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iRulu 10.1" Model eXpro X1s with Android 4.4

iRulu 10.1" Model AX105 with Android 4.2

iRulu 9" Model AX922 with Android 4.2.2

UPDATE (20170301): Sometime on the order of two months ago what I hoped would not happen, happened. The relative mentioned below let the X1s slide off the counter where it was recharging while the charger was attached. The USB jack broke loose inside the case, and, since then, the USB port does not work for either the keyboard or for the charger. I opened up the case to see if I could do anything--I'm quite sure I can't solder the USB jack back--everything is just too small. I did try charging the battery by hooking up an adjustable power source directly to the battery, but either I didn't get a charge on it, or I messed up something else in my unsuccessful attempt at surgery. Currently the relative in question seems content with his Android based smartphone--if we do replace this, we'll definitely look for a tablet with a round "earphone type" jack and plug for the charger.

UPDATE (20150108): Contrary to my earlier stated intentions, I ended up buying another iRulu (for a relative), this time a Model eXpro X1s. I am disappointed for several reasons:

  • Once again, iRulu customer service just isn't very useful (in this case, campus111 and one other eBay vendor). I wanted to make sure that the eXpro X1s (I'll start calling it just the X1s until I find that is ambiguous) used a separate dedicated round jack for the charging / AC adapter (because of my experiences with other brands that used the USB port for charging--3 out of 3 that I dealt with failed when the USB jack broke off inside the tablet). Both campus111 and the other ebay vendor (can't remember the name atm) said that it had a separate round jack for charging, but they were wrong. They ought to know their products.
  • Android 4.4 doesn't support Flash (directly, at least). That is a problem by itself. There are some workarounds, for example the Dolphin browser apparently supports some sort of modified version of Flash. However, the installation procedure for that package requires that any old version of Flash (was Android--see Update, below) has to be removed first. But, on the iRulu, apparently there is an old version of Flash (was Android--see Update, below) installed (I don't know why) which can't be uninstalled because apparently you can't uninstall packages (on the iRulu) that were factory installed. (This iRulu is 300 miles away so my experience with it is not really hands on.) (This may be related to the inability to root the iRulu, which I presume still holds with the X1s (as it did with the AX105).)

Update (20160422) (Context: I haven't used the AX105 in something like 9 months, and I went back to use it, and am re-reading some of my notes.) In the previous paragraph / bullet point there were two places where I wrote Android and, looking back, I believe I must have meant Flash. In those places, I put "Flash (was Android--see Update, below)", just in case I really did mean Android--it doesn't seem possible.

UPDATE: Sometime after 20141002, I shipped the AX922 back for a refund. I received the refund promptly. The reasons I returned the AX922 are a combination of problems with the unit (after which it was replaced), and problems / misunderstandings related to the handling of the exchange. I am dissatisfied with the customer service of irulu.com and hyperay.com. At some point, I may write up those experiences in detail. For now, I don't plan to buy any more iRulus, although I could conceive of buying or recommending the AX105.

Earlier Update: I've now also bought an iRulu 9" Model AX922 with Android 4.2.2 for a friend. Before turning it over to my friend I'm going to configure some things, and, as I do so, or as we learn things later, I will add appropriate notes to these pages. Initially I intend to keep all the notes on the same page as the notes for the Model AX105, noting any differences found on the Model AX922.

Some initial fairly obvious differences:

  • 9" screen vs. 10.1" screen
  • less RAM--512 MB vs. 1 GB
  • processor clock is 1.2 GHz vs. 1.5 GHz
  • central processors are the same, graphic processors may be the same, or different revision levels (the AX105 has an MP2 suffix--I have not seen that so far in the specs for the AX922)
  • screen resolution is 800x480 vs. 1024x600
  • Android is version 4.2.2 instead of 4.2
  • the HDMI connector on both machines is a mini (and, contrary to some earlier information that I put here, the AX922 does have an HDMI port--there is a long saga behind this that I will cover on the HDMI page)
  • there is only one USB port, but, as before, I bought a combination Ethernet adapter / USB hub and expect that to provide all the USB ports I need
  • there was no screen protector provided--the touch screen initially didn't work as well due at least partially to friction between the rubber of the stylus and the glass surface of the screen. In some cases, my finger worked better than the stylus--for example, I could not drag the lock on the opening screen to unlock the iRulu with the stylus, but it worked when I used my finger. I later calibrated the touch screen and that helped somewhat, but the stylus is still aggravating to use at times. I will probably buy a (generic) screen protector, cut it to size, and apply it in hopes of minimizing friction between the screen and stylus.
  • the "home" screen (the first screen you see after unlocking the iRulu) is at least a little different--the first difference I noticed is that the icons for functions like "back", "home", "volume" are located on the bottom left of the screen instead of spread across the entire bottom of the screen

