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Planet Computers : Gemini - Psion Returns

Discussion in 'Everything else' started by pmprog, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

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    Okay, so the peeps in this thread tell me Psion 5mx is supreme technology and then puzzle over GSM functionality?

    Psions were famous for being able to dial a phone number from the contacts list. It generated the tone that you fed into the landline handset microphone and then magic... It put you through.

    Psychology of this at the time was 'phreaking', old term for hacking the phone network using company engineer exploits. Basically means 'screw you British Telecom, we rule the world'. BT didn't have tech for this, but were world leader in pager - pre gsm tech. Hmmm.

    Nokia in this period were between the two. Communicator phone sold at Carphone Warehouse / Dixons spinoff was DOS based flip open pda hybrid. Unlike Psion tech it has second screen on outer case plus numerical keypad for nums, plus.... Wahey, really long walkie talkie arial. Essentially if you weren't in danger of destroying the occasional seagull leg, go home loser. The FTSE 100 aint for you weakling goblin. Yo Gatesy! Yeah i'm talking to my best mate Bill on my actual contact list... No you aint getting my contax list get yer own saddo. Who'se on yours? Clive Sinclair haha. I gotta get a diet coke. Sort your haircut out mate that aint real gel, more like margerine from my lunch sandwich haha. Etc.
     
  2. NetBLOKS

    NetBLOKS Finally on-board

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  3. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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  4. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    It is a good review. But I was reminded of why I had stopped reading Forbes--the awful and incessant autoplay ad videos. It literally froze my browser multiple times as I tried scrolling and I have an i7 with 32 GB of RAM.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  5. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    The 9000 and 9110 communicators ran GEOS on top of ROM-DOS from Datalight which was compatible with MS-DOS but otherwise had no relation to Bill's company as far as I can tell. The 9210 ran Symbian OS for the PDA features, which was a spin off of Psion's 32-bit EPOC OS, but the second screen was run on a separate processor running Nokia's internal OS. I dare say this relationship went back to the earlier two communicators, but I've never knowingly seen on of them, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were running NOS on a separate processor for the front screen also.
     
  6. mrpalmtop

    mrpalmtop Member

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    Nokia and HP were originally partners in pocket computing before Symbian/EPOC were in the picture. The two teamed up to create the HP OmniGo 700LX, which literally combined a 200LX with a Nokia 2110.

    I never used it but the LX series had a two way paging service which could be used for SMS, email, and faxing. I could only afford the computer itself, alas.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened if HP and Nokia hadn't broken up and HP went off into the Windows CE wasteland.
     
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  7. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

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    I did in actual fact spend an obnoxious amount of time in a shop investigating the communicator to get information about it being GEOS through the debug functions. There's a certain amount of danger in being harassed by staff to get the hell out of the shop if you aren't buying anything, or like they start asking you questions about stock trading to prove your identity, and who the hell your contacts are. As in what exactly is your business that needs organising you little squrrel minded freak. Oh so you need voice memos for what exactly? The trading network of local ice cream vans? Oh well here's a quid, go buy me an ice lolly and let the grown ups ring important people. Bring bring is that Richard Branson? Yeah we've got a biz intruder on floor 1, i think they're trying to haxxor our tax accounts. Quick, buy em a happy meal with Mickey Mouse toy before they ask too many Anne Robinson quizes.

    As for 200lx, i've lost the ir cover for mine but recommend the easter egg which shows mono gif whatever, pcx? Of the staff looking even more beardy than the old Unix crew. In 1991 every single real human wore glasses, it is a fact. Everyone else was some sort clone from an alien invasion force. And now you now how to win Xfiles.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 17, 2018 at 10:43 AM, Original Post Date: May 17, 2018 at 10:24 AM ---
    This thread has reminded me of something i'm slightly ashamed of would like to apologise to Psion staff about.

    I may have scripted the lonely looking Psion 3C in PC World using OPL and config to say rude things I recorded into the microphone.

    However, to a first gen South Park crowd that made it look extremely cool to other teenagers when they're walking past with mom or dadz being dull and arguing to hell and back about finer warranty points of nothing interesting... When a tiny digitised voice nearby calls you something or other with harsh human syntax.

    And maybe i left source code comments saying how to alter the scripts.

