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Soon a new tablet?

ADLPartner have sent me some invitations to take out additional magazine subscriptions, promising me a "cadeau de marque". I think that means it's supposed to be a gift from a brand you've heard of, but note there's a subtle distinction between "marque" (brand) and "grand marque" (well known brand). It'll be like the differerence between buying a box of Fererro Rocher and a box of something look-alike from a well known German cut-price chain.
So, accordingly, I ignored the publicity.

Fast forward a year and a half such I took out a subscription for "Mon Maison & Mon Jardin" (My home and garden) for mom. They've sent me an offer of a selection of magazines "cheaper than the newsagents", with a tablet as a gift.

I wasn't particularly tempted until I saw that they had a magazine called "Ça m'intéresse" (that interests me) which is a magazine that sort of uncovers and discusses random factoids; some of which plucked from the news, others just random things. I've read it a few times at work (the committee has a subscription to several magazines for leaving in the break room) and thinking "I did not know that". Sadly as I'm reading at work while on break, I pretty much forget five minutes later. So I think, both for helping my French and piling even more random junk into my brain, it might be nice to sit on my bed (winter) or easy chair (summer) and take the time to read it properly. It costs €3,99 a month, with eight additional special issues each costing €5,35. Averaging that out, it's €7,56 a month. Which is less than I spend on the lottery every week.

And, of course, this time again there's the offer of a free tablet. Which didn't weigh into my decision. No, not at all...

The spec of the second tablet
The promotional specification of the tablet.

It isn't a repeat of the original Klipad tablet (review here and teardown here), there are some subtle differences. Let's work down the spec:

  • HD screen 10.1"
    I think this is more or less the same - I doubt one would notice a difference between 10" and 10.1". It remains to be seen if the display is as rubbishy as the current tablet, or whether this one will be viewable from different angles.
  • Quad core processor
    May well be the same RK3126C quad Cortex-A7 device? Suspiciously there is no mention of clock speed, so I would guess possibly "up to 1.2GHz" like the current tablet.
  • 16GiB Flash
    Probably the same generic 16GiB NAND Flash as before.
  • 1GiB RAM
    Same as before.
  • 1280×800 pixels resolution.
    Ah, now here's a difference. The current tablet called itself "HD" but with a display resolution of 1024×600 this was simply not true (as I noted at the time). However 1280×800 is slightly more than standard 720p HD.
    Measuring the (obviously fake) photo on the publicity I get the screen as being 171.5mm × 107mm, which would imply dimensions around 14.4:9. Adjusting this to 720 pixels (a height of 96mm in comparison with the photo) gives a 16:9 display, so it'll be more than capable of showing HD pixel for pixel with small (40 pixel above and below) letterboxing.
  • Android 9 PIE
    Not sure why "Pie" is in capitals. Maybe the French don't understand that it's "pie" as in damn fine cherry...
    At least it's a recent(ish) version, though I won't expect it to be updated (the last one never was). This will probably be the Go version given the low memory, but even so it remains to be seen if it adopts the same UI changes as Android 9 (navigation bars at the bottom and mucked up notification area, among others). It probably won't support the rounded corners, visual fluff isn't important.
  • Two cameras: 0.3 megapixel (VGA) on the front, 2 megapixel on the back
    As before. Likely communicating via I2C. Strictly Y2K tech this. If the same camera modules as before, expect terrible colour reproduction.
  • 4000mAh battery
    At least they own up to it this time. ☺
  • Bluetooth 2.1
    Bluetooth from 2007, but enough to support keyboards and headphones/speakers.
Additionally, it weighs a little less, isn't as tall, but is wider.
Looking at the photos, it seems as if there is a button on the upper right (power?) and a larger one below it (volume rocker?).

I'll talk more when I have the device and have played with it.


Felicity leaves

Felicity leaving
Felicity leaving.

At about quarter to six yesterday evening, Felicity was picked up and taken away for her big service. I included a list of things to look at - checking the glow plugs, the engine noise (water pump?), checking the brakes because of the noise, cleaning the radiator grille (the fan is always running, so the thing needs a clean), and all the usual changing of oil, filters, belts, and stuff for the 10,000km servicing.
I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that I've had her for exactly one week less than a year and I've done a hiccup less than ten thousand kilometres. To put that into context, it's the distance between here and Tokyo Tower.

The guy seemed to think the brake noise was the back brakes, not the front ones, and them (the front) being loose isn't a big deal. He said he'd phone me if there was anything important, otherwise I should expect him around half five.

Well, fingers crossed, half five is in three hours and nobody phoned me this morning.

Still, getting a service from people who actually know what the inside of an Aixam looks like. That'll be a load off my mind when that's done.


Updated at 7pm


Felicity returns

Just after 5pm, my little car was brought back. One of the bearings at the back was worn, so they were changed. The drive belt that I supplied was fitted, but the car only managed 35kph, so they fitted one of theirs and it got up to the expected 45kph. I'll need to look to see if it's a different size or something. Everything was checked.

The front brakes still clunk and grind, especially in reverse. Given the brakes were checked, I'm just going to assume this is something that happens with either this car or this model. Oil changed, filters changed, and the engine cleaned up (looked like pressure washed).


There's always a "but" isn't there?

