is always there, it just collects in my pockets and gets into the Gemini. It doesn't seem to care, though:

[img]\" border=\"0\" class=\"linked-image\" /]

Some bumps and scratches do build character, and these are scars to be proud of:

[img]\" border=\"0\" class=\"linked-image\" /]

And one day I noticed this: the hinges seem to be cracked on both sides. I'm not sure when this happened, but my guess is there might be correlation with me sitting on the Gemini when it is open. Everything still works as before though, so no problem at all:

[img]\" border=\"0\" class=\"linked-image\" /]

So, it has been a good first year, and I truly do hope the Gemini will keep up for a few more years. I'm not sure if I'll even consider Planet's next product - the backlight would be nice, but it the keyboard quality is not significantly better, I'll stick to my Good Ole Gemini.

Thank you Planet, a job well done!

Gemini PDA - General Discussion / Gemini accidents, one good one bad
« on: July 08, 2018, 11:45:43 am »
So, today I had two nasty accidents with my Gemini:

First incident, the good news: A drop from approx 1.20 meters, out of my pocket straight on a hard wood floor: no damage! I do not know which part hit the floor first, but there is *no* physical damage to be seen - no scratches, no bumps. The battery cover popped of, but that was easily replaced. More falls will surely follow, but the first suggests its a pretty solid build.

Second incident, the bad news: my pinky was bitten when closing the lid, near the hinge. Visible damage consists of a 5mm blood blister on the inside of the 2nd pinky joint. Invisible damage included the shouting of nasty words within ear distance of young children.

Gemini PDA - Android / Screen lock / smart lock
« on: July 03, 2018, 03:02:43 pm »

I'd like my Gemini to be ready and where I left it when I open it without having to unlock using codes, swipes or passwords, but of course this is not smart from a security point of view. Fortunately, there is the new android 'smart lock' feature that keeps the device unlocked under certain circumstances - for example as long as it is moving, or when my BLE keychain dongle is in range.

That's fine and just what I need - except for the fact that when enabling a screen lock also enables the 'clock with the white info box that you have to swipe up before you can use your device' screen.

Does anyone know if it is possible to get the best of both worlds? So if the device is locked, I'm fine with swiping or passwords, but as long at is is *not* locked because of bluetooth or movement, I'd like to to open and startup without any screens that I have to swipe away.


Gemini PDA - Android / Don't show taskbar when opening
« on: June 27, 2018, 10:16:54 am »
Is there a way to prevent the task bar from popping up each and every time I open my Gemini?

Gemini PDA - Android / Youtube: black screen
« on: June 18, 2018, 08:23:58 am »
The youtube app on my gemini does not seem to be able to play video: when I select a clip, I might first get an ad for a few seconds, after that the screen goes black. Sound plays ok, but no image to be seen. I've cleared application cache and data, but to no avail.

Any tips?

Gemini PDA - Hardware / Take off screen protector?
« on: June 07, 2018, 12:03:27 pm »
I'm not sure if it would be a good idea to take the screen protector of my Gemini: after a few weeks of use I've noticed imprints of the keys on the display, it seems that all keys are slightly depressed after the magnet snap-closes the lid. Will this not damage the top coating of the glass on the long term?

Any thoughts, or any observations from people who have taken off the protective plastic?

The gemini is supposed to work both-sides-up for phonecalls, but every few calls I make I get complaints from the other party that I can barely be heard - then I flip the phone up side down, and everything is ok. It seems that the Gemini sometimes has problems detecting which side is up, or properly switching mic/speaker. Does this happen to others as well?

Funny how things go: I've been waiting with tons of anticipation for the Gemini to arrive since I ordered  autumn 2017. Last wednesday it finally arrived. I spent a few hours configuring things to my liking, and put it in my pocket - and now it feels like it has always been there. The device is all I hoped it would be, and all I need it to be. It is perfect for helping out customers on the road - basic sysadmin, bugfixing and development are all possible. Not as fast as on a full size PC, but it's all possible - who would have dreamed you could buy a qwerty phone in 2018 which has curly braces and a pipe symbol on the keyboard!

The good:

The build is pretty solid, the metal feels professional, and opening and closing the lid feels just right and has a satisfying -clunk- to it. The keyboard takes a day or two to get to know, but is just fine after that. The keys require a pretty tough press, proper typing is required. Stop thinking you're typing on a tiny device, just act like it is a normal PC keyboard and you'll be fine. The Enter key is the only key requiring  a 'special' touch, if I type it too low it bends and doesn't register quite right.

My setup: I've rooted my Android (tip: only flashing the patched_boot component in flashtool is enough to root) and tuned the UI to drop the softkeys to get more screen estate. I do most of my daily work - mail, calendaring, IM - in the terminal on a remote system, for which termux with ssh and mosh does just the right thing for me.

Battery lifetime is OK for me, I get up to two days between recharges.

The bad:

Not too much, just some small annoyances which I'm sure will be fixed in time: properly configuring the keyboard layout is still trial and error using the Gemini app and Android settings, and a few reboots. Fn-sym and Fm-smiley do nothing, maybe I have configured something wrong.

Of all the trivial things: the Gemini makes a bad watch. My old nokia E71 always shows the time on front and is ready to be picked out of my pocket, and I never realized how often I do that until I switched to the Gemini. Probably a bad habit anyway, I'll get over it.

The ugly

Nothing yet, apart from the fact that I'm still running Android, but I'm sure this will be resolved as soon as de various Linux flavors get mature enough.

Kudos to the team from Planet Computers - they have managed to deliver a pretty solid device, which does just what they promised!

Gemini PDA - Linux / Running flashtool on Linux
« on: May 08, 2018, 03:26:41 pm »
The Linux Flashtool depends on a number of libraries of which most are available on 'modern' Linux systems, with the notable exception of, resulting in a message like this:

Code: [Select]
./flash_tool: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
Attached to this post is a x86_64 version of I built as a workaround. Download, unzip and put in the FlashToolLinux/lib directory.

Gemini PDA - Android / Putty or other SSH client
« on: March 09, 2018, 12:40:16 am »
Did anyone maybe test if putty or any other SSH client behaves well on the Gemini and its keyboard?

Funny, from the planet computer website:

Registered Address:
Planet Computers Ltd
228a High Street, Bromley
Kent, BR1 1PQ

But on google streetview this shows a Domino's pizza on Aug 2017:,0.01...3312!8i6656

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