Gemini PDA first impressions

I loved the Psion range of PDAs back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, for a while I had a Revo which was perfect for keeping a calendar and such on-the-go, but it eventually broke down and was replaced by smartphones.

My first smartphone was the Sony Ericsson P800; the OS was Symbian, the successor to the EPOC OS of the Psions, but now with just a touch screen and no keyboard. The follow-up units in the P series all had keyboards, and so did my first Android phone, Sony Ericsson’s X10 Mini Pro. But after that it has been touchscreen only. Nice for watching movies and reading web sites, but a nightmare to write longer texts, like this, on.

Enter the Gemini. Launched as a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo in February of 2017, I fell in love with the idea immediately. With the same form factor as the Psion 5mx, with an almost-full keyboard just large enough to type on with more than two fingers, and designed by ex-Psion folks, it looked like the device I had been missing since the Revo died.

Sometimes a laptop is just too big, and the netbooks from a few years ago were simply just too cheaply done, but this form factor is just perfect for typing on the go, like onboard a bus like I am just now.

I got my device earlier this week, and already it has replaced my laptop on several occasions. There is room for improvements, sure, the keyboard is not quite perfect yet and Android might not be the best fit. I have not had time to install the Linux dualboot image just yet, but I expect to spend most time there, as long as the 4G data works there.

All in all, I am very happy with the device. I backed it immediately after reading about it in The Register, as number 10. There are now over 5000 backers, so there seems to be a market for a device that has been missing from the market for 15 years.

Fixing battery drain on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3

I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that I am quite happy with. I have had it for a couple of years now and have no plans of switching to a newer one in a while. Recently, it has started acting up and draining the battery very rapidly. I thought the upgrade to Lollipop (Android 5) would fix that, but it just made it worse. After trying out quite a few things I started researching it and found that an app called “Unified Daemon(EUR)” was using up both a lot of battery power and network bandwidth.

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Searching for more information on the ‘net, I came up with forum thread describing this very issue. Apparently, the app purpose is to update the weather forecast, news and stock tickers. I don’t really use any of them, although I did have a weather symbol on the S Cover screen, so how it could end up downloading hundreds of megabytes of data I have no idea, something must be very wrong with it.

To test out if it was indeed the culprit, I went into the settings and disabled the daemon in the App Manager yesterday. And, indeed, today battery usage was down to normal again, and when I came back from work I had 50 % battery life left despite having placed a couple of phone calls, played some games and browsed some web sites. Had I tried that yesterday the battery would either have been empty long before, or I would have had to recharge it during the day.