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Why Can't I Make it Look and Act How I want?
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Jerry Raia
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Joined: 07 Jul 2003
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:00 am    Post subject: Why Can't I Make it Look and Act How I want? Reply with quote

I had an interesting experience when I purchased my 3125. I went into a corporate Cingular store. The sales person knew a little about the device and I ended up explaining some of it to him while he set it up. I took it home and in about 2 hours I had the home screen set up how I wanted. I needed to go back to the store for something and when I got back showed him the home screen I had made. This one:



He was dazzled and wanted to know how he could do the same thing. Thatís when I was reminded of what a lot of us here take for granted. This particular screen required me to install 3 or 4 plugins and some software. Often to make the screen look how you want you have to edit the xml file for the home screen. How would you explain all this to someone who knows little about these issues? Whatís wrong with this picture? After years of being on the scene, the Smartphone OS is still almost impossible to customize the way you want it. This forum has numerous posts asking for help on how to change things that canít readily be changed. What can be accomplished by a mouse click and a drag or two on a PC practically requires a degree in computer science on a Smartphone. Even the Pocket PC makes changes somewhat easier!

I was just reading a post here the other day where the person wanted to turn all sounds off. On the PC a simple operation, on the Smartphone you have to change several settings and even then if your application doesnít reference those settings, you will get sounds you donít want. Keeping things simple out of the box is one thing, giving us no options is quite another. Why should I have to hack the registry to get a blinking LED to shut off? Last weekend I asked if the evolution of the mobile OS has stalled. This is another example of what I perceive is a big problem with the OS. The difficulty is in making the OS look and feel the way you want it to. This is something we take for granted on the desktop. I think it needs to be addressed by Microsoft on the mobile platform, especially the Smartphone. What are your thoughts?
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Kris Kumar
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Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 4267
Location: Rochester, NY, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: Why Can't I Make it Look and Act How I want? Reply with quote

Jerry Raia wrote:
The difficulty is in making the OS look and feel the way you want it to. This is something we take for granted on the desktop. I think it needs to be addressed by Microsoft on the mobile platform, especially the Smartphone. What are your thoughts?


During the early days of the Smartphone, Microsoft had the desktop home screen designer and also a Web site to configure some settings (even email); wonder where all that went? The evolution of those tools also got stalled.

I guess Microsoft is hoping for developers to offer better tools, but that hasn't happened.

BTW, the Pocket PC has a better home screen tool, it allows you to enable-disable the plugins on the home screen.
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Mike Temporale
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Joined: 07 Jul 2003
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Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:46 am    Post subject: Re: Why Can't I Make it Look and Act How I want? Reply with quote

Kris Kumar wrote:
I guess Microsoft is hoping for developers to offer better tools, but that hasn't happened.


sure it has - Home Screen Designer. They haven't updated it in a long time, but there's a great end user friendly application for customizing the home screen.

Kris Kumar wrote:
BTW, the Pocket PC has a better home screen tool, it allows you to enable-disable the plugins on the home screen.


I would disagree. The Pocket PC screen is limited. The XML configuration makes it extermely easy for developers to add on or create a homescreen. I think you'll find the Pocket PC homescreen model will change to match that of the Smartphone in the future.

I do agree with Jerry's rant. Most people have no idea what they can do to customize their device. But is that so wrong? I would guess that most people don't care and those that do will search and find all the amazing extra plugins available. I think the best option is for device manufacturers to include a wider range of homescreens on the device.
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Jerry Raia
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If people like the Windows environment then they must like how they can customize their desktop on the PC. Why would they expect anything less on a Windows portable device?
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crispeto
Smartphone Intellectual


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 237
Location: Portland

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. I have the exact same screen theme with all the plugins that you do Jerry and I love it. I have a friend that has a Samsung T809 and is interested in the Dash. She wanted to see my SDA to get a feel for WM5. She took one look at the screen and said "how'd you get your screen like that?" and with all pride I said that it took a little work and some plugins but it's pretty cool eh? And much to my surprise she said "it looks to busy for me. I don't like it." She just wants a nice simple screen that looks minimal and she doesn't have to fuss with. I guess for those of us who want more detail on the screen, we'll find the way to make it happen. Perhaps there is a parallel between the user and his/her screen.
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Jerry Raia
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Joined: 07 Jul 2003
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case anyone else is interested here is the link to that skin and there you can find links to the plugins needed:

http://www.kolumbus.fi/anders.ruohi...sp/clarity.html

It's all about having the options. Every time I want to make a change I have to edit xml. Not that I mind but if I just want to make a little tweak I have to connect to my PC, drag the xml file out, edit it, copy it back in then unload and reload the home screen to see it. If its not quite right I have to repeat the whole process again.

Your friend should have the option of moving things around, even on a simple screen, if she wants. Right now she can't unless she knows how or gets you to do it for her. Laughing
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Kris Kumar
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Location: Rochester, NY, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: Why Can't I Make it Look and Act How I want? Reply with quote

Mike Temporale wrote:
I would disagree. The Pocket PC screen is limited.


I agree about the PPC home screen being limited and moving towards the XML model. But Pocket PC has a way to enable-disable various sections (calendar/tasks/owner) of the home screen and I know that the same can be done for the Smartphones. Having multiple home screens is a good start, but allowing the user to pick and choose and re-order the sections would be a good start.
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Jerry Raia
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree Kris, just being able to move things around like on the PPC would go a long way. However it is not just making the home screen pretty that I am ranting about here. It is everything else you cant just get how you want. Sounds, profiles etc all have these built in limitations as to what you can do. What if I want a 48 second back light time out? Why do I have to live with 5, 15, 30 and 60? What if I want 2 minutes?
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Kris Kumar
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Location: Rochester, NY, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry I agree, stuff like the sound mute is the most annoying. Another thing that I would like to toss in with the list of configurable options is - input mode. Let me specify what the default input mode is for me across all options - T9 or ABC. Pocket Outlook remembers the last mode, but pocket IE does not. Confused Why is there a disconnect? I would like to specify the default/preferred input mode for all programs. I hate switching from ABC to T9 every time.
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T-Will
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Joined: 08 Aug 2003
Posts: 132
Location: Sacramento, Kalifornia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully the updated OS will address some of these issues (but for some reason I doubt it).
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