Friday, January 1, 2010

alpha two is here

Made several breakthroughs today, earning total progress the title of alpha 2.

New functionality:
  • Foreground service mode- This means you see a notification icon in the status bar. You can jump directly to the settings by opening the notification. This serves to ensure the service will work at all times. It does not impact memory usage, battery, or OS performance. It also makes it more convenient to open settings without having to hunt for the icon.
  • Wakeup screen- The lockscreen bypass occasionally takes the CPU a short time. Normally not more than 1 second, and most often it appears to be instant. The wakeup screen displays a clock, & automatically clears itself when the lockscreen has been successfully bypassed. This is a great benefit because it takes the same amount of time as using the unlock slider, but you get it done with just one button press. This screen is a preview for the upcoming optional wakeup homescreen we are working on for the beta. It basically provides things that used to be on the lockscreen & other useful things we wished were on it- sound mode, brightness, clock, and other useful tools, or even any widget you have on the device can also be placed on it.
  • Added our custom icon.
Bug Fixes:
  • The phone will no longer incorrectly bring the lockscreen back while a call is in progress. If a call ends with the screen on, you may see the lockscreen come back. For now this is normal, but normal auto-unlock resumes correctly.
  • The home button recent-apps shortcut and the search button now respond correctly after auto-unlock.

If you dislike the persistent icon & notification panel presence, the option is forthcoming to disable it (with a disclaimer that we do recommend running it in foreground mode for stability).


  1. I'd like to thank you really quick for your great work on this simple (but amazingly convenient) app. Alpha 2 is a big step in the right direction, and it's working flawlessly for me.

    Can I ask why you recommend running the app in foreground mode? Is it some kind of memory management issue that occurs while the phone is "sleeping"? And is there (or rather, will there be) a way to run in foreground mode without the persistent icon?

  2. Alpha 2 represents a really big breakthrough in what will be possible for the app going forward, so I really appreciate the feedback.

    I recommend foreground mode simply because it guarantees that the service will be kept going by the android OS. I ran the first alpha (which did not utilize foreground mode) for a week or more and never experienced a scenario where it got stopped unexpectedly. So, the mode probably isn't required, since my design of the service already gets launched in the background and is free of any specific screen dependency.

    The foreground is essentially an extra layer of safety, but it also places the icon so you can know that it is there and can access the toggle screen in one click from the notification panel (convenient for people who start & stop the program based on their overall needs).

    For the beta, the plan is to allow users to turn off foreground mode. What will happen with that is that when you start it, a notification still turns on telling us the service started, but you then clear it. I'm anticipating that for most users the choice to use foreground mode is purely cosmetic and I will leave it up to them whether to use it.

    I have just programmed a rock solid toggle button in the settings screen, replacing the start & stop buttons, and uploaded alpha 2a - which uses the alpha 1 unlock method, so I can better identify why lag might be happening at unlock. I believe it is never caused by the app functionality itself. With both versions up I can install the other one on a 2nd device and do some side by side testing.