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Thread: Smart Phones

  1. #1
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    Smart Phones

    I really, really wish someone would make a smart phone designed around real world usage. It is sad that the battery on my laptop last longer than Android, Firefox OS, or iOS smart phones now. In particular, I would like a smart phone that had 24+ hours of battery life, was comfortable to hold (the iPhone 5 is basically a razor blade with how thin it is and its small width), had an excellent camera, and focused on privacy and security as its #1 focus similar to how OpenBSD is ran with a much more nuanced privilege model than what Android or iOS has, and used open hardware. On OpenBSD I have a lot of control over what privileges an application has; there's no reason that should not be on par to that elsewhere in the world. The battery life and security focus is the main concern though.

  2. #2

    Re: Smart Phones

    battery life would need many changes. Phones are honestly doing really good considering what in the current leader in phone technology, The Galaxy S4.

    But the demand for thinner phone but bigger screen is the most direct cause of shit for battery life. Naturally the best solution for now is simply to carry a spare battery, But if people could be convinced that just a bit thicker is not bad we could get more time out of the phones.

    Laptops last so long because of SSDs and the fact the longest running models have most of their mass made up of battery.
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  3. #3

    Re: Smart Phones

    Smart phones use a lot of battery running apps even when you are not using them. For example, the biggest use of your battery power is the GPS because it is constantly pinging location for all the apps that provide you location based information. Also, many apps have "push notifications" which also mean they are constantly pinging in the background. Pretty much everything that makes the smart phone "smart" is using battery, hence the shorter battery life.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by MI Redeux View Post
    I really, really wish someone would make a smart phone designed around real world usage. It is sad that the battery on my laptop last longer than Android, Firefox OS, or iOS smart phones now. In particular, I would like a smart phone that had 24+ hours of battery life, was comfortable to hold (the iPhone 5 is basically a razor blade with how thin it is and its small width), had an excellent camera, and focused on privacy and security as its #1 focus similar to how OpenBSD is ran with a much more nuanced privilege model than what Android or iOS has, and used open hardware. On OpenBSD I have a lot of control over what privileges an application has; there's no reason that should not be on par to that elsewhere in the world. The battery life and security focus is the main concern though.
    I almost have everything on your list, and my particular choice of phone (Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket) is largely irrelevant.

    I use my phone fairly regularly - texts during the day, occasional phone calls (10-15 min), games while I'm poopin' and to check woot and slashdot every day during lunch. I also stream music nonstop at work - Pandora, occasionally Google Music. All of this is on LTE, no Wifi usage for me (screw 'em, let the fuckers work to throttle me). I leave location detection and GPS enabled for apps, but not on all the time.

    I charge my phone once every two days, sometimes 3 days.

    The "secret" is to not use a stock phone OS or apps. Honestly, the most powerful option I've used is to use 4 apps (CPU Monitor to tell me processor state times, Wakelock Detected to tell me who is waking up and how often, and Greenify to shut the damn apps down; Titanium Backup preserves all of this when I re-flash or update) to control power consumption. The second benefit is turning off *everything* Google wants reported - ta-da, almost the best phone security you can get; the last 10% of security costs a LOT of $$.

    As for the photos, they're of such high resolution that even blowing them up 4x doesn't cause pixelation. Most of it is the software you use, nowadays.

    Want a solid, hardcore performer? Buy one of the latest phones, root/hack/ROM it up. Or, you can just swim home in your river of whine.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Yttrium View Post
    I almost have everything on your list, and my particular choice of phone (Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket) is largely irrelevant.

    I use my phone fairly regularly - texts during the day, occasional phone calls (10-15 min), games while I'm poopin' and to check woot and slashdot every day during lunch. I also stream music nonstop at work - Pandora, occasionally Google Music. All of this is on LTE, no Wifi usage for me (screw 'em, let the fuckers work to throttle me). I leave location detection and GPS enabled for apps, but not on all the time.

    I charge my phone once every two days, sometimes 3 days.

