About

Michael Zucchi

 B.E. (Comp. Sys. Eng.)

  also known as zed
  & handle of notzed

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Saturday, 04 January 2014, 01:29

tablet firmware

I had my occasional look for updated firmware for my tablet yesterday - an Onda V712 Quad - and was pleased to find one came out late November. All firmwares, I guess.

For whatever reason this particular tablet seems to be remarkably uncommon on the internet. Apart from the piss-poor battery life it's pretty nice for it's price - although that is a fairly big issue I guess.

I apparently bricked it running the firmware updater via microsoft. Nothing seemed to be happening/it said the device was unplugged, so after a few minutes I unplugged it. Don't really know what happened but the list of instructions that then popped up in a requester managed to get it back on track. Not that I needed it this time, but every time I go into the recovery boot menu I forget which button is 'next' - the machine only has power and home - and always seem to press the wrong one, but luckily I didn't really need it. I know from previous readings that the allwinner SOCs are completely unbrickable anyway, so i wasn't terribly concerned about it.

After a bit of confusion with the - i presume - ipad like launcher they decided to change to, I got it back to where it was before. I didn't even need to reinstall any apps.

So although it's still android 4.2 (4.4 is out for some of their tablets but not this one, not sure if it will get it, Update 11/1/14: 4.4 is now up for my tablet but i haven't tried it yet) they fixed a few things.

The main one for me is that media player service plays streaming mp3 properly now: previously my internoderadioplayer app wouldn't play anything onitdidn't work. I might be motivated to fix a couple of things and do another release sometime soonish.

Other than that it just feels a bit snappier - although I really wouldn't mind if you could set the display to update at some low frame-rate like 12-15fps to save power. That full-screen render can't be cheap on battery and most of the animations just give me the shits to start with.

I'm still a bit annoyed how they changed the order of the software buttons along the bottom - having back in the corner followed by the rest made much more physical sense with all the varying screen sizes out there. Having them centred is a pain in the arse, and I keep accidentally activating that 'google' thing on that bizarre circular menu thing off the home button when trying to scroll scroll scroll through long web pages because there's no fucking scrollbar on anything anymore. I don't even know what that google thing is for (read: i have no interest in finding out) but I sure wish I could disable it from ever showing up.

Pretty much only use it as a web browser for the couch anyway - the screen is too shiny to use outside (despite a very high brightness). Typing on a touch screen is utterly deplorable, and playing games on one isn't much better. It's just passable as a PDF reader, although I wish mupdf handled off-set zoom with page-flipping better (it's a hard thing to get right though). I'm finding the over-bright black-on-white becoming somewhat irritating to read for very long so i might have to patch it for a grey background anyway. Actually it's quite useful for finding papers - for some reason Google search from my desktop has decided to keep returning stuff it thinks I want to read, rather than what I'm searching for. So that just means I keep finding the same fucking papers and articles i've already read - which isn't much use to me. Fortunately for whatever reason the tablet doesn't have this problem, ... yet.

I had to turn off javascript in firefox because it kept sucking battery (and generally just kept sucking full stop), any websites or features that rely on it just wont work - if that breaks a web site then I just dont bother returning. I've no interest in commenting on blogs or forums from it so it doesn't break much for me. Amazing how much smoother the internet is without all that crap. Everything has layout problems too because I force a typeface and font size that's big enough to read; but I have that problem on every browser. Dickhead web designers.

Tagged rants.
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