Sunday, February 21, 2021

 On a whim decided to boot up my old Game Boy Color since I was looking for the pencil box it lives in. Don’t think I had turned it on in a good decade, lustruum at least. Figured it would be a good first test of my new rechargeable batteries, and answer the question I’ve posed for a couple years now: does it still work?

Much to my surprise it, and joy, it powered on. Had to try and boot the Pokemon Gold cartridge at least three times to get passed the firmware’s boot screen; lack of a continue game makes me assume the coin cell must be dead. The Yu-gi-oh cartridge however booted straight away and still offers a continue button in the menu.

As far as I can tell: it seems fully functional. Pretty sure that the screen is a hell of a lot more dim then it was 21~22 years ago when my mom bought it for me at the pawn shop. But 90s era LCDs are kind of known for that, and I still find it pretty impressive that so much fun could be housed in such a small for its day, and still rather lightweight package.

Misty is not sure what to make of this odd device that looks like an oversized phone. But knows she can’t eat it.


Have to admit that I would like to see more devices like this's even if the refresh rates of e-ink displays tend to be atrocious. The kind of scrolling and flinging people tend to expect out of general purpose tablets make it more noticeable than paging through an ebook. More so than the lack of color most devices have had.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Various thoughts I didn't expect a decade ago

That my greatest joy for voice assistants would amount to "Open {show name} on {service name} on {device name}" as a way to power on my entertainment system, and being able to use Alexa to pause/unpause my video.

That I wouldn't give a shit about privacy because the most eaves voice assistants may drop is me talking to the dogs 🤣.

That I would own an Apple product. Never mind two (not counting my iPad accessors).

That Microsoft would release an operating system that I actually like, but isn't itself a Microsoft managed GNU/Linux distribution.

Google would piss me off so much.

That tablets would kill my use of laptops for uses that don't involve editing code for several hours at a time. Thanks for that, Android.

That buying a voice powered smart plug would probably be worth it if I could say, "Alexa, turn on my desktop". Yeah, might have to look into that one actually.

That I'd be thinking "Clap on, clap off" more instinctively than "Computer, lights!" when getting up in the middle of the night. But really, that's a job for Alexa.

That my handwriting quality would be restored thanks to Samsung's S-Pen.

That my relationship to files would become so abstract. I don't often keep note files anymore, I have tools like Evernote and Nebo.

And probably a lot more, but updates are almost done installing and no one wants to hear about my taste in kitchen knives.

 For a while now, I’ve been considering going to rechargeable batteries. Last time I can remember encountering these in my family was as a child, since (as I recall being told) me and the charger had some kind of encounter with water around age 3 or 4. So it’s been a while.

The past decade has seen my use of batteries go up rather than down. Mostly due to a greater embrace meant of Bluetooth peripherals that are preferring AA/AAA batteries to built in cells and USB charging. Plenty of batteries go to my Logitech K380 and Samsung S-Mouse at work. Fewer at home since my old K810 charges from USB, and my Fire TV remotes last quite a while.

For years I’ve used the Play & Charge kit for my controller, which is kind of nice for me since it charges from the controller’s USB port. The pack looks like it’s just a connection for the controller’s power management, and a pair of AA cells in a plastic casing. Worked out pretty well.

Based on my math overall costs would be up to $50 for enough to replace my battery needs and a charger. Considering my battery costs tend to be higher based on the which thing takes what vs which piece of my stockpile of batteries is at home and which is at work. It’s probably worth it to just use rechargeable batteries with some in use, some kept spare, and not taking a bath with the charger.

When you account for the cost of making sure both home/work are stocked with the right size, the cost is about the same as an 8 packs of rechargeable NiMH. So this seems like a good plan to me—or just say screw it and buy about several years worth of regular batteries off Amazon and stuff them in a bin >.<


Not exactly a fan of The Verge, but this was a surprisingly good article. Disclaimer: as a computer nerd with internet access since the ‘90s, I’m bias in favor of net neutrality and giving people internet access that doesn’t suck.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Command, Control, and Optionally conquer the Alternatives

In some ways it may be a touch ironic. For years, I used an Android tablet docked to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard as a workstation; quite happily in fact. Puttering around with iPadOS my only real beef versus doing the same with Android is the keys.

Having spent most of my life around PC based systems, I’m naturally used to the shortcuts on a PC. Such as using control plus left and right to move the cursor a word at a time. On iPad these are more like home/end keys because you use option + left and right to move the cursor a word at a time.

Further complicating the fact is that some familiar shortcuts are control + thing while others are command + thing. For example command + W to close a tab but the familiar control + tab to change tabs. Basically pay back for having owned many a PC but never a Mac, lol.

In terms of keyboard and mouse support the only difference today is that iPadOS sports the same type of mouse based text selection as a PC or Mac. Android and the initial version of iPadOS had simply used it like a finger substitute, and more kludgy in iPadOS’s case. Aside from that I haven’t really had much difference in experience.

One of the notable distinctions as a user however is the software.

Modern iPadOS sports a version of Safari that is as good as Chrome or Edge on my PCs. My Androids on the other hand, being relegated to Chrome was always a bitter existence even if the stability leveled off with the years — and often keyboard/mouse operation in Chrome made my eyes roll out of their fucking sockets at the silly. So let’s just say at web browsers, iPad’s Safari beats Chrome for Android.

For most users I’d call that a win. Most people I know have a heavy slant towards web apps, and thus their connection to the rise of Chrome. In some cases, clutching Firefox like a gunnut and their AR-15s. So the result is Safari doesn’t piss me off, but I’m still one to prefer an app over a browser if you do any kind of decent job at it.

By contrast iPadOS sucks as a terminal client. Networking limitations basically murder any chance of being able to use SSH and multitasking; spend too long away and the connection will be force killed. By contrast in Android land the only real issue with SSH clients I tended to have was the poor copy/paste experiences. Stuff like VNC equally suck on both, but is less multitask friendly on iPad.

For me that’s kind of a negative. 90% of my interest in PCs revolve around command line environment or 3D graphics environments. But given my shift back to laptops for the heavy lifting that’s not been to terrible.

That’s to say, my move from a Chromebook to a Latitude had more to do with Celeron vs Core i5 than it did at using Android apps for terminal work. Likewise, my move from Android tablet to Android apps on a Chromebook was basically generated by Samsung omitted video output on my last tablet.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

AT&T customer since 1960 buys WSJ print ad to complain of slow speeds

I remember that spectacular quality and awesome sauce speed from nearly twenty years ago. Where my family lived there was two choices: Bellsouth and Charter. For all intents and purposes today, Bellsouth and AT&T can be considered abotu the same.

I also remember when my mother finally switched to Charter. After that the Internet access sucked a lot less by broadband standards of the word. But I’ll give Bellsouth this mouch, their aDSL service had been a major improvement over a 56 K modem that averaged more like 34 :P.

Huawei’s HarmonyOS: “Fake it till you make it” meets OS development

Forking and building off Android is what I would call the natural response for Huawei’s situation. And pretty much as long as you respect the open source license agreements and such, nothing is wrong with that. The ability to do so is one of the best aspects of Android; the going it without the Google add ons one of the reasons fewer people do that with actual phones.

Ron kind of says it neat here:

Forking Android and launching your own rebranded operating system is totally fine. But be upfront about that. Say "HarmonyOS is a fork of Android" instead of "HarmonyOS is not a copy of Android." Don't call HarmonyOS "all-new" when pretty much the opposite is true.

Where the real ire of the story lay, and perhaps justly so. But the conclusion towards the end of the article also makes sense. Inside China the Google’less Android idea works, as an international product not so much.