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Posts Tagged Android

Let the Dead Past Bury Its Dead

My old Gen 1 Kindle Fire hasn’t seen much action lately, so I figured maybe it could end its days by becoming a slide show / picture frame. While fiddling around, I tried to fire up the Amazon Shopping app:

Amazon App Unsupported on Amazon Gen 1 Kindle

Amazon App Unsupported on Amazon Gen 1 Kindle

Clicking the big orange button fired up Amazon’s Silk browser, which promptly crashed.

Some days, the punch line writes itself …

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Power Over Audio

An obsolete Intuit / Roam Data credit card reader emerged from the heap:

Intuit Roam Data Reader

Intuit Roam Data Reader

“Turn up the volume” suggestes where the power comes from:

Intuit Roam Data Reader - plug wiring

Intuit Roam Data Reader – plug wiring

They drive a LOUD, probably square-ish, audio signal through both “earphone”channels, rectify and regulate the output, and have plenty of power for the reader. The card data returns through the “mic” as another audio signal; I assume they choose an encoding well-suited for a dab of DSP decoding.

Nowadays, of course, 3.5 mm jacks are obsolete, audio data travels by Bluetooth, and you must keep a myriad of batteries charged at all times.

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Mid-Hudson Bridge: Evening

Seen from the Walkway Over the Hudson during a Moonwalk:

Mid-Hudson Bridge - Moonwalk

Mid-Hudson Bridge – Moonwalk

Taken with the Pixel XL braced on the railing. It has a good camera, but good low-light photography requires bigger pixels, more lens, and less compression.

The bright white block just to the right of the left tower comes from construction lighting in the new Vassar hospital building.

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Google Pixel vs. USB Mounting

For reasons undoubtedly making sense at the time, the Google Pixel (and, most likely, current Android devices) don’t support the USB Mass Storage protocol. A bit of poking around suggests the jmtpfs utility supplies the other end of the Pixel’s Media Transfer Protocol and the process goes a little something like this:

  • Once upon a time, create a mountpoint: mkdir /mnt/pixel
  • Unlock the phone
  • Plug in the USB cable
  • Pull down the top menu, tap USB charging this device
  • Select Transfer Files
  • sudo jmtpfs /mnt/pixel -o allow_other,fsname="Pixel"

The allow_other parameter sets the directory / file permissions so ordinary users can access the files. The fsname is just for pretty.

The Pixel’s storage then appears as the awkwardly named /mnt/pixel/Internal\ shared\ storage/ directory.

Despite being somewhat Linuxy under the hood, the mapped storage doesn’t support the usual filesystem attributes, so don’t try to transfer them with, say, rsync -a:

rsync -rhu --progress /mnt/music/Music\ for\ Programming /mnt/pixel/Internal\ shared\ storage/Music/

When you’re done: sudo umount /mnt/pixel

This may not be a win over bankshotting off Dropbox or Google Drive, except for sensitive bits like private keys and suchlike.

Thunar apparently knows how to detect and mount mtp devices automagically and I suppose GUI-fied drag-n-drop works as you’d expect.

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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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