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Posted on 19-02-09, 07:29 am
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Posted by creaothceann

Long press on middle button just opens a Google search bar on my phone. Long press on the back button opens the home screen customization screen. You can probably configure more in the settings, e.g. if call and camera functions can be accessed from the lock screen.


Originally I had "Google Assistant" installed, so holding down the middle button activated some text-to-speech thing which included Google search. Once I disabled that and disabled Chrome, Firefox was all that was left, I guess.

Long-pressing the back button doesn't do anything for me, at least on the home screen. Long-pressing the wallpaper gives access to a settings menu not available any other way, so far as I can tell.



I got a small Type-C to Micro B adapter with the phone, and bought an Micro B to Type A adapter, both are passive.


I had a Micro B to A cable I used with my old phone, and which I was hoping I could use with my new phone. When I saw it had a type-C socket instead of micro B, I was very annoyed, so I put it on the charger and complained on the Internet.

It turns out, the "charger" is has a type-A socket. I was sitting right next to a type-C to type-A cable while I searched Amazon to see if such a thing existed.


My "offline" apps:
- BatteryBot (to display the battery temperature in Oreo) (via F-Droid)


Is battery temperature a thing I should worry about? I think my previous phone died of battery temperature, because it got super-hot if you locked the phone while the camera was running. But surely mainstream phones aren't so buggy?


- Bubble Level Gauge (via F-Droid)


Is that a thing you use a lot, or just a fun thing to play with?



- VLC


I wound up installing VLC because apparently Android doesn't come with a video player, or doesn't come with one that doesn't upload all your videos to Google Driver or something. I assumed it was just a media player like the desktop version, but no - it's got a full media library, and even sorts tracks in an album by disc number and track number. I am very impressed.



- Dolphin


I tried this, and it's... not pretty. I mean, it technically works, but 11fps isn't really fun. :/

I imagine it might be better suited to, say, GBA or GBC emulation, but anything besides Dolphin seems to be a quagmire of seedy knock-offs and open-source code repackaged with ads. :/



- ScummVM


I installed this, and it was pretty great! I booted up Monkey Island, listened to that theme-tune, then just for kicks I immediately walked back to the island map instead of proceeding to the SCUMM Bar. My phone hard-locked and I had to reboot it. :/

Also, it's weird and sad that ScummVM isn't on F-Droid. I did briefly look into why, but apparently building native Android apps is a bundle of horror best left to professionals.



- LibreTorrent (via F-Droid)


You download torrents on your phone? Isn't that... battery heavy, at the very least?

Posted by sureanem
Naked Browser is much faster and smaller than Fennec, at least in my experience.


It doesn't sync with Firefox Sync, as far as I can tell, and it's just another WebView wrapper, contributing to the ubiquity of Blink/WebKit. :/

Posted by NTI
Omni Notes - neat application, though not as "simples" as Simple Notes.


That is pretty neat, and I like being able to easily add a photo to a note, but there doesn't seem to be a way to export notes to simple files, or import from simple files, only an encrypted "backup". I lost all the notes on my old phone because I couldn't save them out, but I kept my contacts (and easily imported them into the new phone) because I could.


CPU Info


Also pretty cool, and very detailed. Thanks!


Has anybody played with Termux? It seems cool that it's *possible*, but I'm not convinced it's at all practical or useful.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 19-02-09, 08:28 am
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Post: #233 of 265
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Posted by Screwtape

- Sometimes "Back" is an arrow at the top-left of the screen, sometimes "Back" is a triangle button at the bottom. Is there some nuanced difference I don't understand, or is that just Android weirdness?


So... in ye olden times, phones had actual buttons under the screen for back and home and task-switcher. Then The Googles, in their infinite wisdom, dcecided that was dumb and we should have a status bar on the bottom of the screen with the buttons, eating screen space.
And then they realized "Oh, an app developer can include their own navigation buttons, and if they do, we can hide the stupid button bar".

So that's where we are now. Some applications include their own back button, some rely on Android presenting a button, and some just fuck you over with inscrutably bad interface choices.


