Android/WebOS-esque S60 Notifications

S60’s notification system is decent. There’s a home screen, and all visible notifications are placed there. But what happens when you’re REALLY busy in an application and a notification comes in? You’re forced to drop back to the Active Standby screen, and open the notification in order to dismiss it. Doesn’t take long, but when you’ve got 7-8 applications running, it can be a slightly annoying task.

Stoeger’s S60 Ticker makes an attempt to fix this, by running notifications for text messages and e-mails into a 'ticker’ bar and drawing it over any application for you to see. Let’s see how it works in daily use…

First, you’ll be running a daemon at all times, but I haven’t noticed any lag or drop in performance on my E71 (which multitasks like a champ, and never dips below 30MB of RAM). You’ll need to install the TickerServer and the application that manages the settings. Once you’ve done that, browse into your Applications folder and you’ll see S60 Ticker. Hit it, gramps.

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Here, you can adjust the settings for how to display notifications and which events are displayed.

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Browsing into General, there are a gamut of options to adjust. You can set the bar on the top or bottom, you can set it flush against the “border” of the screen, or move it to the middle of the screen. I put mine on the top, looks a bit cleaner. You can set scrolling speed. I set mine at 4x.

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We can also adjust where the notification bar becomes available – Anywhere (it’s drawn over any running Application. ANY) or Active Standby only. I use ANY, so I can immediately dismiss the notification and continue “working”.

Next, you can configure the hotkey to bring up and dismiss the notification bar. I use the backspace button for ease of single handed use, but will be switching it to the OK selection on the dpad as I also use Google Search and the hotkey is forcefully bound to the backspace key. For shame Google, for shame.

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You can also adjust theme support (read: transparency), color and font type and size. Lots to personalize.

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Now, moving into the type of events for notification – there are 2 of real use – SMS and Email. They both have the same settings. You can set an automatic “dismiss” of the notification/ticker bar by adjusting the display duration. Setting it to –1 will run for infinite, 0 will disable that event notification.

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What’s also neat here, is that not only can you dismiss a notification, you can even automatically mark a message as read. This is handy, as I use RemindMe – which constantly notifies me of an unread message or email.

Well, enough configuring. I bet you want to see what it looks like. Pictures are hard to do it justice, but it’s extremely fluid. Here’s an incoming message that’s scrolled across the top, with the time coming after it.  

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You can select the notification bar by hitting your hotkey (holding the center of the dpad) and the bar will be selected, the left of the bar gives a number indicating how many notifications are waiting, if only one – it will display the time. Now, simply swipe/push UP on the dpad and your notification bar will glide away in a very smooth motion.

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If you do this, the notification bar goes away and into “sleep” mode, but the notifications are still there. To remove a notification completely, simply select it and hit the backspace key. For sanity sake, I’ve also made a horribly out-of-focus video with Muse playing in the background. It’s real choppy. It’s raw cause I’m hardcore like that. Arf arf! What!





 

So, you get the idea. What a great way to display notifications. A few niggles about it, if you’re running a ton of memory intensive applications, you will notice a slouch when a message comes in. Okay that’s my only actual real complaint. I would like to see the ability to systematically remove a notification when hitting backspace on a selected even, as it is – you can only currently mark all messages and ‘read’ when they come in, and have them displayed by the ticker.

 

So, the unlock key for the daemon costs $10.39 currently. Is it worth $10 big ones? If you’re big into flashy notifications and don’t want to be interrupted while on your device, it’s extremely handy. I would like to see them drop the price perhaps. $5 would be a good area to settle at. Give it a shot, there’s a free trial you can use.

 

Comments and suggestions for more software reviews are REALLY NEEDED. If it’s out there, I’ll review it for you. My E75 review will be up within a little bit, probably next week – it’s exam crunch time for me.

 

Stay safe and remember…

 

keep-it-real

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