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Messages - gidds

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Astro Slide - Android / Re: Editing hosts file
« on: January 17, 2023, 09:44:27 am »
To answer my own question:

This is easily fixed by enabling the Magisk built-in module ‘Systemless Hosts’.

Magisk was already installed on my phone. (I had patched the boot image with Magisk, as per the procedure here, and the first time I tried to run su it triggered a full install of the Magisk app.) I started the Magisk app, opened the Modules tab, and the ‘Systemless Hosts’ module was already listed; I just had to enable it and reboot.

After doing that, /etc/hosts is fully writable!  :)

(There seems to be a lot going on under the covers… First, /etc is a symbolic link to /system, so /etc/hosts really means /system/etc/hosts. Second, it looks like Magisk mounts a huge number of separate filesystems — e.g. one for every executable in /system/bin, and loads of others I don't understand. Enabling the ‘Systemless Hosts’ module causes one more filesystem to be mounted, on /system/etc/hosts itself. And that filesystem is writeable — no need to remount it each time — and seems to have plenty of space.)

One caveat: only /etc/hosts is writable; no other files in that directory are writable (because they're on a different filesystem). This means that if you use e.g. vi to edit the file, it will give an error because it can't create a swap file in that directory. The workaround for that is simply to tell it not to use a swap file, with vi -n.

(Another idea I had was to make (/system)/etc/hosts a symbolic link to a file that I could write — but I couldn't get that to work. I eventually found a location to write a hosts file that could be read by all users, and symlinked to it, but it had no effect: the system just didn't use it for looking up hostnames (as confirmed by commands such as ping). I'm not sure why. I suspect that the hosts file must be a regular file and not a symlink; I've seen that claim on platforms such as macOS and Docker, though not on Android.)

Anyone interested in controlling hostname lookup should also be aware of AdAway, which is an app that takes care of mapping host names for you.

It can work by setting up a hosts file (if you have root), or by setting up a local VPN (which works even if you don't have root); it can run a local webserver (if you redirect to; and it has a huge list of adservers etc. that it updates regularly.

I tried it, and it seems to work well. (In fact, it was through researching an error it initially gave me that I discovered the Systemless Hosts module.)

(I probably won't be keeping it, though, as I have a fair number of personal entries to add for to devices on my LAN or at work, and although AdAway can do that, it's quite fiddly. Also, I already have a hosts file on my desktop machines, so it's easy just to copy that across whenever I update it.)

Astro Slide - Hardware / Re: Keyboard Backlight
« on: January 12, 2023, 03:39:01 pm »
FN + SHIFT + N ( increase ) and FN + SHIFT + B ( decrease ).

Aha!! That's well worth knowing, thanks!

(Interestingly, after sleeping the screen, it seems to accept 4 further keypresses, but no more. That's sufficient to turn the keyboard backlight off only if it's not at the two brightest levels…)

Astro Slide - General Discussion / Re: First impressions
« on: January 12, 2023, 03:28:53 pm »
Additional annoyance that I noticed: The curved screen corners eat away pixels at screen corners when using Termux/Connectbot or anything really.

In Termux, one workaround is to increase the vertical margin.

Edit the file ‘.termux/’, and add a line like:
Code: [Select]
(I found 12 pixels a reasonable compromise between being able to see most of the bottom-left char, and not wasting too much space down the LHS. Of course, you an experiment to see what you prefer.)

Then either restart Termux, or run ‘termux-reload-settings` to see the effect.

…and getting on for a year later, there's still no mention of the Astro on Planet's official support site

As you say, a bit disturbing!

(Still, at least we have this forum to share what little we do know.)

Astro Slide - Android / Editing hosts file
« on: January 12, 2023, 02:27:16 pm »
Has anyone successfully changed their /etc/hosts file on the Astro (with rooted Android)?

