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About Design & Interfaces / Professional yereverluvinuncleberMale/United Kingdom Groups :icondesign-addicts: Design-Addicts
design, art, customisation
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Quartermaster VB6 20mm wargaming Desktop by yereverluvinuncleber Quartermaster VB6 20mm wargaming Desktop :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 2 23 Dogfight Double Hannebu and Spirit Versions by yereverluvinuncleber Dogfight Double Hannebu and Spirit Versions :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 1 4 Airfix Dogfight Double Haunebu and Spirit MkI by yereverluvinuncleber Airfix Dogfight Double Haunebu and Spirit MkI :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 14 23 Steampunk MediaPlayer Ywidget 1.0.14a by yereverluvinuncleber Steampunk MediaPlayer Ywidget 1.0.14a :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 5 5 Commando Comic Animated Cover by yereverluvinuncleber Commando Comic Animated Cover :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 3 0 Ye Roast Beef of Olde England by yereverluvinuncleber Ye Roast Beef of Olde England :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 5 6 A Dickensian Christmas by yereverluvinuncleber A Dickensian Christmas :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 2 19 Neil Sees Brexit by yereverluvinuncleber Neil Sees Brexit :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 5 11 Neil Sees Steam Engines by yereverluvinuncleber Neil Sees Steam Engines :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 16 10 Musical Christmas Advent Bauble Widgets by yereverluvinuncleber Musical Christmas Advent Bauble Widgets :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 12 25 Pheasant Casserole with a sword by yereverluvinuncleber Pheasant Casserole with a sword :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 3 32 Pie! by yereverluvinuncleber Pie! :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 3 42 Lamb from a broken oven by yereverluvinuncleber Lamb from a broken oven :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 3 18 Potato Cakes In The Pan by yereverluvinuncleber Potato Cakes In The Pan :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 3 15 Lamb In The Pan by yereverluvinuncleber Lamb In The Pan :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 0 36 Steampunk CPU GPU OHM Thermometer by yereverluvinuncleber Steampunk CPU GPU OHM Thermometer :iconyereverluvinuncleber:yereverluvinuncleber 3 13


HAF C-47 Dakota by rOEN911 HAF C-47 Dakota :iconroen911:rOEN911 140 13 1932 Ariel Redwing Aerocycle by Small-Brown-Dog 1932 Ariel Redwing Aerocycle :iconsmall-brown-dog:Small-Brown-Dog 193 41 Airfix Beatles by xandermiles Airfix Beatles :iconxandermiles:xandermiles 1 1 Avro Lancaster B.VII by Daniel-Wales-Images Avro Lancaster B.VII :icondaniel-wales-images:Daniel-Wales-Images 171 27 Watch Parts Creature 'Greeper' by AMechanicalMind Watch Parts Creature 'Greeper' :iconamechanicalmind:AMechanicalMind 232 7 In the Light of the New SUN by Feivelyn In the Light of the New SUN :iconfeivelyn:Feivelyn 48 17 Ommatophobia by alexandreev Ommatophobia :iconalexandreev:alexandreev 492 24 Stalin's balls of steel by rOEN911 Stalin's balls of steel :iconroen911:rOEN911 200 12 Supermarine Seafire LF.III by Daniel-Wales-Images Supermarine Seafire LF.III :icondaniel-wales-images:Daniel-Wales-Images 61 12 Ura by Small-Brown-Dog Ura :iconsmall-brown-dog:Small-Brown-Dog 272 78 The Dream by dougfreak The Dream :icondougfreak:dougfreak 68 9 Supermarine Spitfire LF.Vc by Daniel-Wales-Images Supermarine Spitfire LF.Vc :icondaniel-wales-images:Daniel-Wales-Images 73 6 Old Gold by kceg Old Gold :iconkceg:kceg 27 15 Random old Truth and Bone comic book page by AdeHughesArt Random old Truth and Bone comic book page :iconadehughesart:AdeHughesArt 30 4 Happy Holidays (City Version) from Sizer by PaulSizer Happy Holidays (City Version) from Sizer :iconpaulsizer:PaulSizer 22 9 That Was close by Small-Brown-Dog That Was close :iconsmall-brown-dog:Small-Brown-Dog 265 74



yereverluvinuncleber's Profile Picture

Artist | Professional | Design & Interfaces
United Kingdom
My alter ego is yereverluvinunclebert. You'll find me around the web. Where you find steampunk design I won't be far away.

I focus on Steampunk Design, why do I do it?

Well, I can't bear the look and feel of current desktop computing being so locked into a 1980s 'modern' paradigm. Current GUIs deriving mostly from Microsoft's efforts have a basis in the GUIs from the late 80s and early 90s and despite the regular changes they still haven't moved on much. Do you run XP, Vista, Win 7, 8 or 10? Well, if you do, that means under the skin you are still running NT5 or 6, all basically the same fundamental o/s. The only real differentiator is the GUI that MS foists upon you. Now, a GUI is a GUI and should not be confused with the underlying operating system. You should be able to decide which style of GUI you want to run.

A GUI should be independent of the o/s or at the very least the o/s ought to be very easy to theme and to customise as you wish. This just isn't the case with any Microsoft operating system as the default 'look and feel' provided with the os is really the only thing that really sets it apart from the previous version.

You'll see a massive example of this with Metro or Material Design, the UI that comes with Windows 8 & 10. The underlying os is still good old NT6 and operates much in the same way that Win7 does. However, the whole user interface has been modified to try to get you to use live tiles on the desktop as you would on a Windows phone, to make you use 'apps' rather than programs as you would on the desktop. This schizophrenic approach to a desktop o/s is hoisted upon you as Microsoft has no decent tablet-centric o/s and instead are trying to squish Windows onto tablets - it isn't working, look at the death of windows phone and even more recently, the death of Windows on tablets. They are trying to get you to adopt a new GUI so that you conform to the business plan they have in mind for Windows. That business plan is now a failed model but you, the consumer is still suffering for it.

My aim is to help you break out of this corporate mindset and to think of desktop customisation as a natural thing to do, much in the same way that you decorate and design your home, make the desktop your place to live, to work and operate.

So, with this in mind, I set out to create a series of wallpapers, widgets and icons for an o/s interface that meets the aims and needs of a small but thoroughly dedicated group of chaps and ladies known as steampunkers.

