Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Android #FAIL update

July 8, 2011 08:23 by docbliny 

In a previous post, I gave my impressions on Android on tablets based on my experience with the pre-release Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Android 3.0. The final version has come out, along with the all-important Android 3.1 update. So how do things look now?

  • The time zone issue has been resolved. I can now set the time and date without formatting the device.
  • The word “phone” has been cleaned out, and I see “tablet” as expected.
  • The worst Chrome rendering issues have been resolved.

Unfortunately, the worst problem, jumpy and unresponsive scrolling, still exists. This is of course a comparison against iOS, but the different is substantial. On iOS you don’t even notice you’re scrolling. On the Galaxy Tab, it’s like turning pages in a book that are slightly stuck together: irritating.


Where Google and Android #fail

May 15, 2011 11:39 by docbliny 

Google handed out a stack of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets at Google I/O 2011, and just like last year, I’m not impressed with Android. I got my first iPhone from a contest, and I’ve never been a fan of iTunes, but iOS is so much more user-friendly and refined. The experience has improved from my tests with last year’s Evo giveaway (wow, what a dud), but still not there. Here are some of the highlights:

  • If you set “Network preferred” (or similar) to allow the device to set the time/time zone automatically during the initial setup, YOU CANNOT change the time zone manually without a factory reset!?!
  • The device has a dual core processor, yet scrolling is less-than-refined and touch input seems slow, or at least not as responsive as iOS.
  • Tablet-specific: The OS states “phone” in many places. For example, when you hold the power button, you get a “Phone options” dialog. I know I saw similar wording elsewhere, too.
  • The device has two cameras, microphones, and such, and yet there is no Google Voice application available!
  • Chrome has horrendous rendering issues when you scroll longer pages. I need to zoom in/out to get it to render the rest of the page.

Yes, yes. The device isn’t even on sale yet, but these issues seem to have more to do with the Android OS than the device.

The best feature so far has been the cloud/Google account integration for backing up settings (all the apps I’d installed got automatically reinstalled after the factory reset to get the damn clock to show the right time), syncing with Chrome and other Google services.


Replacing the Samsung Q1 UMPC internal fan

May 23, 2009 17:49 by docbliny 

The fan on my old Samsung Q1 gave out and I had to find a replacement. After a lot of digging, I had to hit eBay and get something close.

The sticker on the original fan states MCF-4008AM05-S, DC5V 120mA, Toshiba Home Technology Corporation. If you peel that off you’ll see MCF-TS4009M05, DC5V 200mA CODE GDM610000156". Several searches on Yahoo! later I ended up with a result stating that this is close to a Toshiba Portege M200/M205 small fan.

I haven’t measured whether there truly is a difference between the two fans (120mA vs. 200mA), but I did have to change to connector on the fan since that was different.

samsung q1 fan

 

Time to hook up some stuff to an Arduino Mega, plug it into the Q1 and install that as a CarPC.


Another thing I use my Q1 for

July 6, 2006 10:21 by docbliny 

Here's another thing I'm using the Q1 for. In addition to playing music with Yahoo! Music Engine at the moment, I'm using it to watch NASA TV full screen. Watching other people work is so rad (or was that lame?).


Q1 w/ 1GB memory and AVS Now

June 5, 2006 17:18 by docbliny 

Boris reported in the Origami Project forums that his AVS Now stopped working after upgrading to 1GB. I hadn't even tried AVS Now before or after, so I tried to run it and sure enough if hung while it was loading.

I figured out how to get it to work. Though use at your own risk. I'm not assuming any liability here if something goes wrong.

The way AVS now seems to work is that it actually runs XP with a minimal set of things installed and once it has booted it creates a hibernate file. It comes with a hibernate file that is based on the standard 512MB of memory and thus doesn't work after the upgrade. Here's what I did to get it working.

  1. Plug in an external keyboard.
  2. Shutdown and reboot into AVS now.
  3. As soon as the boot logo goes away (or is about to go away), hit F8 (repeatedly if need be).
  4. You'll get an option to "Delete restoration data and go to the boot menu". Choose this.
  5. XP will boot, but for me nothing showed up (and this is the point I was searching for the restore CD).
  6. Wait until disk activity stops and slide the power switch. If it shuts down, great. If not, just hold it until the machine shuts down.
  7. Reboot into AVS now again.
  8. The system will boot up and immediately go into hibernation.
  9. Reboot into AVS. This time it should work.