Some devices still manage to snake buttons in under the screen in defiance of Google, and those never have the status bar with the triangle and the square and the whatever.
My Motorola G5 ETC is like that. There aren't any actual buttons, but the fingerprint reader also works as a home button when tapped, a back button when you slide across it to the left, and a task switcher button when you slide across it to the right. It is cute, and works most of the time(though I hit home when trying to hit back more than I care to admit)




- The middle button is "home screen" on a short press and "Open Browser" on a long press, the square button is "switch apps" on a short press and "split screen" on a long press; am I missing any other cool tricks?

Almost certainly. Android is rather bad about hiding things in inscrutable places because simplicity of interface is more important than usability of interface.
Manufacturer-specific customizations aren't any better, though that is usually a case of neglect rather than an active attempt to conceal functionality.


- I previously only really used my phone for web-browsing, shopping lists, reading e-books, and listening to music. I've installed Firefox, Simple Notes, Book Reader, and Odyssey to do these tasks, and they seem to meet my needs. Are there any alternatives I should know about?


Odyssey actually looks pretty cool.

I'm a big fan of the Simple series of tools, incidentally.



- Are there any cool apps in general I should know about?


Almost certainly.
There's a Speak & Spell simulation out there.
Secret code: it has ads in it, but spell noadz to disable them for the current session.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.id.weston.scott.SpeakAndSpell&hl=en


ZXTune is a multi-platform chiptune player that has integrated connection to several web repositories where you can find chiptunes, in case you get a desperate need to listen to Journey to Silius suddenly.
https://zxtune.bitbucket.io/

WireGoggles uses your pocket PC's camera and some edge-detection algorithms to give you cyborg vision.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dozingcatsoftware.WireGoggles&hl=en

Just in case you thought something could EVER be straightforward, and needed someone to dash your hopes across the rocky shoals of harsh reality.
Posted on 19-02-09, 09:45 am

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Posted by CaptainJistuce
ZXTune is a multi-platform chiptune player that has integrated connection to several web repositories where you can find chiptunes, in case you get a desperate need to listen to Journey to Silius suddenly.
https://zxtune.bitbucket.io/


I rather like Droidsound-E for chiptune (and numerous other format) playback purposes. Unfortunately, the GitHub repo is horrifically out-of-date, though there are links to the latest builds at the bottom of the page (isn't this, uh, heavily frowned upon for an app that relies on lots of open-source libraries?).
Posted on 19-02-09, 10:11 am
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At the very least, the GitHub "sources" include pre-compiled static libraries for ffmpeg, despite ffmpeg being under the LGPL2.1 so the sources must be available (and re-linkable).

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 19-02-09, 12:34 pm (revision 1)

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Since: 10-29-18

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Posted by Screwtape
Is battery temperature a thing I should worry about?


Afaik there's conflicting info out there on what causes the battery to degrade, one thing mentioned being temperature. Quick-charging makes my phone very hot (even though it is really fast) so I use the normal charger from my previous phone.


Posted by Screwtape

- Bubble Level Gauge (via F-Droid)


Is that a thing you use a lot, or just a fun thing to play with?


The latter.


Posted by Screwtape

- ScummVM

I installed this, and it was pretty great! I booted up Monkey Island, listened to that theme-tune, then just for kicks I immediately walked back to the island map instead of proceeding to the SCUMM Bar. My phone hard-locked and I had to reboot it. :/


Works for me... ScummVM 2.0.0, using both the VGA and the CD versions of Monkey Island. Maybe try other game files?
And I thought that ScummVM's on the Play Store because that's where 99% of all Android users get their apps from.


Posted by Screwtape

- LibreTorrent (via F-Droid)

You download torrents on your phone? Isn't that... battery heavy, at the very least?


It's rare that I use it these days, but it only takes a few minutes to download, I don't seed for hours.

My setup: Super Famicom ("2/1/3" SNS-CPU-GPM-02) → Multi Out to SCART cable → EuroSCART to Mini cable → Framemeister (with Firebrandx' profiles) → AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme capture unit → RECentral 4 viewing/recording software
Posted on 19-02-09, 12:47 pm
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I think you'll find a lot of Android users get certain apps by means of APKs. You don't even need an external APK installer anymore as the Android OS has a setting that allows you to install third-party applications.
Posted on 19-02-09, 01:31 pm (revision 1)
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Battery Temperature is important when it comes to buying phone cases. Try to avoid cases that would significantly impede heat dissipation and yeah, maybe try to avoid quick charging/limit its use to when you're actually in a hurry and only do it in a well ventilated environment.

