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Spot on: Yazzle

Yazzle is a skinnable game of solitaire variations. Besides main display being skinnable, carddecks are too, and games can be added/edited with their own specification. v3 is heading towards resizable card decks.

SharpE TD6R4 Released

After nearly 4 weeks, there's a new stable release of SharpE.

Some of the main changes are:

- a "new" skin, "Number 8" which basically is a very much improved version of "Number 7", but using two new features in the application bar: hover and highlight blending effects using the colors of the icon which is assigned to the application bar item, and multiple window overlay displayed as a number instead of the new white squares.
- new icon resampler for improved icon quality for non 16x16 and 32x32 sizes.
- new cursors and added support for .ani and .png files in the cursor service.
- support for sending any custom command/message with the media controller.
- lots of bugfixes.


Links:
- Download
- Give feedback

sryo : 3rd October 2009  

Rainmeter 1.0 is Out

Rainmeter, only months after being reawakened, has reached the big 1.0 mile stone.


It was good news to here development was being picked up on Rainmeter. It is great news to here they have reached the 1.0 mark. When I write an article (ok, not so often these days, but I digress), I don't take every increment out for a test spin. For this one, I just had to.

I've never tried the whole Enigma desktop thing. I've read about it, but never got around to connecting the dots (it used a few different apps). I was looking forward to the full Rainmeter version, and was not disappointed. It's a great looking theme, and adding all kinds of stuff is a just point and click. Sure it has CPU and RAM, but it has Wifi, Gmail, and Twitter (not tested) too.

Double click the Rainmeter icon to see the configuration dialog. Try it out and you'll see everything is self explanatory. There are lots of skins, or what I'll call from here on out as elements, to choose from. Click on what you want, drag it where you want it. To turn off elements, right click them and use the context menu. Some elements have additional settings via that method too.

For most of the elements you can choose between text and iconic views. The WiFi is a great example. It can be an icon with a meter next to it, or a numeric read out. The result is a desktop easy to tweak with no lines of code. You can situate a clean text look, or load up on crazy icons.

I think the best reason for this being the default skin is that is shows off a lot of what Rainmeter can do now. At a glance, this sets the bar for other Rainmeter skins. Gone are the days when all we has was sysmeter.


A word from one of the developers, E. V. McKay:
"A rather exciting development is coming for the desktop customizing world: with its first major update in over three years, Rainmeter is finally coming out of beta. And, among other things, it has a new Enigma upgrade built right in."

Enigma, just to clarify, is a robust system meter, RSS feed, To-do list, etc. skin for Rainmeter and Samarize. The author, Kaelr, that the plus for Rainmeter was power, but the plus of Samarize was the GUI. Additionally, the full effect required CD Art Display, as Rainmeter only worked with Wimamp (a sign of the times). Now Rainmeter can do everything all on its own.

Here are the changes, also according to our friend Mr. McKay:

Among Rainmeter 1.0's numerous improvements:
- A built-in theme manager, RainThemes, to save and load your setups.
- Complete compatibility with Windows Vista and 7. (Your data is no longer stored in Program Files, which eliminates problems with UAC.)
- New visual options, such as text shadows, transformation matrices and improved anti-aliasing.
- Expanded plugin support for iTunes, WiFi and even Recycle Bin management.
- An official online forum at Rainmeter.net (http://www.rainmeter.net/forum/index.php) for support, discussion, third-party addons, tips and feature requests.

As for Enigma 2.5:
- Enigma is now the default skin for Rainmeter. It is available immediately after installing.
- No more code editing required: a new Configuration tool manages your personal settings, like Google account login, weather code and feed URLs, from a GUI interface.
- Sidebars and themes now scale to your screen resolution automatically.
- Reader skins now support RSS, Atom, Gmail inbox and Twitter.
- Music skin gets iTunes song information automatically; CD Art Display no longer required.
- Multiple new skins, including a miniature calendar, system uptime, wireless signal strength, and even your local sunrise/sunset times.
- Templates are now accessible from the theme manager.

---

Special shout-outs to
LifeHacker and craeonics for inspiring me to write a better article than I normally would.

CutTheRedWire : 12th August 2009  

Rainmeter Revived

Rainmeter, after being abandoned for quite some time, has been brought back to life. Rainy, maker of the popular calendar app Rainlender, has brought on some help and restarted development as a Google code project. There is a forum and a IRC channel too.

For those unfamiliar with the app, Rainmeter is a skinnable system resource monitor for windows. It can give you a readout on just about anything on your computer (and then some). It was the first really flexible app of its kind, blowing old Sysmeter 2 out of the water. Even in its dormant state, dedicated users continued to skin it. It's one of those old school apps I love to see returning to the scene.

This may be very good news to another app: LiteStep. One of the unique features of Rainmeter is was that it could run as a LS module (plug-in). It could be completely integrated into your desktop experience. Hopefully the new guard will hold true to this ideal.

Special thanks to DragonMage for keeping me in the loop and his dedication to the app.

Links:
Site
Forum

IRC:
irc://irc.freenode.net/rainmeter

CutTheRedWire : 1st May 2009  

LBreakout2 2.5.1.1

This one is a DX-Ball clone game... which is a breakout clone... which is pong on acid. Anyway, follow the bouncing ball, mash the bricks, and make you own levels. You can download or make your own skins. It's a fun game to mess around with, and has a kid mode that is great for little nephews and those who suck at video games. There also is a portable version for your flash drive.

LBreakout2
Portable
Themes

CutTheRedWire : 22nd November 2008