Fairphone and Huawei: Ky's big phone book

A phone-book is a big outdated all-encompassing way to contact people. It was also a bit of a privacy nightmare. Since smartphones are primarily a video-consumption device category, it feels appropriate that this material heavily relies on videos.

“Let me call my buddy, who’s an expert in…”

Welcome to my phone review. All of them.

Sensational !

~“Cosmorom enters your life”

The oldest story is that phone signal was only in cities and near highways, so many people didn’t see much point in getting a GSM GSM :musical_note: phone, outdoors-people of the day were getting proper satellite phones for rescue calls.

Motorola d460 (199x?)

“My” first phone was a brick with retractable antenna that I sort of made work with a 9 volt battery. It didn’t use SIM cards, but credit-card-sized payphone cartelas. It was retired because the charging dock shattered as if it was hit with a brick repeatedly. I had a couple calls-only Alcatel black and white bricks after that, the only thing of note was that Orange really wanted us to pay the phones upfront, even with a contract, because people in our area kept getting contracts and not paying them :man_shrugging:

~ Norihiro Haruta, Dincolo de 2000 Bucharest

Months before the iPhone

There were many clever phones hanging around, I remember being impressed by a SAGEM that could run PowerPoint on windows mobile, but they had awkward controls, or they used IrDA to transfer files, and were generally bulky and smart or tiny and black&white “just for calls” (Siemens).

Nokia 2630 (2007)


Nokia phones were always special, even in the brick days they had a 3D game, or a flashlight. We had a Motorola flip phone with a camera in the house, but the 2630 felt like the next generation. We got 3 of them, with loyalty points from the contracts. Impossibly thin, it maintained the “weapon” tradition by having the back panel be a razor blade. My first phone that felt “smart” with Bluetooth, sending and receiving games and MP3s, themes you could preview by just pointing at the file, and MMS. After years of WhatsApp and the issues we’re having with the transition to RCS, MMS might as well be magic. Not that we had much internet on those things, the “Web” button did nothing but cause panic at the thought of the phone bill back then.

LG KP260 (2009)

That big front speaker on the chin needed to be replaced. It had a proprietary 20 pin headphone port on the side, and a quirky NextNextInstallFinish way of installing .jar files, it couldn’t run them from storage. It bravely carried me through years of 50MB of internet a month (that technically was unlimited on the weekend, but after a couple megs of download it stopped unless you used a few paid megs too). So J2ME games were the most efficient hours/MB of entertainment available, outside of Wikipedia. It had Sudoku and Candy Cru Bejeweled out of the box. Waptrick and Luigykent on OperaMini/ UCBrowser days.

It had a gamer black&red interface that I had learned by heart to the point of switching to korean out of boredom. That served me well in the final months of this phone, the display wasn’t doing the displaying no more.

Samsung SGH-U600 (sidequest 2010)

Mom’s silky smooth slide phone. I couldn’t get a custom browser or much games on it, since most java games start by asking whether you’d like sound, and those capacitive option buttons didn’t register. Still, it was built like a jewel, with a beautiful hi-rez screen and animated wallpapers. It did include game demos, I remember a good-looking Asphalt racer and a Prince of Persia game based on the 2007 reboot, with buildings you could enter and a playable Elika that could fly. Note that auto-focus on the camera, as the next device on this list didn’t have that.

Samsung Wave Y (autumn 2011)

~I can’t believe it’s mine.

~That notification on the store icon never goes away btw.

“being comfortably close to Samsung feature phones may actually work in its favor.” And I still think dedicated Call&Hang-up buttons are a good idea on a phone. It was my first real smartphone, with no noticeable data cap and performant enough to watch youtube on. It was focused on easing the transition to the smart era, running their own in-house operating system named BadaOS, meaning water, and it lived up to that; this first iteration of TouchWiz was incredibly fluid next to the bloated launchers of the Android 2.2s of the day. Voice dictation, not-Swiftkey/Swype, handwriting, T9 Trace along the QWERTYs gave the writing flow, as the Twitter app was poking fun at how much it sucks typing your password on a phone. The voice assistant was as useless as ever, but at least it didn’t talk back. Real multi-tasking and a J2ME Java emulator completes the experience, even adding on-screen D-Pads for non-touch games.

~ Gotta love that skeuomorphic design

"A Menu key is the first thing experienced Android users are likely to miss. One thing directly resulting from this absence is the fact that all application-specific settings are packed together in the general settings. In the absence of Menu and Back buttons, the previous Bada edition relied heavily on on-screen soft keys. We like it how the new version pretty much gets rid of them. The swipe gestures in the phonebook and inbox are nothing new but they did well to keep them. " ~ Samsung Wave Y review: Young blood: User interface: Bada OS 2.0

Internet Device

Dolphin browser was always a slow mess, thankfully the “Samsung Apps” store included Opera Mini Touch.

"This is a continuation of the Jet browser, based on webkit, only its version is now 2.0 (the name of the browser is Dolfin). The differences from the same NetFront are striking: while maintaining the experience of working with that browser, they have added a number of unique features. For example, for the first time, it is possible to adjust the brightness of the screen backlight in the browser itself; you don’t need to go anywhere. This is a surprisingly nice thing for working outdoors. Flash support allows you to view all resources without any restrictions (at the moment the question is being decided whether Flash will remain or not, since it is precisely this that causes unstable operation of the browser). One of the first browsers to support a built-in ban on displaying banners. We tested this function on a number of resources, it works.
The browser supports an RSS client, you can download feeds. The history of viewed pages is supported in the form of thumbnails, the same for bookmarks. Zoom up to x10 with one finger. Formatting site content into one column. Filter by pictures, search for words on the page. Javascript, Flash support. A full-fledged browser that is as close as possible in convenience to that of the Apple iPhone. Fast and high quality. The device benefits from this."
~ Mobile-review.com Предварительный обзор Bada 2.0 (there’s even a video to see it in action there)

“Pixel Viewer can be briefly described as an application that opens files in MS Office format (for example, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Adobe Acrobat (PDF), graphic and video formats on the phone. The beauty of the technology is its speed: opening a 20 MB PDF file takes about a few seconds, then you can quickly scroll through the pages, scale them, rotate them as you please. No file editing - only viewing, but this is often enough, especially considering there is no need for additional file conversion for a mobile device.”

I watched lots of youtube on this bad boy, for the first year I kept to PC VideoTutorials and linux-y things and I recall The Wall Street Journal having an app that would let me watch live streams too. Cool guy stuff.

HD video playback is supported, but is it really necessary?

Social Hub

"All your accounts for mail, social services, IM are collected in one place. You don’t have to go to different apps to get an overview of all your activity. Everything is available from this menu and once you have selected the application, you open it. The idea is sound, but what pleases me much more is that even this menu is not particularly needed. In the phone book, all information is displayed instantly, and incoming messages become pop-up, and you can immediately respond to them on the screen, much the same as for SMS messages.

It’s probably worth focusing separately on applications for working with social networks, for example, Facebook. An excellent client that can do almost everything, there are no complaints about it, on par with the best examples on other platforms.

Twitter is so disappointing, the main complaint is that the friends’ feed is updated with 5-8 entries, which is extremely small. Saving traffic in this way is a crime against ergonomics. You have to constantly press the “refresh” button. There is also no option in the settings to specify how many tweets to show you. In your feed, you can click on a person’s name and view their profile or reply to them. Names in tweets do not appear as links, which is a shame. In general, the functionality of this client can be assessed as average, sometimes insufficient.

The IM client is quite good, it has Google Talk, AIM, and a couple of other solutions will be added (but not Skype or ICQ, at least not in the near future). In the phone book, an IM icon is indicated opposite the subscriber and you can start a conversation with him, if he is available. It’s exactly the same idea that you don’t need to go into the application. Although, if you want to see all your contacts in one place the old-fashioned way, you can open it." ~Mobile-review.com Предварительный обзор Bada 2.0

I remember classmates asking to log into Yahoo! Messenger with it. A time when the people around me didn’t treat technology as the enemy, even my dad was sending pictures. The design must have been better back then, now he gets angry at basic calling…
At the time, it was really cool how it integrated online services into the basic functions, accounts in the settings, even an early Shazam into the music player. The reviewers were lamenting how the development of the OS itself was slowing down, BadaOS being relegated to a cheapo budget Android leveraging webapps for more and more functions. Eventually the code was recycled for the follow-up to MeeGo, Tizen - Wikipedia , and in 2021 the mobile-cetric parts of the OS were stripped and moved to Google’s WearOS, leaving Tizen as a minimal WebApp renderer for smart TVs.

ChromeCast AllShare

Allshare . A utility built on the uPnP standard, when you can download files from other devices via Wi-Fi (streaming). For example, having installed a server program on my laptop, I streamed music, podcasts, and videos to my phone. Everything works well; this function is new for phones of the S8500 class, although it is well known from a number of Nokia products on the S60 platform.”

Free full games from Samsung Apps

Though looking into it, Turbofly looks like a bootleg from this:

By the end I was hitting it on tables to get the gyro to rotate. Looking back, this is what I imagine a “dumb phone” to be, physical media keys, dedicated call & hang-up buttons, a screen small enough that people don’t expect you to do work on it.


A gap of no new phones here. I did miss out on the custom ROMs CyanogenMod craze. I got a digital point&shoot camera around this time, a laptop and home internet in 2014. It’s sweet how back then “taking photos” was a hangout activity, just get together and make silly faces, maybe put them on a book of faces while at it too.

Huawei P8 lite (2015)

Nothing but praise for this one. I still keep it around the house for playing youtube. De-google’d/disabled in settings out of necessity, if I try to update all the Play store stuff today it slows down to a crawl.
Razor thin, metal edge, glass inserts, cheap enough that 3 of my clasmates had them. Got one for me and one for my mom too. It has 3.5 mm jack and 2 microSD card slots :heart: .
I love what they did with the interface, they added quality of life features like an “Ultra power saver” mode that let you pick a handful of apps that could still receive notifications, like WhatsApp, and disable every other process, even make the screen black&white. Distraction-free dumbphones, who’s that?
More creature comforts included:

  • quick screen recording
  • double-tap volume for instant photos
  • Kirin CPU designed in-house
  • simple access to the file system, it acted just like an USB drive when connected to a PC, no funny HiSuite needed.

It has Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop), upgradable to 6.0 (Marshmallow), EMUI 3.1. One downside was the laughable security, you could bypass any password unlock using that quick photo feature, and files were accessible to everyone in LAN if the phone was running a hotspot. Whoops. Coming out of depression feels like getting out of prison, so someone was teaching me how to use Instagram.
Playing around with it today, old-Android’s lack of permissions system hurts, Instagram was listening in and delivering targeted ads. Poetic justice for me, as I was at both ends of stalking. Take your privacy seriously, people.

Huawei Y6 (2018)

Just as thin as the other one, but with a camera bump and plastic all-around. I don’t like this one. Still, it played Youtube and Discord in split-screen and that’s all I really want from a phone.

P8 lite Y6 2017
Metal and glass chassis Golden plastic
Kirin 620 Snapdragon 425
720p screen 1080p screen
Android 5 EMUI 3 Android 8.0, EMUI 8

So they had a weaker CPU handle a bigger screen and more android stuff on the same amount of RAM. The settings were trimmed down, can’t even change the ringtone anymore. After an update, the files weren’t accessible from basic Windows file manager anymore, it required installing their HiSuite back-up tool to get files off the device. It’s not badly made or anything, it’s fast and easy to use, but I’m not sure for how much longer I can rely on the Huawei website to host the files for the older version needed for these older devices.

Mine always had a book-like protective case, so it still looks just-like new. I had it for the 2 years of contract, then it went to my mom and now to my dad. He was happily using a Nokia Asha 302 but, you know, mandatory banking apps my beloved.

Huawei nova 5T (late 2019)

After 2 years with Captain Slow and the couple of times my university expected me to write a CV on it, I went looking for the most bang-for-the-buck CPU out there. Octa-core Kirin 980 (7 nm). Maybe even get into that “mobile gaming” those whippersnappers keep talking about.
I found this phone under a different name and I was willing to install a lot of sketchy stuff to get Google Mobile Services on this baby, but the nice folks at Orange let me know that the Nova exists, with GMS, for $40 extra.
So here it is, the last Huawei phone ever released with Google services. It also included Huawei Mobile services, it had ads in the app store and it tried installing some games the second I opened it, so that was enough for me to never open it again. :man_shrugging:
Soon enough, I was reminded that Google services aren’t much more joyful, with ads in the Play Store, failures in syncing contacts and the slow & steady return of the pop-ups, I mean toasts, but they’re bringing proper pop-ups too.

