Had to reformat the ROG laptop because it refused to properly work after trying out my own hosts file in it - and updated it to W10 2004 in the process. I am starting to hate Windows more (as if I couldn't hate it even more) & going to plan on getting an old Thinkpad (a Ryzen laptop would be better, but unfortunately it's a bit too expensive for me, at least for now...) for my own daily use (and leaving the ROG to PC gaming, as it probably should have been).
Also, most of the site font has been changed to Roboto-Condensed (without any 3rd-party connections because I found its ttf file & downloaded it), just because I feel like it (and totally not making it more Android-oriented, which has been the stuff coming out of this site for a good while).
With the X3P's bootloader unlocked & ArrowOS (and Nebrassy's TWRP too) flashed, here are my findings :
- First off, it's just like the first months of me with the X3N - deleting bloat apps from /system using rooted SD Maid is a go, other bloats from /product & /system-ext had to be frozen because it can't just be deleted like usual.
- Else, it's basically the X3N repeated - SPD performance is fine in AOSP but shit in MIUI, for example.
Since I mentioned about work being done to make dynamic partitions read/writeable, here are my findings of using said solution (lebigmac's systemrw, version 1.31d) :
- On the X3N (with brigudav's TWRP 3.5.2_10-4), the prebuilt mountrw script (which I'd prefer to use over the makerw script) just works, while the less said about systemrw the better (it returns error 255, indicating it had to be manually installed).
Note : I preferred the mountrw script as it allows mounting super partition as rw only on the instance it was installed.
- Similarly, on the X3P, the script doesn't work. I initially flashed the entire bundle, causing TWRP (Nebrassy's 3.5.1) to reboot itself to a state where it couldn't read the storage. However, after a reboot to system or recovery, either still works like it was before getting flashed. Considering the script didn't work on the X3N, I didn't try the systemrw flashable that was supposed to be flashed (I fear the results are the same).
- For the record, I also extracted brigudav's mountrw script from /tools in TWRP. but it doesn't work on the X3P.
And, with the X3s (mostly) out of the way, here's some updates :
- First, the same neighbor who lent me their SIM card approached me, requesting my help in testing out some paid games their son wanted to play (which somewhat makes sense considering I am one of the few guys in the neighborhood who had some PUBG experience). Normally, I'd like to refuse, but then I saw a decent opportunity to use the not-so-often-used F1 while also getting some paid games for myself. So, I accepted the request, since the son also lent me his spare google account (which isn't hooked up to a phone number thankfully).
- Shattered Pixel character page finally rewrote, with added interactivity feature of also being able to straight up jump to relevant sections (mostly out of a href tags since I couldn't bother myself to learn JS).
Since I have plenty to say in this blogpost (or blog log), I'll be dividing it into sections, as listed below :
Life updates (or a nutshell of what has happened around me in the time between previous blog post & current blog post)
- First, I finally got the Poco X3 Pro (will be referred to as X3P). I didn't get a burner number with it, but in 22/5/2021 a neighbor agreed to lend me their SIM card & PC to get me started with setting up my X3P (and now I'm impatiently waiting for 29/5/2021 to come). More details regarding the X3P in the next section.
- My OnePlus 3T got destroyed in a terrible fall (it's my fault this time - I didn't realize the 3T's holder was open while lifting my bag off, so the 3T flew pretty far (somewhere around 2 meters at least) before landing on concrete), forcing me to drop support for it.
- And, might as well fully type in my opinions about this "pandemic". I feel this joke has gone on a bit too long, so I might as well speak (or actually type) the fuck up. However, the COVID blogpost have been moved into a separate page in the rants / ramblings since there's too much to cover.
Poco X3 Pro
Here's my first impressions about the X3P I just obtained :
- It's basically the X3N with better SoC & storage, nerfed cameras, and a differently styled backplate; as seen in the picture below (left is X3P, right is X3N; picture taken with the F1).
- Snapdragon 860 is essentially a facelifted 855, so I expect good performance - though MIUI is going to either slow things down, or not fully use the full power of the 860. I'll have to test out the performance again on a custom ROM.
