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Posts Tagged Android

Monthly Image: Google Pixel XL HDR at Wappingers Falls Bridge

We walked over the bridge in Wappingers Falls on our way to a play:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Google 3D Overhead - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Google 3D Overhead – 2017-09-22

As always, we paused near the center to admire the view (clicky for more dots):

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – 2017-09-22

That’s from the PixelXL, braced on the bridge wall, facing downstream toward the Hudson River.

A dot-for-dot crop of the penstock, showing off the RGB LED garland:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - Penstock crop - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – Penstock crop – 2017-09-22

Contrary to what you might think, the gorge underfoot appeared almost black to the eye, particularly against the glare from the floodlights, so the HDR works very well:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - Gorge crop - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – Gorge crop – 2017-09-22

The JPG compression on those images doesn’t materially affect the results; the original image has most of the artifacts.

The EXIF information:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - Photograph EXIF - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – Photograph EXIF – 2017-09-22

The “1/10 s shutter speed” probably has very little to do with any physical event. AFAICT, the Pixel camera records 30 images/s for the on-screen preview, then uses various images before-and-after the shutter click for motion compensation and HDR processing. If so, “1/10 s” corresponds to three images.

I had the Pixel location tracking in “battery saving” mode with the GPS turned off:

Wappingers Falls Bridge - Pixel XL HDR - GPS EXIF - 2017-09-22

Wappingers Falls Bridge – Pixel XL HDR – GPS EXIF – 2017-09-22

In reality, the bridge is about 90 feet above sea level. The “GPS Time Stamp” and, presumably, the date, use UTC. We’re in UTC-4, with Daylight Saving Time in full effect, so we were comfortably early for the 8 PM show.

The camera doesn’t produce DSLR-with-big-glass quality images, but it fits in my pocket and it’s better than my old Canon SX-230HS for most purposes.

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Google Pixel XL: Google Play Services Phone Number Update

This notification appeared every day after I got my shiny-new / soon-to-be-obsolete Google Pixel XL:

Screenshot_20170906-085931 - Update Your Phone Number - detail

Screenshot_20170906-085931 – Update Your Phone Number – detail

Fast-forward through nearly a month of doing the obvious things to no avail:

  • Tap the notification to update my phone number
  • Update my phone number from Firefox on the Pixel
  • Update my phone number from Firefox on my desktop
  • Ditto, from Chromium
  • Just dismiss the notification, repeatedly
  • Change my phone number in various Google places
  • Ditto, in various ways

Searching on the obvious keywords provided very few hits and none with a resolution. I followed one suggestion to flush the Google Play and Google Play Services caches, to no visible effect.

So I started a chat with Google Support by coredumping the entire list of Things Already Tried. After ten minutes of pleasantries, mostly spent idling while Holmes (great name for a tech support guy) read my coredump (and, most likely, timeshared a dozen other support chats), this transpired:

11:36:01​ ​ Holmes:​ ​ I ​ ​ see​ ​ that​ ​ you’ve​ ​ tried​ ​ almost​ ​ all​ ​ the​ ​ things​ ​ to​ ​ get​ ​ rid​ ​ of​ ​ the​ ​ notification​ ​ for​ ​ Google​ ​ play services.
11:36:05​ ​ Holmes:​ ​ Is​ ​ that​ ​ right?
11:36:57​ ​ Ed​ ​ Nisley:​ ​ It’s​ ​ everything​ ​ I ​ ​ could​ ​ think​ ​ of,​ ​ plus​ ​ a ​ ​ bit​ ​ of​ ​ searching​ ​ the​ ​ usual​ ​ forums.​ ​ A ​ ​ few​ ​ other folks​ ​ have​ ​ the​ ​ same​ ​ problem,​ ​ but​ ​ none​ ​ have​ ​ a ​ ​ resolution.
11:38:04​ ​ Holmes:​ ​ Sure,​ ​ I ​ ​ understand​ ​ that.​ ​ Please​ ​ don’t​ ​ worry​ ​ at​ ​ all,​ ​ we’ve​ ​ a ​ ​ dedicated​ ​ team​ ​ of​ ​ experts​ ​ for Play​ ​ related​ ​ concern.​ ​ I’m​ ​ from​ ​ hardware​ ​ nexus​ ​ Support​ ​ team.
11:38:15​ ​ Holmes:​ ​ I’d​ ​ connect​ ​ you​ ​ directly​ ​ with​ ​ them.

