I’d like to kick off this blog by sharing a bit of my personal taste with technology. I am very picky about my gadgets – they need to have certain features. Basically, the more open source, the better. Hence, Android. Simplicity is best, in my opinion. And really, I’m the only one looking at the screen, so why bloat it up? What you are seeing is the Samsung Galaxy S3 from Sprint, flashed to Cricket (a MetroPCS subsidiary ).
The one and only, CyanogenMod. I use the nightlies and update almost every day. If you choose this route, I highly recommend backing up about once a week at least. Here is an intro from the developers.
The launcher I use is Nova Launcher (I have the Prime version, which runs at $4.00 – I can’t really recommend that you buy the Prime version, I hardly find the extra features necessary). Let’s start with the desktop settings. My desktop grid is set at 9×5. Width is set to none. Height margins set to medium. Always persistent search bar. Shadow is on. I have five home screens, but I dont really use the two peripheral screens at all. On to Drawer settings. I have the drawer grid set at 6×4. Scroll effect is Accordion (which is so cool, by the way). My background transparency is about 33% from the left side of the scroll bar. Draw style is horizontal, and infinite scroll is enabled. While we are here, I like to hide some apps that I never open. Specifically apps like Pattrn, where I’m just using an accessory feature from the app, not the app itself. Another example is an app that gives you a widget, why bloat up the app drawer with that junk? Now, on to Dock. I have the dock on toggle, actually, so I have the clockwise turn gesture set for that feature (I turn my two fingers on the screen to bring up the dock and get rid of it). I also have the dock set to overlay, so that I can bring widgets all the way to the bottom of the screen. My folders are set to stack, with the background as a disc. The transparency is slightly above 50%. I have app labels on right now, but I usually remove app labels underneath the icons. My color theme for Nova is a robust orange, but it doesn’t have much effect on the theme itself. The icon theme is Tersus (which unfortunately costs $1.49 but is oh so pretty). My icon size is at 95%. Scroll speed is set to Nova, and animation speed set to faster than light. When you mix this with the accordion effect, the result is simply beautiful. Set app animations to come from the side. This makes the greatest difference in using Android. It really makes it feel like your phone has some flavor when you switch between the apps. Let’s talk about gestures, which are a Prime-only feature:
Pinch In = Gmail
Pinch Out = Calendar
Swipe Up = App Drawer
Swipe Down = Expand Notifications
Double Tap = Settings
Rotate CCW and CW = Toggle Dock
Every day, the background changes. I use an app called Pattrn. Today’s is called Wedding Veil by Sewillia.
Home Page Widgets
The time widget at the top of the page was created using Minimalistic Text. I added the 5×1 widget (after creating the widget I resized it to fit snuggly at the top). I used the default background color (didn’t mess with shadow settings). I didnt touch orientation.
The weather widget is from Eye in the Sky. I didn’t buy the version of the app, nor have I heard reason to.
Finally, the quotes widget is from Brilliant Quotes.
Left Desktop Page
This page is pretty simple, I’m just using the Gmail widget. I have Nova Launcher’s settings to allow me to overlap widgets. As you can see, I have two accounts, one for private use, one for school. I let the bottom one overlap the top one. Here is where the overlay Dock and toggle Dock features come in handy. The widgets will look much more flush with these features.
Right Desktop Page
Another simple page, it’s just the calendar widget.
Finally, the best part. Something you probably overlooked. The bottom on-screen buttons. This was a pain in the butt to get. Here’s an example link. This will probably not work with your phone. Go to XDA, browse to your phone’s forum, and search for Navigation Bar. I can’t find the original mod I did for my phone, but they may have added the feature in CM10.1 and I may have missed it. My settings for the nav bar are under System settings in the Interface section of Android’s Settings.
There are a couple additional features I have, that you can’t see from the pictures. Firstly, I don’t have a lockscreen. My phone turns on to what you’re seeing. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but it doesn’t randomly turn on and dial anyone. Next, I have the hardware buttons at the bottom of my phone disabled, including the touch buttons. I’m using this CM10 mod, which means it will work on any phone running CyanogenMod. The download link is in the third post on that page.
I hope you found this useful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!