So, about that CPU full of beans.

With great power comes great heat. So if I wanted to play graphics intensive- games, I had to lay on my back, holding the thing above me so it could dissipate the heat. Or I could… Sit on the computer chair, that was next to that bed. Could even use a controller.
Joke’s on me, soon after I got the phone the pandemic started, so no more CV’s on phones, and a lot more sitting on the computer chair.

Too many cameras, not enough ports

Wide, Ultrawide, 3D Depth, and Macro. The macro one is useless lol, it’s so myopic it can only shoot at under 4 cm distance in glorious 2 MP. The rest are good, I still grab it sometimes for quick landscape pics, or night time pics. Huawei does wonders with its software, and the camera interface and post-processing is really good, I think their latest release was holding up against the Pixels on DxOMark. It’s a proper modern phone, no SD card, no unlocking of the bootloader, no 3.5mm jack. The sd card bit stings, because now there’s no way to go around using HiSuite to get files from inside the device storage, besides sending via bluetooth I guess.

What was it about the software?

EMUI is clean and does black magic when it comes to battery life, all day long of Discord and YouTube on split-screen and I arrive home in the evening with 70% left. I like the split-screen features, the straight-up floating window manager, a customizable side panel with specific functions from apps, some “Super Device” integration and…well… most of the quality of life changes ended-up in mainline Android, so there’s not much point in mentioning here besides “Look, they had the smart island thingy before Apple woo”. It was used to display info about the current call, some posture warnings in China, and an optional plug-in to display battery level in a colored circle around the camera, making the pinhole even more obvious.

As good as it’s ever going to get.

After the sanctions, the software started to get worse, and the engineers left the company. With the updates, various elements of the OS got more pushy about Huawei online services, including cloud storage, music and video streaming, and facial recognition in the Photo gallery. The “Cloud” is the worst offender, the way it required permissions to location at all times was very suspicious. It didn’t get any better in the years since, only forcing more access to stay enabled. In hindsight, it’s probably how android handles third party “X Mobile services”, like how if you cut out network access to MicroG then nothing that relies on it has access anymore. I’ve seen the theory that it’s about cloud back-ups, since it has access to call logs but no microphone, but then it’s even more sus why are the toggles forced-on. The last security update introduced the Covid19 contact-tracing features, which thankfully we never had to use here.

I created a ChatGPT account with a @hotmail address, as a joke, my own little “I see what you all are doing”. No issues logging in on a PC. When I tried to log in on the phone I got an angry email on my google address. Did I mention that it ships with Microsoft SwiftKey ?

It was getting on my nerves, and Samsung these days has Mobile service suites from Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and whatever other sponsor they got that week (not unusual to see Facebook and Tiktok with no way to uninstall, just “disable”). I don’t want to use any of those, I live out of my little third party f-droid apps, so I started looking for something that could run a clean, de-googled ROM. Maybe there are less invasive ways to remove stuff, like ADB. I would have removed e v e r y t h i n g, I’m already using third party apps for everything, I wanted to go full de-googled. It was just easier to start with a clean slate and install things I knew I wanted. And I really really want the microSD.

Truth be told, locking the bootloader doesn’t add much security, there’s always paid gray-market services that generate unlock codes, even for Find My iPhones. Huawei flip-flopped, sometimes providing free codes, sometimes not, sometimes only for old devices, it killed interest in developing custom ROMs. There were OpenKirin initiatives, but they gave up due to all the flip-flopping. Huawei has custom-made Kirin CPU’s, you can’t just reuse code from lineageOS or whatever, they need new drivers written from scratch. As of right now, the “About” section includes a warning:

"Any modifications made to this device that are not expressly approved by Huawei Device Co. Ltd. as compliant may result in the withdrawal of the user’s authorization to operate the equipment."

~ “Well put together, Operator, now get out there and - cut down the - and make the Lotus proud.”

After all the updates, it identifies itself as a “HONOR 20” these days. Whatever the name, it’s my nicest phone so far, now serving in the facebook trenches for my mom.

~ A visitor to the launch of Huawei’s Honor 20 range of smartphones photographs the product at an event in London, Britain, May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Fairphone 4 (autumn 2023)

TLDR: it’s a $300 phone with a $650 price tag. I got mine like-new second hand for $174, I’ve seen the 6GB model go for as low as $87.

It’s a brick solid enough to rival Nokia lol. I’ve seen that they made the 5 slimmer, but the 4 is a proper blunt weapon. I never cared about the race for thinness, but this is a bit much, I dropped it a lot.
It didn’t break yet, so i won’t say I “repaired it”, but it’s a cool party trick to take it apart with nothing but a pointy fingernail. People compare it to a desktop PC when they see me pulling out the microSD from inside its guts. (No hot-swapping, it sits behind the battery)
You can take out everything they list as parts on their website, usb ports, camera lens… The 5 is better in this regard, the 4 has a big black box module near the top because the early 5G modules were big and surrounded the camera entirely.
Performance is pffine, it’s a bit slower than my previous Huawei Nova 5t. The only thing I noticed being slower is Instagram videos sometimes play the first second twice. Gotta have the microSD slot, dearly missed on the nova, and the unlocked bootloader. I completely missed out on the cyanogenMod/Jailbreak trend, and wanted to play around with custom roms (and have an easier time installing pirated games. It’s a bit awkward because google is taking a half-measures to limit access to the appdata. Like, you can’t copy to /obb/ or whatever it’s called, but you can create the folder inside of it and copy there.).
People were clowning on the FP 4 for having a pretty bad camera, Fairphone overcompensated and got a Sony camera for the 5. Then people found out that the magic was in the Pixel’s and Samsung’s custom camera app post-processing. Recently, FP4 received a major update to its camera app. It’s pfffine, but if there’s a night photo or a cool landscape, I grab my old Huawei Nova 5t. The FOV seems too big, a dog so close I could step on him looks like it’s on the far end of the street, really making me wish for a zoom lens like on those flagships.

More on the lack of 3.5 jack (expand)

I’ve looked at the schematics. (FP provides schematics!) So, the analog audio out pin is somewhere near the cameras. They’d have to route the wire all the way to the bottom, between like, 7 antennae and that causes interference. Also, the modular design has those contact pads where all the connections come together to pass through to the next module, more interference and if the contacts get the smallest bit of corrosion you can’t clean them because they’re so tiny. This doesn’t justify the lack of a 3.5mm port, it just explains why it used to be on the top side of the devices.
I have the shortest possible dongle, it’s like a solid dice, so it doesn’t have a cable to twist and break in the pocket. Since the jack stays close to the phone, it sometimes buzzes from interference if I’m streaming on the phone. Good thing it has an SD card to keep the files local, but yeah, those annoying twisty dongles have a point in being so long.
I used to have the nova 5t with no jack, but it had USB-C headset in the box. When I wanted the jack, I got the cheapest $1 “just touch the pins” dumb adapter and it worked, because the Huawei had a secondary custom DAC chip near the bottom, to serve their own headphones.
By comparison, FP4 uses off-the-shelf chips, so their reasons apply to all the other normal phones that use normal chips, with the pin near the camera. That also means that FP and many of the normal phones are actually rather pretentious when it comes to what dongles they would accept, it has to have a dedicated DAC chip in the dongle, because the USB audio standard is an absolute mess. I recommend the “ddHifi TC35B” dongle. I ordered this thing from China, it was available here in RO, but so overpriced that I got a nice pair of headphones for the difference :sweat_smile:

Initially I wanted to run stock for a bit, to compare with roms, but I saw that google search accessed “precise location” the second I turned it on, so I nope’d out the battery.



There’s even proper “desktop linux” distros getting ported to FP, if you hate yourself enough. I run Murena’s /e/OS since it’s a noob friendly set of open source tools from f-droid and nextcloud sync stuff. Installing it was pretty easy, no trial and error. Well, there was one, they offer an easy NextNextInstallFinish installer, that one didn’t work for me, the “hard” method is installing Git for Windows and copy-pasting one line of “download script and auto-run it” in that terminal. One thing to note, unlocking the bootloader still involves going to Fairphone’s website and introducing the IMEI code, to get an unlock code in return.

Right to repair is getting murky.

The first fairphone was a bog standard budget thing, but they were working with the factories to get them to use fairtrade metals that actually pay and keep safe the miners.

Later, user repairable parts and long lasting products became FP’s “shtick”. The problem is, at one point they tried to release in-ear bluetooth headphones. Again, standard things, the idea was to establish factories and supply chains in Europe. No lithium mines in europe, so factories would be supplied by recycling plants, since FairPhone got very involved in recycling lately.

The fanbase got very angry at FP releasing regular disposable wireless ear buds at the same time as removing the 3.5mm jack. So the “Fairbuds” got discontinued. FP then released Fairbuds XL, all lego and repairable, even the internal connections used USB-C ports. And nobody cared anymore because… the internet is like that sometimes; there are other, modular, repairable, over-ear Bluetooth headphones; Fairbuds XL have cheap rubber that sweats and don’t sound that good anyway; they cost $300; pick your favourite reason. I can’t help but lament how the fanbase missed the point and affected the establishing of “strategic assets” like battery recycling and manufacturing in Europe. Still, the company isn’t entitled to their money, they made a product that nobody wanted and that’s that. Since then, they released Fairbuds :tm: No_Subtitle which are properly modular in-ears. (Gotta love reboots with the same name as the original). Eventually a “battery recovery and recycling center” started construction in North Macedonia, paired with a huge car battery plant planned in Romania. Great success! :+1:

Of course, this only applies to small companies staffed by people that can be bullied. The bigger fish are feeling a lot less confliction about OEM repair, from draconian data-harvesting terms for their technicians, confiscating third-party parts out of customer devices… The repair business started because OEM repair services suck and are overpriced, and technicians get rewarded with short monopolies when they figure out how to fix the new shiny thing. Skill issue, as it were.
Right to repair started in retaliation to the companies doing all they could to prevent tampering with the hardware. Relying on central servers, parts pairing, Apple AND ESPECIALLY SAMSUNG working to get customs to ban the import of spare parts on their behalf. It wasn’t a skill issue anymore, the few spare parts that were manufactured were practically banned from entering the US. (assemblies instead of parts that cost more than a new device, claims of risk of s.assault in the parking lot because of compromised security, lobbying etc etc this is a rabbit hole, the long and short of it is that honest customers get the brunt of the DRM and criminals can just call into apple servers to get stolen devices unlocked remotely. :pirate_flag: )

EU is mandating removable batteries now. As much as I like to see them bully Apple, I have seen replies along the line of “If the EU wants to get into the engineering of electronics, why aren’t they making their own?” and… I kinda agree. They already consolidated engineering&manufacturing with Airbus, and tried to do that for online services with Qwant (it’s french and no one uses it).

Maybe you would buy an Airbus phone, with the latest and greatest tech of the 1980s, but uhhh * inhales*

Of Apple, Signal and EU commission's Chat Control attempts to make encryption illegal. Again.


And while companies infringing on personal liberties and taking over customs deserves the bonk stick, I’ve seen mandates to manufacture in a certain way be argued as part of “right to repair”. Bullying Apple is funny, but it’s not protecting personal right to learn to fix stuff or buy spare parts and second hand devices. Apple was part of the frigging design board that invented USB-C in the first place! The mandate for USB-C has quirky results, like how the chargers with USB-A to C is the standard, when usbC-PowerDelivery could push up to 150W.
A while ago, I tried to buy a type C cable from a store. I kept staring at it, it was “charging only” with only 2 real pins and the rest were plastic. “What? You need a data cable or something?” and eventually they gave me a proper cable … that’s 20cm short. The first iPods used F-35’s FireWire because usb didn’t push enough electricity, now it’s weird to use usb for something other than charging.

The weird truth about the EU commission is that Europe has had a long standing tradition of sending the biggest idiots to the EU parliament to get rid of them from the national politics. That’s balanced out by everyone mostly ignoring them. After all these years, Europe finds herself in a world after the “Bruxelles effect”. People outside EU have to follow EU laws, while europeans ignore them lmao. As Ross found out the hard way, when push comes to shove the EU commission just points back to the laws of the individual nations, even for the €Euro currency itself.

