ProjectION

Pocket Digital Clock

Windows Mobile Today Screen Plug-in for displaying date and time on the Pocket PC



Customization

There are a number of ways a user can customize the overall look and feel of Pocket Digital Clock. This is done by modifying any of the followings.





Time Font

Many of the other Today Screen plug-ins depend on bitmaps to represent fancy text and numbers. Pocket Digital Clock uses customized TrueType fonts for displaying the time digits instead.

The benefits of using TrueType fonts over bitmaps are fast, precise and scalable rendering. Unlike bitmaps, you do not need multiple font files for various devices with different resolutions and DPI. This in turn can save valuable storage space.

I have included a number of Custom Fonts for this purpose.





System Settings

This section briefly explains how system settings will affect the appearance of the date and time on Pocket Digital Clock. Since this is a time plug-in, Pocket Digital Clock relies on information retrieved from the operating system for the followings.

Note that system settings may override some of the settings in the plug-in's option dialogs discussed later.



Time Format

The time format we see on Pocket Digital Clock will follow the Time style in Regional Settings. The seconds display, however, is optional. See General Options on how to show or hide the seconds display.

Go to Start > Settings > System > Regional Settings > Time to change the time format.


For example, you can choose between a 12-hour clock or 24-hour clock here and Pocket Digital Clock will reflect that change immediately.



Day/Date Format

The day/date format displayed on Pocket Digital Clock will adhere to the selections in Regional Settings.

Go to Start > Settings > System > Regional Settings > Date to change the short or long date format on Pocket Digital Clock.


This topic is related to Day/Date Options. For more details on day and date alignment, and switching between short and long date format, please see Day/Date Options below.





Option Dialogs

Pocket Digital Clock now offers users a simpler way to customize the plug-in by providing option dialogs.

Go to Start > Settings > Personal > Today > Items, select Pocket Digital Clock and press the Options... button to access the plug-in's option dialogs.


Alternatively, you can access the option dialogs by to tapping and holding on Pocket Digital Clock on the Today Screen. Select Options when you see the context menu pop-up.


The tab titles of the option dialogs are General, Day/Date, Font Size, Color, Background, ClearType and About. The followings are the full representations of the respective titles.



General Options

A number of basic settings on Pocket Digital Clock can be accessed from the General tab.


This option dialog contains the following options.

  • Hide time display in suspend mode

    • Check to hide the time display in power-off or suspend mode. The time display will resume after waking up from suspend mode.
    • Uncheck to disable power management function. (Default)
This option is not so much of a power saving function but rather to prevent users from speed reading the suspended clock when powering up the device. Some devices do not refresh the Today Screen immediately after waking up from suspend mode and thus displaying the incorrect time until a refresh initiates. You can safely uncheck this option if you do not experience a refresh delay on your device.

  • Action:
    • No action
      • Pocket Digital Clock will not respond to any button presses or taps on the Today Screen.
    • Clock & Alarms settings
      • The Clock & Alarms dialog box will open if Pocket Digital Clock is pressed or tapped on the Today Screen. (Default)
    • File or shortcut from My Documents
      • Selecting this option will enable the "..." button next to this combo box and pressing the button will display the File Open dialog. You can choose any file or shortcut in the File Open dialog to open or run when Pocket Digital Clock is pressed or tapped on the Today Screen.
  • "..." button
    • This Browse button will open a File Open dialog for you to choose a file. Pocket Digital Clock will run or open the chosen file if the plug-in is pressed or tapped on the Today Screen. This button is only enabled when File or shortcut from My Documents is selected in the Action combo box.
  • Use tap-and-hold gesture
    • Check to enable tap-and-hold gesture on Today Screen.
    • Uncheck to disable tap-and-hold gesture on Today Screen. (Default)
Enable this option if you want to avoid accidental tapping of Pocket Digital Clock on Today Screen. However, the keypad can still activate the process specified in the Action combo box regardless of the settings here.
Note: This check box is disabled if No action is selected in the Action combo box above.
  • Vertical border height
    • Specifies the number of pixels used to occupy the extra borders on top and bottom of the plug-in. This value can be used to increase the overall height of the plug-in.
This value is in the range 0 through 500. (Default value is 0.)

 

 

Day/Date Options

The day and date can be further customized by accessing the Day/Date tab.


This option dialog contains the following options.

  • Hide day/date
    • Check to hide the day/date and upper bounding region of Pocket Digital Clock.

