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Old 03-25-2004, 05:00 PM
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Default Customizing Your Password Screen with Nice Start

Nice Start is a program that allows you to customize the password screen and add more protection options to your Pocket PC. You can find more information and purchase the program on the <a href="http://www.trancreative.com/nicestart.aspx">TranCreative Web site.</a><br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/NiceStart.gif" /><br /> <br />One of the features Nice Start provides is customizable password screen with "skins". A skin is a file with a .PSK extension, and contains information about the background graphic and layout of the screen. This article describes how to create these skin files and activate it on your Pocket PC, for a fully customized experience when you turn on your Pocket PC. It's fun and easy to do, so let's go!<br /><br /><b><span>Steps to create a Nice Start skin</span></b><br /><br /><span><b>1. Download and install the Nice Kit program</b></span><br />Nice Kit is a free tool available for download on the <a href="http://www.trancreative.com/nicestart.aspx">Nice Start home page</a>. The software requires the Microsoft .NET framework to be pre-installed. You can download the Microsoft .NET framework setup for free <a href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/technologyinfo/howtoget/default.aspx">from the Microsoft Web site.</a><br /><br />Installation is easy and straight-forward. At the end you will have a Nice Kit icon in Start menu.<br /><br /><b><span>2. Prepare the graphic</span></b><br />You need to find a graphic to use as the background of the skin. Nice Start supports both portrait and landscape modes. You should resize your graphic to fit the screen resolution, which is 240x320 for portrait and 320x240 for landscape. The graphic file can be in GIF, JPG or BMP formats.<br /><br />On the graphic, you may add following elements (this is not required, but will improve your final result):<br /><br />• 12 numeric pad buttons (in 3 columns and 4 rows). <br />• Analog clock frame or hour labels. Actual needles will be added by Nice Start. <br />• System status information icons. There are five different system status bars you can add: Battery, Memory, Storage, Storage Card 1 and Storage Card 2. You only need to add icon or label text. The actual bars and status text will be added by Nice Start. <br /><br />Below is a sample graphic used to create a portrait skin in this article:<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/TheGraphic.gif" /> <br /> <br /><span><b>3. Set the layout and create the skin file</b></span><br />In this step you will work with the Nice Kit program. The first thing you should do is click on “Background Image” button then import the graphic you have created. The graphic will show in the preview box, and you can start laying out the elements.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/NiceKit.gif" /> <br /><br />Select every item in the "Items" list, and check the box next to it to indicate you want the item to display. You have to specify the item's position (left/right) and dimension (width/height) in numeric values. Valid numbers are between 0 - 240 or 0 - 320 depending on the size of the Pocket PC screen. In preview box, you will see a black rectangle in exact location you entered. Repeat that with all the items and remember to check the box only if you want it.<br /><br /><i>Number Pad</i> in the list is an exception. If you have not drawn the number buttons in your graphic, check the box so Nice Start will draw it for you at runtime. Otherwise, you can keep the box unchecked, but still have to specify the position of the number pad to match with your drawing.<br /><br />The color of the items can be customized too. There are three colors for every item: shadow color (button 1), primary text color (button 2) and alternate text color (button 3).<br /><br /><span><b>4. Export the skin file to your Pocket PC</b></span><br />After having the screen elements set up the way you want, you can save it to a skin file with Save As button and then transfer it to \My Documents\NSSkins folder in your Pocket PC using Active Sync connection. You can also save it in My Documents\Pocket_PC My Documents\NSSkins and let ActiveSync synchronize it to the Pocket PC automatically when you next synchronize.<br /><br /><span><b>5. Activate the skin</b></span><br />To try the skin you just created, open Settings from Start menu (in the Pocket PC) then select Nice Start icon. You will see your skin in one of the drop down lists. Select it then tap on Preview button to test.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/Setting.gif" /> <br /><br />Because Password is a critical screen, you should make sure everything is functional in the preview screen before saving the settings.<br /><br /><b><span>Conclusion</span></b><br />Here is the password screen in the Pocket PC after above steps:<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/TheResult.gif" /> <br />While you can use <a href="http://www.trancreative.com/nicestart.aspx?page=skins">ready-made skins</a>, it may be fun creating it your own. The whole process may take from 10 to 20 minutes and not difficult to do. Have fun, and post your creations in the discussion thread here.
 
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Old 03-25-2004, 05:47 PM
Jeff Rutledge
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Cool. I'm using Nice Start currently on my iPAQ. I'll have to give this a try.

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:37 PM
dlangton
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I wish they allowed more than two storage cards to be shown.
 
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Old 04-09-2004, 08:12 PM
Unwired
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Hi, I see that this post is really old. Anyway, I downloaded the Nice Kit - screen creator shown on the front page. Everything went well, except when I load a new background, all the fields goes behind it. Is there anyway to "push" back the background so I can see what Im doing?

Thanks!
 
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Old 04-09-2004, 08:57 PM
ctmagnus
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How does one modify the layout of the - Today Theme - skin?
 
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Old 04-12-2004, 11:14 PM
mjnh
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Default Layout of the Today Theme

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctmagnus
How does one modify the layout of the - Today Theme - skin?
With Today graphic, the layout is fixed so you can't actually do any customization for it. The text color is picked from the theme's setting.

Regarding the earlier question, Nice Kit displays positions of the elements, but not its rendered images. You can't see the actual element until loading it to your Pocket PC.
 
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Old 04-13-2004, 10:44 PM
pivaska
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 229

Talked to them today about a vga mod for Toshiba e800 and they said that they are working on it. Looks cool but must get on the vga band wagon!
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PDA stuff... Dell Axim 51v with 1g CF and SD card and a LOT of cool software.
 
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Old 04-13-2004, 10:52 PM
KenClunk
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 118

Yeah the program looks nice. The price doesn't.
 
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2004, 01:03 AM
Unwired
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Default Re: Layout of the Today Theme

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjnh
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctmagnus
How does one modify the layout of the - Today Theme - skin?
With Today graphic, the layout is fixed so you can't actually do any customization for it. The text color is picked from the theme's setting.

Regarding the earlier question, Nice Kit displays positions of the elements, but not its rendered images. You can't see the actual element until loading it to your Pocket PC.
Hi, thanks for replying. I thought, that would be the case, but even when it's on my PPC, the elements still not visible. I can tap into it, but then I'm pretty much in the dark doing it, since the elements are on the back of the graphics.

Is there a certain graphic format that I need to use? I tried JPG, GIF and also tried BMP I think...

BTW only certain things are not visible. Most of the things on the bottom are not visible. The Keyboard, number, etc.

I re-download the program, with the same result. Does anyone else having problem like this??

Thanks!
 
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