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Which Cell Phones & Networks for SSH? 81

muffinresearch asks: "I've been thinking about picking up a new PDA/Smartphone in the seasonal sales, I am finding a lack of more technical information with regards to being able to use SSH software via GPRS. Now as far as I can see, the Treo 600, and the Sony-Ericsson P900/P910i can all use third-party SSH clients.However what is lacking here in the UK is info on which networks allow access on port 22, and whether this access requires a pay-monthly account or can you do it on a Pay-as-you-go account? I'm reckoning some of you will have useful info on what is working for you as far as phones and networks that do SSH, and your experiences in practice. Happy New Year to all!"
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Which Cell Phones & Networks for SSH?

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  • Idokorro (Score:4, Informative)

    by innosent ( 618233 ) <> on Friday December 31, 2004 @07:37PM (#11230923)
    Idokorro offers SSH clients for most J2ME phones, including the various blackberry devices, and also offers one for the Nokia phones with the flip-over keyboard (can't remember the model number). Try Idokorro []
    • Re:Idokorro (Score:3, Informative)

      1) Idokorro is definitely not Free, and quite expensive too. BlackBerry SSH starting at $195!? He's probably buying his phone for less than that. (Their Mobile Admin software [$1 995] looks pretty interesting, though: Active Directory, Novell administration, SSH, etc. from a BlackBerry.)

      2) He can find clients; his question asks which services have Port 22 access, or which have people used successfully for SSH.
    • It's available for the Nokia 6800 (6810, 6820, 6820i) series. I have a 6800 flip for over a year ;) and I must say, SSH is SLOW!

      SSH is almost impossible to use on this phone, as the processor is not fast.. but wait.. the 9300/9500 communicators (same price range) are much faster, as I have/am beta testing a 9300 now.. and WOW.. everything is fast!!
    • works great with my blackberry 7510, didn't need any other software, Telus(CDN) and Nextel(USA) both provide the connectivity you need without going through that overpriced business server that blackberry wants you to buy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2004 @07:42PM (#11230949) a voice-to-tcp converter. How quickly can you recite IP headers btw?
  • Series 60 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Friday December 31, 2004 @07:52PM (#11230997) Homepage Journal
    There's a puTTY client for the series 60 mobile phones, and it certainly works over Australia's Optus mobile network.
    • Re:Series 60 (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nestafo ( 777210 )
      I am very satisfied with a Series 60 version of Symbian Putty []. It works great with my Nokia 6600 by using GPRS services of major Finnish cellular operators.

      I can easily use Pine and Irssi [] in my Unix screen. Actually I've found that using the phone's own mail client is much clumsier.

      Small screen of 6600 is surprisingly no problem. The only limitation is slow text input. T9 helps you to input fast normal text, but finding some special characters may take a while. The developers of Symbian Putty have been re
  • Ping Times (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @08:00PM (#11231035) Homepage Journal
    My pingtime is 600ms over GPRS and 200ms over UMTS. I've seen it bounce upto 2000ms with boats on the water in NY and not loose a ping.

    Myself, I'm using my UMTS Motorola A845 phone as a usb modem, I can still take calls while I vpn and ssh out. Gives me about 3 hours combo surf/talk time before I need to charge, so I leave it plugged in at my desk while I do both.

    Nice thing, no matter how much filtering IT does, I just route out over my phone connection... BTW, jerks are filtering some slashdot urls.

    Also, While those GPRS phones are only Voice or Data at once, UMTS lets me do both at the same time, I dont have to quit my data session. I havnt tried the bluetooth, but been wanting to see how my pocketpc can ssh out while im on the phone.

    UMTS is great, glad that its starting to go nation wide. DO and VO products just are not what you want.
    • We've got that ~problem~ at work too. Usually it's Just chop off the "games." part and you can usually read the story. Also you can surf over to for the links, which are cached, etc. and will generally be non-blocked.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and talking loudly, I quite often say "SSH"
    and then they glare at me. Is that what you meant? :-)
  • Danger Hiptop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @08:11PM (#11231085)
    Get a Danger Hiptop from T-Mobile. You turn it on and it just works. It supports web browsing, E-mail with push, AIM, SMS, a regular cell phone, a transparently web-synchronized organizer, some games, a VGA camera, Yahoo Messenger, and SSH (plus several more applications that I haven't tried). You also get an E-mail address and web-based access to your data. Also, the keyboard is the most usable among all the devices I have tried.

