Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1 Tap Reminder for Windows Phone 7

My second WP7 application, 1 Tap Reminder, is now available in the marketplace.
1 Tap Reminder is almost certainly the quickest and easiest way to set reminders on your Windows Phone 7 device. Set alarms for a certain period from now, or a specific time of day with as little as one tap.

Download 1 Tap Reminder for Windows Phone 7
So, how does it work ?

Really Quick Reminders

TimerPageScreenshotSmallTilesScreenshot6When you first open 1 Tap Reminder you’ll see the ‘one-tap timers’ screen where you can choose when you want a reminder set. Depending on your preferences you can use the full size tile screen which makes it easy to select a timer even while on the move but requires scrolling to see more timers, or the smaller tile size which allows more timers to be seen at once.
The two timers you use the most will automatically sort to the top left of the list, and the ‘Specific Time’ timer will always be the last entry in the list. This makes it easy to locate your favourite timers.
To set a timer quickly, just tap on it with your finger. Depending on your settings either;
    Your phone will set the reminder and vibrate to confirm, then the app will exit (the default behaviour), or, your phone will switch to the ‘reminders’ page and show you the newly set reminder.

When the designated time arrives, your phone will show your reminder even if the app isn’t open. You’ll also have the SimpleReminderScreenshotoption of snoozing the reminder (this is provided by the WP7 OS and I can’t change the snooze options, sorry).


Viewing and Cancelling Reminders

From the main screen you can swipe left or right to see the reminder page. This page shows you both reminders that have passed and reminders that are yet to occur. Reminders that have passed are shown with either a slightly darker or lighter background colour (depending on your theme) than reminders that haven’t occurred yet.
To cancel a reminder, just tap on it once then choose ok on the confirmation message box that appears.
Reminders are automatically removed 24 hours after they have past, so you don’t need to cancel old ones (unless you’re bored or suffering from OCD).

Setting Reminders with TextTimerContextMenuScreenshot

Got too many reminders, or one set so far in the future you’re afraid you’ll forget what it’s for ? You can set custom text for your reminder nearly as easily as setting a quick reminder. Just tap and hold on the timer you want to set, and choose ‘set reminder’ from the menu that pops-up. This will display the “reminder details” screen.
On the reminder details page you can tap in the ‘reminder text’ field and key in your own text, or you can tap on one of the preset prompts to quickly set the text. Double tap on an item in the preset list to choose that text and set the reminder. Alternatively tap once on an item in the list, then tap in the text field to edit the text if you desire, and finally click the tick button at the bottom of the screen to set the reminder.
To cancel setting the reminder, tap the back button on your phone.

Setting a Reminder for a Specific Time of DaySpecificTimeOfDayScreenshot

When you choose the ‘Specific Time’ timer, regardless of whether you single tap or use the tap and hold menu, you will be shown a variation on the details screen. Like the normal details screen this allows you to set custom text for your reminder, but it also allows you to pick a specific date and time for the reminder to occur at.
You choose the time first. Tap on the time field to bring up the time picker and enter the time. If the time you choose is after the current time today, then the date field defaults to today. If the time you choose is before the current time today, the date field automatically changes to tomorrow. In either case, you can tap on the date field and choose a different date if you wish.
When you’ve set the date and time, and selected your text, tap the tick button at the bottom of the screen to set the reminder.



Pinning Timers

For truly one-tap reminders, you can pin timers to your start screen. Just tap and hold on a timer inside the app, then choose ‘pin to start’ from the menu that pops-up. A new tile will be created on your start screen for the timer. From that point on, you can set the timer just by clicking the tile on your phones main page, no need to open the app first.
This works for any timer, including custom timers for specific times of day and/or with text assigned, or for simple timers that are just a period of time.



