Last blogpost of the year - 29/12/2020
Well, I thought I'd just laze around & not post any updates until at least New Year, but screw it. I might as well do one last flip-flop & write something about COVID - not the disease, but the society around me with this thing around. So, let's start with me listing some assholes that spawn out of this "pandemic" :
- At 25/12/2020, I had to go to the church, despite my disagreement - just to accompany Vadim (my cousin, not his actual name) & his girlfriend (who nagged him, who in turn nagged me). There, I can't stand the heat (at that time, the AC is disabled due to "government recommendations") & started fanning myself (with my mask), only to get kicked out by an enforcer. I'd be honest - the air outside the church is somewhat colder (which is nice I suppose), but still - waiting for the 2+ hours of mass to end sucks. I did warn them not to invite me to any churches next time as a result - I just hope that went through their thick skulls.
- Once, I went to a mall to buy stuff (of course, I am also accompanying the same Vadim who nagged me to accompany him to the church) - only to get pushed back by the security for wearing the wrong kind of mask. At that time, they're demanding everyone who comes in to wear that crappy 1-use mask, & we wore the re-usable & re-washable cloth mask. We went elsewhere, but not before I quietly swore at the bastard with the uniform, who at the time acted like he was a Ksathriya & we were a lowly Sudra.
- In one way, Vadim is definitely guilty for bringing me to both of the asshole lairs above - but without him, I won't be typing in this shit. So, thanks, I suppose...
- And, of course - the probably ignored elephant in the room - the government, or, as I would like to call them - oppressors. They are the ones responsible for all of this - yet, nobody (save for a few) thinks they're wrong. Their "experts" & "authorities" don't give a shit on the topic they deal with unless it fits the top's preferences.
Then, some questionable changes that happened just because of COVID :
- Contact tracing / tracking - now available at microG but disabled by default. Of course, this is just the beginning of a slippery slope where someday someone from the big corpo gets the masses to accept more surveillance through some newspeak BS - hope I'm not being a conspiracy theorist on this one...
And, let me say this about DigDeeper's COVID article : So far, throughout 2020, I actually can't come up with any rebuttals to disagree, even if I was reading in disagreement & to find something I can actually disagree on.
Well, I survived MIUI on my X3N for more than a week - still no burner number in the ready. So, here's my impression after that time, with a disclaimer that says I'm so happy with 120hz the bias may get skewed :
- Starting with performance - no, I didn't "use" PUBG & Fate/GO for this one, instead opting for Shattered Pixel. In that game, 120hz scrolling is smooth - but once you step on a mass-summoning trap (such as sheep trap) - it'll slow down considerably. I was also able to detect some slowdowns when passing through the door with an enemy right behind. I can also reproduce all of these even when the display is set to 60hz, which indicates that the SoC performance is underwhelming.
- The 80-20 % battery run lasts for 3 days on 120hz. I could stretch out some more on 60hz / a custom ROM, but I just wanna enjoy that smooooth screen.
- The back does vibrate when playing audio - but that's not a flaw. You won't ever notice it when the X3N is protected with a case.
Well, the PrivMod-basic & root hating games guide are updated to factor in A11, after playing around with crDroid v7.1 for F1. Speaking of crDroid, I'm proud to nominate it "The Best Heavyweight ROM You'll Ever Use".
To close this year - Happy Holidays - Christmas, Grav-Mass, Isaac Newton's birthday, you name it.
Well, got the X3 NFC (which will be referred to as X3N). Here's my initial impressions of the device :
- Let's start with the full name : Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC. IMO, that name's as bloated as Mobile Legends : Bang Bang (yes, that's literally its name in Play Store, and no, I don't play it - the gameplay sucks).
- Pretty big & thicc, though only somewhat bulkier than the usually bulky Zenfone 6.
- The 5160 mAh battery is a tiny bit bigger than the Zenfone 6, but good luck killing it below 12 hours, because the Snapdragon 732G is less power hungry.
