The indicator LEDs - what should they do?

Discussion in 'Pyra OS (Debian GNU/Linux)' started by levi, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Seems an opportune time to discuss how the LEDs should convey indications to its users, by default at least.

    So, we have five LEDs total, two blending together behind the lid logo, and two next to the power button on the keyboard plus the power button itself which are all individually identifiable.

    I don't personally think whether they're blended together or individually identifiable should matter. My idea is for the notifications to be carried by animations and you'll be able to see an LED blinking whether it's blended behind smoked glass or not.

    High priority notifications:
    - Phone calling
    - Battery low; need recharging

    Low priority notifications:
    - Email unread
    - Text message unread
    - Wifi/GSM/BT activity

    Info level notifications:
    - Battery meter
    - System alive (breathing type animation as per the prototypes?)
    - SD card/NAND activity
    - Power states (for wifi/bluetooth/GSM/GPS etc.)

    In my scheme, the two LEDs behind the logo can be treated the same as the two either side of the power button. When you open the lid, the activity of the two logo LEDs switches to the two next to the power button. The power button LED only shows info level notifications (although possibly SD card activity could be multiplexed using the three keyboard LEDs as left slot/right slot/OS card).

    I reckon for high level notifications, should use short blinks with a longer pause in between (as the Pandora's battery low indicator works), and low level notifications (of the level of text message unread, maybe), should use longer blinks with shorter pauses between. The two different classes of priority notification should use the two different LEDs in each pair, with the other LED remaining in its default state.

    TLDR; should have learned how to make animated GIFs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
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  2. Neelix

    Neelix Insecticidal Maniac

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    I rather suspect this is going to require some experimentation with an actual unit to get right... It's one thing to think of something that might work, it's another to see if it actually effectively communicates what it is meant to.

    That said I think a good starting point would be to first decide what all needs to be indicated. Once we have a definitive lists of what we want the indicators to communicate when the lid is open and when the lid is closed, then we can come up with a system for how to use the LEDs that we have to effectively communicate each state.

    -Neelix
     
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  3. Elw3

    Elw3 ƐʍlƎ

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    Are you trying to discuss the default behaviour or how you would possibly like it?
    For defaults you need to consider there are non modem units too, those ppl will never see any blinking at all, i also dont want a christmas tree as default.

    I would like to see a good way to access the leds for the end user this time. Instead of needing root access like on the pandora.
     
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  4. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    just need to add users to a blinkenlights group.
     
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  5. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Hardcore Member

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    Aren't they also colored ?
     
  6. FBnil

    FBnil Ready to Champion the Pyra to the World...

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    open/closed lid swaps indications in inner and outer leds.

    closed lid: pyralogo lights are active. open lid: pyralogo lights are off (or run a user defined custom behavior) and inner lights take over that function.

    Well, I think when the battery runs low, I'd expect the same behavior with a blinking/continuous red outer light (only one, the other should be blue if bluetooth is on, or green blinking if wireless is on, maybe white if an incoming call is detected, yellow if an SMS/telegram is received). Once you open up the unit, I expect nothing on the backside, because I am expected to look at the screen, and these recharge/out-of-power red blinks be taken over by the inner lights.

    One Led indicates bluetooth, wifi and power

    The colour of the light would go one after the other:
    black for a second, then 0.2 seconds of each color for the special indicators (one after the other; for example, red), then back to black.
    But if bluetooth is enabled, it would not go to black but to blue. And if Bluetooth (blue) AND wifi (green) are one, it becomes cyan (by colour addition).
    We need it to show real red (and not, say, white when blue bluetooth, green wifi and red low-power are on at the same time).

    The other led indicates SD and nand activity. (And phone ring / phone data activity.)

    todo: insert animated gif here...


    +1 for the idea on tintilating backlight for hdd usage. My ideal modus (after experimenting with my eyes closed) is:
    Backlight off: no flashing
    Backlight on: lower intensity by 1 to 'blink' then go back to the set intensity.

    +1 for making animated gifs...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
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  7. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Yeah, all I really expect as default is low battery notification (maybe solid red or yellow for getting low, and blinking red for "charge me now").

    The other can be for wifi and/or bluetooth, maybe green for wifi and blue for, you guessed it, bluetooth. Solid if only one is on, and a slow flicker or transition if both are on.

    Lid LEDs should probably be off by default when the unit is open (or with an optional flickering flame effect that can be turned on at first boot), and when closed the internal and external LED settings should swap. For 4G units, whenever voice and SMS is up and running, maybe both LEDs doing a fast white blink and slow white blink respectively, and playing ST:TNG/DS9/VOY era sound files (not serious, but I have been using these for several years...maybe an old telephone ring for calls, and ED saying "you've got mail a message" for texts).

