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Time Starter




Time Starter usage guide





How to install the application

If you prefer to install the application using apk-file then it's required to copy the file on the SD-card of your watch. For it connect your watch to the PC, where the apk-file was donloaded, and copy file on SD-card. To install it you need to find the apk on the watch using your preferred file manager, after it just touch the file and installation will begin. But the important note should be taken into account - Android system denies such install by default and you need to go in the "Security" part of system settings to enable installation from unknown sources. If you install the application from Android Market then there is no need to change your security settings.

After successful installation there will be a standard launch option in your current launcher program. But because Time Starter works as a home screen application it also can start if you ask Android to show the home screen. To ask Android you need to press the "Home" button. After it Android will open the home screen selection dialog where you can tell the system to always use Time Starter as a home screen application. For it to be done you need to press dialog's "Always" button. Now Time Starter will do for you every action you configured it (just like it's name tells you - it starts actions from time screen). Now, if you for some reason will want to replace Time Starter as a default home screen application, you can do it under the "Useful system options" item in Time Starter settings. And even if you decide not to make Time Starter your default home application, it is possible to show it with just a short screen off action. For it you need to go to the "Global actions" menu item and bind Time Starter start action to the "Short screen off" event. Next you can push the standard "Screen off" button and then push it again to turn screen on again. After such sequence of actions (if in less than 2 seconds) the Time Starter's main screen will appear and you can quickly start any preferred action with just one gesture. Also in such a way you can start any action that is available under action list of the program.

And after you've got Time Starter as a default home screen the rest is about mapping of gestures to preferred action and installation of watch faces.

How to map a gesture to an action

First time when you see Time Starter's watch screen any action will lead you to the Time Starter's settings. In the middle of the option list you can see the "Gesture settings" item. Just press it and you'll be present with the gesture selection screen. The arrows on the screen represent the direction of your finger movement. For example, up -> down movement is shown as arrows at the top of the screen and down -> up - at the bottom. If you press any arrow the possible action list will be displayed. For example, you can map the "up to down" gesture to the action of a preferred application start, then when you see the Time Starter's watch screen again it is possible to move your finger from upper part of the screen to it's bottom to start the application you have just mapped in Time Starter's settings. The application will slide to the screen from the same side where your finger started it's movement. For simplicity in remembering action mapping it is recommended to think something like that - "my calculator is at the top and my messenger is at the bottom". But don't expect smooth operations if you will map a lot of actions to many gestures, because you just won't remember them all. Start from 2-4 action mappings and map one of gestures to the action of starting your old home screen application. In such a way you will quickly remember your mappings and all the rest of the watch interactions you will do using the old home screen and other applications.

In addition to the movement gestures you can start actions by a simple touch or two (and even three, if you want it). Also it is possible to use long touch gestures. But if your watch has some physical buttons then you can use them for even more action mappings. For example - you can map your "Home" button to the action of turning screen off, then when you see Time Starter's watch screen and press "Home" the screen will be turned off. Next you can map "Menu" button to the action of displaying system settings. And "Back" button can be mapped to the action of starting your old home screen application. Next you should pay attention to the default "back gesture" of your watch. It could be a swipe from right to left or from left to right or from up to down. Whatever direction is used for default "back action" you should remember that not all watch systems allow Time Starter to intercept such gestures and sometime it can lead to some unwanted behavior.

And finally if you think that some gestures shouldn't lead to any action you can select "No action" in action list for the gestures you think shouldn't be monitored.

Quadrants and sectors

Another way to improve action starting speed and accuracy is to split the watch's screen into sectors (for round watches) or quadrants (for square watches). To check if it's useful or not you can press the "Use quadrant/sector touch" menu item in the main Time Starter's settings screen. Next all your new touch mappings will be extended by asking you to select a quadrant (for square watches) or a sector (for round watches). But all your old mappings will be erased for them not to mislead you, because it's not obvious how to decide what mapping is in play when you touch some quadrant or sector. However, new extended mappings can perform better than the old, so it's recommended to try such option and to make informed decision. But if you won't like the result - just touch "No quadrant/sector touch" menu item in main menu and then all extended mappings will be erased.

How to install watch face

After Time Starter works and gestures are properly set up it's time to bring some beautifications to your home screen. For it you can download new watch faces from this site. It's just a zip-archive and you can extract it's content to the directory on watch's SD-card where all you watch faces will be stored. Usually it is done on a PC and after connecting your watch over USB cable it is possible to transfer extracted files directly to the destination directory. But Time Starter should know about the location of watch faces. For it you should press the "Clock directory" item in Time Starter's settings and next to choose watch face directory by long pressing it in Time Starter's directory selection activity. Also if you will download new watch faces Time Starter should be notified about it, use the same watch face directory selection procedure to do it.

After watch faces are available to Time Starter you can select one of it to be displayed on the home screen. Press "Select clock" item in Time Starter's settings and swipe over watch face to select next one, then swipe back to select previous. To set the face on the home screen it is required to double touch it. Also it is possible to show the watch face with less information on it. With less information face's impression can be better, but sometime you need to see the missed information, so we need a way to switch between "more information" and "less information" modes. In the watch face selection activity it is done by single screen touch. But when the watch face is on the home screen you can select any gesture to map it to the action of switching information display.

Watch face selection

Watch face can be selected using two ways - under the option "Select clock" in Time Starter's settings or using gesture mapping for actions of displaying next or previous face. Usually watch faces fluently slide from the side of the finger's movement start, but not all watches have enough processing power to smoothly display and repaint sliding watch at the Time Starter's watch face screen. However, in the future it is expected to get much better painting optimization and consequently - more smooth animations.

How to setup the home screen

To show old home screen application, or to display another application with the option of being a home screen, you have two ways. First - you can map a gesture to the action of displaying preferred home screen. For it you should map a gesture by pressing "Show home screen" item in the action list. After it Time Starter will show you the list of installed home screen applications. Pressing one of the items will map the gesture to the action of displaying selected home screen. Second option is to use system dialog. If Time Starter is set as a default home screen then easiest way to display such dialog is to press "Manage home screen" under "Useful system options" in Time Starter's settings. But in this case the "default" state of the Time Starter as a home screen will be cleared, then you always will be present with the choice of home screen application until you decide to press "Always" button in the system dialog.

