Pixel C Keyboard Criticism seems Unwarranted.

The Google Pixel C Tablet is offered alongside a keyboard made specifically for it – That is a real, physical keyboard, as opposed to some virtual keyboard that just exists graphically on the screen. This added keyboard has its own battery, which recharges by induction coils from the tablet, when the two devices are placed together in an inactive, closed position.

There is an aspect to how this works, which some people have criticized often. If the tablet is attached magnetically to the KB in the upright position – i.e. both are in use – It is possible to leave the A/C / USB-C Adapter plugged in, so that prolonged use will not drain the battery in the tablet. What some users do not like about this, is that doing so does not also plug in the keyboard, which continues to run off its batteries, until the active use is discontinued, and until both parts are repositioned for charging. Some people would like, that the batteries in the KB are also guaranteed not to go low, because the adapter is plugged in to the A/C.

(Edit 04/11/2017 :

Whether I would agree that this problem is serious, depends on a question I do not know the answer to, which is: ‘Does the Pixel C continue to charge its keyboard, when not plugged in, but when the keyboard is in its closed, protected position?’ There are really 2 possibilities:

  1. The Pixel C could be supplying current to the coil that acts as a primary winding, albeit a reduced current, in a way that drains some charge from its internal battery, in order to charge the keyboard-battery slowly, and the capacity of the KB-battery could be so much smaller than that in the Pixel C, that the charge-level of the tablet does not seem to decrease much.
  2. The Pixel C may only be charging its keyboard-battery, when it is itself plugged in, and could be indicating that its own battery is fully charged, without the user having any indication of what the charge-level of the KB is. The user would be unplugging the tablet, not knowing whether his KB is fully charged as well.

If the answer is (1), then I do not see this problem as serious, because it would mean that the KB will generally be able to come back to full charge while the tablet is not being used, even while on-the-go, unless the tablet-battery dies first.

If the answer is (2), then the light-bar of the tablet is of no help, because that factually only indicates the charge of the tablet-battery, to the nearest 1/4 . )

 

(Edit 04/04/2017 : )

Continue reading Pixel C Keyboard Criticism seems Unwarranted.

IRISNotes Digital Pen Again

According to This Earlier Posting, I recently dusted off my ‘IRISNotes Digital Pen’ (not the Version 2), and found ways of synchronizing its internal store of pages with a Linux computer.

I might think that this pen could be a fun toy to play with, if it was not for the high rate of self-discharge of the internal battery, of the receiver. After each day of not being used, the receiver needs to be charged for another 1-2 hours, and after several days of disuse, it needs to be recharged for the full 3 hours again, that are consistent with a completely empty battery. I do not know the reason for this, because even a somewhat ruined battery should not behave quite that badly. But consistently recharging it, does not fix the problem in any way, which remains constant.

If I was to make use of this pen, I would want to be able to leave it in its case, and even take the case with me for several days, and then be able to just take it out of the case and use it. As soon as it needs a 3-hour charge, because I have kept it in its case, it becomes uninteresting to play with.

Dirk

 

New Batteries for my Neato XV Signature

I own a Neato XV Signature, vacuuming robot, which I bought almost a year ago. During my first attempt to let it run, its batteries lasted long enough to be able to vacuum the assigned area at least once, which took about 40 minutes (as it does today). I had also gauged the size of the area it should vacuum, in hopes that the robot would not need to return to its base station to recharge, in the middle of its job, even though that is a task which it can also accomplish – in most cases.

Neato XV _1

But then, after having let this robot vacuum my floor 3x per week, the battery life became shorter. Eventually it would need to break off at least once, to recharge, after which it would complete the job. By that time 1 battery charge was only lasting for 30 minutes. And finally, the robot needed to make three stabs at completing the same assigned area, thus recharging twice automatically before it was done.

So it seems logical that the robot simply needed a new set of batteries, which I just installed today. But, those were Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries, which I think are usually supposed to last longer than just a year. For example, my electric toothbrush still has the same Ni-MH batteries it was originally equipped with, and continues to work after 20 years, with proper battery maintenance.

I always had the suspicion that the robot was over-charging the batteries consistently.

