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Poll

Mark your preference(s)

  • Gaming station full monty (complete with elaborate hardware controls and sound system)
    1 (7.7%)
  • Home workstation full monty (printer-scanner, music instruments and/or home cinema)
    2 (15.4%)
  • Modest homebox (just the absolutely necessary peripherals)
    1 (7.7%)
  • Laptop/netbook (hardware keyboard separate from the screen)
    3 (23.1%)
  • Big-screen tablet (software keyboard)
    1 (7.7%)
  • Smartphone
    2 (15.4%)
  • Gaming console with internet connection
    0 (0%)
  • Different devices on different occasions and for different purposes (specify in the thread)
    3 (23.1%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Topic: The Hardware Thread (Read 26802 times)

  • ersi
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The Hardware Thread
The point of the poll was to include here the technology used to access the forums. For a while I thought of expanding the list with for example e-book readers, because these too sometimes have internet access, but I guess there are enough options already.

Discussion about e-book readers is  is still welcome. And about printed books (obvious hardware). For some people, wristwatch is the kind of technology they need most. All this is hardware subject for discussion in this thread. And of course computer parts.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #125
Micro-SM makes a lot of sense 'cause normal is so big. Nano I'm not so sure unless it offers more than just being smaller.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #126
This cannot apply so generally. Smaller SIM cards make sense in smaller phones if you need to fit in more other hardware. As it is, there's no shortage of space in modern smartphones.

Also, I would dispute the design of microSD and SIM slots in Xperias (probably similar in Galaxies, not sure about other current smartphones). In Xperia it looks like this:



Here you cannot visually identify which place is meant for the SIM card and which for the microSD. Also, you cannot visually identify which way they should go. And when you stick them in, you don't get tactile feedback if they went all the way so that you can stop pushing. This is bad design. There used to be good design not too long ago.



By the way, sizes of SIM cards have absolutely no connection to features. The chip contains all the features and the size of the chip has not changed. In my (moderately informed) opinion, the sizes of SIM cards have been changed mainly to symbolically distinguish between generations of smartphones. In other words, the breakage of intercompatibility is intentional and done for no other reason than to precisely break intercompatibility, to evade a standard that had been formed.

Edit: The way I feel it, the worst aspect in the events with me was that I knew for a fact that I need a solid full-sized SIM card in one piece, not a cobbled-together fall-apart thing, and I said so, but the service dude made it appear that nano-SIM-on-strings is something legit. It isn't. It broke my perfectly functional LG P500 for no good reason. I just looked things up and you can get SIM adapters (just like SD adapters to make a microSD full-sized again to fit into older and bigger devices) for three euros. It should be common sense to provide those to customers.
  • Last Edit: 2016-05-05, 16:42:10 by ersi

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #127
On this Friday the 13th, a little bit of consolation after my SIM disaster. My Xperia M5 has been officially pronounced dead and I will get my money back. No dispute by the seller. Except that meanwhile I lost my older perfectly functional LG P500 and I had to purchase broadband to my apartment.

My next smartphone, if any, will have MHL.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #128
This cannot apply so generally. Smaller SIM cards make sense in smaller phones if you need to fit in more other hardware. As it is, there's no shortage of space in modern smartphones.
My phone supports two SIM cards. I don't actually use that functionality, but it'd be a lot more awkward inside the device with my "old" SIM (same one really; just with a part cut off).

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #129
This cannot apply so generally. Smaller SIM cards make sense in smaller phones if you need to fit in more other hardware. As it is, there's no shortage of space in modern smartphones.
My phone supports two SIM cards. I don't actually use that functionality, but it'd be a lot more awkward inside the device with my "old" SIM (same one really; just with a part cut off).
When the phone supports two SIM cards, I think it's even more vital that it support original size SIM's, such as your grandma's.

Anyway, a lesson to everyone from my SIM disaster - use the proper adapter or different SIM's in one piece. Otherwise ruin easily follows.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #130
Intel computers come with built-in back doors: http://mentatul.com/2016/07/11/all-your-computers-are-belong-to-us/

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #131
This one took embarrassingly long for me to figure out: Make Kensington trackball midclick emulation[1] work again[2]

STEP 1: Identify the device
Code: [Select]
xinput list
The trackball should be recognisable in the output. In my case it's "Primax Kensington Eagle Trackball"

STEP 2: Identify the relevant property of the device
Code: [Select]
xinput list-props "Primax Kensington Eagle Trackball"
In my case, the relevant row looked like libinput Middle Emulation Enabled (291):        0 whereof "libinput Middle Emulation Enabled" is usable in the next step.