I have set out my steampunk design skills in this way to demonstrate what I can do.

Whether or not you are a steampunker yourself, with these widgets and icons you can thoroughly steampunk your desktop.

You may use any of my images in any of your own creations but commercially only with my permission. In all cases I require a credit using my name or pseudonym - and in addition a link to my DA account or my own site.

Do me a favour and don't send me a Lllama. I don't know what these bloody Llama things are for in any case and I don't give them myself. IF anyone can enlighten me as to something concrete that I can do with them I'll be pleased to hear it.


Update 4. 25th April 2018 - Developer untruths discovered!
Update 3. 6th January 2018 - jump straight to the end.
Update 2. 28th September 2018

First of all - before reading this review please note that the developer of RainWidgets has just banned me from his group on Deviantart. My feedback has had quite an effect on him, this has also had the effect of reducing his group's membership from 12 members to a mere 11...   :)


The first alpha/beta of the RainWidget engine has just been released. What is RainWidgets? - I hear you ask. Well, RainWidgets is the spiritual successor to Xwidgets - though before you rush out to try to download and install it - hold on! RainWidgets is NOT Xwidget 2.0. Firstly, there is no upgrade path from Xwidgets, second, there is no IDE and finally, there is no simple and easy way to create widgets using a few cores and some .js glue.

Rainwidgets is a pure widget engine and that's it, no IDE, no prettiness, no padding, just an engine for HTML based widgets. So, before you get upset and feel depressed and annoyed that Xwidgets has taken the wrong direction be placated by the fact I am fairly sure that RainWidgets has actually taken the correct direction. So far it has the feeling that it might just be the tool that a lot of desktop customisers and web developers have been looking for. A really rather good tool for putting HTML based widgets on the desktop.

RainWidget engine
Fig. 01 RainWidget Alpha Release with some yet-unreleased widgets.

This is exactly what Xwidgets probably should have been and what it almost became. Xwidget 1.0 was attempting to emulate Yahoo widgets, ie. a javascript engine with o/s APIs that allows web technologies to access the desktop. Xwidgets did it rather badly integrating a half-decent GUI IDE but unfortunately not extending API support to the underlying language, javascript. RainWidgets is not following this approach and instead is using the power of the latest browser engine so it can use stock technologies (with its own o/s extensions) to place HTML/CSS and javascript straight onto the desktop. This is a good approach as it lends itself to anything from simple widget creation as well as having the power to potentially put any complex web application straight on the desktop. This really could be the killer app that everyone has wanted for years...

Tony(?) and his team (I think there was once another chap that worked with him called qiancang) have become quite used to me pouring scorn on their offerings, the bugs in Xwidgets, the failure to fix them, the failing infrastructure, the lack of documentation &c &c but this time they really ought to take a pat on the back. RainWidgets as the spiritual successor to Xwidgets is really spot-on and they should be congratulated.

Some brief technical stuff that I have just guessed from just looking at the thing: Chrome is the browser core, the javascript engine is Chrome's V8, RainWidgets incorporates the vue.js framework to do some of the javascript heavy lifting. For those that have unpicked a typical widget, the RainWidget equivalent to Xwidget's widget.xul file is the widget.json (the equivalent of the .KON XML file in the yahoo widget engine). Image or text elements are typically defined there, such items as width, height, names, data sources used &c. The good thing is that nothing is set in stone. You can build a widget any way you like. In fact, you should be able to port any existing web widget and with a bit of tweaking it should just work (testing this now).

The core of a RainWidget is an HTML page where you define the location of the CSS, create any required divs and then call your javascript logic. The RainWidget team have provided a few examples of running widgets, one of them a quite complex web widget using jquery. None of them should be copied slavishly as examples of how to create widgets, instead you should consider them as examples of the engine's capability to use any style and method of widget creation.

Jquery and other web technologies are supported but are not required. If your widget is already designed to use vue.js then there might be an implication as the engine itself uses vue.js (a javascript framework that does the javascript heavy-lifting for the engine). In this case it might just require you to remove the line that initialises vue.js in your own script to avoid duplication or conflict - unknown and untested.

Element styling is achieved in CSS using an embedded .css file that is included into the HTML or as an element within the HTML itself using the style tag. Styling can even be achieved in javascript. Basically, the rule is - do it yourself, however you choose. You are not limited.

To obtain system-level information, instead of using cores as in Xwidget, RainWidget uses "Measures" (originally called DataSources in the first version). Xwidgets cores were APIs designed to be implemented at the GUI level and stored within the XML and as a result were largely inaccessible to the javascript 'glue' layer. It was often impossible to derive data from an Xwidget core in code.  Measures seem to be better designed giving the javascript direct access to the derived data.  

Only a few measures have been implemented so far: weather, datetime, shortcuts &c. We see very few operating system APIs to the filesystem or other useful operating system functions (the drive API was the first to be created) but after all, this is only an Alpha grade release so we ought to lower our expectations and await new measures in the fullness of time. The developer was originally drip-feeding new measures weekly, probably as soon as he had cut the code, so keep an eye out for new functionality.

(Battery, CPU, RAM measures added in 1.22 and 1.3)

An image or element is bound to a measure using the vue.js framework's v-bind directive. The usual events should be supported, eg. the onClick event (v-bind : onclick = "") as well as all the other usual events (untested). Some events are currently implemented differently, for example: onkeydown/onkeypress - some drag/drop functions are not working as expected, perhaps he hasn't implemented them properly yet, "doKeyDown" being some sort of a workaround for a non-working keypress - more on this soon.

The javascript engine is Chrome's V8. A good choice of javascript that comes bundled with the embedded Chrome engine that RainWidgets uses to place the HTML widgets on your desktop. Previously, Xwidget used IE and Jscript, Microsoft's own version of javascript that had some pecularities and features other javascript engines did not have. For example, easy and direct access to the operating system through ActiveX/COM and extras such as the enumerate function will no longer work. As a result, some existing widgets' javascript code will not easily migrate to RainWidgets and any widget developers will have to depend upon any new cores that Tony writes to provide this missing functionality. It was mooted previously by Tony that in Xwidget 2.0 the APIs would be made available for user-modification or that the new engine would have the capability to run custom 'cores' - now called measures. We shall have to see if that functionality ever actually materialises in RainWidgets. I feel slightly unsure as to whether this promised functionality will ever arrive in RainWidgets as it may not be in the devs' best interests to allow creation of custom cores in the new engine. It would rather detract from the developer's contribution allowing others to customise and take control of his engine. So, we'll just have to wait and see. Personally, I would love to have this functionality, given that the creation of new cores was one of Tony's previous worst failings. I personally created polyfills in Xwidget's javascript to replace missing API functionality, I'd like to do be able to do the same in RainWidgets using an 'official' method.