Customising the Timers List (Paid Feature)

If you don’t like the default list of timers, you can change it. To remove a timer, just tap and hold on it and then choose ‘remove’ from thMainAppBarMenuScreenshote menu that pops-up.
To add a new timer, tap on the three dots at the lower right of the screen, then on the menu that slides up choose ‘add timer.’ This will bring up a new screen that allows you to enter the details of the timer you want to add.
On the add timer screen you first select the type of timer you want to create. You can choose between a timer for a ‘duration’, i.e 23 minutes from the time the timer is set, or you can create a timer for a specific time of day, i.e 3:00 p.m.
Next, enter either the number of hours and minutes for the timer (if you chose ‘duration’), or the time of day. The fields available will change to suit, depending on the type of timer selected.
Finally, you can optionally enter the default text for your timer. If you enter no text, the word ‘reminder’ will be used by default. If the text you enter happens to match an entry in the preset prompts list then the image associated with that text will be shown in some places where the reminder is displayed (such as the reminders page, and the back of pinned tiles).
To save your reminder, tap the tick button at the bottom of the screen. To cancel, tap the back button on your phone.

Customising Preset Prompts (Paid Feature)AddPresetScreenshot

On the detailed reminder screen you can remove a preset prompt by tapping and holding on it and then choosing ‘remove’ from the menu that pops-up.
You can add a new prompt by clicking the three dots at the lower right hand corner of the screen (while on the reminder details page) and then choosing ‘add preset text’ from the menu the slides up.
On the ‘add preset’ screen you can enter the text for your preset by tapping in the text field and keying in the value you want to use.
You can also tap on the green square to choose an (optional) image to associate with this preset. This image will be shown on the reminders page inside the app, and on the backs of timers you pin to your start screen.
When you’ve made your choices you save the preset by tapping the tick button at the bottom of the screen. To cancel, tap the back button on your phone.


SettingsScreenshotThe settings screen allows you to change the behaviour of the app and to reset the app data to the default values. You can scroll the screen up and down by flicking with your finger to see more options. To access this screen, tap the three dots in the lower right corner of the screen while on the main page.
Enable 1 tap reminder set
If this setting is on, tapping once on a timer sets the reminder immediately with the default text. If this setting is off, tapping once on a timer always shows the reminder details page.
Auto-exit on 1 tap reminder set
If this setting is on, setting a reminder via a single tap causes the phone to vibrate to confirm the reminder has been set, then automatically closes the app. If you don’t like this behaviour, turn this setting off and the app will move to the reminders page and show the newly set reminder instead of closing.
Auto-exit on detailed reminder set
This setting is the same as the previous one (Auto-exit on 1 tap reminder set) but applies to reminders set via the the reminder details page rather than the one-tap method.
Use small tiles
This setting changes the size of the tiles shown on the timer screen, small tiles mode show more timers at once and reduces the need for scrolling, but make the touch area for each timer smaller.
Add Timer
This button allows you to add a new timer, just like the ‘add timer’ menu option on the main screen.
Add Preset Text
This option allows you to add a new preset prompt to the list available on the detailed reminder screen, just like the ‘add preset text’ menu option on the reminder details screen.

Reset Buttons
These buttons reset the data named on each button to it’s default values.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meal Timer

Meal Timer is my first Windows Phone 7 application (requires Mango update for WP7). There are a number of apps in the WP7 Marketplace that are ‘kitchen timers’ and allow you to set reminders or alarms for  particular time, but Meal Timer is unique (as far as I know) in that it allows multiple timers to be set so they all end at the same time. This means the application itself ensures your meat, vegetables, sauces and other meal components are all ready at the same time. Unlike most other kitchen timers that assume you are cooking immediately, you can schedule the meal to be ready at a particular time, and Meal Timer will set alarms so everything is ready at that time (or you can start cooking right away if you want).


So, how does it work ?
First, download the application from the Marketplace. Then open the application from your application list (or pin it to your start menu for a beautiful tile showing a tasty homemade hamburger, and open it via the tile).

