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Task Manager (by PsiNT)

PsiNT - Task Manager

Reviewed on 09 October 2002

Price: US $9.95 (trial available)
Available from: http://www.psiloc.com/nokia/eng/taskman7650/index.html  

Version reviewed: V1.11F

Another great little “must-have” tool that PsiNT has done up for the Nokia 7650 is Task Manager (TaskMan). Actually, this piece of software really started off as a more advanced version of the built-in 7650 task manager. But since then, it has evolved into something that’s really worth taking a look into.

On first using TaskMan, it is a good idea to set up all the necessary features before doing anything else. With this version, there are a lot of neat little features that will make life easier - but at the same time will get you all confused if not all configured properly. Press the ‘options’ soft key and choose “settings”. A list of four options is available here - explained briefly below:

Initialisation

Once TaskMan has been installed on the 7650, it takes over for the existing task manager application running on the phone. This means to bring up the TaskMan screen, simply do a long depress of the Menu button and a list of applications will be listed on the screen.

Tasks
From here, you can set TaskMan to run in either normal or full screen mode. TaskMan can be set to display hidden tasks as well (for example, system applications that are running but not shown in the standard task list). It’s best to leave the last option to “off” unless you know what you’re doing.

Favourites
Some people may be utilising the ‘favourites’ feature on the 7650 to launch applications quickly without having to endlessly browse the phone’s menu. TaskMan provides the facility of bringing up this feature by having it included in the standard Menu button cycle (for example, “phone-favourites-menu” or “phone-menu-favourites”) - which also means you can have your current ‘favourites’ soft key used for some other phone feature/application instead! You can also have the favourites screen displayed as either a full screen or using the standard TaskMan format, and list or grid view. 

Phone standby
A new and very neat feature of TaskMan v1.11F is the ability to launch features and applications using the 5-way joystick when the phone standby screen is displayed. Currently, you can only launch the Contacts application by pressing down on the joystick. TaskMan lets you set 4 more options by using the remaining “ways” on the joystick (that is - up, down, left and right). The list of features/applications here are not limited to the ones available for the two soft keys during standby mode.

Advanced
The remaining settings for TaskMan are found here - which include:

  • keypad locking control (auto, ask to lock, don’t lock);
  • launch on opening keypad (do nothing, go to phone standby/Favourites/Menu);
  • enabling/disabling phone format (recommend to leave this on the OFF setting); and
  • automatic memory compression (to maximise memory usage).

Using TaskMan

On completing this painful process, you can start to enjoy what this great little application has to offer! It doesn’t go to the lengths of changing the way you do things on a 7650 - but merely simplifying some of the current ways of how we access features and applications.

In addition to some of the features mentioned before, TaskMan can also perform the following on selection by the user:
  • compress memory;
  • a software reset on the phone (restarting the phone without going through the turn-off-and-on sequence);
  • restore factory settings;
  • format the phone (deletes all user data); and
  • the ability to quit TaskMan and restore the original built-in task manager software.

Of course, task management is also available with TaskMan - with the ability to end, switch to, or kill (or force-close) the currently-selected application, and close all tasks currently open on the 7650
.

Problems encountered

This is probably the most stable and featured-packed version of TaskMan available from PsiNT. But I did manage to stumble across one little thing which I’m not sure if it is a bug or not.

When using the joystick to launch applications, you may not be able to launch the preset application after having done it on a previous occasion. For example, if you choose to activate infrared by moving the joystick down - and straight after you launch another application using the joystick again, there may be a chance that this will not work.

A simple workaround for this is to go through the Menu button cycle, which should restore usability on the joystick.

So what’s the verdict?

I found PsiNT’s Task Manager utility was as useful as their Extended Profiles application - where both provided an extension to the basic built-in abilities available on a Nokia Series 60 device. If you are familiar with the System Tools application, you may have realised that it shares some similar features with TaskMan. If you don’t need the “flight mode” feature from sTools, then TaskMan is the one for you!

The two features that I found most useful in this version of TaskMan were the auto-keylock and joystick launching abilities. I have a couple of applications on my 7650 that I use on a frequent basis, and launching them now would only require a single keystroke compared to the 7-8 previously!

So if you’re after a greater level of control over your 7650, or just something to make life simpler, PsiNT’s Task Manager can definitely bring you the needed convenience to your fingertips! :)

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