Computers, Cell Phones, & Other Electronic Gadgets

I considered it (I had one of the pre-Pixel battery hog Google phones), but it seems mostly geared toward photos (I have a dslr camera), and I’ve been very happy with Samsung.

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I have a S22 and I like mine. My coworker has a S23 and she seems to like it

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That seems to be right. I was debating not long ago for going for an S22 or an S23, but ended up with the A14 lower-end model, which is in fact bigger than either of the S-models. Meh, fits in my pants with that “utility [read: ‘cell phone but not a cargo pant pocket,’ honestly]” pocket, and suits my needs fine, but my findings from soliciting advice here were that both the S22 and the S23 were highly regarded and recommended, both first-hand and second-hand observation/use.

I’d pull the trigger on an S23 if the form meets your needs, &c. One bonus is that the regular Samsung updates have become much less annoying and intrusive in the latest iterations…lots less effort involved in getting rid of unwanted apps with unwanted access, which should translate 1-1 between the relevant A- and S- models, along with superior battery life. Or nearly so, I’d imagine. My only wants were NFC and future Android version updates, so I don’t use any advanced features beyond that and the occasional quick photograph, and, of course, usual phone stuff.

/* late update …well, that was a fun few minutes. For some reason I was trying to get the case off my A14 Samsung (budget S23, sort of, I guess) and gremlins decided to twist the SIM card/extra memory card tray into an unreognizable shape.

Thinking that the old A4, which is just connected to WiFi at home for “super secret” Google Voice phone calls and browsing had a similar tray…no. Similar, but not compatible. In shape anyway. Probably some crafty application of a heatgun would make it fit.

But that’s not all! I still have the SIM card (my one and only), but lost this fairly expensive microSD card designed for mega-rewrites, like for a dashcam. And actually snapped in two, by accident another SD card in the other phone, with my bare fingers, like the Collossus of Idiot.

No, I can fix this (…), and in the meanwhile use the A4 with the SIM card, with it’s cracked screen wrapped in plastic. For phone calls and all that.

It does remind me though, of one reason I wanted the A14 over an S22 refurb or a newer S23…memory is hazy, but I think there was not an option to add memory via a microSD to the S-series, which is important to me.

Anyway, 99% story of an idiot and his phone, and maybe 1% truth, which may not be true. But I believe it!

The other consideration was price, since, it appears, I can break things pretty easily and have a pretty expensive hobby in musical equipment, sound reproduction, books, clothes, and liquor, that, while middle-of-the-shelf, is an endless source of expenditures.*/


That side button is a sneaky little bastidge on this phone. The whole trouble began when my case was a little too snug for my ham hands and ended up detaching the…I don’t know, the thing from the thing…

And then I damaged the SIM card/SD card tray…fortunately they’re pretty cheap to buy.

I just got another five quid GC from That Place after midnight local time today, so despite having had one on order, which would have arrived this coming Tuesday, apparently, I was able to sneak onto my parents’ Prime Special account, apply the gift card, order a replacement for $4.98 US, and should arrive tomorrow. Unfortunately at their house, and I can’t change the destination, but it’s not too far out of the way, and the drivers lurrrve delivering in the burbs, so I know there won’t be any hassle unless some boob mucks things up between fulfillment and delivery station.

The last time I tried that dodge was with a set of brass sponges for cleaning soldering tips…my mother opened the box and said, “thanks for the set of cleaning sponges!” I’m like, “No! No!” I often send them gifts from the Amazon Vine “free” “products for review” just for fun.

But yeah, meh, it just took a delicate touch to get the power button realigned from the inside…no, I didn’t discharge any static or anything…just crammed it back into alignment until it worked. And wasn’t crucial, anyway…could just take a sharp implement and stab at it until it turned on, plus changing some settings to have it “wake up” when lifted.

So, now I have to change those settings back to my normal fingerprint thing and all that stuff, but it’s not so bad.

You know, since I don’t hang out at bars so much anymore, I may no longer bother with fingerprint verification or even just a pin-code to unlock. And equally in favor is that many of my pants have a dedicated pocket for a mobile phone, where the only real risk is it falling out when you’re at the john, seated-wise, or being pickpocketed.

Oh…damn, I forgot I really dislike driving out to their place. The streets are very literally wired with all kinds of things…not just red light cameras, but driving in excess of speed, turning on a red light without a full stop…and those tickets are not cheap, let me tell you. Oh, wait, I know a back way to get there…that’s on a route I can stop and fuel up on gas for pretty cheap.

Trust me, it’s fine.

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I didn’t like the curved edges of the newer Galaxy phones, so I went X-Cover Pro 6. I was a huge fan of the “Tough” phones, but they stopped making them at 8, and I was on the odd numbers of upgrades (first Galaxy, 3, 5, 7 Tough) then moved to X-cover. The first one was great! Came with a pin charger stand!


I use a Supcase Unicorn Beetle case, so I’m not really concerned with toughness. I honestly have no real problem with my S9 except for the diminishing battery performance. Well, ok, I’d like a modern processor too. But no phablets plz.


