Archive for the ‘Android’ Category

Retro Tablet?

asustf101
I was on a trip to visit my uncle recently and while there and talking shop (he’s a techie kinda fellow) he started telling me about this old tablet he had that I could have if I could get it fixed. It seems he purchased a tablet years ago, didn’t like it, then the os became corrupt and he just sort of shelved it, probably some 5 or 6 years ago and got himself an iPad instead.

He dug this thing out and it happened to be an Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101, a tablet that I actually had long ago myself. This one was dirty and no charge and badly in need of a fresh reimage of the OS but after that, it’s a perfectly functioning, practically brand new (hardly been used) TF101, now updated to the latest OTA update available for it, 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

So now I have this new old stock tablet and I have decided to get some use out of it (came from my uncle so it holds some sentimental value) and I actually kind of dig it. Of course it is no rocket ship compared to modern android devices but it does chug along and the 4.0.3 OS is still viable in the android store so some apps are still current. I can get my mail and social media and watch videos, listen to music and the like just fine (even netflix). What I like most about it right now is using it as a portable terminal (juice ssh). The included keyboard dock makes that particularly nice.

I have been wondering, though, what else I can do with such a device and am seeking opinions and experiences. I know there are several server suites available for android. I could use it hooked to an external USB drive for a file server or web server, etc.. Perhaps I could somehow shoehorn an actual Linux as a native OS on this thing. Then, there is the possibility of putting custom Android ROMs on it – I think there is one called KATKIT that people are having great success with. Never having installed a custom ROM before on android I am a little hesitant and don’t want to brick the machine. So, what do you think? What should I try first?

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Asus Transformer TF300T

Asus Transformer TF300T

Asus Transformer TF300T


You have heard me before explain why I love my iPad. At first I bought a Xoom tablet, which I thought was crap. When I picked up my iPad that was awesome. It did everything I needed and then some. As it happens, though, I have been thinking more and more about getting into Android again, until a few days ago when I finally pulled the trigger.

Until quite recently, Android was simply not ready or suitable for tablet use. You can argue with me about that all day long if you like, but you would still be wrong. 🙂 Recently, however, Ice Cream Sandwich was released (Android 4.0) and that, combined with the current state of technology, makes all the difference.

Anyhow, I decided that giving Android another try, especially in light of Apple’s recent bout of litigiousness, was in order. I decided on the ASUS tablet (32 GB), because it has really nice hardware, looks and feels good, and just seemed to have the most bang for the buck. I also bought the keyboard dock because having a keyboard for your tablet is wildly useful, not to mention it adds USB, SDCard and lots of extra battery life!

The only application I added that I had to pay for was Better Terminal Emulator Pro. This is, simply, the best ssh client available for Android, period. It also has the unique ability to actually be able to use *all* the keyboard keys available on the Transformer’s keyboard dock. Absolutely indispensable, and it was only $4.

Things I don’t like:
The iPad has a better mail application. Apparently, I am in the minority when I want to read my oldest email first and then progress to the newest. I find it really perverse to do it the other way around, and it annoys me to no end that I can only get 30 or so emails at a time without weird jumpy scrolling effects. The iPad didn’t have this problem. I will say, though, that I haven’t had a lot of time to try alternative email clients. I also liked the iPad’s version of the Tivo client better. The version for android is made only for mobile phones and doesn’t take advantage of a Tablet’s screen size, etc. I bet they will have this fixed at some point though, and it does the job for now. Lastly is the form factor. The iPad has a 4×3 form factor, which I find quite aesthetically pleasing, while the Android has a 16×9, which takes some more getting used to. I realize that multimedia is really geared more toward the 16×9 sizes these days, but documents are not and I grew up reading magazines and books and writing on papers, all in the 4×3 format, and it still feels a bit odd with the elongated tablet size. The absolute worst thing with this tablet is the proprietary charger connector. This pisses me off and is absolutely unnecessary and makes it difficult to obtain 3rd party charger / cable replacements. That is not to say they are unavailable, but I could not find a spare in a big box store and had to order through Amazon.