Issues with increasingly fatter cats

~more dots

  • Simple and obvious issues, like
  • Complex:
    • A simple magnetic sleep sensor requiring reverse-engineered calibration boards in the name of “security”. Solved! " We beat Apple at their own game - let the unauthorized calibrations begin"
    • OEM repair programs that exist just as lipservice to the issue, to take legislative pressure off their backs “No need to take action, we solved it ourselves”.
    • Parts being available in limited quantities, or as overpriced “assembly bundles” that cost as much as a new device.
    • The fundamental lack of incentive for factories to produce a surplus of spare parts, in-between the fast upgrade cycle of smartphones and difficulties with distribution. The more they’d build the more they’d lose.
    • The recycling standards and internal conflicting incentives lead to employees stabbing TVs and Macbooks because sending them to be “recycled” is less effort and paperwork than the complex refurbishing process. Complex as in, the drives are soldered, and wiping is only permitted with one specific enterprise wiping tool, then another one to check the wipe…
  • Impossible:
    • Investments going into China used to go through the loicence-loving system of Hong Kong, and while getting parts directly from the factories was never easy, there were middlemen ensuring no funny business. HK was kinda sorta invaded in 2018, with the mainland companies handling the public relations themselves. Finding quality parts is as pleasant as finding good answers on Google Search.
    • entanglements with core national infrastructure providers and customs


  • Black cats: I don’t want to play armchair psychologist here, I’d say go watch Louis’s channel directly for the repair stuff, but he’s moving on. Got a job at FUTO, with a focus on open source hardware and changing the culture; to get more funding into the Open source ecosystem (post-open?) and generally help user-respecting software get over that “80% completed” hump into daily-driver status.

Edit: Louis just released a video covering ALL the repair stuff. Convenient.

What was that about the fighter jet?

~ Cool Japan Fund.
I kept pushing back writing this because of “the hard part”. It seems like business philosophy and ethics is the only thing I write about in here, and truth be told, my only real-world experience is with shutting down businesses. Back in middle school, part of mandatory reading is “Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent”; a book about a student writing a sincere journal about high-school experience, something the world has never seen before, with the big twist at the end being that his writings were bog-standard with plenty of already published books covering his ideas point for point. While this has caused an existential crisis for a romanian author 100 years ago, I only feel joy that someone else did the hardest part of my script, covering a subject that had 100 years of experience doing it by the time the People’s Republic was being founded.

Today’s big reveal is that Huawei was founded by the Chinese ministry of Defense. All the nuance derived from state policy working with private enterprises to turn a starved grass-roots art-form into a global re-humanizing phenomenon was covered beautifully by Moony. Gotta love how the bastion of capitalism in Asia was… a state-planned economy. History is fun! (for nerds)

Watch anime without becoming and otaku, play games without becoming a gamer, for gamers could never boycott a good game. It’s a nice conclusion, but it gets more complicated in tech, as core infrastructure providers get involved.
Big tech companies used to let the state foot the bill for research and then keep the profits from increased efficiency in manufacturing. That flavour of never-has-been free market feels downright nostalgic compared to today’s use of public funds to build cloud infrastructure and charge for rent, it’s less good ol’ capitalism and more Cloud feudalism, but the sins of the platform holders are a video about a book for another day. I mean, it does get into Chinese megacorps and the planned aspects of cold war capitalism too…
I want to point to military electric bikes, they are what technology felt like in the 2000s, no-compromise upgrade on all aspects. Faster, quieter, lighter, and they do have small quick-release batteries, so refueling is even faster than an internal combustion engine. They simplify the supply chain too. But today I’m writing about old phones, not army planes, because they also get the brunt of right2repair issues and Microsoft Copilot.

~This was supposed to be an auto-playing GIF but I’m having issues with the embeds so be kind and click it, I can’t pick a thumbnail yet.

Now, here’s what I learned about a good phone.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

  • Qtek 1010
  • HTC Wallaby
  • O2 “X” convergence of voice and data

AKA the XDA of XDA Developers


Diary of yadda yadda, here’s people that were at the forefront of mobile computing doing a retrospective and interviews on things I could only read about.

Some power users would look down on users chasing convenience, but even back then, the mods were primarily improving performance on slow devices and adding functionality. Do not insult the audience. That’s rule number one. In a few more words, “we won’t win if we bicker among each other about “the correct brand” for cheap dopamine hits. Profit-chasing user-hostile design will come to your favorite brand too,” it’s simply not economically viable to serve only the enthusiasts, the company might even be liable to shareholders if they knowingly leave profits on the table.

Back then, even Samsung was working directly with the modders to bring features to the market. Carl Pei spearheaded the release of the first device running a CyanogenOS out of the box, Oppo N1 (it also introduced a flipping rotating main camera). This led to Cyanogen Inc. becoming a gathering of everyone with a vested interest in making Google have less control over Android and avoiding the mistakes of Windows Mobile.
That venture capital strategy of “get as many users as possible now, we’ll figure out the monetization later (they never do)” is a recurring theme in the story of CyanogenMod too. But that’s not what killed it. Quite a few companies made their fame by shipping powerful specs and lightweight ROMs.

Xiaomi also got their fame with a custom ROM and unlocked devices and sure enough, they still ship unlocked. As does Oppo and Vivo. I wonder what do these have in common.

There is no BBK in Ba Sing Se

  • :arrow_right_hook: quite an uplifting video actually, it’s nice seeing anyone treating employees well for a change.

Da’ Șaomi când mai testezi?

40 cool and ridiculous facts:

The video points out how popular they are in Eastern Europe. Dan Cadar of Zona IT got so many requests to test Xiaomi, the phrase " Da’ Xiaomi când mai testezi?" (“when’s the next Xiaomi testing?”) became a catch phrase to start off the videos. “When’s the next one? Well, right now!”

Xiaomi still keeps their community focus. I’ve never had one, but my friends treat them like Windows laptops, “good specs for the money, re-install/debloat when you get home”. I do have one of their fitness bands. Mi Smart Band 6 NFC - Xiaomi Global Official

I enjoy how they advertise the SpO₂ oxygen in blood tracking, since Apple isn’t allowed to do that anymore due to a breach of patents. As for de-bloating a bracelet, they took their time and looked at how people actually use their smartwatches, and they made a bare-minimum device with 25MB of RAM that relies on being paired with a phone for most functions besides the fitness tracking. Currently going on the second-hand market for under $10. That also means it’s too dumb to do anything without user consent, and everything goes through the phone App. So, I want to showcase Gatgetbridge, a lightweight FOSS privacy-respecting way to use Bluetooth gadgets like True-wireless headphones and wearables. It even allows me to hide buttons for functions I don’t use from the band’s interface.

Shout-out to Rob, The Quantified Scientist for doing long term testing of the biological data readings. (it’s a playlist because I couldn’t decide between the older videos that show the pro medical equipment and explain the basics of what he tests, and the newer videos that are overall better videos)

I never got the point of a “powerful” smartwatch with a SIM card that can do everything, if people are still keeping them paired to their phones. Mental Outlaw brought up the point of leaving the phone behind, that they’re good for children, since the watches provide all of the useful (maps, messaging, phone calls, location services, payments) without any of the interesting (pick your favorite combination of issues with the modern internet, the mobile ecosystem and sys-admining the security of a point-of-sale system).

  • TheMysteriousMrEnter did a similar no-web challenge, for a month, focused on local files rather than grass-touching. Here’s an off-brand Liminal-Musing about it :studio_microphone: Chronically Online - Mr.Enter
    • I like the bit about YouTube providing all the tools to know how doomed you are without any guidance on what to do about it or at least how to cope with it. I’ve always been pretty good at balancing my online consumption to avoid actual traumatic imagery. Do people struggle with this doom-scrolling stuff? Still, I relate to that “chasing random buzzes for days on end, that definitely won’t matter in a week from now”, I do that a lot. I didn’t include a section on the sins of Facebook or anything, but seems like a good moment to shout-out his documentary, Technocracy (All Parts Together) - YouTube

I’m not an Apple hater, although perhaps I should be. I’ve never owned anything from them, my only experience with an iPhone is that one time my uncle got a dash cam. The Camera’s App only allows looking at the recordings while tethered to the camera, so he wanted me to download the files to his phone. The file downloaded, but didn’t show up anywhere, not in the Photo gallery nor anywhere else. iOS file manager my beloved.
Here’s the user manual, if you want to take a look at LuckyCam or the “professional player installed firstly”

“Do not use the thrill chemical substance. Please protect the environment, don’t discard this machine
randomly; do not throw this machine into fire, otherwise will have an explosion.”


"After the installation is completed, if you want “LuckyCam” access to cell phone photos, please click “OK” (Note: you must select “OK”, otherwise you can not preview the pictures download by APP )"

waitwhat. I didn’t see that note back then. I guess the guy refused the prompt before I got to it. oof :face_with_head_bandage:

I’ve always found the iPhone itself to be their most exhausting Apple product to talk about. Whatever, not for me, move on. Now everyone and their cat has a hot take related to the USB-C mandate, as if the MacBooks and iPads didn’t have them for years now. And the least said about the eSIM situation the better, “we just couldn’t possibly fit one in, there was no space” as the international models continued to have them, where the US variants had a piece of wood.

Besides that, I like the iPods, the way iTunes went DRM-free, the iPad is the only tablet worth mentioning (besides the full-fat x86 computers), and I have to assume their dedicated enterprise Xservers were better than trying to shoehorn iPhones and iCloud everywhere. They were pretty at least.

Back in the day, they used their mega-corpo powers for good, sometimes, like their Graphical User Interface research addressed at normal non-computer savvy people (even for the server software); I can’t even imagine how that process goes. Or their fights on the side of user privacy.

The M1 Macs seem cool, and I’ve seen quite a few x86 translation layers so it won’t break compatibility. MS is just now starting to ship developer kits for their ARM efforts. Gaming! :tv: (by the time I posted this, the Vivobook S15 got released. It’s still terrible for gaming)

Mac Address laments how the VisionPro is limited by its iPadOs, while I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me iOS the way fpt. explained the Vision Pro.

Apple AirPort routers brought Wi-Fi to the masses, and brought a convenient solution for schools that didn’t have the budget to start drilling holes in walls to route cables everywhere. I still think a well-integrated all-in-one router and Time Capsule for back-ups is a good idea. Anything to avoid opening ports and router troubleshooting.

All this talk of network infrastructure, I can’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer.

~Source: Lucian Prună https://www.instagram.com/p/C8pBDyCNCoE/

One point of pride for romanians is the wired internet, taking the 5th place in the world behind city-states like Monaco or Hong Kong. What they won’t tell you is that world-class speed was available in a few top-tier cities, with the rest of the country enjoying a non-statistics affecting speed of N/A. Even back in 2014, the best I had at home was 300kbps down/75kbps up through the pictured Huawei router, via Romtelecom. State-owned until '98, monopoly by law until 2003. Greece’s OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation) took over Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and Macedonia (FYROM at the time)'s national telcos and kept bleeding money and delivering less-than-bare minimum until 2009 when Deutsche Telekom put them out of their misery.

Secret Nokia contract

Latest on Nokia's Jucu factory closure: Contract still secret / Nokia chief dismisses rumors on Moldova plant / Economic effects - HotNews.ro

The stake of the Nokia business in Jucu revolves around assistance provided by the Romanian state to the Finnish company, as a HotNews.ro investigative report in 2007 revealed. Statements by the officials who backed the investment at the time – Cluj County Council head Marius Nicoara and then-PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu – showed that:

  • total investments amounted to over 30 million euro
  • Nokia promised investments of over 60 million euro
  • Nokia received from the Romanian state the right of free use of 160 ha of land in Jucu (90 hectares for Nokia, the rest for parts providers)
  • Nokia might buy the land if interested once 15% of the investment is done
  • The Romanian part covers infrastructure costs

Since then, the secrecy over the contract has determined the European Commission to launch an investigation on possible state assistance to Nokia. The investigation gave no result.

  • “But there are companies which want to come to Romania: Huawei, Dell, ZTE. Those I have met, all want to expand their business to Romania, to open development centers,” Vreme went on.

As for WiFi, the ISPs were stating out loud that the wireless function is a “bonus” that came for free with the routers, and people should bring their own wireless gear. This, on top of our bunker-tier communist walls meant that WiFi was only available near the teacher’s lounge at school.
I still have hang-ups when it comes to networking settings, due to the years of “oh yeah that’s an easy fix, just change that in your router./ I cannot change anything in the router settings”.