The set of widgets that are currently bundled with the engine are a little unimaginative graphically but they demonstrate that the engine works and they do show the rather impressive capabilities of the engine itself. I have yet to fully build or migrate any one of my steampunk widgets but work is at hand testing and creating. Watch this space!

Some other features:

When you add a new widget, instead of displaying a gallery that points to the software's main site (as did Xwidget), it does basically the same thing but takes its feed directly from a specific Deviantart gallery - which is quite a sensible choice. It also has an option to open any local widgets on the appdata/widgets folder. For me, the gallery is a little intrusive on my desktop being so large on my 15" screen that it fills the screen, it can also seem a little unresponsive, especially when attempting to install a widget. I feel it needs more feedback to the user in order to tell him what is actually going on - I would prefer a more positive install button on each widget image and a progress bar during download and installation. Note that the Xwidget dock functionality has not been carried over to the new engine, in fact the new gallery acts as both a download location and a replacement for the dock.

The widget's settings pages are a significant improvement over Xwidgets (in that they exist at all - a good copy of Yahoo widgets prefs functionality) and each settings page is automatically generated according to the contents of the widget's  .JSON file. Very useful indeed.

A negative point is that the settings screens are very large, in fact far too large and clunky being based on Microsoft's preferred 'modern'-type themes. The resulting configuration windows are significantly over-sized for a windows desktop. It would be very useful if there was a RainWidget configuration option, a simple switch to reduce the settings font sizes and resulting window size so it suits the desktop. It is great having a settings screen optimised for those tablet-style systems out there but we also need an option which also provides a useful size for desktops. At the moment the settings screens are big and quite ugly. Experience from other engines proves that the widget configuration screens need to be compact and not overly-large especially when we take into account migration of existing widgets from other systems with complex configuration and plenty of options.

Fig. 02 A typical large text, bloated RainWidget settings page compared to a similar but compact one from another engine where a lot of configuration options can be located on one page due to small font size.

The current RainWidget right-click menus are quite good, anyone familiar with Xwidgets will notice how similar they are in layout and operation. Unlike their settings counterparts they are easy on the eye taking their layout from Windows default theme. I'd recommend leaving the menus to adopt their size from the current windows theme rather than forcing a particular look-and-feel such as that encountered in the menus of the sister product RainWallpaper.

Fig. 03 The RainWidget Menus conforming to the Windows theme as set by the user...the centurion font used in this case.

The engine by itself uses no discernible CPU when running no widgets at all. The widgets themselves are quite efficient, they simply use as much or as little cpu as your program requires. If you have a simple clock widget then it will use very little in the way of cpu resource. If you have a complex widget that does a lot of animation then expect it to use a lot more cpu. We have already migrated a few of our widgets to web widgets (this being the same technology used by RainWidgets) and the different browsers (Firefox, chrome, Edge, Safari) handle animation differently, some more efficiently than others. RainWidget's embedded browser engine, Chrome should be quite efficient at handling javascript animation in our experience but it has yet to be determined how well the engine runs complex animation in code - as this is untested. When running a complex animation in a similar web widget on the Chrome browser (some while ago) the animation was a little choppy at times. We shall have to see how this operates through the engine though I suspect it will be similar. Machines with faster CPUs will have smoother animation as a lot of javascript animation may be accomplished using mathematics and/or canvas manipulation. As RainWidget is using the latest Chrome technology it should benefit from the improvements to javascript optimisation that future versions of Chrome brings (webAssembly &c) as long as the later versions of RainWidgets incorporate up-to-date versions of Chrome.

Each RainWidget exists within its own process context, this is a good feature as it means one crashing widget will not bring down the whole engine and all the other widgets with it. This is the same safe method used by the old Yahoo widgets engine but not by Xwidget. In Xwidget one nasty bug could have an adverse impact on all the running Xwidgets and made Xwidget a rather unstable product. RainWidgets is a much better designed product from the outset. This is probably more due to the way that Chrome implements each page/widget as a separate process rather than a feature of the RainWidget engine itself. Nevertheless, it is a significant improvement over the Xwidget way of doing things.

As yet, the documentation is very sparse. Do not depend upon it, the widget engine is still being built, things will change. In any case, lower your expectations regarding documentation, the documents from this particular stable have always been a bit lacking. The good thing is that the documentation you need to write your widgets is simply the standard documentation for javascript, CSS and HTML which is available everywhere on the web.

With regard to the missing IDE. If this is a product from the Xwidget stable then any existing users wishing to migrate will expect an IDE. I think those people will be quite disappointed. I don't think the developers will create an IDE at all, focussing instead all their energies on the engine itself. Why do I say this? Well, the IDE is a massive task on its own, imagine creating a completely new widget engine, then a graphical compositor and in addition developing and maintaining a decent code editor? That is huge amount of work and in any case, the engine needs a lot of time to complete, probably six months work or more. Having said that, I have seen the prototype of Tony's next generation IDE and I'll drop a picture here when I get time (see below) so it is possible that the graphical compositor may yet see the light of day - one morning perhaps - but for now, consign the idea of a fully-fledged IDE to the dustbin. Personally I don't want the dev to create an IDE, if he takes on this mammoth task he will fail us on the engine APIs and it is the engine he needs to focus on as it is nowhere near complete.

Tony's XWidget 2.0 IDE
Fig. 04 Tony's XWidget 2.0 prototype IDE that has NOT been shipped with RainWidgets

Note that the above IDE was shipped by Tony as the alpha-grade precursor to RainWallpaper - the prototype product was then named XDesktop. It was originally sold to us as the successor to Xwidgets  and an approximate combination of RainWallpaper and RainWidgets. The two eventually split into the two separate tools we have today but the XDesigner shows what the original developer Tony had in mind for their next generation IDE.