OT Note: One feature I will look for in any tablet I consider in the future is a separate round jack for the AC adapter / battery charger. I have repaired some other tablets (not iRulu) that used the USB port for charging the battery--on three (out of three that used the USB port for battery charging) the problem was that the USB port had been ripped off the motherboard (presumably when somebody attempted to walk away with the tablet while it was still plugged in to the charger). The AX105 does have a separate round jack for the AC adapter / battery charger, I don't remember for sure about the AX922 but I suspect it does, also.

Aside on Android 4.2.2: I intentionally chose a new tablet with at least Android 4.2 for two reasons:

  • I didn't want to have to go back (mentally) and learn a version of Android that was nominally obsolete. (If Android 5.x was out (is it?) I might have chosen an iRulu tablet (or an equally inexpensive tablet) with that version, but I might as well have chosen a tablet with 4.2 or up as I've already learned a fair amount about version 4.2.)
  • I understand that HDMI works significantly (to me) different on versions of Android prior to 4.2--on Android 4.2, the output to HDMI is automatically available when something is plugged into the HDMI port (at least, for most applications, there are exceptions), while for prior versions of Android, HDMI must be switched on by some means.

Following up on the idea of combining notes for the AX922 on the same pages as the AX105, some other points:

  • I don't intend to modify pages for the AX105 until or unless I find differences between the two (perhaps only "significant" differences).
  • When I modify pages to reflect differences for the AX922, I will add an additional "title line" on the page to reflect that the page now also applies (perhaps only partially) to the AX922. (What I'm calling the "title lines" are the lines near the top of the page like:
    • iRulu 10.1" Model AX105 with Android 4.2
    • iRulu 9" Model AX922 with Android 4.2.2
  • if I find so many differences between the two as to make one page confusing, I might split pages on particular topics into separate pages

Older stuff:

I finally bought a tablet. Being the thrifty (cheap!) person I am, I bought a very inexpensive tablet, but I did "splurge" to get the following features:

  • a larger screen (10.1" vs. 9, 8, 7, or even smaller)
  • an HDMI output jack so that I can view the screen on a larger monitor or even a TV
  • more than one USB jack, just because I figured I'd need more--I anticipated connecting a USB keyboard, mouse, and a "hardwired" Ethernet connection--it turns out that I probably just need one, although I'm not 100% certain at this time--I need to confirm that all the things I connect to my hub, currently connected to the Host (USB) jack, also work when connected to the (non-Host) USB jack. (I think I've confirmed this, but should try it again to confirm.)
  • a means to setup a "hardwired" Ethernet connection--I've had people come to my home and use a WiFi setup, but I find it rather frustrating as it is unreliable in some ways and seems to be slower than a hard wired connection, and having a few less electromagnetic waves pervading my living space is a feature that I appreciate
  • a micro SD (TF) card socket to help me in transferring or backing up files

Although Android is a variant or descendant of Unix / LInux, I've found enough differences already, and expect to find more, that I've decided to start a series of pages here on WikiLearn in hopes of helping others with (and reminding myself of) my learnings.

Of course, this is a wiki, so feel free (or obligated??) to help me improve these pages. I do reserve the right to edit comments or changes made to the page for various reasons, in hopes of improving the format, content, readability, etc.

Initially, I put cryptic notes or reminders on this page, but as I developed more information about specific topics, I moved them to dedicated pages. The intention is that cryptic notes remaining here will also eventually be moved to dedicated pages.

