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The New (Desktop) Hotness: Rainmeter 1.0
August 7, 2009 7:23 AM   Subscribe

PrettyDesktopFilter: Rainmeter has joined forces with Enigma for the release of Rainmeter 1.0, which finally makes code-diving for the creation of [HUD-styled] desktops a thing of the past. (via: 1 2)

Since Rainmeter is Windows-only, some users have taken it upon themselves to implement similar styles on OS X via Geektool, and on Linux with desklets to some success.
Pro-tip: if you happen to like code-diving, you can do some neato keen over-the-top stuff with Rainmeter.
posted by tybeet (19 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love HUD displays, but my monitors are so overstuffed with open windows that I can't imagine desktop status visuals to be more convenient than what I have now. (Sure I could hit the "hide all windows" command, but I could just as easily use my existing "Show me widgets" command.)

For those that can use it, it's great.
posted by ardgedee at 7:37 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aww, I thought it might be this Enigma. Got to be better than the default Windows sounds.
posted by Mwongozi at 7:56 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting this. I've been using Samurize for awhile, having believed Rainmeter to be abandoned, but I prefer Rainmeter's flexibility in arranging elements directly on the desktop.

Ardgedee, I too dislike having to move/hide windows to see a HUD-style display, but either of these tools is flexible enough to let you arrange as much info as you want along the edges of the screen. My current Samurize config is very similar to the bar along the top of this Rainmeter skin.
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 8:03 AM on August 7, 2009


Has anyone done any testing on system usage for this? I love making my desktop fancier, but since I'll probably only use it on my XP netbook, I don't want to do it if it's going to be a strain.
posted by SneakyArab at 8:06 AM on August 7, 2009


Has anyone done any testing on system usage for this? I love making my desktop fancier, but since I'll probably only use it on my XP netbook, I don't want to do it if it's going to be a strain.

I have a pretty average-setup: (3 RSS readers, clock, calendar, weather, winamp interface, 3 HDD meters) and it uses no more than 40MB of RAM, and spikes to maybe 5% CPU usage (of my 2 year old AMD 4800+ dual core) when it updates the RSS.

posted by tybeet at 8:13 AM on August 7, 2009


Argh, single-letter links. Okay, how many here have ever used a tricked-out desktop like these for any length of time? I've always found that the screenshot experience is better than the actual usage.

I've used various tweakydesktop environments on Windows and Linux, like Enlightenment, WindowBlinds, juiced-up KDE4 setups, and many others. And while they're neat, I inevitably get rid of it all, because the day-to-day, getting-stuff-done experience ends up fussy and annoying.

Maybe I just enjoy tweaking but actually dislike change? I don't know. I still prefer the Mac OS 9 desktop over OS X, for instance. Also, I think that the majority of the "cool!" factor of these screenshots is the striking desktop backgrounds. In conclusion, get off my desktop.
posted by dammitjim at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I started tinkering with Rainmeter, Enigma and various other skins last weekend and built my own pretty sidebar with clock, calendar, ram, cpu and network stats, weather forecast and cover art and song integration to get rid of the lose collection of fugly, functionally limited Windows gadgets I was using - you can do great things with these tools.

The main problem I have with it - it's not as easy to set up as the screenshots and praising blog posts suggest - you actually have to dig into the code, modify the skins, adjust parameters, and so on. There's no basic download - install - be happy mode, which keeps away the majority of users, I ended up using bits of code and design elements from 3 or 4 different skins. Some of the packaged skins also eat up way too many of resources, with a modified Enigma package I found on Deviant Art I had 20% CPU time dedicated to stats updates, terrible.

Next to do on my agenda for a rainy Saturday: Integrate RSS feeds and Twitter on the desktop, but with more functionality than the pre-made plugins offer.
posted by starzero at 9:13 AM on August 7, 2009


I understand having an RSS feed and twitter reader on the desktop, but how often are CPU, RAM and network meters that useful? It seems that unless you have tiny bits on the sides of your screen, you couldn't see them unless you clear the desktop.

This makes me nostalgic for GeoShell and Virtual Plastic. They both still exist, but they seem like dead sites, no longer being updated with new and interesting desktop tweakery. And thanks to this post, I finally found something to save icon arrangements (Shock Desktop), which is the only tweaking I do beyond swapping around desktop wallpaper. Something to play with at home.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:26 AM on August 7, 2009


How can I get rid of the dropshadow on the Sidebar Notes? I don't see a config for that.
posted by davebush at 10:32 AM on August 7, 2009


I suspect the main benefit of CPU, RAM and network meters on your HUD is so you can see how many resources your HUD is eating up. How nicely recursive.
posted by echo target at 10:32 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


davebush: How can I get rid of the dropshadow on the Sidebar Notes? I don't see a config for that.

Do you mean the dark semi-transparent area that the notes are in? If you right-click in the dark area and go to Skin Menu -> Close Skin, that should do it.

starzero: The main problem I have with it - it's not as easy to set up as the screenshots and praising blog posts suggest

This is true, but I think that's the same catch you get with any software really. If you want real precision, you gotta dig in. Fortunately, most of the tweaks (like text size, font, dimensions) are pretty easy to work with because they don't require any actual programming.
posted by tybeet at 10:47 AM on August 7, 2009


I found my solution in the skin config. I find it weird that each little app within the program is called a "skin".

So far, I'm liking this. I've got a calendar and notes running with no background, sitting nicely on my wallpaper and it's under 4000 K.
posted by davebush at 1:04 PM on August 7, 2009


This is pretty interesting, although it seems fairly unproductive as far actual usable interfaces go. I'm skeptical but I'll check it out.

Also, I've been running EarthDesk on my Mac for a couple of years or so. It's pretty interesting and doesn't kill your CPU. I have it set up to give me a satellite photo with a nightline overview.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:33 PM on August 7, 2009


Nice. I'm using it for what I used to use Samurize: to keep my ToDo list visible and editable from my desktop. Slicker and easier to configure than Samurize, IMO.
posted by signal at 8:46 PM on August 7, 2009


This seems like one of those things you'd need to not be busy actually doing things to care about.
posted by mike_bling at 10:46 PM on August 7, 2009


Why say "code-diving", isn't "coding" the same thing?
posted by signal at 7:03 AM on August 8, 2009


Enigma is sweet stuff but yeah, you do need to have alot of free time on your hands (and perhaps an aesthetics-over-utility mindset to your workflow).

I had dumped probably 5 hours into it before i went back to Windowblinds (simple, black Aerial skin) and said fuggedaboudit.
posted by phylum sinter at 10:19 PM on August 8, 2009


signal: Why say "code-diving", isn't "coding" the same thing?

To be honest, I heard it somewhere and it sounded like a better descriptor. You're not really coding -- the real coding is done by the people who use the .dll hooks to create the themes -- but you're diving into the first layer of "code" to change parameters.
posted by tybeet at 11:01 AM on August 9, 2009


In case anyone's interested, I just did a major overhaul, using inspiration from here and there and ended up with an Enigma config I'm quite happy with. I had no idea Rainlendar Pro supports Google Calendar. Also, this is an amazing screensaver (hell yeah flip-clocks).
posted by tybeet at 2:37 PM on August 11, 2009


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