Intel i7 920 @ 3.6GHz | MSI Gamer Geforce 1070Ti 8GB | 24GB DDR3 1152MHz RAM | ASUS P6T Motherboard | Windows 10 x64
Posted on 19-02-09, 09:14 pm
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Posted by Screwtape

Posted by sureanem
Naked Browser is much faster and smaller than Fennec, at least in my experience.


It doesn't sync with Firefox Sync, as far as I can tell, and it's just another WebView wrapper, contributing to the ubiquity of Blink/WebKit. :/


It's true that it doesn't sync. I don't see what you'd want to sync, since it doesn't have any addons. Bookmarks?
Using Fennec is contributing to the ubiquity of Gecko/Quantum. You can't win.
Posted on 19-02-09, 10:19 pm (revision 1)

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Posted by Screwtape

Dolphin


I tried this, and it's... not pretty. I mean, it technically works, but 11fps isn't really fun. :/


Try GameCube games like Mario Kart Double Dash :)


Posted by Screwtape
I imagine it might be better suited to, say, GBA or GBC emulation, but anything besides Dolphin seems to be a quagmire of seedy knock-offs and open-source code repackaged with ads. :/


Hence RetroArch.

My setup: Super Famicom ("2/1/3" SNS-CPU-GPM-02) → Multi Out to SCART cable → EuroSCART to Mini cable → Framemeister (with Firebrandx' profiles) → AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme capture unit → RECentral 4 viewing/recording software
Posted on 19-02-09, 10:25 pm
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Bookmarks, history, saved passwords, open tabs. It's great to look at something on my desktop, then when I'm out and about, all that stuff is right in my pocket.

Yes, I'm contributing to the ubiquity of Gecko, and if it ever attains dominant market share, I'll start using something else.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 19-02-11, 02:39 pm
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More new developments:

I've installed RetroArch, and gotten it working. Man, RetroArch is an impressive achievement, and it's great that there's an easy way to obtain and use emulators on Android without having to wade through Google Play, but everything about RetroArch always feels unfinished. For example, RetroArch has a nice Android-style UI with touch support and scrolling, but because it's a full-screen SDL app it hides the task-switching soft button, and the only way to switch to another app is to completely shut down RetroArch. For another example, it's so easy to download new cores that you can do it by accident while trying to scroll through the list, but the only way to *uninstall* a core is to use Android's "delete this application's entire configuration" feature.

Another friend of mine turned me onto SyncThing, which is kind of like an open-source, decentralised DropBox. Now when I take a photo with my phone, the next time I walk into wifi range it should be automatically synced to my desktop at home and (if it's awake) my laptop, wherever they are. I stuck my RetroArch SRAM folder into my SyncThing directory, just in case I put a bunch of time into a game and don't want to lose my progress.

After trying out OmniNotes, somebody recommended I try Markor, which is a text editor that supports Markdown and todo.txt syntax highlighting, and can store all its notes in the SyncThing directory instead of a custom app-specific database. I love the idea of plain-text file formats, and of having my stuff automatically synced around, but it seems that the "todo.txt" format is "simple" but flexible enough for somebody to track their whole life with it, while I'm *really* just looking for a way to keep a shopping list. I went back to OmniNotes once I discovered I could share an OmniNote to export it to Markor.

A long time ago I wrote a simple J2ME toy, and I discovered a "J2ME Loader" app for Android. It works, although the pixel-art I designed for my 160x80 pixel Nokia 3510 (or whatever the resolution was) is near-illegible on my 1080p smartphone.

I discovered Termux, which is a Linux environment in an Android app. It's a bit quirky and limited since it runs within the default Android filesystem rather than a traditional POSIX hierarchy (there's no /bin or /usr!) but it works, and now I have a button on my phone's home screen that will SSH to my home PC with my regular IRC and email clients.

