The automatic switching feature means that any plugin, if this is not explicitly prohibited in the settings, can become active, irrespective of what plugin has been active before, on an occurrence of a certain event programmed by the developer (for example, a new e-mail letter is received). So, you don’t have to manually switch to the e-mail plugin to see if there are any new letters there. When a letter arrives, the plugin will take the focus on itself automatically. Plugins can also identify their applicability. For example, if none of the players supported by the Media Display plugin is started, you won’t be able to switch to it, even if it is enabled in the settings.
You can also adjust the brightness and contrast of the display in the settings, but the contrast adjustment range is small and the brightness setting is reset on your pressing the appropriate “hardware” button on the keyboard.
If you begin to turn the volume control, the screen will automatically show the current volume level. The photograph above shows the name of the song played in Winamp, i.e. the Media Display plugin, but it has no effect on the display of the volume level bar. If the plugin were disabled, the volume bar would be shown on a blank background.
I’ve been talking much about plugins here and you may be wondering if the display’s capabilities are limited to the mentioned six? Of course, not! Logitech even encourages third-party plugins by supplying not only a driver but also an SDK with documentation and plugin samples along with the keyboard. So, if you have at least medium programming skills, you shouldn’t find it a difficult task to write your own plugin for the G15.
Unfortunately, most of the existing plugins are rather useless. The most popular ones are those that show system status information (CPU temperature and load, memory usage, etc), but I don’t think you want to be constantly monitoring such parameters unless you’ve just installed a new CPU cooler and want to be sure the CPU won’t overheat with it.
Take the official AMD plugin for example. It shows miscellaneous CPU-related info like its type, cache size, voltage, frequency, etc.
It just shows that and nothing more. Well, it’s good to know that Cool & Quiet technology is indeed enabled in my system (the plugin shows the current real parameters of the CPU rather than the nominal ones), but I don’t think I need to learn this information more than once in my life. There are a few somewhat more informative plugins that work with the SpeedFan program and additionally show current temperatures. Yet in my opinion their usefulness is low, too.
As opposed to them, the MirandaG15 plugin that supports the popular Internet messenger Miranda is quite a different thing. Imagine you are playing some game and hear the familiar meowing of your messenger from the speakers. Someone has got something to tell you. You could press Alt-Tab to switch to Windows and check it out, yet you don’t want to pause the game. But what if they are writing something very important to you?
It’s all simple with MirandaG15. You don’t need to leave the game. When a new message arrives, the plugin takes on the focus and shows the message on the keyboard’s screen.
If it’s nothing interesting, you can just go on playing. The plugin will vanish into background after a while (the precise time is specified in the settings) and won’t disturb you until another message arrives. But if you do want to answer to the message, you still don’t have to leave the game! Just press the chat button (as the photograph shows, it is the leftmost button of the LCD screen) and the plugin will take control of the keyboard (the still running game won’t notice anything) and will offer you to type in the answer.