    It might help some users make more use of non-default stuff if there is a wizard or well documented file.

    Edit: On second thought, maybe combining the power, bluetooth and wifi on one LED is enough, so that the other one is freed up like @FBnil said. I still think both should blink for incoming calls, possibly with one off while the other is on if it helps get user attention.

    As for the the animated gifs...maybe "someone" can make some after we identify what is important enough to be displayed by default. Then we can have a poll! :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  8. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Yes, I did define my categories using GSM states, but that was just me being lazy. A new email received over wifi would probably be counted as the same intensity as a text message received in my scheme, and as others have said, battery states also need to be communicated, at least when the battery is running low.

    I'm trying to come up with something that we could all live with - but I can only really use my own preferences as a starting point.

    Perhaps having one LED red and the other a different colour to indicate bluetooth left on or wifi would also be useful to me at least. I sometimes forget to turn the USB host power off to my wifi stick on my TV out only Pandora, and that drains the power somewhat more rapidly than I normally anticipate.

    Edit: Regarding turning the lid LEDs off when the lid is open, I've perhaps been rather too influenced by Jeeks latest animated GIF, but I'd like them to remain lighting up the desk or your surroundings while the lid is open. It does seem like some configuration of at least some preferences is needed, though just a file in /etc would do me personally, no need for a fancy wizard especially to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  9. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

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    Let's first agree on what could and/or should be communicated to the user via the LEDs:
    • Battery Status (e.g. charging, high, medium, low, critical)
    • Connectivity indicators: WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE, GPS
    • Activity indicators:
      • activity on WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE, GPS
      • SD card & nand read/writes (per slot?)
      • USB? Perhaps read/writes to mass storage devices, but not mice/keyboard activity.
    • Event indicators:
      • incoming synchronous communication, typically a phone-call
      • unread asynchronous communication, e.g. a new message via email, tweet, SMS, whatever...
    Did I summarize those right? Anything missing?

    I would expect Battery status, connectivity and unread asynchronous communication to be indicated with a fixed colour (probably a combination from primary colours as suggested by @FBnil). On the other hand Activity and synchronous communication would be more suited to be indicated by flashing lights.

    I do not think it makes much sense to indicate any status or activity on the back of the unit while it is open. That leaves us two LEDs to indicate status on.

    Second step is to create a mapping. Here is an example:
    • Connectivity LED:
      all off (off), WiFi/BT (blue), LTE (red), GPS (green), WiFi/BT & LTE (magenta), WiFi/BT & GPS (yellow), LTE & GPS (cyan), all on (white).
    • Activity on WiFi/BT will blink blue, activity on LTE will blink red, activity on GPS will blink green.
    • Incoming call will perform a colour cycle e.g. a green/yellow/red (perhaps on both LEDs?)
    • Status LED (no new async message):
      battery high (green), battery medium (yellow), battery low (red), charging (LED off)
    • Status LED (new async message):
      battery high (cyan), battery medium (white), battery low (magenta), charging (blue)
    • SD/nand access
      blink blue
     
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  10. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Hardcore Member

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    I'm not a fan of blinking led indicating normal activity because it's right under the nose and pretty annoying.
    I'd keep blinking for alerts, like battery low, message received etc.
     
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  11. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

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    I see what you say, but doesn't every computer do this? You must be annoyed a lot...

    <edit>
    Sorry, I don't like the way I phrased this. It reads a bit like I am trying to shut you down, which is not my intention.
    You have a legitimate concern, which we need to address. At this point I am not sure yet about how to properly tackle it.

    I certainly would not like the LEDs to light up like an epilepsy inducing Christmas tree either. When blinking, it should be slow paced to avoid attracting too much attention.

    We could always opt to leave out the regular activity indicators, but I would like to see it if e.g. the LTE communications go crazy with activity.
    </edit>
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
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  12. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Hardcore Member

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    No, I don't have any led blinking in front of my eye.
    If I would, I'd put a tape on it.
     
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  13. Gon

    Gon Member

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    Isn't the power button itself also an RGB led that can be used? If so, i would just indicate the battery state permanently on that.
     
  14. FBnil

    FBnil Ready to Champion the Pyra to the World...

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    Hmm... Although this is more application based, and not "default" behavior; I got this image of a stereo VU meter with the 2 leds (green - low sound, yellow - medium sound, red - high sound ). Can also be used while recording?
    handy, but some USB disks have lights of their own...
    Not in favour of this, it distorts the color too much, how about normal battery colors, and a blink now and then in a $color that indicates an incomming message? (which blinks each 3 seconds or so)


    If we have fading, how about a yellow that fades from the left to the right led for incomming?
     