    The device is $200 and you pay $20/month for unlimited data services. You have to add a voice plan to that; the cheapest is another $10/month, making the device $30/month (1 year commitment).
    • Not sure if T-Mobile is a viable solution for him in the UK. If so, great, otherwise see if there is a service that provides something similar for data services.
    • Re:Danger Hiptop (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daviddennis ( 10926 )
      They do charge $10 for the SSH client, which I think is pretty reasonable considering that not many customers on a percentage basis are going to want it.

      I have the T-Mobile Sidekick and I can say that it's a great feeling being able to SSH on my cellphone without worrying about the enormous monthly fees associated with other carriers.

      But there are a few downsides. The main one is that T-Mobile service is pretty bad in many places, including Los Angeles, where I live. When it works, it's great. When it
      • Re:Danger Hiptop (Score:2, Informative)

        by nyquil ( 23124 )
        Well, in all fairness, the source for the ssh client is distributed with the SDK; a free download. Anyone techy enough to want to use the ssh client can just sign up for the sdk and install it that way. There's tons of applications you can install from, all written by users.
    • Re:Danger Hiptop (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gabe ( 6734 )
      Danger's platform is limited for developers, so you'll be able to find better apps for other devices that use J2ME, Palm, WinCE, etc. Having said that, the Sidekick/Hiptop II has a very nice web browser, AIM client, etc. But it's quite clumsy as a phone (have to open it up to dial numbers - or selected them from a list on the phone using an awkward scroll wheel).
      • Danger's platform is limited for developers, so you'll be able to find better apps for other devices that use J2ME, Palm, WinCE, etc.

        I think what matters is not the total number of applications, but that it gets the job done. And when it comes to mobile Internet access, I think the Hiptop still beats any of the Palm, Windows, Symbian, or Blackberry-based offerings.

        But it's quite clumsy as a phone (have to open it up to dial numbers - or selected them from a list on the phone using an awkward scroll whe
      • awkward scroll

        I was with you up to this point.

        I like the scroll wheel. It's not perfect, but the UI on the Hiptop is far superior to the waggle-wheel on the blackberry and the pinhead-keys on the Treo (though there are TONS more apps for the Treo).

        Other comments about Hiptops and T-Mobile are right on. Spotty service, mostly-good (or better) customer service), cheap phone if you buy on Amazon with voice service. The phone part is a good phone, though it is pretty much impossible to use while driving
    • yeah except for that whole 'it doesn't support iSync with bluetooth thing.' hell, even the sidekick TWO doesn't support it. and that, in my opinion, is monumentally stupid of them. no thanks.
      • it doesn't support iSync with bluetooth thing

        Well, I guess you won't be buying one. Most other people don't care (hell, I don't even use its organizer functions).
    • I'll second the vote for the Sidekick II. Despite the snoop-dog/Paris Hilton marketing angle, it's actually a fairly good power tool for the road-warrior.
      The SSH client supports multiple simultaneous sessions, SSH2, Telnet, and "raw" modes, up to 999 line scrollback, saving login information (with or without passwords), multiple font styles, vt100, ANSI, xterm, and 'linux' terminal emulation (but alas, not alternate ports). T-Mobile does not block port 22 and I've had great success logging in remotely to m
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Java applet that does a login shell on my box using CGI. (Very cool, check out the page above.) I use SSL to encrypt the connection.

