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Old 01-22-2012, 10:04 AM   #1
hilaryfrompa
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Really--Really--Understanding the PE

I don't know how often a non-android user comes to this PE forum. I am a non-smartphone user. I do not understand 90% of the various commands or functions of an android device and have spent (read: wasted) so much time since getting my PE trying to "learn" android.

The primary problem for a search of "learn android" is that the search engines assume I want to develop an application. The secondary problem is that Youtube, for example, is full of useless and nearly incomprehensible videos by people whom I suspect are new users themselves; hence, the useless time wasting.

I want to understand "Permissions" and also the concept of Device Storage. For example, I downloaded Coolreader. When I open it, I get a black android list of choices that generate only programmer-style text.

When I say that I want to understand Basics, I truly do mean Basics, as if I got in a time machine and went back to 1988, and someone said, "Do you want to learn Windows?" I will never be able to use the PE if getting anything more complicated than Youtube or Google to run takes half a day. (Skype, a program I use very heavily, installed easily, but then refused my Log-In identification; I Uninstalled it.)

PE videos on Youtube are fundamentally sales-pitches for the devices.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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My PE was my first Android experience as well, and I had the same exact concerns you did about it and it drove me batty. But then I realized this:

Android (and other mobile operating systems) are designed with idiots in mind. Basically they are supposed to be idiot proof. There is nothing complicated about it and you're not supposed to be concerned about partitions and where files are stored and how to change settings for different things.

You've been spoiled by Windows that gives you ten different ways to do each task and is very customizable. Also windows gives you options through the GUI (Graphical User Interface) to make adjustments to permissions and changes to settings. Android (and it's Linux father) doesn't make this easy like you're used to. Instead many settings and adjustments can not be made through the GUI, instead it all has to be done through a CLI (Command Line Interface - which some people call DOS or PROGRAMMING style) using text commands and parameters.

This is helpful in some ways but difficult in others. It's helpful in the fact that it keeps the idiots from playing around with all the settings and breaking their devices. It's difficult in that since all of the commands (and what they do) isn't right there in front of you.. well if you don't know what you are doing you'll never figure it out.

One example of this is screen resolution. With windows you can just right click on the desktop (or click on the graphics icon, or go to the control panel and click on display, or any number of several different ways to get to it) and select screen resolution and change it to whatever. Android doesn't give you this option. Instead you have to go in and manually modify a configuration file somewhere and HOPE that you change the correct line of text to a setting that actually works. If it does work then great! If not then you just bricked your device and you have to go back in through the back way and chance it back (and hope you remember what it was before).

Simply put with Android devices (and IMO Linux as well) there are users and there are programmers. There really is no in between. "Power Users" like us have a much harder time as we don't want to be demoted to "User" status.. but we don't know enough (or in my case don't have the attention span) to learn enough to make it to "Programmer" status so we are left disappointed.

If you can't learn to just take the device at face value and use it for what it's intended for.. and if you're not willing to learn programming then you're going to have a difficult time truly enjoying this device.

This was me a few months ago. I was ready to throw it out of the window because I just felt so stupid using it. Not that I couldn't figure out how to use it... it just felt like the O.S. was so "dumbed down" that using my PE made my IQ drop a few points. But then I learned that it's not a PC and it never will be... and that I don't NEED to know all of its ends and outs to be productive with it and things got better.

It also helped a lot once I upgraded to my Optimus V Android smart phone. There are many custom ROMS that can be installed that open up a bunch of menu options to let you play with things that you can't normally mess with (without knowing how to access them from a CLI and configuration files). I felt a lot smarter about things then. Unfortunately there isn't much like this available for the PE.

I've learned to let the programmers make the ROMS and all I have to do is kick back and reap the benefits of their work. (Of course I donated to the effort as well.)

I have many family members that think they are God's gift to earth because they own an iPhone and because of this I've played with them enough to know that they are REALLY dumbed down. I guess that's why people love them.. it makes them feel smart because they're able to figure them out. This has the exact opposite effect on me. They are nice devices no doubt but after five minutes of playing with one I've figured out all there is to figure out with it and I'm bored with it. I go back to my $80 phone which does all the same things and gets much better battery life!