    The "secret" is to not use a stock phone OS or apps. Honestly, the most powerful option I've used is to use 4 apps (CPU Monitor to tell me processor state times, Wakelock Detected to tell me who is waking up and how often, and Greenify to shut the damn apps down; Titanium Backup preserves all of this when I re-flash or update) to control power consumption. The second benefit is turning off *everything* Google wants reported - ta-da, almost the best phone security you can get; the last 10% of security costs a LOT of $$.

    As for the photos, they're of such high resolution that even blowing them up 4x doesn't cause pixelation. Most of it is the software you use, nowadays.

    Want a solid, hardcore performer? Buy one of the latest phones, root/hack/ROM it up. Or, you can just swim home in your river of whine.
    I don't want a hardcore performer though; I want the exact opposite of that. I want a phone that optimizes for battery life. My resource needs are quite minimal as I do not do games on my phone. All I need is syncing with my notes/tasks, a good camera, a web browser, a good calculator (using wolfram alpha atm), and long battery life. Are there any Android ROMs that are completely obsessed with security and have a more nuanced priviledge system for apps?
    Last edited by MI Redeux; September 12th, 2013 at 10:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Smart Phones

    My ideal phone is one with completely open hardware, modular design for component swapping/easy repair, great camera, 24+ hour battery life, a great browser, two-way syncing with my org-mode tasks/notes, voip, ipython or mathematica notebook support, and ran by people completely anal about security.

  7. #7
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Well, my ideal life is one with big bags of money, boobs, and free beer. However, I see where you're going.

    If you aggressively attack power management, as I specified, then your phone will last a LONG time without a charge. It's easy. Want it to last longer? Don't do all of those things that consume power (even if sporadically). My phone is not a top performer. It's ~2 years old. The battery is standard, nothing special going on there.

    I think most of what you want is already available. The top security options aren't, but there is a growing market for it.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Yttrium View Post
    Well, my ideal life is one with big bags of money, boobs, and free beer. However, I see where you're going.

    If you aggressively attack power management, as I specified, then your phone will last a LONG time without a charge. It's easy. Want it to last longer? Don't do all of those things that consume power (even if sporadically). My phone is not a top performer. It's ~2 years old. The battery is standard, nothing special going on there.

    I think most of what you want is already available. The top security options aren't, but there is a growing market for it.
    It is pretty disingenuous marketing double-speak to claim that a cell phone's battery lasts 24+ hours when that number includes not actually using it for 24 hours, which is what I was wanting in a phone i.e. I browse the Internet on it for 24+ hours or what have you.

  9. #9
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    Re: Smart Phones

    And I realized I fucking lost my phone somewhere yesterday somehow as I cannot find it fucking anywhere now. Find My iPhone's not revealing anything either. Fuck. Find My Friend claims it is in the area but I am guessing that is because its information has not been updated since the phone battery died (presumably). Rage

    update: I found it finally. I am never getting a black phone again. It blends in way the fuck too well when misplaced. It is like phone camo.
    Last edited by MI Redeux; September 15th, 2013 at 08:11 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Ah, you want a phone that's your standard computation device, on-all-the-time, with a long battery. I understand, now.

    Yeah, that doesn't exist. Given energy density of batteries, even the really nice one, you aren't going to get that for a while.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Yttrium View Post
    Ah, you want a phone that's your standard computation device, on-all-the-time, with a long battery. I understand, now.

    Yeah, that doesn't exist. Given energy density of batteries, even the really nice one, you aren't going to get that for a while.
    Are you trying to become Ppatty? You are acting incredibly dense when I know you understood what I said. For the purpose of satiating your obstininance wont, by decreasing hardware power demands with even a constant battery charge the overall time between charges necessary is increased, which you already knew and are being dense for kicks. That is obviously what I would like, which is distinctly different from wanting a PC in a smart phone form. Still, the wants I described are not currently found despite Samsung, Apple et al. being more than capable of delivering such, they would rather chase technical specs that keep pace with any advances in battery life or power reduction demands in better hardware available.

  12. #12
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by MI Redeux View Post
    Are you trying to become Ppatty? You are acting incredibly dense when I know you understood what I said. For the purpose of satiating your obstininance wont, by decreasing hardware power demands with even a constant battery charge the overall time between charges necessary is increased, which you already knew and are being dense for kicks. That is obviously what I would like, which is distinctly different from wanting a PC in a smart phone form. Still, the wants I described are not currently found despite Samsung, Apple et al. being more than capable of delivering such, they would rather chase technical specs that keep pace with any advances in battery life or power reduction demands in better hardware available.
    I give up. I wasn't going Ppatty on you, I wasn't being sarcastic. I guess I don't know what you're seeking.

    If you think I do, then I refer you to my first response - power management apps, as in stuff that MAKES your phone hibernate, extends battery life in a way that will surprise you. Try that.

    ./shows_hands
    ./checks_out
    FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC
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  13. #13
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    Re: Smart Phones

    This is precisely why the on-call phone at my workplace is a Blackberry.

    The battery lasts more than a week even if you're taking multiple calls a night for a few minutes at a time.

    Despite hating blackberries, one of our lead techs insisted we use one for this purpose because so many of our techs on the on-call rotation would forget to return the charger with the phone at the end of their week.

    Sure, all it does is take automatically generated calls and mails from the 24 hour monitoring system, but it still has at LEAST 3 to 4 times the battery life of a carefully configured modern smartphone. (carefully configured as in all wireless, gps, apps, features, etc turned OFF to reach maximum battery life).

    With GPS and Bluetooth turned off on my Droid4, even with a live wallpaper and the thing set to push mode for e-mail, I get 24-48 hours of "idle"*1 battery life (the latter when I'm regularly connected via wireless because verizon roaming sucks battery like nobody's business and I can't turn off G4 and go solely with the much more present G3 coverage, so it constantly switches back and forth) and about 8 hours of heavy use*2 life.


    *1Mail still checked by push, so while "idle" the screen is off mail still comes through via exchange activesync constantly.

    *2More than three apps running in the background, some GPS, multiple phone calls, heavy browsing, occasional youtube or pandora.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Yttrium View Post
    I give up. I wasn't going Ppatty on you, I wasn't being sarcastic. I guess I don't know what you're seeking.

    If you think I do, then I refer you to my first response - power management apps, as in stuff that MAKES your phone hibernate, extends battery life in a way that will surprise you. Try that.

    ./shows_hands
    ./checks_out
    Android/iOS hardware/software is smart enough to utilize those on their own (although arguably the software could be more intelligent and eak out some additional not insignificant gains still), nothing can be done to overcome hard limits on how much battery life is possible given the fixed characteristics of the hardware choices themselves though. Software cannot turn a physical realization of a giraffe into a zebra no matter how clever it is. By sacrificing bleeding edge features that allow running the sweetest, most rad, and tubular games though and instead maximizing for hardware with a low power draw the battery life can be much improved. The caveat that this will necessitate using a less dazzling screen etc. exists without advances in battery technology, but that is a necessary sacrifice.

    If we want to be especially pedantic Android/iOS phones already last more than a day on one charge, however achieving that requires not having the screen turned on for that entire duration and not actively using it which is why I claimed that making that argument is disingenuous and beneath you, as I know you have a much greater understanding of computers than that. As a trivial case but not really useful in this context instead of using the touch screens Android/iOS devices currently use if they were replaced with e-ink screens the battery life would be greatly improved (I am not advocating that as it would murder usability in the context of smart phones, just pointing out that the power draw is mutable).

    Maybe in the future we can have our cake and eat it too with smart phones (or whatever communications device people are using at that point in time) but presently we cannot both have phones that are light, relatively cheap, have the most bleeding edge hardware specs that barely avoid melting phone cases, and battery life that is more than a day long and ideally weeks long such that recharging it is something not even considered as a routine concern. It would be nice if I could take my phone with me in BFE, Antartica and not be concerned with charging it as part of my daily workflow if I also used the phone continuously (perhaps it is being used as a function generator or some other kind of input all the time).

  15. #15
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    Re: Smart Phones

    As mentioned above, turn off GPS, Bluetooth, and Wireless unless you are actively using it.
    Go into settings and turn off any "customer experience" type stuff.
    Don't let apps run in the background.

  16. #16
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    Re: Smart Phones

    What if I told you that I both already knew that and was not looking for advice on how to optimize battery life on my phone? I use my phone less and less though, and I have been thinking about not even carrying one around anymore. The only reason I don't is that being able to look up information when I need it is so damn useful and the form factor is so easy to carry around. The reason I use my phone less and less though is that people do not respect that texting/e-mail etc. are asynchronous communication and expect a response straight-away, which is super distracting and most of the time I would rather spend time alone reading a book or tinkering than spend time with clingy people anymore, so I do not have my e-mail accounts, fb, or twitter on my phone anymore as they are so low signal and/or obnoxiously distracting.. Category theory and Pi Calculus are just cooler than humans lately. I've stopped using any social network, don't use RSS, and don't visit most forums except as read-only through RSS and have my phone on airplane + do not disturb mode most of the day. I check RSS feeds once a day usually. E-mail's the only thing I still have update regularly that I pay attention too, I am considering not having it that way though and only update manually when I get bored or need a break. Reddit is basically crack though, especially with its subreddits that can be grouped into a larger group and displayed as one merged group though, which makes skimming through many low-volume but high signal subreddits quick (especially with Reddit Enhancement Suite that can show images etc. inline). So, I can have one group for a bunch of hardware subreddits, another for a bunch of CS subreddits, another for misc entertainment stuff like show discussions, then another for picture subreddits. People like to bitch about how reddit is ugly, but its very functional, and I disagree that it is ugly and even if it is changing themes is trivial, and reddit/RES are open source so they can send a patch if they are so butthurt over it, which they never do of course.
    Last edited by MI Redeux; September 29th, 2013 at 05:19 AM.

  17. #17

    Re: Smart Phones

    RESURRECTION!!!

    You know, I have the oldest Android phone from Samsung (well, pretty darn close) the Samsung Transform Ultra. I got it because it has a slider keyboard. I can't deal with typing on the screen - so because of that, it is already a bit thicker than anything else out there.

    It, like all Lithium powered devices, started to diminish in battery life after about 3 months. I went searching through amazon for a bigger battery, and I found one. It came with an updated back for the case, and doubled the thickness of the phone. It is about half the size of a hand grenade. When people see it, they ask, "What phone is THAT?" to which I always respond, "The first one."

    I don't mind its size. I wear a belt clip to hold my phone, and all of my casual pants that don't have belts have cargo/cell phone pockets. Its not a big deal for me to carry it around.

    I can typically get 3 days of battery life out of it if I forget to charge it - I never do. I sometimes use my phone up to 4 hours straight at full visibility/brightness reading the web. For a 3g phone, thats not too bad. If they could make this identical phone with 4g capabilities I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    Unfortunately, there is not an updated Samsung phone with 4g and a sliding keyboard - This might stick around until I can't find replacement batteries for it anymore.

  18. #18

    Re: Smart Phones

    4G honestly only matters if you are doing things that need the data connection for more than simple stuff. Heavy internet surfing for example benefits from LTE as does Google Maps. Email not so much.

    I would have my LTE radio turned on if the signal actually worked at work. For whatever reason the walls mess with the LTE signal so I keep it on 3G.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Smart Phones

    <--- still averaging 20gb a month data usage



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  20. #20
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    Re: Smart Phones

    Get a Moto G LTE, or wait for the new moto coming out in a few months.

    Everyone whines that the stats aren't as good, but if you compare, its clearly faster at doing everything than the Samsung phones.
    "Complaining is the modern metagame" - BNet forums

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