Archive for September, 2009

Getting the Desktop of Your Dreams: Rainmeter (Part 1)

typical-desktop

Are you getting bored of your conventional desktop? Were you never really thrilled with it to begin with? If so, then this is the blog (post) for you! The customization process can be a long one, especially if you are finicky like me, so be patient.

First, there are a few tools you will need:

  • The latest beta version of Rainmeter .
  • The latest RC of Enigma (Rainmeter will come with an older version of Enigma,  be sure to replace it with the new Enigma folder. You will find the skins folder in: C:\Users\#CurrentUserGoesHere#\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins).
  • Any other skins you might want.

Here are the steps to getting a Rainmeter desktop:

1)Close Existing Skins: When you fire up Rainmeter, you will find that there are already a few skins set up. To close them right click>skin menu>close skin. Do not right click>exit. This closes Rainmeter.

2)Open Skins: To open a skin, right click on the notification area button go to configs>#FolderOfYourChoice#>#FolderOfYourChoice#>#SkinOfYourChoice#. Drag it wherever you please.

3)Configure With Context Menu Options; To start out, open up the Sidebar skin.  Right click>skin menu>transparency>#NumberOfYourChoice#. The same principal applies to other skins.

4)Configure With Home Skin (Enigma Only):To configure your weather settings (as well as the reader options, etc.), open Enigma>Home. Click the Hammer-and-Wrench symbols and enter the weathercode (found here), and RSS URLs.  There are lots of skins, and even more options, but not all skins can be tweaked here.

5)Code-Monkey:Start off with steps 1-4. Now I won’t tell you everything, as that takes the fun out of watching you suffer exploration, but I might add that Rainmeter skins are 100% OPEN SOURCE. To really customize,you need to code-monkey, and that can get difficult. The Rainmeter format is based off the standard *.ini format, but the language is all proprietary. To code monkey, Right click on the skin you want to edit>skin menu>edit skin. The language is simple, yet powerful. It is quite easy to learn without any tutorials.

8184-1234139773-previewGood luck. If you need any help, post a comment in this thread.

Remember, there will be other parts to this multi-part post, showing you how to use other windows customization tools. For another point of view, visit Anarchia. And why not have a look around? A link to the home-page is in the Blog Roll.

CREDIT FOR ENIGMA GOES TO KAELRI.

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3 Bits? That’s Not Binary!

Intel and Microm have just teamed up to work on a 3 bit-per-cell flash drive! now we can store 50 % more data on a flash drive the same size. Now an 8Gb can be the same size as a 12GB. Before I get into this, I will explain how a regular flash drive works. Any flash drive (or SSD) you find has cells. A 1GB flash drive has 4294967296 cells in it. Each cell can store 2 bits of data in it, effectively making the number of cells half the number of stored bits. Each cell can be either a 1 or an 0. The computer can read this, as even numbers are binary-compatible. See the problem?

A computer would have to read a 3bpc flash drive 2 cells at a time to be able to read the contents. That makes it unstable. I’d be interested to see how the mathematicians worked it out. Why didn’t they jump to 4bpc? Why not hexadecimal (0123456789abcde)? What is the 3rd bit?

Anyone else interested?

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A Common Robot OS…

According to NewScientist.com, robots are finally getting their own operating system. This means that roboticists  can finally focus on programming new functions instead of having to start from scratch every time they want to build a new robot/platform. ROS (or Robot Operating System) is an open-source set of code snippets and platforms for roboticists to use to their liking.

This is great news! Now roboticists can create more advanced systems, and when the uprising begins, Sony can just come out with another RootKit to wipe them all out!

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Great Expectations

It’s old, but It’s good, right? I wouldn’t  know, I’ve never read it, but now I might, thanks to Google. Google is scanning up a bunch of books whose copyrights are long gone, but are not yet Public Domain. This would definitely encourage me to read them. But that’s all besides the point.

Games also become free, after a certain amount of time. Grand Theft Auto 1 & 2, as well as Wild Metal are all free in Rockstar’s archives. I would highly recommend getting these games. GTA 1 & 2 are classics, and Wild Metal, although it slipped below the mainstream radar is amazing too. Let me warn you though, there I are strings attached. Overcoming them  is actually quite simple. Fill in all the forms with bogus information (except the e-mail) and hit submit. Be sure to put the age as 18+ though. In your e-mail, you will get a download link. Simple. unless you want Rockstar selling your private information to other websites, in which case, you’re fine.

GTA 1

GTA 2

Wild Metal

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