Then there's my dad's Kindle Fire. It's nice and feels solid but wow! The only settings you can change with it are wifi, volume and brightness controls! That's it! But it does work well as an internet "appliance" and he loves using it to watch movies while in Chemotherapy so it's hard to talk bad about it. It makes him happy so I guess that's all that matters!
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:07 PM   #3
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MasterTec, First of all, prayers for your Dad. I'm a Pennsylvanian and Penn State graduate, so today has been very difficult, in regard to older men dealing with cancer.

Second, thank you very much for your insights. I'm disappointed with the difficulty and esotericism of android systems; I never realized that--as you say--it would be "back to the future" with my PE, in that it burdens people who want to enoy the device with, first, mastering command line interface (and anything less than mastery is useless).

I suppose this will be my new hobby. I really didn't buy the PE wanting a new hobby, but, what the heck, sometimes hobbies find you, rather than the other way around. Thanks again, very much. I did come upon one website that seemed helpful: http://techpp.com/2010/07/30/android...-private-data/ It at least explains what permissions are!
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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Unfortunately since Entourage is no longer in business the PE is now a hackers device basically since there is no real support (aside from forums such as this). Many of the solutions and fixes for running the beta ermine version of android have been found by trial and error. We're trying to get as much mileage out of this device as we can knowing that the hardware and limited documentation and missing source code (for the latest ermine and incomplete source for dingo) do present challenges to customizing the device much further at this point. So, it is indeed a hobby trying to keep this device relevant LOL.

Anyway, its fun learning new things...
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
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Hilary, the first thing you must consider is what do you want to do with your PE. If for some reason you want to dig into the internals of the operating system then you will have to learn programming and make yourself at home on the google android development site. If, on the other hand, you just want to use the PE then all you need to know are its limitations - usually showing up as newer apps or versions of apps not working.

Although our version of Ermine is based on the phone version of android the PE is not a phone and does not have much of the phone hardware available. This means that any apps that look for specific phone hardware will not run, indeed many of them will not even install.

I have a full size edge and am even more limited than you by being restricted to the original Ermine beta from Entourage. For me it is a tool to do a job and it does that job extremely well. I have on the odd occasion thought about poking about its insides both mechanically and in the programming. I have even gone as far as asking my programmer if she knew anything about android - we repair and maintain computer systems based on the OS/2 operating system so I do know what goes on 'under the hood' on computers. The main reason I haven't gone poking about inside is because the unit is limited to just what it was designed to do with virtually no way of expanding on that which is just the same as a smart phone, the only way to get more advanced features is to upgrade the device itself - something we can't do with the edges.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
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Tekknogenius--thanks for the reality-check!

Ivanjt--Yes, that's right; the Edge full-size IS limited. I don't expect and didn't buy the PE to make movies or replace a more complex system. I'd just be happy to understand how little old Coolreader can open up an .epub or .pdf (or whatever file-type Coolreader opens). Obsessed got me on the right track by telling me I had originally downloaded an .EXE file. Even when I downloaded the .APK, however, I open (or rather opened--I deleted Coolreader) the program and would get the black android list of...things.

So, see, if I don't even know what the black android lists of...things are, I can't do even the things that you are doing.

I am though always grateful for the responses. I'm sure there's a learning curve that has to be mastered, and I'll just have to spend time on it. In the meanwhile, however, if you or anyone can recommend reader-software for the tablet side of the PE--other than Coolreader--I'd appreciate that.

All the very considerate responses have clarified at least one thing, an unusual thing at that. Frequently here in the U.S., after purchasing something online or chatting online with a customer service rep, a survey will be sent to you asking if the rep "Set your expectations." I have never understood that phrase. This thread on the forum, however, has made me understand what "Set one's expectations" means.

Bonsoir and good-night, everyone, and thanks.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:42 AM   #7
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Very interesting thread. Thank you all for your thoughtful questions and responses.