See:

Contents

UPDATE: Contentment--Starting

I'm fairly contented now. I can do most of the things I wanted to do:

  • download videos (including YouTube) for later viewing (Videoder)
  • use HDMI to view videos on a larger screen device (e.g., an HDTV) (I should note that this is automatic with Android 4.2, the only oddity is that most applications will display on both the iRulu's screen and the external screen, while a few (notably the Videoder "video preview") will not display on the iRulu's screen when an external screen is connected.)
  • exchange files with other computers on my LAN (FTP Server)
  • in most cases, connect via either WiFi or hardwired Ethernet connection (big exception: Videoder works only over WiFi)
  • I've found a (roundabout) way to print (I use the CloudPrint app to print to Google drive, then retrieve the print file (a .pdf or similar) to another computer on my LAN, then print to its attached printer)

There are still sources of discontent:

  • those alluded to above:
    • Videoder should work over hardwired Ethernet
    • printing should be easier
  • I haven't found the way to get root access (but, I haven't tried installing the ADK on one of my other computers and attempting it via the method involving the ADK). But, I should remind myself that, when questioned, my iRulu vendor said it cannot be done (I don't always believe things that vendors tell me).
  • others mentioned or alluded to below

Disenchantment--Getting Lower

I bought the iRulu in hopes of using it to provide a means to watch videos (movies, TV shows, lectures, and shorter videos), on a big screen (i.e., using the HDMI output to drive something like a 40" HDTV). Further, I hoped to do it "offline" for a few reasons--to minimize the bandwidth requirements on my DSL connection to the Internet (download once, watch many wink ), and to avoid the pauses and stuttering that seem to be typical even when I watch a 240p video.

So far, I've run into a few problems doing that, but I've got around some of them. Cryptically, those include:

  • UPDATED: HDMI: ok, I finally took the time to take the iRulu to a friend's house and connect it to an HDTV with a real HDMI input--works fine. (Earlier, I had tried to use an HDMI to DVI cable on two different computer monitors with no success--one gave a totally black screen (but seemed to do something when the iRulu was turned on), and the other gave a screen with varying patches of color when the iRulu was turned on. I don't know if the problem is both monitors or the HDMI to DVI cable.

  • UPDATED: I installed the YouTube application on the iRulu and it seems to do a pretty good job (and better than the browsers) of buffering to avoid stutters and pauses. That doesn't solve the problem of my desire to download once, watch many. UPDATE: Maybe I spoke too soon--sometimes it seems to help a great deal, other times I still get stutters and pauses--I suspect it is sort of the "luck of the the draw" as to how good the DSL connection is at any point in time. (And, as computer geeks know, a DSL connection is subject to congestion from other users--not on the individual pair of wires from the phone company to me, but, at the phone company and up in all the switches, wires, routers, etc.)

The original complaint (will be revised):

My Earthlink connection is too slow, I'm getting a lot of "buffering" while trying to watch. I expected that problem, and expected to solve it by having a movie load in the background and then watch it later after the movie was fully loaded. So far, I'm not making progress in that direction. For example, if I leave a movie paused and go to bed (with the AC adapter plugged in), the next day, instead of finding the movie fully loaded and ready to view, I find that the iRulu has shut down, and no evidence of the movie. It is quite possible I am doing something(s) wrong, but at the moment I am not encouraged. UPDATE: I've loaded the application named YouTube and seem to be having some success in loading movies in the background and then viewing them with little or no stuttering. See Downloading Videos.

More Complaints

  • Crippled operating system with "apps" to do what Linux (typically) does with preloaded software. I'll have to be careful (that is, precise) in how I describe this. An example of my complaint is that functions that are "normally" included as part of a Linux installation (ping, arp, ftp, root access (that may be a different category), ahh, printing, I think... <think of some more mundane ones--try to remember (or retry) some of the ones when I first started using the iRulu>) require that you download an "app" to accomplish that. The first problem is obvious (having to do that), related problems include:
    • the variety of apps that you have to look through to pick one that does what you want--apps that purport to do the same or similar things often have different capabilities or lacks (or bugs)
    • many of these apps seem to be much larger than they would have to be to perform the specific functions "advertised". (I suspect that if you loaded all the apps needed to perform everything a typical Linux distro does, it would be much bigger than a typical Linux distro. But, I'd need to define carefully what I consider--Linux distributions are bloated, too--but at least sometimes that is due to the inclusion of applications that really shouldn't (imho) be considered core. Some examples: all of the stuff included with kde (I'd say the same about GNOME, but I don't use GNOME, so I won't, atm); more than one browser (or gigantic "full function" browsers). I guess I'm primarily trying to focus on typical Linux CLI capabilities.

  • Root access (mentioned elsewhere)

  • Networking anomalies: I can (with varying amounts of effort or external devices) connect to my LAN via WiFi or hard-wired Ethernet (and, I assume (never tried) to the Internet via 3G/4G if I buy an appropriate dongle). Some applications seem to work over either WiFi or hard-wired Ethernet, some seem to work only over WiFi, others seem to work only over the hard-wired Ethernet. I plan to start a page on this soon, and will probably start by defining a page name below and then pasting this on first draft of the page. (See Networking, below.)