I’ve never gotten to Level 2 that fast in my entire life!

Fifteen minutes later (again, mostly his reading & timesharing):

11:54:37​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ The​ ​ issue​ ​ might​ ​ be​ ​ due​ ​ to​ ​ some​ ​ residual​ ​ files​ ​ that​ ​ might​ ​ hinder​ ​ the​ ​ download​ ​ process.
Lets​ ​ try​ ​ to​ ​ clear​ ​ cache​ ​ of​ ​ Google​ ​ Play​ ​ Store,​ ​ to​ ​ see​ ​ if​ ​ the​ ​ issue​ ​ can​ ​ be​ ​ resolved.
11:55:06​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ I ​ ​ can​ ​ help​ ​ you​ ​ with​ ​ the​ ​ steps,​ ​ if​ ​ you​ ​ want​ ​ to.
11:55:10​ ​ Ed​ ​ Nisley:​ ​ As​ ​ I ​ ​ said​ ​ in​ ​ the​ ​ initial​ ​ description,​ ​ I’ve​ ​ already​ ​ done​ ​ that.
11:55:39​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ I ​ ​ appreciate​ ​ your​ ​ efforts​ ​ to​ ​ fix​ ​ this​ ​ issue.
11:56:08​ ​ Ed​ ​ Nisley:​ ​ Blew​ ​ away​ ​ all​ ​ the​ ​ caches​ ​ for​ ​ anything​ ​ to​ ​ do​ ​ with​ ​ Google​ ​ Play​ ​ anything!
11:56:20​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ Could​ ​ you​ ​ please​ ​ let​ ​ me​ ​ know,​ ​ what​ ​ all​ ​ troubleshooting​ ​ steps​ ​ you​ ​ have​ ​ tried?
11:57:05​ ​ Ed​ ​ Nisley:​ ​ Did​ ​ you​ ​ read​ ​ the​ ​ initial​ ​ description​ ​ I ​ ​ sent​ ​ to​ ​ start​ ​ this​ ​ chat?​ ​ Took​ ​ Holmes​ ​ five​ ​ minutes to​ ​ chew​ ​ through​ ​ it.
11:58:11​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ I ​ ​ see​ ​ that​ ​ you​ ​ have​ ​ cleared​ ​ cache​ ​ of​ ​ Play​ ​ services.
11:58:50​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ Let​ ​ us​ ​ uninstall​ ​ updates​ ​ for​ ​ the​ ​ Play​ ​ Store​ ​ app​ ​ Play​ ​ Store​ ​ and​ ​ Google​ ​ Play​ ​ Services.

At which point it became obvious I was going to spend the rest of the day dinking around:

12:00:58​ ​ Ed​ ​ Nisley:​ ​ Given​ ​ that​ ​ this​ ​ notification​ ​ appears​ ​ in​ ​ the​ ​ morning,​ ​ doing​ ​ this​ ​ step​ ​ by​ ​ step​ ​ will​ ​ take days.​ ​ Give​ ​ me​ ​ a ​ ​ list​ ​ of​ ​ everything​ ​ you​ ​ will​ ​ suggest​ ​ so​ ​ I ​ ​ can​ ​ do​ ​ it​ ​ without​ ​ wasting​ ​ hours​ ​ typing​ ​ at​ ​ you.
12:02:22​ ​ Calvin​ ​ S:​ ​ Respecting​ ​ your​ ​ time,​ ​ I’ll​ ​ follow​ ​ up​ ​ with​ ​ you​ ​ over​ ​ an​ ​ email​ ​ with​ ​ all​ ​ the​ ​ possible troubleshooting​ ​ steps.

The “troubleshooting steps” look like a generic list of progressively more desperate measures applicable to any mysterious Android problem:

Clear app data for the Play Store

Go to Settings > Apps.
Tap Google Play Store > Storage > Clear data > Ok.
At the top left, tap the Back arrow to go to the “App info” screen.
At the top right, tap More (3 dots) > Uninstall updates > Ok > Ok to restore the app to its factory version.
Note: The Play Store will update automatically within 48 hours. If “Uninstall updates” is dimmed, you can skip this step.
Note: If you’ve changed the Google Play Store app settings (content filters, password protection, etc.), you’ll need to set them up again.