The use of the Rain... name? I know that some Rainmeter devotees will be really rather annoyed with the developer's choice of name. It does try to imply that the product is from the same stable. If it helps, the developer did moot the idea of compatibility with LUA and Rainmeter skins for Xwidget 2.0 but if that is an eventual aim for RainWidgets I'd be surprised, given RainWidgets current direction (HTML/javascript). Product naming has never been one of the developer's strengths, the Xwidget name itself was ambiguous given that it was already claimed and in use by other similar web-related products. Remember this product is from a Chinese stable and that plagiarism is one of their cultural strengths enabling them to copy other's existing products without a moment's moral concern... It just doesn't figure in their mindset.

That's it, that's all I have to say so far. RainWidget is not a simple tool for beginners and that will put off a lot of Xwidgeteers that will be wondering where to go from here. I'd say to them, stay put and keep creating Xwidgets but if you want a future migration path seriously brush up your HTML, CSS and javascript skills as you'll need them. In any case RainWidgets is still a tool in an alpha state, ie. being heavily developed now and not for serious use. It is missing almost all the most useful APIs except the most basic so my recommendation is to leave it for a while until both you and the product matures.

A weird route I had not expected to recommend, is to migrate your Xwidgets to the Yahoo widget engine. That engine is much closer in concept to RainWidgets than Xwidgets  is now and could act as a sort of stepping stone to allow conversion of your widgets into pure javascript code ready for RainWidgets when it matures. It would be a very good learning curve for any Xwidgeteer who wants to become a Rainwidgeteer in the future being based upon the same technologies and fully documented.

To everyone else, the serious web-coders, I'd say download the alpha version and give it a go. Some proper coding will be required especially as there is no IDE and no coding environment provided at all. You just need to use the tools you are already familiar with for web development. If you are a frustrated Xwidgeteer and you need some help from another long-suffering widgeteer regarding the cross-over tools that might be required, just ask and I''ll be pleased to help or make some recommendations.

You could previously obtain RainWidgets at Rainysoft as a free download but it is now only available commercially from Steam.

With regard to support, the product is in alpha so don't depend upon it and don't ask the developer any questions, just leave him to get on with the coding. In any case there is currently nowhere to ask him any questions as there still is no forum. You can now submit your new widgets to the new group on DA, as it has just opened to normal members.

That's my initial review with two updates to reflect reality, if I've made any mistakes please feel free to correct me. I had only been experimenting for a few hours when I wrote the article so forgive any typos and other technical mistakes.

Congratulations to the Xwidget team, sorry, the RainWidget team for creating such an amazing (alpha) tool! I have high hopes for this product.

January 2018 Addendum:

It is a few months later and time to note any changes to RainWidgets. Firstly, I can confirm that the developer is definitely our old friend Tony. We can tell that by the same lack of communication that always comes from the Xwidget stable. Some other hints that the developer team is the same - the new site is hosted on the exact same server as the old Xwidget site. Also, the right click menus on Tony's products and the new Rain products are identical. The RainWallpaper IDE/Xwidget 2.0 IDE are also the same. Most importantly, just as with Rainwidgets, we have just the minimum of communication but no more, sounds familiar?. I see the deviantart group is no longer being updated but there is some well-hidden but terse information to be found on the product's website:

Ver1.6.5 (2018-12-6)
- RainWidget now on Steam
- Change Settings window size
- Improve Widget Animation Performance

Ver1.6 (2018-11-8)
- Change Application style to Dark stye

Ver1.4 (2018-10-10)
- Improve the widget options window

There are no new measures (APIs) but I suppose it has only been five months so that can be forgiven but I am hoping for some new ones at some point. No engine can be taken seriously without some basic APIs so I am hoping these will eventually arrive before a full year of release is out?

filesystem itemexists
filesystem readfile
filesystem writefile
filesystem isDirectory
filesystem getDirectoryContents
filesystem move
filesystem copy
filesystem delete

filesystem choosefile
filesystem choosefolder

system wireless
system network
system volume

This list represents the absolute basic APIs required to start coding some serious widgets. Without these it makes no sense to start converting your widgets to RainWidgets as they can do very little real work. As time passes it will become clear as to whether the developer wants to create a real widget engine. In another six months if we see nothing then we'll now that Rainwidgets is going the same way as Xwidgets with bursts of activity followed by months/years of nothing at all. I am pessimistic as I have experience of being an active member of the Xwidget community.

One important promise missing was the ability to create our own APIs. It was suggested a while back that Xwidget 2.0 (RainWidgets) would receive the capability of supporting user-written APIs (data-sources/measures). That particular promise seems to have fallen by the wayside which is a great pity as it could have helped Rainwidgets make better progress.

Update 4. 25th April 2018.

Rainwidgets is taking some stick for purloining the 'Rain' name. As expected the Rainmeter community is not impressed with the attempt to jump on the Rainmeter bandwagon. There's not much they can do about it but it is more likely to alienate a community than draw it in. A silly decision. The RainySoft developer is simply trying to pull the wool over user's eyes, he states in a comment (which you will find in the comment section below this very article):

"The initiator of RainWidget is one of the EX original Rainmeter developers. The name of RainWidget has nothing to do with XWidget or Tony. It is proposed by Rainmeter's current developer and Rainmeter forum administrator Jsmorley in the Rainmeter forum..."

This developer comment is completely untrue, when I was in discussion with J.S. Morley he stated:
jsmorley » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:37 am

"That stuff has nothing to do with Rainy, and nothing to do with the Rainmeter project.
While there is no doubt that person is leveraging the popularity of Rainmeter with the name and icon chosen for the project, and I regret that, the widget tool they are producing isn't really anything like Rainmeter, and uses none of the code or approaches used by Rainmeter. It's much more like XWidgets, which is now defunct."

The developer seems to dig holes for himself which are impossible to dig himself out of. If you lie on the internet you can soon be discovered for who you really are. I wish he'd stop lying and just be truthful. There is no need to hide who you are nor lie about your connection with the RainMeter team. We will assess your product on its technical merits and what it achieves on the desktop. So far it is a technical success but a very incomplete one with an ambiguous name. He doesn't seem to realise that apart from uncovering the deceptions this review is actually a very positive one. These deceptions just tend to detract from what he has achieved technically. He should have chosen a more appropriate name especially now as Rainwidget has just turned commercial, being available for download ONLY on steam.