STEP 3: Change the relevant property
Code: [Select]
xinput --set-prop "Primax Kensington Eagle Trackball" "libinput Middle Emulation Enabled" 1
So, the property was 0, now it's 1, and pressing left and right buttons at the same time has the effect of midclick again.
midclick emulation = pressing left and right button simultaneously works like middle click
It seemed to be working the first half year, but recently I began suspecting that Chrome-ish browsers don't accept pasting from primary anymore. Then I discovered that actually paste from primary does not work anywhere anymore when I use my dear trackball, while it works when using mouses and keyboard. So there must have been some recent changes in the way Linux handles my trackball.
  • Last Edit: 2016-08-07, 11:39:37 by ersi

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #132
Note that you can make those changes permanent in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Code: [Select]
$ cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf 
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Kensington Trackball"
MatchProduct "Kensington Expert Mouse"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "True"
Option "ButtonMapping" "0 1 2 4 5 6 7 3"
Option "ScrollMethod" "button"
Option "ScrollButton" "1"
EndSection

I also wrote a bit about this kind of thing here: http://fransdejonge.com/2016/05/xorg-conf-emulatewheel-stopped-working-on-libinput-update/

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #133
Note that you can make those changes permanent in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Code: [Select]
$ cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf 
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Kensington Trackball"
MatchProduct "Kensington Expert Mouse"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "True"
Option "ButtonMapping" "0 1 2 4 5 6 7 3"
Option "ScrollMethod" "button"
Option "ScrollButton" "1"
EndSection

I also wrote a bit about this kind of thing here: http://fransdejonge.com/2016/05/xorg-conf-emulatewheel-stopped-working-on-libinput-update/
In my case, this xorg.conf section would be much shorter, I guess. After the identifiers I would include a single option corresponding to my step 3.

Since nobody else uses the trackball, I only need to make the option permanent for my own username among other login commands in .xinitrc or the like. Maybe I will some day put it into xorg.conf too.

By the way, only one Manjaro installation of mine uses libinput where the problem occurred. The other Manjaro, installed from a different ISO, has Evdev which has kept working fine.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #134
That might actually be a superior option for ease of backup and the like.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #135
Who of us doesn't have a Qualcomm CPU in our phone? Any hands? :D

Quote from: How Qualcomm Flaws Left 900 Million Android Devices Vulnerable to Spies, http://fortune.com/2016/08/08/qualcomm-android-quadrooter/
It's now up to phone and tablet manufacturers to plug the "QuadRooter" holes.

Security researchers have found a series of security holes in almost a billion Android devices that use chipsets from Qualcomm.

The Check Point researchers said in a blog post on Sunday that attackers could use the flaws to gain root access to the device, which would mean gaining control over the phone or tablet and the data on it--a spy's dream.

  • Barulheira
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #136
I don't. :)

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #137
Who of us doesn't have a Qualcomm CPU in our phone?
I've got an Intel in my phone. My old phone does, but that's not a quad core. ;)

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #138
Ah, yes. Zenfone 2 has Intel Atom. Have you taken a look at Zenfone 3 series? It's a massive upgrade on every front, except display.

In comparison, the latest Galaxy Note turns this once-great name into a cheapo. Looks like Galaxy Note 4, aging by now, will remain the best offering in this line.

Qualcomm chip + Adreno GPU used to be a sure sign of quality until a few days ago :)

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #139
Ah, yes. Zenfone 2 has Intel Atom. Have you taken a look at Zenfone 3 series? It's a massive upgrade on every front, except display.
I have negative interest in an upgrade to a device I've had for about 10 months. I'll be unhappy if I'm forced to replace it in any less than three years. But is your "massive" sarcastic? :) The camera could be better, but just because it has more megapixels doesn't mean it is, and other than that I see no worthwhile improvements (unless it has better battery life). There's a different CPU and a fingerprint scanner that I could care less about.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #140
But is your "massive" sarcastic? :)
The sheer number of megapixels means the camera is inevitably better, certainly the front one. Zenfone 3 does 4K video, Zenfone 2 doesn't. More both internal and external storage, on the best models also more RAM. The new ZenUI could be better.[1] Etc (if applicable).