How to setup widgets

After selecting "Widgets" item under "More tools" menu you'll see the widget list that should be displayed upon the watch face. There is the "Add" button in the top of the list (plus sign), after pressing it you'll see the list of widgets, installed in the system. Next you should select one widget and, if it requires configuration like image or music folder, configure it. After widget is configured, or if there's no need for configuration, you'll see the screen with watch face and new widget on it. Now you can move the widget with help of buttons on the sides of the screen. And, in case widget supports scaling, you can scale it with help of top and bottom buttons. To save widget's location and size you need to double press the watch face, after it you'll see new widget in the list of displayable widgets. If you want to change position or size of already present widget, then you need to find it in the widget list and next to touch it. The size and position form will appear then. And if you want to delete the widget, then long press it's list item and then press the "Delete" button on the top (in form of a cross).

How to setup the option of turning screen off

Android system prevents applications from turning screen off, that's why you need to tell it that you agree if Time Starter will possess such ability. It is done under the "Security" option of the system settings. But there is a shorter way. You should map any gesture to the action of turning screen off and next to perform the gesture while being on the Time Starter's watch face screen. Next the system dialog with invitation to add Time Starter to the list of system administrators with the right to turn screen off will be displayed. You should agree by pressing "Activate" and next - just repeat the "screen off" gesture and from now on after such gesture the screen will always be turned off.

To manage the participation of Time Starter in the list of system administrators you need to use "Enable/Disable screen off option" item under "Useful system options" in Time Starter's settings. If Time Starter is in the administrator list then pressing the option will lead to the exclusion of Time Starter from it. Else such press will lead to the system dialog with administrator list extension invitation. One of useful cases for pressing "Disable screen off option" is when you want to uninstall or reinstall Time Starter, because not all versions of Android are able to do such action automatically.

Turning screen on and off with arm gestures

Under the "More tools" menu item there is the option "Arm gestures". It allows to enable the program to monitor your arm movements and turn the screen on when you are looking at the watch, or turn screen off when the arm is down (along the body or on a table). In another words - the option allows to perform "hand free" screen operations.

The "Screen on if arm was down" option is useful when you are standing with arms along the body and want to read what the watch is displaying. When the "Screen on if arm was down" option is ticked off then every time you rise your hand from the position along the body to the position when the screen of the watch is parallel to the floor, Time Starter will turn screen on.

The "Screen on if arm was on a table" option is useful when you are sitting with arms put down on a table and want to read what the watch is displaying. When the "Screen on if arm was on a table" option is ticked off then every time you rise your hand from a table to the position when the screen of the watch is parallel to the floor, Time Starter will turn screen on.

The "Screen on after gazing" option is useful when you want the screen to be turned on every time you make it parallel to the ground, independently of any previous position. If this option is enabled along with any of the "raise hand" options then in case the "raise hand" option mistakenly missed an opportunity to turn screen on, nevertheless it will be lit, but after some longer delay. However, it should be noted, that using this option makes more probable the erroneous screen on actions.

The "Screen off after arm down" option is useful when you want the screen to turn off every time you put your arm along the body (make the right side of the screen to be closer to the ground).

The "Screen off after arm on a table" option is useful when you want the screen to turn off every time you put your arm back on a table (make the top of the screen to be near the table).

The "Custom screen off position" option is useful when you want the screen to turn off every time you put your device in a custom position. For example, using this option you can turn the screen off when tilt your device at the predefined angle. To set desired position it is required to press the "Settings" button below all check boxes and to press one of "Custom screen off/on position" buttons. Next you'll be present with the one big button form. Rotate your watch for it to get into position where you want the screen should be turned off and next press the big button. Even if the screen looks outside you will feel the press with short vibration. After the press the position will be remembered and if the option "Custom screen off position" is turned on, then every time you place the watch into the preferred position, the screen will be turned off.

The "Custom screen on position" option is useful when you want the screen to turn on every time you put your device in a custom position. For example, using this option you can turn the screen on when you rise your hand and watch's screen become vertical, or even when you're in bed and want to turn screen on when it is looking down.

It also should be noted, that when the screen is off the watch usually goes to the slipping mode and saves your battery life, but if you enable one of automatic screen on options ("Screen on if arm was down", "Screen on if arm was on a table", "Screen on after gazing"), then the program will prevent the watch from slipping. It is done to ensure the continuity of arm position monitoring. And as a drawback of the continuous monitoring we get the essentially decreasing battery life, like 10-15 hours (depending on your battery) in airplane mode and "watch only" usage pattern.

Arbitrary actions with arm gestures

Under the "Look and feel" menu item there is the option "Arm gestures". It allows to enable the program to monitor your arm movements and to start a preferred action when you performed the gesture. The option allows to perform watch operations "without touch".

If "Arm gestures" are enabled then you can select one of the following items under "Global actions" menu:

"Arm twist" and "Arm up".

Next you will be present with the action selection window. After the action is selected you can start an application or change device's state by just moving your arm and without any direct interaction with the watch. The option works when watch's screen is on and is independent of any window that is currently shown on the screen. For example, you can show system settings window while working with an application that requires some change in system values. Or you can start or stop the Time Starter's timer or just turn on/off the Bluetooth module.

"Arm twist" gesture consists of arm rotation in elbow joint. The gesture starts when the screen is on and looking up. Next the hand is rotated in such a manner, that the screen becomes vertical and it's upper border stays closer to the floor. Right after the 90 degrees turn, the watch should be returned in the original position (screen looks up). If the sequence is kept, then the action that is bound to the gesture will be fired.

"Arm up" gesture consists of arm rotation in shoulder joint. The gesture starts when the screen is on and looking up. Next the arm is rotated in such a manner, that the screen becomes vertical and it's left border stays closer to the floor. Right after the 90 degrees turn, the watch should be returned in the original position (screen looks up). If the sequence is kept, then the action that is bound to the gesture will be fired.

Additional features and explanations

Time Starter program can lock the screen of your watch. It's not the best way to make your watch really secure, but it's more like a helper in some useful situations. For example, if you have enabled "Keep screen on" option to be able to look at the watch without need to press a button or touch the screen, then screen lock can prevent accidental touches from starting some unwanted actions. But nevertheless, the lock screen mode is not a toy and really can make some watches just as useless as a brick (unless you know how to write to watch's ROM). That's why it is recommended to be very careful when you enable the lock screen mode. Don't forget the unlock sequence of gestures! And may be it would be useful to turn the Android's debug mode on to be able to uninstall Time Starter if you forgot the unlock code.