    • Uncheck to show the day/date and upper bounding region of Pocket Digital Clock. (Default)

Note: Checking this option will disable and grey out all other options on the Day/Date dialog.
  • Use short date

    • Uncheck to use long date format specified in the Day/Date Format. (Default)

  • Replace day with network operator name
    • Check to display the current network operator name instead of the day of week on the upper left corner of Pocket Digital Clock.

    • Uncheck to display the day of week on the upper left corner of Pocket Digital Clock. (Default)

Note: This check box is disabled if any of the followings is true.
  • Day/date alignment is centered.
  • Pocket Digital Clock cannot detect any phone radio on the Pocket PC device.
  • Alignment:
    • Day/date center
      • Check to center the day and date alignment. (Default)
    • Day left Date right
      • Check to display day on the upper left corner and date on the upper right corner of the plug-in.

    • Day right Date left
      • Check to display day on the upper right corner and date on the upper left corner of the plug-in.
Note: The availability of this last two alignments depends on the Day/Date Format in Regional Settings.

The Day left Date right and Day right Date left radio boxes are disabled if Use short date check box is uncheck AND the long date format in Regional Settings contains ddd or dddd.


In order to align the day and date to the sides of the screen, choose a different long date format that does not contain ddd or dddd. For example, dd MMMM, yyyy as shown below.



Time Options

Time elements can be adjusted via the Time tab.

 

This option dialog contains the following options.

  • Show seconds
    • Check to show the seconds display. (Default)

    • Uncheck to hide the seconds display.

  • Show alarm clock icon
    • Check to enable the alarm clock icon. (Default)

    • Uncheck to disable the alarm clock icon.

Note: The alarm clock icon responds only to the system alarms configured under Clock & Alarms settings.
  • Show time markers
    • Check to display the AM and PM time markers. (Default)

    • Uncheck to hide the AM and PM time markers.

Tip: Deleting the AM and PM symbols from the Regional Settings will also remove the time markers.


  • Display time markers on the same line
    • If checked, both AM and PM time markers will align to the baseline of the time digits and share the same line. The transparent LED effect for the time markers will be turned off.

    • If unchecked, the AM and PM time markers will be displayed on two separate lines. The transparent LED effect for the time markers will be turned on. (Default)

Note: This option is disabled when Show time markers check box is unchecked.

The option is also disabled and checked if the logical height of the time marker font (under Font Size dialog) is more than 40% of the hour/minute font height.

(Logical height = Font point size * DPI / 72)

 

 

Font Size

Font size of the day and date objects in the upper bounding area complies to the system text size. Tap Start >Settings >System > Screen > Text Size to configure the system text size.


Note: Pocket Digital Clock does NOT check the day/date text width. Due to limited screen real estate on the Pocket PC devices, day/date (in English) may be truncated or overlapped when the system text size is set to the largest on portrait* screens. Therefore, end-users are advised not to use the largest system text size, if possible.


*Square screen devices are always in portrait mode regardless of orientation.


Font size of the individual time elements on Pocket Digital Clock is adjustable via the Font Size tab in the plug-in's option dialog box.


  • Hour/minute
    • Specifies the font size of the hour and minute digits on Pocket Digital Clock in points.
This value is in the range 16 through 99. (Default value is 38.)
  • Second
    • Specifies the font size of the second digits on Pocket Digital Clock in points.
This value has a dynamic range between 16 and the current hour/minute font size in points. (Default value is 26.)
  • Time marker
    • Specifies the font size of the AM and PM time markers on Pocket Digital Clock in points.
This value has a dynamic range between 6 and the current hour/minute font size in points. (Default value is 9.)
Note: When the logical text height of the time marker font is more than 40% of the current hour/minute font height, the Display time markers on the same line check box in the Day/Date tab will be checked and disabled.
(Logical height = Font point size * DPI / 72)



Font Color

The color of the font in Pocket Digital Clock uses the Pocket PC Theme by default. The Font Color tab in the option dialog provides user with a means to override the system font color.


  • Use text color from Today Theme
    • Check to override the system font color. Checking this box will also enable the rest of the options in this dialog.
    • Uncheck to use the text color from Pocket PC Today Theme and disable all other options in this dialog. (Default)

  • Default color
When Pocket Digital Clock is not focused or selected on the Today Screen, the default color will be used to render the text and alarm clock icon on the plug-in.
    • RGB
      • Specifies the intensity of the red, green and blue color in the respective edit boxes. The square box after the edit boxes is for real-time color preview.
Each value is in the range 0 through 255. (Default value is 255.)
  • Highlighted color
When Pocket Digital Clock is focused or selected on the Today Screen, the text and alarm clock icon on the plug-in will use the highlighted color.
    • RGB
      • Specifies the intensity of the red, green and blue color in the respective edit boxes. The square box after the edit boxes is for real-time color preview.
Each value is in the range 0 through 255. (Default value is 255.)