So, pretty much everyone that was covered, picked the correct world-class provider, RCS-RDS, now simply Digi. In 2021, with everyone sitting at home complaining that their WiFi doesn’t cover the bathroom, Digi had a big campaign to bring WiFi 6 to the nation.

So, for $6.50/month you get an OG Xbox-looking TP-Link Archer AX1500, Gigabit down/ 450Mbps up speeds, a Huawei OptiXstar ONT and a free Mesh signal extender, with as many more as you want for an additional $0.64/mo a pop, to cover all your Ceaușist-era concrete walls. And previous subscribers had their previous ZTE devices replaced for free too. As for the meshes, the options are three names I’m sure you heard enough times in the news by now:

  • Huawei K562E
  • ZTE H3601
  • SR1041E - Wuhan FiberHome International Technologies Co., Ltd.

I didn’t mention ZTE in the smartphone section because all I really knew about them was a vague memory about a ZTE Blade ad on TV, the thinnest phone in the world at the time, before the bendy iPhone. Looking back, their success with the 4G equipment put them on the map, covering 70 percent of the countries that have invested in LTE, and had their eyes on the wifi and smartphone sectors in Romania since 2012. Looking into it, ZTE became the scapegoat for everything the americans didn’t like, I’m amazed they didn’t get banned sooner: ZTE Controversies - Wikipedia

Well, there is one thing ZTE got banned years ago…


" And there’s even this crazy thing that Stephanie says that not a lot of people know about that ended up probably being the death blow for the company.
Stephanie aka Cyanogen: You know, we were working on a project with a couple, with a large U.S. carrier partner and a large manufacturer in China. And it was going to be the “mod phone”, right? We hired industrial designers. The manufacturer built the first versions of it. It had this really cool industrial design, and we were bringing all these features to it. It was going to ship on a major carrier. We had all this stuff in place, and the worst thing happened. The manufacturer got hit with a trade embargo from the FTC, and that basically killed the whole project.
Can you imagine what would have happened if a Cyanogen branded phone got launched on a major US carrier? That would have been a very different path for the history of Android. Yeah. Wow. Very different, right? Yeah. And you can kind of speculate on who that major OEM might have been that got hit from this uh fine from the FTC, we think, we kind of deduced that was probably ZTE because at the time they got hit with this major major fine, something to do with giving a ton of money to Iran, okay, lots of u.s geopolitics going on in here um but it sucks right, Cyanogen Inc is just trying to make their phone… Yeah. So if you remember ZTE had launched this phone called the ZTE Axon M that was an AT&T exclusive, it was the one of the first like dual screen phones. It had a screen on each side and it would open up but it was just two separate screens it wasn’t like a foldable screen so like the Surface but it didn’t close in on itself, the outsides were screens and it would open like this and it was just flat on the back… So it’s an even worse surface. Anyway AT&T at the time was more open to launching more experimental devices like this. What, real quick, year-wise, what time period are we talking about now? This was early 2016 through mid-2016. So, yeah, they got hit with this trade embargo. They couldn’t do it.
And Stephanie has this quote that was… But that was ultimately the downfall. That’s what broke my soul, after we put so much effort into it you know, we had marketing, we had the device, it was built right, like it exists.
Which is rough because they’ve been going out trying to do their original thing of like selling the OS to everybody and that wasn’t working out, and Stephanie had been wanting to build her own hardware for so long, finally they’re like “we have to make money somehow, okay let’s build the phone” they go, they build the phone, they have everything ready, it’s ready to go and then ZTE messes everything up. Allegedly ZTE allegedly just in case allegedly ZTE. So things start getting really bad, they’re not making any money, investors are getting upset, they have a big first round of layoffs in july, then Kirk McMaster steps down as CEO…
Sorry, how many people were working for them at that point? I don’t have an exact answer but but at this point in time, they had raised almost $100 million in total. And they had two offices, one in Seattle and one in Palo Alto. And they were like, it was a flush organization. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So, so Kirk McMaster steps down as CEO and he sends this email announcing the first pivot of the company to a “modular OS”. Like they were going to try to license off little bits of the OS to people that needed it. Okay. Which seems strange I think he thought that like yeah like “if someone wants the cyanogen camera then we can sort of give them that” selling it for parts, always a great death rattle. So they tried to make that work but, no. The next month the Seattle office closes, next month Stephanie officially leaves after she gets removed from the board because she’s having fights with Kurt, she’s having fights with the rest of the board, it’s not great; and later that month in December the final build of Cyanogen OS is released. And then on December 24th, a blog post comes out called “A Fork in the Road”. This blog post was basically announcing the end and saying goodbye, saying that Cyanogen Mod as well could not go on because the brand was too destroyed at that point and also because other people now owned the Cyanogen brand. They couldn’t even do anything with it, which is so depressing. But the blog post said, “CyanogenMod has served the community well over its eight long years. It’s been our home, bringing together friends from all over the world to celebrate our joy of building and giving. It’s apt then that on this eve of a holiday, we pay our respects, we take pride in our Lineage, and we move forward and continue to build on its legacy”. So Cyanogen was dead. And with it, the ROMing community. Was the ramen ROMming community dead? This beautiful combination of people who are all bashing together and making something beautiful. Was this the fall of the Android ROM? It’s okay. I have the answer. Maybe. Maybe. And we’ll find out after the break.

  • :arrow_right_hook: The ZTE Axon M in action! He questions the company’s marketing blurb; who would watch two videos at the same time, or play a game on half the screen?
  • I do remember seeing the Yota’s on TV all the time back in the day
  • Zenfone: Name and shame, the latest of them released with an unlocked bootloader, and then they locked it back with an update.
  • LG G Flex: I remember seeing a lot of ads for this. Like, huge banners in the streets, it was this, GTA 5 and one for The Division 1, that’s still up to this day

Make the Lotus proud.

Most Chinese phone brands lament how americans don’t buy phones, they just get them with their contracts. Huawei didn’t seem to have any issues with that over here, all of mine were on contract (what is it, 5, 6 by now? christ…). They entered the market by targeting the counter-culture, the old BlackBerry and HTC users. This was back when YouTube was sending codes via snail mail to enable monetization, 10 or so years ago. The phones had either a good battery or a good camera. “That brand I can’t pronounce” had impossibly long battery life and a pretty good camera, as long as you ignore the odd skin tones. A few TV hosts complained about losing all the contacts on their Samsungs… and the spell was done.

For a bit of perspective on the sheer scale of it all, while Xiaomi copied some designs from Apple, Huawei recreated entire european cities for their tech campus, including a train service. Roll that Top things you didn’t know!

  • :arrow_right_hook: The CEO and his family use iPhones, to call back to that “play games, don’t be a gamer” thing
  • Samsung did that same “Moon mode” too


Huawei P40 lite

I got to play around with a post-sanctions device. So I had some relatives over, and I had to work on a “worst case scenario” Huawei P40lite, no google mobile services, somehow they got viruses on it, it was constantly opening up new browser windows to scam websites and a wallpaper-changer-thing filled with AI girls. I’m sure no banking data leaked from that… I remember that was one of their PR talk points, they got the banking apps and the usual “you must have them” money transfer, ride-sharing, WhatsApp, tram ride apps ported to AppGalery immediately after the sanctions.
I pulled the family pictures off it, then reset it. (It wanted the “google account” password to disable Find-my-phone, even though it was a Huawei cloud account window, classy.).

The main objective was to get Youtube Kids on this thing. There’s plenty of ways around for youtube proper, but not yt Kids. It definitely wasn’t me playing with sketchy Vanced apks that brought-in the viruses. I know for a fact I disabled third party sources after that, but oh well, it is what it is…
After the reset, I placed all the default huawei bloatware in a folder and then wasted a few hours trying out old ways to play with google services, microG, WebApps, Aurora Store…

all I managed to do was get disappointed at the state of mobile browsers. (expand)

Firefox-based ones were the only ones that gave me a functional yt kids webapp, via the “display desktop version of the site” option. The Chromium ones went back to the ad for downloading the app from the play store immediately. There is a weird “Privacy browser” on f-droid, based on the existing internal Android WebView, I want to love it so much but it got it into its head that the screen was super wide and only let me see half the page, but yt kids DID work. This is the moment I remind y’all that Mozilla discontinued webapps years ago, so I couldn’t use those either due to missing APIs and the permanent address bar and browser menus. Floorp is the only way to get proper WebApps on firefox right now.

I vaguely remembered seeing bigboi YouTube on the Huawei AppGallery.
Meet your new lord and savior, GBox. Long story short, Huawei, being a big megacorpo, it was able to pay a proper company in Singapore to copy GrapheneOS GMS sandboxing. Initially, GBox has a limited list of apps recommended in its menu, but one of them is literally the Play store, so you can install everything. With an adblocker.
Let me say it again. An annoying Huawei phone from years ago has THE SELLING POINT OF GrapheneOS. Google apps work perfectly. Including youtube kids and account management. As a free over-the air update, even to older devices.
Capitalism, Ho!

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately, and I can’t ignore how the “power user way” meant that something as “normal” as youtube Kids :tm: was an impossible task. Reminds me how in IT used to be very easy to calculate π pi, but impossible to determine if the picture contains a cat or a dog.

What even is YouTube kids?

It’s what it says on the tin. It has parental controls, and filters content by age groups. It recommends content in romanian (regular yt loves to push russian and vietnamese if it thinks kids are watching, for some reason). The kid in particular is very agitated and imitates everything. So, some filters were in order. I also like how it forces them to hold phones in wide screen instead of squinting at a little stamp at the top of the screen while browsing other recommends. I think children find the YouTube Kids :tm: app boring because they pester parents for their “real youtube” (they watch shorts and learn pranks to play on the relatives).

I have a bit of a soft spot for Huawei’s EMUI, and I wanted to play around with a modern one. I keep postponing doing stuff with my own phone, because everything boils down to “try out everything in sequence and see what works best”. Having an actual objective for once was nice. I still don’t know how they got viruses in the first place, but I disabled AppGallery* best I could, and told em to install stuff through GBOX’s play store. Installed Brave for a bit of adblocking, added its search widget to the home screen, lamented how normal people barely use a browser instead of apps for everything… None of this really mattered, the mom moved on to a Samsung A34, the huawei was meant to stay at home and become the kids toy, I guess.

* updates...

Normal updates to default system apps pushed packets in various languages, and after I installed all of them I kept being prompted for “screen recording and mic permissions” yeah nah I deleted most system apps that I could and blocked updates lol. But, a couple of I-agrees could get them pushed right back. The mentions of UnionPay in the settings weren’t encouraging, but Russia getting kicked out of that system after the Tucker Carlson interview was funny.

One more thing, we walked by the arcade at the mall, and the mom kept telling the kid it’s closed because “no videogames please, screens are evil and he gets enough youtube shorts at home” …? like, do videogames have that bad of a reputation out there still? I’m so disappointed Nintendo didn’t push harder with their “Labo” cardboard line, that could have really gotten through and convinced people like that.

~This was supposed to be an auto-playing GIF but I’m having issues with the embeds so be kind and click it, I can’t pick a thumbnail yet.

Super Device

The ecosystem integration cannot be understated, it’s the only one that went above and beyond Apple. Tapping the phone on the WiFi mesh to connect, no passwords needed, just NFC magic. Same with headphone pairing, audio quality, animations of your exact model and all. Quite a few tech journalists brought sound engineers and musicians for a blind test with Freebuds Pro, live on stream. No compromises for using them on iPhones either, as Apple TV was releasing here without the TV service…

Running android apps on PC is such a messy affair, between performance issues, outdated android versions and Google DRM, even with the best of efforts people seem to lose interest. I find it’s such a good idea to just in-home stream the apps/games from the phone to the PC, taking full advantage of that latest generation chip you already own. Instant easy drag and drop file transfers, shared clipboard, selecting from all the audio I/O available on the network… This was the idea with HarmonyOS, a minimalist OS to integrate devices around the users like they’re peripherals of the same computer.

~that portal animation when moving the mouse between devices :eyes:
He didn’t get that GBox update. What he also didn’t get is GDPR, as the chinese internet companies must keep user data in Ireland.

The US was exempted from that after 6 months

Biden signs executive order with new framework to protect data transfers between the U.S. and EU
“ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of American and European cross-border data flows(…) The executive order provides a new legal framework for trans-Atlantic data flows that are critical to the digital economy, the White House said.”