Depends on what really matters, of course. I for example regret the loss of a real radio in the modernmost phones.
I have now seen that interfaces on different Androids can be very different. There is a vast difference in having just full-screen apps versus the multi-window interface of a Galaxy Note. The multi-tasking is admittedly limited compared to a computer (such as a netbook), but it's appropriate given the similarly limited screen size.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #141
The sheer number of megapixels means the camera is inevitably better, certainly the front one.
It really doesn't. :) My wife's old 6 megapixel DSLR will obviously outperform any stupid phone. I have a 6 megapixel P&S that might be outclassed by the current top-of-the-line phone cameras like Samsung Galaxy S-whatever, 7? That being said, my phone takes much better videos. The poor P&S can't handle video at more than 640x480.

I'd overlooked the internal storage. The external storage thing is probably a half-truth. In a rare case of honesty manufacturers tend to go by certain artificial Windows-related limits that you can easily ignore in e.g. GParted.

Radio was cool to have, but I never used it on my last phone. I don't even know if my current phone does that.

It does seem like a slightly bigger upgrade than I gave it credit for (although I certainly wouldn't go for "massive"), but it seems to come along with a price upgrade to match.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #142
The sheer number of megapixels means the camera is inevitably better, certainly the front one.
It really doesn't. :) My wife's old 6 megapixel DSLR will obviously outperform any stupid phone.
When I recall my experience with Xperia M5, then you are right in the sense that for the whopping number of megapixels, the camera performed astonishingly poor. Particularly in the dark things got noticeably pixelated. Actually, mere shadows were enough. Then again, just installing another camera app fixed all the problems and made it a brilliant photography tool (as long as it stayed alive otherwise).

Edit: Ah, and once upon a time I was on a trip with a friend. We both photographed it with the devices we respectively got, LG P500 phone (3 MP) and a dedicated digital camera (16 MP). The phone pics were tons better, either because the camera on it was inexplicably better or I must have a genuine gift. /edit

Radio was cool to have, but I never used it on my last phone. I don't even know if my current phone does that.
Radio has its use when you are abroad and there's no internet. Mobile internet when roaming is currently as badly priced as mobile internet in general was 15 years ago.
  • Last Edit: 2016-08-10, 13:32:45 by ersi

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #143
Edit: Ah, and once upon a time I was on a trip with a friend. We both photographed it with the devices we respectively got, LG P500 phone (3 MP) and a dedicated digital camera (16 MP). The phone pics were tons better, either because the camera on it was inexplicably better or I must have a genuine gift. /edit
It's all about the lens and sensor. Megapixels are largely (but not completely) irrelevant. In any case, a phone is a priori unlikely to have either lens or sensor quality compared to even low-end dedicated cameras. For example, the surprisingly good camera on my Zenfone 2 is in most circumstances clearly inferior to my '05/'06-era Samsung P&S, 13MP vs 6MP notwithstanding. I suspect that the 16MP camera you mentioned also won't be much better in practice (assuming a similar price range). Of course the Zenfone 2 only has a mediocre cameras for a phone, but even the best Nokia or Sony camera phones only have mediocre cameras period.

Now I'm not saying sensors haven't improved by leaps and bounds -- they have. Light sensitivity is almost certainly much better today than ten years ago (particularly on smaller, cheaper sensors, like in phones and non-DSLR cameras), but besides needing at least about 4MP for reasonably-sized prints it's mostly down to optics. And good optics from a 100 years ago are still good optics today. (Mount compatibility is another story.) Phones cannot have very good optics for simple space reasons.

If/when I buy a new camera, I've got my eye on something like the Sony α6000 or perhaps rather one of its successors. My wife is dismissive of mirrorless cameras and I'm not happy about the prospect of having to acquire new lenses (or an also quite expensive A-Mount to E-Mount converter), but I think the weight and image quality kind of speak for themselves.[1]
My camera weighs half a kilo without a lens. The Sony mirrorless cameras weigh "only" 300-350.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #144
With my '08/'09-era laptop being unusable as a laptop on account of a dead battery, and the '10 netbook just becoming too slow for actual use, I was unhappily forced to acquire a new laptop. I somewhat unexpectedly ended up with an Asus Zenbook UX305CA-FC004T 13,3". I say unexpectedly because I put in an off-handed €505 bid for a barely used one that was bought in July and I won. Not bad I think, given that it sells for about €800 new.

I have to say I'm quite pleased with the device. More than I had expected, because I hate laptops. The screen can actually go as dark or quite possibly darker than my first and best laptop from '04. You might even be able to use this in a pitch black environment without blinding yourself, and that's saying something. There's no fan, so no noise, and it doesn't get very hot at all. I have effectively sacrificed a physical network port for a thinness I don't really care about (although it's kind of nice), but on the flipside it seems that thicker laptops with a physical network port are also a lot heavier.