You may need to repeat steps 6 and 7 twice. I booted into normal XP accidentally after the first shutdown.

Let me know if this works for you and if things went according to the instructions above.


Q1 and Symantec Norton Ghost 10 / 2003

June 3, 2006 13:20 by docbliny 

I bought the latest version of Ghost to make a proper and easily restorable back of my Samsung Q1. I thought I'd share my experience so that others can benefit from it.

1. Software required

Symantec Norton Ghost 10.0

Ghost is a backup application that takes an "image" of your hard drive. It copies everything and thus you can restore your machine back to the exact same state it was at the time you took the backup. This is different from traditional backup programs that copy files one by one and you have to install the operating system first when you need to restore the whole system.

2. Hardware required

  • External USB 2.0* hard drive with enough free space to backup to
  • External USB 2.0* CD (or DVD) drive to boot from
  • USB keyboard
  • USB Mouse (you might get away without one)
  • USB Hub

(*) USB 2.0 not required but highly recommended

I actually have a USB based KVM from so I only needed one additional USB port (or so I thought).

3. Overview

Symantec Norton Ghost 10.0 installs a Windows application to create backup images of your hard drive. This lets you take a full snapshot and restoring your machine is a breeze as everything will be exactly the way it was when you took the backup. It is also a lot faster than doing a file based backup. Taking the backup shouldn't really take much longer than 20-30 minutes with USB 2.0 devices (compared to the 14 or so hours with USB 1.1).

Ghost also comes with a bootable CD that starts up into a custom version of XP (Embedded maybe?) and lets you restore the whole drive (or single files, but I didn't try this) from backup images.

I was surprised to find the touch screen being pretty well calibrated and was able to navigate the application without a mouse. I discovered this totally by accident. I've gotten used to using the stylus on the Q1 and I just started clicking away and only after I clicked close to the edges of the screen, where the calibration wasn't as accurate, did I notice what I was doing.

4. Getting started

To begin you should install Ghost and create your first backup. Once you've done this it is time to make sure you can restore if anything ever goes wrong.

Turn off your Q1 and connect everything. Once you've done this, start the Q1 and enter the BIOS settings by pressing the Menu button (or F2 on your keyboard) when prompted. Move around in the BIOS with the external keyboard to make sure everything works and while you're there you can check the boot order to make sure you can boot from the external CD drive. Save the settings and restart the machine. I also noticed that as I switched things around in the USB ports I had to go back into the BIOS and set the boot order again.

5. Creating backups

You should install Ghost on your machine and create the backups using the Windows version. Optionally you can do what I did for my Vista install test and boot off the Ghost 10.0 CD and select "Restore from legacy version of Ghost" and then instead create an image file of the Q1's hard drive to the backup drive. The reason I did this is that I didn't want Ghost running in the background along with all the additional services and update checkers. My big mistake…

6. Restoring from an image

Insert the Ghost CD into the drive if it wasn't in there already and then start the machine. You should now get a prompt to "press any key" to boot from the CD. Do this and wait for the Ghost restore application to start.

In the application you can do all sorts of nifty things like set up a network connection, browse files on your drives and even check for viruses. The important thing obviously is the ability to do an actual restore. I recommend checking out the restore system as soon as possible to make sure you know it starts up and are familiar with the application if you ever do need it.

WARNING: I created the backup with the "legacy" version of Ghost, but when I tried to restore with it I only got an error "Cannot lock drive". I ended up spending quite a bit of time (and money buying utlities like WinImage) trying to create a bootable CD/memory stick with USB drivers that work AND don't kill the keyboard as soon as the driver is loaded. In the end I noticed that I could just boot into DOS from a boot CD and run ghost from it and Ghost would find the external USB HD anyway, but with USB 1.1 speeds... The way I did get it to work finally with USB 2.0 was to use the “Motto Hairu” Panasonic USB drivers with the /norst (no reset) option to keep the keyboard alive. But this was just the first step. I ended up having to fdisk, format the hard drive, copy all the DOS stuff over, edit the boot up files to load the USB drivers and then Ghost the image back onto the hard drive. The reason for this is that as soon as the USB drivers are loaded, the boot drive (which was USB based, I tried both a custom bootable CD and a memory stick) would disappear and the boot failed to load the next drivers. You should be able to get around this with a USB floppy drive, since “Motto Hairu” comes with a ram drive driver that copies everything to a ram drive and continues booting from there. Unfortunately it didn’t work with either a boot CD or flash drive.

7. Things I didn't test

  • Can you really use the network, i.e. do the included drivers work. This would only work with the wired ethernet anyway.
  • Scan for viruses
  • Edit partition tables etc

All in all the Windows version of Ghost 10 seems to work just great. In the future I'll probably install it to take an image and uninstall afterwards to save system resources. I was able to create an image, install Vista on the Q1 and then restore everything back just as it was before.

 


Q1 and Windows Vista

June 3, 2006 13:01 by docbliny 

 

Here's some details on my experiment to install Windows Vista Beta 2 on the Samsung Q1. All in all it worked pretty well, but I couldn't get the resolution changer to work and that is a deal breaker. And anyway, the main point was to see how well the drivers and other applications would work at the moment.

I would've loved to test Vista's SuperFetch and ReadyBoost to see if they help with battery life by putting in a CF card as extra "memory" as this might minimize hard drive activity and save some power. Can't wait for the hybrid drives (ReadyDrive in marketing speak) to be priced reasonably and widely available.

As for the speed it's hard to say. I've installed Vista on a couple of machines now and after the installation it seems to run a search index update or something since it tends to use the hard disk pretty heavily right after setup. I don't know how much of this is psychological. A busily flashing HD is so heavily associated with bad performance, even though it might not really affect it (Vista has a new "prioritized I/O" system that lets things like Defrag and indexer run at a lower priority in the background).

For those who want to travel down this road, here's how to get there:

  • Reserve lots of spare time
  • You’ll need an external DVD drive
  • Install Windows Vista
  • Install pretty much all the drivers from the DVD or download them from Samsung's website
  • Some application/driver installations will fail on the first attempt but Vista will kindly offer to "correct the problem" and it works! 

What works

  • Wireless
  • Menu button (+ volume to adjust brightness), volume buttons
  • Touchscreen drivers and calibration (4 point tested)
  • Intel Chipset drivers: Let windows "correct the problem with recommended settings". It will run the installation again and it will work.
  • Bluetooth. At least partially. I got the ThinkOutside Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard paired up, but I got lots of requests for BT drivers such as audio, HID, Network etc. and didn’t test any other devices. When prompted for the missing drivers, browse to C:\Program Files\WIDCOMM\Bluetooth Software.
  • Screen rotation at native resolution with Samsung's display drivers

Unknown/Untested

  • Wired LAN
  • CompactFlash
  • Native TabletPC stuff? Not recognized as a tablet? The customized handwriting recognition option was disabled and it had a warning stating that it is only available on TabletPCs.
  • Calibrating ClearType for the uncommon screen type seems to require fiddling with the registry. Since Vista uses ClearType by default everything looks a little blurry until you do this.

What doesn't work

  • Can't upgrade from TabletPC 2005 to Vista. Have to do a clean installation (or dual boot?)
  • Autorun setup program on the Q1 driver CD, though this gave the same errors on my desktop, too.
  • Resolution changer (button).
  • DialKeys: Has a hardcoded check for the operating system.
  • Program Launcher: Has a hardcoded check for the operating system.
  • Aero Glass. Looks like this will never be supported on the Q1.
  • Brightness setting in the Mobilty Center (use the Menu button).

Incomplete list of things you should install from the driver CD

  • Chipset driver
  • Display adapter driver. I couldn't get the one from the CD/Samsung's website to work properly at first. Downloading a generic version from Intel seemed to work, but didn't give me the resolution changing.
  • Touchscreen driver
  • Sound driver
  • Bluetooth driver (lots of clicking on "Allow install" here)
  • Display Manager (Required by MagicKeys to actually do something)
  • MagicKeys (enables hardware buttons)

Q1 and the ThinkOutside Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard

May 28, 2006 21:29 by docbliny 

 

I paired up the ThinkOutside Stowaway bluetooth keyboard with the Q1. Works great! It even lets me type in my password after a reboot/hibernate/suspend!

The Q1 seems to handle bluetooth devices really well. I was able to get the keyboard, a mouse and a headset to work at the same time without any problems.


Samsung Q1 first impressions

May 26, 2006 11:52 by docbliny 

My Samsung Q1 had arrived yesterday while I was in bed trying to get over a fever.

First, pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/docbliny/sets/72157594145947826/

The the list:

  • Samsung has put a lot of effort into the style/elegance of the box and initial experience. The packaging is nice, the actual box is pretty heavy to give you a feel of getting solid/valuable
  • Big plus (over the eo): The wireless reception is MUCH stronger. It is on par with my work laptop. I can receive our public signal in my little corner of the office.
  • The screen has a "softer" feeling physically (more spongy) than the eo.
  • The device seems solid (even the stand(s) seem OK), except for the joystick which on first look seems a little flimsy.
  • The stand is great to have built-in. Should be a "must" on all devices.
  • The stylus is very tight to get out.
  • It comes with a USB data transfer cable and software so you can transfer files between machines.
  • Screen calibration is correct on the login screen (a password is required by default)
  • Doesn't seem to remember my resolution changes from the rez-change button (after reboot).
  • Rez-change seems a little slower than on the eo, not much.
  • Windows update, round one: 
    • Install Windows Update Installer update component.
    • KB989461
    • Windows Installer 3.1.
    • Genuine AdvantageValidation Tool
    • Reboot
  • Windows update, round two: 
    • 31 high priority, 8 optional software, 0 optional hardware
    • Total 39 updates, 59.5MB
    • Reboot
  • Windows update, round tree:   Just one optional WMDRM update.
  • ClearType wasn't on and personally I think it made the higher resolutions more readable on the eo. On the Q1 it looks like I'll want to run the ClearType calibration on MS's website to get the best results. Yup, that did it. The link to the tuner is: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearType/tuner/Step1.aspx It makes the higher resolutions more readable, too. Remember to do this in the native resolution, though!
  • You can also get ClearType to look nice when you log in, but you need to tweak the registry (only way I found). The magic keys are under HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop and start with FontSmoothing. Just copy the values from your profile.
  • It doesn't really warm up a lot, even when plugged into AC.
  • BIG MINUS: The screen is too sensitive. You can't write properly with your hand resting on the screen or you'll get "streaking". I didn't have this once with the eo. Time to learn to rest my hand on the edges of the machine...
  • The fan might be a tad noisier than on the eo.

Weirdness:

  • Why isn't TIP enabled and why does it require a hack download to get working? Isn't this a part of TabletPC? I think this actually has something to do with the drivers for the touch screen.
  • TabletPC Experience pack wasn't preinstalled.

Summary:

All in all the Q1 would kick the eo's butt if it weren't for the screen that is too sensitive. The better battery life, CF slot, VGA out, much better wireless reception, integrated mic array, better sound quality (headphone jack and speakers), integrated stands, and ethernet port still push it past the eo. Some may miss the point stick and the "joystick" does seem almost redundant. Samsung should just switch it out for a point stick. Then there are a lot of other small reasons why the Q1 is worth the extra $100, such as the included restore CDs, AV Now, USB transfer cable.


TabletKiosk eo restore doesn't restore everything

May 14, 2006 20:39 by docbliny 

I just ran the restoration stuff from the D:\ partition. Bad news: It's not set up for the TabletKiosk eo. So far I've noticed that it installs/expects the wrong wifi adapter, dialkeys are nowhere to be seen and all the touch/experience pack stuff is not installed. Also misc settings, such as single-click to open, were not at the original settingsBe warned, take backups.

Here's what I had to do. I had used Partition Magic to resize the C: and D: drives and had returned D: back to FAT32 and frankly I've never seen a direct option to restore stuff. The following has X: as the USB drive letter, in reality it was C:, but you need to be careful with that.

  • I changed the boot settings in the BIOS to allow booting from a USB drive.
  • I booted my desktop from an old Windows 95 floppy disk and formatted the USB drive with "format X: /s". Before I did this I checked that the USB had an active primary partition (You would have to use FDISK to do this if this isn't the case for your drive).
  • I made sure that the CONFIG.SYS file on the USB had the two following rows that were required for the restoration software to work:
    • DEVICE=X:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS
    • DEVICE=X:\DOS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
  • I ended up having to modify ENGLISH.BAT to point to the D:\ drive, since the USB drive showed up as C: (and got hosed on the first try):
    • cd imageit
    • it hd1 /reco:1 file:d:\t700eng
  • I booted from the USB:
    • CD D:
    • ENGLISH.BAT

A few minutes later the C: partition was restored. It had retained the new larger partition size.