Skip to main content

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 26293 times)

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
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.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #100

I know nothing about monitors that only reflects light.

Kindle (the e-reader) has them and they are marginally becoming available more broadly. The third image in this article is most relevant http://www.wired.com/2010/01/the-pixel-qi-display/

One more cool article http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2015/01/15/paperlike-13-3-e-ink-monitor-by-dasung-tech-videos/


Color temperature and brightness are two unrelated things. Many times I enter into buidings where the light's color temperature it's simply not adequated for human beings. Maybe it can be used in a morgue.

Sure enough, but I never understood what color temperature refers to. There are too many parameters to set in monitors. For my purposes, there are two issues I pay attention to: brightness on one hand and everything else on the other. "Everything else" involves most crucially what I would call contrast or clarity (not the same thing what is called "contrast" in monitor settings, but a broader subjective impression achieved by tweaking several parameters).

By tweaking colors ("hues" and "temperature" and whatever they may be called in the settings), my aim is to achieve the best distinction between one thing and another, such as readability of font types against the background. This done properly, it never needs to be touched again, hopefully. The only other thing to change is brightness (monitor backlight) according to current daylight (or roomlight).

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #101
By tweaking colors ("hues" and "temperature" and whatever they may be called in the settings), my aim is to achieve the best distinction between one thing and another, such as readability of font types against the background. This done properly, it never needs to be touched again, hopefully. The only other thing to change is brightness (monitor backlight) according to current daylight (or roomlight).

Not exactly. Color temperature (back in my days of photography we call it "white balance") means that a page of white paper will be blueish if lightned by a fluorescent light or yellow/orangeish if lightned by an incandescent light. But you want a white paper to be... white.

You must have noticed that by sunset all colors turns much more orangish than at noon.

White balance turns into an obession for those that enjoys photography. Many monitors are not displaying the correct color temperature.
It also affect plants, therefore lamps for horticulture must have a certain color temperature for promoting growth.

If you like complication read the wikipedia article about it. :)
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #102
Color temperature and brightness are two unrelated things.

True. Actually my monitor does have a quick "warm" and "paper" preset, but the "warm" is basically the same as my factory-calibrated custom setting. "Paper" is yellowish on the whites. There are other presets like "cool" which is absurdly blue. So is "movie".

Kindle (the e-reader) has them and they are marginally becoming available more broadly.

My Kobo H2O uses the same display technology but Kobos are actually slightly nicer to look at than Kindles because of a different touch technology.

One more cool article http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2015/01/15/paperlike-13-3-e-ink-monitor-by-dasung-tech-videos/

If it weren't almost twice the price of my current UHD monitor I'd buy it in a heartbeat for typing a document, displaying a PDF on the side or even just for e.g. browsing DnD or reading newsfeeds. As it is I could buy a very nice new computer for that amount and still have money left for a new laptop. And given that the fundamental parts of both my computer and my laptop are from '09, they will need an upgrade within the next year or two anyway.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #103

Kindle (the e-reader) has them and they are marginally becoming available more broadly.

My Kobo H2O uses the same display technology but Kobos are actually slightly nicer to look at than Kindles because of a different touch technology.

I am completely left behind in e-reader category. Do modern e-readers have hardware connectivity (USB, 3,5mm audio out, ...)? Would a computer recognise it as an extra display? Perhaps they have evolved so that you can browse in them the whole internet and a variety of file formats? Or are the users still bondaged to a single e-store and able to read only their purchased e-books?

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #104
I am completely left behind in e-reader category. Do modern e-readers have hardware connectivity (USB, 3,5mm audio out, ...)?

All probably have USB connectivity. Audio output is something e-readers initially had, but few do anymore.

Would a computer recognise it as an extra display?

Wouldn't that be nice. No, even though most run on some form of Linux they're quite locked down. Kobo is a little more hacking-friendly than modern Kindle though.

Perhaps they have evolved so that you can browse in them the whole internet and a variety of file formats? Or are the users still bondaged to a single e-store and able to read only their purchased e-books?