Being commercial makes some sense as it gives the developer some income and hopefully he'll use that to allow for more development but it will restrict access and therefore usage and popularity. The cost is minimal so that should not deter serious investigators but it will deter the majority of penny-pinchers that want things for free. A previously-bought full XWidget licence does not give you access to Rainwidgets which is a great pity and rather a missed opportunity to get loyal and committed widget developers on board. A rather depressing statistic is that after five months the DeviantArt group has only twelve members which is a very small community for such a potentially impressive product. I think Tony has again rather missed the boat with his terrible marketing. First thing I would have done is to give out commercial licences to everyone that bought Xwidgets. The second thing I would do is repackage it not as a mere toy, it isn't just a widget engine but as a first class tool for putting javascript on the desktop. Building widgets is the least that it can do and I can't quite understand why Tony doesn't 'get' that.


Let's hope that the RainWidgets alpha release is just a precursor to a major beta release where Tony or Tony MKII will be a bit more forthcoming in all respects.

This catchy little Goth tune will have you bopping to the darkness! Are they singing in Transylvanian? I do hope so.
Quartermaster VB6 20mm wargaming Desktop
Not quite art but something worth a desktop screenshot!

I'll keep this page as a reference point so when I finish the software I'll update this bit here with the download location - not yet available... but soon perhaps.

This is a screenshot of my desktop with some software that I wrote in the 90s. It was a military simulation tool that was a very early precursor to tank games such as World of Tanks. Primitive 3D effects but mostly 2D.

Firestrike was designed to be a comprehensive tool to support desktop wargaming tabletop figures and vehicles in 15/20mm to 1/300th scale. The PC program was designed to be a tool for the umpire to determine the outcome of a battle between two opposing armies of up to 1,200 vehicles per side. It had a graphical interface in the days when such things were rare. It aimed to be easy to use and fast to operate.


I never finished Firestrike as life intruded, children, life &c got in the way. It was written in Microsoft VB6, one of Microsoft's best products (which they dumped and then deprecated and prevent anyone upgrading/migrating - and so in the progress, removed the chance of any VB6 devs staying loyal to Microsoft). Instead, I gave up on VB6 looking for an alternative and eventually found it in the way of Yahoo widgets using Javascript.

So, it has been twelve years since I even opened any of my old VB6 projects, I was not optimistic that any of them would run. VB6 does not easily install on any modern Windows system. However, I managed it, finding an old visual studio installer on my old drives, installing DirectX 7, creating a dummy 0 byte Java DLL required during every new VB6 installation. I opened a DOS window as administrator, downloading and registering one or two required DLLs, copied the setup files all into one folder, bypassing the standard installation and ran a secondary install routine ACMBOOT.EXE which finally (after several attempts) succeeded in installing and running VB6.

My projects were finally made to run by subsequent manual registration of a variety of required OCXs and DLLs used in the original VB code and changing the environment to use the modern wmp.dll rather than the out-of-date msdxm.ocx for playing music/videos. The result? Well, I am still amazed but they bloody-well ran first time! They look good too. I started to rebuild my toolset and I had the feeling that I was going to resurrect the thing.

I did exactly that - I am loving the old VB6 IDE, it works very well, it is blisteringly fast. I suppose 'puters are SO much faster these days. Each core is 10-15 times what I would have used back in the day, yet now I have more than just one CPU core, drives are many times quicker than they used to be and all computers have so much more memory. Start-up and compilation times are now measured in seconds rather than minutes and as a result it is a delight to develop and run my old programs. The fact that a programming environment from 1991 is still usable and capable of building decent apps in 2019 is rather impressive. Why Microsoft gave up on VB6 still astounds me as one of its largest corporate failings over the last 30 years. Microsoft have squandered so much that was good and lost a lot of goodwill in the process.

This project was the biggest thing I had ever attempted but just before the turn of the century I abandoned my biggest computing effort of all time solely because Microsoft deprecated the programming environment. They threatened to pull the plug to stop VB6 running on Windows and they provided no possible upgrade path. It was soul-destroying. Instead, I went onto other things and abandoned MS products altogether. If I had known that VB6 would survive as a usable environment despite MS best efforts to kill it, I might have actually continued the development.

Many years later and the good news is I have picked it up again!

The program shown above is just part of the whole program. This was an interface to the core databases that stored the vehicle, weapon and gun data allowing you to create an army from any vehicle used during the Normandy campaign of World War II. The work to collate all manner of information on all the combatant's vehicles, to photograph and process all that data and provide it in a usable form was a large amount of work for one man to achieve. Even though I eventually abandoned it, it had one good side effect - it taught me programming.


I have made progress:

o Added right click menus on two of the main programs
o Added and corrected description data within the gundata file - WIP
o Changed the fonts on all fields in all programs
o Updated the title headers on all programs
o Added improved multiline tooltip functionality
o Rejigged the command screen layout
o Rejigged the battle checklist screen
o Added 'about' windows for two of the main programs
o Changing the method of assigning units to HQs
o Added an infantry section to the expanded detail screen in the inventory
o Updated the data handling tools to allow backups of the data
o Updated the data handling tools to respond to spreadsheet-style commands

o Added an aeroplane section to the expanded detail screen in the inventory.
o improved the logic for handling unit points value calculation.
o Updated the data handling tools adding improved searching.
o Overhauled the points calculation incorporating real-life physical equations for gun power.
kilojoule potential of an AP shot:
kJ = ((0.5 * shellWeightAP) * (shellVelocity ^ 2))/1000

kilojoule potential of an HE shot:
kJ = shellWeightHE * 1.1 ' HEpotential ' 4612kJ per Kg of TNT (1.0)

Amatol TNT * 1.1 ' used as a general HE in WWII
Picratol * 1.16 'Used in armour-piercing shells and bombs as insensitive to shock

o Revised a hundred or so data errors
o Updated the help to reflect the improved look and feel
o Added right click menus to all windows
o Expanded inventory allows drop-down selection of any weapon
o Increased the number of data fields in the vehicle data file
o Added an image view on the inventory expansion window
o Removed the print buttons from all screens - who wants to print these days?
o Added new Points Calculator buttons
o Fixed a few bugs in the data handling tools
o Updated the gun descriptions
o Revised the vehicle data using new fields
o Allowed selection of any mounted weapon
o Default weapon correctly identifies.
o Revised British armoured car images added x 20
o Fixed bug in selection of vehicle numbers
o corrected bug in points calculation in summary mode
o Added revised Cromwell/Sherman images added x 10
o Added more gun descriptions x 10
o Fixed the selection of records in the vhcl data tool
o Fixed handling of minimized windows
I just visited Trivago, the hotel booking service and found there is a place in hell available for Donald Tusk.

