This Week In Windows Customization

Summer is here and that means lots of people are outside. But fear not, there’s also been lots of activity in the Windows customization front as people check out the cool things in MacOS Tiger and Longhorn and start to try to spruce up their PCs.

In the article front, here’s a guide I wrote on different ways of using the popular Windows customization suite, Object Desktop. You can read about that HERE.

Meanwhile, in terms of actual goodies to download for your computer, I came across some neat stuff:

Star Wars Yoda is a replacement boot screen for Windows XP. It looks totally cool and sure beats that standard Windows XP logo.

Speaking of Star Wars, I found a cool looking lightsaber replacement mouse cursor here. You use CursorXP to apply it. If you’re looking for something a little more… well, normal, the Encoded mouse cursors are pretty cool, too.

For you widget lovers out there, I found some pretty cool stuff. These widgets use DesktopX. Once you have DesktopX intalled on your computer, these widgets run like any other program, except widgets use less memory to do what they do than traditional programs use (which is one of the points of using widgets). The On-Time clock widget is pretty nice. There are a gazillion clock widgets out there already, but this one is particularly nice.

One of the most interesting widgets I’ve seen lately is the LCARS MP3 widget. It lets you specify which media player you want to control (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, or its own built-in one). For anyone who is really into Star Trek TNG, this is definitely worth getting.

Meanwhile in icon land, there have been some incredibly cool icon sets packaged up with IconPackager 3. There’s Luna Alt, Icon-A-Day, and the Encoded icon package. All are very nice and all are incredibly cool.

If you have ObjectDock Plus, there are some cool new backgrounds out, too. I’m partial to the Gizmo background, myself.

You may not have heard of Rainlendar before, but it’s a free program for giving you skinnable calendars. While there are lots of calendar widgets out there, the difference here is Rainlendar only does calendars, so it has really specialized on making them very useful. NWC Blue and elsdee RL are two recent ones that look good.

Customizing wouldn’t be complete without wallpapers, of course, and here are a few I liked in particular:

Pixxel Boxx

Over in Windows Media Player land, things have been somewhat quiet lately but the World of Warcraft skin for WMP is pretty cool.

In the GUI skinning department, there’s been a lot of activity lately. Visual styles or whatever you want to call them change the look and feel of the Windows GUI. The most popular way to do this is with WindowBlinds, a program that extends the native visual style engine to support all kinds of cool new stuff.

Mr. Clean is like the name implies.

My Longhorn is a pretty solid attempt to get Windows XP to have the look and feel of Longhorn complete with an alpha-blended Start menu.

Also in the “clean” style is MoonBlinds.

And finally, Pixel Pirate, who has all kinds of cool stuff lately, has made Encoded as a visual style, as well.

So that’s all for now. Until next time, don’t be a drone – make Windows reflect your style!