Kobo devices come with a built-in browser, but it's not very good. It works quite nicely on proper sites without too much cruft like this one, but imo it's not worth it.

Or are the users still bondaged to a single e-store and able to read only their purchased e-books?

I think you can easily put books from e.g. Project Gutenberg on all of them, but in principle they're all bound around some silly store. My main reason for obtaining the device was actually to read out of print stuff from e.g. DBNL, Archive.org and Project Gutenberg and KOReader works significantly better for me than the default software.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #105
This year I have zero ideas for Christmas gifts. I was walking in and out of various shops today, but ended up buying nothing.

Somewhere along the way, however, there were e-readers that I touched here and there. They were Pocketbook Basic 2 and Pocketbook Touch Lux 3.

The main difference between the two is that Basic has no touchscreen (operable only via hardware buttons) and no backlight, while Touch Lux has a touchscreen, backlight, and hardware buttons too. The price difference was almost double, but the added features are probably worth it. The eink (or eInk or e-ink) screen looks fantastic. The backlight on Touch Lux made me remember the times when I was reading at night secretly when mother had forbidden it.

Navigating in the devices I managed to find menu items like Apps and Pictures. Among Apps there were some basic games, such as Snake and Chess. Pictures look grayscale with that screen, but perfectly sharp and well defined.

The devices look promising. Perhaps they even allow installing a custom reading app, even though the inbuilt one seemed adequate. If I got it right, the reading app was called Adobe Reader, so it should display pdf files too, even though all books on board (500 preloaded books in various languages, such as French and Russian) were in epub format.

On the downside, I didn't see any meaningful sockets to connect the things to computer. In an online review for Touch Lux 3 in French I saw that lack of audio was listed as a minus. Perhaps a USB socket is there, I tried to look for it, but I couldn't find it. And I had to be doing something else anyway, so that's about it.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #106
Ah, an important note on the e-readers I saw. Both Basic 2 and Touch Lux 3 had wifi and a web browser. So the internet is not just for syncing your ebooks against the shop, but also for going to any website and read anything. Wonderful (with UserCSS and such to force the text flow properly even in badly designed websites it would be perfect). And on Pocketbook website I discovered Pocketbook Ultra, which has camera, image-to-text and text-to-speech (mp3). Amazing.

Given the way e-readers are, I would like to see something like global fonts implemented, i.e. having a set of fonts that is displayed no matter what app I open up. You know, like in a terminal emulator you set the fonts (and sizes and colours) and then every app opened in the terminal emulator displays them and cannot display anything else. Even so, the original fonts were quite uniform and the devices look attractive.

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #107
Why not a tablet instead the e-reader?
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #108
And why not a laptop instead of a tablet?

E-reader's screen is great. If laptops had those screens, it would be progress. Or at least choice.

Anyway, as said, I didn't buy an e-reader. And not going to. I can read pdf files in my mobile phone too. I am already overgadgeted.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #109
The main difference between the two is that Basic has no touchscreen (operable only via hardware buttons) and no backlight, while Touch Lux has a touchscreen, backlight, and hardware buttons too. The price difference was almost double, but the added features are probably worth it. The eink (or eInk or e-ink) screen looks fantastic. The backlight on Touch Lux made me remember the times when I was reading at night secretly when mother had forbidden it.

To me frontlight* is useless (ymmv), but all of the best ereaders have it. Hardware buttons are nice to have but I'd let other features take precedence when deciding.

* Kobos have frontlights, and I'm pretty sure Kindles do too. I don't know if eInk can even do backlight. Meaning the light very ingeniously shines from the side so that it's reflected off the surface as if you were shining a light at a book rather than shining straight in your eyes like a normal screen.

On the downside, I didn't see any meaningful sockets to connect the things to computer. In an online review for Touch Lux 3 in French I saw that lack of audio was listed as a minus. Perhaps a USB socket is there, I tried to look for it, but I couldn't find it. And I had to be doing something else anyway, so that's about it.

