please give me more details on what you'd expect to see on the screen, how you'd use it, and how you think it should work with the existing widgets. Simple sketches would help.
Several people have said they want a clock on the screen all the time - unfortunately, the devil's in the details, and personally, I haven't seen a solution that doesn't suck aesthetically or require that we abandon all of the previous widgets.
Okay, picture this (hang in with me, it's just an idea):
In the control panel, with the channels, when the user creates a channel, there is an option that says something like "Clock View" with a Yes/No checkbox--default it to No/False.
If your channel has this option set to No (the default), Chumby stays as it is, widgets work full screen, people who hate clocks are happy.
If the channel has the Clock View option set to Yes, then a small portion of the screen at the top, perhaps 1/4", is blocked off for a small date and time in a strong color contrasting to the 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 which reserve 1/4" to show that Chumby is displaying the NY Times.
Any widgets shown on a channel that has Clock View set to Yes have:
Possibility 1: The widget is shrunken proportionately (approx 1/4") to allow space for the Time Bar. Upon moving out of Clock View with a single tap (see below) the widget would expand to fill the screen and cover the Time Bar so that it can no longer be seen.
Possibility 2: The widget "slides down" the screen so that it appears to have moved down out of the way for the Time Bar. Since in Clock View the widget is functionally disabled, the screen can be manipulated separately, a touch and slide action would allow the user to slide the widget around the screen to see different parts of the widget (kinda like in Paint shop pro where you can select an area and move it around in the view). When the user moves out of clock view with a single tap (see description below), the widget would slide back into place and the Time Bar would go away.
Using either of these choices, the following actions are possible:
A tap of the widget portion of the screen moves Chumby back to Widget View, then for THIS WIDGET ONLY (referred to as Temporary Widget View) the Time Bar disappears and all the functioning of the widget is available. The widget either moves into place or expands to its full size. Upon moving in sequence to the next Widget, the Time Bar reappears and Chumby returns to Clock View.
A tap of the Time Bar area brings up a menu of three choices:
1 Widget View: automagically puts Chumby back into Widget view (and therefore removes the time bar and puts the current widget into full view as described above) for the duration of the current channel. The view would then be reset when a new channel is chosen from the control panel or when an event triggers a new channel, at which time the channel will play using its default mode/view from when it was set up
2 Select Widget: displays a text only list of widgets from the current channel (or text with a TINY graphic representation of the widget, similar to the NY Times widgets which lists news articles with a small graphic and a right-hand scroll bar). Selecting a widget would put Chumby in Temporary Widget View. When the Chumby changes to the next widget, Chumby goes back to Clock View
3 Select Channel: Which displays a text only list of channels. Selecting a channel will put Chumby in whatever mode/view the channel is defaulted to.
The contents of the Time bar: Day of the week initial (M T W H F Sa Su) followed by the Time (ie. M 8:45am), and the next alarm to go off (a: T 5:45am), which, while the alarm is being snoozed, would change to a countdown (s: minutes:seconds) of the snooze. If space allows, the full date might be displayed.
Using the Widget resizing suggested in possibility 1 above: the side bar might show the name of the current widget, or perhaps provide a place for rating the widget. Alternately, if the widget is centered horizontally so that there is white space on both sides, tapping the left or right Side Bar space would cycle through the widgets that are in the current channel, while remaining in Clock View.
So the end result for the user is that they get to easily choose to customize Chumby as an alarm clock, or not, and each option is independent of the other, leaves full access to all widgets, and provides a nice little menu system to more easily see more widgets. Widget developers should like a system that allows users to get to their widgets easier, either through the menu system or a quick, instantaneous "tap to widget", and the user should like a system that allows them more choices.
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.
Vice President of Duane's Chumby Buddies Inc, Pro-Clock faction Clocks are life; we all expire sometime.http://forum.chumby.com/viewtopic.php?id=2565