Action panels

Time Starter allows to set up customizable action panels. It's the window with a number of icons that you can press to start some action. Alternatively it can show some useful information, like sunrise time or battery charge level. Also you to the panel can add a slider and change sound volume or screen brightness. Time Starter allows to create many such panels and of different types:

To create the panel you need to select "Action panels" item in Time Starter's settings. Next after touching the + (plus) sign you will be present with the panel editor form where you can enter preferred panel name, set appearance related properties and add some action icons or sound level / screen brightness seek bars to it.

To manage panel's action you need to press the "Panel actions" button. After it with the help of another plus sign it is possible to add any desired action. Actions can be selected by touching any one of them. Selected action can be removed with help of the "red cross" button which appears when any selection is in place. Also you can move the action by touching another item. Then first action (selected one) will be moved after the second. In such a way it is possible to rearrange the list of icons on the action panel.

After you finished with the action list it is required to save the list. If your watch supports action bars then it is enough to press action bar's Time Starter icon to save your work. On the action bar near the application icon there is the "Save" caption, which can be pressed to save your work and, from the other side, always remind you about the need to press "Save". In case if your watch doesn't support action bar, then there will be "Save" button at the top of the window. Next it is possible to change action panel name, set number of icons that will be displayed along the width of the panel (from 2 to 5), select font size, which is used for icon captions, add all available applications to the panel, or just remove the panel. Sound and brightness seek bars always take a full row on the panel. After setting preferred values you still need to press another "Save" button to save action panel's data, and again if your watch supports action bar - there's the Time Starter icon available for such purpose. If you exit panel editor dialog without saving the data then all changes will be lost.

Actions on the panel display the current state of radio-modules, if the action icon is grey - the module is off, if the icon is blue - the module is on. Mode switch is performed immediately for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but for GPS, data transmission and flight mode immediate switch is available only if you have root privileges. If you have no root then a standard system settings panel will be displayed instead. For Time Starter to use root privileges it is required to select "Enable root" item under "Advanced" menu option, but only after you have got root privileges in one or another way.

After panel is displayed (using gestures or action icons) and you're done with it, hide it by swiping back against the gesture, you have summoned the panel with. For example - if panel was displayed after left-to-right swipe, then it can be hidden by right-to-left gesture.

Conditional actions

Menu "More tools/Conditional actions" let us to define situation dependent commands. For example - play a sound when battery is charged and device is still plugged. In such a way we can setup a notification about fully charged device. To create such notification we need the condition - 100% charge level and device is plugged. Also we need to select a suitable sound. All this is possible to do using "Conditional actions" menu.

After menu selection we see a conditional action list. In the beginning it's empty and we need to press the "plus" sign to add an conditional action. In the action's form we need to enter it's name (to distinguish it from other conditional actions) and next define the condition. Condition is defined using button "Show conditions". Beside the condition we need actions. There are two cases - when condition holds and when it fails. For both outcomes there are corresponding actions. Under the caption "Show actions if condition evaluates to:" there are the "True" and "False" buttons. Pressing them will bring us to the positive and negative condition test outcome action list. The list is filled just as is the case for every other actions in gesture mapping or in an action panel. Actions are fired when condition participating variables change. For example - if we select "minutes" (of current time) as the condition variable, then every minute there will be a change, and as a consequence, the condition test will be performed. After condition test it's result determines if positive ("True") or negative ("False") actions will be fired. If there's no actions - nothing will be done.

To define the condition we need to press the "Show conditions" button. In the followed list we need to press the "plus" sign. Next we need to select an operation type - comparison or logical "or". If the condition list will be filled with comparisons only, then all of them must hold for the entire condition to be true. It means comparisons are joined using logical operation "and". But if we add logical "or" and position it in such a manner that it splits the list into two parts, then entire condition will hold if any split part of the comparison list is true. While addition of logical "or" puts it directly in the list, the comparison addition first shows a form with it's properties. There the button "Select variable" opens an available information list, from which you can select the variable part of the comparison, for example - current battery level. Next we need to select comparison operation (>,<,=, and so on). And finally we need a value to compare the variable with. The value just entered manually, for example - 100 for a charged battery. When comparison is ready - just save it and you are almost done. But first we add a bit more about comparisons. There is a special case of comparison, involving the modulo X operation. It calculates a reminder after division of the variable by the value in the comparison. It won't compare the variable with the value, but it uses the value as a divider. And the result (reminder) is compared with zero. It means if we define a variable to be the current minute and use comparison with modulo operation while the value is, for example, five, then every five minutes the current minute value will be divisible by five and the reminder of such division will be zero. When divider is zero - comparison holds. If there's not zero - comparison fails. And as a result with such settings we get positive comparison every five minutes and negative all other minutes. Because there are positive and negative actions - we get positive actions fired once per five minutes and negative - all other minutes. It's a way to create endless timer with separate actions for every fifth minute and all other minutes. You can't stop or start such timer quickly, that's why it's better to use conditional timer here.

Beside the described parameters there is the "Trigger actions on change" check box. It allows to manage the frequency of condition test. If we need the moment, when a battery level becomes equal to 100%, then we do not need the comparison being tested every time we plug or unplug our device. Then we can clear a tick on the check box in the "plugged in" part of the comparison.

Making your personal digital watch face

Action panels include the option of displaying such data as current time, or battery level, or timer value, or something else. For example, you can set up the action panel for it to display current time (hours, minutes and seconds), month, day of month and day of week in any order and at preferred positions. And in addition you can add action icons and widgets. As a result it is possible, for example, to have radio state switchers that display current state of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and also can be used to switch it, and all this in combination with current time display or other useful information. To create such watch face you should set up an action panel accordingly. Press the "Panel actions/data" button, then press the "Plus" button and select the type of elements you would like to add. If you select "Information" type, then you'll be present with the list of available information elements. In this list you can select items like "Time, year" or "Time, hours 24". After selection the item settings will be displayed. To lay the items in one row you need to clear the "New line" tick. If the tick won't be cleared then the item will be moved to the next line. To create a separator between hours and minutes, for example, you need to create an item of type "Text" with preferred value, like ":" or "-". After elements of time are ready, it is possible to add other information items, but do not clear the "New line" tick, or else these items will follow the time value in the same row. Action icons, if placed after information item, always move to the new line. Similarly, the information items always move to the new line if placed after action icons. And finally, after you have all information and action items ready, you can make the watch face better with the help of background picture or by changing background color.