    I also have to borrow someone's computer when I do it -- when I'm out and about.
  • I use PuTTY on a Nokia 6600 (Series 60). Excellent and works (very slowly). I use it on O2 UK with MobileWeb settings...shame i've not got a easier way to input onto the phone.
    • bluetooth keyboard []. It doesn't work with a 6600 but a 6620 would work. Or a 7610 (what I have. It's got all of the features of the 6600 but it's smaller and weirder looking).
    • at the risk of sounding like an AOLer : same here

      putty & a 6600

      was great to be sat on a campsite in cornwall @ 10pm, getting a text from work and me ssh'ing into the server and sorting it out without moving

      O2 gprs

      the bluetooth keyboard doesn't help that much, you have to enter text into putty one line at a time through a dialog box

      options .. send text .. [dialog] ... ok

      not quiet like using a keyboard at a prompt and certainly not very curses friendly

      with the added benefit that agile messenger wor
  • The latency can be poor when typing, but what do you expect? It's fine for uttering emergency incantations at a sick server, but I wouldn't want to use it for much else - slow, expensive, tiny screen.
  • I don't know about over there, but down here, there aren't really any port restrictions over GPRS.
    We were able to boot up Kazaa and get leeching (of course, it nearly killed everyone else's connection at the same time).
  • From the site []:
    PuTTY is a free SSH client developed by Simon Tatham and others. This page contains a port to the Symbian OS, with support for Series 60 (Nokia 3650, 6600, and N-Gage) and Nokia 9200 Communicator series (Nokia 9210, 9210i, and 9290). The current version contains SSH protocol support, terminal emulation, and a basic user interface. More documentation is available in the distribution.
    I would check out the docs if I were you.
  • I've had poor luck with Cingular for GPRS. Including the on-phone GPRS service. I switched over from AT&T and have been unhappy. Hopefully ATTWS will bring some clue to the data side of Cingular. They're also not bluetooth or mac friendly.
    • They're also not bluetooth or mac friendly.

      Other than for documentation/support helping you to initially set these things up, both are functions of your phone rather than your cell provider.

      I just got a Sony Ericsson T610, running on the Fido network hre in Canada. They aren't Mac friendly from what I can see (they provide no mention of it anywhere in their documentation or online), and provide very little Bluetooth information, but I was still able to get full connectivity between my T610 and my Power

      • Well, somewhat true, but the issue becomes that when I am getting dropped GPRS connections after under 5 mins of use, and I call them up and they say "screw you, you're trying to use your phone like a modem, we don't support that either" it's more of a function of the provider than the phone/setup i have going..
        • it's more of a function of the provider than the phone/setup i have going.>/I>

          Try this. Go into System Preferences -> Network -> Bluetooth (or whatever connection type you're using) -> PPP -> PPP Options, and disable "Send PPP Echo Packets".

          Apparently this is a somewhat common problem when using GPRS connections o Mac OS X. I was experiencing similar disconnections before I found this tip online.



          • THANKS! That seems to have helped a lot. my ssh connection is at least still up... going to try it out later.. this will help me a *lot* next time i'm oncall (the reason i got the nokia 6230).
            • THANKS! That seems to have helped a lot. my ssh connection is at least still up... going to try it out later.. this will help me a *lot* next time i'm oncall (the reason i got the nokia 6230).

              I'm glad to hear this helped you out. Feel free to drop me a line if you run into any other problems -- I'm fairly new at this myself, but am happy to share my experiences.


              • Actually, it worked for longer than it has in awhile (9 mins of gprs connect time..) it turns out there is a nokia field-bulletin for this issue that I just found. Now it's time to see if they'll replace my phone: information about my problem here []. It appears the author of that page doesn't speak english as their primary language, but it's easy enough to find the answer for those Nokia 6230 GPRS+BT users.
  • has some ssh applications, other than that i'd check out some of the linux based PDA's
  • The Orange pay as you go GPRS "extra" seems to allow all ports.

    I've used SSH and IRC and AIM and others over it with no problem (apart from the hideous latency mentioned by others). This is with a Zaurus SL-5500 and a T68. The guy at the support desk who I asked before I got it said that I wouldn't be able to unless I was contract, he lied :-P.

    One thing to watch out for if you use linux is that the networks (at least orange and t-mobile) ignore LCP echo requests, which makes your connection time out aft

  • by 3waygeek ( 58990 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:03PM (#11231829)
    There are multiple SSH clients for the Pocket PC platform, at least one of which is based on the popular PuTTY Win32 client. Also, many newer PPC phones, such as the iPaq 6315 and iMate PDA2K, include built-in WiFi, which can save you a bit on GPRS costs.
  • Verizon's CDMA2000 1x EV-DO service is available in certain areas right now (14 cities), and it's going nationwide next year.