All devices should have a micro-USB port for charging/data use. If it used some proprietary plug instead, I'd say that's reason enough not to buy.

Why not a tablet instead the e-reader?

I already have a mini-tablet. It's called a "smartphone" and actually it works quite well for reading comics. But besides the screen that looks similar to a somewhat cheap newspaper,** also note that my ereader needs to be charged less than once a month.

** This sounds negative, but it means it is still the best-looking, most comfortable computer display I have ever seen.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #110
To me frontlight* is useless (ymmv), but all of the best ereaders have it.

What's the difference between frontlight and backlight? In one review I read that the kind of frontlight that Touch Lux 3 has consists of lamps along the edge of the screen and in the dark it's disappointingly visible how the light distributes unevenly, whereas an LED backlight would invariably be even. Is this accurate? Are there more differences between frontlight and backlight?

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #111
What's the difference between frontlight and backlight?

A backlight shines a light into your eyes; a frontlight makes the light reflect off the "paper". And at least on the H2O, the lowest 0-10% of brightness are actually wonderfully dim, which is to say usable in the dark or low-light environments. If/when I ever fly across the Atlantic again or some such, I could see myself using that.

I read that the kind of frontlight that Touch Lux 3 has consists of lamps along the edge of the screen and in the dark it's disappointingly visible how the light distributes unevenly, whereas an LED backlight would invariably be even. Is this accurate?

If someone says it, I'm sure there's at least a grain of truth for the Touch Lux 3. For e.g. the Kobo Aura H2O, the frontlight is rather beautifully even. There is a gross inaccuracy in that statement, however, which is that backlights are seldom homogeneous. Even the best of screens have some degree of backlight bleeding. Actually I suspect that any unevenness in frontlights would appear rather similar to backlight bleeding, seeing how they are more like front-side lights.

Anyway, an E Ink screen with a backlight (if such a thing is even technically possible?) would defeat the entire purpose. It'd have the same effect as a regular LCD display. Sure, you'd still have the better battery life of E Ink, but that's just a convenience, not a reason I own an ereader. Then again, provided you could still turn it off I guess it wouldn't be so bad.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #112
I upgraded to pretty much a top-of-the-line 2014 motherboard+CPU two days ago. Linux booted in approximately a second, which surprised me because it previously took about four to five seconds. I knew my SSD would perform better, because it's faster than the 3 Gbps SATA link on my old motherboard, but I hadn't expected more than about a 50% reduction.

What was more surprising to me is that Windows 10 also booted up without any issues. It took a minute or maybe two to do whatever Windows does, but as recently as Windows 7 it'd basically just error out if you changed the motherboard. Something I've considered to be a self-evident advantage of Linux for over a decade has thus finally been reduced to the minor advantage it should always have been. The minor advantage being that in Windows you do need a license capable of switching out motherboards, or it'll start complaining about that...

In other news, somehow Windows managed to gobble up all of the 80 GB I'd allotted to it, which caused some issues including not being able to e.g. uninstall the Microsoft Office 365 I can no longer use (which took up a few GB). I can't fathom where it all went.

PS Windows 10 does not support floppy disks that were compressed with Microsoft Drivespace 3, a tool that came with Windows 98. In order to rescue the data on this one floppy disk I simply copied the whole thing (dd if=/dev/fd0 of=floppy.img), and once I'd finished upgrading my computer I mounted that in a virtual Windows 98 installation. Much to my surprise, Windows 98 booted in under a second, although I suppose I shouldn't have been. After installing Drivespace from the Windows 98 CD-ROM, I could finally access my floppy disk to rescue a silly story I wrote in '98 or earlier. Fun fact: Microsoft Word can't open older WPS (Microsoft Works) files after version 2000 or so, but LibreOffice does so without complaining.

PPS Opera/Presto is workable on UHD again thanks to my new CPU. I'd been forced to abandon it after installing a UHD screen because it had just become too slow.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #113
What's the specs of the top-of-the-line motherboard+CPU? And what did you do with the old motherboard?