Action panel can be displayed instead of the default watch face screen, if you want your custom watch face to replace downloaded indicators. It is achieved by setting tick near the "Is home screen" line in the action panel settings. In such case this panel will always be displayed as a start screen and it will support all gestures you have defined for the default watch face. And beside of this the action icons on the panel, of course, will help you to start more actions from just one screen. And if the action panel won't be set as a home screen, then there also are some useful options, like "Don't close after action". Such option is useful when panel, for example, displays timer value and holds the start or stop timer action icons. If you won't set the "Don't close after action" tick, then the panel will disappear after you press the action icon, but if the tick is present, then panel will be on the screen and you can see the information you have added on it. Another option for the action panel is to automatically display all available application icons. In this case it would act like the Windows "Start" menu. Then, if you want all applications to be in one place - just set the tick near "Show all applications" line.

Speaking current time

Time Starter can speak current time, but it needs the "Text to Speech" component to be installed in your system. Usually such component is present, but it is a simplest form of such engine and it's speech quality is not very good. That's why it is recommended to install free "Google Text to Speech" engine from Play Market. After you have text to speech component installed you can set up Time Starter's speech parameters under "Look and feel" / "Time speaking" menu item. In the upper part of the window you'll see the buttons which can help you to open text to speech settings and to download additional languages. Below are the actual time speaking settings. You can use the group "Speak time if" to control when the time will be spoken. If you select "Watch face is shown" then every time you see the watch face after any other window, Time Starter will speak current time. If you select "After screen on" then every time you turn screen on Time Starter will again speak current time, independently of which application is displayed at the moment. But if you combine both "Watch face is shown" and "After screen on", then time will be spoken only when watch face is displayed after the moment the screen is turned on. And if you won't select both items then no automatic time speaking will be performed, but you still can start time speech by using a gesture that is bound to the time speaking action. Below the "Speak time if" group you can see the example of a text that could be spoken. In this example you can mark any word and only marked words will be spoken. Also you can select any word by touching it's right side and next to touch another word, after which you want the first word to be moved to. In such a way it is possible to set up preferred sequence of words in preferred order. All those settings are in play in both cases - when automatic speaking is performed and when you start it manually by using gesture binding. And finally it is important to note, that text to speech engine requires some time for it's initialization and as a result first two or three moments when automatic speech should begin usually are missed and no voice is heard until engine is completely initialized.

Time zones

In Time Starter's main menu the "Time zones" item is available for creation of a collection of preferred time zones. You can create one item for every time zone you wish to be informed of. Every item includes it's name and time shift between the Greenwitch universal time and the time in the target time zone. After you create your time zones there will be available two options - first you can quickly change time display to adjust it according to the preferred time zone, and second, some watch faces can display more than one time for the current and a few first time zones from the list of created zone definitions. To change time on any watch face according to the preferred time zone there is an action, which you can bind to a gesture and use it as a command to switch among created time zones. After the command is executed the watch face will display the time, adjusted for the first time zone. After the command is executed twice - the watch face will display the time, adjusted for the second time zone. In such a manner you can switch among all time zones and after the last one the watch face will again show you default current time. And of course, if the watch face supports display of more than one time for two or more time zones, then there's just no need to care about any command. However, it is useful to know that such watch face will display time in time zones from the beginning of the list of time zone definitions you have created before. If there's more definitions than the watch face has available indications, then the rest won't be displayed.

Weather display and update

With Time Starter you can see current weather conditions and weather forecast on selected watch face or on action panel. Time Starter reads weather data from the net and that's why it requires the data transmission to be enabled. Data can be sent over Wi-Fi or using mobile data service. After enabling data transmission it is required to define how you want to obtain weather updates. Because every place on earth has different weather conditions Time Starter needs to know your location. The location is sent to the server and it returns weather data, specific for the nearest city (which is usually the city of your location). That's why it is required to allow Time Starter to obtain your location information using GPS or just write your preferred coordinates in the weather update form.
Under Time Starter's main menu's item "More tools" you can find "Weather update data" item. When touched it shows a few information grouping sections. First section displays:

Next section allows you to switch temperature display between celsius and fahrenheit units.
Next goes update interval. If it is set to "Manual" (default value) then weather data will be read only when you press the "Update weather data now" button on the form. But if you set the update interval to some number of hours, then Time Starter will automatically start weather updates every selected interval.
Next you can see the coordinates, that Time Starter has read from the system. If you see there just zeros, then system doesn't provide any location information. To obtain location it is required to turn on GPS or write coordinates manually in the location fields.
And finally there are two buttons. "Update weather data now" starts weather update and "Show weather" opens weather display form, where you can see current conditions and forecast information.

When everything is set as described, then weather data will be automatically displayed on every watch face, that supports it. Beside of the weather data the moon phases also can be displayed on supporting it watch face.
Another way to see weather data is to show the weather display form by mapping a gesture to the "Weather" action inder "Start" action menu item.
And of course, weather data also can be added to an action panel, where you can combine a great watch face of your own design.

Sunrise and sunset time display

To see the sunrise or sunset time it is enough just to start the "Show sunrise time" or "Show sunset time" action. The time will be shown on any watch face and after it is not needed any more - just repeat the same action and watch face will again display the current time. In case if watch face has a designated indication for the surise or sunset time, then there's no need to invoke any action to show the information. But before the right sunset or sunrise time can be shown it is required to give Time Starter an opportunity to ask the system about current location. Usually Android system can answer such request if the GPS module is on and provides required data to the system. In such state it is enough to just display the main Time Starter's screen with watch faces for the coordinates to be remembered. After it Time Starter will provide you correct sunrise and sunset times for the remembered location and default time zone, which can be seen in Android's "Time and Date" settings. But if there is no location data available, then the sunrise and sunset times will be incorrect for your location. Also, if the location is changed in some essential manner, then it is again required to allow Time Starter to ask the system about location data. As it was said - every time you see the Time Starter's watch face, the application will try to obtain location information, and it means that if the GPS is on, there remains nothing else to be done to update Time Starter's location data and the sunrise and sunset times will be as accurate as possible.

