Some lovely redditors brought up a couple issues with the first design.
First, despite all my previous objections, the clear button being stationary is a good idea. So I'm going to throw out all that bad UI stuff and put the clear button in the same spot all the time. Ease of use outweighs making sense. Also, the clear button gets a little too small when you stuff it into the "Notifications" bar.
Second, the carrier "advertisement" is actually useful for roaming and letting you know when you're connected to a femtocell. So I'm going to put that back too.
So, bigger, stationary clear button, and keep the carrier name, but make it suck less. I can do that:
I'm very interested in hearing any objections to this design. I think it should cover everyone though.
I've also fixed a big drawback of the first version: I don't have to murder the stock keyboard for framework resources anymore, the new location allowed me to do it with all stock UI widgets.
It's all down to just 1 XML file now. (like it should be!) So porting should be easier. In fact I bet it can be deployed to any CM6.1 rom as is.
Here's the source if anyone is interested. It's from /system/framework/framework-res.apk/res/layout.
If you are really, REALLY brave, AND YOU HAVE A NANDROID BACKUP: you can try this update.zip over your CM6.1 install. It will ruin anything that isn't CM6.1.
If the update.zip actually works, and your carrier name is black instead of white, go to Settings, CM Settings, User Interface, Date and Provider, and change Carrier PLMN Label Color and Carrier SPN Label Color to white (#ffffffff).
My only big problem is that it doesn't work with UOT Kitchen.... help?
Update: It doesn't work with MDPI devices (G1, Hero, MyTouch, etc). Right now I'm focusing on getting it built into Cyanogenmod. Wish me luck!