As for me, yesterday I purchased a near-top-of-the-line mobile phone on the web (from my official mobile provider with whom I have stayed for 15 years, so I know it's safe). It hasn't arrived yet, so I have no tactile impressions. It's Xperia M5, chipset Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10, CPU Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53, GPU PowerVR G6200.

The absolute pinnacle of top-of-the-line mobile hardware would be, as far as I know, Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801, CPU Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400, GPU Adreno 330, present in for example Xperia Z3 and LG G3. Unfortunately my provider had run out of Xperia Z3 Compact models and they won't acquire more just because of me.

Until now, and still for the time being, my mobile phone was LG Optimus P500, which I had got as a free offer. A very slow CPU, limited internal memory, but a rather sane interface (which I enhanced further to perfection), set of programs, and battery life. It has served my mobile internet needs extremely well. It has been perfect for my needs. I think I will give it a place of honour on my shelf until I die.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #114
What's the specs of the top-of-the-line motherboard+CPU? And what did you do with the old motherboard?

Top of the line 2014 motherboard + CPU. It's a bit cheaper. Even more so seeing how I didn't pay full price. ;)

ASUS Z97-AR
i7 4790

The old motherboard is in a box in case I might need it for some reason.

Besides being surprised at just how significantly faster it feels in some applications -- I suspect e.g. the Firefox devs must have machines like these or better -- it also barely produces any heat. I think 36° C is the highest I've seen it go under minor load, idling at about 33° C. The back of my computer simply feels cool. The old CPU (admittedly meant to run at higher temps) was at 45-50° and you could clearly feel its heat output.

NB I don't use the stock cooler, but a bequiet! SHADOW ROCK SLIM BK010. On the old AMD CPU it was basically a requirement because of how whiny its stock fan was, which incidentally is nicely demonstrated by AMD in this video.

As for me, yesterday I purchased a near-top-of-the-line mobile phone on the web (from my official mobile provider with whom I have stayed for 15 years, so I know it's safe). It hasn't arrived yet, so I have no tactile impressions. It's Xperia M5, chipset Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10, CPU Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53, GPU PowerVR G6200.

I like Sony hardware, but I'm slightly less enthused about their software support. On account of a combination of my old battery degrading and my 2011 Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray just being too outdated (mostly too little RAM) I acquired an Italian model Zenfone 2 last month. ASUS doesn't sell them in the Benelux, although I actually got mine from France. Thanks to a little scratch on the box I got it for €50 cheaper and for a phone of its caliber it's not that expensive to begin with -- although around the edge of what I'd consider spending on a phone. Weird stuff really, but I'm not complaining. Anyhoo, the top-of-the-line Zenfone 2 comes with an Intel Atom Z3580 (2.3 GHz) and 4 GB RAM. I don't intend to replace it any time soon.

Unfortunately my '09 laptop suffers from a completely dead battery and my '10 netbook suffers from having become too freaking slow. I don't really need any at the moment and the netbook suffices for simple typing (not really for browsing, except in e.g. Netsurf or Links 2), so I'll soldier on with my old stuff. That being said, just yesterday the Chinese Cube i7 Stylus showed up on my radar as a possible replacement for both. (One review here.)

  • Last Edit: 2016-01-10, 16:28:17 by Frenzie

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #115
My netbook (Intel Atom Dual Core 1.66GHz with integrated graphics) has ceased to be satisfactory for internet browsing. I would blame the internet, but also downloaded videos starting at around 1080p tend to be beyond its capacity. (Seems to be somewhat to do whether they are mp4 or mkv, but definitely a matter of CPU/GPU capacity, not of codecs). For a while I thought about upgrading some bits of hardware, so I went to a shop that does that kind of things. The guy at the shop said that the CPU (this model in general) is "coffee" and therefore the machine merits no upgrade. He convinced me. I walked out of the shop without buying any type of service.