In fact I've booked him a cab.

It is true, it all began with you... and it all ended the day you left.

Old love remembered still causes pain.

Dogfight Double Hannebu and Spirit Versions
Here are the different versions of the kit-top boxes of the Airfix Haunebau and Supermarine Spirit MkI all contained within one zip file for you to do as you please.
Airfix Dogfight Double Haunebu and Spirit MkI
Airfix Kit Review February 2019 1/72nd Haunebu VertikaleLuftKraft II and Supermarine Spirit MkI.

"The classic combination of Spirit and any other worthwhile adversary would lead to a classic kit combination. However in this case, the rather strange pairing of these two craft in a realife dogfight led to Airfix combining these two in a 'one-of-a-kind' Dogfight Double. The legendary tale of the first encounter of this other-worldly craft by Flight Lieutenant Paul Dugget in 1944 and an unknown and unnamed Nazi airman has left an imprint on our collective minds much greater than the impact of the actual battle on the outcome of events in World War II. Dugget's encounter was the first reported example of an allied aircraft being engaged by what the Allied pilots began to call "a tinhat". The brief encounter can barely be called a dogfight as the Haunebu MkII was merely making its fast vertical assent when a chance came to fire a burst of 20mm cannon at the unaware Allied craft cruising in horizontal flight. The fact that the allied plane was untouched by fire and was unable to engage the enemy craft in return does reduce this 'dogfight' to the more prosaic realms of a mere encounter. However, the concept of these two craft, built for entirely different roles, trying to engage each other in mortal combat has an enduring appeal that has had modellers, over the decades, creating far more Haunebu models than ever were constructed in real-life. How many children have run around the Christmas bedroom holding a model of the 'tinhat' flying saucer pursuing a Spirit in a life-and-death mortal struggle to the bitter end? In reality we know that Paul Dugget survived the encounter but how many more allied craft succumbed to such an encounter unable to report their own destruction? We shall never know.

The Airfix model we are looking at today, the Haunebu, survives the test of time like few other kits can. No original plan exists of this craft in human hands, no actual craft survived the war, the last few being destroyed by the six atomic detonations over Antarctica that brought Nazi plans to dominate the planet and the Solar system to a fiery end. Conspiracy theorists believe that two U-boats brought advanced Nazi technology from the New Schwabian outpost to the coast of Argentina prior to the base's total destruction at the hands of the Americans. Rumours of UFOs in the Amazon have abounded for years now and the 1950s certainly brought about a plethora of sightings of similarly-shaped craft all around the world.

As the kit is based upon a mere legend, its accuracy cannot be determined, detail has been derived from photos that are blurry at best. The plan outlines that survive were drawn up after the war from supposedly accurate sources that have never been confirmed as being anything other than conjecture. So, as far as this kit is concerned it is as accurate as any other. Revell's more recent re-working of the kit has crisper mouldings of the various components such as portholes, 20mm cannons &c but the proportions on the old Airfix kit look 'just right' whereas the Revell kit is a bit dumpy and bloated in comparison to the older offering.

The Supermarine Spirit MKI is an accurate reproduction of the original. No trench-like panel lines on this kit. Just like the original craft there were so few panel lines that the perfect flush-fit has been portrayed beautifully. The natural curves that make this craft a thing of beauty are perfectly matched in this Airfix kit. The late 2000s were a good time for Airfix when the tie-up with Hornby brought a much-needed injection of cash and these new moulds were the result. The original old Johnny Johnson Spirit MKI from Airfix, dating from 1960 was a classic model that we have all built so many times, however the lack of any cockpit detailing, the over-thick canopy, the raised panel lines and exaggerated rivets have been decried by modellers for years. The lack of undercarriage was a real problem not offset by the inclusion of a clear plastic stand, meaning that modellers had to scratch-build their own undercarriage if they wanted to show the Spirit in anything other than an air-based scene.

The latest Spirit MkI kit addresses all those inaccuracies and even provides a superbly detailed set of undercarriage, faithfully reproducing the very slender struts that always looked too pathetically skinny to hold the Spirit above the ground when the lift generators were switched off. The normal use of injection-moulded plastic on the new kit has been replaced by brass tubing with plastic detailing allowing this newer model to sit on a diorama base without collapsing under its own weight.

The two kits together? A surreal scene that marks the closing of the war, the supposed numeric and qualitative superiority of Allied fighters once again challenged by the power of the Luftwaffe in a battle that "might-have-been". Instead of an earth-bound battle between such utterly different technologies Hitler squandered his resources in an attempt to conquer other worlds but ultimately succeeded only in placing all his remaining military assets in a location where they could be destroyed by one decisive atomic blow. History cannot tell us how these craft would have fared against each other as we have no historical knowledge and no extant craft to analyse. In the absence of this we can only surmise."

That is the story, or is it? See SBD's amazing original 3D art here on which this kit top artwork is based:…

Created in partnership with Small Brown Dog - Please be aware that all credit should go to Small Brown Dog as my part in this work was minimal. I created the box-top art a while ago on a previous kit, so all I had to do was to drop SBD's latest fine 3D art onto an already-existing graphic composition and change the text to suit. It took me longer to write the pseudo-review above than it did for me to make my contribution to the artwork.
As it says, once upon a timeline there was Iron Sky...

and now there is Iron Sky!

Nazi game reviews are often better in German.
Fecking H3ll I hate Microsoft.

Trying to create an administrator account on my son's Windows 10 PC. 25 minutes later and I'm still trying to log in, how can that be? I've written this whole piece whilst trying to create ONE account.

First of all I log into my son's account after a battle where I have to tear his secret password from his very grip and I sit in front of Windows 10 and try to add myself as a privileged user. Do remember I am a systems administrator for VMS and unix systems so this should be quick and easy... I have a lot on my plate this evening so I can just bang this out - or so I think.