    It's ~400kbps with decent (~200ms) latency. When you aren't in a EV-DO area, it drops back to the ~80kbps 1xRTT standard, still with decent (~500ms) latency.

    $80 a month for unlimited data. You can get a discount if you are using it with a PDA and not a PC.
    • Same tech, evdo.
    • I have a Verizon phone (LG VX7000) and have been fairly impressed with it. I really liked the usability of my Nokia 6120i but its range and battery life sucked. Plus that carrier wasn't in the Wichita, KS area. I am however more than a little disappointed with the speed of the 'Net access and how it's all but unusable on my phone. The transfer rate is neglible and it takes an act of Congress to type in URLs on this phone (not to mention log in with a numeric userid). I should probably just drop the 'Ne
  • by sl956 ( 200477 ) * on Friday December 31, 2004 @11:32PM (#11231920)
    I am a heavy user of ssh over gprs (or gsm where gprs is not available):
    I usually don't need/want a laptop when I am traveling so I initially went the PDA+cellphone way.
    I have used my old Zaurus SL-5000D with a bluetooth CF-card and a triband SonyEricsson cellphone (T68i, then T630) to ssh into my european servers from Europe (UK, Italy, NL), the US (NYC, LA), Asia (HK, Cambodia, Thailand) and even from Japan, using a rented blutooth-enabled cellphone.
    It has always worked flawlessly. I never had any problem with blocked 22 port or anything like that in any of these countries.
    I considered the Treo 600 very seriously, but I will stick to my current PDA+cellphone solution. In Japan the Treo would be as useless as my Sony-Ericsson. But it is a lot easier to rent a simple bluetooth-enabled cellphone and use my usual PDA than it would be to rent an integrated local smartphone with an ssh client.

    For the networks questions, there are more problems : if the cost is not important (company paid for instance), just use the roaming partners of your cellphone company : the big european players (Vodafone, Orange, T-mobile) usually try to have at least one partner allowing data in every country (be it over gprs or gsm). But it is expensive, and the costs are very difficult to predict. So if you want to optimize, you have to buy pay-as-you-go plans in every country, being careful to choose plans allowing data. You usually have to pay a premium for data but it is a lot cheaper than simply roaming.
    The biggest problem then becomes to choose the right simcard from you (huge) collection depending on the place where you are. It can sometimes be tricky like : So I am in Cambodia near the Thailand border and I don't have any Cambodian pay-as-you-go plan. Choices are using my 12Call simcard because i am not far from Thailand and I can see their network from here, or using my SmarTone simcard, roaming through a local network to HongKong, or simply use the local roaming partner of my european network. Which one would be the cheapest??? The answer, found by trying, was using my HongKong pay-as-you-go plan (SmarTone). Please don't ask me why. :-)

    Just my two euro-cents.
    • But it is a lot easier to rent a simple bluetooth-enabled cellphone and use my usual PDA than it would be to rent an integrated local smartphone with an ssh client.

      You are aware that you could just have bought (or rented) a local SIM card and use it with your foreign phone? That's usually very easy to do (Thai phone companies used to block foreign phones from using their SIM's, but they changed their mind about that years ago).

      I spend a year travelling in 2001/2002 and I had good results using a Nokia 92
  • by gabe ( 6734 ) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @12:47AM (#11232122) Homepage Journal
    I use a Nokia 6820 with ATT Wireless/Cingular. It has a fold out keyboard which is quite nice. ATT/Cingular both have unlimited data plans for around $20/mo. ATT Wireless charges extra for data usage by a device hooked up to the phone (Bluetooth, data cable -> laptop) but Cingular does not.

    When I need to use SSH and don't have my laptop, I use MIDP SSH [], which is free and "good enough." Ideally I'd wish for a bigger screen only. (From your cellphone: [])

    I've found's forums [] to be quite helpful also.
  • no problems to report with my Treo600 and Cingular - lag is pretty high though, not something I'd want to use every day but it's sufficent to reboot a server or kill a proc if needed.
  • I use SprintPCS [], the Palmone [] treo600 [], and pssh []. SprintPCS's network is CDMA [] so if you're not in the continental United States, and not in or near a metropolitian area, forget about it. For the rest of you I can tell you that it works splendidly, though latent. It'd be difficult to perform any complex task, though not impossible. On the treo the font-size will be tiny. One should consider the treo650 [] with it's high resolution screen as an alternative.