- Comes with a pre-included screen protector, though it's off center to the left. GSMArena's not the only guys who'll complain about this, since I'm joining in too. Getting a better screen protector is recommended.
- 120hz is definitely as smooth as my ROG laptop, but I'm concerned that I won't find any games that fully use that 120hz, other than Shattered Pixel. I'm also concerned if that SoC can push those games to 120hz.
- The "metal" sides are plastic, judging from the lack of antenna strips. It feels quite like one, but without the coldness associated with one.
- The plastic back looks unique. That big POCO logo though... it's big & ugly, but at least it's not visible under a non-clear case and/or the right angle. Also, get ready to fire up the heat gun when you want to start repairing the X3N for anything.
- Pointlessly big camera bump consisting of 2 useless sensors (macro & depth), one main with 64MP - too much megapixels (12 - 16 MP is enough, no need for 48MP, let alone 64MP when you're shooting at 12-16 MP anyway), a wide angle at the center, & a mono flash. A crappy move done by most manufacturer to max out camera count at the cost of design & functionality.
- Fine, loud, & clear audio quality from the earpiece & bottom speaker combo, as well as the headphone jack (when the sound is set to Music in MIUI). Man, I haven't been properly happy with audio since V30, but then again, the V30's speakers are crap compared to this.
Then, here's my initial impression of MIUI (after abandoning it on the F1 for so long, only to return there on the X3N) :
- MIUI is a very "in your face" ROM. Settings are unintuitive (examples below) & may randomly change (by the prebuilt "optimizer" in MIUI security / updates, idk); brightness slider isn't intuitive (you'd think tapping an area would instantly change the brightness, but nooo, MIUI says you must slide to change, & that's that); and that's just the tip of my issues with MIUI.
- Changing the display size is usually done in Settings > Display > Display size and / or Settings / Accessibility > Display size, while in MIUI it's just Settings > Additional settings > Accessibility > Vision > Display.
- About phone can usually be found in the bottom of the Settings in AOSP, but in MIUI it's on the topmost, & it also doubles as the update-checking area.
- Bloatwares are plentiful here, with examples below :
- 3rd-party bloatware from Facebook & Go-ogle, the latter can be disabled / uninstalled from GUI settings while the latter can only be partially disabled. At least YouTube had the decency to allow its uninstallation.
- 1st-party spyware, such as MIUI analytics, Soter service, ads inbuilt into Mi apps.
- MIUI security app has a cleaning module, as well as an "optimizer" that changes settings. Why would a security app even need those?
- Inbuilt bloat that fucks up the system when it's removed, such as the aforementioned MIUI security
- No per-app Wi-fi restriction. Only mobile restriction, & I'm not sure if it even works.
- Ads enabled by default, can only be disabled by digging into apps (such as Mi Security, which checks apps for viruses before letting you go & showing you an ad) & disabling recommendations.
- Inconsistencies for app management. Long press an app from the launcher gets you a way to manage the app, while digging into Settings will give you another way that's not quite different.
- In short conclusion, I have no idea how anyone can like a ROM like this, when it's a bloated mess that presents your data to multiple governments (such as China & USA & their spies) on a golden platter. As soon as my bootloader's unlocked, I'm removing this crap.
So, in conclusion, this WILL be my last Xiaomi / Poco device. I like the hardware, but again, the bootloader protocol is so bad it erases all positivity I had for them, as well as excarberating the software's flaws, since you can't just remove it without waiting for days or even weeks. Time to look for a burner number, I suppose... since support comes only after I get a custom ROM on it.
Also, a tiny update for Android 11 : I can transfer OBB files to /Android/data/obb by TWRP. Having to boot to recovery just to transfer some resource files sucks. Why would any custom ROM developers keep on insisting to run the latest Android, even if some of their advantages are eclipsed by the removal of user choice?
Just tried out Genshin Impact, & here's my take on it:
- Won't work if it detects root. Not sure about ADB though.
- On 1st run (before logging in), I was greeted with an old-fashioned login display.