- MIUI is still the worst stock ROM you'll ever use. Shattered Pixel Dungeon sometimes inexplicably slow down without Game Turbo, & MIUI "optimization" can no longer be disabled in Developer settings - the option isn't there anymore. In addition, even after disabling every ads (from what I would like to believe), there's still an advertisement taking up the entire lockscreen (albeit occasionally).
- I know I said that the X3N will be my last Xiaomi / Poco PDA, but I'll be honest here - the X3N's performance is a bit weak IMO (and I got the A2, which still counts as a Xiaomi PDA). Even if Shattered Pixel runs well, the X3N's storage performance is just weak. So, yeah... I guess I gotta pull my words about the X3N being the last Xiaomi / Poco PDA I'll ever want to get...
I should have pulled my words about the X3N back when I got the A2, but at least I no longer want and/or need the ROG II.
So, I finally got the Mi A2 & here's my 1st impressions :
- As expected, the lack of microSD & headphone jack is a very hard blow, both to me & eventually the lone USB-C port, which now has to take on charging, external storage, & audio.
- Bootloader is very easily unlocked with fastboot oem unlock, as expected from a fully fledged Android One PDA.
- Official TWRP seems like a crapshoot, not being able to boot in stock ROM. Fortunately there's an unofficial build by Nebrassy that works finely in both stock & custom ROM.
- 25/5/2021 Update : An addition I forgot to add - the stock OS is just tolerable (it's just "stock" AOSP with Pixel GApps & some Xiaomi bloat), but at least it's not MIUI, I suppose.
Also, here's my 1st impressions with Calyx OS (and why I stopped trying to flash it on the A2)
- As far as custom ROM goes, Calyx is pretty inoffensive - similar to Lineage-microG, but with less features (no inverting navbar layout) & more optional inbuilt apps such as Signal, muPDF, Conversations, DuckDuckGo, & Orbot, all of which can optionally be installed from the get go in the Setup Wizard.
- Datura Firewall is another way to interact with the per-app data restriction, & it simplifies the workflow of anyone looking to quickly prevent an app from connecting to the internet. I'll be glad to see something like this in other custom ROMs.
- As for why I stopped trying to flash it on the A2 :
- There's an unofficial build for the F1, & that's what I tried out instead. Sure, it won't have some of Calyx's features in the official build, but historically unofficial builds have always served as a good way to try out a ROM, as far as I know.
- Getting the flasher to work on my laptop to flash official Calyx on the A2 isn't worth the problems of installing Google's USB driver, which is not an easy thing to do on its own IMO (it just didn't install on my laptop for whatever reason).
At the end of the day (IMO), Calyx is basically similar in many ways to /e/, but with a not-so-easy official build installations, less features, & more optional bloat.
So, I've been kinda busy with real life, but since I got some spare time to blog up, here's some things (and announcement(s)) for the foreseeable future where I hope I don't get too far ahead of reality :
- For some time, I believe the Mi A2 is bad simply because of the hardware. Well, the hardware still sucks, but it's the most accessible thing I can get with CalyxOS support. Will be reflected on tentative wishlist as something I will eventually get.
- As for the Poco X3 Pro, as much as I'm interested in it, I'm not sure about the efforts I'll have to take to make it worth it. However, I might get one, so stay tuned for that one (hopefully I get it before 2022).
- Shattered Pixel characters rewrite will come within days (hopefully) of 0.9.3 SPD release.
Rewrite for the PrivMod guide is done - it's probably less messy than before now that there's something for both rooted & non-rooted users (even though it's still a WIP & will always be WIP, no thanks to Goolag).
Just signed an open letter supporting Stallman, & also made a Git repo to do so - sooner / later I'll have to make it regardless of the reason. Why I didn't do it sooner is beyond me (aside from a combo of work, stress, & procrastination), but it is what it is.
Also, here are some things I think are up for a rewrite (I'll rewrite them myself):
- The PrivMod guide - tried accomodating no-root users, only to make the entire guide too messy to read, even for someone used to messy articles like me.
