trowaSoft: Software by Kewl Cats for Kewl Cats

trowaSoft is a software group run by the infamous Trowa Monster (a.k.a. "Trowa, face killer"). We just started out (2010), motivated by the desire for programs and apps not currently available, and to have fun developing various software. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to create apps in our spare time, provide users with good support, and constantly improve our outputs.

Grid Clock Widget v1.0.3 Released

10/12/2010 21:20 PDT

Grid Clock Widget v1.0.3 is now available for download on the Android Market, our website, and other alternative distributors. Although we have added and changed quite a few things in this version, we still didn't get a chance to look at the issue on Android x86 (hopefully next version).

HTC Manager Work Around - Widget Not Updating After Reboot

This version addresses the issue in certain HTC ROMs (HTC stock ROMs and 3rd party HTC-based ROMs) where widgets with configuration settings would not load or update after a reboot (this even affects the built-in stock Android photo frame widget). To work around this issue, we have added an HTC Mode that you may turn on. If you have this issue and you turn this mode on, the upside to this is that after rebooting the widget will update again. The downside to this work around is that you will only be able to have ONE (1) configuration. ***Do not turn this mode on if you do not have the reboot issue***.

If you do have this issue and end up turning this mode on, you may want to check after every ROM update to see if you still need to use it by disabling it and rebooting. For example, I believe this issue was resolved on the HTC Hero in the Sprint update for Android 2.1. [We got the used Hero with this update already on it and it didn't have the issue. We had to revert it to an older HTC-based ROM (we used Android 1.5 Fresh ROM 1.1) to replicate this issue to figure out this work around.]

Change the Target Rendering Size Yourself

Grid Clock Widget: Examples of resizing the widget

In case the last update (v1.0.2d) didn't fix rendering issues on your device or for those of you that use alternative Home screen managers that allow you to change the cell-size, this version allows you to override the target rendering size (in pixels). While the widget may not end up being that size (since we try to make the LEDs square shaped), it should end up matching either the width or height you specify. Be careful about making the widget too large though since if you make it too large (not only does it take up more resources) the widget may stop updating due to the limitations of the Android widget framework. Note that this does not change the cell size it uses. It will still be a 2x2 widget, unless you use another manager/application launcher that allows you to change the cell-size. Also, if you make it too large for the space it has been given, it will cut-off the clock.

Other Minor Changes

While we were working on the above items, we did some minor UI tweaks and added some other informational links to the Configuration screen (About, Online Help, and Contact).

TODO... the future

OK, so now that we've made all these changes and updates, there are still more things to do. I personally just wanted to get this update out there for now since I am just starting a 2nd job (part time in addition to my full-time job) and Fallout New Vegas & Fable 3 are coming out soon, so I may be MIA for a while. If you have comments or suggestions for the next update, please let us know.

The TODO Reminder List

  • Look into Android x86 squishing widget into 1x1 cell
  • Update help documents on website to include HTC Mode and Target Widget Size - hopefully we'll be able to update this within the next week, but no guarantees

Widget Issues = the gift that keeps on giving (more fixes on the way)

10/02/2010 16:31 PDT

For something that started as a gift for j4s0n and a as newbie learning project for Android, developing the Grid Clock Widget has proven to be more work that originally assumed. Yet more issues will need to be addressed (and just as we have just started on a different app--not a widget, so the new project will hopefully have less "quirks" to work around).

We have recently been made aware of yet some more issues with the Grid Clock Widget. Apparently it doesn't update aftering rebooting on some HTC devices, and we also tried the widget on the Android virtual machine to find, to our dismay, our 2x2 widget being scrunched into a 1x1 cell space :(.

Rebooty may = No Updatey (some HTC devices)

A comment on the Android market (thanks for letting us know, although we prefer if bugs are reported here) indicates that on the user's rooted Droid Eris, the widget doesn't update after rebooting. I had noticed that on slower devices, after rebooting it may take a few seconds to do the first update [I imagine this is due to the number of services trying to start at once which we can't really do anything about... we'll just patiently wait in line until our service gets some CPU time], but I don't think this is the issue as it seems from the comment the widget doesn't update at all.

After some research, we *think* this is an HTC (rom) problem that affects some devices where on shut down, the system deletes the widgets (and thus their ids which are associated to the configuration settings for each widget instance) and then on reboot, sends an update message with new widget ids [see What is the Sprint Hero AppWidget problem? -- even though this is for the HERO, there are other messages with similiar issues on other HTC devices]. The problems with this are:

  1. We ignore widget ids that aren't configured yet, assuming that either:
    • you are still in the configuration screen
      OR
    • you had "cancelled" out of the config screen because you have changed your mind and don't want a widget
      OR
    • we may be receiving "ghost" widget ids [ids to widgets that have been removed or were cancelled]
  2. We don't know what the original settings were since we have deleted them in shut down when we received the delete message. Even if we didn't delete them though, we wouldn't know what the old widget's id was.

We are trying to figure out a work around for this, but as we don't have any devices that this has been as problems on, we don't know how fast we'll be able to solve this. If you are having this problem on your device, please report it and if you would like to help test proposed solutions, that would appreciated too--just mention it in your message that you would like to help.

Grid Clock Widget may not get a 2x2 cell space (on VM or perhaps on tablets)

I don't know if this a problem in our manifest file, but we ran Android x86 in VirtualBox and our widget as well as a number of other 2x2 widgets we tested ended up only getting a 1x1 cell space. We had never tested it in Android x86, so it was surprise to see this. We will working on *hopefully* fixing this since I wonder if this is how it would be on Android tablets (devices with like 7" screens)...

We will probably also add a way for you to control the target rendering size [pixels], since as of v1.0.2d, this is the way the widget renders (it tries to render currently at ~40% of the screen size), but this target size may not be good for all devices, so we'll add a way for you to override it. This will address rendering issues if update v1.0.2d didn't fix it on your device and/or if you use a Home screen manager that allows you to change the Home screen grid size (#cells) and you wish to change the cell size that it uses.

Grid Clock
12      60
11      55
10      50
09      45
08      40
07      35
06      30
05      25
04      20
03      15
02      10
01      05
Layout Size: [sm] [Med] [LG]    Font Size: A A A

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