    I should also mention PalmVNC []. The bandwidth limitation
  • I've had success using PuTTY for Symbian OS [] on my Nokia 6600 on O2 - am on a contract (one of the "online" tariffs) with them, and after installation on my phone, it worked straight away with no need to call them up. Haven't had the chance to try with pay-as-you-go however, but contract is fine.
  • I use o2s basic online deal with my laptop. Its evil bad and wrong but I then use Corkscrew [] to tunnel through their proxy. Its not great (times out after 10mins [1]) but the deal I have has lots of free access, and it keeps me connected when i'm away for a real connection.

    I've also used proxytunnel [] not sure which I prefer.

    [1] Fine when using GNU Screen [] on the remote system
  • Downsides (Score:3, Informative)

    by PapaZit ( 33585 ) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @09:30AM (#11233233)
    My setup: T-Mobile w/ "Unlimited Internet", Nokia 3660, Palm Zire 72 (bluetooth to phone).

    I've used both the Symbian PuTTY port and various palm SSH apps. They work, but there are some significant problems:

    -Latency is huge (I've seen over 2000ms). You'd better type it correctly the first time.

    -Input is difficult, particularly when you need non-alphanumberic characters (pipe, braces, escape, control characters). You'll want to figure this out before you need it.

    -For the above reasons, you may want to think about something with a small keyboard. Still, remember that the little keyboard is still going to be short on keys. Figure out how to enter the "missing" characters.

    -You don't get a "real" IP address. It's a 10.x.x.x address going through a NAT. Be sure that any firewalls or admin tools can cope with that.

    -The battery drain for this is pretty significant. I get about two hours total use. That's fine for quick fixes, but you won't want to stay logged in to watch an hours-long database rebuild.

    -Given the odd screen size and intermittent connectivity, screen [] will become your best friend.
    • I have to say, the Sidekick really comes through for SSH. There are a few keyboard shortcuts you have to learn (and they're pretty much mnemonic once you figure out that Menu==Ctrl, but they're shown in a pop-up dialog if you forget) but braces, brackets, angles, and most other punctuation are all printed on the keyboard.

      Sadly, they hurt the keyboard on the Sidekick II by recessing it so you have to hook your thumbs around the case, and by replacing the soft-topped keys with chiclets. The Sidekick 1 (both
    • Re:Downsides (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mignon ( 34109 )
      I get about two hours total use. That's fine for quick fixes, but you won't want to stay logged in to watch an hours-long database rebuild.

      I was happy as a pig in ssh-it when I learned about nohup(1) for dealing with a similar issue.

    • -You don't get a "real" IP address. It's a 10.x.x.x address going through a NAT. Be sure that any firewalls or admin tools can cope with that.

      Dial 611 on the phone to talk to T-Mobile customer service and ask to change your Unlimited Internet service option to the VPN Unlimited Internet option. If the customer service representative you speak to doesn't know what you're talking about, call back until you find one that does. The VPN option gives you a real IP address.

      -Given the odd screen size and intermi

  • I've found that the The Sidekick [] is just incredible. It has an ssh client, decent webbrowser (though it has trouble with tables/frames/scripting, etc.) and convenient keyboard, as well as decent phone features.

    And I am speaking as an owner of the color sidekick - supposedly the newest iteration is significantly enhanced. The only downsides are that
    1) the reception isn't 100% (though I hear the newest one is a lot better wrt this).
    2) it breaks a lot (though they do have a generous exchange policy).

  • Vodafone in the UK allows port 22 on contract GPRS - haven't tried prepay but I think it will be the same. The firewall rules will be associated with the APN (access point name - roughly equivalent to a modem bank for a circuit-switched service) and as far as I know prepay customers can use the same "internet" APN as can contract customers (user name "web", password "web". The only issue with that APN that I know of is that HTTP traffic is optimised for the low bandwidth, which can degrade image quality - n
    • I own both a Vodafone Business contract (with a Nokia 6230) and one of the Vodafone 3G/GPRS cards. With the handset, linked via Bluetooth to a laptop, I've been able to access SSH/IRC/MSN etc. (Note that it's all behind NAT). However, with this approach, the latency on the session is way too high for it to be usable.