- After logging in (with a borrowed account, since I didn't plan on making one), I had to wait for the resources, which takes 7-8 gigabytes.
- Running Genshin at 60FPS? With the F1, mostly smooth for the first 5 minutes or so, but with a stock XZ1? Good luck. The game's heavy.
- Not sure about the privacy, but I'm concerned about these things :
- The game's online-only
- The developer corpo is a Chinese corpo
- Phone number required for account recovery
- Gameplay wise, it's a blend of SAO-IF & Legend of Zelda (shouldn't it be Link, since he's the protag?) : Breath of the Wild. Meh, but at least I didn't see the gacha getting in my way.
- Gyroscope usage is bad. Coming from a former PUBG Mobile player, aiming with gyro is just too slow.
- In conclusion, I don't know how anyone could see this as one of the best games of 2020 (what are they on, nicotine?). It's a blend of what's already there, & done by someone who'd probably serve your data to the Chinese government on a golden platter.
For Android 11, here's my initial impressions:
- I can't put OBB files from my SD card to /Android/data/obb using the prebuilt file manager.
- Most, save for some like OctaviOS, lacks any kind of per-app data restriction. Not that bad, considering that A11 development hasn't taken off yet.
As for the site changelog... I unfortunately forgot the logs. Sorry about that. As far as I could remember, some slight updates for Shattered Pixel.
And, finally, I'm planning to get the Poco X3 NFC, & getting the same cousin who got me to try out Genshin to help me unlock the bootloader. I hope this is my last Xiaomi / Poco PDA (unless Poco's actually changing the bootloader unlock protocol to be less internet-dependent).
So, I was randomly plugging in my Zenfone 6 when I discovered that it's alive (red LED shines on charge). An update to 176 firmware & last Havoc build (without wiping System) gave me this result (could be that I didn't wipe System while installing Havoc):
- The camera works again out of the blue. Previously, back when I wiped System on every flashing, turning on the camera causes the 6z to glitch out & reboot.
Opening the camera may still randomly cause random reboots, but at least it works... sometimes.
- The Wi-Fi doesn't cause a random reboot when I enabled it. May cause the 6z to reboot when enabled back when I wiped System.
With this, The Zenfone 6 retakes its 2nd place, blasting the OnePlus 3T all the way down to 3rd. Of course, the F1's shit-ass touchscreen had to drag it all the way to 4th.
Anyway, moving on to the bad news - my Pixel XL finally gave up the ghost. It fell & the OLED panel cracked, somehow leaving the glass intact. I could technically fix it, but since I couldn't find any spare parts for the Pixel XL (at least without submitting to Amazon / Alibaba botnet), I had to mark it as a dead PDA.
Either way, here's the changelog for now :
- sneak.berlin added to externals
- OnePlus is added into the PDA recommendations. I only recommend the 3(T), 5(T), & 6.
- And yes, more stubs. More fucking stubs. Made my own microG app list & guide on how to run root-hating games on rooted PDAs.
Well, I bought the Sony Xperia XZ1 to see if I can support the device. Turns out, the XZ1 I got was the SOV36 with non-unlockable bootloader, which sucks. However, it is also an opportunity for me to say that you should never get a carrier-locked device, & an opportunity for me to make a PrivMod for non-rooted PDAs. That guide should come as soon as I could consider it stable & reliable, so it'll take a bit. Yes, this unfortunately means that I don't support the XZ1.
The PDA Apps article has enough changes that I have to list its own changelog, so here's the log:
- Finally added sections for camera, keyboard, & backup app.
- Added a dishonorable mention for terrible apps you shouldn't use. To clarify further, I don't necessarily use these apps unless I had no choice but to use them, & I will switch as soon as I found an alternative.
- Updates uncovering some shit at F-Droid & Newpipe.
Apparently nobody discussed about any major issues at F-Droid.
As for Newpipe, it has gone to shit since 0.20.0, & the only reason I still use it is because it's still usable as a YouTube downloader.