My bestest laptop is mobile enough, so the netbook is actually superfluous, except for a more comfortable shape and size. I have been thinking about e-readers and tablets lately, but those are functionally close to modern smartphones, so eventually I ended up buying a smartphone.

Modern smartphones have whopping huge screens. A 4.5" screen feels like a tablet for me. The market has decided that e-readers have 6" screens and tablets begin at 8". The most popular tablet size is 10.1", but for me 3.2" on LG Optimus P500 has been quite adequate. P500 is 113.5x59mm, they don't make comfortably small smartphones like this anymore.

Xperia Z3 Compact is 127.3x64.9 mm with a 4.6" screen. While it can arguably be called compact compared to the fuller Xperia Z3 (146x72mm, 5.2"), Xperia M5 (145x72mm, 5") and LG G3 (146.3x74.6mm, 5.5"), my current old Optimus P500 is the best fit among them sizewise (including the screen size, I'd say). It is optimal, perfect. My new freshly-acquired M5 is labelled a smartphone, but from my own point of view I purchased a 5" screen tablet to complement or replace my netbook. The phone functionality is a nice extra on it.

The cameras on M5 are absolutely fabulous (main 21.2MP, secondary 13MP, compared to a single 3MP on P500). I wonder if the device can take a selfie of itself.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #116
My netbook (Intel Atom Dual Core 1.66GHz with integrated graphics) has ceased to be satisfactory for internet browsing. I would blame the internet, but also downloaded videos starting at around 1080p tend to be beyond its capacity.

Yep, similar specs here. Btw, I think Atoms are usually single-core with hyper-threading? Note that if you download a video with youtube-dl it'll usually play just fine in e.g. mpv or VLC, even if it won't work properly in your browser or Flash.

The guy at the shop said that the CPU (this model in general) is "coffee" and therefore the machine merits no upgrade. He convinced me. I walked out of the shop without buying any type of service.

I don't know what that means, but Atom CPUs are soldered on. You basically can't upgrade them, or at least not without a significant time investment. Which is to say it might be interesting as an educational experience, but otherwise you're better off just buying something new.

Modern smartphones have whopping huge screens. A 4.5" screen feels like a tablet for me. The market has decided that e-readers have 6" screens and tablets begin at 8".

I have a 6.8" ereader for a reason. 6" is tiny. 6.8" is too small as well, but I'm not going to pay $1000 for that nice big Sony ereader.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #117

Yep, similar specs here. Btw, I think Atoms are usually single-core with hyper-threading?

Whichever way I extract the info, it shows Dual Core. This is my netbook http://il.packardbell.com/pb/en/IL/content/model/NU.BXQET.001


Note that if you download a video with youtube-dl it'll usually play just fine in e.g. mpv or VLC, even if it won't work properly in your browser or Flash.

It's a given that stuff plays worse over internet. However, also youtube-dl'ed things have hickups at certain quality (which I'd say is 1080p, even though I have no idea what 1080p means). My oftenmost used media player is Mplayer, certainly on the netbook.


The guy at the shop said that the CPU (this model in general) is "coffee" and therefore the machine merits no upgrade. He convinced me. I walked out of the shop without buying any type of service.

I don't know what that means, but Atom CPUs are soldered on. You basically can't upgrade them, or at least not without a significant time investment. Which is to say it might be interesting as an educational experience, but otherwise you're better off just buying something new.

Mu humble plan was to simply buy more RAM (there's 1GB originally). Even this would not be worth it, the guy said.


I have a 6.8" ereader for a reason. 6" is tiny. 6.8" is too small as well, but I'm not going to pay $1000 for that nice big Sony ereader.