      However, with the 3G card, in a Vodafone 3g enabled area (this is getting more and more widespread now, initially I only got 3G in London and Manchester, now it seems to be spreading, and I've
      • Re:Vodafone (Score:3, Informative)

        by tengwar ( 600847 )
        the latency on the [GPRS] session is way too high for it to be usable.

        There's an intrinsic issue with GPRS. GSM is a time-division system with eight slots - the phone encodes voice, then sends it out in a burst during it's slot, and reverses the process to receive. This puts about 1/4s delay in, which doesn't matter for voice unless you're on a conf call with one of the other parties in direct hearing range.

        GPRS was a simple, cheap and technically conservative upgrade to GSM to send packet data in unused

  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Sunday January 02, 2005 @12:44AM (#11236507) Homepage Journal

    I've recently hooked myself up with a similar set-up, and have recently been writing about it in my journal []. I'll detail it a bit here.

    Here's what I'm running:

    How everything is connected:

    • The PowerBook is outfitted with WiFi (802.11g) and Bluetooth, using WiFi when at home/office, and GPRS through the T610 via Bluetooth when on the road.
    • The Tungsten C is outfitted with WiFi (802.11b) and InfraRed, using WiFi when at the home/office, and GPRS through the T610 via IR when on the road (technically I can get it online via WiFi if I use the PowerBook as a bridge in ad-hoc mode, but it is exceedingly rare that I'd ever need to have both the laptop and the T|C online at the same time when outside WiFi range).

    So far, this is a set-up I'm quite pleased with. The only way it could be better were if the Tungsten C supported Bluetooth as well as 802.11b.

    I can't recommend Bluetooth highly enough for this sort of connectivity either. So long as I'm within 10m of the phone, I can connect to it from the laptop. And Mac OS X's Bluetooth support is excellent -- I'm able to synchronize my contact list and calendar, transfer files back and forth, send and receive SMS messages from my desktop, dial phone numbers, and connect to the internet -- all without wires, or any set-up hassle.

    SSH has been important for me, as one of my primary uses for this sort of connectivity will be CVS source repository access through SSH.

    I've only had the phone for a week, but I'm quite pleased with it in general. I could have done without the camera portion I suppose (the resolution and quality is terrible), but might come in handy for something someday.

    Overall, the set-up appears to be working well, and I'm as pleased as punch with it. Everything is nicely portable, and I have instant access everywhere I go. Set-up has been a snap, and everything works as expected. Now if only I could get cable modem speeds out of this set-up, I'd never work at a desk ever again :).


  • I bet you wouldn't want to run SSH on your desktop without a keyboard. So why would you want to on your phone?

    IMO these devices are perfect for remote access: [] []

    The 9500 (big with Wifi & camera) has just arrived in the stores and the 9300 (smallet, more elegant, but without the former) will arrive this month. I'm probable going to get myself and my GF a 9300 later this year.

    I wouldn't know about networks and prepaid stuff or the UK sit
  • I use a Treo 600, on Vodafone (Ireland) using http://http// [http] pssh it's ok, but low encryption but runs fast and sleek.
    Have had no problem is Vodafone and port 22, so it should work in england and France (I you get stuck in the shit hole)..,

    "Clutch my testes, bloody squirrel humpers!!"
    -Happy Noodle Boy
  • I use PuTTY on a
    • Err whoa, sorry, something odd happened there. I use Putty on a Nokia 6600 though T-Mobile in the US, and it works without a hitch. I have their unlimited internet plan (which is like $14.99/mo or something). Its free for me because I've been with T-Mobile since they were AirTouch, and was grandfathered into their GPRS unlimited plan. I'd say its a good combo -- typing is a bit arduous, but what are you trying to do over a phone, anyways? Code? Not likely.

      If you want a full keyboard, try something mo

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