And some changelog for the site :
- Added some quote, which will appear on the index & changes whenever I want to change it. Previous quotes can be seen in the Archive.
- The PDA OS rules article is up. However, it is still a stub, so expect rewrites & updates.
- Keywords is finally up.
Finally, to close up this blog post, I won't be active for quite a while. Playing 2 Fate/GO accounts in an event does really damage my time, & I do have to focus on improving my alt.
Let's start with some changelog:
- Starting with the PDA Apps section, it's somewhat revised, removing positives & negatives for some overwhelmingly simple apps such as SimpleMobileTools' apps; pun not intended. At the same time, at least it's currently complete, so there's that.
- Welp, the Shattered Pixel articles are finally out.
- Somewhat revised the F1 & V30 reviews, mainly the physical features section. Also added the reviews for A1, 3T, & Pixel XL while I'm at it.
Then, I'm not quite glad to announce it, but due to deteriorating free time, I had to pause the PDA OS section.
Another minor site update:
- The PDA Recommendations are revised. It IS still a stub, so expect some revisions.
- nitter.net links are replaced by nitter.snopyta.org.
- Finally wiped the sections that are marked for deletion.
After nearly a fortnight of not being able to update the site, I am now ready to throw off another update for the site. The changelogs include:
- Deleted off the Manifesto, since my Ad Hominem section will eventually cover them - or parts of them that I consider.
- Slightly reordered the starting page.
- Marked AFWall, AdAway, Magisk, SD Maid, Blokada, & Netguard sections for deletion when I update the site next time. They're eventually going to be moved into the PDA Apps section. ( Blokada & Netguard hasn't been moved yet)
And, since I've been also playing Shattered Pixel Dungeon for a bit, I hope I can plan on making an article(s) about that. As a spoiler alert - the game is fucking awesome & it's open sourced.
A tiny update for the site:
- Revert the PDA List updates that feature which ROM & kernel I'm running - moved the to my About Me / Ad Hominem.
- Speaking of About Me / Ad Hominem, it's been updated - I just added the device list & open source/proprietary stance.
And, that's it. Aside from me thanking the viewers for 20k views, thank you for that.
Well, it's the end of September. And the end of the year for Android 10, as the developers shift their focus towards A11, & potentially also making more Limbos in the process.
With that said, here are the site changelog:
- The Devices list has been renamed to PDA list.
- After some personal reflections, I decided to recommend avoiding Pixel ROMs like the plague, even Pixel Experience. I know that I sound flip-flopping in this regard, but Pixel ROMs are the cancer of custom ROM development that keeps us at the Goolag prison. I might want to post more about this, but don't expect it to appear sooner, since I still have to finish my PDA reviews.
Changelog for the site:
- Updated the ROM list for Ancient, RR, & Nusantara. I'll be honest, I can't like these ROMs.
- The ROM list updates will be dialed down as I need all of my devices to work. Perhaps, if I had a duplicate device, I could ramp up the updates.
Starting out with something to clear up in the PDA OS section :
- A bracketed link means the latest available build is more than 3 months old - you shouldn't use them, but you could if you wanted to.
And, with this, here's the site changelog:
- Removed every single battery life section. Having this section would mean that I'm required to add a metric for battery testing, which must be reproducible. Adding in custom ROMs will introduce too much additional factors, since a custom ROM may not be officially available for every device.
- Added Cygnus & AEX to the list of Limbo ROMs to avoid.
First, let me start this part by sending my condolences to the GZOSP team: RIP Martin Coulon (martinusbe), you'll be missed, & thanks for GZOSP.
Now that I'm done sending the condolences, here are the changelog for the site :
- Corrected the preparation guide for the device to receive custom ROMs, while also adapting it for GNU/Linux (albeit Arch distros only, since that's the example).
- Updated the PDA-OS section to accomodate the OnePlus 3T. Since OnePlus 3 & 3T share the same kernel (but different SOC), the builds are unified. In light of this fact, the OnePlus 3T will be called 3(T). Speaking of the PDA-OS, MSM-Xtended links are updated, since they moved their download infrastructures.
