There does appear to be cumbersome methods: (that you may not know of ..) (1.) Goto: Settings > Applications Manager For each application, un-tick 'Show notifications', press 'Ok'. ( repeat 100 ...
I built Android 4.1.2 from source for my Nexus S using these instructions. Later I found that there are no Google Apps on the phone and so I cannot set up my Google account or use the Play Store or ...