Mom taught me to check and double check everything. The bill that I had been provided came to a little over €500. Then I noticed that the drive belt had been billed for twice. At sixty, it wasn't inconsiderable.
The man got out his calculator and took off the price of the erroneous belt, then added 20% tax to the final figure. About €440. A lot, but then I'd put aside €700 so...

I took Felicity around back and checked all the levels of things.

Yup. You saw that right. The dipstick showed the oil level just above minimum. As I said, it's a pretty big omission for a car that's gone for an oil change.
They put in 5W40. I had 10W40 so I topped it up with that. Better than nothing, right?

At this moment are two possibilities. The first is that he got distracted or miscalculated how much oil to put in (well, he appeared distracted while creating the bill, right?). The second is that something is broken and the correct amount of oil was put in, but now...
I did a quick check after running the engine for a few moments. The drain plug is in place, no oil on the ground. I'd have thought that something that would cause oil loss of most of the oil during a test drive and bringing it to me might, you know, have been noticeable.
I'll have to keep an eye on that for a few days, but nothing looks wrong, so I'm hoping he just got distracted and forgot. Still not good, because I sort of handed over a week and a half's worth of pay for some peace of mind.

A little more concerning is that he reported the gearbox oil as being black and murky. Which doesn't sound right, especially as the local garage changed this only 5,000km ago. It's a good thing that I had that done early (to get everything back in sync). The gearbox will heat up due to it's proximity to the engine, but there's no combustion. Why was the oil black?


On a brighter note, the problem with the speedometer was the little widget that connects the cable to the gearbox. I will need to print out a new label for the dashboard that reports the distance of the old speedometer with the distance of the GPS added to it, in order to have something that sort-of resembles an accurate distance travelled.
Still, as long as Felicity keeps going until her next oil change (when they suggest I'll need new tyres - that'll be expensive!), that's about half a year. Or maybe April, May, or June (well, I'm not going to Châteaubriant every weekend any more). By then I'll be looking at possibilities for a younger model. That's not to say I'll be scrapping Felicity (I still have three years of bank loan repayments!), but if I have a younger model, Felicity can be the "plan B" and used from time to time instead of every day. Sort of like a soft retirement.

Unless, of course, I should be the one to win €130,000,000 on the lottery tonight. Then I would......have a completely different set of worries.


Yule tree

Since I had some time during the day, I brought the potted pine around to the front of the house and added lights and decorations. More or less like last year, and three days earlier than last year.
Yule tree
Yule tree.



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David Pilling, 20th November 2020, 23:00
Nice tree.  
Maybe an air lock in the oil, or they put it in when hot, but you'd expect mechanics to know about such things. My car is complaining that it wants its oil changing - making beeping noises and putting up messages. This is despite it having gone nowhere in 2020. Obviously works on a timer. 
Monitor the temperature of the gearbox? 
Gavin Wraith, 21st November 2020, 13:43
A few years back I bought a cheap tablet by mailorder. It had a specification very similar to yours. It called itself a Portfolio. As its advertising said "Preloaded with lots of useful software"; and much else. It could not be jailbroken, to my annoyance. I found it horrible, despite its handy size. I kept wishing that it had a button to inhibit unintended actions. At least with a keyboard and mouse nothing happens unless you press a key or a button. It taught me that tablets were not my cup of tea. Eventually it just stopped working.
VinceH, 22nd November 2020, 13:36
Things are worse now, Gareth - even the basic buttons found on a tablet such as a button for "home" and one for "back" are vanishing, to be replaced by "gestures". 
For example, the equivalent to "back"(1) on my new phone is to swipe left from the right edge of the screen. Some apps have multiple screens, and you need to swipe from right to left to move to the next screen. Or to scroll, say, a series of thumbnails to the left. 
So inevitably, sometimes when I'm trying to go 'back' I end up on the next screen, and sometimes when I want the next screen (or scroll those thumbnails) I end up going 'back'. 
Such a stupid user interface. 
(1) After about five years, the screen on my old one started to come away from the body. A couple of attempts to glue it back failed, so the time had come to replace the phone. 
VinceH, 22nd November 2020, 13:37
Gareth = Gavin. Sorry. More haste, less speed.
Gavin Wraith, 22nd November 2020, 19:21
No worry. You are not the only one :). It is a shame, the poor UI of tablets. The portability I admire. But as an incentive to subscribe I would be very suspicious of all the junk loaded (I refuse to use 'preload'). On the Portfolio it could be disabled but not removed. In the end you have to ask yourself whether you own it or it owns you. viz. Seneca on slavery.
Rick, 11th July 2021, 18:03
Reuploaded the video because Google's coders are suboptimal. 
Rick, 11th July 2021, 18:07
About the tablet - pretty much the only stuff preloaded was the cut-down "Go" versions of various Google products. It was refreshingly crap-free. No Facebook or preloaded Microsoft Office stubs anywhere. 
To be honest, given that my old Sony phone had "Facebook Integration" that used mobile data even though I hadn't ever used that app or given any part of my phone connection to any part of Facebook (so clearly sending something back to the mothership), having baked in and non-disableable Facebook would be a reason to refuse a phone. 
F**k Facebook. Don't need it, don't want it. 

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