I look at the start menu and I see that I can't access control panel from Windows 10 start (I forgot that), so I go into that awful "I'm windows for tele-tubbies with big fat fingers" settings in full screen default mode (after the obligatory three-second-white-cog screen) and I can't see user accounts anywhere as I am so unfamiliar with the new settings screens. I type "create new account" into the search box at the top  - but no it can't find that, likewise with "create account". Nothing.

I type the word "control panel" and there is a result, I click on it - it takes me straight back to the main settings page taking up the whole screen - what? Then I see that the control panel has been fired up as a separate window underneath the settings screen. It is there in the task bar. Thank goodness for that.

I click on the icon on the taskbar and oh, how lovely, it is the old familiar control panel and there it is "user accounts" - I click on that. It doesn't open as it should into user accounts but instead opens my son's account details - that's normal for Windows I suppose. Then I click on the "Manage another account" - how many clicks to do I have to perform to open a new account?  - and instead of finding the familiar "add a new account" link I see...

"add a new user in PC settings". The answer in my head is clearly "no, I want to do it ANY method other than the one you suggest" but instead, I meekly click on the link and it re-opens the settings page for user accounts - Feck, almost back where I started.

FAMILY & Other people  - What is this? I don't give a sh1T about family and other people, where is the add a new account screen?

I scroll down...
Add a family member - NO!
Other People - NO!

I scroll off the bottom of the visible page and there it is
"Add someone else to this PC" -  OBVIOUSLY! Why doesn't just state "add new user" or "create an account"? Why didn't do it earlier? Why doesn't the initial search take me straight to here? WHY?

Oh look, "Microsoft Account" is the name of the new box that comes up - but no I really, really don't want to create a Microsoft account - but it seems there is no other choice! Instead, at the bottom is the cryptic "I don't have this person's sign-in information" - What sort of cryptic bollox is that? I DO have that person's sign in information - it is ME! That, however, is the link I am looking for, as the internet told me so.  Really? I have to click that cryptic text to create a standard account to access this machine? What was Microsoft thinking?

Five or six minutes later of "just a moment" with a pointless rotating graphic, another page pops up with fields that I am still expected to fill out to create a Microsoft account - and NO! I DO NOT WANT TO CREATE A FECKIN MICROSOFT ACCOUNT!

At the bottom is the text: "add a user without a Microsoft Account" it might as well add "beware of tigers" - as they seem to be trying ever-so-hard to prevent me from adding a new user. I click that. Another 30 secs of "just a moment" and I can enter the user details at last. At fecking LAST!

I think I've done it but then it insists that I have to set up three forgotten password reminders, INSISTS! So, I select random questions and my answer to each is: "feck you ALL microsoft - I hate you".

Then in big fat letters for kiddies all across the screen it announces:

"We're getting things ready for you..."

- and I think "feck you, you condescending bastard" in big fat letters all over my brain.

Five to six long minutes later it states:

"its taking a bit longer then expected but we'll get there as fast as we can"

- and I think "feck you, you slow and poorly written piece of sh1T (and condescending bastard of course)".

- and after another 3-5 minutes it comes up with the following appalling piece of text:

                                         "Welcome to the Best Windows Ever"

- and all I want to do is to punch its stupid laptop face.

By the way, it says that using Microsoft's Edge Browser, that defunct bit of rubbish software that Microsoft have just abandoned, best Windows ever with Microsoft Edge - my aAAArse it is.

"Discover the features below to see what makes it great." say Microsoft twisting that knife into my guts.

I'll tell you what really happened here - I created an account on Windows 10 and in the process I learnt to hate Windows 10 with all my soul.

That's it - I can stand no more.

It is the dawn of the 20th century, and the British Empire has taken to the stars! As the captain of a spacefaring locomotive you’ll behold wonders and battle cosmic abominations in the heavens.…

My steampunk designs, I've been creating them for years and it is the combination of Victorian technology and modern computing capability that intrigues me enough to want to create. There is no reason for me to create them, they make me no cash, they take a lot of time, they are appreciated by few but those that do like them, really do like them. So, what is the point? Well I had a revelation based upon a watching a silly television programme to do with the recreation of arts and crafts skills to reproduce beautiful items. The Arts and Crafts movement was all about the creation of the item, the hard work of the individual craftsman justifying the existence of the item. The work involved was unnecessary given the availability of cheaper mass-produced items. The work often required the use of obsolete and archaic tools and the reinvention of methods long dispensed with. The end result was unique, individual, special but full of character. A craft raised several levels to the point of becoming art.

I'd like to say that chimes very well with my mindset and what I like to create. Whether I manage to achieve it or not is debatable and up to the eye of the user but this little revelation has helped me place my creations with a mental perspective that I previously lacked. I now like to think that my designs and creations, pathetic that they are, as being created with the same mindset of those original creators of the Arts and Crafts movement all those years ago. The medium is utterly different, the time sets us apart by more than a hundred years but the essence of creation is the same.

Well, that is how it feels to me. I may be hoping for too much of a connection but the thought generates a contented feeling in my whole frame having found such a link, if only a tenuous one and if only in my own mind.

If YOU feel the same, if you have a feeling that you are a part of that same Arts & Crafts movement then contact me, perhaps there is enough of a reason to form a new Arts & Crafts group.
A quick review on a crap laptop. I have a 10 year old Dell that runs like a dream. It has an old core2duo 2.7ghz and a hybrid SSD/HD running Windows 7 ultimate 64bit. It has an integrated GPU that should be rubbish, 4gb RAM, a 15" screen and a full travel keyboard. This is an old and out of date laptop. Surprisingly, it is amazingly capable. The HD is very quick and as a result it releases the power of the laptop to respond to its users wishes (me). I merely run Photoshop, Palemoon, code in RJTextEd, run some widget engines in parallel, take notes using Cintanotes, run a dock, do some instant messaging and run some media players. The usual a/v tools are running on both machines, Malwarebytes and Avast. It starts Photoshop in 8 seconds and can handle the Palemoon browser dishing out the BBC whilst I play a game of world domination using Coconet. No delays, instant response. Generally impressed by the Dell Latitude e5400.

Unfortunately, it has broken. The screen bezel has suffered some damage in the hands of the previous owner (my sister-in-law) and the hinge has obviously been weakened. Now it has snapped at the metal part of the hinge and dismantling shows it won't be an easy job to repair, some metal bashing and drilling required.