    Yeah so PC World got savvy and wiped comps every day or week, priot to the invention of 'ghosting' disks. So my mates got obsessive like Vietnam and quicker before bods showed up. The ring leader betrayed us by eventually workfing FOR the shop and making insane sales comission but probably cheated. You know, by sabotaging every shop PC and then only he knew the magic words... Ah ah ah, ah ah ah.

    In his defense, he splashed the cash on a high end CDR unit and burned me a copy of Mandrake which i still have and looks brand new. Good old Samsung CDR, don't make em like they used to (cranky kong). Wave walking stick.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 17, 2018 at 12:39 PM ---
    WindowsCE isn't a wasteland. It's my primary lab and looking around, people are still developing libraries for it or porting stuff.

    If you want my honest opinion, it reminds me of the TV show Breaking Bad. Code examples in EVC date back to Atari development, and it probably isn't a metaphor since many of the staff were drug addict bikers; Nolan claims they were potheads rather than methheads, and from what I gather these guys are currently sitting around Warners Bros tech department tuning Harleys in a half zoned uberzen state. Atari version of a retirement home?

    The Jornada is like inheriting a superhog, and the devkit some sort of old haunted Golf club for 'gents' that like leather and spreadsheets. It comes with Ad&d trolling since documentation for basic things like win32 sound streaming is gone or looted. So in other words it means targetting the handheld via asm directly, like a proper Breaking Bad dude. However, the mini windows structure is quite good and mostly what I might have made in an earlier era. It has cobwebs and creaky wood but worthwhile.

    Major issue is code dependancy on Windows XP and EVC, which is like some sort of reboot of Halflife2 in which everyone is a Zombie, and you need to get back to Klieners lab via Ravenholm, and DNA scan pass uses his own dead skeleton via dusty rattling auto checkpoint machines.

    Yeah well thats also known as a conceit. Or wasting people's time on gameplay that should be optional. I get the tutorial methods and such, but how about working documentation. So like, random industrial cranes don't accidentally fall over and crush ships. Or traffic lights don't explode and embed plastic chunks in a lollipop ladies head?

    The EVC documentation hints they made such mistakes. Factory somewhere... People horrible maimed... Legal nightmare. Or more Ravenhome gameplay to get you thinking?

    Yeah well GCC is just as bad these days. 600 strong matrix of worthless compile options that don't build anything ever without the secret password recipe of doom. It goes on forever. And holy wow... I've seen Ubuntu distros whereby GCC didn't self make properly and segfaults everything ever within a 100mile radius.
     
  8. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    Yep, all the rugged handheld barcode scanners we have at my workplace are WinCE (Well, more specifically Windows Mobile 5/6). I think it's pretty handy, because I can use dotNET, connect directly to the SQL server, share some of the main platform's codebase

    To be honest, I would very much like a 4G WM6 phone. dotNet is my primary development platform. I have tried numerous times to get an Android development toolkit sorted. Android Studio seems to have turned into a bit of a mess. Visual Studio 2015 installed the Android SDK into C:\Program Files\ - yet when using Android Studio it says the SDK can't be stored in a path that contains a space! Plus I could never seem to work out how to design a UI in any of the Android dev tools.

    Although crazy thinking... I forgot about the Lumias... Though I think you needed Windows 10 to develop for them. I can't remember now. This might be my new phone answer
     
  9. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Looks like they're moving along :)

    They replied to my distributors request and asked how many I plan to buy :)

    So... is it worth it? :)
     
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  10. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

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    Yeah so the problem with the standard code metropolis from Microsoft, is that it will at some point when you're good enough squeeze your hand in psycotic fashion and give you a choice; stay with me forever, or get lost and never come back.

    At the time Linux got popmusic MS were already nicknamed The Borg, and you never leave once they have you. But then 20 years later, like you say, stuff like Android Studio is a fruitloop and has a deathwish attitude towards devs.

    Microsoft will keep doing the same thing only slightly better, so expect at some point in old age while nursing a bad back... that one single instruction or function or design feature you eventually needed to complete your project doesn't exist, isn't possible or was 'accidentally' screwed up enough your Microsoft api work of wonderment is total worthless garbage.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 17, 2018 at 1:48 PM, Original Post Date: May 17, 2018 at 1:38 PM ---
    I would say if Psion 5mx interest is there, and it isn't being remade due to Psion factories not existing anymore, then you have a fair amount of customers for the Gemini. But I would expect a supplier to try and spam the market by selling more than there would be customers for. Perhaps test their intentions by going for smaller 'see how it goes' batches, with promises of larger orders dependant on sales. That's what I would do anyway.
     
