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PoorMan's Lockscreen iOS devices
Although there are nice apps that display calendar events and to-dos on a jailbroken iPhone lockscreen, those of us who aren't jailbroken lack a feature that, in my opinion, is a huge oversight. If you're like me and not good at checking your to-dos and calendar regularly, you may find this helpful albeit not terribly elegant.

You will need an 'always on' computer somewhere that can act as a server. I am running Snow Leopard on mine. Then you need a Unix application that runs in terminal called icalBuddy. This command can extract events and to-dos from iCal. See the instructions for icalBuddy as it is very customizable. I use icalBuddy to extract the next two days of events from specific calendars.

Next create a workflow in Automator, and save it as an application. You can use icalBuddy to get your to-dos in addition to events, but Automator is pretty good at getting to-dos on its own, so thats's what I use.

Create a TextEdit document. I call it 'reminder list.' The Automator workflow looks something like this:
Get Specified Finder Items "reminder list"-->
Run Shell Script "icalBuddy" (this will run icalBuddy in terminal and you need to put in your customization here eg /Users/Desktop//icalBuddy-v1/icalBuddy -npn -nc -sd -b "" -eed -eep notes,url -sed -ss "" -tf %H%M -n -ps "|@ |" -ec Home,Work,My Holidays  eventsToday+1)-->
Set contents of TextEdit Documents (by Replacing)-->
Get Specified Text "to-do:"-->
Set Contents of TextEdit Documents (By Appending [this will make a to-do: heading)-->
Find iCal To Dos (find to dos-customize as desired)-->
Set Contents of Text Document (by appending)-->
Get contents of Textedit document-->
New mail message-->
Send outgoing message
You will need an iPhone app that can display e-mail notifications. I use PushMail. I e-mail the message directly to PushMail and it then displays as a notification on the iPhone. You can customize whether it's silent or with an alert etc. You will need some sort of schedule or trigger for the automator workflow. I have it set to trigger hourly. You can use any scheduler. Quickeys will work or you can use a terminal scheduler. I use MacScheduler which is a fairly decent GUI for setting up scheduled events that could also be done in terminal. You could also have iCal trigger this.

The e-mail should look something like this:
  • today:
  • meeting@ 3B CLASSROOM@ 1300
  • tomorrow:
  • Nothing.
  • to-do:
  • Get Batteries
This is the basic setup. I have added another step in the process for customizing the output and getting it to work well with the character limitations of notifications (256 I think).

Instead of having Automator send the e-mail, I use Filemaker to automatically import the text file, reformat it and e-mail it. This is helpful if you have a lot of events and to-dos. You can customize the format and automatically abbreviate words and truncate entries. I can't go into details here, and I'm sure there are many software solutions that can be used for this.

After going through Filemaker it looks like this:
  • [TODY: Mtg@ 3B ClsRm@ 1300]
  • [TMRW: ]
  • [to-do: Get Batteries]
Now, hourly the notification is pushed to me (silently) and will be there on the lockscreen or over whatever else the iPhone is currently doing. If you get other notifications it will replace the reminder notification obviously, but I find that inevitably I see my reminder list at some point.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
  • Currently 4.60 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (5 votes cast)

PoorMan's Lockscreen | 4 comments | Create New Account
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PoorMan's Lockscreen
Authored by: pete on Mar 17, '11 08:37:07AM

I found the free app "RE.minder". You can pay to get rid of the ads, but they aren't intrusive. You can set up any number of reminders, silent or not. They will pop up at the time you have assigned them, no matter what you are doing. If your iPhone is off, it will be there when you turn it on.

Would seem to be a lot easier than your method.

I find it amazing all the gems in the app store you never know about. This is one of them.

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PoorMan's Lockscreen
Authored by: robogobo on Mar 17, '11 09:32:24AM

I unjailbroke my iPhone last week just to see if I could live without it for a while. The lockscreen looks completely naked without intelliscreen. Jailbroke again the next day. I know a lot of people who jailbreak just for this one feature. Apple needs to look into making something official.

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PoorMan's Lockscreen
Authored by: steve413 on Mar 17, '11 10:10:09AM

What about just setting an alarm in your calendar app? There is an option to set a reminder at some point before the event. That will show up on your lockscreen with an optional sound/buzz. I have iCal on my Mac sync'ed to my iPhone through Google calendars. Seems to work as a very simple solution.

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PoorMan's Lockscreen
Authored by: stokessd on Mar 17, '11 11:34:58AM

Man, that's a lot of work and won't work half as well as lockinfo or intelliscreen. For example what about your missed calls, voicemails, and text messages?Sure, you can see that you have them, but you have no idea what they say or from whom.

Jailbreaking is super easy and the upsides far outweigh any issues in my experience.

The things you gain from jailbreaking that I cannot live without:

lockinfo - your lockscreen is actually useful for the first time

biteSMS - a full featured SMS client including reading and replying within apps.

SBSettings - a drop down menu for everything you are constantly going to settings for.

Proper backgrounding and an improved task manager

Autosilent - finally being able to turn off sounds automagically by time of day or appointments in your calendar. Apple needs to support this, three OS versions ago.

full screen safari - don't waste your pixels

better folders, 5 icon dock, etc,etc etc...


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