Clear the app data of Google Play services

Warning: Clearing the app data of Google Play services can reset settings, affect app performance, and cause unpredictable behavior across the device.

Go to Settings > Apps or Application Manager.
At the top right, tap More (3 dots) > Show system apps (on Android versions lower than 6.0, go to All instead).
Tap Google Play services.
Note: If you don’t see “Google Play services,” check Show all system apps and make sure that both Google Play Framework and Google Play Services are enabled. ​​If they aren’t enabled, download the Google Play Service from Play Store.
Tap Storage > Clear cache.
Then tap Manage Space > Clear All Data > Ok.

After completing this step, you should check the settings on your apps to see if they’re still configured correctly.

Remove and re-add your Google Account

Note: This may reset settings and remove in-app content. However, your purchases and synced data (Gmail, Google contacts, etc.) are tied to your account and will be available after re-adding your account.

Go to Settings > Accounts > Google.
Tap the name of the account you wish to remove.
Important: Make sure you remember your account password. You’ll need it to sign back in to your account.
At the top right, tap More (3 dots) > Remove account > Remove account.
At the top left, tap the Back arrow > Add account > Google.
Sign in to your Google Account.

Uninstall and reinstall Play Store updates

Temporarily uninstalling updates to the Google Play Store app can help fix some issues.

To revert the Play Store app to the previous version:

Go to Settings.
Tap Apps or Application manager (depending on the device).
Tap Google Play Store (depending on the device, you may need to go to All).
Tap on the menu button, and then Uninstall updates.
If the Uninstall updates button isn’t available, skip the rest of this step and continue troubleshooting.
When prompted to change the Play Store app back to the factory version, tap OK.
Go back to the device’s home screen and relaunch the Play Store. Your Play Store app should update to the latest version within a few minutes.
If the Play Store app doesn’t update, tap on the menu button from within the app and go to Settings. Scroll down until you see Play Store Version. Tap on that to check for an update. If none is available, continue to the next step.

Uninstall updates for Google Play Services

Go to Settings.
Tap Apps or Application manager (depending on the device).
Tap Google Play Services (depending on the device, you may need to go to All).
Tap on the menu button, and then Uninstall updates.
If the Uninstall updates button isn’t available, skip the rest of this step and continue troubleshooting.
When prompted to change the Play Store app back to the factory version, tap OK.

Reset your device to factory settings

If you’d like help with resetting your device, contact us from another device and we’ll walk you through it.

To reset your device:

If you have an SD card, remove it to save the data on the card.
Reset your Android device to factory settings.
Sign in to your device with a Google Account that was signed in before the reset.
If you removed an SD card, reinsert it.

To reload your apps and data:

Open the Play Store app.
Tap the Menu (3 lines) > My apps & games > Library.
Next to the apps that you’d like to install, tap Install or Enable.

If the issue still persist after performing all the troubleshooting steps I request you to reply to this email with the screenshot.

As it turned out, blowing away “the app data of the Google Play services” did the trick; the notification Went Away and hasn’t returned.

I hope I never need that information again …

,

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Google Pixel XL Camera Oddity: LED Flicker Stripes

The Pixel’s camera shows a black stripe across both the live preview and the final image:

Pixel XL Camera - shutter stripe

Pixel XL Camera – shutter stripe

That’s under the high-intensity LED lamp on my desk, which must have a high-frequency flicker. I’m amazed the camera remains in absolutely stable sync with the flicker for as long as I’m willing to aim it.

The stripe covers only the moth and greenery, not the LCD monitor in the background, so it’s caused by the overhead lamp, not something internal to the Pixel or its camera.

A closer look shows shading on either side of the deepest black (clicky for more dots):

Pixel XL Camera - shutter stripe - detail

Pixel XL Camera – shutter stripe – detail

The stripe location and width differ based on the image zoom level, although in no predictable way:

Pixel XL Camera - shutter stripe - 2

Pixel XL Camera – shutter stripe – 2

The Pixel camera definitely doesn’t have optical zoom, so it’s surely related to the scaling applied to convert the physical sensor array into the final image. Even though all images have 4048×3036 pixels (or the other way around, at least for these portrait-layout pix), zoomed images get made-up (pronounced “interpolated”) data in their pixels.