We apparently have different considerations. When I read books, I normally read paper pages. The smartphone (or tablet, as I tend to think of it due to its screen size) must, first and foremost, do 4G internet for me (I have no broadband, never subscribed to internet via cable in my life; P500 did 3G) and phone calls. If I cannot operate the phone with a single hand when making calls (pressing with the thumb), then it's too big. M5 is probably too big, but it's something I must live with now. All other functions are just extra fluff. Good if I can read pdf's on it. Good, but not overly vital. And nice to have those cameras, but I don't really have much use for them. Z3 Compact (smaller screen, better CPU/GPU, same price) would have been better for me, but unfortunately I found out about it too late; other customers were quicker.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #118
Whichever way I extract the info, it shows Dual Core. This is my netbook http://il.packardbell.com/pb/en/IL/content/model/NU.BXQET.001

Huh, 2 cores, 4 threads. Interesting.

http://ark.intel.com/products/58916/Intel-Atom-Processor-N2600-1M-Cache-1_6-GHz
We apparently have different considerations. When I read books, I normally read paper pages.

Yes, so smaller than paper pages is an inferior experience. But really the width is more relevant than the diagonal.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #119

We apparently have different considerations. When I read books, I normally read paper pages.

Yes, so smaller than paper pages is an inferior experience. But really the width is more relevant than the diagonal.

Ah, finally I see your point. You aim at a paper-like experience when reading on screen. That's a noble-ish aim.

However, I also have a point, which comes from a whole different perspective. A book is a book is a book and no gadget will ever replace it. Some people say never say never, but this thing is dead sure as hell and can be stated confidently.

Consequently, when reading on screen (and yes, I have read several books as webpages or pdf's) I respect the specific qualities of the medium. Screen is different from paper, even when it's e-ink screen. Paper needs light on it in order to be seen. Screen provides its own light. On paper, black text on white is natural in order to highlight text. On screen, light text on dark background is better than any other way, for the same purpose - to highlight text by toning down the self-illuminating screen everywhere except in the letters. The screen radiates and this radiation must be diminished. Edit: Smaller screen size is one of the ways to diminish radiation. Even reading paper books is has its bad effect on the eyes, much more precautions are needed with screens.

The way terminal emulators display, format, and flow is more preferable than the way web design works, so when I set my own fonts and colours to read text on screen, I aim at a UNIX terminal-like experience instead of something paper-like or, worse, billboard- or neon-sign-like with bells and whistles.

Oh, but I remember I said something about having acquired a tablet to replace my netbook, which would make it seem I bought it for videoing and gaming as well. The truth is that there were so many considerations at play that it's tough to orientate when talking about them. 4G internet and phoning were the most important considerations, as my well-served P500 is close to toast. Secondarily, I paid some attention to CPU/GPU capacity as my almost equally well-served netbook is also close to toast. However, to properly replace the netbook, the M5 will likely need a bluetooth keyboard (such as those sometimes packaged with tablets), if a sane software keyboard has not been invented meanwhile.

This is where things become tricky, because a sane software keyboard is about as unimaginable as a sane bluetooth keyboard. For example:

  • Do you know of a software keyboard which is at the same time a good text editor? When I need to write anything lengthier in devices (phones and computers), I mostly open up a text editor, but it would be neat to begin typing where the text has to end up eventually, such as in a Reply textarea, except that during my typing I want the screen to display as if I were typing into a whole-screen text editor. Such would be a sane software keyboard in Android.

  • Do you know of a bluetooth keyboard for Android where I would be able to set locales (and reassign keys) as if on a real keyboard? Or, even better, perhaps you know of a way to connect a normal USB keyboard to phones and tablets and devices like that, without a need to buy yet another gadget.



Edit: I found a probable answer to the second question http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-connect-a-usb-android-keyboard/
  • Last Edit: 2016-01-10, 20:15:56 by ersi

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #120
However, I also have a point, which comes from a whole different perspective. A book is a book is a book and no gadget will ever replace it. Some people say never say never, but this thing is dead sure as hell and can be stated confidently.

Of course not, but that isn't going to help me much with a rare old book or an electronic-only magazine. To me an ereader isn't necessarily meant to replace readily available paper material, but to replace light-emitting screens where it makes sense. That being said, for the cheapest, lowest quality paperbacks a reasonable ereader can also be an improvement.