My Gemini has a large hosts file giving the addresses of all the devices on my LAN, and blacklisting a huge range of ad/tracking/malware sites*. On my new Astro, I've got most of the way to doing the same:
  • sudo /system/bin/mount -o rw,remount /’ to make the root filesystem writable.
  • sudo vi /etc/hosts
  • Edit as appropriate.
  • Save the result. ⬅︎ Fails with ‘No space left on device’ error!
df’ reports that the / filesystem is indeed almost full: 1.4G used, 4.3M free. But that should be enough to save a short (few KB) hosts file, shouldn't it? (I can rename the file, and vi creates a .swp file, so I know the filesystem is writable.)

Is there any way to enlarge that filesystem a bit? (Preferably, without wiping everything… I can find several web pages claiming to do that on the emulator, but not on a physical Android device.) Or is there something else going on?

(* pointing them to That's not a full substitute for a decent ad-blocker in your browser, of course, but it adds another layer of defence that applies to almost all apps.)

(⁑ When done, remember to repeat that command, but with ‘ro’ instead of ‘rw’, to set it back to read-only. — On the Gemini, the last ‘/’ was ‘/system’ in both commands, but that's not mounted separately on the Astro.)

Gemini PDA - Hardware / Re: Take off screen protector?
« on: January 12, 2023, 01:29:34 pm »
Another data point: I've been using my Gemini for hours every day since I got it nearly 5 years ago (May 2018 — doesn't time fly!), and although I removed the screen protector almost immediately, the screen is as good as new.

Yes, the screen does attract faint prints from the keys, but that's just traces of grease, and it all wipes off. I clean the screen every few days with a microfibre cloth (which has occasionally been sprayed with a cleaning solution), and all the greasy marks from touching the screen and from the keys vanish with no trace. So the keys don't have any permanent (chemical or physical) effect on the screen.

(Also, IIRC, while the Gemini is perfectly usable with the protector in place, without it the screen looks a fraction clearer, feels a fraction more positive, and responds a fraction better.)

So there's no real reason to use a protector, and you should feel free to remove it!

Astro Slide - Hardware / Re: Keyboard Backlight
« on: January 12, 2023, 01:13:53 pm »
Yeah, I noticed that too…  :(

And although there are nice keyboard shortcuts for changing the screen brightness (Fn+B, Fn+N on my UK Astro) and volume (Fn+C, Fn+V), I can't find any shortcut for changing the keyboard brightness. (Fn+Z and Fn+X would be the obvious choice, though anything would do. Does anyone know whether there's any way to set something like that up?)

Fn+Del, tap on Astro Settings, and tap on slider isn't the end of the world, but it's sufficiently disruptive that I'm not likely to bother very often.

Does anyone know how much power the keyboard backlight might consume (compared to, say, the screen)?

I've been getting this, too… >:( It's a serious issue, as I spend a lot of time in vi and the terminal.

I found a Termux setting that may help. Edit the file .termux/, and add/uncomment the line:
Code: [Select]
enforce-char-based-input = true
Then restart Termux, or run ‘termux-reload-settings’ so the setting takes effect.

I think that has made an improvement, though I suspect it's not completely fixed. Let me know what you think!

Astro Slide - Android / Re: google search bar on home screen
« on: January 12, 2023, 12:23:18 pm »
If you have multiple pages on your home screen, the Google search bar appears only on the first one. So one workaround is to keep only rarely-needed (or no!) apps on that first page, and use 2nd/3rd/… pages for all your everyday apps. That way, its effect is minimised.

(At least, that's how I worked around it on my Gemini, and it has worked well for me. Apart from that bar, the default launcher works well enough, and I didn't want the hassle of adding another one and dealing with updates, possible future incompatibilities or other problems, etc. That said, I've seen several recommendations for Nova Launcher, so it must work for some folks.)

