Ilium Software's Dockware Pro 2.0

With the advancements in display technology, screen savers have passed from the realm of essential to an expression of personality or likes. A quick search around the Internet will list hundreds of sites with thousands of screensavers in a variety of categories from sports to people to movies.

These advanced displays have always been a part of the Handheld PC format, thus rendering screen savers redundant and limited in functionality. That was until Ilium Software developed Dockware Pro. Dockware Pro, while being a screensaver, offers a multitude of features that quickly push this application beyond the simple moniker of "Screensaver". Dockware Pro is a fully functional clock and calendar and is completely programmable to display any directory of picture users have on their HPCs. Further, it has security functions that prevent unwanted users from snooping around an idle Handheld PC. For all of this, Ilium Software sells Dockware Pro for only $9.95, making it easily one of the best "bang-for-the-buck" applications available to HPC owners. Additionally, Ilium offers a multitude of stock images available for download on their site to further enhance Dockware Pro.

Dockware Pro, currently in version 2.0, is a small installation of only 68K with the pictures that come with the application bringing the total install size in at just over 200K. The application installation process is simple and customizable, allowing for installation into users Main Memory or to Storage Cards. Once Installed, the application will auto-start, meaning that when the HPC has been idle for a default of 10 minutes, the screensaver function will be displayed. It is at this point it where Dockware Pro becomes unique in functionality.

With the image displaying in the background, Dockware Pro displays a clock and calendar combination. The clock can be displayed as a digital clock or analog while the calendar can be rendered just as the current day or month.

Dockware in Kiosk mode

These features, along with all of Dockware Pro's settings can be accessed via one simple menu. To access the menu, hold the ALT button down while tapping the screen. The menu will be displayed, allowing users to adjust virtually every aspect of the application.

Main configuration menu

The Display Options menu allows users to choose the type of clock that is displayed along with the type of calendar. Further, the option to show pictures and the interval in which they are changed can be adjusted as well. This is particularly handy for users who are running low on memory. If you want to install the application for the clock and calendar function, this can be easily done. After installation, find the Dockware Pro directory and simply delete the pictures in the directory. While this will take away some of the beauty of the application, it still provides and excellent function as a clock and calendar display as well as a security (discussed later in this article)

Options screen

The Picture Folder menu is somewhat self explanatory. If a user has a directory on their Handheld PC of their favorite wallpapers or pictures, using this menu will allow for these to be displayed in addition to or replacement of the stock pictures that come with the application. Simply check the checkbox to indicate another folder that is to be displayed, then use the browse button to locate that directory.

Use the Pictures Folder option to create a randomising wallpaper within the kiosk window

Like the Picture Folder Menu, the color display menus for the Clock and Background are self explanatory.

The Password Menu is one of the parts of Dockware Pro that make it such a great application. By accessing this menu, users can set the application to prompt for a password (either the system password or a separate password used only for Dockware Pro) before allowing access to the HPC. This is exceptionally useful for users in a cubical environment. While most users have a passworded screensaver on their PCs, this simply has not been available to HPC users until now without completely powering off the HPC (which forces a re-synchronization when it is powered on again).

Password configuration options allow you to add extra security to your H/PC

Finally, the Setup Menu allows users to adjust the idle timer of the application as well as if an icon is to be displayed in the System Tray. By displaying the icon, users can double-tap it, instantly turning the application on. This is particularly handy if the password feature is used in conjunction with it.

Configuring the Auto-Launch feature

In using Dockware Pro a little over four months now, I have found nothing to complain about. It is by far the best picture viewer/screensaver/security application that can be bought under ten dollars.

Dockware is available in a standard version (Free) and Pro version ($9.95) from the Ilium Software website. The standard version does not have some of the features as the Pro version, such as the inability to change the clock and calendar display, the password ability and color customization to name a few. With the cost of the Pro version being so low, I recommend spending the small amount and getting all of the features available.

Finally, Ilium Software is excellent at customer support and relations. Any technical question I have posed to them has been answered with a matter of hours and has always been correct. Ilium Software is genuinely interested in making their customers happy, something that is somewhat lacking in the software vendor world, not just the HPC world.

System Requirements:

Windows CE 2.11 and above
SH3, SH4, StrongARM, MIPS

Rating  
Cost: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Usability: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Built-In helps: 4 Star Rating: Recommended
Customer Service: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional
Overall: 5 Star Rating: Exceptional

Dockware can be found at the following URL.
http://www.iliumsoft.com/

Clinton Fitch
Chief Reviews Editor