Consequently, when reading on screen (and yes, I have read several books as webpages or pdf's) I respect the specific qualities of the medium. Screen is different from paper, even when it's e-ink screen.

But in all of your examples, E Ink aligns with paper. :) Where it fails is that the simple act of reading an article while pointing out interesting passages and flipping back and forth etc. is tough to say the least. Meaning it's best suited for "consuming", not "producing" or actively interacting with what you're reading. Of course it depends a bit on the specifics; for actively interacting with something from the library book I use a separate notebook (unlike some barbarians...) and the same method works for an ereader.

Edit: I found a probable answer to the second question http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-connect-a-usb-android-keyboard/

Yes, provided the device supports USB OTG that works. I own this very one. That being said, I don't really use it. At home I've got a computer and I don't have a portable keyboard that'd connect to it for elsewhere.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #121

To me an ereader isn't necessarily meant to replace readily available paper material, but to replace light-emitting screens where it makes sense.

It would make sense to use such a screen as an all-round monitor or as a secondary screen. As long as this is not possible/affordable, E Ink doesn't make enough sense.


But in all of your examples, E Ink aligns with paper. :)

I have a different impression. It's still a screen, an electrical appliance. When I stroked it in the store a few weeks ago, I felt it would gain decisively from colour options that I usually prefer on screen - light text on dark background. I'd certainly want it when the frontlight is switched on. But I couldn't find terms like Colour Settings, Dark Theme or such in the menus. A paper page of text, on the other hand, would suffer from inverse colours.


Where it fails is that the simple act of reading an article while pointing out interesting passages and flipping back and forth etc. is tough to say the least.

This would be a limitation of touchscreens (as input method) in general, I assume. In my P500 (Android 2.3 Gingerbread under a 3.2" screen), attempts to copy and paste stuff are sheer pain and frustration. A clipboard manager helps to paste stuff already copied, but to copy stuff first is via dolorosa. And I don't expect Android Lollipop to be any better, whatever the screen size. Touchscreen is unsuitable for copying as a matter of principle.

It makes sense to place the cursor by means of touch, but it doesn't make sense to draw with hand to make a selection. It's an inaccurate move and the screen easily misinterprets the draw as a loung touch, as a tap or as a swipe, when you aim to select with precision. In Android there should be a terminal emulator analogue of moving the cursor by means of keyboard, then setting the cursor as a starting point of selection, then expanding the selection, and copying the selection to clipboard - all distinct operations by means of keyboard, like arrow keys, Ctrl+arrows and Shift+arrows in GUI text editors. There must be software keyboards to address these issues.


Edit: I found a probable answer to the second question http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-connect-a-usb-android-keyboard/

Yes, provided the device supports USB OTG that works. --- At home I've got a computer and I don't have a portable keyboard that'd connect to it for elsewhere.

The specs say our devices support USB OTG. The only thing now is to use it. If I want my new itzy glitzy smartphone to work as a replacement for netbook, I will have to decide on a keyboard to carry along.

This would have made an excellent choice for a travel keyboard, but it's sold out in my country. (Not sure though if the phone would be able to power the backlight.)


  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #122
Just found out about another input device - Cintiq.



Basically a touchscreen tablet, but much finer. Best of them come pre-loaded with Corel software for animators. (Maybe I am indeed using this animator word wrong.)

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Hardware Thread
Reply #123
If you were a professional illustrator, such a pen display would probably be an extremely worthwhile investment. But seeing how the cheapest start at €700 or so, they're not within range of regular people. Besides which, a regular drawing tablet in the €100-200 range is a terrific input device, and even the el cheapo models aren't horrible.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
SIM disaster
Reply #124
There were rumours on the internets that Xperia M5 simply shuts itself off and does not move itself after that. Some people respond to these rumours that before this happens, you must reset your internet settings and there will be no problem.

As soon as I acquired my Xperia M5 (and managed to switch it on), I reset the internet settings. I never had a problem with it after that. However, a week ago it received a major update. Not as major as Android 5 to Android 6, which is what I am expecting any day (week, month) now, but still a fat update involving hundreds of megas. I applied the update. No noticeable changes inside the phone after that.

