UMPC software tip: Circle Dock

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As much as I love having full-blown operating systems on my UMPCs, they aren’t exactly what anyone would call finger-friendly. Most icons and menu items are so small that a stylus or mouse pointer is required to click them accurately. This makes features like the Quick Launch toolbar exceedingly difficult to use with a fingertip and pretty useless on a UMPC (the device it should really benefit most!). Desktop shortcuts can be a decent alternative, but they’re not always ideal due to the limited screen size and resolutions of UMPCs.

A better solution for quick, finger-friendly access to favorite applications and commonly used files is the Circle Dock.

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Circle_dock_config

Developed by Eric Wong, the free utility is a highly configurable, open-source dock for Windows XP/Vista computers with and without touchscreens.

Features (0.9.2 alpha version 7.6):

  • Drag-and-drop, rearrange application shortcuts, files, and folders on dock.
  • Resize and rotate dock.
  • Change icon images, dock skins.
  • Customize in real time.
  • Toggle dock on/off.
  • Configure center button to open Start menu.
  • Press a hotkey (F1 default) for dock to appear.
  • Runs from USB drive or memory card.
  • Multi-language support.

I’ve got it running on my HTC Shift and am really enjoying it so far. Even though I don’t use very many applications in my daily routine (Firefox is often the extent of it), the Circle Dock is still a nice addition to the Shift’s desktop. Actually, it is the desktop!

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I find it quite lovely to look at.

Circle Dock is compatible with XP and Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), supports multiple monitors, and requires .NET Framework 2.0+. Keep in mind that this is still an alpha version (install at your own risk), so there are bound to be some bugs and oddities here and there. I haven’t run into anything strange yet, but your experience may vary.

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[Circle Dock download via Red Ferret Journal]

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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