I had a nice rant about Trump all typed in (hunt and peck style on the Samsung ‘soft keyboard’) on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 over at Tallblokes. ALMOST ready to send, but wanted to fix a bit of spelling.
As it sometimes does, it popped up some damnable Google Voice thing (that I can’t find any way to turn off forever). Attempting to get it to go away, and get the “soft keyboard” back, the Damnable Google Voice Thing went away, but the keyboard did not return.
Well, I was frustrated by not being able to just fix one misspelled word and hit “post” on my long comment, but thought “Sometimes it comes back after a soft exit / enter”. If you just tap the power button, it darkens the screen and sort of sleeps, but on another tap wakes up. No Joy. But worse…
Now, not only would the “soft keyboard” not pop up, but I was greeted with the “enter password” login panel as I had a password set for return from sleep mode. OK… How do I type in a password without a keyboard? Bluetooth was off to save power, so I could not just fire up my external bluetooth keyboard (after finding it somewhere…)
OK, resigned to losing all of my comment in a complete reboot, I held the power button down and chose “power off”. Then rebooted.
Oh What Fresh Hell Is This!? Still no “soft keyboard” and still demanding a password to log in.
On what planet does a power off / restart not cause a “restart”?…
OK, took out the (encrypted) secondary storage chip. Hoping the change of hardware might tickle something. No joy. Reboot. No joy. Then did the “safe mode” reboot (hold volume down and power on start). No Joy. Then the maintenance mode (power button and volume UP at boot). Several choices.
Erase Cache Sector looked most benign. Did it. Reboot. No Joy.
The other two interesting options are a software upgrade from cache (that isn’t going to work) or a software update from external storage (where I don’t have any update to apply).
At this point, all I have left as an option is “Wipe everything and return to factory settings”.
Now I’m pretty good about moving everything to the external chip from time to time, and I’ve pointed some of the defaults at directories on the chip (so photos go there), but, it doesn’t always stick (I think if you take the chip out it forgets even if you do nothing and put it back) and from time to time I’ve had to move stuff over, again. So some unknown amount of “stuff” is likely on the device. A few photos, some downloads, etc. Not catastrophic, but I’d rather not lose them.
Further, I’m not sure that on a wipe and reset the password, that resetting to the same password will let me back into the encrypted external chip. Again, not a horrid loss. I backed it up about 2? weeks ago. But still…
How On God’s Earth
Can Samsung make a device where the keyboard can just go away, then demand the keyboard to enter the unlock code, and NOT have it reset on powerdown / restart?
Unfortunately, the gizmo has a very long battery life when the screen is not lit, and I’d have to wake it up every minute for a couple of days to drain the battery (in the hopes that a dead battery restart might be different…). Beyond that, I can’t think of much short of “wipe and hope”.
The bottom line, for me, is that this means you can not trust a locked Samsung to every let you unlock it.
That means it is imperative to never use a password to lock it. Which means the device must be left unsafe.
Also, since the auxiliary chip is encrypted with the same “unlock code”, you can’t have an encrypted chip either. No unlock code, no chip encryption… Now I’d lived “unlocked” most of the years I’ve had it, and never had a problem. Only in the last 5 or so months have I gone to tying out the encrypted external chip and unlock code. It seemed to work well, and without slowing things down much.
But this is just a deal killer.
I could accept it very occasionally popping up a “voice entry” or “google search” ( that I think is voice search) panel I’d never asked for. Even the sporadic being thrust into stylus writing entry against my will (the only reasonable exit I found was to tap the power button, it sleeps, tap again, it wakes up and you get the keyboard to enter the password and the stylus entry form has gone away leaving you with keyboard again… There is likely something better, but finding it is a PITA) Those “quirks” were annoying, but not damaging.
This is damaging. It has cost me a few hours already. It will cost me more. At the end of the day I’m pretty sure the only answer will be “wipe and reset”, and that means a few more hours. All up, likely a day or two to get back to snuff (depending on if the chip needs a restore too) and even then some unknown amount of photos and documents downloaded will have just evaporated.
That just isn’t acceptable. Coupled with the loss of trust in ever using a password and encryption on the SD card, the device becomes an insecure toy, not a trusted portable system. I must go back to using it as an unlocked random browser screen and not much more.
The only saving grace, really, is that I never did really like the thing enough to do much more than that with it. So I didn’t have a couple of years of “important stuff” on it to lose. That, and being the paranoid Systems Admin sort, I did back up the data some times. About every month. So it isn’t a total loss.
I can’t really recommend this kind of device with this mode of failure for anything important. Sure, watch YouTube on it. Browse web pages. But nothing you really would care about losing…