Arnt Gulbrandsen
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2018-09-20

Jelly Pro, Android 8.1

Many more months have passed, the Jelly Pro is still in my life, and it now runs Android 8.1.

Android 8.1 runs well, but one configuration setting absolutely must be changed: settings → smart assistant → power save manager and then turn that off. The power saving regime provided by Android 8 is better, and the third-party power save manager Unihertz has included confuses Android's JobScheduler into thinking that apps are broken when they're working perfectly well. This is why Signal doesn't receive messages, and it also prevents apps from e.g. scheduling heavy work to be run while the phone is charging.

Many reviews of the Jelly Pro describe insufferable battery life. That's true and accurate, but it's also a tiny little bit irrelevant for me since what I want is a phone that can run smartphone apps but I don't want to check the phone every few minutes. I am the master, the phone serves me, and any app that buzzes me needlessly loses its permission to issue notifications. The battery is good enough for my kind of usage.

I do wish the phone would charge faster though.

2018-02-05

More on the Jelly Pro smartphone

Another few weeks have passed.

I have made up my mind to ditch the Jelly and go back to a bigger phone, in fact I've made up my mind to that several times. And I've also made up my mind that I cannot possibly do that.

It's difficult. One one hand many things work so well on the Jelly. I have apps, for example Google Authenticator, on a device that is unobtrusively small and is not a timewaste magnet. On the other, data entry can be a pain. Last Satuday I wanted to know whether I had time to get to a shop before it closed, and I remembered the shop's location but not its name. I found it, which makes the Jelly qualitatively different from other small phones, but the data entry was impractical compared to a large smartphone.

2018-01-23

The tiny Jelly Pro smartphone

I don't buy a lot of hardware any more, and nothing out of the ordinary... but I have a credit-card-sized smartphone called Jelly (a Jelly Pro actually, with 2GB RAM).

A smartphone should be small and light, have a large screen and battery, be fast enough, and not have too many bugs. Obviously there's a conflict between overall size and screen/battery size. The Jelly is a very different compromise than most smartphones — most phones fit barely in a pocket, or only in some pockets, and provide large screens on which apps work well. The Jelly starts by fitting easily in any pocket, and makes the apps work as well as possible on a very small screen.

It succeeds on size: I can stick the Jelly in tight jeans pockets and sit down without noticing that it's there. (more…)

2016-01-14

Nexus Player

Our latest little film-playing box is a Nexus Player. It's good.

We have it connected to an Epson 1920×1080 projector and a Musical Fidelity amplifier.

The most remarkable features of the Nexus Player are that its remote control is simple and does not require line of sight, and that as of Android 6.0.1 it supports USB audio. (more…)

2015-05-12

The year of linux on the desktop

Clearly, 2016 is the year of linux on the desktop. I bought a new box and everything just worked. My three screens all work without needing any configuration, the fans are silent normally but spin up if needed, the temperature sensors all deliver reasonable results.

(Well, pulseaudio doesn't work.)

2015-01-17

Two headlines on Hacker News

This headline appeared in my Hacker News feed this morning: Why systemd is taking over. I fear it's right, systemd is taking over, and it's not good. I had a terrible time getting linux to work on my new laptop, which is why I have sworn to try Devuan on that laptop as soon as it's installable.

But what is systemd taking over, exactly? The next headline was Chromebooks spank Windows and might have added while traditional linux laptops disappear from view. Half my friends have switched to Mac laptops and last September I couldn't find a single ten-inch laptop with ≥4G RAM and capable of running linux. Not even one.

Depressing.

2014-07-07

Custom filofax paper

The two pictures show things I usually bring along in my hand luggage on the plane. Guess which one the security screeners want to look at most often.

Correct! The razor gets a brief glance or no attention at all (usually), the organiser looks odd on their screens and is often inspected. Mine was going to become a 9600bps modem when it grew up, as I have told many a security screener.

Ever since I got my first duplex printer I've made my own paper for it. Nothing very fancy, really. Four constraints only: ⓐ I like to write on the right-hand side, ⓑ occasionally I want to measure something so there should be a ruler, (more…)

2013-10-29

Typing on an outsourced keyboard

I'll need to test something with a bluetooth keyboard. I really like the Nexus 7 tablet, so off to Amazon: nexus 7 2012 keyboard. Ah, hm, since I don't like QWERTZ keyboards, best try amazon.­co.uk too: nexus 7 2012 keyboard. There were many contenders, including what I bought and will return: (more…)