Android 4.2 Manuals

Selected Specifications

Battery

Memory

HDMI

Bluetooth

System Resets

Unlocking the Screen

Root Access

Safe Mode

Applications

Stopping or Unloading Applications

Multitasking

Removing Applications

Security

Talk about the message that comes up while installing a keyboard that warns that (~") anything you type may be captured by someone else("~)

Printing

Initially, I didn't have any intent of printing from the iRulu. Now, finding out that I can fill out 4myrebate rebate requests on the iRulu, it would be nice to be able to print. I have found a way by using CloudPrint to print to Google Drive, then moving the resulting .pdf file to another computer with a printer.

Operating Tips

Applications

Downloading Videos

Useful Web Sites

When I start this page, I want to mention:

  • unlockr.com (iirc)

  • my bias against videos--(many) videos use a lot of Internet bandwidth to achieve not very much "brain" bandwidth. Written words, with maybe a few strategic pictures (something I'm negligent in) or videos can convey a lot more to the brain using less Internet bandwidth. I'd like to phrase that better, because I'm neglecting to mention the wasted eyeball (and ear) bandwidth. Maybe: written words, with maybe a few strategic pictures (something I'm negligent in) or videos (likewise) can convey a lot more to the brain using less eye, ear, attention, and Internet bandwidth. I should point out that I've found a few bicycle repair videos that have been really helpful, and didn't think they had too much wasted bandwidth. I guess it also depends on how much you already know about a particular subject.

Connectivity (to Peripherals)

External USB Keyboard

Host vs. USB Ports

OTG vs. Standard USB Cables

Networking

UPDATE: Because I have not yet revised and updated the networking pages, I may occasionally add updates here. Here is the first:

  • I realized the problem that kept me from using FTP Server with any form of secure WiFi connection. It was a very "senior moment" (and substantially longer than a moment) EBKAC (Error Between Keyboard And Chair)--somehow, I managed to use http:// instead of ftp:// in the browser on my PC each time I tried to use a WiFi connection with security. Further, I switched between secure and insecure WiFi connections more than once, so how I managed to switch to http:// each time makes it a very senior moment. Re: "senior moment": anyone reading this should understand that I am (and will remain) the same age that Jack Benny sometimes claimed to be, that is, 29.

Older stuff:

The following pages, generally on the subject of networking (including sharing an Internet connection) are not in a very usable condition. I need to rewrite all of them. I think the Networking may currently be the best and most complete, but there may be useful tidbits on the other pages.

Networking

Networking Anomalies

Hardwired Ethernet

Install a real Linux in place of Android

Hmm, thinking about it, at that point I might need to install a mouse (which should be possible), I'm not sure how well Linux is set up to work with a touch screen...

ToDos

Reorganize the topics on this page to be in some sort of logical sequence.

Considering some bigger (overarching) organizing categories:

  • Connectivity
  • Peripherals
  • Documentation
  • Activities:
    • Watching (and downloading) videos (or music)
    • Note taking

Talk about things I want to do (or have somebody else do):

  • Learn how to get root access (might need an application)
  • Other things I want, like a pager (e.g., less (or more)) for the command line
  • An editor, ideally like Geany (after I make a lexer / folder for it (i.e., Scintilla) suitable for my modified version of TWikiMarkup), Nedit, or Kate / Kwrite
  • Better C&P, including easier selection and multiple buffers
  • Find out where the microphone is (and, for that matter, the speakers as well)--I haven't really looked for the speakers, but I have looked for the microphone (on pictures and "in real life" and, so far, haven't found it) (Oh, and I want to find out what that one phrase about the microphone said somewhere, something like "double noise reduction" really means) UPDATE: (1) I have now spotted a tiny hole on the narrow edge of the iRulu (where all the other connectors are--it is below the TF/SD card slot--for the moment, I am guessing that is the microphone. (2) Re: the "double noise reduction": that could mean either two microphones, each with noise reduction, or some kind of noise reduction scheme that is somehow twice as effective as some other noise reduction schemes--for a while I was leaning toward the dual microphone theory, now, seeing the one tiny hole, I'm leaning toward a more effective noise reduction scheme.

Contributors

  • () RandyKramer - 2014-02-21
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

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