The 3T has arrived, & flashed with its latest TWRP & Havoc. With this, here's the site changelog:
- Added a preparation guide for the device to receive custom ROMs.
- Speaking of Havoc, it too has received the "allow network" stuff crDroid & Corvus (& numerous other ROMs I'm not aware of) ran, so it gets a mention.
As a short addition, here's my thoughts of Oxygen OS (Pie):
- There's a per-app network restriction, which is surprising for most stock ROMs not named /e/OS. However, instead of enabled by default, it's disabled by default, & it says "Disabled WiFi / Data usage". Didn't test it for its functionality though, so I can't say whether that works or not.
- It's bloated with only OnePlus & Goolag apps. Otherwise, it's close to stock+.
- My final thoughts : I didn't feel the hype most feels with this OS, but at least it's one of the better stock ROMs.
With air & dust in my wallet & hypocritical hatred of Windows in my heart, I hereby announce that OnePlus 3T support is arriving... soon. No ETAs.
Meanwhile, Bliss replaces Corvus as the "Limbo ROM to avoid", & the LG V30 review finally had something that hopefully looks like an incomplete conclusion.
Starting with some news:
- My Zenfone 6 finally succumbed to its motherboard issues. I kinda knew it's coming, I just didn't know when.
For a short explanation: (taken from the 6z review)
Random reboot occured at 15/9/2020, almost 4 months after the final firmware upgrade. Afterwards, I tried to upgrade the firmware, only to end up taking a reboot while flashing, causing it to get stuck in fastboot. Now, the 6z isn't detected in fastboot commands, unable to even boot TWRP.
- GearJail is now worked on locally.
Then, some changelog for the site:
- Slightly updated the V30, F1, & 6z reviews.
- Added TechLore to the YouTube links.
- Replaced mentions of Q ROMs with A10 / Android 10 / AOSP 10.
First of all, I'm going to announce that I'm no longer going to update my GNU/Linux distro list, generally because I need a PC I can rely on. Don't get me wrong, I would like to use GNU/Linux and/or BSD (haven't even started testing them). However, I couldn't get WINE to work at all & touch support is all over the place (Examples of stuff that supports touch input the best is Chromium-based browsers & GNOME DE (and, by extension, Budgie). On the apps side, for example, PPSSPP (Qt) struggles to identify more than 1 touch input). So, yeah. I'm stuck at Windows for now, even if I wanted to hate it just as much as I tried to love GNU/Linux. I'll also admit that I grew up with Windows.
On that note however, there is some good news: work is being done to make a privacy-friendly Windows 10 build. The details are available at the PC OS list.
Changelog for the site:
- Added the Zenfone 6 review article.
- De-archived YouTube links.
- Added App Store section to PDA Apps.
Added MoKee & Nusantara Project to the PDA OS list, & updated some parts for F1 review.
A tiny update for CSS which can be seen firsthand in the PDA-OS section. Speaking of the PDA OS section, a downgrade for Corvus thanks to their "server side issues".
A minor update to state that Lineage-microG is back & brings A10 support in the process. Support for Poco F1 (theirs, not mine) is currently off though.
Posting the blog log like a changelog here:
- Archived all Youtube links & reverted them to invidious.snopyta.org
While the instance still works, I see no videos when I enter a channel. A quick link for the archive
It'll stay the way it is until it's fixed.
- Slightly reordered the external links, adding custom ROMs in the mix.
- Initiated PC Operating System list.
First off, I'm announcing that I'm cutting off my support for the Zenfone 6, with reasons listed below:
- Lack of confidence with updates
This is one that started from somewhere around April / May. At that time, I'm using the latest Havoc build with the 144 firmware. Then, I tried out the latest build which requires the 145. While tinkering around with the settings, it randomly rebooted, eventually forcing me to rollback to 144 build, which somehow bootloops as well. Fast forward to 27/05, I've flashed Bliss & 153 firmware, & have neither flashed anything nor faced any random reboots else ever since.