Yesterday, the phone switched itself off and never recovered. I had not reset the internet settings after the update. I took the phone to repairs. They will probably overwrite the opsys, a routine procedure to fix any and all smartphone problems. It will be interesting to see if I will get the phone back with specific Xperia Android or something else, such as a Galaxy version or whatever. Somehow the repair dudes, even though they are totally official and authorised, care little about these things.

For now, I am without internet-on-the-go and also without home internet, because my Xperia M5 was doing all internet for me. My GSM provider offered a replacement phone, but I generously refused it. I thought I could manage with the old phones I already have. In fact, I was not angry at the events thus far, just a bit excited to get back to my old phones. Which took a frustrating turn.

SIM card is a little hardware thingy that you put into your mobile phone. The SIM card is specific to a particular GSM provider and they will charge you for the network events that occur through your particular SIM card. Everybody knows this. I should not even be saying this.

Owners of newer smartphones must have noticed that the shape of SIM cards has changed lately. There are things called micro-SIM and nano-SIM. The explanation that goes along with the change of shape is that mobile internet has evolved from GPRS to EDGE to 3-5G. In reality, to provide those services, you don't need to change the shape of SIM, just the chip on it. (And I remember occasions when you didn't have to change the SIM at all for certain new services, even though the GSM provider falsely claimed you do.) The overall shape of SIM could have been kept the same, because phones have actually gotten bigger meanwhile, not smaller. They have evolved from a tiny phone with additional functions into multi-purpose tablets with phone call function.

Hardware-wise, the changes of shape of SIM cards look as follows.



At first, SIM cards looked as big as the bigger entity. The bigger entity is that which goes into older mobile phones. I knew this when I took my new Xperia M5 to repairs and was contemplating about a replacement to it. I wanted to use my old LG P500 again. I was missing it, a perfect smartphone about which I never had any complaints, except about things external to it, such as Opera Mobile version 14 and web evolving so that move from 3G to 4G mobile internet became eventually mandatory.

When I took my Xperia M5 to repairs at my GSM provider, I specifically asked to be given an older full-sized SIM card - old SIM card in one piece which would securely go into my old LG P500. However, there on the spot, it just happened that I had my (even older) SE W200 with me. So the service dude took the nano-SIM out of the Xperia M5, added some rings to it as pictured, inserted that into SE W200, and it worked. This way I had to be convinced that I don't need an older SIM card.

Now, I understand that they maybe don't have any old full-sized SIM cards anymore. Still, the proper way to make SIM backwards-compatible is a solid adapter as follows.



But I was left with a nano-SIM with rings around it. I went home with my SE W200, took out LG P500, removed the shaky compound SIM from SE W200 and tried to insert it to LG P500. Not only did the compound fall apart, but the largest ring which remained in the LG P500 was unremovable due to the structure of the SIM socket in LG P500. I tried to carefully yank it out, because, you know, I had to get the compound SIM together again to use it anywhere, such as in SE W200, to be able to at least call, if not more, but as I was yanking it out, it broke some pins in the socket of LG P500.

This way my LG P500 became unusable yesterday. It's very frustrating mainly because the change of shape of SIM have been absolutely unnecessary, unjustifiable. And because I knew that if I didn't get the old SIM, something evil would happen. And of course I was right as I often am. Things are very bad when I am right.

For now all I have is SE W200, a tiny phone whose best feature is the still-awesome Walkman mp3 player. Unfortunately, this phone device originated in an era when there were no standard connectors, so no 3.5mm for earphones or such. Still, I can spend some good nostalgia time with the Java apps I once upon a time installed on it, such as Opera Mini version 4, Google Maps version 2, and Readmaniac.

What lesson to draw from this? Life is so stupid these days that there is no lesson. It's best to stay away from this life.
  • Last Edit: 2016-05-05, 09:02:43 by ersi