When you first open Meal Timer you will see the main ‘panorama screen’ which will be set which will be scrolled to the ‘components’ page and looks like this;
EmptyComponentsPageTo start, you need to add some items to cook. Do this by pressing the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a + symbol. This will bring up the ‘Add Component’ window.

EmtpyAddItemDialogClick in the ‘Name’ field and type the name of something you’re going to cook, i.e 'Chicken’. Note, you don’t have to add the items in any particular order, Meal Timer will sort the items into the correct cooking order based on time, later when we tell it we’re ready to start or schedule cooking.

AddItemDialogItemNameOnlyWith the item name entered, you now need to enter the cooking time. First, you need to go to the cooking time box. The easiest way to do this is to press the enter button on the on-screen keyboard. Otherwise, you can tap in the visible portion of the Cooking Time field (you can flick up on any part of the dark background area behind the text fields to scroll them up so it’s easier to see and tap on the Cooking Time field). Alternatively, you can press the back button on the phone itself to close the keyboard, then tap in the Cooking Time field, but pressing enter is the easiest thing to do.

EnterCookingTimeOnce you’re in the cooking time field, simple enter either a number of whole minutes, or a number of hours and minutes separated by a colon (:) character. For example, 75 and 1:15 both refer to 1 hour and fifteen minutes. When you’ve entered the time, either press enter on the on-screen keyboard or the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a plus to add this item and start entering another. If you’ve entered all the items you want to enter (or if this is the last item you intend to enter), you can press the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a tick (check mark). If you’ve changed your mind about entering the item currently shown on screen, press the back button on your phone to return to the main screen.

ComponentsListScreenshotBack on the main screen the components list will now show all the items you’ve entered.
If you want to change the time you entered on one of these items, click on the red area representing the item. If you want to remove an item from the list entirely, click on the trash can icon on the right hand side of the item you want to delete.
You can scroll the list of meal components up and down by swiping with your finger.
To start or schedule cooking, press the button at the bottom of the screen marked with an arrow head (like the play button on a DVD player). This will bring up the Start Cooking dialog.

StartCookingScreenshotIf you want to start cooking right away, click the Start Now check box to place a check mark in it. Alternatively leave the Start Now check box unchecked, select the time you want your meal to be ready at below it. Note, you can use the settings screen to change the default meal time. When you’ve made your choice, press the button at the bottom of the screen marked with a tick (check mark). If you’re not ready yet or have changed your mind, press the back button on your phone. When you do start or schedule cooking you will be returned to the main page and the meal components you entered earlier will move across to the timers page. You can move between the components and timers pages by swiping left or right on screen when the main page is shown.

TimersScreenshotThe various components of the meal will be sorted by cooking time so the item that is going to take the longest to cook is started first, and so on. An ‘alarm’ will be set on your phone for the time each item needs to start cooking, and another alarm will be set for when all the items are ready. These alarms will go off even if you close the Meal Timer application.
If you leave Meal Timer running, the components on the timers page will turn read when they need to start cooking (as well as the alarm going off) and the system will start counting down the time left for that item. Each timer shows you the scheduled start time, the total cooking time for that item, and the time remaining (counting down while the timer is running).
Timers that are grey indicate they have not started yet. When a timer completes, it turns black for about a second and then disappears.
You can scroll the list of timers up and down by swiping with your finger.

And that’ about it ! There is a setting screen, which you can access from the main page by pressing the three little dots near the bottom right and then choosing ‘settings’ from the menu that pops up. The settings screen allows you to set the sound used for the alarm and the default meal time, as well as delete any data the application has saved, and there are also shortcuts to rate/review and buy the application in the WP7 Marketplace.
So, what if you want to schedule multiple courses for a single meal ? Easy, just perform the steps above once for each course and choose a different ‘Meal Ready at Time’ for each course on the Start Cooking screen. All the timers will mix in together on the timers page, but all the items for each course (scheduled together) will be ready at the same time. Simple !
If you have any suggestions, problems or queries please contact me via yort@yortondotnet.com.

Visit Meal Timer on Facebook.