Notification display

Time Starter allows you to bind a gesture to the action of showing the list of active notifications. Such action can speed up your notification access to the level of just one gesture. But for it to be done Android system requires you to give Time Starter a permission to access notifications. It can be granted under "Sounds and notifications" / "Notifications" / "Notification access" system menu item, where you should tick the Time Starter's item to tell the system you are agree Time Starter to read notifications. After permission is granted notification display can be bound to any preferred gesture. In the notification list you can see all current notifications, including clearable and not clearable. Clearable notifications can be dismissed by viewing them, while not clearable notifications provide access to some system state management facilities like USB connection type and permission management. To start the action, bound to the notification, you can just touch the notification item. Also it is possible to read extended notification information by long pressing the notification item.

Notification display can be customized using options menu. You can hide or show ongoing notifications or remove all clearable notifications. Also you can set preferred background color or a picture. All such features are available through the options menu.

Arbitrary windows of third party applications

Time Starter allows to bind a gesture with a particular window of a third party application. For example - if you want to start a new SMS dialog with one gesture instead of first starting SMS application and, second, select the "new SMS" action, you need to tell the Time Starter what window you want to bind to a gesture. For it there is an option of monitoring every window you have opened. The option should be enabled in the system settings under the "Accessibility" item. You need to allow Time Starter to start it's accessibility service by marking it with tick in the list of enabled accessibility services. After it you can go to the preferred window (new SMS, for example) and then press the "Home" button to get to the Time Starter. In it's settings now you can open gesture mapping dialog and select "Recent application windows" in the available action list. In the list of recent applications the "New SMS" window will be the last and you just need to touch it to finish the gesture mapping. Now after the gesture you will get the "New SMS" form opened instead of long way through the SMS application. But not always Android applications support such direct window calls. If a window is not callable from outside of the third party application, such window will be marked with red cross icon in the recent applications list, to give you an idea what is possible to bind to a gesture.

UI elements size change

Sometime because of the small screen of a typical watch not all application's UI controls are visible. Another problem arises when UI elements are too small and it is hard to hit them. For such cases Time Starter allows to bind the switch display size action to any gesture. For it you should select the "Switch display resolution" action when prepare gesture to action binding. Next you select the smaller or bigger screen elements should be. And after all binding actions are done you'll get the way to change visible UI elements size with one gesture. After you have done with the troubling applications where some buttons are outside the screen or inversely, the elements are too small, performing the same gesture will return screen's resolution to the default value. But it should be noted that such feature works only with Android 4.3 or higher. And to enable the feature you should have Root or need to allow Time Starter to write to the system settings. For it you need to perform following command with the help of the adb program on your PC:
adb -d shell pm grant com.time.starter android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
After it the screen resolution will be under your full control.

Working with timer

Time Starter allows to use timers in two forms. First, you can see the timer time using specialized watch face with timer data display, and second, you can switch the watch face mode to display timer time instead of wall clock time. First variant always shows you timer value, while second requires you to make an action to tell Time Starter to change displayed value. You can switch the display mode using a gesture or an icon on the action panel. There is a short form of time to timer switch action - "Time to timer and back". It will always switch between the time display mode and timer display mode. If you see timer time, then the action will switch the face back to the time display mode. If you see the value of current time, then the action will switch the face to the timer display mode. You can map the "Time to timer and back" action to any gesture in the same way it is done for every other action.

Time Starter allows to preset as many timers as you wish and then you can start any one of them with a gesture or an action panel icon. When a timer started the currently working one is stopped. When you start previously working and now stopped timer then it will start from the point where it was stopped. If you include with a start timer command some additional actions, like reset timer or switch to timer display mode, then timer state will depend on the actions. If there is the reset action, then timer starts from the beginning (zero for count up and interval start for interval timer). Also the display mode is effected in the same manner. For example, you can start a count up timer to notify you about time intervals and when enough intervals are passed then you can quickly start an alarm timer (a form of count down timer) with different signals and time interval.

To manage timers there is more complex and more flexible action - "Start/Stop timer". The action allows to start, to stop, to reset or to show/hide timer value, depending on the current display mode. You can select a set of actions like start/stop and show/hide, next you can add a tick near "Reverse actions on gesture repeatition" and then when action is invoked and the timer is started then it will be stopped, and if the timer is stopped, then it will be started. Similarly, if the timer value is shown, then (if "Time to timer and back" tick is set) the current time will replace it, if current time is shown, then timer value will replace it. If "In 'Timer' mode only" tick is set, then created action will be active only if you see the timer value (only in timer display mode), but it will be deactivated when you see the current time. It can be useful to prevent mistaken actions when in standard watch face mode and no timer actions are required.

Actions with conditional timer

Under the "Timer settings" menu you can find a list of standard timers (unconditional) and three versions of conditional timers. Conditional timers can count up and down, and the final time is the only distinctive difference here. All of them allow to define an interval, and every time it is passed, the timer checks for it's conditions. For example, it is possible to start such timer for it to monitor your activity. If interval is set, for example, to half an hour, then every time it's passed the timer can check your steps. If you walked too little, then timer can notify you with some sound, but if there are enough steps, then timer can reset step counter and continue it's monitoring. Next, when your walk is done (for example - after two hours), timer will expire and won't disturb you any more.

Another case for conditional timer - to mark passed time with vibration every five minutes, while once in a half an hour to add a sound to the means of notification. It could be convenient when in a gym or on a meeting, when time is telling you about itself without your actions. To setup such timer mode it is enough to use the passed interval number counter. For example - in half an hour there are six five-minute-long intervals, and if we divide the interval counter on six, then the reminder will be equal to zero every half an hour, while all the other time such condition won't hold. It means that we can schedule one action every five minutes and another - every half an hour. For example - to vibrate every short interval and to play a sound every long interval.

To setup a conditional timer we need to open "Timer settings" menu, where it is possible to select a conditional timer with unlimited work time (turn off manually) or a variant of count down timer with the work time limited by it's settings (automatic turn off). Count down limit may be set by selecting expiration time or by setting limiting interval (menu "Conditional, till time" and "Conditional, till interval"). After timer type selection the list of selected timer type timers will be displayed. After pressing the "plus" sign a timer form will be shown. There first the timer name should be entered. Next we need to define the interval, after which the condition will be checked (every time the interval is passed). The interval is specified in seconds, so that it is 60 seconds for a minute or 3600 for an hour. If it is the count down timer, then the stop time should be set. And of course, the conditions and actions should also be defined.

