HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

Summary: Here are some homebrew patches that make core apps on the HP TouchPad work better by adding cool options.

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It is estimated nearly a million TouchPads have been sold by HP, making it one of the top-selling tablets behind the iPad. True they were sold at ridiculously low prices, but there are a lot of buyers happily using a darn good tablet as a result.

One of the strengths of the webOS platform is the homebrew development community building patches to the system to improve operation. Many of these are designed to give better performance by altering things behind the scenes, while others improve core apps to make them better serve the user's needs. The letter patches (available through the PreWare system) add features that become part of the core app once applied. Here are some good patches that make the apps work better.

UberCalendar HD. The Calendar app on the TouchPad is a decent application, but missing some functionality that this patch adds. UberCalendar adds a wonderful agenda view in the left pane of the display that displays all events collected from the view on the right-hand pane. The patch also adds a host of settings that can be enabled through the Calendar app preferences. While the standard Calendar app defaults to Day view only, this patch lets you choose the one you prefer (day, week, month). It is a primary example of one of the major advantages to webOS over other platforms: the ability to patch core apps instead of writing whole new apps to replace them.

ThumbNav Browser Controls. The TouchPad browser is very good, but the simple menu this patch adds makes it even better. With a simple swipe in from either the left or right edge of the display, a little menu pops up on the side of the screen presenting common tasks such as Next, Previous, and Add Bookmark. You can also fire off another instance of the browser to do other things. The ability to do these common tasks without moving you hand to the top of the screen is far more useful than you might think.

Browser Power Swipe. For those wanting an easy method for moving back and forward in the browser, this patch adds simple gestures to perform that function. Just swipe back to return to the previous web page or forward to go to the next page in the sequence.

Launch with Folder View Minimized. The email app in webOS is very good, but this little patch suits my preferences better. The Folder View normally displays on the left, showing email folders (Inbox, Starred, etc.). Since I almost always work in the Inbox folder, I was always collapsing this Folder View pane to devote more screen to the actual email. This patch does that by default.

Always Show Previous and Next Buttons. This patch adds buttons facilitating moving back and forth between individual email messages in the email app. They appear at the bottom of each email to make it a simple tap to move up or down in the messages list.

There are other patches available in the PreWare homebrew system and it is worth scanning through them to see if there are others you might find useful. The patches I have listed here are easy to use yet add a lot of functionality to my daily TouchPad usage.

Additional HP TouchPad coverage:

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, CXO, Security

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18 comments
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  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    Nice list of patches. I added openSSH to my Touchpad and now I can access my remote systems I need to manage at work via VPN.
    miles4000
  • Sorry. I had to laugh when in one sentence you say

    "darn good tablet" and then go on in the rest of the piece to talk about all the stuff you need to hack it with to make it usable.
    baggins_z
    • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

      @baggins_z The title states fact. The content doesn't make the tablet usable, rather what it suggests makes the experience much better. One could say the same for any Android equivalent or iPad where the next thing after charging the device, one goes and jailbreaks or roots it. I had an iPad for only 12 hours before I jailbroke it, for example.
      TechJunk1e
    • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

      @baggins_z No, not to make it usable, but to add custmoizations if you think they'd improve the experience for you. Let me guess - you enjoy being dragged around like a pet and told what to do?
      Phenoum
      • RE: being dragged around like a pet and told what to do?

        @Phenoum

        He probably enjoys being locked up in a "fruity" walled garden, which limits his ability to think.

        The concept of extending the utility of software by adding new features must be alien to him.

        I would not be using Firefox if the ability to <b>make it work better for me</b> did not exist.
        fatman65536
    • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

      @baggins_z : I fully agree, but MY opinion does not end there. He also says "...there are a lot of buyers happily using a darn good tablet..." I need to add that herd of users are either ignorant or careless - specifically because:<br>1. The tablet is useless unless connected - can't use it in the car or any remote location.<br>2. Just setting up a "webOS account" with HP pprovided HP with access to everyone's hoards of data, depending of course on how extensively it may be used. Information including logins and passwords to every site you visit, and every email you set up whether net or access, and credit card information used in any web purchase, as well as tracking of web purchases to build individual purchase profiles are all openly available to HP. Why would any anyone allow that unless they are ignorant or careless?<br>3. There are no security features - no checks for virus, malware, intrusions. <br><br>Convenience breeds carelessness - and I fear this one has superceeded them all.
      Willnott
    • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

      @baggins_z Yes nice looking and good ones.
      <a href="http://www.ommrudraksha.com/">buy rudraksha</a>
      rudraksha1
  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    Good job, James. I didn't think UberCalendar HD would be worth downloading but, after reading your article, I can't wait to try it.
    tonymus
  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    Thank you for bringing these patches to light. I had forgotten that I was waiting for UberCalendar HD. I like what it did for the phones, I only wish the "accordian" effect were optional because I liked not having to scroll unnecessarily on days I hadn't planned for much.
    TechJunk1e
    • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

      @TechJunk1e I've been asking devs since launch to write an "accordion" patch but no takers so far.
      JamesKendrick
  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    Just bought a 16gb Touchpad with a Charging station and a wireless keyboard for $199!
    http://www.fatdeals.net/showthread.php?t=2762
    Hot deal! This is one of the best deals for the Touchpads I have seen so far!
    wheeler58
  • Too much TouchPad Coverage

    I am frankly tired of hearing so much about a discontinued device that I cannot buy and that will only occupy a tiny, rapidly diminishing sliver of the tablet market.
    sam.hill2
    • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

      @sam.hill@... so stop reading out loud.
      humannzee
  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    great article. Love these patches.
    chapelhillice
  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    UberCalenderHD is Awesome. Loving it already. Thx
    ghodzilla5150
  • @baggins_z

    Go get your apple juice please
    @...
  • RE: HP TouchPad: Homebrew patches that improve productivity

    how do you download them? and where do you find them? sorry am am really new at this
    slady
  • @techjunkie

    IIRC, you can force the accordion effect by creating a "begin day" daily repeating appt for say 12:05 am and an "end of day" appt for 11:45 pm. This worked for the Pre when webOS first came out. I put these entries on a secondary gcal, so when I viewed my gcal on the PC, those repeating appts didn't show.
    retirecom