- Shattered Pixel Characters - I dunno, but advantages & disadvantages just don't cut this one for me.
Posting a quick blogpost on the day before Chinese New Year, so happy Chinese New Year to whoever's celebrating it.
So, some tiny update on the X3N :
- I'll be honest here - I'm starting to get tempted by the ROG II, no thanks to the X3N's slightly lacklustre performance. Oh well, guess I gotta start saving up again I suppose...
- Tried out some shared TWRP (archive) from some 4pda guys - I'll keep the results short : The only change I can notice are the UI & no more /dev/block issues. I also haven't flashed any ROMs for the X3N at the moment, mostly because it still runs fine.
Added personal note : I no longer recommend the V30, since development is seemingly dead.
First off - lemme start with some personal announcements :
- Moved the Zenfone 6 to #5. Too unstable IMO & development is basically dead (except for Lineage I suppose)
- I'm quitting Fate/GO for now - constant events prove to be too much of a distraction, especially if I have to grind nonstop for the first 80% of the event - even then, sometimes I'm getting stopped before that 80% out of a timegate that exists just for the narrative of the event.
- Time to look for another YouTube client alternative or start searching for PeerTube instances in the browser - getting off Newpipe. Unfortunately, Newpipe turns out to be a sinking ship that has sunken too far.
This is just for Android, since Invidious is a browser-only affair there. Also, I haven't found any good Android browser, aside from an outdated one (IceCat) & a somewhat decent one with questionable issues (Privacy Browser).
As for the PDA-OS changelog :
- Updated the Pixel section with a disclaimer that says I won't test out any of these ROMs.
- That said - Descendant, Kraken & Hornbill are moved to Pixel category. Also added some Pixel & Limbo ROMs - the crap ones.
- Removed links for Pixel ROMs (aside from a certain one), some Limbo ROMs, AICP, & Pixys. I'll think of it as cleaning up some junk.
Adding in the PDA Apps changelog :
- Added the Launcher section.
- Also adding in something about apkmirror : the site's cuckflared, but will somehow work without JS (the search bar won't), assuming you pass Cloudflare browser checking (if it's done). With JS enabled, you're going to receive a 15-second enforced wait time before you can start downloading anything, but the search bar works.
- Not-so-obvious derp fixes.
And, for the PDA reviews changelog :
- Removed performance section because I don't bother testing them out anymore. Generally, anything within the range of 732G / 821 is enough for me.
- Added the X3N to the reviews
So, I've played with Arrow OS (and Superior OS) for X3 (and F1 for reference) for a while & here's my reports :
- Starting with performance for the X3N, it's a big leap compared to MIUI - Shattered Pixel Dungeon now stops lagging, at least to a degree I can detect.
- Arrow OS works as expected on both, though the X3N will set the default refresh rate to 90hz. If you want to change it, open Settings > Display, then scroll to the bottom & select Device-specific settings. There, you'll find the Minimum refresh rate option, which can be set to 60, 90, & 120 Hz.
I find 90hz a good compromise between absolute smoothness & battery life, so no problems there. But still, as someone who enjoys the maximum smoothness, I set it to 120hz.
- On the X3N, TWRP 3.5.0-0 (Mahajant) (installed) & TWRP 3.4.0-15 (Mauronofrio) (hotbooted) could see system files in /system-root/system (after system's mounted), but unable to delete anything inside, returning an ERROR 1. The same applies when trying to remove CneApp & SoterService in /vendor/app & /product apps such as Contacts, Dialer, & messaging. On the F1 (Official TWRP 3.4.0-1), no problems there. Guess it could be something to do with Dynamic Partitions, but I'm currently not sure.
Additional notes : I've only used the aforementioned TWRP 3.5.0-0 to install ArrowOS, & it works fine, aside from some errors about opening /dev/block. These issues could be a result of the X3N being a newly-released PDA, as well as one that comes with A10 OOTB.