To define the condition we need to press the "Show conditions" button. In the followed list we need to press the "plus" sign. Next we need to select an operation type - comparison or logical "or". If the condition list will be filled with comparisons only, then all of them must hold for the entire condition to be true. It means comparisons are joined using logical operation "and". But if we add logical "or" and position it in such a manner that it splits the list into two parts, then entire condition will hold if any part of the comparison list is true. While addition of logical "or" puts it directly in the list, the comparison addition first will show a form with it's properties. There the button "Select variable" opens the available information list, from which you can select the variable part of the comparison, for example - step number. Next we need to select comparison operation (>,<,=, and so on). And finally we need a value to compare the variable with. The value just entered manually, for example - 1000 for the step number limit if you want to monitor your activity. When comparison is ready - just save it and you are almost done. But first we add a bit more about comparisons. There is a special case of comparison, involving the modulo X operation. It calculates a reminder after division of the variable by the value in the comparison. It won't compare the variable with the value, but it uses the value as a divider. And the result (reminder) is compared with zero. It means if we define an timer interval with the value of 60 seconds (one minute) and use comparison with modulo operation, timer interval number variable and the value, for example, of five, then every fifth interval it's number will be divisible by five and the reminder of such division will be zero. When divider is zero - comparison holds. If there's not zero - comparison fails. And as a result with such settings we get positive comparison every five minutes and negative every other minutes. Because timer supports positive and negative actions - we get positive actions fired once per five minutes and negative - every other minutes.

Beside the described parameters the "Trigger actions on change" check box is left, but it is not used with the timers, so you can safely ignore it. After saving the comparison we can define our action. Under the "Show actions if condition evaluates to:" caption there are two buttons - "True" and "False". "True" button shows the positive condition evaluation actions, while "False" button shows negative evaluation actions. Every interval the condition is tested and positive or negative actions are started. If there will be no conditions and actions, then conditional timer turns into ordinary unconditional form.

Smart alarm (light sleep stages) and timer settings

Under the "More tools" menu options there is the "Timer settings" item. There you can manage timer modes. First, you can select if you want a count down or count up timer. Next you can add periodic signals. Such signals can be useful if it is inconvenient or uncomfortable to look at the watch, for example when hands are busy or under a few sleeves in a cold winter, or when you need to know current time for a long time, but can just forget to regularly look at the watch. If you need time marks then you can set ticks near "Vibrate every" and/or "Ring every" and define preferred interval and signals.

Everything else is related to the count down timer mode. If it is enabled, then when timer expires, it is possible to start a set of additional actions. In particular you can set vibration and ringing parameters upon timer expiration. It can be done if "Vibrate when countdown expires" or "Ring when countdown expires" ticks are present. The expiration time can be defined using two modes - "Time till count down stops" and "Timer expiration time". First mode allows to set the time left for the timer to work, for example - it is two hours left, or four hours and twenty two minutes. The second mode marks the actual time, when timer expires. For example - timer expires at 19:00 or at 11:23. But both modes use the same input control, that is positioned right below the mode selectors.

Count down timer allows you to create an alarm clock. If the "Alarm in light sleep" tick is missing, then you have a standard "dumb" alarm, which will always wake you right at the time it is set to. But if the tick is present, then you can set the time interval, when the program will monitor your sleep and if there is a light stage of it, then alarm will be risen before the defined alarm time. It means that the defined time is the deadline, which can't be crossed. But if before the deadline there is the light stage of your sleep then it is much easier to wake up. If you miss the light stage, then there will be deep sleep and it will be much harder to awake you. That's why the program will attempt to wake you up during light stage. But because the duration of sleep stages is different for different people, there is additional setting available - "Start monitoring before". There you can set the interval, which is used by Time Starter to start sleep monitoring. The bigger the interval - the greater chances are you will be woken up during light stage. But if the interval is too big, then it become possible for you to have enough time to finish your current light stage, then go to deep sleep and finally to enter another light stage. It means there should be some compromise between the length of your sleep and the easiness of your wake up.

Keeping screen on

It is possible to keep screen on when watch face is displayed for a customizable period of time. Under the "Look and feel" menu option there is "No auto screen off" item where you can set the screen on time for two watch face states - for timer display and for other information (including clock). After the item is selected you'll be present with the choice - change screen off interval for timer or for all the rest. When choice is performed it is possible to set one of predefined time intervals or make screen bright for indefinite interval. In such a manner it is possible, for example, to increase timer's screen on interval, or to decrease clock's screen on interval. But it is important to understand that Android system requires Time Starter to have appropriate permission. Permission can be granted after reading about how to setup the option of turning screen off.

Saving and restoring application settings

If you need to reinstall Time Starter, then there is a useful option of saving Time Starter's settings before you uninstall it. And after following installation there will be the way to restore all your action mappings without the need to recreate them manually. The "Export" and "Import" items are available under "Advanced" menu option. If you press the "Export" item, then file Settings.xml will be available at the root of your sd-card. If you press the "Import" item, then Time Starter will try to load settings from file Settings.xml.

It is important to understand, that every new version of Time Starter can bring with it new settings, and it means that if you try to read Settings.xml from different version of Time Starter, then there could be some unexpected consequences. To prevent such outcome it is recommended to save and restore only compatible versions of Settings.xml.

Battery level assessment

Time Starter allows you to assess remaining battery capacity not only by using default system value of remaining percentage, but also by looking at the battery voltage. On the majority of Time Starter's watch faces it is enough just to look at the second number (in parentheses) after the default system value of the remaining battery capacity. It is useful in cases when standard measuring makes wrong calculations. Many chinese watches are the subject of such problem, but also brand-built watches can make mistakes due to battery is worn out or because of some other reasons. In such case you can see default battery capacity at 50% or even at 70%, but the watch just turns off at some unpredictable moment because the real capacity is much smaller. That's why it is recommended to look at the second option and compare it with the default value.

It is also possible to display battery level assessment on ClockSkin watch faces, but for it you need to open the "Battery capacity estimation" menu item under "Advanced" settings group. The opened form contains "Replace system provided battery level with voltage based estimation" check box. If you select it - battery level on ClockSkin watch faces will be replace with it's assessment value.

