My Today Screen – July 17th 2008

It has been quite some time now since I last updated the Today Screen page. My last post was in April and after that I took out the iLauncher today screen plugin out of PocketBreeze for a while, placing it at the total bottom of the screen so I had one row of icons in my launcher.

However, in the past few weeks I’ve found a great little utility called BatteryStatus . (There is an XDA-developers thread about it here.) The basic, free version is already quite customizable and allows you to show all kinds of information on your Today screen and incorporate other Today screens as well. The Advanced edition (currently in beta!) allows for a lot more tweaking, though. You do need to ‘code’ your skin yourself by using .xml but there are also quite some skins available (here) so you might be able to take advantage of those as well.

So what di I use BatteryStatus for? Not for the top two plugins, they are just the default calendar and tasks plugins that you can enable in Start > Settings > Today > Items.  But the two rows with all kinds of device information and the launcher below do come from BatteryStatus.

The two rows of information tell me all the important things that I often want to see quickly. It starts with the battery meter. BatteryStatus can also place a little battery percentage under the clock in the title bar, but on my device it is still buggy. It never updates, so while my my actual battery percentage is 89%, the percentage under the clock still shows 100% (from my latest soft-reset when the device was connected to the charger). To the right of that is the amount of MB I’ve used on my data connection. I’ve got a 25MB limit on my monthly contract but there’s a trick for Orange customers in the Netherlands to work around that. Orange knows this but ignores it as long as not too many people take advantage of it. So I basically do have unlimited data, but I still do want to keep an eye on my data usage. The last item on the first row shows the amount of unread RSS items in Ilium Software Newsbreak. BatteryStatus can show registry values so I simply looked up the value of unread RSS items in the Newsbreak registry section and tell BatteryStatus to show it on my screen. If I tap the “RSS: 4” section, NewsBreak is opened.

The second row starts with a meter of my internal storage space. Normally I have just above 99MB free but at the moment there’s a .cab file in the My Documents folder, occupying a few MB’s. The last item in this section of BatteryStatus is an SMS counter which tells me the amount of sent text messages this month. Both the data counter and the SMS counter are reset every month on the 27th day of the month. (BatteryStatus allows you to customize the reset dates).

The row at the bottom (well, halfway down actually, there’s a large gap in the bottom half of my Today screen) is a launcher. I’ve got about 10 items in them and I can use my finger to scroll through the list horizontally. I simply tap an item to open the program.

BatteryStatus requires quite some work if you have never worked with .xml before (like me) but if you put your will to it, you can get quite some things done. I really don’t know if this will stay on my screen as long as the PocketBreeze + iLauncher combination did. However, I’ve been using this layout for a few weeks already now and that is longer that I expected. I would love for BatteryStatus to give me some more information about my Tasks and I’d love to have a working battery meter on my top bar, but besides that this current layout is quite good!

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6 thoughts on “My Today Screen – July 17th 2008

  1. Clean, straight forward and easy to spot what you need – I like that, that and the fact that you use Iliumsoft applications makes this a win in my book :)

    Good luck with the driving lessons by the way!

  2. Thanks! I would like BatteryStatus to simply show the actual task, if one is active today. Like the Agenda/Calendar plugin currently does. I think the built-in Tasks plugin is a bit limited. However, apart from that this layout indeed does the job quite well. :)

    Are you on Twitter? Am I following you already? ;-)

  3. Whoa. YOU took out iLauncher?! Where are you launching your games from now? And what about button support? Are you just tapping everything now? I think Winterface would be good for you. :)

  4. Yeah, it was a hard decision. Both PocketBreeze and iLauncher are programs I like a LOT. However, trying other things doesn’t hurt and it’s very easy to go back to PB and iL. (I’ve got the .cab installers and exported settings files on my Micro SD card!)

    I don’t play that many different games at the same time, mostly just one or two until I get tired of them and play new ones. They’re in my Start menu. Games are often played with hardware buttons so tapping the Start hardware button and then selecting the game is quite easy. :)

    What do you mean with button support? The softkeys? I like them the way they are. I’ve got both PhoneWeaver and the BatteryStatus Task Manager mapped to hardware buttons. I’m quite surprised as well but it does a fair job. iLauncher’s Task Manager is far better, but I do without the extra’s. I feel that using just BatteryStatus (and the Calendar/Tasks plugin) is a bit lighter than using PB + iL.

    I haven’t tried Winterface, even though lots of people seem to be trialing it. The other iWindowsMobile products al look great and I own 3 of them, but in the end I never use them. I’ve also removed Spb Mobile Shell again so in the end I’d stop using Winterface as well. I do make sure to keep updated with the reviews/comments about it though!

  5. Thanks for the suggestion. :)
    But my goal was to have at least plugins as possible, if I’d use VistaHide Battery Guage I could just as well keep iLauncher to do it. By the way, a recent update of BatteryStatus fixed my battery percentage issue, I can now watch both the battery percentage and the CPU usage in a small text under the clock. :)

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