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Messages - gidds

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Gemini PDA - Hardware / Hairline crack in display case
« on: February 07, 2020, 12:01:16 pm »
Quote from: jornada720
I have no idea why they would push such as totally shoddy design to have a metal pin protected by a thin layer of plastic. It's completely not durable for someone who opens and closes the device scores of times a day as I was doing.
FWIW, I've opened and closed my Gemini tens of times per day for the last 22 months, and the hinge is as good as new.

Perhaps you're treating it more roughly than I do?

(In particular, it's probably a good idea to open and close it fairly gently — not snapping it shut loudly.)

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Speakers
« on: January 02, 2020, 01:44:22 pm »
There were two problems with the Gemini's sound:
  • It was in mono.
  • The two speakers were out of phase.
The first problem got fixed in a firmware update, but the second remained.  (I can't tell if it was fixed later; my Gemini is still on the October 2018 firmware, as I don't want to upgrade to Android 8.)

The phase problem is more subtle (I had to create a test file to make certain), but it still has a serious effect on the sound, making it quieter (especially in the lower frequencies), more distant, less clear — and much more susceptible to odd effects depending exactly where you are in relation to it.

I haven't tested the Cosmo yet, but judging from some of the comments above, it may still be a problem…  

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Alt+Tab turning on Caps Lock
« on: January 02, 2020, 01:34:35 pm »
Yes, this is a long-standing minor annoyance for me too.

I've got into the habit of tapping the left Shift key briefly before using Alt+Tab if I haven't used it for a while.  That usually seems to prevent the problem, in a similar way to your suggestion.

If that fails, I press Fn+Tab to disengage Caps Lock, then continue as above.

I agree that these keyboard glitches are disappointing… key rollover was a solved problem 40 years ago!

One recommendation I'd make is to close it not fast with a ‘snap’, but more gently: smoothly, with both hands, stopping when the keyboard touches the screen and then pressing it closed.

Similarly, it's worth taking care when opening it to avoid forcing the hinge open further than it's comfortable.

Long experience with similar devices (mainly Psion 3s and 5s) taught me the hard way that the hinge is always the most vulnerable part of these devices.  (Borne out by reports and photos of broken Gemini hinges on this very site!)  And opening and closing puts the most stress on the device.

The Cosmo and Gemini aren't overly fragile.  I don't keep mine in a case, for example.  (Loose in a trouser pocket works fine for me.)  But it makes sense not to mistreat them if you want them to last, and a little care when opening and closing will go a long way!

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Sharp corners when Cosmo is open
« on: January 02, 2020, 01:12:10 pm »
Judging from a quick Google (and from memories of briefly using an N900), a device like the F3Q or Pro1 would be pretty useless to me.

I can sit in a meeting and take notes with my Gemini (as I did with my Psion 5mx before it); it's a bit cramped, but you can just about touch-type, not too far off full laptop speeds.  Similarly, many of my posts on this very site are composed on the Gemini.  (Not to mention use of vim, ssh, etc.)

A mini keyboard like those other devices just isn't suited to that sort of use: the keys are too close together, and the action and travel aren't up to it.  It may be a lot better than an on-screen virtual keyboard, but still a lot slower and more fiddly than a Cosmo-style keyboard.

Of course, everyone's needs are different, and there's no One True Device.  But for me, the Gemini/Cosmo form factor is far better.

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Making a call on any end of the device
« on: January 02, 2020, 12:57:11 pm »
Like the Gemini, the Cosmo should work either way up: there are speakers and mics at both ends, and it uses the orientation sensor to make the upper one the earpiece and the lower one the mic.  It should also switch in mid-call if you turn the unit the other way up.

But, at least on the Gemini, it doesn't always work perfectly…  Occasionally it seems to pick the wrong orientation, and/or fail to switch when you rotate the unit.

(Don't know if this depends on the OS version and/or model/batch.)

Luckily, it's usually fairly obvious when that happens, and because the device is largely symmetrical it's no problem to turn it the other way up.

May be worth adding that it seems the slower you charge the battery, the longer it will last (in terms of charge cycles); high temperatures wear it out, and slow charging keeps it cool.

For what it's worth, I use an old generic (5V 0.5A) USB charger with my Gemini.  (I also find that more convenient: I plug it in when I go to bed every night, and it's always fully charged when I wake.  It's an easy habit to get into, and I never have to worry about finding a charger during the day.)  After 20 months of medium usage every day, the battery capacity hasn't changed noticeably.

So in the long run, if you can do that, it might not be worth finding the fastest charger, after all…

Gemini PDA - General Discussion / Flashing troubles
« on: December 17, 2019, 11:54:01 am »
One option might be to drop Windows and boot into Linux, as there's a version of the Flash Tool which runs on Linux.

That's what I did.  I couldn't get it to work with Ubuntu, but it ran fine on Debian.  (You may need the non-free tools installed with it too.)

One advantage is that it can run off a USB stick, without needing any HD space.

Gemini PDA - Hardware / Hack The Planet! ... Gemini PDA
« on: December 06, 2019, 03:01:42 pm »
I can identify with the sentiment behind this thread, but I fear computers have become far too complicated for anyone to gain a deep understanding of more than one or two layers…

Interestingly, one retrospective of the Psion Series 5 — to which the Gemini is a spiritual successor — was titled Psion: The Last Computer, as it was the last time a computer was created from scratch: an entirely new chip, new hardware, a new OS and middleware, and new application software.  (IIRC, Psion created everything themselves except for the processor, which was by ARM.)

It's a fascinating story — especially for someone like me who used a 5mx for 20 years until the Gemini arrived — but sad in a way, as no-one's ever likely to do so again.  Every aspect has become too complicated to go it alone.  And of course that's how Planet Computers has been able to create something like the Gemini and Cosmo with only a handful of people: by using existing chipsets, screens, OS, and applications.

(In fact, although I delved deep into my Psion, and wrote quite a bit of software for it, I still don't feel I understood it all.  The last computer I did was the BBC Micro, for which I knew the entire memory map and rewrote part of the OS…)

So while I applaud your enthusiasm, you might want to restrict your sights a little in order to avoid too much disappointment…

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / USB C
« on: December 05, 2019, 07:02:58 am »
Have you tried both USB ports on the Cosmo?

(If it's like the Gemini, the left-hand port generally acts as the device: receiving charge and connecting to a desktop &c — while the right-hand port generally acts as the host: controlling mouse and keyboard and connecting to storage.  There's some overlap, but some things only work on one side.)

Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / support page / reporting Web Site
« on: December 03, 2019, 04:45:54 pm »
The Gemini too had teething problems, some quite serious.

But we don't tend to remember much about those, because they were fixed in the first couple of firmware updates, and we've had far longer with it working pretty well and reliably.

I'm sure it will be the same with the Cosmo.

I'm not excusing these problems.  But I strongly expect that with a little patience, they will get fixed, and that the Cosmo will turn out to be as successful as the Gemini; perhaps more so.

(Consider: the major problems with the Cosmo, as with the Gemini, look like they are software problems, or at least can be fixed in software.  Which is good, because those things can be fixed by a firmware updates.  Hardware problems would be much worse!)

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Front mic muted while closing cosmo
« on: November 28, 2019, 10:13:31 am »
Like the Gemini, the Cosmo has two combined mic/speakers; sound enters and exits through the rows of small holes on the ends of the unit, and through the two slots on the top near the ends.

When closed, it's intended to be used like any other phone, held roughly vertically.  In that position, the uppermost end acts as a speaker, and the lower as a microphone. 

When open on a desk, I expect it works like a laptop, with both speakers and both mics in operation.

The Gemini would occasionally get confused about which end is which, especially if you turn it while taking a call; it's possible that the Cosmo gets similarly confused, perhaps more easily in this early version.

As a workaround, try turning the unit different ways.  In particular, if it's closed, and you can't hear or be heard, try holding it the other way up.  And if possible, try not to switch between open and closed in the middle of a call.

Cosmo Communicator - General Discussion / Poor battery life
« on: November 28, 2019, 10:06:03 am »
I left my new Cosmo closed overnight, with the cover display off (no LEDs showing), and nothing running.  (Nothing installed or set up, even — I've hardly touched it!)

This morning it was dead, with the battery completely empty; it wouldn't even respond until I plugged it in, and then took a while before waking up enough to flash ‘0%’ on the screen when I pressed the On button.

This does not bode well…

Cosmo Communicator - Android / missing auto rotate
« on: November 27, 2019, 05:31:11 pm »
(I can confirm that Shift+Fn+R does rotate the screen on the Cosmo too.  Though I don't expect to be needing it, as I only ever used my Gemini in landscape mode…)

Cosmo Communicator - Hardware / Rooting the Cosmo Communicator
« on: November 27, 2019, 05:25:21 pm »
Quote from: v3ritas
It's not as bad as it looks above. That was mostly just work when we were figuring out how to get root working. Right now the process is just [...]
I'm afraid that's as far as I understood...  

I've read the previous posts, but they didn't mean much to me because I don't know how to 'unlock the bootloader', nor what adb or fastboot are or how you use them.? (I've gained access to the developer options by clicking seven times on Settings -> System -> Advanced -> About phone -> Build number, but I can't see anything relevant in there.)

Can anyone describe in foolproof terms exactly what to do to get root access on my Cosmo?? (By which I mean: allow me to use 'tsu' to get a root shell in Termux, which is the only thing I need it for so far.)

I have a Mac running macOS, which I suspect is not supported by anything you're likely to be talking about.? (No access to Windows.)? I also have a stick set up letting me boot into Debian, along with the SP Flash Tool from MediaTek and the other bits and pieces that I've successfully used to flash my Gemini.? I documented that process in lots of detail in this post.

If anyone could explain in a similar level of detail how to do the same to my Cosmo, I expect I wouldn't be the only grateful person  

Also: having done so, can we tell how it might interact with future firmware updates (whether Over-The-Air or downloadable from the Planet support site)?

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