Radios and notifications

Time Starter can display system's state on the watch faces that have built in support of such feature. System state includes radio modules statuses. For example for Bluetooth, WiFi, data transmission, flight mode it is the state of being turned on or off. To access such information Time Starter needs corresponding permissions and their list is shown at the installation time.

Also Time Starter can display notifications (again - on the watch faces supporting it). But for it, again, we need to ask Android about permission. You can provide such permission under the "Security" option of the system settings. But much quicker is to use the option "Manage notification access" under "Useful system options" in Time Starter's settings. Notification access is implemented in Android only since the version 4.3, that's why if your watch has Android of earlier builds the notification display wont'work. With versions 4.3 or above you have an option to visually see the presence of notifications from your messengers, or about new SMS, on the Time Starter's watch face screen.

Recent application list

Time Starter can show recent application list after such action is bound to a preferred gesture. But this option should be enabled under the "Accessibility" system menu item. After you make item with Time Starter enabled, "Show recent applications" action will be available in action selection list.

Wallpapers

Beside of the watch face display Time Starter can show it's current watch face as a live wallpaper. For it you need to select Time Starter under the system menu "Display" / "Wallpapers" / "Live wallpapers". You also can get to the wallpaper selection form using Time Starter's menu "Useful system options" / "Select live wallpaper". But because not all watches can display live wallpapers this menu item will be unavailable in case your watch belongs to such limited feature set group.

Heart rate display

If you have chest strapped Bluetooth heart rate monitor, then it is possible to display it's readings on a watch face that supports such data (has dedicated area for it and accepts sensor readings). Another way you can use to display the heart rate goes along the action panel. It is possible to add heart rate indication on the panel just like any other type of available information. Also it worth to add the sensor connect action to the panel. To connect to the sensor you can use gestures or the connect action icon on the action panel. In case of gestures it is required to bind the "Heart rate connect/disconnect" action to a preferred gesture. And if you prefer action panel then just add the "Heart rate connect/disconnect" action on the panel and next press it's icon. But ensure the Bluetooth module is turned on and sensor is ready to transmit the data (usually it should be already strapped on the chest). The action connects your watch to the sensor and disconnects if the connection is already established when you make a gesture or press the action icon. Also there's another action - "Heart rate on/off bluetooth, connect/disconnect". It turns Bluetooth on when connecting and off when disconnecting, so if you have no other tasks for Bluetooth then this action can be useful because it takes care of the radio management. After connection is established the data is automatically displayed on the watch face with heart rate indication support. Also the data is available for displaying it on an action panel. The connection process is indicated using connect action icon. If you add the action on an action panel then when the sensor is disconnected the icon's heart picture should be grey. When you press the action icon the heart becomes half-grey and half-red. When connection is established the heard becomes red and all data that is related to the sensor and put on the panel is shown and updated. Because the watch face indication displays just the sensor's readings and nothing more, the action panel variant makes the sensor interaction much more informative and interactive. That's why it is recommended to add to the action panel connect/disconnect action and a set of heart rate sensor related information, that is marked with heart signs in the list of available data to display.

Counting steps, distance, calories

Time Starter allows you to track your daily activity. For it the program counts steps and calculates passed distance. Distance is calculated using step number. Also distance can be calculated using GPS data. Next the distance is used to calculate calories burned. The calories also can be calculated using chest strapped bluetooth heart rate sensor. Another supported option is the export of GPS data in a file to let you see your activity with corresponding data on a map with the help of applications like Google Earth or MapsMe.

The best accurate distance counting is performed using GPS data, but if you are within a building or GPS receiving conditions are not good enough, then the distance is calculated using your steps data. Steps are counted using accelerometer or hardware step counter. The program allows you to select a preferred way of step calculation. Accelerometer based counting is available for most devices on the market, but it requires more energy from your battery. Hardware step counter is more battery friendly, but not all devices have such sensor. If you select accelerometer based step counting, then hardware based counter is also enabled to let you choose the best data. If the hardware counter is selected (in case it is present), then accelerometer is turned off to preserve battery power.

Distance and calories are calculated automatically and use GPS as input data source. If you disable the GPS receiver or turn off the GPS distance calculation option, then distance is calculated using accelerometer data. If hardware step counter is selected then it's data is used for distance calculation. The distance is used to calculate calories burned. But because your path can include very different fragments with different energy spending requirements, it is recommended to use distance based calories just as an approximate value and add some extra energy if your walk was among hills or along bad terrain or was performed more eagerly than a usual walk. More accurate calculation is possible if you use chest strapped bluetooth heart rate sensor. Heart rate automatically takes into account your speed and terrain issues, but beware that most accurate calculations are possible in the range of 90-150 heart beats per minute.

Steps, distance and calories can be displayed in two forms. First is the total since program start and the second is the value since last reset has taken place. The second option allows you to reset an indication before a run or a walk, and after finishing you will see value for the walk only. Reset is implemented as a mappable action, that you can bind to a gesture. It means that you can perform reset using a swipe or some other form of screen touch. Also reset icons can be added to an action panel.

In addition a mappable action can be used to export GPS data or to automatically start a map application, where you can see your path and your location. And, of course, you can add export icons to an action panel. The option of starting a map application is appropriate if you have such application installed. But if there's no application on your device, the you still can export data to see it on your PC or another device with Google Earth or other KML friendly application.

To see the number of steps it is possible to use a watch face with corresponding indication. After you have such face selected, the step number will be displayed automatically. But you can prefer to see the distance instead of steps. This option is also available, but requires some minor change in program settings. Program settings are described below in more details. Beside of the watch face you can add the steps, calories and distance information to a panel by selecting corresponding data item. The same panel can be used to add reset action icons and may be icons for export and map application launch.

Activity related settings are found under "More tools" menu within the "Activity" option. There are the following options:

This item allows to enable or disable step counting. If your device has hardware step counter, then the selection choice will be available under this item. If there's no hardware counter, then automatically accelerometer will be used to count your steps. Here you can enable or disable GPS usage for distance calculation. If GPS is disabled, then steps are used to calculate distance. If you select this item then watch faces with step number indication will display distance value instead of step number. Because different devices can work differently in case when screen is turned off, then this item can be useful if your device turns GPS off when screen is turned off. If you see, that GPS distance is calculated only when screen is on, then probably selection of this item can help to use GPS independently of screen state. If GPS is just turned on or has lost satellits in view, then you can monitor the moment when first GPS data becomes available. When data arrives the program will inform you with vibration. If GPS is off or sees no satellits then the program can remind you every 30 seconds about missing GPS data. Exported GPS data includes path segments and a label for every segment. Every label can display distance in meters, steps, heart rate, GPS measured speed in km/h, accuracy of GPS location and time of the moment, when last coordinate of the segment and all the parameters was taken. You can set the number of GPS location point per segment using input field under this item. For example, if you enter 10 in the field, then every segment of approximately 200 meters will be marked with a label with last segment's point time, step nuber and distance. To calculate calories using distance the weight and step length are required. To calculate calories using heart rate the age and gender are required. Using the buttons you can export GPS data or reset steps, distance or calories.