Things I do like:
This little gizmo is quite fast! Video playback is responsive and brilliant. ICS has a good feel to it as an OS and is much more useful than previous releases, not to mention, this machine is rock solid stable, which is something my Xoom really lacked. I have never had an app crash on me using this tablet yet, something I used to think I would have to own an iPad to enjoy. Even with the keyboard dock connected, it is pleasant to hold and use, aside from the strange feel of a 16×9 form factor. It is not too light or heavy. It feels ridged / solid. It has a very nice feeling textured case, which does not appear particularly scratch prone (in opposition to the iPad) and has a pleasing (very)dark blue color (I understand this particular tablet to soon be available in white as well). The screen, itself, is clear and crisp and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. As a touch screen, it is remarkably sensitive.There are times I swear I just have to think about touching it and it responds. Although the touch screen does attract fingerprints, they are easy to wipe clean and the tablet actually came with a soft cloth just for that purpose. Lastly, this comes equipped with a GPS, which makes it a great big nifty navigation unit too!

With the addition of the keyboard dock (did I mention 14 hours battery life?), this tablet actually makes a suitable laptop / netbook replacement. I can honestly say that I can carry *only* this device with me and be assured that I can still accomplish any work I need to do, especially with the addition of the previously mentioned Terminal Emulator Pro software purchase. All in all, this is a great device which makes portable computing truly doable and lots of fun. Great purchase!

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Who is that masked man?

Probably you have either listened to me or read my thoughts or both for several years now, but it occurred to me today that someone out there might be interested in seeing what actually drives the LincGeek.

I currently live in Pennsylvania, but I was born and raised in Upstate NY, with a brief stint in Washington state. New Yorkers and hillbillies are my people and I understand them. Washington is some of the most beautiful country I ever spent time in and I hope to at least visit out there again someday.

Well, first and foremost, computers and Linux are my personal crack. I started on a life long obsession with computers back in 1983 with my first Vic=20 (Thank you William Shatner). I learned to program in BASIC and from there it was all over until I met Linux in the 90s, then that added into the mix.

I like the fastest computers I can get my hands on. I like Apple computers (more for their quality and aesthetics than OS – they do tend to run Linux very well). I love my Kindle, my Android phone and my Asus TF300T Linux Mint is probably the nicest version of Linux I have ever run and I use that almost exclusively as my desktop OS of choice. I am RedHat certified and use RHEL and CentOS for the vast majority of my enterprise and personal server needs, because, IMHO, it’s better than the rest.

I am a music lover. I dig 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, Big Band, Jazz, Funk, Disco, Bluegrass and Classical music. I was a hardcore low brass musician and vocalist in my school years, even making it into “Who’s Who In Music” in my senior year in high school, and those are some of my most cherished and fondest memories. Rap is *NOT* music, by the way.

I have been married once, to my college sweetheart, for almost 20 years now and have an adult (she thinks so at least) daughter, currently in college. I am a Conservative Libertarian, politically, and a proud Christian.

Although I am now diabetic and stick mostly to various forms of Chicken and veggies, I LOVE good food. my favorites are good Irish cooking like my Grandma used to make. Corned Beef and Cabbage. And she made a monster macaroni and cheese too. I would literally hurt someone for some of that again. I strongly believe that vegetables are what food eats.

I like my coffee with (nonfat) milk and sweet-n-low. Buy it from Wawa because Starbucks coffee is overpriced and bitter yuppie coffie IMHO. I like an occasional good cigar (Acid Blondie) and enjoy them most when I can smoke them and hang out with my friends. (Edit, I am a confirmed Vaper now – RY4 absolutely ROCKS!)

I am not a drinker. If and when I do imbibe, I do so with Scotch or Whiskey as I believe beer must be what urine tastes like.

