Thursday, 15 October 2020

Pinephone with detachable 'clamshell' keyboard...alas not just yet!

As a huge fan of 'Pine64' I was delighted to see this announcement in their recent newsletter. Owning a device which allows not only allows the most 'private' experience possible from prying governments and corporates but it also allows me to use all the linux apps I've got so used to (within the limits of an 'arm64' phone) such a refreshing approach. Hope to see much more from these guys in the future.

'Pine64' commented on the proposed new design:-

"After some consideration we have opted to go with a clamshell design for the keyboard. The PinePhone is large and heavy enough to be unwieldy when held by a thin slab of plastic such as that of a slide-out keyboard. This clamshell design can, however, be folded practically flat so it is comfortably used without placing the device on a surface. The keyboard section also holds a large (probably 5000mAh) battery, which not only more-than-doubles the phone’s stand-by time but also acts as a weighty counterbalance. Many of you will also recognize that we decided to use the keyboard layout we proposed and discussed with the community in August. From a mechanical standpoint, the keyboard clamps onto the phone (for which you need to remove the back-cover) and interfaces with the device using the pogo pins.  

I’m sure this news will get many of you excited, but please keep in mind that presently it is impossible for me to guarantee that this particular plan for the keyboard will pan out and that the vendor will come through on their promises. But I think there is a good chance it will happen, so I decided to share it with you."

Lukasz Erecinski

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

QGIS vs ARCGIS The gap is closing...

I've been messing around with the 'gtrendsR' package to see how the big two 'GIS' packages are squaring up on google searches. It shows a slow but steady improvement for 'QGIS' but a 'spike' in 'ArcGIS' too in early 2020. Will try to get some more detailed 'monthly' analysis asap.

Updated: 14:56 pm Tue 9th June 2020

RStudio code:-

# You only need to change "QGIS" and "ARCGIS" to alternative google 'keywords'
# Assign 'QGIS' and 'ARCGIS' to 'res'
res <- gtrends(c("QGIS", "ARCGIS"))
# Assign 'res$interest_over_time' to 'iot'
iot <- res$interest_over_time
# Assign 'iot (and then) filter date' to 'iot2020'
iot2020 <- iot %>%
  filter(date > as.Date("2015-01-01"))
# Assign 'iot2020' to 'ggplot'
iot2020 %>%
  ggplot() + geom_line(aes(x = date,
                           y = hits,
                           color = keyword)) +
  theme_minimal() +
  labs(title = "QGIS vs ARGIS 2015-2020",
       subtitle = "Google Trends Report",
       caption = "Courtesy: gtrendsR package")


This looks an interesting concept. I still use both a Nexus 4 and 5 for simplicity.

Find out more:-

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Looking for a single board low cost 'travel' laptop for everyday web surfing?

I was looking for a raspberry pi laptop, the idea that you can have a single board computer with every component inside screwed down and thus being upgradable in the future,  I might for example upgrade the pi with a newer board or with add-on modules for different functionality such as a bigger 'SSD' but all I could find was this type of thing... not exactly what I had in mind.

The 'PiTop'

I started to 'google' around the subject and to think about other scenarios, what if I could have a single board mobile phone that I can install any linux operating system onto then connect peripherals via bluetooth or a tablet that can boot from a microSDHC card and be rid of 'Google' spyware
and a laptop that looks like a laptop with decent battery life, runs Ubuntu, and costs little more than an M+S multi-packet of crisps.

Well... I found all I need with '' that is a very very interesting prospect because I believe that technology should not only be 'open' and community driven but low cost and where i'm not stuck in a 'Google' or 'Apple' proprietary throw away ecosystem bombarded with alerts every 2 minutes. the interesting component are the hardware boards (very similar) to the raspberry pi but have gone a little further.

Some people will say "but I can get all of this on my iphone" but to have a choice of  'form factor' is a major selling point here and that is where it becomes interesting when you look through the online store.

For less than £450 you can own a 'pinephone' a 'pinetab' and a 'pinebook pro', yes...unbelievable value! The organisation actually produce all it's own main boards in the US such as the 'Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU' and the 'Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU' (assembled in Hong Kong) as shown below.

'Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC'

'Pinephone' remember the price for the specs!.


'Pinebook Pro'.
Both 'Pinephone' and 'Pinetab' booting from microSDHC cards into 'Manjaro' linux.

As with anything there are some downsides. If your a gamer, a Microsoft devotee, you can forget these fairly low powered devices... but for those who want choice, security and independence and be able to change the battery and are not too 'brand precious' you may want to give these guys a serious look the build quality 'v' price is excellent. Will let you know my verdict soon.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Covid-19 Interactive Map (daily updates)

The departement of Public Health of the Strasbourg University Hospital (GMRC, Prof. Meyer) and the Laboratory of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics of the Strasbourg  Medicine Faculty (Prof. Sauleau), to the extent of their means and expertise, are contributing to the fight against Covid-19 infection. Doctor Fabacher has produced an interactive map for global monitoring of the infection, accessible at :

This map, which complements the Johns Hopkins University tool (Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE), focuses on the evolution of the number of cases per country and for a given period, but in terms of incidence and prevalence. It is updated daily.
The period of interest can be defined by the user and it is possible to choose  :
  • The count of new cases over a period of time or the same count in relation to the population of the country (incidence).
  • The total case count over a period of time or the same count reported to the population (prevalence).
This map is made using R with shiny, leaflet and dplyr packages.

Code available here:-

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