Background Opacity and Color

The background of Pocket Digital Clock is a black translucent rectangle with rounded corners. You can set the opacity and whiteness of the background in the Background tab.


  • Day/date cell
Refers to the upper background region of the plug-in bounding the day and date objects.
    • Opacity
      • Check the check box to enable the Opacity slider control on the right.
      • Uncheck the check box to disable the Opacity slider control on the right.
The position of the Opacity slider control is reflected in percentage. When this value is 0%, opacity of the background image is full transparent. 100% means it is totally opaque. (Default value is 40%.)
    • Grayscale
      • Check the check box to enable the Grayscale slider control on the right.
      • Uncheck the check box to disable the Grayscale slider control on the right.
The position of the Grayscale slider control is reflected in percentage. When this value is 0%, the background image is black. 100% means the background image is white. Anything in between is a shade of gray. (Default value is 0%.)

Note: Although not recommended, you can override this value with RGB color instead of shades of gray. You will need to uncheck the Grayscale check box and manually edit the AlphaDayDate value mentioned in the More Registry Tweaks page. If the Grayscale check box is checked again after modifying the ARGB value, the red, green and blue color will be averaged to produce a new grayscale value.
  • Time cell
Refers to the lower background region of the plug-in bounding the time elements.

    • Opacity
      • Check the check box to enable the Opacity slider control on the right.
      • Uncheck the check box to disable the Opacity slider control on the right.
The position of the Opacity slider control is reflected in percentage. When this value is 0%, opacity of the background image is full transparent. 100% means it is totally opaque. (Default value is 18%.)
    • Grayscale
      • Check the check box to enable the Grayscale slider control on the right.
      • Uncheck the check box to disable the Grayscale slider control on the right.
The position of the Grayscale slider control is reflected in percentage. When this value is 0%, the background image is black. 100% means the background image is white. Anything in between is a shade of gray. (Default value is 0%.)

Note: Although not recommended, you can override this value with RGB color instead of shades of gray. You will need to uncheck the Grayscale check box and manually edit the AlphaTime value mentioned in the More Registry Tweaks page. If the Grayscale check box is checked again after modifying the ARGB value, the red, green and blue color will be averaged to produce a new grayscale value.



ClearType Options

If you want to set ClearType rendering for Pocket DIgital Clock fonts on Today Screen on a per-application basis instead of globally, you can specify this on the ClearType tab in the option dialogs.


  • Enable ClearType for day/date
    • Check to enable ClearType rendering for the day/date font. This includes the network operator name if it is displayed as well.
    • Uncheck to disable ClearType rendering for the day/date font. (Default)
  • Enable ClearType for time
    • Check to enable ClearType rendering for the time fonts including hour, minute, second digits and the time marker.
    • Uncheck to disable ClearType rendering for the time fonts. (Default)

 

 

About Pocket Digital Clock

Nothing to configure here. Just information.





Registry Settings

The following topics relate to registry settings in Windows Mobile not configurable through the system settings and plug-in's option dialogs.



Affixing the Plug-in

You can make Pocket Digital Clock a non-movable Today Screen plug-in like Windows Mobile default Date plug-in. Being a non-movable plug-in means that it will stay on top of your Today Screen at all times. The width of the plug-in will not be affected when a scroll bar appears after you include more plug-ins on the Today Screen.

Note: Affixing the plug-in will also prevent the time from freezing when you turn on the device lock. But at the same time, the plug-in's Option Dialogs will become inaccessible under Today Settings.

 

In order to affix the plug-in, you will need a Pocket PC registry editor to amend some registry values.

  • Use the registry editor and navigate to the registry key at:
    \HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Today\Items\Pocket Digital Clock
  • Open the registry subkey named Type under this registry key
  • Change the Value Data from 4 to 5
  • Save the changes
  • Soft-reset the Pocket PC to take effect

If you change your mind later and wish to revert to a movable plug-in, just repeat the above steps but reverse the Value Data from 5 to 4.

Type 5 plug-in is not well documented on MSDN Library as of this writing. Microsoft only mentioned it as "reserved". Therefore, I advise users to apply this registry hack at their own risk.



More Registry Tweaks

Registry tweaks are now obsolete and mainly replaced by the Option Dialogs. Unless you need to override the background grayscale color, there is no need to access the registry at all. The More Registry Tweaks page is maintained for documentation purpose only.

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