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Electronics whine

It's been a bad week for the devices of my household. Well, my N900 smartphone has been having growing trouble for the past few months, but recently it pretty much lost all ability to reliably keep a data connection up, especially for SSH. (Web seemed to do better for a while.) Then it was having more and more trouble with even voice; more and more I'd get a message like "General connection error, even emergency calls won't work, try rebooting". I've given up and moved my SIM card to my 2005 $50 Nokia 6110 ("the Indestructible"), so I'm missing 3/4 of my contacts and texting sucks... even the 9 year old battery holds useful charge way longer, though. The N900's wifi still works fine, so it's become my bedside wee hours computer.

This of course leads to "Operation: Buy A New Smartphone", which would be a lot easier if anyone made what I want. Physical keyboard, removable battery, expandable storage, up to date, Android or even freer but reliable and competent OS -- nope, does not exist. Dropping the keyboard seems to mean "Samsung" these days, with new problems of "costs a lot" and "possible Samsung bloatware and slow updates". The Galaxy S4 has a Google Play (pure Android version) which would be good except it's still $649, about as much as a regular Galaxy S5. But you can burn on Android stock ROMs yourself, apparently, or just skip over to Cyanogen, so I'm thinking of an S4. Or going back a generation to the S III, though that's still not trivially cheap. Or else selling out and getting a Nexus 5. The OnePlus One sounds fairly attractive but it's unclear when it'll even come out, let alone how problem free it'll be.

The Oppo N1 comes with a Cyanogen installer, which is cute, but it's a $600+ phone that doesn't even have LTE.

Versus the Nexus, the S4 does seem to have a better screen and camera, plus a few more sensors; I'm waiting for phone to fully turn into tricorders. I'm still not sure if all that plus the batter/storage is worth $2-300. I did note that I'm only using 19G of the 48G on my N900, so fitting into 32G shouldn't be too hard. I am amused that phone are just catching up with the N900's storage options from 2009. (32G internal, 16G microSD card. Actually things with cards go up to 64 or even 128 now.)


Right, other electronics. So I'd let my Ubuntu 12.10 laptop fall behind on updates, and finally caught it up. After which the sound wasn't working, the touchpad(!!!) wasn't working, and the wifi wasn't working. I get messages about various sound devices being removed. I tried full system update, that fails with errors. I think I need a clean install. Safest would probably be to revert to 12.04, since I know that works. Conventional would be 14.04. I'm thinking of flipping off Ubuntu and going with Arch and learning more about how my system works, though the Arch installation guide assumes I know a bunch of things I don't, mostly about formatting.

So I'm using my eee 901 again, with its eeebuntu 10.04. Shocking to again have a version of Gnome that doesn't suck. It's slow and small and has almost on no space after downloading the Arch ISO. But lightweight!

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/391128.html#comments



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
I have an S4 Mini, which is okay, but fair warning that the camera is TERRIBLE. My mother has either an S3 or an S4, I forget which, and the camera on that one is better.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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