I agree.

When talk of folding touchscreens first started, I was excited, hoping I could get a small phone that folded up even smaller. But all the buzz was around a big phone that unfolds to be even bigger.

I have an SE2, and it’s getting old. I was happy to hear there would be an SE4 but after seeing how big it is, I’m considering getting an SE3 before they end production.

I already have an iPad. I do not need a small one to carry around


I rock cargo shorts (shut up, you’ll need a tape measure or a burger one day) that I get from Scuz-Mart…Wranglers, I think…and they have an exterior phone pocket on the left side that exactly securely snugly fits my current phone in its case. A perfect and surely tenuous arrangement that depends entirely on the whims of short and phone designers. Those sorts of people seem to hate me, and will certainly alter their shiz if they get wind of this, if they haven’t already.


Preach, brother. I have cargo. I like shorts. Is that so wrong?

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Is this phenomenon unique to older hardware, or will current-ish hardware suffer the same fate? If so, what’s the timeline on this? Ten years? Twenty? Assuming hardware is unused and stored in a climate-controlled environment.

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Well, clearly, I’m not the expert, but at a glance the caps look fine. No bulging or anything obvious.

But, what is the procedure for measuring caps? Under load, as one would do for a replaceable battery, or just grab a reading however one can with one’s multimeter?

After all, capacitors are sort of like batteries, really, so I suspect under load is the general “pro” method, although one should be able to get a reading like normal just by making contact with the electrodes, just for quickie spot check.


It depends on the capacitors so much. When I was in college, we had to have every single one of a particular Dell model (across all the labs in the computer science department) that was only about a year old replaced (under warranty) because they bought cheap caps that started failing very quickly.

A very common type of capacitor (the cylindrical kind like you see in blue on the right side of that board) is filled with an electrolytic gel, and over time the gel evaporates. It’s going to eventually affect any capacitor of that type no matter when it was manufactured.

I don’t personally rebuild old computers, but my understanding from people who do is that you either just do it prophylactically when you get your hands on an old board or you see if it works and if it doesn’t, it’s probably the caps, so you replace them then.


Ah, thank you. I suspected it was evaporation but wasn’t sure. I’m no chemist, but my thinking is that anything not dependent on moisture should be stable enough to last a very long time (decades at least), assuming heat doesn’t kill it first.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with tape and adhesives lately, and realized how depedent they are on moisture. Seems like the goal with these substances is to delay evaporation as long as possible, because once the last of it is gone, the adhesion goes with it.

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All electronic parts suffer from various aging effects. Data sheets typically call out how the component derates over time. Even the voltage ceramic “chip” capacitors can hold without breaking down steadily decreases over the years.

A conservative design will account for these effects along with normal production variations up front to maximize the useful life of the product. At one place I worked, the officially enshrined rule of thumb was to calculate the worst case voltage a capacitor could be subjected to in a circuit, then choose a part with a voltage rating at least double that.

And then there’s the occasional problem with industrial espionage gone wrong causing worldwide headaches…


Here’s an overview -


Just stumbled on this. Pretty cool! It’s limited to low-energy DC right now, basically USB-powered things, but the principle seems sound and I imagine it could eventually be made to bring a proper AC outlet outside. A beefy enough version could be a game changer for temporary outdoor needs, like work lights or power tools.


The early days of video games and computer games had a number of traditional games adapted to the new format; there were card games like bridge (Activision Bridge for the Atari 2600 pictured above), poker and blackjack. There were also board games like chess, checkers, backgammon and more. I see these more with the pre-Nintendo Entertainment System consoles; from the NES onward, the more traditional games were rarer as they had a firmly established customer base that wanted platformers (Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog), shooters, RPGs, sports games and so on.

It does make sense for home computers and early consoles like the Atari 2600 to have the older traditional games like bridge and checkers. It was a reliable way to create filler for your game library. It also acted as a sell to older people unfamiliar with the new medium by offering them games they probably had played before.


They also were better suited to the available hardware, with its extremely limited processing power, memory, storage, graphics, and sound. Un- or minimally animated tokens and simple rule sets (heaven forbid simulated physics or more than basic collision detection!) were almost tailor-made for the early consoles. Chess or Go were pushing it, though, if you were looking for a good programmed opponent.


Video Chess on the Atari 2600 did a fair job for such a primitive system.


Courtesy of its entry on the Atari Protos page: Well, while the computer AI won’t win any awards for speed, it does play a competent game of Chess. Video Chess has eight different variations (skill levels) ranging from beginner to expert. The easiest skill levels will allow even the most novice Chess player a chance to beat computer, while the harder levels will give expert players a run for their money. The only problem is that due to the low amount of RAM available and the slow processor of the 2600, the computer can take 10-20 minutes per move at the intermediate levels and several HOURS at the highest levels. In order to free up as much RAM and processor time for the computer to think, the screen is blanked out when the computer is computing its move. To let people know that the 2600 was merely thinking and not dead, they made the screen flash different colors during this time.


Like I said — chess was pushing it.