The last of the dragons

~ :red_gift_envelope: The committee would prefer it if you’d use the term “loong”.
Mega-corporations don’t have it easy is China. Rock-star CEO Jack Ma was disappeared when he got too big for the party’s liking, and Alibaba was anti-trusted into 6 companies. As for Huawei, it had to sell off HONOR to a distributor, and the Huawei phone division to the local government administration of Shenzhen in 2019.

The all-cash sale will include almost all assets including brand, research & development capabilities and supply chain management.
Main Honor distributor Digital China Group Co Ltd will become a top-two shareholder of sold-off entity Honor Terminal Co Ltd. Digital China group, which also partners Huawei in businesses such as cloud computing, plans to finance the bulk of the deal with bank loans, the two people said. It will be joined by at least three investment firms backed by the government of financial and technology hub Shenzhen, with each owning 10% to 15%, they said. ~ Exclusive: Huawei to sell phone unit for $15 billion to Shenzhen government, Digital China, others - sources

I guess that explains the increased pushiness of their online services.
After 14 years in Shenzhen, here’s a recap of Huawei’s less than honorable corporate espionage activities and the modus operandi of the state-private joint ventures; a princess is involved.

first time as drama, second time as farce.

The brand being heavily promoted by the iPhone loving CCP members would be enough to turn it cringe-worthy, but they did it at the worst time possible… As the latest iPhone was breaking sales records, P60 international was overheating due to their use of the old stock Snapdragon 888 4G chip, and the P 60 for China was an ad-ridden, always-on recording meme that would overheat if it didn’t freeze up so often. As the party was going on about 5G expertise, their flagship phone was being referred to as the “IQ tax” or “patriotic tax”.

The IQ Tax Research Center found through actual measurements that on the same sausage, the Apple Watch failed the test, while the Huawei Watch gave the result.

“Doesn’t this mean that the ham you bought is fresh?” Another netizen said: “It may be the pig that made the ham, and it can be rescued.”

Dayou from Hunan put his Huawei Watch3 Pro on a box of ibuprofen granules. The result was a heart rate of 100 and a blood oxygen level of 97%. In this regard, Da You said to Pan Ge: “The test data of this thing is simulated, right?”

Sanran from Liaoning used Huawei Watch GT3 Pro to test a roll of toilet paper and found that the heart rate of the toilet paper was 80 and the blood oxygen saturation was 99%.

The first thing said about businesses is to focus on solving issues, so they have to pay you even if they don’t like you. Tech in the 2000s was simple, bigger number better product. If it’s a convenient solution at the time, for an accessible price, I can’t really blame the consumer. It would feel weird bashing someone with a Huawei phone so soon after getting rid of mine.

~Look at me, talking smack about the company that keeps the lights on.

So, the nearest city is full of these solar inverters, folks get them for free from the national “Green House” program. Green as in green energy, not greenhouse effects, though the manufacturing on such large scale might contribute to that. Well, at least these solar inverters on every wall aren’t 5G equipment. Wait, 5G is supposed to have small antennas everywhere :eye: :lips: :eye: . Nah, after failing to achieve a service economy due to that CovidZero disaster, the party decided to go back to the ol’ reliable manufacturing. I guess having eyes everywhere is less useful nowadays, as nations of the world are cracking down on their clandestine police stations. Also they probably got their fill of seeing the world through balkan eyes lol:

~This was supposed to be an auto-playing GIF too.

I needed a reminder of the “vibes” of back then, the hope and excitement of tech, and this blog-post depicts it very well:

We aren’t quite at servers-on-a-hip yet, but fitting a full stack of wireless networking gear in a backpack is here, monitor, server, Splitgate and all. Batteries are included.

People of the past weren’t naïve either, for every “vibe” there was a “chill”. For a conclusion, I’ll have Mr. Enter talk about a phone game game that uses phones to make a point about the fears of my generation, before we were all pacified by convenience: (timestamp at 14:57 if the embed doesn’t work)

Did you know that people who are good at recognizing patterns might struggle with tasks that require active cognitive thinking and decision making? I want to link here some fancy study (here’s one: Scientists uncover a surprising conflict between important cognitive abilities) but truth be told I saw it on Instagram, Hashem Al-Ghaili has been doing this “science news as shorts on facebook and insta” for a long time.

So Tech Altar has an older video about european phone brands making a comeback, two of them are Fairphone and Blloc:

“Fairphone and Blloc are probably the best examples of the “niche brand” strategy, and the trick here is that unlike regional champions, these companies have a very unique niche product that has no direct competitors for now. Amsterdam-based Fairphone makes a phone that is modular, easy to repair and has as little negative impact on the environment and the people in their supply chain as possible. You know, as many conflict-free materials as possible, no child labor, you get the point.”

“Berlin-based Blloc has pretty standard hardware, but develops really unique software for it. In short, they have completely customized Android to make it as distraction-free and as non-addictive as possible. I like the idea behind both of these companies, they’re unique, and for now they don’t have very direct competitors. And a niche product is a high risk, high return strategy. It’s high risk because nobody knows if sustainable devices or distraction-free Android software is something that people actually want, and even if it is, it’s unclear whether these companies can actually build the stuff that they have envisioned. BllocOS is a cool concept and the team has made some great progress, but it’s still far from the universal solution that Blloc envisions for the future. That is still years of hard work away and success isn’t exactly guaranteed. In the same way, Fairphone has had unimpressive sales results in the last few years because they just couldn’t produce phones fast enough with their complicated manufacturing processes and supply chain. So these companies are highly risky, but of course the return is also pretty high because they don’t have a lot of direct competitors right now, which means that the prices they can charge are also pretty high.”

Here is the phone in action, space-food packaging and all:

“Now, all of this software is definitely still a work in progress. Many of the integrations are pretty buggy, there just aren’t enough integrations yet, and it’s unclear if Blloc can keep up with all the changes in the future. After all, Blloc is hacking these integrations into Android and into Android apps,so if those change the way they work, these integrations might just break. And if nothing else comes out of it, this phone will at least be a fantastic UI or UX design case study.”

Following along WVFRM’s Cyanogen video, the hosts go on to explain the reasons they stopped caring about ROMs around this time. After these years of experimentation, most performance improvements and notable features were rolled back into Android Open Source Project to benefit the entire ecosystem, and at the time, Google was so focused on making android better that they released the first Pixel with their name on it. And, two months later, Cyanogen Inc. went from being a big corpo with partners in China, India and about to enter the carrier-contract driven market of the US of A, to being very busy being dead and the community was picking up the open source pieces, which are all of them.
Even though Pixels come unlocked cough ahem, there was less to “get” out of ROMing, less enhancements to miss out on, with Huawei’s magic battery life on the market. Less push to be experimental. Side-loading, third party launchers exist too. This is why I wanted to showcase Blloc, it’s a good illustration of how most of their android modifications simply became part of AOSP, the tiles are the quick settings in the notification area, the advanced notification controls themselves, the quick media controls, the black & white filters, focus time etc.

They’re still around, making one of those aforementioned third-party launchers, Ratio, and their site looks impressive, having discovered :yellow_circle: yellow accents in the meantime.

See also: the NoPhone Air


AOSP reached a high-point around Android 8 Oreo, and many odd-ball devices run android internally these days.
Oculus Meta Quest 3,

"All of these things run on android open source project so if you could take something that was a better version of android, say LineageOS that had been significantly updated and had newer android features and it’s open source you could put it on your device… wouldn’t you do that instead of just using AOSP?"

Thing is, Google started to abandon many “phone” features of AOSP, perhaps because there’s so many of these things that aren’t phones out there. So here’s the situation: the only reason to buy a new phone nowadays is to get extended software/security support, and embedded devices especially want extended support. That’s the niche Lineage occupies these days, bringing into the present AOSP, with all the parts still stuck on whatever Android Oreo had in 2016, with Long Term Support, security patches, and maintaining on top of that a dialer, phone-book, messaging… hm.

I kind of want to know how many of the 1.5 million LineageOS devices are not smartphones? Are there refrigerators running lineage in people’s basements? Probably. That’s awesome.
I don’t think anyone, any companies have really come out and said “We are using LineageOS as our like, basal stuff”. Yeah, most of them you don’t need the latest Google Camera app, like Michele told us that his printer runs android. It’s running like android 8 but you don’t need like a camera and all this latest stuff."

Android’s slow creep towards being closed source continues on - open source elements deprecated

"Due to the slow erosion of functionality from AOSP, as well as the transfer of functionality from AOSP to closed-source Google applications and frameworks, we’re fast approaching a point where you can’t really state that AOSP is a full open source mobile operating system anymore.

Is a mobile operating system that can’t send messages or make phone calls really complete?"

RCS... 🤕 (expand)

I trust user comments so much more than the articles themselves it’s not even funny. It’s so validating that HTC was aware of how the smartest people were never the company employees as far back as the first XDA.
Apple is bringing RCS to the iPhone in iOS 18 - The Verge

Google’s version of RCS is non-standard, why would Apple implement Google’s non-compliant version of RCS? once encryption comes to the standard Apple will implement it, as they’ve said already.

Apple could easily call up Google and implement encryption between their two clients. Wonder why they won’t do that?

We’re talking about adding encryption here, not using “Google’s version” of RCS (which I guess means Jibe?). Google uses the Signal Protocol for encryption, which is an open standard.


Oh boy, here we go.

Google’s RCS uses Universal Profile, which is the standard. Anyone who uses Universal Profile, like Apple, will be able to talk to Google’s RCS on day one.

The RCS spec does not have encryption built-in. You say “once encryption comes to the standard” like it’s a certainty when it’s anything but - there are members of the GSMA that explicitly do NOT want E2EE built into the standard.

This is why the spec today says that encryption is up to the individual clients to implement, which is exactly what Google did. They built on top of RCS which is how it’s intended to be done.

Like I said in my previous comment, the encryption Google uses is the Signal Protocol. It is an open standard and not proprietary. Apple could easily work with Google to implement E2EE using the Signal Protocol across their two apps.

But Apple doesn’t want to do that because they SAY they want it added to the base spec - which like I said won’t happen. So Apple can say “well we tried” but still claim iMessage is a more secure messaging platform.


We will just have to wait and see what Apple does. They usually a good to their word, but not always.

I am looking at you, FaceTime being “Open Sourced” and then pulling back on that promise.


Google doesn’t offer RCS encryption worldwide, it’s on a country by country basis, it makes little sense to depend on an unrelated third-party for encryption, why would Apple tie themselves to that logic? Not every Android phone out there has access to Google’s services either, for example in China, the largest smartphone market in the world.

Then again, if the GSMA consortium doesn’t come around to requiring encryption at the standard level, how is that Apple’s fault exactly? blaming Apple for that makes very little sense.

I’d agree though that they failed the market when back tracking on opening up the iMessage / FaceTime protocol to allow third-parties to use it. They could be the Whatsapp of the world by now if they would have wanted to.

BTW, Google using the Signal Protocol has nothing to do with this discussion at all, that doesn’t make their implementation a standard on any level.


My comment was specifically replying to your points that Google is using a “non-standard” and “non-compliant” (???) version of RCS.

Google’s RCS uses Universal Profile, which is the standard. Google built on top of RCS to add E2EE into their client, which is how it is written in the standard. The encryption they use is the Signal Protocol, which is an open standard. Everything they’re doing is in line with standards.

I know Google doesn’t operate in China. Apple does, but let’s be real, they aren’t concerned with privacy in China in the first place because they give all of user iCloud data over to the Chinese government there anyway. Regarding your claim that Google doesn’t offer encryption everywhere, can you source something that shows they don’t use encryption in a region they operate Messages in?

And Apple said they don’t want to work with Google on adding E2EE between their two clients but want to rather work with the GSMA to add it into the spec. So if the GSMA doesn’t add it into the spec, then Apple failed and yes it’s their fault because they could have added E2EE into most of RCS by simply working with Google on adding it between their two clients.


It has been said before. And no one. Not one person outside the US uses iMessages. It’s Telegram, WhatsApp or Signal since many many years.


RCS could make Messages and iMessage much more viable in Europe. Now people actually might try using the default Messages app (again).


Glad you guys have to juggle multiple apps to text people. Seems like a better default messaging app on all phones is better for everyone?


The ‘or’ here is to be seen geographically more than anything else. In Europe, for example, WhatsApp is the one messaging service, it is more ubiquitous than iMessage in the US even.