As you can probably surmise, I am highly opinionated, and as I have a monster sized guilty conscience and I am not at all politically correct, so if you ask my opinion, you are liable to actually get it.

I still think the occasional fart joke is funny. I hate unproductive meetings and long phone conversations. I try very hard to be honest, forthright, fair and maintain integrity.

I am a pet guy and love small furry mammals of all kinds. I have and have had cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, rats, ferrets and even a smattering of budgies and small lizards.

And now you know all about me!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The New Xoom Review, Comin’ Right At You!

xoom


OK, I am dating myself here but there used to be this show on when I was a kid, called the New Zoo Review, and for some reason the theme song was playing in repeat in my head while I was thinking about writing this review. That’s how the title comes about, and it’s been a wickedly long week, so that’s about as clever as I can muster right now.

I bought the Motorola Xoom wifi only tablet the day it came out because I have been wanting / looking for / dreaming of a device that *could* be android powered that would be a respectable netbook replacement for me. I wanted something with at least a 10 inch display, fast processor speed, decent storage and memory and significantly thinner and lighter than my netbook that I could use as a daily carry. What goes without saying, there, is that there needs to be functionality with all that I do.

Unfortunately, with the Xoom, this was not to be…

The Xoom is a very appealing looking device which appears to meet many of my basic needs quite well. It is thin and light. It has a beautiful and very functional touch display. The battery lasts quite long at around 2 days of use. It’s only everything after that that is a disappointment.

Let’s start with the price. This was $600 + tax for the wifi only version. I believe this to be a bit excessive, even if the device actually *did* deliver. That being said, I did, and would pay it again to the company that does it right, but there are a lot of disappointments with this tablet:

This tablet does not act as a usb mass storage device. You heard it right. When you jack this into your computer, you have to fumble around and try to find a utility program and/or drivers that do Media Transfer Protocol. I DO NOT understand why they would do this unless they are intentionally trying to irritate their customers. My Moto Droid (the original) could connect as usb mass storage, why can’t this??

This tablet will not charge via the usb cable. Again, what were they thinking. You have to use a needle thin charger plug that has every appearance of wanting to snap off at the slightest bump. Once I finally got the majority of my power and data needs consigned to a single USB cable, Xoom makes sure you have to carry another proprietary wall-wort.

Honeycomb is NOT ready for general use / release. As pretty as it is, the new android OS has lots of bugs. I cannot tell you how many times apps like facebook, gmail, email and the browser crashed on me in the week I used this tablet. The apps are beautiful when they work, but also lack important functionality. For instance, the email app doesn’t do filters. Also, I was particularly thrown back when I could not get my pandora app to run at all!! Ack!

I think the straw that breaks the camel’s back for me is lack of a cisco vpn client. Granted, this is not really the Xoom’s fault, but I need to be able to do some real work with my tablet and this is a HUGE hindrance for me. This one thing means I have to carry a netbook with me anyhow which was the point of getting a tablet in the first place.

Bottom line is if you are looking for some cool tech and do NOT neet to do work with it and / or can wait until they fix a bunch of things AND you have a spare $600 to shell out for said broken product, then run to your nearest store and buy one of these. If you are like me and need a small, slim, lightweight. functional tablet with more stable software and a decent vpn client to replace your netbook, then wait ’till the iPad 2’s are back in stock. Sorry android and Motorola, you lose on this one.

Friday, April 1st, 2011

I have waited too long…

iPad

iPad


OK, I give. Apple has had their iPad out for MONTHS now and here I sit, still waiting for someone to get off their rhump and give me a decent android alternative. Sure, there have been some cheapo knockoffs overseas that aren’t readily available here in the states. If you look at the specs, though, even those are quite underwhelming. They typically sport 7 inch displays, very low cpu speed and memory, an outdated version of Android OS and no Android Marketplace (difficult to get any apps on them without it). Take the Eken Tablet for instance. This sports the 7 inch display (woo.. :/), 600mhz proc, 2gb flash and Android 1.6. Now the price point is great at right around a hundred dollars U.S., however, everyone I have spoken to that has one says it’s quite sluggish and small.