Astro Slide - Android / Re: Rooting the Astro Slide
« on: January 10, 2023, 07:05:28 pm »
If you go to settings, about device you will see deejoy-dota. Please see my attachments, but it is in portuguese ( I am Brazilian )

I can see what look like the corresponding fields on my Astro in Settings → About phone — but there's nothing corresponding to ‘Deejoy-Dota’:

Tempo em atividadeUptime
Versão Embutida PadrãoCustom built version
alps-mp-r0.mp1-V8.132_haocheng.r0mp1.k61v1.64.bsp_P20   alps-mp-r0.mp1-V8.132_haocheng.r0mp1.k61v1.64.bsp_P20
Aktualizações de softwareSystem Update
Verificar nova versão do software
Número da versãoBuild number

(And what is ‘Deejoy-Dota’, anyway? Google finds only 5 results, of which this page is one, and the other 4 look like Japanese or Russian…)

Astro Slide - Android / Re: Rooting the Astro Slide
« on: January 10, 2023, 04:13:48 pm »
Did it come pre-installed in Chinese or have Deejay-dota installed?

Plain (British/UK) English. I don't know what ‘Deejay-dota’ is, but if it's an app, then it's not there!

I did turn on the Astro a few times before trying to flash it, so it's not impossible I might have changed that setting — but I don't recall doing so.

But Planet have always encouraged, or at least allowed, other OSs &c, so maybe it arrived unlocked?

Astro Slide - Android / Re: Rooting the Astro Slide
« on: January 09, 2023, 05:03:14 pm »
Do you get a message on the boot about 'Orange State'?
No, nothing like that. As far as I can tell, the boot sequence looks the same as it did before rooting. (I can confirm it is rooted: I can su in Termux.)

And I can't submit a PR coz I don't have the necessary knowledge to write it! (Also, I've only looked at the page on GitHub, not bothered to clone it and everything.)

But let's try to work it out. You said “You can do this by using Fastboot and the OEM Unlocking in Settings -> Developer Options”:
  • Is that the program you can install with e.g. apt install fastboot?
  • What would you type into it, and what would that do?
  • On my phone, the latter is Settings → System → Advanced → Developer options → OEM unlocking. Is that the right one?
  • I'm guessing that option needs to be enabled to unlock the phone? Is that also the right way to check whether the phone is unlocked?
  • Do you need to do both the Fastboot and the OEM setting, or will either work?

Astro Slide - Android / Re: Rooting the Astro Slide
« on: January 09, 2023, 01:29:19 pm »
you neglected to mention that the bootloader MUST be unlocked, otherwise the Astro will be soft-bricked until repaired.

s/neglected to mention/didn't know/  :)

In fact, I still don't fully understand… Do all Astros arrive unlocked, or was I just very lucky that mine wasn't?

And while it's great to include that on the wiki too, could you expand it into idiot-proof instructions like the rest — possibly including a line on what locking is, and how to tell whether an Astro is locked? (“You can do this by using Fastboot” is only helpful if you already know what Fastboot is, how to install it, and how to use it to unlock something — and if you already knew what, you probably wouldn't need to be reading the instructions in the first place!)

The wiki looks great otherwise — except that it doesn't seem to have any of the hyperlinks, which are pretty vital. I'd also suggest copying the bold highlighting too, though that's more subjective.

Astro Slide - Android / Re: Rooting the Astro Slide
« on: January 09, 2023, 07:24:19 am »
If I got it right, as allways, this wipes all your data?

I think so. Others here can probably say for sure, but I'd certainly assume that such a big change can erase all your apps/data/settings and anything else you have stored on the phone, so before doing anything else, make sure you have backups of anything you want to keep! (I'll add that as a first step.)

Astro Slide - Android / Re: Rooting the Astro Slide
« on: January 08, 2023, 07:27:35 pm »
Dom, if other people might benefit from those instructions, then I'd be very happy for you to post them elsewhere! (I don't mind about attribution, either way. I'm happy to take credit, though of course much of that was based on earlier work by Noppe, you, and others in this topic.)

And if you do, please post a link back here, in case we can learn from them too! A central knowledgebase is a great idea, and much needed.

(BTW, what does ‘CI’ mean in this context? A Continuous Integration server of some kind? I'm assuming it's not the Channel Islands, nor a Confidential Informant…)

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