  15. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Hardcore Member

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    Don't forget the color blind people !
    I don't know which sequence/combination to avoid, maybe someone knows here ?
     
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  16. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Red/green colourblindness if the most common, although if the max intensity of each is different most people can tell the difference. As I understand it in a 'normal' eye the green sensors are more sensitive than red, which is more sensitive than blue. I don't know if that's still the same for red/green colourblind people - if they have both cones but wonky wiring then it should be the same, if they have a mid-frequency sensor then it depends on the frequency their evolution has selected, and if it's just one cone- red or green then they should be able to distinguish the two by their apparent intensity.

    Edit: apparently around 2% of males are missing one set of red or green cones, while 7% have mutation in either their red or green cones bringing their frequency response more towards yellow than normal - they either have orange, green, blue cones or red, leaf green, blue cones. Women overall are less likely to be affected - less than 1 on 100 are apparently. Either way, for r/g colourblindness, the cones should repond sufficiently difference between 100% red and 100% green to distinguish them fine on an RGB LED.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
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  17. Christoph.Krn

    Christoph.Krn Very Active Member

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    I don't really like these kinds of discussions with design by committee, ike @Neelix said, it's probably different when you actually use it, but... here's my proposal for a default:

    Left LED: Dim blinking with disk I/O activity (including internal flash and SD cards)
    Right LED: Brightness depending on intensity of usage of radios, blue for WLAN/BT, red for cellular (blue is a color that many "colorblind" people can see well), resulting in purple-ish if both are active. Or maybe just leave this LED off by default and provide a couple of presets in a settings dialogue.
    Power LED: Blinking red for very low battery, lighting orange while charging, otherwise off
    Outside LEDs: What do I care? :p More seriously though, I'm not sure whether the ideas I have about the outside LEDs would be any good...

    I cannot really see much sense in LED indicators for GPS or battery levels, regular GPS is just passive, and the desktop environment should have a battery applet by default... am I missing something?

    I read something a while ago that I can't find right now about how when you set a bookmark in Microsoft's Edge browser, it would put an unusually high tax on the battery for a short moment, due to how the bookmark icon was animated. They changed the implementation, and now it requires less power. So I'd like to bring in the idea of the power LED working like a battery O activity indicator, i.e. lighting up during use, at a brightness that depends on the current power draw. I don't know how accurately the power usage can be measured here though. (Summoning @_wb_ , what do you think about this?)
     
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  18. Gon

    Gon Member

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    Well, you don't see the desktop while fullscreen gaming no? In the end, you could argue with all proposed led functions in this thread that there is also a desktop widget for that use case. Personally, I also don't like any kind of GUI popup that steals focus while I am playing games. I'd rather just look at a battery power led and say "ok it's yellow, I don't have much time left".
     
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  19. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

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    What I don't like about the mapping proposal I made above is that it encodes a lot of information in the colour of the LED.
    Unfortunately, we have very few LEDs and few ways of conveying information.

    We can have colours and blinking patterns. Colours can be problematic for colour blind people, though everything is software controlled and different palettes can be created to avoid the most common combinations.

    Yes, this is true. I actually doubt if we should distinguish any of the read/write operations by medium. Probably a general "disk access" is more than sufficient.

    Perhaps we need to chunk some of the information and be more selective.
    • We could show new async messages only on the back (desktop could display e.g. an email icon on the taskbar). Useful to see from a distance.
    • We could show battery level only on the back (the desktop has a battery level widget anyway). Useful to see charge status from a distance.
    • Battery going critical is an important event which requires immediate user interaction and thus can easily override the usual status display with some blinking pattern.
    • We could combine WiFi and BT signals
    • We could combine LTE and GPS signals
    So, a simplified pattern could be:
    • One back led would indicate message presence (on/off) in some colour
    • The other back led would indicate battery status [green/yellow/red] or blue (charging).
    • One front LED would display WiFi and BT: off, enabled (green), BT read/write (blue), WiFi read/write (red)
    • Other LED would display LTE/GPS: off, enabled (green), GPS read/write (blue), LTE read/write (red)
    • LTE/GPS will blink white on incoming call.
    • WiFi/BT LED will blink white (briefly) on disk IO.
    Naturally some wizard and/or configuration tool needs to be available to choose colours (for colour blind people) and to enable/disable specific signals.
     
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  20. Christoph.Krn

    Christoph.Krn Very Active Member

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    If you boot the system right into the fullscreen game...
     

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