Now there are a LOT of companies that SAY they have a viable alternative *under development* but, hey, I am getting tired of waiting on vapor-ware. I WANT my tablet folks. You would think that with the likes of LG and Cisco and Samsung and, gasp, Google, that I could have something really great rolling around in my messenger bag right now, but, alas, it is not so.

For those afore mentioned companies who are vying to get my money first, here is what I would LIKE to see in an Adroid tablet, and I am willing to pay at least as much as the iPad alternative, however, inexpensive is a good word to keep in mind. I want a 10 inch screen. This is the minimum usable screen size in my opinion for my netbook and I cannot imagine reading or doing anything work related on something any smaller. I want horsepower. Again, my netbook sports a 1.6ghz proc and gets along pretty well. Slower in the cpu department would hobble the device for me. I need storage space, maybe 16gb or better. I would like to have some capacity to store multiple videos, documents and books to take with me. A SD card slot is great too, for this, but good local storage is always a plus. And speaking of SD capability, don’t diminish the usefulness of the device by not providing the necessary array of connections (SD, USB, audio, bluetooth) so I can easily transfer files and use all my favorite peripherals.

So guys, who will be first to step up to the plate?

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Linc’s list of must have android apps

Since I bought my droid, I have been either asked over and over what apps I am using/installing or have been offered someone elses list. I figured it was time to make it official here and provide my own, with the note that this is still evolving since I just got the phone a couple days ago. Without further ado:

Mobile Defense
This app is the cellphone equivalent to Prey on your laptop. It’ll help you find and retrieve a lost or stolen cellphone.

Pandora
Internet radio stations just for you! Seriously, if you don’t know what Pandora is by now, just go home.

Barcode Scanner
More than just a toy, it’s a way for you to check prices and get info on merchandise and even install apps! This is a must have app.

ConnectBot
This is your ssh app. Works well and a must for you Linux guys like me!

AIM
Aol Instant Messenger for Android.

The Weather Channel
Always need to know what the weather is going to be like when I get into Philly and now I can get that info quickly on my cellphone anytime I need it. It also lets you add multiple sites/cities.

HandyCards
This is a great application that you can use to scan in your store discount and rewards cards to keep them in your phone, where they are handy. Slick program and works great!

Flashlight
Yes, there are a ton of these and some even use the built in camera flash for light, but I chose the simple white screen version. Works great!

ColorNote
This is a quick and convenient way to take some notes when I have to.

Jewels
Hey, even I play games occasionally. This is one of those fun little jewel games. Match 3. Fun and addicting. I would have put frozen bubble on there but then I would never get *anything* done.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Droid

Droid

Droid


Oh My.

Finally, after carrying around cellphones for over 10 years, *I* got a decent one.

It was time for me to re-up my contract with Verizon and high time I got a good cellphone, so I picked the Droid, at the behest and recommendation of several of my friends. To be honest, this thing kicks butt and takes names.
The best comparison I can give is that of it to an iPhone. I use an iPhone at work on my on-call rotation. Up until this point, I thought it was *very* cool and fast. Now I know different. The Droid whoops it without batting an eye. The Droid has a huge, bright lcd touch screen, it’s ultra thin and hides a full querty keyboard. It plays all your non DRM encumbered media – and beautifully I might add. It browses, it emails, it texts, it takes notes, it plays games, it has HUNDREDS of other apps and, hell, it even makes and takes phone calls if you can imagine. This thing is even better than the other android phones I have seen, being faster by an order of magnitude with a bigger screen and more storage (16Gb by default). The best praise I could give it it what I told Dann about it earlier, and that is this is what the Nokia N series Linux handhelds could have and should have been if Nokia had pulled their heads out of the sand. And did I mention that it’s fast, because it is. Stop reading this and just go buy one! You’ll thank me later – from the gmail account on your Droid.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010