  11. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    I guess that's kind of true... I moved my main desktop to Linux maybe a year or two ago. It now runs Windows 7 again. Primarily because of Steam access (most of my games don't have Linux versions), and with using dotNET at work, most development I do at home is also in dotNET... so Visual Studio it is.

    Yep, that has quite a lot of benefits... Sometimes they do take a few steps back though... but so does everyone else

    Nothing lasts forever. How much do you think Android has changed since it came out?
    Hell, I tried to compile my virtual keyboard C library on my raspberry pi, and it told me that some uinput stuct didn't exist. It was at the bottom of uinput.h like this:
    Code:
    struct uinput_dev
    {
    };
    
    Now most other times I've tried to use structs in C, I've defined them like this:
    Code:
    typedef struct
    {
    } uinput_dev;
    
    Sure enough, I copied the .h locally to the project, made that change, and it compiled. I don't understand why I had to change it, because being part of the distro, surely anything else that's used it compiled ok, but the compiler I was using was also part of the distro, so it's not like I installed a random compiler to try and do something.
     
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  12. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

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    Yeah they both do similar stuff. Xwin code from the 90's doesn't compile or run anymore due to changes, and Dos code from that time isn't runnable on Windows.

    Alternatively you could compile Dos code into DLL and make a Unix type system of libraries. Or have a continuous windowing API on Linux that still works.

    Or just make DirectX an open standard on everything. Then Win games would all work.

    Probably why we use emulators, and of all the contigents interested in this Pandora is the main hub for emu peeps.

    I was writing some stuff which at one level lower than a Java runtime is roughly 6 Amiga/Megadrive cores running as a coop kernel. Linux uses two from what I gather, and a psuedo third for network stack. So we're doubling up like going to 32bit. And it isn't slow like a literal emu due to recompilation of bios level function libraries. Now the flaw of this in comparison to other people's stuff is that like Pyra it takes decades maybe to do this the honest Joe way with no shortcuts. Workbench in 2-3 years of dev, WinXP in 10, UbuntuXP mashup in 15. But then the big flaw of a single main OS is... what if you engineered it wrong from the bottom layer? Start again... more decades.
     
  13. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Yes, but not for the reasons reviewers review devices for.

    This is obviously a niche device. For those who 'get it', it makes a pretty solid messaging platform. I don't think I would want to write a novel on it, but for typing out things longer than what is comfortable on an on-screen keyboard, it's great.

    Overall build quality on my unit is excellent. I was in the 2nd batch of production units (I have the X27 SoC).

    The phone has an open-source bootloader. Planet has released OS image load/unload utilities for Win10 and Linux. There are 3 OS versions working.
    • Android (cursed by GA, but usable). 7.1 with 8.X promised.
    • Debian (Booting, but much of the rest is work in progress)
    • Sailfish (seen in demos, currently unavailable to the masses, release scheduled for this fall, may not be sold to US customers, looks cool as hell, blends Linux as the OS base with Android hardware drivers with ability to get applications from Google Play, might be something to consider for the Pyra someday)
    • Others mentioned but I haven't seen proof of life.
    The Linux build is in flight. There are a few discussions over on OESF about it. I haven't tried it yet - I have a work application that I have to run on Android, so for the moment I'm a bit stuck. I can't justify experimenting with the OS on what is, for me, a production device.