Lastly, I was surprised today to see an "Android System" notification offering to update me from Android 8.1 to Android 9. I said "sure!" and of course it did Weird Things. Two of the big features of Android 9 are apparently the "daily summary" at the top of the home screen, and the Google Assistant box at the bottom. Unfortunately both those things seem to require the Google app, and since I've disabled it (on principle) they just sit there doing nothing. Literally nothing: there's a big box labelled "Search" and when I short or long tap on it, absolutely zilch happens. No keyboard, no browser, nothing. And because they're not widgets, they're hard-coded into the home screen, there doesn't seem to be a way to get rid of them. Ah well, that's what I get for exploring the boundaries, I guess, I should be grateful that Google stuff can be disabled at all.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 19-02-11, 02:57 pm

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Can you switch to a different UI? (launcher?)

My setup: Super Famicom ("2/1/3" SNS-CPU-GPM-02) → Multi Out to SCART cable → EuroSCART to Mini cable → Framemeister (with Firebrandx' profiles) → AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme capture unit → RECentral 4 viewing/recording software
Posted on 19-02-11, 05:07 pm

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Posted by Screwtape

And because they're not widgets, they're hard-coded into the home screen, there doesn't seem to be a way to get rid of them. Ah well, that's what I get for exploring the boundaries, I guess, I should be grateful that Google stuff can be disabled at all.


Try enabling and then disabling them to see if they go away. At the very least, the daily summary thing shouldn't appear, especially if you unticked all its items. If all else fails, Nova Launcher is the go-to replacement and much better anyways.
Posted on 19-02-11, 06:54 pm (revision 1)

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Posted by Screwtape
because it's a full-screen SDL app it hides the task-switching soft button, and the only way to switch to another app is to completely shut down RetroArch.


You should be able to swipe up from the bottom of the screen (the physical bottom, as though you were in portrait) to make it reappear.

And seconding BearOso's suggestion of Nova Launcher. It is far and away the best launcher for Android.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Screw_Yall
Posted on 19-02-11, 07:36 pm
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Posted by Screwtape
More new developments:

I've installed RetroArch, and gotten it working. Man, RetroArch is an impressive achievement, and it's great that there's an easy way to obtain and use emulators on Android without having to wade through Google Play, but everything about RetroArch always feels unfinished. For example, RetroArch has a nice Android-style UI with touch support and scrolling, but because it's a full-screen SDL app it hides the task-switching soft button, and the only way to switch to another app is to completely shut down RetroArch. For another example, it's so easy to download new cores that you can do it by accident while trying to scroll through the list, but the only way to *uninstall* a core is to use Android's "delete this application's entire configuration" feature.



Retroarch has a bit of a learning curve at first when it comes to configuring everything but once you're familiar with it, it's pretty smooth sailing. Though I never used the Android port so I can't offer any advice in this regard.

Just curious, what kind of performance do you get on your device with different cores? Mostly wondering how Higan and Snes9x perform on it.
Posted on 19-02-11, 08:05 pm
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Posted by Covarr
Posted by Screwtape
because it's a full-screen SDL app it hides the task-switching soft button, and the only way to switch to another app is to completely shut down RetroArch.


You should be able to swipe up from the bottom of the screen (the physical bottom, as though you were in portrait) to make it reappear.

And seconding BearOso's suggestion of Nova Launcher. It is far and away the best launcher for Android.

I still miss hard buttons. Especially egregious omission on my phone, where there's plenty of space to the sides of the fingerprint sensor for them.



Just in case you thought something could EVER be straightforward, and needed someone to dash your hopes across the rocky shoals of harsh reality.
Posted on 19-02-12, 01:50 am

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Posted by Broseph
Posted by Screwtape
More new developments:

I've installed RetroArch, and gotten it working. Man, RetroArch is an impressive achievement, and it's great that there's an easy way to obtain and use emulators on Android without having to wade through Google Play, but everything about RetroArch always feels unfinished. For example, RetroArch has a nice Android-style UI with touch support and scrolling, but because it's a full-screen SDL app it hides the task-switching soft button, and the only way to switch to another app is to completely shut down RetroArch. For another example, it's so easy to download new cores that you can do it by accident while trying to scroll through the list, but the only way to *uninstall* a core is to use Android's "delete this application's entire configuration" feature.



Retroarch has a bit of a learning curve at first when it comes to configuring everything but once you're familiar with it, it's pretty smooth sailing. Though I never used the Android port so I can't offer any advice in this regard.

Just curious, what kind of performance do you get on your device with different cores? Mostly wondering how Higan and Snes9x perform on it.



I'm not Screwtape, but I've used Android RetroArch for SNES gaming before. The bsnes cores (including bsnes-next) are next to unusable on my HP Touchpad (yes, old) and most of my Android phones (including the not-so-old Nexus 4) but if I want to go frame-by-frame so I can save-scum 100 Super Jumps in Super Mario RPG it'll do. The SNES9x cores are pretty performant and on both the Touchpad and Nexus 4 can hit 60 fps on SMRPG, though I more often see 45-55 fps when there are many sprites on the screen.
Posted on 19-02-12, 08:14 am
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> Try enabling and then disabling them to see if they go away. At the very least, the daily summary thing shouldn't appear, especially if you unticked all its items.

As I understand it, the daily summary is today's date with a bunch of stuff stacking up below it (appointments, weather, etc.) Turning all that stuff off prevents it from appearing under the date, but the date itself is still there.

Various combinations of enabling, disabling and rebooting didn't make much difference.

> You should be able to swipe up from the bottom of the screen (the physical bottom, as though you were in portrait) to make it reappear.

Oh yeah, that works! Thanks!

> If all else fails, Nova Launcher is the go-to replacement and much better anyways.

I tried out Nova Launcher, and it definitely solved my problems, but I didn't fall in love with it for a couple of minor reasons. First, It's a freemium app, so a bunch of features are disabled with big "upgrade to Nova Launcher Prime!" labels. Features I probably wouldn't use, so no big loss, but that's not really the kind of relationship I want to have with my software sources. Second, the default size for icons is smaller than the default launcher, making everything feel empty. There's an "icon size" slider, of course, but it's one of the features reserved for paying customers.

I tried out a bunch of other launchers, though, and eventually settled on something called Lawnchair, which seems to be pretty much the stock Android 8.1 launcher with a few extra options. Given I was quite happily using the Android 8.1 up until yesterday, I think I'll stick with it.

> Just curious, what kind of performance do you get on your device with different cores? Mostly wondering how Higan and Snes9x perform on it.

I haven't bothered with SNES emulation, but I can't hit full speed with the Mednafen PSX cores. mGBA works quite nicely, though.

I hope hex-usr makes a libretro core for bsnes 107 with all the performance improvements, when that gets released. It'll be interesting to see how it compares.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 19-02-12, 03:51 pm (revision 4)
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Posted by neologix

I'm not Screwtape, but I've used Android RetroArch for SNES gaming before. The bsnes cores (including bsnes-next) are next to unusable on my HP Touchpad (yes, old) and most of my Android phones (including the not-so-old Nexus 4) but if I want to go frame-by-frame so I can save-scum 100 Super Jumps in Super Mario RPG it'll do.



Let's see, the Nexus 4 has a...ahh, Krait CPU...never really heard of it. ARM-based, from 2012 if I got this right. Yeah, would have been surprised if it ran full speed. Well, at least full speed is achievable with 9x on phone devices like this so that's good.

Posted by Screwtape
I haven't bothered with SNES emulation, but I can't hit full speed with the Mednafen PSX cores. mGBA works quite nicely, though.



If you can stomach the prehistoric type of games design they had, you could also try the Game & Watch gw-libretro core



It's quite nice, though not all games right now are simu/emu/recre-ated, like my personal favorites: Fire and Greenhouse. It should work well on mobile too, given that they were mobile games themselves.



edit: Or alternatively I guess, use the Gambatte libretro core to play Game & Watch Gallery on GBC which have the originals and also features a remixed version of those G&W games.
Posted on 19-02-12, 04:56 pm

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Posted by Broseph

Let's see, the Nexus 4 has a...ahh, Krait CPU...never really heard of it. ARM-based, from 2012 if I got this right. Yeah, would have been surprised if it ran full speed. Well, at least full speed is achievable with 9x on phone devices like this so that's good.


Krait is Snapdragon 600, which was top-of-the-line when it was released. It probably still outperforms many of the low-end devices released today.
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