Pocket WillPower

Posted by Garth on Saturday, May 12, 2007

So I had an idea for an app to help quit smoking (though it could be used anywhere that willpower is a factor). It started as a very simple idea... carry a picture in your wallet. A picture of something meaningful. A representation of the reason you want to quit smoking (or whatever). If it's cuz you have a baby, carry a picture of your baby. Whatever. Then I thought to myself, everyone carries a cell phone. Why not have a picture in there that you pull up? And all of a sudden a simple picture has so much more potential. Here's what I'm thinking long term:

  • Images
  • Video Clips
  • Audio Clips
  • {Insert Electronic File Here}
  • Mimic those $80 devices that tell you when to have a smoke, but gradually increase the time between doses
Right now it just does images, and I don't even know what formats it supports (whatever the .NET Compact Framework supports natively I suppose). The other neat thing about it is that it keeps track of each time you use it. The theory being that you slowly stop looking at it over time for two reasons:
  1. Initially I imagine that it'll be used quite frequently. The urge to have a cigarette, for example, may last 15 mins. In that time you might seek motivation a dozen times. And the frequency of these urges will also be quite high initially which will also contribute to a very high count. Over time however, the urges lessen so the frequency lessens.
  2. I hypothesize that intelligence will override desire at some point, and instead of reaching for your phone to seek a placebo effect, our knowledge that that's all that's happening will kick in and the dependency on the placebo will lessen.
Either way, added motivation never hurts. I'm sure there are a ton of other uses for this and other ways that it could be expanded, but this is an 0.1 release. Tested on an HTC s620 (T-Mobile Dash). It might work on Windows Mobile 5, but I have no idea. Vista wouldn't let me create a WM5 project cuz the installer apparently failed silently due to UAC. So I had to make a WM6 project.

  • It throws an exception when it first starts if there's no images in \My Documents
  • It throws an exception randomly even when there are images in the directory it's configured for
  • You have to press "0" to select the image path in the directory browser
  • It creates the .ini file in the root of the device
  • There's no installer. Just a zip file. Unzip it somewhere on your device and run the .exe. Create a shortcut yourself.
  • The code is really really ugly, and probably quite inefficient and sloppy. But hey, it's my first .NET code in a couple of years.
  • Image size is 320x186 and it doesn't scale. At least on the Dash. Might be different on a 3:4 display. mspaint.exe is your friend.
So, without further adieu, here it is for your download pleasure:

I think I'm gonna go have a celebratory smoke :)


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