That, combined with multiple threads on Zentalk complaining about issues on the latest firmware (171 as of now), destroys any confidence I had in the prospects of updating the device.
- Bootloader unlocking issues
Back when I'm unlocking the Zenfone's bootloader (23/01), I had no trouble, aside from the fact that it needs to connect to ASUS. Recently, issues with the unlocking server pop up, preventing bootloader unlocking. This highlights a massive issue with ASUS PDAs: bootloader unlocking requires connecting to a server. In ASUS' case, it seems to be unreliable.
- Changed the invidious links to yewtu.be.
- (16/08) Added Endeavour OS to the distro list.
In memory of invidio.us going down, the YouTube links will use invidious.snopyta.org instance.
Updated the PrivMod-base to reflect on Private DNS usage.
As we trudge on the last days of July 2020, I'll be doing some short updates.
Changelog for PDA-OS:
- Put Lineage-X in the Lineage section, for now. Since it's basically Lineage that trades its Setup Wizard for signature spoofing ability, don't expect much.
- Updated Corvus & AOSiP because of Corvus' new boot animation.
- Minor update for Pixel Experience : While I'm not in support of Pixel ROM, I can at least acknowledge that Pixel Experience has a clear mission, & in my opinion, it's the least offensive of Pixel ROMs.
And, some PSA messages regarding the pandemic:
- If you survived from COViD, I shall give my congratulations.
- If anyone you known have died from COViD, I'll give my condolences.
- For anyone else who haven't been hit, try not going out as much as possible. Or, in another sentence, I hope you don't get infected, & if you do, I can only wish for your survival.
In celebration of having somehow reached 10,000 viewers (thanks!), I'll be making something that (hopefully) looks like an actual blog post.
Pixel XL & Android 10
To start off with the "blogpost", I've tried out Android 10 builds on the Pixel XL, using these 3 ROMs: LineageOS (just to update the firmware); Dirty Unicorns, & BlissROMs. This is done primarily because I just wanted to check them out. Well, the results are disappointing. Here's my full report:
- TWRP 188.8.131.52, the version that works (installable & bootable), cannot mount /system on 10 builds. The one that mounts /system, 184.108.40.206; cannot be installed (technically, it could be installed. It just can't boot.) & must be hotbooted with fastboot, which, in my opinion, isn't ideal, since I'm used to installing TWRP.
- Both DU & Bliss (for the Pixel XL) are Goolag-only, & I've updated my PDA-OS section to reflect on those changes. Consequently, Corvus also got updated to reflect on me using DU.
- While flashing Lineage for the 2nd time (again, since Lineage contains the latest firmware images), I forgot to flash TWRP. This consequently led me to Lineage Recovery. While I find the Lineage Recovery fine enough for the normies, it won't be my choice of recovery, since the only way to flash ROMs there are by using ADB sideload. This is purely a personal opinion though.
- While I could technically play with hotbooting TWRP, I find that it's not a desirable approach for me. So.... I chose to return to Pie.
In my attempt to return the Pixel to Pie, I've chosen to flash /e/ out of curiosity, see what changed. Well, nothing changed, save for these : DNS settings for Pie actually works (not Private DNS) & at least it's on a more recent security patch than LineageOS-microG.
XDA has released a ROG Phone 3 pre-review, & it sounds as corpo-friendly as it is. I'll be making a rant about it, but, due to internet issues (somehow I can't connect to Neocities for 2 straight days), expect it to be a stub. Regardless, here's the link.
Started the intialization of my own GNU/Linux distro list.
Also, having dug deeper on my own about the COVID pandemic, I felt guilty for claiming that it's a "psy-op pandemic". With this statement, I'm sorry. Sorry for falling headfirst into the belief of this being a PSY-OPS.
Finally unified the entire external links section.
Some update to the blog section : Archived the blog logs for the 1st half of 2020, link found above.
Reverted the h3 & p fonts back to Times New Roman.