Topic: My clock conundrum.
It seems that every time I go to look at the Chumby to see the time, there's no time there (ie. it's on something else, maybe a webcam of Cuba or the Art of War). This despite having a Default of Clock-Widget-Clock-Widget..... ad nauseum, even having the clocks set for longer than the default times.
I would like to suggest that the Defaut channel have an overlay of a clock in one corner. Or perhaps a specific "Time Channel" that will always contain the time, and widget programmers can have the option of programming around it. Or just a general option to have the time float somewhere on the screen that the user can decide to use or not, per channel. That way, the moment I wake up, the clock will be there, every moment in between brushing my teeth the clock will be there, yet I can read my horrorscope and the latest Woot offering at the same time as knowing what the exact minute is, and how late I am for the bus because I'm playing AlbinoBlacksheep films (llama llama duck).
Even when an advertisement or a Chumby 101 or advertisement shows up, the time will display as an overlay in the corner or at the bottom, or smack dab in the middle, in outline, right over the entire widget.
After all, a main feature of Chumby is alarm clock, no? So time should be an important issue?
Whatta ya all think?
EDIT: For the convenience of future viewers, the following suggestion/idea is the result of the brainstorming of members here to solve the above problem, and a few other problems, mentioned in this thread. I'm copying it here so that there is no need to go through the whole brainstorming process with us, but feel free to if you like pain and agony
Okay, picture this (hang in with me, it's just an idea):
On the Chumby website in the Manage Channel section, Create Channel screen has an option that says "Clock View" with a Yes/No checkbox, defaulted to No/False. Rename Channel screen is renamed to Edit Channel where users can change the channel name as well as whether the channel is in Clock View.
If the channel has Clock View set to No (the default), Chumby stays as it is, widgets and channels work as they currently do, the user will not be bothered with any changes or differences, people who hate clocks are happy.
A channel that has Clock View set to Yes has a reserved space of approx 1/4" at the top of the screen reserved for clock information (see details below). Widgets are shrunken proportionately (approx 1/4"). The reserved space (referred to as "Time Bar") are a solid color with text in a strong color contrasting to the bar's background. (This involves no overlay. I have some ideas that could make this more aesthetically pleasing but they're not posted in this thread.) Yes, the information will be small, but at least it will be there, and the user has the option to squint or pick up Chumby and pull it closer (in a loving embrace . An example is the header on NY Times widgets that reserve 1/4" to show that Chumby is displaying the NY Times.
Widgets appearing in channels with Clock View are viewable only, widget actions are inactive until the widget is activated into Widget View. A tap of the widget portion of the screen moves Chumby temporarily into Widget View for the duration of this widget only. In Widget View the Time Bar disappears, the widget expands to full size, and the full functioning of the widget is available. Upon moving in sequence to the next Widget, the Time Bar reappears and Chumby returns to Clock View. Changing widgets or channels through the control panel always results in display of a widget in the same mode as its channel setting.
A tap of the Time Bar area brings up a menu of three choices:
1 Widget View: automagically puts Chumby back into Widget View (expands the widget as described above) for the duration of the current channel. When a new channel is chosen from the control panel or an event triggers a new channel, the channel plays in whichever view mode was set in the checkbox for the selected channel
2 Select Widget: displays a text list of widgets from the current channel, or text with a small graphic representation of the widget, similar to the NY Times widgets that list news articles with a small graphic and a right-hand scroll bar. Selecting a widget puts Chumby temporarily into Widget View for the duration of the current widget as above. When the Chumby changes to the next widget, Chumby returns to Clock View
3 Select Channel: displays a text only list of channels. Selecting a channel puts Chumby in whatever mode/view the channel is set to in the checkbox.
The contents of the top Time Bar: Day of the week initial (M T W H F Sa Su) followed by the Time (ie. t-W 8:45am), and the next alarm to go off (a-H 5:45am), which, while the alarm is being snoozed, changes to the time the snooze will activate the alarm again (a-H 5:50am). If space allows, the full date might be displayed in the Time Bar.
>>A tap of the next alarm to go off text in the Time Bar will cancel that alarm and show the next alarm time with a single line through it. Once that time has passed (and since it was canceled, that alarm did not sound), the next alarm will display without the line through it. Alarms resume as normal, including the one that was canceled for one time only. (cancel next alarm only feature, in case user wakes up before alarm or next day is unusual holiday)<<
The left side bar displays the name of the current widget, the right side bar displays stars and allows users to rate a widget. Arrows below this information allow tapping to cycle through the widgets that are in the current channel while remaining in Clock View. (even cooler, tipping Chumby to the right causes a new widget to fall from left to right, the reverse moves back one channel)
The end result for the user is that he can easily choose to customize Chumby as an alarm clock, or not, with each option independent of the other. Clock and alarm information is immediately viewable. Widgets are instantly accessible on the screen, through the control panel, and through a menu system that allows easy access to both widgets and channels. Widget developers will enjoy a system that allows users to get to their widgets easier, either through the menu system or a quick tap, as well as a way to promote themselves as developers and have their widgets rated. And no changes to the control panel needed.
Hopefully this little brainstorm we've put together will be useful for the developers, maybe give them some new ideas for improving on menuing and clock functionality.