And while I agree on your idea that a default messaging app on all phones is tempting, it’s also true that both iMessage and WhatsApp are awful apps UI-wise, which I could imagine is due to lack of competition (because of their monopolistic statuses).

A mutually agreed, modern messaging standard with multiple user-facing services to choose from sounds like a dream. Let’s see if it manifests with RCS.

Jonathan Horst, host of Mac Address also claims it was China that pushed Apple to adopt RCS. Is Apple even Apple anymore? - TalkLinked


Nowadays LineageOS still has 1.5 million users, significantly updated over AOSP, with optional GMS if you need them. They aren’t the young excited media people flashing cyanogen nightlies and just talking about it a lot, but

"there are still a lot of community members that are maintaining lineage for individual devices. If you go on the lineage website most popular phones on there, and it sort of works the same way as it worked on CyanogenMod where you buy a new phone, you decide you want it to be the guy that maintains it, you go on and you maintain it and it’s kind of fun but it’s being used a lot in industry now okay which is very different.
So I’m trying to figure out okay well what really happened to the modding community, right? Like, people stopped using this. Is it just because Android got mature and things got good, right? Now, you might have heard of this kind of conspiracy theory that’s been going around for a while, that Google has been taking things from AOSP, and instead of updating AOSP, they just update them in the Google apps. Right. And this is sort of a major thing that has been happening for quite a few years now. So yes, Android is open sourced. And if you want to use Android, you can use it, but it’s like the camera app is going to be from like Android eight. And this app is going to be from Android eight. I made a video about this."

Can You Trust Google? ~Marques Brownlee

And they started just using their own Google Photos and Pixel apps now and the messenger client in AOSP is different from Google Messages and like everything is like Google This :tm:, Google That :tm: versus the aosp versions. So there’s kind of this conspiracy theory that google intentionally… they need to make money off of android, right? They originally made it open source because they needed to get as much of a user base as possible. But then at one point they were like, “how do we monetize this? We can’t keep giving away all the good stuff that we’re making for free.” It’s the fourth time this has been brought up. Like somebody’s like, “we gotta be, I gotta make some money off of this.[Laughter] I really wanna. I really wanna do it.”
So I asked a lot of people right, I asked Michele, I asked the lineage guys, I was trying to ask them “Do you think this is the main reason that ROMing has gotten so not popular? You know, that Google’s like taking aosp and making it a lot harder to like build stuff off of?” and they actually think that it makes a lot of sense for Google to be doing this. Because the biggest reason that they say is that our phones are now a much more major part of the way that we live our lives, right. And back in the day, you could ROM your phone, you could do whatever you wanted. And you would still go to your bank, maybe, and there would be a banking app; but the banking app was really bad, It was very new. And as our phones kind of get more mature and have become a more integral parts of our lives, there have been people at those banking companies going like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. This person is throwing an OS that we have no idea what it is, and the security features we have no idea what it is, and they’re using our banking app on “some phone”. And so, a big reason that both the lineage os people and people like Michele think that roming is getting a lot harder and people are not doing it as much is because now google has made it that, if you use a custom rom on your phone things like banking apps don’t work. Right and imagine your banking app doesn’t work like that’s a major reason not to rom your phone. You can’t use a lot of the core features that you would want to use on your device. Yeah it’s not worth it anymore, what are you gonna do you’re gonna unlock your Snapdragon processor and get “faster” performance like what does that even mean?
Yeah but I’ll have my flashlight! * chuckles *.
But early on when we’re talking about roming phones and doing it all the time and resetting it and the like, just so little of your life was on it back then, it was a device that’s an accessory. Your phone is everything about you at this point, there are so many insanely important things, and if something were to mess up on your phone, you could be really screwed for a while. It’s way scarier to also just do things to your phone now. So security is very important, there’s security patches and bug fixes all the time, it’s a rat race as soon as there gets there’s this bug that people find out about, they’ve got to patch it, and then people exploit it, and patch it, and exploit it, and this whole thing.
Random trivia question: There is a fast food app that does not work if you mod your phone, if you unlock your bootloader. […] McDonalds. It has to do with GPay(?)
Is it only McDonald’s that does the…? That was the one that Michelle pointed out in particular. Yeah, it could be other ones, too. It looks like Starbucks does a lot of the same stuff. Well, Starbucks is a bank. That’s what I was going to say. When you wrote that, and how many Starbucks gift cards… yeah, that made a lot of sense. That’s how Starbucks makes all their money, is by investing your money that you “add to your card” on the app. Insane. They’re… It’s. Insane. Yes. They’re literally a bank. That’s why it’s called Starbucks. badumtsss Hey! Sorry. Wow. Yeah. That felt horrible to say out loud.
Security is just becoming really important because our devices are this one-stop shop. They really are PDAs now. All of these apps are like, “I don’t want this unknown OS to be running my app, especially when it has things like your financial details on it.” Because if they get in trouble, they’re going to get in a lot of trouble. It’s risky. Yeah, so it’s getting more closed down. And surprisingly, people like the LineageOS team and Michele are like “Yeah that makes sense. We actually totally understand that right”. So it’s not as much of the like google is intentionally trying to make android harder to use, they really think that the reason is because of security. I’m sure they don’t want to be the ones to create something and then that winds up being the reason somebody loses a lot and then they have to think “that’s kind of our fault”. Not even legally, but just… that sucks to think like “yeah we did something that a bunch of people lost important things with it”.
Yeah, but it is a bummer because even RCS does not work in AOSP. Oh yeah. The messaging client of AOSP doesn’t have RCS support, that’s “funny”. You have to use Google Messages, which is crazy.

But, you know, the spirit of ROMing is not dead. There’s plenty of open source material that’s being published consistently. People like Stephanie are a huge open source, people, they really advocate for it. And I think that even if these ROMs like Lineage OS are not the level of CyanogenMod, like they used to be where the community was like, there were so many people and everyone was super excited about it all the time and flashing every single day. I think every community will always have enough people that want to maintain it. And just for the reason that they want to maintain it, right? They don’t have to make a company out of everything. And that’s kind of the magic of open source. Wise words. You don’t have to make a company out of this. “I Gotta make money out of this.”
I just remember, yeah, the modding days were fun.

It keeps going for a bit longer:

I had my, and I still have it, the original Motorola Droid that I had. And that phone, I can’t believe it’s still boots. That phone went through it. And that, my Galaxy Nexus, I had custom ROMs. I was overclocking those phones. I had custom kernels where you could choose like, all right, let me get up to 1100 megahertz when the screen is on, but then underclock down to 200 megahertz when the screen is off and have this refresh rate so that I can like cycle between those clock speeds quickly and end up with a faster phone with longer battery life with all these custom kernels it was insane yeah these phones were cooking in my pocket it’s unreal and I was flashing nightlies. That was quite a time, yeah.
When was the last time you tried to ROM a phone? I think right around the time that Cyanogen was done, I remember being on the nightlies, I remember doing a lot of Paranoid android and the like, because that was an ALT ROM Yeah. Right around when Cyanogen was super …(big?) Alt-rom. Yeah, it was like… Cyanogen was the big one. “It’s not a phase, mom.” [Laughter] But there was Paranoid Android on the side, which oh, it’s got these cool themes and a couple extra kernel features for my overclocking desires. But I definitely wasn’t doing it much after ~2015, 2016.
I did it once on my ERIS, that’s all I remember. Nice shout out to the ERIS. I just think it’s pretty incredible how important cyanogen mod ended up being to a lot of stuff that happened… Like OnePlus only really exists the way it does because of cyanogen mod. Yeah I mean it was a community-based thing that was also built off a different person that built something and then made it, it’s literally in the history of Android at this point and, like, Android phones in general. So that’s wild. Yeah. So while we might not do a lot of ROMing ourselves anymore, I think it’s beautiful that communities will still come together and make open source projects that are really cool. (one more trivia intermission about the name origin of Nexus. A piece of media with sleeping androids that may or may not dream of electric sheep. Also Bladerunner The model is "Nexus 6, and the Philip K Dick estate sued google over it.)
It was fun recapping on what happened from the birth of android up until now and how important the open source community was to all of that.

I mean as someone who wasn’t part of that community and did very little, knew just enough about it to know what cyanogen mod was, and then to know about it as in, like, inside of OnePlus and stuff yeah it’s fun. //Literally me fr fr
It was a crazy set of years dude.
Sounds like something I would have been into.
I was flashing cyanogen mod nightlies every single day, wiping my device every single day; I would lose all of my data, all of my photos, every single day, for no reason because I was a nerd. [Laughter]
Same, that’s you and me both, yeah simpler times simpler times but it was a good era of android. Zero points!

As per the floorp_bQfdD5qKLm website:

Customization is paramount to productivity. That’s why LineageOS promises to push for user personalization and preference. Everyone is unique and your device should be too.

Your data, your rules. Along with monthly security updates to every supported device, we enhance existing privacy touchpoints around the OS and keep you informed of how the system shares your data. Trust helps you understand the state of your device’s security and warns you about possible threats. SELinux Enforcing.

LineageOS extends the functionality and lifespan of mobile devices from more than 20 different manufacturers thanks to our open-source community of contributors from all around the world.

Power to you
Our open-source apps are here to help you get through the day. Want to do more with your device? Power users will enjoy Unix command-line utilities. Android developers will turn any device into the perfect device for apps development thanks to enhanced tools and debugging capabilities.

It feels weird how these are relegated to a “niche” and business to business solutions nowadays. My mom went through four vacuum cleaners that kept burning-out before finding one made in Poland for warehouses.

Cloud yelling session

So the bank’s been shutting down their previous online platform in favor of a new mobile app. That adds a “maintenance” monthly fee. The app was so bad they shut it down within a year and launched another one (to my branch’s credit, the branch’s boss was really trying to get it working, but the server was offline at the other end so there was nothing he could do). My millennial insistence on making payments on the PC looks increasingly silly, as they all need to be approved on the mobile authenticator anyway.
I want to put to pixels just how bad this digital payments thing has been lately. So I try to pay for food, and the debit card keeps getting declined, the mobile app keeps saying I forgot my PIN ( I didn’t). I walk to the closest bank branch, and there’s a crowd of people trying to get their salaries out of the ATMs. All but one are out of order. After 10 minutes I get the attention of a clerk (they were all bunched together around a laptop) and she tells me all the customer support issues should be handled through the app. The app doesn’t open, the only button I have is “Reset PIN” for which the clerk informs me that I can pay with cash…

Another day, my card was disabled because I haven’t used it in a while, so I had to go through the procedure of opening a new account. Verification codes, sent through the super-duper secure SMS, followed by a 40 page contract…PDF. That I was supposed to read on my phone, as the queue was forming up behind me. Gotta pay the App administration fee for all the months the card was disabled too. My card also gets blocked every time I go through Stripe as “unusual activity” even after approving it in the app, and I have to call human customer support. That’s probably the biggest lament here, that many branches get closed down, and the few that are left don’t carry any money. To withdraw cash, my brother had to call some of his old classmates to find one treasury that had any, as most branches kept insisting to just pay everything through the app. Because they think rural Romania is flush with POSs, I guess. In fact, it’s not unusual for all the ATMs within an hour’s drive to be out of service at the same time.
So all the enshittification of mobile software is happening in the name of security of this well oiled machine. I’ll tell you about the machine, we have these smarty “ROBOts” to handle basic tasks like paying bills and depositing money in the account. It was unresponsive. I asked for help and the clerk lady…unplugged the ROBOthing from the wall and plugged it back. And so, we were chilling for 10 minutes with the Windows 8 updater.

~ Customer survey: how was your experience with the staff?
I’m just saying, all the security buzzwords, widevine, attestations, safetynet and platform integrity checks* ring kinda hollow, when it’s all in the service of… displaying ads on the payment object. Isn’t that why we got the debit cards in the first place? To have a dedicated payment thing with security chips because integrating security into other things was too hard?
*oh yeah WebDRM is still going ahead on Android only. Summary of the whole mess.
I guess I’m supposed to log the bank account into Google Blank and forget about it, but most help pages about that start and end with “Works in USA and Germany”.
There’s a happy end, the situation on the ground isn’t that dire, at least here Revolut reached the market years before Apple and Google, so most people use that, with the bank-issued app as back-up. Revolut works fine on modifies androids, and my choice of rom fixed its attestation over a year ago, so the majority of payment systems work fine. Here’s the full list of user reports: [LIST] Banking Apps on /e/OS - Lists - /e/OS community

Here’s a few more banking adventure visuals, and the older ROBOts.