Hilary, if you're still looking for a Reader app for Android, I have FBreader and just installed Moon+ Reader. Both good and easy enough to figure out. If you want more info on reader apps, check the sticky thread in the Android forum here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=70921.

MasterTec, thank you especially for sharing your experience.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:54 AM   #8
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Thanks, Filark. When I first darkened the forum's doorway after Christmas I was in search of a reader that reads aloud. Do either of your suggestions do that? I PM'd one really helpful poster and said that what would be truly wonderful would be a reader that reads aloud in foreign languages (French, to be exact). EDIT: I should have visited the link you provided before making this post; I see that both have read-aloud capabilities. I downloaded Coolreader, which apparently works for other people--without reading aloud, of course. I did not know how to even open a PDF or EPUB (or whatever file type Coolreader actually reads) with that program, so I deleted it.

The good thing about a device this small is that it "sides with" those of us who are obsessive-compulsive about wasting "hard drive" space. I want one reader and only one, and if either of the above read aloud, that would be grand.

I have to read the Android 2.2.1 PDF that...was it Ivanjt? suggested on another thread. But in case any of yooz guyz want to tell me the name of the thing I call the "black Android list of things," I wouldn't mind. Is it a "Menu?" Does Android have "menus" and shared nomenclature with Windows? Or do you betray your stupidity if you use Windowesque language with Android/Linux systems?

Last edited by hilaryfrompa; 01-25-2012 at 05:59 AM. Reason: Stupidity
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilaryfrompa View Post
The good thing about a device this small is that it "sides with" those of us who are obsessive-compulsive about wasting "hard drive" space. I want one reader and only one, and if either of the above read aloud, that would be grand.

I have to read the Android 2.2.1 PDF that...was it Ivanjt? suggested on another thread. But in case any of yooz guyz want to tell me the name of the thing I call the "black Android list of things," I wouldn't mind. Is it a "Menu?" Does Android have "menus" and shared nomenclature with Windows? Or do you betray your stupidity if you use Windowesque language with Android/Linux systems?
Sorry I can't give any help with read aloud apps because I don't use them.

When you get time to read the android manual you will find there are several types of menus available, from the very basic, white letters on a black background of the system to others that look a little more pleasing created by the app developers - after all a menu is a menu no matter what operating system you use

Last edited by ivanjt; 01-25-2012 at 06:03 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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you do not have to understand android.
buy an Ipad and a Kindle DX. Get some duct tape and stick them together.
than no configuration no issues. perfect Luddite device.

Last edited by vicinc; 01-26-2012 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:06 AM   #11
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I beg to differ with you, vicinc. *Any* new operating system has to be "understood." Navigation and use of features is otherwise impossible; that's why I keep harping about Permissions. If a PE user (or a user of another android device) has no choice about the Permissions he/she is giving to a program, why put all those scary orange warning signs on what I will henceforth call the Permissions Menu? I'd sooner buy a cinder block and another cinder block before I'd buy a Kindle or IPad.
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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the rule is anything from market should be safe. you do not have to bother about permissions. Alternatively back to the original tablet and stylus.... no issues with the permission there..... all analogical technology. Blimming 21st century....
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:17 PM   #13
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The information about an app's permissions may lead one to choose not to install it, if the permissions do not make sense, or if they introduce exposures one does not want to be subjected to. Note - there have, on occasion, been bad apps up on the Market, so it can happen. Once discovered, Google removed them (and I believe remotely uninstalled from devices). I'm not sure apps are checked out prior to developers putting them up, even now, or are they?
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:13 PM   #14
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I understand what you are saying, I always use application that been around for a while have a version history and from the market. I bigger chance you windows home pc to be infected than you android edge.
But always analogic non connected tech is safer..
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:24 PM   #15
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Off-topic: I was pricing some things on Newegg's Trade-In Center and was amazed to see that the PE (and I assume the EE) are worth nothing and called defunct. The company is defunct, but the PE is the coolest tablet around.
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