11-24-2004, 06:00 PM
Thoughts Media Review Team
Join Date: Aug 2006
Calendar+ v2.2.0 Reviewed
Today Screen plug-inManufacturer: MohairSofaWhere to Download: MohairSofaPrice:
It’s FREE!System Requirements:
Requires 180K of memory. It must be installed to main memory to work consistently.Specifications:
Runs on ARM/XScale devices running Pocket PC 2002, Windows Mobile 2003 or WM2003SE. Starting with Calendar+ 2.1, MohairSofa no longer supports older Pocket PC devices running SH3 and MIPS processors. You can download Calendar+ 2.0.5 for these devices from the same Website.Pros:
- Small memory footprint, but adds a lot of features;
- VERY reasonably priced :-)
- Simple, easy-to-use configuration module
- Really, how can you complain about something that’s free?
While not a full-fledged Today screen replacement like Snoopsoft Dashboard
, Calendar+ manages to provide a significant package of calendar/appointment enhancements to the Today screen, in a small memory footprint.
Read on for the full review!
Calendar+ version 2.2.0 is the latest incarnation of MohairSofa’s replacement for the standard Pocket PC Calendar plug-in to the Today screen. Not only does it emulate the existing functionality, but it also adds a number of new features which are sadly lacking from the ‘normal’ Today screen. For example, with Calendar+, you get:
All of this comes in a package with a very small memory footprint – requiring just 180K of main memory. Calendar+ is also well integrated with the other Today screen plug-ins which come with the Pocket PC, or have been installed by the user.
- Tap and Hold menus which provide most of the options available from the Calendar display;
- Display and Layout options for changing the look and feel of the calendar entries on the Today screen;
- Appointment Filters to allow viewing of multiple hours or days of appointments; and
- Configurable colour appointment markers for free, Tentative and Conflicting appointments.
According to their Website, MohairSofa has added the following features to version 2.2.0: (Sorry, I wasn’t able to test all of them, since I don’t have access to a WM2003SE device)
Support for Other Applications
- Full support for Windows Mobile 2003 SE, including screen rotation, VGA screens and the new Windows Mobile joypad interface to the Today screen;
- Support for both Agenda Fusion and Pocket Informant replacement PIMs;
- Support for RTL languages;
- Additional layouts (there are now 14 of them!);
- Line spacing is now proportional with font size;
- "View the next n appointments" no longer constrained to 31 days;
- Recurring all day events are now counted correctly for days other than today;
- Some performance tweaks.
Calendar+ has been written to integrate seamlessly with two of the more popular PIM replacements for the Pocket PC – Agenda Fusion and Pocket Informant. This means that Calendar+ will automatically detect the presence of the replacement PIM and link to the appropriate screen. For instance, if Agenda Fusion is installed, tapping on the calendar icon on the Calendar+ Today screen will launch Agenda Fusion, rather than Pocket Outlook’s Calendar function. Similarly, tapping on an appointment entry on Calendar+ brings up Agenda Fusion’s appointment sheet.
Figure 1: Calendar+ launching Agenda Fusion when the calendar icon is tapped.
Figure 2: Calendar+ launching Pocket Informant when the calendar icon is tapped.
Figure 3: Accessing Pocket Informant's appointment sheet when an appointment entry is tapped.
If you happen to have both Agenda Fusion and Pocket Informant installed :silly: , Calendar+ will favour Pocket Informant. Unfortunately, it won't do the same launch with Pocket Day (my personal favorite), but c'est la vie.. Maybe in a future version...
So, let’s go through each of the new added functions and show you what they do....
Adding Tap and Hold Menus to the Calendar portion of the Today screen allows you to accomplish simple functions with the appointments without having to go into the Calendar application itself.
Figure 4: Calendar+ Tap and Hold Menus.
The options displayed here are limited by the functions which are either included in Pocket Mobile O/S or added into the Calendar Tap & Hold menus by other applications. (An example shown on MohairSofa includes ‘Find on Map...’ from Pocket Streets.) You can also use this to access the Calendar+ Options screens directly (rather than through Start/Settings/Today/Calendar+/Options.
The Appointment Filter allows you to choose how many appointments, hours or days ahead are to be displayed on the Today screen.
Figure 5: Configuring Calendar+ Options for what to display.
Figure 6: Calendar+ options for how far to look ahead.
Appointment Markers are coloured bars shown beside the appointment entries which provide visual cues as to the Tentative, Conflict or Free-time status.
Figure 7: Calendar+ Today screen showing appointments in conflict.
Free, Tentative and Conflict are the only status’ currently configurable, but it is possible to select from a wide range of colours, to suit individual preferences. During my testing, I found that Calendar+ uses the ‘Tentative’ colour to mark ‘Out of Office’ appointments as well. Perhaps an enhancement for the next version would be a configurable colour for ‘Out of Office’, too?
Figure 8: Configuring Appointment Markers in Calendar+.
Calendar+ also provides 14 different text layouts to choose from for appointment entries. Different layouts are selected by using the right and left arrow buttons under the “Format” label on the Options screen.
Figure 9: Calendar+ Layout Options screen.
Figure 10: An alternative layout.
Figure 11: ...And yet another layout.
You can also change the size of the fonts used for display of the appointment information and the date headings. Sliders beside each of the entries under “Text Size” on the Layout screen set the desired size. The example layout display at the top of this screen responds in real time, so you can see what the effect will be. Just for fun, here’s an example using the minimum text for appointments and the maximum text for headings.
Figure 12: This is probably a little too small for the appointment text, but maybe it would be OK on a VGA screen?
Installation of Calendar+ is simple and easy. MohairSofa has even provided three different ways to add this functionality to your Pocket PC. There’s the usual ActiveSync based .exe file, or you can download a .cab file directly to the Pocket PC and execute it there, OR if you’re feeling particularly adventuresome, you can download the C++ source code, and compile it yourself!
As MohairSofa recommends, Calendar+ should be loaded to your main memory in order to avoid any performance problems. I tried it on my CF and SD cards just for a lark and got the expected problems with ‘application not found’ messages.
I’d also recommend that if you are upgrading, remove the previous version first before reinstalling. Because Calendar+ is a plug-in, the application is ‘active’ from the moment you turn on the Pocket PC. Thus, when you attempt to do an in-place re-install of the software with the newer version (like I did, just to see what would happen) you get messages saying that a .dll is in use, and you have to shut it down.
After about two weeks of playing with Calendar+, I’ve found no noticeable degradation of screen-to-screen performance on my iPAQ 2215. But I would kind of expect this, given the small size of the application. I have noticed a slight delay (a second or so at most) while the Calendar+ Today screen refreshes itself, but nothing which interrupts my flow of using the links from the Today screen.
This is a great plug-in! It's simple to use and provides much needed additional functionality, without huge memory use. I really can’t believe he’s giving it away free, but I'm certainly not complaining!. It's definitely a keeper for me.