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By Chris De Herrera 
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Casio BE-300 Screen Shots - Applications
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2001
All Screen Shots By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2001

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Customizing Your BE-300


                                                                                    by Mike DiLeo



                                    Owning the new Casio BE-300 can be quite an interesting experience. When first removed from the box and powered up, the Casio’s 32,000 color screen certainly can seem a bit under-whelming.  What most new users fail to realize is that their initial perception of this machine is unduly and incorrectly influenced by Casio’s default menu.  This is the gray menu that greets the user every time he or she powers up the device.  The menu makes poor use of the Casio screen both in terms of color and productivity.

                  To address this concern, I had elected to write an article about changing the default screen of the BE-300 and thereby hopefully improving it.  This early article was entitled Skinning The Interface and relied on translating a Japanese program called SQPL.  It is this article and program on which we will build our new interface.  Therefore, it is essential that you either are already familiar with SQPL, or that you take the time to read this how-to and install the appropriate files.  If you are just now making your first attempt at this, then you are fortunate in that most of the programs that at the time were in Japanese, are now in English.  Also, should you be intimidated I will say that none of this is at all difficult if you take each step one at a time and read the directions carefully.  If even then you are unsure or have problems, myself and the excellent group of people who frequent Brighthand can usually be counted on to help out.




                  Assuming that you have your BE-300 in its cradle, attached to your computer, and connected via PC Connect you will need to perform a few minor tasks to prepare yourself.  The first will be to create two folders on your desktop.  One you should name “BE-300 Downloads”.  The other “Extracted Files”.  The reason for this is simple.  Most programs you will download will come zipped-up (.zip).  This means the files will be compressed to make them smaller and faster to download.  When you are prompted about where you would like a program to be downloaded to, you should choose the folder you created: Desktop>BE-300 Downloads.  This will keep everything you need handy, as well as making your clean-up at the end that much faster.  Once a program has been downloaded, try and open it by clicking on the file. If you have an unzip program present (i.e WinZip), the file will open on your computer inside of this un-zipper.  What you must then do is choose SELECT ALL (under the EDIT heading).  When all the files appear highlighted, choose the EXTRACT command.  At this point you will be asked where you would like to extract the files.  Choose the folder you created: Desktop>Extracted Files. 

                  Now close any open windows and go to Extracted Files.  Inside you will find several files depending on the program, and one named Setup.exe.  This is the one you need to click on.  It will begin the installation of your program on the BE as long as you are connected via PC Connect.  The next few steps will require you to accept the terms of whatever licensing agreement may exist, and then choose a location for your program.  I install all my programs onto a Compact Flash card, as the internal memory of the BE is somewhat limited.  You can install anywhere you like providing there is room.  The one exception I would suggest is that for those programs referred to in this article you should put them into Main memory.  This will ensure that even should you remove your CF card, the interface will not be affected.




                  Hopefully you have by now read the original “Skinning the Interface”. Get the latest version of SQPL in English by clicking here:  SQPL.  Download, extract, and install as per the above instructions.  When you’re done, go back to Extracted Files and delete everything.  This is your staging area, and you need to keep it clear of clutter.  Next you’ll need the File Explorer available on the site.  Again follow the above procedure, including deleting Extracted Files when you’re done.  There are two more programs from this site you will need, Registry Editor and Change Shell.  Again follow the outlined procedures.

                  Next you’ll need to get a program called BE Patch.  This program provides your BE with two required files which your system will need to run a majority of programs that are now available.  Many of the programs you will find available were written for systems using WindowsCE 2.11.  As a result, the BE is missing two libraries that allow these programs to run properly.  Download, extract and install as you did with the above programs. 

                  Last but not least you will need a program called ProgramMenuPlus (Pmenu for short).  This program is shareware and costs $5.00 to use after January 20, 2002.  It can be found here:  PMenuPlus.  This program needs to be installed somewhat differently.  For this to work you must have a Compact Flash memory card.  On this card you need to create a folder called My Documents and one called Program Files.  Next you need to set up the folder sync in PC Connect.  Go to PC Connect, choose Settings, then choose Folder Synchronization Settings.  Make sure that Programs has a check next to it, then choose Properties.  Where it says “folder location on Casio” click Browse.  Choose Storage Card and then My Documents (which you created), then press OK.  You cannot put files in Program Files right now, so you will have to move them later with the File Explorer.  Next where it says “folder location on this PC”, click Browse.  Scroll down to where it says Extracted Files and choose this folder and click OK.  Now click OK again and again.  What you have done is created a place on your PC that will transfer files to the BE-300 when a file does not have an installer of its own (Setup.exe).