~What can I say, eastern europe prefers androids image

Oh, one tablet security thing I do like: voting here is done with rubberstamp on paper, and the polling stations have a couple of tablets just to check if the same bulletin (ID paper) is used at multiple stations. We had cases in the past where the papers of dead people were used to vote in their name, touring many stations. As in, happening so much it has been parodied for at least a hundred years now.

Now, buy something or get out of here, the train’s leaving!

Acquisition precondition

After not getting much usage out of the overpowered nova 5t, I gave it to my mom; she actually needed a new phone, that Y6 was spending more time frozen-up than running, often crashing while opening WhatsApp. I was looking to buy a cheaper second-hand phone to play around with ROMs for the first time, so no two year contract, just in case things don’t work out. Getting a new phone that’s slow from the factory door feels really bad, and older flagship devices wouldn’t get long term support from the carrier so… no need to pay the carrier for that privilege.

“At this price point, I’d prefer prehistoric premium over presently pleasantly priced”


In the time since I got my current phone, the brand “INFINIX” from 4th world-wide best-seller TRANSSION launched in our market. The cheapest we got is the Infinix HOT 40 Pro: It has substantially bigger numbers than the Motorola above, looks nice. In the box, they give you a silicone protective case, charger, wired 3.5mm headphones and a lot of plastic for $215.

Moto G Play 2023 HOT 40 Pro
IPS LCD, 90Hz, 720 x 1600 IPS LCD, 120Hz 1080 x 2460
6.5 inch 6.78 inch
5000 mAh 5000 mAh
Mediatek G37 (you saw how it runs) G99 6nm (idk how2read benchmarks for mobiles)
$169 $215

But… there’s HTC Desire 22 Pro for sale, going for less than $100 brand new, with sdcard, jack, and it has a proper 5G Qualcomm, not Mediatek. It’s a beautiful device, better than both of these, from a brand I respect. Good things stay good, they just get cheap And it’s End-of-Life. Or at least, people on the internet say HTC is bad with updates, I can’t find any info on this besides a comment on GSMArena saying he got an update back in March. Damn shame, at least Sony has the decency to allow the community to fix it. When it’s not setting things on fire[1] [2]. There’s a mysterious HTC U23 Pro out there for a good price, made by the half that didn’t leave to make the Google Pixels. In fact, as I was writing this the pre-orders for the HTC U24 went live (this comment section is already asking for an unlocked bootloader, good.). Uhh it’saprettycoolphone withallthe numbers Icouldaskfor, IP67resistant, Snapdragon 7 Gen3, 12GB RAM, 120hz screen, 256GB ofstorage, expandable with MicroSD, 3,5 jack, and even a two-color notification LED. 50MP even on the front camera, 2x opticalzoom and it showcases an AI function to create one perfect group shot from many mistimed photos, no more “I had my eyes closed!” The showcase concludes with mentions of pairing the phone with a VIVE XR headset, a “Viverse” andtheprice of the U24, €$564 eddies. Good L_ck :musical_note: .

Did Pannonia Film predict Shorts?

  • As I was looking for a clip from the show, of the sun moving so fast it became a permanent rainbow on the sky, a storm brought the fastest moving clouds I’ve ever seen. Trust the process and all that.

Hardware as a service

So unlocked bootloader it is, if not for the privacy and debloat reasons, then at least for the e-Waste prevention reasons:

  • Spotify bricked devices: So the Car Thing is something to make listening to Spotify in the car safer and easier than looking at the phone app, especially nowadays when cars don’t have volume knobs anymore. Car Thing discontinued - Spotify.

    • How Spotify destroyed Car Thing: ‘You Will Own Nothing’ & what to do about It ~ Louis Rossmann

      We have made the decision to discontinue Car Thing. This means that Car Thing will no longer be operational.
      “Apparently they have the server capacity for their application to work and for them to stream music to millions of people every day but they do not have the capacity to continue allowing this device that you paid $90 for, to work on top of your subscription.”

      What should you do with the device? We recommend resetting your Car Thing to factory settings and safely disposing of your device following local electronic waste guidelines. Contact your state or local waste disposal department to determine how to dispose of or recycle Car Thing in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
      “so they’re admitting that they’re turning something you paid $90 for into e-waste. I’m sorry where’s the part of this FAQ where you say: hey since we’re not supporting this device anymore here’s the firmware and here’s the software that runs it. We’re going to open the source code for you so that you may be able to use this for something else, you may be able to repurpose a device that you paid 90 [ __ ] dollars for so that you can continue to use it with the service that you’re still paying for. This sounds like the f’n Mafia: “you’re going to buy my shit, you’re going to pay 90 bucks, you’re going to pay monthly fee to use it, we’re going to disable it so that you have to buy a new thing and you’re going to have to recycle it at an e-waste facility of your choosing” sounds like my uncle trying to be a tough guy…”

      Solutions? (expand)

      Moar quotes

      “You know what I think people should do? You know what I think would be really fun? Fuck disposing of this where your state or local city authority claims you should dispose of e-waste. You know where you dispose of this e-waste? Their corporate headquarters. And what’s great is Spotify has made it convenient to figure out exactly where that is, regardless of where you are in the world. Contact - Spotify This seems like a perfect place for every single person who bought this piece of shit to return it to. If you’re not able to go there in person, you can mail it. UPS, FedEx. I think it would be prophetic and wise to fill their corporate headquarters with this e-waste. Why is it your responsibility to recycle it? How about you give people their money back? Because it seems like you took it for something that you never had a plan of support in the first place.”

      “You know what I think would really hit them in the pocketbook? If every single person who watched this video filed a charge back on their service, not because you care about getting your money back on one month of service in exchange for losing 90 bucks, but because it hurts their ability to accept credit cards, which I think they deserve. I fundamentally believe that a company that has stolen $90 of your money deserves to have this happen to them. Think of credit card processing similar to internet services. You can spend $5,000 a month to get, you know, 50 by 50 megabit per second where it’s technically fully provisioned for you and it’s not being shared or oversold. Or you can pay, let’s say, $90 a month to have one gigabit per second internet where you’re getting the gigabit, but if everybody decides to use it at the same time, you’re no longer getting the gigabit. With credit card processing, if they get 10,000 chargebacks a second or a minute, their merchant services process is gonna knock on their door and say, “hey man, what’s up with this shit?” It’s gonna cause them a problem. And technically, you’re not lying. When you file a chargeback and say service not as described, you paid $90 for this, you need to use Spotify services in order to use it, and they took that away from you without ever telling you that when you purchased this device, that they could disable it at any given time, and they had no intentions to support it. You can reference their website, where they call this device e-waste. If you want to send a message to Spotify, I don’t simply suggest that you cancel your service. I suggest that you file chargebacks on the last month of your service, two months, three months, five months of your service, however much is necessary for you to get back the $90 that they stole from you. There’s only one way for companies like this to learn. A, massive filing of chargebacks. B, action from our government, which as you know, is never going to happen because the FTC is toothless and spineless. And C, for every single one of these devices to be disposed of, as they suggested as e-waste, at their corporate headquarters.”

      He goes on to talk about CDs and local files for a bit.

    • Spotify does their own “tangible reduction pathways” by… writing a 63 page document on how they’re saving the planet by reducing the… size of the APK executable. That document can be reduced to just two letters. There really isn’t a lot of proper eWaste disposal out there, it usually comes down to pushing garbage over the border into Serbia. That’s why it’s important to do the reduce, repair, renew, reuse before it reaches recycle. Still, I enjoy how the cloud service provider talks about reducing cloud usage and not buying devices that rely on company’s servers to work.

      Links (expand)
  • Samsung, Motorola, OPPO and ZTE issued a remote shutdown. This story is more involved, so here’s another video link to follow along: Samsung disables customer phones remotely, holds data hostage until Mexican government stepped in ~Youtube. Because no one wants to hear “please watch this yt video it will explain everything, just trust this one guy” I’ll add all the links at the bottom. The bulk of the reporting was done by Juan Zago:

:arrow_right_hook: (quick google translate link)
The jist of it is that people did not purchase them “the right way”. To avoid costs from carrier contracts, ODM warranty services that don’t help anyway and the usual “dynamic pricing”, many people in Mexico may not buy a phone from the official store because a lot of people in Mexico don’t necessarily have the USA income standards. So they get these Grey market phones that are not stolen, they don’t have stolen IMEIs, they’re simply gray market phones that were supposed to be for another region but just so happened to work fine in mexico. The official argument is the GSM frequencies being different and the electrical chargers being a different voltage. None of these brands have shipped chargers in years, Samsung used to poke fun at Apple for that before doing it themselves… As for the Networking, obviously they work otherwise they wouldn’t buy them, the way it’s handled is, the moment you place the SIM in the phone, you receive an SMS with the settings, this is how it worked in the featurephone days too. If there was a network issue, they could just switch to airplane mode. If there was a danger, Samsung would do a recall with safety boxes like in the Note 7 days, or at least force them to shut down. But it was necessary for them to be on, to display that scary warning about the government.

“Your device will be disabled in 10 days for not complying with Government Regulations in Mexico.”

These companies not only decided to disable these phones from being able to make phone calls, they also disabled customers from being able to access their data on the phone, effectively holding their data hostage until they purchased a new one at their retail store and utilized their own special proprietary software to get the data off of it.
Not only was the government not asking these companies to do this, they actually punished the companies that did this. On October 19th, Profeco and the IFT issued a suspension against all manufacturers who disabled those mobile devices because they unilaterally violated consumer rights by blocking imported phones.
Xiaomi, the legends, simply sent a notification stating that “Your device may not be the official version for the region”, and that “this may affect functions of your device, such as connection to the phone network contracted by [the user]”, where the only recommendation given is to contact the distributor for further assistance on this matter.


Buying second hand has never been more convenient, since Olx started handling the shipping themselves you don’t even need to talk to the seller, just add to cart. I’ve seen proper stores and refurbishing shops list on the site too. So a year ago, my final choice ended up between a Pixel 6a and the Fairphone 4. The quality control issues scared me away from the Pixel:

Additionally, wouldn’t it be weird to get away from google software via… google hardware? Couldn’t I just get a de-googled Fairphone from the company? No. No no no.
Manufacturers are contractually obligated to never ever ship any android fork.

In particular, Google has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for abuse of dominance regarding Android devices ~ Press corner | European Commission

  • Fairphone used to link and shout-out Murena on their online store. Now, FP have for sale a de-googled phone available with Murena’s /e/OS, and it is “Android™ app compatible” wink wink nudge nudge. Huawei had the right idea calling HarmonyOS a new, compatible OS.
  • Murena is the only official way to get a fairphone 4 in the US with the 5 year (!) warranty. FP5 coming soon™. I can’t in good heart recommend paying over $600 dollars for one lmao, I see them second hand going for $100. Hell, the FP5 is going for 350$. I never got much use from company warranties anyway. Murena also sells Pixels, Teracube and used to have Galaxy S9s [1].
    • They also launched a couple of limited-run phones under their own name, Murena One and Two. They have switches on the side, one to physically disconnect the camera and microphone, the other to enable Airplane mode and Do Not Disturb (customizable).

Mr. Nokia’s design expertise pushed me to pick the fairphone, he highlights the honesty in a poly-carbonate back with the paint mixed into the material. No need for a bulky protective case, wear the green proudly! (well, the gray one was cheaper, so mine is grey, but still). The metal edge around it is better at dissipating heat too, which was a low point for the nova. I agree that there’s no point in picking a thin, beautiful device if it will spend its life in a cheapo rubber cover. That golden plastic Y6 always attracted attention when taken out of its black case.
He calls out the silly company mojo text some brands place near the camera, FP’s “yours to open, yours to keep” and “Change is in your hands” catchphrases are printed on the battery, so only visible if you’re showing off the removable modules or picking the transparent back option on purpose. A design attentive to every detail, built to last, and environmentally friendly. If you keep digging, there’s even a map of the DR Congo on the heatspreader. floorp_PK2S755P7e

Living with the damn thing

It’s chonk. I’m a big guy, I shouldn’t have any issues with big screens, but this is just thicc and 225 grams heavy, I dropped it a dozen times in the first month. The aluminium frame braved the pebbles outside with only one tiniest scratch. It technically has stereo speakers, but the bottom firing one is, well, bottom firing and sounds bad. I’d keep it only for ringing and alarms if I could.
I took the scenic route through the history of LineageOS because /e/OS is based on that.