Not a problem under any other illumination I’ve encountered so far, so it’s likely something to do with this specific and relatively old LED lamp.

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Google Pixel vs. Clip-on Lenses

The clip-on lenses for the (fancy) camera  in my soon-to-be-obsolete Google Pixel XL don’t fit well on the case I added to improve its griptivity:

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case - angle

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case – angle

The upper half of the clip rests on the rim of the case around the bezel, with only the end of the foam pad against the glass:

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case - angle overview

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case – angle overview

That’s pretty much the only stable position.

Sticking a disk of stair-tread rubber on the foam adds just enough thickness to match the rim:

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case - aligned

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case – aligned

The lenses came with two clips, so I left one unmodified to fit the Pixel without the case:

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case - clamps

Pixel vs Lens Clamp vs Case – clamps

Not that that happens very often, but …

The lenses are about as good as you’d expect for ten bucks from Amazon. Stacking the 0.67 “wide angle” lens on the camera enlarges the field-of-view by a third with closer focusing at maximum zoom, so the minimum FOV drops from 2 inches down to 1 inch at a reasonable distance.  The 10x “macro” lens is basically useless, with a focus distance well within the Pixel’s shadow under any normal lighting; if I were that sort of guy, I’d conjure a small LED ring powered from the USB-C port.

 

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Kindle Fire Power Button: Some Things Don’t Last

Once again, the single moving part on my first-generation Kindle Fire stopped working. As before, the switch contacts accumulated enough fuzz & contamination to prevent any current flow, but this time the (soft) solder joints attaching the switch body to the PCB failed:

Kindle Fire power switch - failed anchor

Kindle Fire power switch – failed anchor

My joint cleaning & fluxing wasn’t up to contemporary standards, as shown by the obviously un-fused footprints left in the upper pads:

Kindle Fire power switch - failed anchor joints

Kindle Fire power switch – failed anchor joints

The switch frame seems to be unplated steel, which shouldn’t be an excuse.

So I dismantled the switch, cleaned the contacts and tactile bump plate, put it all back together, and did a much better job of surface preparation:

Kindle Fire power switch - rebuilt - right anchor

Kindle Fire power switch – rebuilt – right anchor

The other joint:

Kindle Fire power switch - rebuilt - left anchor

Kindle Fire power switch – rebuilt – left anchor

And, for completeness, the switch leads:

Kindle Fire power switch - rebuilt - switch pads

Kindle Fire power switch – rebuilt – switch pads

I don’t like the way the joint on the right looks, either, but we’ll see how long the whole affair holds together.

This may be the last time I can repair the Kindle, as a bypass cap came loose while I was working on the PCB, the screen has been accumulating dust at an increasing pace, and several latches securing the back of the case have cracked.

Methinks it’s getting on time for a new pocketable memory device; if only Pixel XL phablets had a bigger screen and didn’t cost night onto a kilobuck.

 

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Bose QC20 Noise-cancelling Headphone Signals

Bose QuietComfort QC20 Noise Canceling headphones (they’re actually earbuds) come in Apple and Android versions that (probably) differ only in the connector pinout. Given that the connector has four conductors, I was surprised to find only half a dozen different possibilities, with only two for purely audio connectors.

These QC20 earbuds came in the Android flavor, also known as the CTIA/AHJ “standard”:

Bose QC20 Earphones

Bose QC20 Earphones

The 3.5 mm plug connections:

  • Tip = left audio
  • Ring 1 = right audio
  • Ring 2 = ground
  • Sleeve = microphone and button signals

The blue Mode button on the side of the splitter box switches the noise cancelling between “some” and “silent”. The latter works surprisingly well; it can knock our vacuum cleaner down to a bearable level.

The three black buttons place resistive loads on the otherwise open-circuit microphone connection:

  1. Volume + = 220 Ω
  2. Answer/End = 56 Ω
  3. Volume – = 520 Ω

Now, if only I had a device that would do something with those signals …

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