                  Download and extract Pmenu just like the previous programs.  You will only need the two .exe files, so you should delete the other three files at this time.  Now you can choose SYNCHRONIZE in PC Connect and watch your two executables be transferred to the BE.




                  Now you are ready to begin to change your interface.  Remove your Casio from the cradle. Turn it on and look at the top menu.  There should be an icon for GSFTQ.  Click on this icon.  You should now be in the file explorer program.  Get comfortable as you will be doing most of your work in here.  Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the menus and functions.  Quickly you will realize that this resembles the full-fledged file explorer of your windows-powered PC.





                                                                                                      First, since it is fresh in our minds, we will transfer the program pmenu.exe and pconf.exe, from the My Documents folder to the Program Files folder. Now in order to keep Program Files neat, always put your .exe files and whatever other essentials they may require in a folder named after the program.  In this case, you should create a subfolder under Program Files called ProgramMenu and place both .exe’s in here.

                                                                                                      Now here it gets a little tricky.  Go to Program Files>ProgramMenu>pmenu.exe and single click pmenu.exe without actually executing it.  Now go to FILE and then CREATE SHORTCUT.  This will create pmenu.lnk inside the Program Files>ProgramMenu folder. Highlight pmenu.lnk by clicking on it once, then go to EDIT and select CUT.  Next go to Nand Disk>Program Files>SQ>1 and then EDIT, PASTE.  You have now placed a shortcut onto the desktop.  You can do this with any .exe and it will appear on your primary screen.  To achieve my results, delete any other .lnk’s which may be in this folder.  For that matter, when you look in the SQ folder, delete any file with the .sqp ending.  These are plug-ins which allow you to see the calender, clock, stick-it note, and other additions on your primary desktop.  To achieve my results you must have a relatively clear desktop.








                  There are three things you should note from the above screen captures.  The first is pmenu.bmp residing in Program Files>ProgramMenu.  This .bmp is a small bitmap that becomes the icon for pmenu.exe.  If you look in the bottom left corner of both screen shots you will see the widows/start logo.  By placing this .bmp here in this folder, you get the icon above.  Without it you will get the ugly default icon.  Next in the SQ folder you will see today.bmp.  This is the bitmap which is the wallpaper for your desktop.  Obviously my wallpaper emulates Pocket PC’s Today screen, so I named it today.bmp. I have provided it here without Owner Info, so anyone may download and customize it.  Finally, in Program Files>ProgramMenu there is a new subfolder called Menu.  This is where you create your custom menus for your Start icon.  Let’s take a look at my Menu folder:















will get you these results:




















                              To activate your custom menu, you must double click the pconf.exe in the ProgramMenu folder.  When you do, you will see this screen at the right.  Enter the path \Storage Card\Program Files\ProgramMenu\Menu.  This will direct Program Menu to use your custom menu and not the default menu.  Make sure you enter this exactly or you will get an error message later.







                              Now we need to put the final touches on our new setup.  We need to open and configure SQ.  To do this, go to SQ.exe in the SQ folder and double-click it.  This will open SQ.  Now go down to the bottom task bar and look for the red and blue icon.  Click on this and go to Setup. 


















These are the settings you’ll need to create a streamlined, integrated look.



































            A few things to finalize.  Go to Nand Disk>Program Files>Change Shell>ChgShell.exe.  This is how you make SQ the default menu.  Choose the bottom left button labeled SQ, then choose OK.  From this point on, any programs you may choose to install will need a shortcut (.lnk) placed in the Program Files>ProgramMenu>Menu folder.  After doing this, you will also need to open ProgramMenu by clicking on the icon at the top of the main SQ screen, scrolling down to Program Menu and then choosing REFRESH.  This will cause all of your new links to appear.

            I hope this how-to is helpful.  It was my intention to have it be a guide for people who may never have used the BE-300 before, as well as people who have some experience with the unit.  I have tried to be as clear in most things as is possible.  If for some reason my instruction is incorrect or unclear I hope that feedback to that effect will reach me.  Also, I give permission freely for anyone to post or distribute this guide as long as they do not do so for profit, as this is meant to be for the good of all BE owners.  I can be contacted at Brighthand by private messaging me by my screen name miked.  Finally, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the BE community for their tireless work.  I especially want to single out the members of the Brighthand board.  They are a group of individuals who are truly trying to better everyone else’s experience with the BE by offering their experiences and knowledge at no charge.  Rarely do you see such an obvious example of how the internet can work to the benefit of so many, by simply sharing.

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