So yeah, I'd say this device is worthwhile. It sports a sufficiently sharp 1080p screen -- nothing special, but a nice change of pace from the 1366x768 disease we've had the past decade or so. It works great on Linux, given a sufficiently recent kernel (otherwise no touchpad for you). The only real problem (besides not being the most user-friendly for opening and replacing components like the SSD) is that it's got a fair bit of backlight bleeding. I imagine it's quite bad if you care about that sort of thing, but it's a laptop. These are workhorses, not movie machines.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The battery life on this thing is great. I realize that it's become the norm nowadays to say that less than 6 hours is terrible, even though just a few years back 3+ hours was positively outstanding, but it's very nice regardless. I guess just a few more years and maybe phones will have usable battery lives too. Except the weird thing is they used to...

PS Obviously the keyboard is rubbish too. But you know, for a laptop keyboard it's not bad. For a thin laptop it might even be outstanding. Much better than Apple, for example.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #145
Congrats for the new laptop.

The battery of my own laptop is beginning to ail too. It survives just below two hours of continuous usage. New battery costs about/above 60 e. No other complaints. Meanwhile I did a significant upgrade to the laptop, replacing the HDD with an SSD.[1] I could double the RAM too, if I wanted. This laptop will serve me at least as long as it has already served.

The netbook works too. Still usable for everything I need with software selected by experience. Except that it's been largely superseded by my new mobile phone.

I guess just a few more years and maybe phones will have usable battery lives too. Except the weird thing is they used to...
You mean back when they had hardly a screen worth mentioning? Let's face it, they have ceased to be mobile phones. They are phablets now. If you seriously want a mobile phone with old-time battery life, I can recommend this.[2]

Here's a very early mobile phone. NMT network, not even GSM yet. Only usable if you had a car. Only top officials and businessmen could afford them, when funded from the state budget.


The HDD fit nicely in the computer box that I am building. No waste.
No joke, really. I have bought these to my parents. Better than MyPhone. MyPhone has buttons on the side, so old people accidentally press them while talking and unexpected stuff happens. Maxcom's sides are clean. And the UI is more sensical too, direct copy of old Nokia.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #146
You mean back when they had hardly a screen worth mentioning? Let's face it, they have ceased to be mobile phones. They are phablets now. If you seriously want a mobile phone with old-time battery life, I can recommend this.[2]
Nah, my phone lasts a few days and that's good enough for me. Still, it was nice that my last feature phone lasted a week even with browser (Opera Mini), e-mail, calendar and such. Also, according to the Android battery stats the big culprit isn't the screen but "Android OS". I think it's a catch-all for Wi-Fi, GPS, etc.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #147
In my case, phone battery consumption breaks down as follows:

Phone in stand-by mode - 5%
Android OS - 4%
Google Play services - 4%
Display - 3%

"Android OS" is a big gobbler, but the display is not far behind. The differences in the calculated percentage are marginal.

My Galaxy Note 4 lasts about half a week with a single charging. I of course use the mode that switches most background activity off on standby, plus I have specifically went over the entire list of apps to block/minimise their permissions. For example I think it's a good idea to turn off notifications from nearly everything.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #148
For example I think it's a good idea to turn off notifications from nearly everything.
I simply turn off autosync. I only enable it selectively. Same for wifi, and mobile data is also (almost) always off. Constant notifications? Hah, who cares about the related battery drain -- that's just madness. It's the same way with nonsense like the Apple watch. What's it good for? Not being a watch, because it has an annoying, quite noticeable delay before it shows you the time. Notifying you whenever you received an e-mail (or worse, a Whatsapp)? Talk about my worst nightmare...

Anyway, last month I used my phone as a GPS, so it was on (screen and all) for a good two to three hours. I was quite pleased that it was still at 2/3rd battery (further supporting my stance that nothing is heavier than some "light" browsing), but I was actually quite surprised to learn that the screen counted for only 10-20% or so, while Android OS was good for the vast majority of battery consumption, close to 70%.

If I remember I'll check what a more normal battery usage pattern looks like for me.

  • ersi
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Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #149
I simply turn off autosync. I only enable it selectively.
Autosync of what? Some Asus-specific cloud thing? Or app updates in Google Play?

Anyway, last month I used my phone as a GPS, so it was on (screen and all) for a good two to three hours. I was quite pleased that it was still at 2/3rd battery (further supporting my stance that nothing is heavier than some "light" browsing), but I was actually quite surprised to learn that the screen counted for only 10-20% or so, while Android OS was good for the vast majority of battery consumption, close to 70%.
I have sat through some two-hour YT videos on the phone and also fairly pleased how the battery takes it.