    There are some Android software issues that still need to be sorted out. They appear to be software, though, so theoretically fixable.
    • Lid switch (F11/F12) power saving settings appear to be overly aggressive. Music playing when the lid closes continues to play, but wired headphone remotes stop working. On a device with no volume buttons (lid closed in-poscket), that is quite annoying.
    • Keyboard has PgUp, PgDn, Home, End on the Fn layer of the arrow keys. Under Android the Fn layer for these keys isn't working.
    • Google Assistant has ... overly aggressive accessibility? If opened, on purpose or accidentally, it takes over long press of the Android home button, the Gemini side-button AND the middle button press on wired headphone remotes (play/pause/next/prev gone). It then pops up nearly every time the Gemini is used, wanting to be trained and offer suggestions on how to use it. GA is not uninstallable, etc. The only way to get it out of the way is to quasi-disable it deep in the GA menus. I actually don't mind the GA concept, but I would like to be able to have it on my own terms. Maybe be able to toggle it on/off using Fn+G.
    • The Android home screen has a non-removable non-resizable 1x5 icon Google assistant mic activation bar too. There is room for 25 icons on that screen and GA took 5 of them - for a long bubble Google icon - that is 3 icons of blank white - at the top edge of the screen - that does not take text input - which is a TON of real estate for functionality that could very well have been done in a 1x1.
    There is a hardware side WTF? Not insurmountable, but really - what were they thinking?
    • Two USB C ports (good)
    • Right USB C is somehow 'lesser'.
    • Right USB C cannot charge the device.
    • Right USB C an only have ONE device connected - cannot split on a hub.
    • Right USB C is the only one of the two that the Planet USB C to HDMI adapter can use.
    • Left USB C can charge the system. Included charger steps up 5V=2A, 7V=1.67A, 9V=1.67A, 12V=1.25A. Charges FAST.
    • Left USB C can take a hub. Planet computers makes a hub with two USB 3 type A ports, an Ethernet port and a USB C power-to-hub port (good).
    • Left USB C cannot charge the unit while the hub is connected. The power-to-hub only powers the devices on the hub, not the Gemini.
    So, is it worth it? For me? Yes. Knowing that I have a current-ish Android phone-device that can never be manufacturer/carrier obsoleted by lack of updates - that alone makes it worth it for me. I get to decide when my hardware retires.
     
  14. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

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    So you're telling me they hacked the hdmi port into a second almost fully functional USB port without using anymore power than normal by rewriting the driver for hybrid use?

    I knew those Psion guys were smart.
     
  15. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Sort of. The USB C to HDMI dongle/adapter is specific to only the right port on the Gemini - and no generic adapter will do it.
     
  16. ArchiMark

    ArchiMark Silicon Valley Digerati & Pretty Nice Guy

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    As noted in my other recent posts, I have installed the Debian image and done some post-install tweaks.

    System works very well now.

    Only thing I have not done/tried is to use phone function, as I am not using the Gemini as a phone.

    Per the GemianTP webpage, a new image should be available soon, which will not need most, if not all, of the post install tweaks.

    So, if you like Debian, you can use it now.

    Android, rooted or non-rooted is available too. I have left the non-rooted Android on my Gemini, but don't use it.

    HTH,

    Mark
     
  17. ashdjones

    ashdjones o_O

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    I read between the lines of what you said, and you're probably right.

    The neural net for assistive technologies which is normally Google spyware, routed back onto itself and fed power optimisation data via a code injection bus.

    Brilliant. And you figured it all out too.
     
  18. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    Isn't this on all Android devices? I remember the last few devices I had always had them, and the only way to get around it was to install a new launcher like ADWLauncher or Nova Launcher
     
  19. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    On a portrait 'small phone' it isn't nearly as obnoxious. If your icon grid is 4 on top and 5 tall then it takes up fewer spots. On a landscape display, though - it's far more obnoxious.

    Also, in older versions of Android that big bar was used for entering search terms on the device home page (useful to have it wide). Now the whole thing is effectively a big button to another application (pointless to have it wide).

    I'm 'feeling the pressure' from Google to use Google Assistant. If I turn on GA, it takes away functionality that I want more (headphone music playback controls). I have games purchased years ago that now will not run without a Google Gamer ID. Getting a Google Gamer ID automatically turns on Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts getting automagically turned on results in getting inundated with spam friend requests from people I don't want to know.

    Dear Google, I know you're listening. Please stop forcing products on me? Just because I use one of your products or services does not mean that I want you to automatically turn on and opt me into all of the rest of your products or services. I know you would like to show off your new products like Google Assitant, but by pushing them in such a way that they override other existing functionality, it makes me instantly dislike them before I even give them a chance. Auto-opt-in for Google Hangouts under my real name due to creation of an anonymous gamer ID is overbearing and evil. Google Assistant overriding headphone center/only button controls over call answer/hangup/play/pause/next/last is overbearing and evil. Automatically creating accounts and opting people into publicly viewable things then hiding anything resembling opt-out isn't cool. Forcing software applications for social media and live microphone applications onto peoples devices without permission isn't cool. The difference is pretty straight forward. Good = Ask permission first. Evil = Auto install then hide the opt out.
     
  20. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    Wow, that sounds awful. Even more of a reason for me to find a phone without Android :)
     

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