Controlling clock error

Under "More tools" / "Clock error" menu item the clock correction form can be found. It allows to enter correction value in milliseconds (local clock offset relative to world clock) and this value will be subtracted from system time when you see a watch face. The actual system time won't be changed because such operation requires special privileges, but the correction will be actual for every watch face you use with Time Starter.
Usually watch OS allows to synchronize clock with the cell network, but it is not always suitable because of roaming, airplane mode and time zones issues. Also you can't control the process - it is unknown how often the clock is corrected and how big is time error. That's why additional way to control the error can be useful for some users.

There are two options - check the time using time server and check the time using GPS. First option is started by pressing button "Update using time server" and as a result you will see the difference between your clock and the precise clock at the time server (offset is positive if your clock is ahead of time and negative if behind of time). Second option is started by pressing "Update using GPS" button. GPS time is reliable only when your device can determine your location, but even when at least one satellite is visible to the device it is possible to get relatively precise time (about 2 second difference with world time). Better accuracy is achieved after location is determined. But because of the way Android provides GPS data high precision shouldn't be expected. Precision of time server option is around a few hundred milliseconds, while precision of GPS time is not worse then one second.

Device-specific questions

Because there are many smart watch vendors today, and the Android OS developers weren't able to somehow standardize the way the Android is used on different devices, there are many different smart watch usage problems that are related to this issue. One group of problems is related to the availability of system settings on different devices. While one device can deliver full list of standard system settings, another can miss almost all of them. But usually the actual dialogs for changing some particular settings are available and just aren't displayed in the list of vendor-specific custom built settings. That's why Time Starter checks for availability of settings that are displayed under the "System sub-settings" option. But some of the settings can be a bit misleading. For example - sometime Bluetooth settings allow to enable/disable Bluetooth radio module. But sometime there's no such option. And if you use Time Starter to enable Bluetooth then the display can be just empty because when Bluetooth is turned off and there's no enable/disable option in the dialog Android system displays no more controls. If the option of turning bluetooth on is present, then the screen won't look so empty and it will be easy to efficiently use a binding of a gesture to the action "Bluetooth". Unfortunately - it's not always is the case and users should be ready to deal with such differences on some devices.

The second problem group is related to the specific device's build options. For example smart watch LEMFO LEM5 is using some parts of Android Wear user interface and, because such interface differs significantly from plain Android, Time Starter needs additional information to work properly. Usually the presence of Android Wear can be detected, but in case of LEMFO LEM5 it's not always the case. Also it's not the case for some other watches. That's why Time Starter has the option "Android wear" under the "Advanced" menu item. If you enable "Android wear" in Time Starter then it will change user interface interaction and adapt itself to work properly on devices like LEMFO LEM5. But if your watch is not using Android Wear approach, then it's better to return the setting to it's default state by pressing "Android watch" under the "Advanced" menu item.

Also, when working with many applications using round screen of a watch, the corners are cut and become invisible. It's very inconvenient in case there are buttons or important text in the corners. Such inconvenience can be avoided by the option of changing visible display size for it to be fully inscribed in the circle of the watch's screen. It works like this - the watch displays every application in a square part of the round screen with corresponding size decrease of every application's UI element. It's, of course, is a nice feature for the applications that actively use corners, but when the application is friendly to the round screen then the size will matter and full screen area usage is preferred. Here Time Starter allows you to have the best parts of both worlds by providing the "Change screen size" action. But it should be noted that for this function to work Android version should be at least 4.3 or greater. You can bind the action with any gesture or place it's icon on the action panel. After doing this you will be able to switch screen size with just one quick gesture and spend no time finding vendor-specific solutions for such option. But such feature is limited by the Android system and only allowed if invoking application has corresponding permission. If you have Root on your watch then Time Starter will use it's permissions, but if you haven't then it is required to tell Android the Time Starter is granted such permission by invoking the following command using adb software on your PC:

adb -d shell pm grant com.time.starter android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

The same command can be useful on the devices where accessibility service management is implemented incorrectly. If there's no simple way to enable or disable accessibility service (includuing Time Satrter's service) then under the "Useful system options" menu item you can find the "Accessibility management" option where any service can be enabled or disabled. But the option depends on the adb command from above and works differently if Time Starter is granted or not the permission to write to the secure settings. If the permission is granted then Time Starter shows you the list of available accessibility enabled applications and you can select an application to enable or to disable it's accessibility service. If the permission is not granted then Time Starter shows you the default system settings form that manages accessibility service.

Another device-specific feature reflects the number of physical buttons that are present on the watch. Sometime it can be just one button, sometime - two or three or even more. And every time device vendors invent some way of using the buttons. For example in case of watch with one button the press on it will lead you to the "Home screen" and if you are already on the "Home screen", then the press will lead to the screen being turned off. But it's much worse if a watch hasn't a button with "go to home screen" function (like chinese X01S model). For such case Time Starter has "Short screen off" action under "Global actions" menu item. If you bind this event to a preferred action then after every short switch between the screen off and screen on states (with duration less than 2 seconds) Time Starter will automatically start the action you have bound. It can be useful, for example, when you open many windows and have no "Home" button or want to start an application quickly without using home screen or start menu. In such case it is possible to show the application quickly if you bind it's start to the short screen off event.

Beside of this, some watches can have a screen on action, that is triggered by plain screen touch. If you have such watch then Time Starter allows you to enable the lock screen mode and after it no accidental touch will be able to start any unwanted action. But beware that the unlock code is very important and if you forget it then your watch can become useless unless you find experienced service people to help you.

Important adb command to enable some useful features


adb -d shell pm grant com.time.starter android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS

Application's menu

General Time Starter's menu. Header (action "back") and items with nested menu are clickable: