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> A year with the Gemini
zevv
post Apr 14 2019, 09:23 AM
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Member No.: 815,747



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.

Software

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.

Hardware

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:



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



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:



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!
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Daniel W
post Apr 14 2019, 10:55 AM
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Joined: 22-May 18
From: Sweden
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QUOTE(zevv @ Apr 14 2019, 06:23 PM) *
So, has it been a year already?

Indeed. Mine arrived on March 21, so I'm approaching 13 months.

At the very first, I honestly didn't know what to use it for. I think I began using it as a web browser at home, to save a tad on my main phone battery, but also because I tend to search quite a lot, which means I'm typing quite a lot and, thus, a proper keyboard is quite nice to have.

Pretty soon, I installed K9 (now I'm using AirMail), so I could check my work e-mail before getting out of bed in the morning. Yes, I could do that on my main phone, but tapping out even a brief reply on a slippery pane of glass is, for me, just an ugly experience, especially in the morning (I am a chronic insomniac, so I tend be very sluggish in the morning). I also moved my (manual) sleep tracker to the Gemini, as I found it easier to get a grip on, on the nightstand.

After a while, I decided to install a few critical apps, such that I'd be able just continue using them, if I'd lose or break my main phone. One of those apps (a Swedish e-id) requires a unique phone number per installation, so I had to get a SIM card for the Gemini, and the phone number requirement meant I couldn't just get a data SIM linked to my main phone number, so I took the opportunity to test drive a cheaper operator (which worked fine, so I moved my main phone number there too, and ended up paying about the same amount per month for BOTH phone numbers, as I previously paid for just the one).

With a SIM card in the Gemini, I began carrying it with me, so now I had two phones to carry around, which wasn't optimal. The point was to try and find out whether a Gemini would, on principle, be able to be my only phone. Well, no. The add-on camera is just terrible, and while I am not taking many pictures per day, the ones I do take, needs to be reasonably good. My baseline requirement is to be able to take a picture of a page in a newspaper, and be able the read the articles from the photo. For the Gemini, that fails for anything larger than a small paperback.

I also found it hard be without my S-pen (so, yes, my main phone is a Samsung Note). An Adonit Dash 3 partially alleviated that. It's nowhere near as good as a proper digitizer pen, but I can jot down and solve and equation or two in a pinch (and, yes, I occasionally do). As I got more used to type rather than write, the need for the S-pen waned a bit. Shopping lists and such, are better typed rather than written anyway, and I'm no good at drawing, so nowadays I really only NEED a pen for things that can't be typed, say, a 2D sketch of the 3D shadow of a 4D tesseract, or just a sketch for a small shelf I might build.

The performance of the Gemini is by and large enough for me. Yes, it IS sluggish at times, but there just isn't a CPU fast enough to compensate for bad software, so faster hardware wouldn't really help much, unless the software gets fixed.

As of now, I'm mainly using my main phone for photography, telephony and messages (which is super annoying, knowing I have a proper keyboard in the other pocket, but, well, people tend to text to my main phone number). As soon as the Cosmo comes, I intend to move my main SIM card there, and keep using the Gemini as a spare device, unless someone else would need it more than I do. I hope the camera in the Cosmo is good enough, so I can stop toting my current main phone. Time will tell.

My Gemini typically lives inside the little leather sleeve that's available from Planet and never had any major accidents, until around 05:30 this morning. A narrow bookcase near my bed, somehow fell while I was asleep. It mostly just bumped into another piece of furniture and thus remained mostly upright, but I was hit by a CD-case-sized bit of particleboard and a shoe-box sized speaker came falling from ceiling height, neatly unplugged its cable in the fall, missed my head, bounced once on the bed and, apparently knocked over my Gemini, that was sitting opened on my nightstand, before the speaker came to rest on the floor (with just a minor scratch).

The knock sent the Gemini battery cover and the outer metal, springy part of the hinge flying, and somehow left the Gemini FLAT on the nightstand. As the hinge isn't meant to open a full 180, I presumed it was broken, but it could be coaxed back into its regular range with no apparent damage. The springy metal part was slightly out of shape, but could gently be massaged back to its proper shape, so it seems the Gemini was largely unharmed too. The bookcase is now screwed to the wall.

Well, that kind of sums up my first year.
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Kero
post Apr 19 2019, 07:47 AM
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From: the Netherlands
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I had expected to work on normal linux for Gemini. I didn't. I yielded to Android. After I bought a browser, Hermit, I even kept this Google Store thingy active. Almost all icons on my screen are Hermit light apps. The two major exceptions follow below.

Termux allows me to do most tasks. Emacs as editor and agenda. The Gemini thus good enough to do small-scale programming! I did part of Advent of Code on it. I also use Termux to ssh into my home server, of course. The Gemini has been created to take notes. When I had a contract, I brought the Gemini to meetings. So much less intrusive than a laptop! Still, there are times when I prefer pen and paper.

My other big app is OsmAnd~ It probably helps that my home country is thoroughly mapped not only in Open Street Map, but also the other data sources that the app uses for its maps, such as maritime information.

I think I dropped it twice, from 1m25 or so. Not on concrete. Once when it was open, which caused the hinge to twist. Easy enough to take it off and un-twist it. No problems with its tension since, screen still standing in the correct angle, proper resistance when closing, etc.

The keys did make scratches (on the foil?) on the screen, but I only notice that when the screen is off, or in light so bright that I cannot read the screen, anyway.

Super happy with my Gemini!
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wyrm
post Apr 23 2019, 01:25 AM
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Joined: 7-May 18
Member No.: 822,259



A year allready? Wow!

I am very happy with it, it's a real productivity-monster! Getting the job done, wherever I am. No problems with soft- or hardware at all.....until a week ago. The Gemini is getting very hot, especially the screen part. The battery is draining very fast, I think 2 or 3 times as fast as before. I tried uninstalling apps, reboots, no effect.
Sorry for hijacking this thread unsure.gif

So without this latest problem, I am VERY happy with my Gemini!
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RJL
post Apr 23 2019, 01:21 PM
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Joined: 21-April 18
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I've had mine for about 13 months now.

Mostly use it for work stuff, so use Outlook and Word on it, because that is what work is tied to. Also use the web browser. The other main thing I use it for is playing old text adventure games. Mostly via dosbox.

Oh, and the other thing that I find it quite useful for is moving large(ish) files around. As I can plug in other people's USB sticks and copy from them onto the Gemini, to put somewhere more sensible later.

I mainly use my Gemini when travelling. I usually fly a couple of times a week for work, and on other days commute by bus. On a plane or a bus it is so much more convenient than a full laptop. Sometimes I use it in meetings, but it's usually more convenient to use a laptop for those.

I lost the leather sleeve somewhere about 6 months ago, but the hard case is fine. The little rubber strip along the case has bumps in it, but doesn't seem to have got worse since they first appeared. The only key that I have had trouble with is the right shift key, which can be a bit temperamental if the Gemini is not on a hard surface.

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spook
post Jun 12 2019, 03:24 AM
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Joined: 24-June 18
Member No.: 824,977



QUOTE(Kero @ Apr 20 2019, 01:47 AM) *
I had expected to work on normal linux for Gemini. I didn't. I yielded to Android. After I bought a browser, Hermit, I even kept this Google Store thingy active. Almost all icons on my screen are Hermit light apps. The two major exceptions follow below.

Termux allows me to do most tasks. Emacs as editor and agenda. The Gemini thus good enough to do small-scale programming! I did part of Advent of Code on it. I also use Termux to ssh into my home server, of course. The Gemini has been created to take notes. When I had a contract, I brought the Gemini to meetings. So much less intrusive than a laptop! Still, there are times when I prefer pen and paper.

My other big app is OsmAnd~ It probably helps that my home country is thoroughly mapped not only in Open Street Map, but also the other data sources that the app uses for its maps, such as maritime information.

I think I dropped it twice, from 1m25 or so. Not on concrete. Once when it was open, which caused the hinge to twist. Easy enough to take it off and un-twist it. No problems with its tension since, screen still standing in the correct angle, proper resistance when closing, etc.

The keys did make scratches (on the foil?) on the screen, but I only notice that when the screen is off, or in light so bright that I cannot read the screen, anyway.

Super happy with my Gemini!


How did I not know about Hermit! Thanks for the recommendation smile.gif
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abliss
post Jun 16 2019, 04:30 PM
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I just want to say that I've been using my Gemini non-stop for about 10 months now, and I agree that the hardware has held up admirably well. zevv, without your anti-ghosting kernel patch, I never would have made it this long without throwing the thing at the wall, so thanks again!

My right-hand interior hinge is broken exactly like in your picture (and I don't think I ever sat on it with the screen open).

Additionally, the little piece of plastic left of the Q key, which covers the caps-lock LED, fell off. But it doesn't bother me.

I have a hunch that the lid-close switch is less reliable than it used to be. Some days, like wyrm mentioned above, I find that it's running way hotter than usual and the battery is very low. I think that it maybe is keeping itself awake by pressing its own keys in my pocket sometimes. Also, if I close the screen after sending a chat message, I often open it to find that I've sent another phantom message which is usually like '\s0', or other keys from the rightmost side of the keyboard.
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