(Edit 11/10/2016 : ) This suspicion arose, because when I left the robot connected to its docking stand continuously, in spite of only working briefly, three times per week, its indicator-LED would switch back and forth between the solid-green-I-am-full and the blinking-green-I-am-almost-full within short intervals – more often than once per day. Considering that the unit had not been working, this was an incorrect sign, which it no longer shows, with the new batteries calibrated.

After I installed the new batteries today, I followed instructions on the Web, according to which we are also supposed to perform a battery calibration, and then the idea struck me, that the early demise of the first set of batteries may have been partially my own doing.

When I first received this robot, I did not perform any initial calibration – of its first set of batteries. Now that I have allowed the robot to do so, it is capable of vacuuming my entire floor space twice in one shot, which takes it 1 hour and 15 minutes of continuous running.

If everything worked as planned, This Defined the Voltage-End-Points, of One Charge-Cycle. However, it is a disappointing drawback of this model, that it gives no feedback, of whether the calibration was in fact a success or not.

Mind you, it was never written in the instructions that came with the Neato XV Signature, the way I received it, that we should do an initial calibration, but doing so might in hindsight have prevented incorrect charging behavior the first time around.

I know one person myself, who bought the same robot, who was not actually much of a Technology Person, but who was systematic enough in her ways, actually to do a calibration, before setting her robot on its first chore.

And it is also commented on the Web today, that sometimes a recalibration will be helpful – for a while – in spite of keeping the first set of batteries.

Continue reading New Batteries for my Neato XV Signature

My Samsung Galaxy S6 Phone is behaving better between Reboots now.

One of the facts which I had reported to personal friends in recent months, was that I needed to reboot my phone frequently. This led to some puzzlement, because many owners of computers and smart-phones, and tablets, realize that in general, each of these device-categories should be able to run for extended periods of time. Back then, I was rebooting my phone, almost every week.

What I now find, is that I do not need to reboot it as often as I used to, and the reason for this is somewhat obscured, in that I also never really stated, why I needed to reboot it before.

One app I use a lot, is ““. The behavior of this app in the past was, that after having played songs several hundred times, it would just refuse to keep doing so, and would cut out on me, until I did my reboot. My instinctive response to this was to assume, that Android could easily be prone to memory leaks.

But what I seem to have learned, is that some update to this exact app in the past few months, completely fixed this behavior. So this was actually just due to a bug in one app.

The fact has been recorded, that by now I am using Bluetooth Headphones to listen to my walking-around music, instead of cheap ones that just plugged in to the headphone jack. But I also recall, that immediately after making the switch in headphones, this behavior of no longer playing music, did not stop. This behavior continued even after I had switched to the BT Headphones.

But in a related way, I once had a reason to reboot which was not fully related: Power consumption would increase, and grow intolerable. My explanation for this remains, that I have hundreds of apps installed, many of which run in the background, but after a reboot, some of the triggers are not set, that will cause these to do so. Only after several days of normal use, do programs run, which would like for the device to wake up later, so that the same program can run in the background. And so the power consumption will plateau at some level, which I was finding bothersome.

Well it is not likely, that the overall model would have changed, by which Android schedules programs to run in the background. Yet, now that I am walking around with my Bluetooth Headphones, I find that the power consumption is tolerable as well, in spite of not having rebooted for several weeks.

The only explanation I can think of for this second improvement, is that the 16-Ω headphones I was using before, must have been requiring a high drain on the battery in the phone, just to drive the headphones themselves.

OTOH, When I am using my BT Headphones to listen to music constantly, their drivers are being powered by a separate battery, belonging to the headphones themselves. Hence, the actual phone seems to be spared some amount of power drain.

Obviously, my BT Headphones are using Bluetooth 4, which consumes much less power than BT 2 did. But I had not imagined that the improvements would be as dramatic as they have become.

Dirk

Please Note: I would not recommend that people buy Bluetooth Headphones, specifically to listen to music, unless the readers have also assured themselves that their new headphones also use A Suitable CODEC, which allows them to appreciate the music in High Fidelity. Standard BT Heaphones are designed for making phone calls and little else.

(Edit 09/02/2016 : ) I should also add, that before making the switch to my Bluetooth Headphones, I typically had the Bluetooth feature of my phone turned on anyway, to enable it to access my “Vivofit” tracking bracelet. Thus, adding the headphones did not add the need for more chips to be turned on than already were, and both the Vivofit bracelet and my BT Headphones, use Bluetooth 4.