- X3N has FBE forced encryption, though it can be offed by flashing a decrypted vendor. Haven't used them yet (and won't plan to use it), so I won't bother linking it.
- As for debloating, here's the list of X3N-only issues I ran into - the last 2 reminds me of Android Pie on the F1, when fucking around with Phone Services could trigger RescueParty.
- I mentioned a TWRP ERROR 1 above, but allow me to also add this in : By using SD Maid (with root from Magisk 21.2), I was able to remove only /system apps (both /system/app & system/priv-app). An improvement from not being able to rm -rf any system apps in TWRP, though small. Still unable to delete anything from /vendor/app & /product/app (and /product/priv-app) though.
- Removing / freezing debatably important stuff such as Phone Services / Fused Location causes the X3N to get stuck on boot-animation after a reboot, forcing me to format & re-flash.
- /vendor/app bloat such as Cne & Soter are pretty defiant - they enable themselves on boot even when they're disabled. Of course, being a vendor app, there's currently no way to delete them off the PDA other than using pm uninstall via either terminal emulator in the PDA (root required) or the PC's terminal / powershell / command prompt (adb required). The latter (the one with adb requirement) also comes with an added cost - once enabled, USB debugging will re-enable itself on boot.
- Adding some note for F1 : With official TWRP 3.5.0-10, I was able to debloat all I want on the F1... only on the 1st boot to recovery after flashing 14/1/2021 ArrowOS build. On subsequent boots, I wasn't able to either debloat / flash NanoDroid. Reverting to official 3.4.0-1 fixes all of this.
I was also able to replicate the NanoDroid issue with TWRP 3.5.0-0 (Mahajant) on the X3N.
And, with this, let me post the site changelog :
- PrivMod-base is updated to account for latest microG, since I just found out that its Self-Check could grant spoofing permission for both FakeStore & microG. This also meant that the terminal permission for microG will be archived, since it's redundant.
This change will also be reflected in the PDA-OS, by having the terminal permission requirement for FakeStore removed.
- Updated PDA-OS to add in Superior OS - the 1st non-Limbo addition of 2021 that could've been added in 2020 if the A1's alive and/or I remembered that there's an A10 build for F1. Also updated stuff for Awaken & MSM-Xtended since I just happened to flash both ROMs on the F1 (obviously, one by one).
- Removed F-Droid links from Simple Mobile Tools' apps, since their F-Droid variants aren't as good.
Well, this is it. The X3N's bootloader is finally unlocked. Just gotta test out Arrow OS for it I suppose...
Some changelogs for the PDA OS section (since that's the one I definitely remember) :
- Added some notes for uMatrix / eMatrix users, which applies to official & download links. The notes assume that CSS & image is enabled for 1st-party. As for the others (GitHub, Telegram, GitLab, Gerrit, Pling), here are the notes :
- GitHub :
- Enable CSS & image for githubassets.com for optimal GitHub browsing experience
- Image should be enabled for every githubusercontent.com instances & githubassets.com, if you'd like to see the dev's profile pic.
- Block everything from githubapp.com & collector.githubapp.com.
- Telegram t.me/s/ viewable channels :
- For the pics, you'll need to enable image for telesco.pe.
- Removed all official links for Pixys, AICP, Corvus, DerpFest, Baikal, & Liquid Remix with their justification listed below. Technically, I could do the same to various custom ROMs, such as RevengeOS & crDroid, but at least both of them have alternate download locations.
- AICP has root-dependent & user-accessible footgun. The links will stay removed until they remove this, or at the very least re-pack them into a root-dependent user-app that works with other ROMs.
- Corvus turns out to be just like Cygnus.
- Derpfest is just like Bliss, except less competent. They 404'd get.derpfest.org.
- Baikal is basically AICP with some extra power-saving features. If AICP's link gets removed, it's fair that Baikal's removed as well.
- RIP Liquid Remix, the best Pie ROM for LG V30.
Happy New Year to everyone! Here's hoping that this pandemic(?) will end this year with as much of our freedom intact as possible - but I'm being excessively optimistic at this point.