  • This bringus fella puts in a lot of work to make computers work like computers. Say, in this video he attempts to play computer games on a Lenovo Google Meet Video-conferencing “Room Kit” computer, and goes through all the classics: proprietary power cables, evading enterprise enrollment, having to short a security chip, DIYing a cursed loopback SuzyQable, finding arcane Discord-exclusive knowledge: Installing SteamOS on a Google Meet Video Conference Computer - Bringus Studios YouTube. The FAT Gaming GPU Sequel.

What if I didn’t do that?

Murena’s /e/OS

My attempt at pushing back the shifting baseline ( :arrow_right: Online Privacy and Overfishing - Schneier on Security)
Lineage even at its best sorta expects you to install MindTheGapps, or at least bring your own apps for Email, updates, Gallery (they fixed the gallery like, yesterday. In fact, they’re ahead of schedule). /e/OS is a privacy-focused effort to have a smooth experience out of the box, with an iOS-inspired launcher, ad and tracker blocking browser, customization up to the fonts, interface icons and navigation gestures, and polished-up apps with a common theme for gallery, files, maps and Cloud productivity tasks. I started on 1.13-stable, and now I’m on 2.1, so there will be some comparisons.
I like their unified “App Lounge” client, it allows installing apps from f-droid, Aurora Store and PWAs in the same place, with priority on f-droid and giving apps an Out-of-ten privacy rating. It’s nice to see at a glance that 0/10 whenever I get recommendations for mobile games :slightly_smiling_face:

My brother asked about battery life first. The battery is pffine, “the standard smartphone experience, charge it every evening when you get home.” Well, every morning, since it has fast charge and likes to go from 100% to 85% idling over night. Measuring battery charge is kind of a complicated science, but the short of it is to keep enabled that Charging control, not going over 85% limit. I noticed that even-numbered update versions make the battery last longer than the odd ones. That charge setting was added in 2.0, so it should be nice and even for a while. Does it look like the screen is using too much power? I think it doesn’t have variable refresh rate, it’s just a standard Samsung IPS 60hz. Blocking ads and playing yt with the screen off help reduce the power drain.

The operational end of~the device.

Pay no attention to the cracks in the cheapo protective glass add-on.

The device has been modified~ified. Du du du :musical_note: I remember not being able to create an account on the /e/OS forums at the time, so I had to go to the Telegram channel to ask questions, I had gotten cold feet when the Easy installer didn’t work (the phone was fine, the download was getting stuck). The people were nice and patient. One thing I asked was whether you could re-lock the loader, as a safety measure. Yes, but… all it does is it prevents attackers with physical access from erasing the internal storage. I think your files are full-disk encrypted even when unlocked, it decrypts at the first log-in/screen unlock, it shows as an empty USB drive in My computer before that. If that’s not a threat, leaving it unlocked is preferable because it makes recovery easier in case the OS fails to boot. It should never happen on the stable branch but you never know. That warning about being vulnerable to attackers is in case you sell the phone, to inform the next person. Signing-up for the forum works fine now.


Linus Tech Shaved mentioned the lack of an option to have the “Back” button on the right side. Did… the stock ROM remove that option? it is present on /e/OS.

2-button navigation is no-compromise navigation. The permanent back button is handy, and it can still have functions added to double-tap and hold. Tapping the pill takes you home. I have it set up like a joystick, swiping left&right acts like Alt+Tab and Shift+Alt+tab, and it always sticks to the charger side, it doesn’t rotate around with the content. Pulling down on it rolls down the notification area. The important part: Pulling up goes immediately to the “Recent Apps drawer”, full screen animation and all, it’s so fluid and it’s faster than the pull up then hold gesture. By default holding it shows current tab’s history. It is very intuitive, see it in action Timestamp:

Google dropped it, when you’re in an app, sliding up to view Recents doesn’t work properly; you see the sliding animation, but as soon as you lift your finger, you end up returning back to the app you were originally in. Lineage patched it back in and it is now buggy. On my device, after the 2.1 update it was hanging when trying to open the multitasker/recent apps, and some zoomed-out apps were stuck on screen. I tried to switch to 3 buttons and back, to maybe clear appdata and reset it, and it does work, it only mildly stutters, but the setting now spells out “2 swipes up needed to see all apps”. Spamming two swipes is still faster than holding, but apparently /e/OS will drop it too.

I would rollback for it but, you know, anti-rollback for your security: They updated the documentation, rolling back is fine and the security checks get ignored. Good to know. 3 button nav can also have hold and double-tap functions, but it’s stiff and the double-tap mean added lag as Android is doing nothing but waiting for you to will-he won’t-he press the button.

So gesture based navigation: I do see the appeal, seeing the windows move around, rearranging themselves with full screen animations is nice. The navigation hint (pie?) can be disabled for even more vertical space, but the problem is that it moves around, it always overlaps/ Z-order conflicts with the progress bars. You can still swipe sideways to Alt+tab, but that always causes glitches when in widescreen. The gigantic 15cm back button on the side feels good. I wish I could disable it on the left side, that’s where most apps hide their main menu, behind a swipe from the left but this is as low as it would go. You can put two fingers to always get the menu but…

And so, two "work"flows emerge:

  • buttons on the bottom, SwiftKey*, menus on the left, widescreen video
  • gesture navigation, tap kb/ voice input, menus as grand tabs that you move between with horizontal swipes (Zune?), vertical video

*FUTO Keyboard recently released, with offline voice input and swipe typing.
Swipe KB disables the back function from the sides of the screen. One of the big shorts platform, Instagram, does not. The “back” function refreshes the feed. Insta also has a lot of functions on small buttons near the edges, and it is just so cruel to place the “Save” button under the biggest “Refresh” key in the history of computing. Also, what’s up with apps showing a small toast, with a yes or no prompt, and as I go to answer, another one pops-up in front of it. Firefox usually adds a 3 seconds cooldown when that happens, but on mobile… idk what I clicked tapped. All these touch screen controls are complicated, how about some physical buttons:

It ain’t Motorola’s famous Chop Torch, but it’s good enough to use daily. And so, I finally got a smartphone with media keys. I like how most podcast apps remap “Skip track” to Skip/Seek back 30 seconds". Happy days. There’s somewhere in the settings an option to double tap to get the camera, like Huawei used to do. Huawei also had a one-handed mode, activated by pulling the home button to the sides. It reduced the screen to 70% size, and was kinda useless as it would exit if you tapped out of bounds, and apps like to use swipes on the edges. /e/'s one hand mode makes the screen square, it brings the notification area to the middle of the screen and blacks-out the top half. One last bug that was fixed before, but returned after 2.0 is how the fingerprint sensor keeps trying to scan after failing a check, the phone vibrates a few times fast and then it asks for the PIN.

PC GUI mini Weblog


It’s telling that the most popular thread on the Murena forums is people trying to figure out a better camera app, as /e/OS ships a customized OpenCamera that used to detect a phantom third eye lens. They do add work on top of it, like with all the apps they ship, recently it got a QR scanner. It has a clunky interface, clunky in general, it’s slow to focus, it loses focus as it’s taking the pic, tapping on the subject always makes the sky overexposed. It must be a software issue, FP4 has a dedicated Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensor; it’s like a tv remote, you can see the red light if you record in the mirror/with another phone, so it’s trying to use it, but… :man_facepalming:

OpenCam’s RAW capture isn’t fixing this. The “manual” focus was useful for a “show&tell” with my ophthalmologist, so that’s nice. People tried to extract that fancy new camera apk […]

[…] apk, but it might rely on google libraries that ship as part of GMS, so it just crashes. DRM-free apks for ProShot also crash for me, and I would buy the legit version, but it’s only available on the play store. Aurora allows you to download paid apps if you log in with an account that has it, but Play store won’t let me buy apps if I don’t have Play store installed on a compatible phone. I can’t be assed to re-flash twice just to test this…

:warning: Breaking news: the official Fairphone 4 camera has been merged for eOS 2.2: FP4: Import FPCamera (!53) · Merge requests · e / devices / android_device_fairphone_FP4 · GitLab :confetti_ball: :partying_face: :tada:

The only App that never worked for me was Monster Hunter NOW!, since it uses complex anti-tamper to prevent people from spoofing their physical location. And, you know, /e/OS has that big privacy widget with the options to fake location or hide IP via… Tor. No kill like overkill. Special mentions go to Temple Run (the most trackers/minute I’ve ever seen) and Twitch, with its branch(dot)io topping the Wall of Shame. I’d expect a live streaming platform to make a lot of connections, but here’s the thing: I procrastinated. I never logged in. I never opened it.

I needed to clear the App Lounge’s appdata like once, changing the grid of apps from 4 x 6 to 4 x 5 caused some apps to be hidden, one clear app storage for the BlissLauncher fixed that. Besides that, I didn’t have to navigate many bugs.

By default /e/OS ships with Magic Earth, it looks like 2000s GPS, I like it, but I don’t have a car so I’ll shout-out that MapLibre SDK, it makes every app that wants to display a map run so much faster, that flightradar view would lag even on my PC with regular google maps.

/e/OS 2.0 release event

Would you believe this thread started-off as a “/e/OS added Android Auto support today. Do y’all use android auto?” My dad’s Dacia Sandero isn’t smart, but this does highlight how much work work goes into maintaining microG compatibility with apps, even Google’s own Maps and Speech Recognition & Synthesis, if you need them. Magic Earth was a bit controversial since it’s “privacy respecting closed source” so Murena announced they employed people to work on an Open source, open standards Maps app.

Why 5G Sucks⚠️ - Mrwhosetheboss The internet doesn’t seem too happy with 5G, citing expensive dedicated plans, expensive phones and problematic roll-outs with firmware that displays Screensho222t_20240704-120451_Fennec in the signal icon because the company invented some new term for 4G “plus”. I just got it for free via 2.0 update on a random Thursday lol. It’s only available in and around the municipality/ capital of county (not country) and has some funny ideas about coverage, but I was so excited to run a speedtest when I saw that icon. Yeah, 5G is real.

Other things I noticed is, 2.0 improved WiFi coverage. I said I keep that P8lite* for youtube around the house because it has great reception. Like, from across the street it’s crazy. Well, now FP4 earned second place, with full-yard & kitchen coverage.
*Mine did anyway.
Let’s talk repair. We had 2 P8lites, one for me, one for me mum. Her phone had reception issues, and was sent to warranty service twice. The reception improved a bit, but most days she would get that “missed calls” SMS the second she went outside. Commie-era walls and all that, but mine never had issues. So we went to an independent to fix it. Years later, again, to replace the battery too before giving it away. The LG slide phone needed a big sperker speaker replaced. The company didn’t help, ofc.
In 2014 a store was running a campaign, giving out a backpack, mouse and a stick of 4GB RAM with Lenovo laptops. I got one that did boot in the store, FreeDOS… but had issues installing a real operating system. (remember when people staged an international protest against Microsoft for the right to buy computers without Windows '98? Good times [1] [2]). Lenovo’s contact numbers didn’t pick up, it was the importer/shipping company that put us in contact with Lenovo’s warranty service, I guess they work with them a lot. They sent a courier to pick-up the laptop, and in 3 days it returned. It was sent to Poland, took apart and every part was inspected and tagged with stickers. That bonus stick of RAM was defective all along. I still keep it as a prop to give to people, it’s small and light enough that it makes technology look less scary and blackbox-y. A while later, I needed to send in the laptop for repairs again, and in the meantime Lenovo opened up service centers here in Romania too. It spent two weeks there and they didn’t fix anything. So uh, yeah, independent repairs FTW. Around that time there were many people repairing CRT TVs, and roughly all of them were complaining about all the parts being soldered on the board, many of them refusing the modern TVs that were just one integrated circuit and the tube. I have lots of respect for the people doing board level repair, my solder skill ends at super-gluing batteries to speaker-wire to make the most annoying noise in the world. There is someone out there with something to say about hardware design and repair:

floorp_SyZ364FON7 Corpus advisory: Brand unsafe content :warning:

Consumer advocacy like I haven’t seen since TotalBiscuit, anti-sponsor spots included. Supply chain advocacy, anti e-waste advocacy, silenced Apple-authorized service providers and independent repair providers advocacy.

Uncovering Every Lie in MKBHD’s Softball Interview; a scathing critique of ‘brand safe’ influencers

Did I mention that Fairphone publishes schematics willingly? I had to go far back to find another phone like that: