Thursday, July 14, 2022

Microsoft Surface Duo II


OK, so I have been using (and enjoying) a Microsoft Surface Duo since September 2020, and Microsoft recently came out with an updated version, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. Reading the reviews it did not seem that there was a compelling reason to 'upgrade,' but eventually this technophile succumbed and ordered one. Initial pictures below (the black one is the Duo 2):

The specifications: comparing the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2.  That's all for now (which is why this is titled 'first look.')

Previous related entries:

Microsoft Surface Duo - First look

Online Resources:

XDA Microsoft Duo Forums

Windows Central - Microsoft Duo Forums

Microsoft: Different ways to use Surface Duo

Online Reviews:

Microsoft Duo 2 review: Vastly improved and still flawed

Microsoft Duo 2 review: A unique device for your multitasking life

YouTube (video) reviews:

Microsoft Duo 2 Review

Surface Duo 2 Long-Term Review: Revisiting A Different Kind of Foldable

Surface Duo 2 1-Week Later | Productivity At Its finest

Surface Duo vs. Surface Duo 2 after 6 months: Which to buy

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Astro Slide 5G - First look

Finally received the Astro Slide 5G Transformer phone I had backed on Indiegogo in March of 2020. 

This is Planet Computer's third offering in the series - starting with the Gemini (reviews here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) , followed by the Cosmo Communicator (review), and now the Astro Slide 5G Transformer (all three shown left to right below):

Here's a shot showing the Astro Slide Transformer with keyboard open, along with some other keyboard PDAs:

Full specifications

Online Resources:

Astro Slide OESF Forums

Planet Computers YouTube Playlist - Astro Slide 5G Transformer

Astro Slide Reviews:

Planet Computers Astro Slide 5G review (Techradar)

Hands-on with the Astro Slide 5G: Slider in your hand, Debian in your pocket

Planet Computers Astro Slide 5G review: A keyboard-equipped 5G phone with retro appeal (ZDNet)

Astro Slide YouTube Reviews:

Unboxing - Planet Computers Astro Slide 5G 

Astro Slide 5G Unboxing (Japanese)

Astro Slide 5G Smartphone - Dual Boot Android and Linux

Most Powerful 5G Smartphone Pocket Computer Hybrid | Astro Slide

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Novalis - Nachtraum (Neumond)

Und wieder verging ein tag so als ob heute schon einmal war
Dieselben straßen dieselben gesichter das warten im regen auf die bahn

Heut’ abend fühle ich wie sehr mein alltag geregelt ist
Er macht much so stark und sicher
Trotzdem bin ich unzufrieden – irgendwie

Die nacht nimmt mich und fliegt mit mir fort
Ich schlümpfe durch wolken davon
Die erde wird kleiner sterne kommen mir nah’
Ich rase immer tiefer ins all

Plötzlich sitze ich auf einem stern mir ist alles so unendlich fern
Die erde gleicht einem spielball
Aufgeregt blitzen meine augen hin und her

Da erscheint aus dem nichts eine gestalt und kommt auf mich zu
Streckt mir wortlos ihre hand entgegen
Entsetzt merke ich, der fremde bin ich
Ich reiss’ mich los von meinem traum
Spüre noch diese hand, suche mein zimmer
Die lampe, das bett ,she’ mich noch von mir steh’n

Nachttraum – Verloren im Traum
Nachttraum – Verloren im Trau

Monday, January 11, 2021

Echo Frames - First look

I ordered a pair of Echo Frames from Amazon... and prescription lenses specifically to fit Echo Frames via LensesRx. Note: to do the latter you'll need your prescription - numbers for the Sph, Cyl, Axis, and Add for OS and OD (your left and right eye -oculus sinister and oculus dexter), as well as your PD, or pupillary distance

The prescription lenses are easily popped in. Next you 'add' your charged Echo Frames to 'Your Devices' in the Alexa app and off you go... 

You don't get much of a choice (back, blue, tortoise versions of the basic frame) while buying the Echo frames, but it looks fine, albeit slightly on the "chunky" side.

The technical specifications:

Echo Frames Reviews:

Echo Frames YouTube Reviews:

Amazon Halo & Amazfit X -- Second look

October 2020 I got my Indiegogo-backed Amazfit X, then in December I got a Amazon Halo band, and they both seem like pretty cool gadgets. There is some overlap in what they measure, including both steps and sleep quality.  

In sleep they both provide an overall sleep score and how long you slept, and then sub-details such as the time spent  in each phase of sleep i.e. light sleep, REM, and deep sleep. The data and information is supplied numerically and graphically.  To check out how close the two sets of measurements were I compared the daily records for one week. 

Right from the first day there were indications of a problem, the two sets of numbers diverged widely! For example for the first night: 

  • The Halo said that I had slept for 4 hours 48 minutes, the Amazfit X for 7 hours 44 minutes
  • Halo had 3 hours 40 minutes (63%) of light sleep; Amazfit X reported 3 hours 50 minutes, or 49%
  • Halo had 1 hour eight minutes (24%) of REM; Amazfit X had 2 hours four minutes (27%)
  • The Halo showed zero deep sleep; the Amazfit X had 1 hour 50m minutes (24%)

The differences were as startling every night of the seven days that I compared! So now I found myself in a quandary and unsure of my sleep numbers - was the Halo correct, was the Amazfit X correct, or were both of them perhaps wrong?! 

In the end I decided that it was the Halo that had to be incorrect mostly because it claimed that I only slept below 5 hours a night for the entire week while the Amazfit X reported that I slept between seven and eight hours every night

Given that I generally went to bed between 10 and 10:30 pm while getting up at around 7 a.m. (i.e. a period of eight and a half hours), for the Halo to be right I'd have to be awake over three and a half hours every night. And while it is true that I did get up several times (interestingly, here they agreed I was up 6 times) every night, each was for a very few minutes and I always fell back asleep in a very few minutes!

More importantly, the deep sleep time reported by the Halo TOTALED one hour and 20 minutes for the ENTIRE WEEK. I looked it up and apparently "The average health adult gets roughly one to 2 hours of deep sleep per 8 hours of nightly sleep." The AmazfitX showed a few days where my deep sleep was on the low side (15%), and others where it was higher (up to 30%), which seemed much more likely!

Next, while the step counts were closer, they still occasionally showed quite different numbers, for example on this date they diverged by a significant 20%! 

The Halo also can measure body fat percentage; you take photos of yourself and it uses an algorithm to calculate body fat. I tried this out, and was appalled by the result. Now I'm not in particularly good shape but at 5 foot nine and 160 pounds I am in the 'normal' range for BMI... True, it's closer to the top of the normal range (18.5% o 25%), but still. My scale reports my body fat percentage as 19.5%, however, the Halo estimate came back at 31%... more than 55% higher! 

The end result? The Amazon Halo has been relegated to the "closet of misfit gadgets!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Amazon Halo - First look

I decided to try out the Amazon Halo sports band, so I entered my information and waited for an "invitation." Sprang for a 'Winter + Silver' version:

And on my wrist, next to the Amazfit X:

The Halo measures basic activity tracking (steps, activity scoring, sleep, etc.), as well as your body composition (fat percentage) and tone ("Analyze qualities of your voice like energy and positivity to help strengthen communication.") 

The technical specifications (click to enlarge):

Charge it up, download and install the app, pair it to your phone, and off you go...

Amazon Halo Reviews:

Amazon Halo Review  (Tom's guide)

Amazon Halo YouTube Reviews:

Amazon Halo Review | Blondes and Bagels