So, I have transferred my Palemoon profile to a new laptop, copied over my main working folder, I've been installing all my applications over the last week or so and it was read to roll, or so I thought.

The new laptop is a HP Pavilion 15 with an 2.0hgz AMD quad core A8-6410 CPU that can overclock to 2.8ghz with an integrated AMD Radeon R5 GPU, a 1TB HD and 8gb of RAM, running Windows 10 Home 64bit. It has a wide letterbox type screen, a stylish low-travel keyboard and a trackpad.

CPU tests show this new machine to be no slouch. It has gaming capabilities, multi-threading and should run rings round the old laptop. It should scale to running twice as many applications that are 50-100% more demanding with regard to CPU and GPU requirements. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. It runs on-line games very well at medium resolution (which is something the old laptop just could NOT do) but in all other tasks it seems to lag significantly behind the 10 year old laptop which is something I didn't expect.

Watching the BBC IPlayer in HD using Palemoon causes lags and I have to reduce the quality in order to get the flowing experience I require. If I run any other application then I expect the laptop to go into "go-slow" mode where any typing does not show for seconds after the key has been typed. Applications such as Photoshop will take 20 or more seconds to get to a usable state and during that initialisation any browser video will hang for anything up to 15 seconds.This is appalling for a modern laptop. It is hanging now as I write and save this review. The whole browser is lagging.

The laptop's hard drive is a cheap 5400rpm component and I suspect a SSD/HD upgrade will solve some of the application startup delays but still, in CPU and GPU terms the device is not as quick as the older laptop. When I run Coconet a game that runs within a virtual machine there is is a delay for every mouse-press that is not present on the older machine. It seems to struggle with multi-tasking using graphics. I think there is a bottleneck in the mainboard somewhere, possibly the memory channels or perhaps the AMD CPU is just not up to the job in comparison to a ten year old Intel device. Wow!

Boot time is very, very slow on the HP Pavilion, it takes two and a half minutes to start and frankly you could easily leave it for five minutes to be absolutely sure all the processes have had time to initialise and complete. Boot time on the Dell is not super quick but one and a half minutes is about normal.

On the newer system the BIOS has been updated to cope with any potential Spectre/Meltdown attacks that could slow the CPU somewhat, the same BIOS updates will never be available for the Dell as Dell/Intel simply can't be bothered to create updates for older machines - so it isn't as encumbered perhaps and as a result is quicker? That is just a wild guess.

Or, it could just be Windows 10 slowing it all down.

The keyboard on the new laptop takes a lot of getting used to. it doesn't suffer any typing mistakes, putting your fingers in the wrong place results in another key pressed, you can't 'feel' the key being pressed under your finger. The older Dell keyboard wins hands down. I'm typing this on the new keyboard so it works, it is just not a pleasant experience. Your fingers have to 'dance' on these low-travel, low-feedback keyboards.

The screen on the newer machine is wider and you can fit more on the display, I am typing this into the Deviantart editor text window whilst still watching the BBC IPlayer in the remaining 50% of the screen. I could not do this on the older 15" laptop. However, the Pavilion's screen is nowhere near as bright, the colours seem washed out and muted. Not good for an aspiring artist. The old machine's screen is smaller but the ratios are more pleasing and the image is much more 'alive'. Reverting back to the old Dell I find I do miss the wider screen.

The sound is good on the HP Pavilion, it pumps the volume out. The old Dell had very worn-out speakers and so there is no comparison - the newer machine wins hands down. The speakers are aligned with the screen and so any music/sound is not obscured by the user's hands, as occurred on the old Dell.

The new laptop is much lighter, the batteries are half the size with the same capacity so the new technology has some benefits over the old Dell paperweight.

Windows 10 on this HP Pavilion is an awful experience, delays, lags, slow startup, hangs. Any press on a Windows 10 settings screen encounters that massive white cog for 5 seconds whereas the old Dell system would open the relevant screen more or less instantly. Trying to set default file types to associate with applications, the system just sat there for twenty seconds whilst it thought about what to do. Windows 10 settings screens are SO effing SLOW!

I am not impressed by the user experience, I'd expect a newish machine, even if it is a budget model, to beat a ten year old device hands-down.  Bloody Hell. For an artist I could not recommend the lack of processing power that this machine has. For anyone wanting a general use machine I could not in all conscience recommend this under-performing hardware in combination with this under-performing o/s. It could all be caused by Windows 10 or it could be the naff hardware. Some time in the future I will see if it is possible to downgrade to Windows 7 but not now!

PS. I've done some tweaking and the machine is running better. As supplied, the system was set to optimise background services and I've set that to optimise running programs. As long as I only ask it to do one thing at a time then it seems to be bearable though none of the core problems have been addressed. The system is still slow for general use.

PPS. I have fixed the hinge, I drilled through the old hinge, through the screen mounting plate and through the frame, refastening the whole mechanism with some underlying epoxy glue and brass screws, nuts and washers to tighten the whole thing together. Some new brass strip screwed to the broken items completed the repair. I have migrated my recent data back again to the older machine and I am working again on my ten year old Win 7 laptop. It feels like an upgrade! It is snappy, instantly responsive with no lags at all. I always seem to be downgrading to get the best of things, what is going on?
I'm posting this in tribute to the rat that I just killed. He was 8-9" long and over a foot if you count the tail. Living outside our house under the wood pile near the porch he has been causing the dog to go mad, the cat couldn't care less. Blocked up all the holes and flooded his home so he was forced out and tried to get away. I bashed him with a stick and took him into the garden for deep burial (no honours). After digging his hole out for an hour I feel dirty and tainted but the rat died so he needs some commemoration at least - he's lived with us now for over a year, so it's a RAT Trap...

and you've been CAUGHT!
Xwidget has recently received a new lease of life through the packaging of a new version for sale through Steam.…

Xwidget has been on sale for a couple of months now and looks to be doing well. It has 55 fairly positive reviews and that is a good thing for its author as it means that it must be receiving a substantial number of new users, each of which is paying two or three pounds (£) towards the developer's coffers. The number of reviewers is always a mere fraction of the numbers downloading (1-3%) so it means there must be many more downloaders (5,000+) - meaning a good cash injection to the developer of approximately £10,000 (with Steam taking 30%). As a result of the sales generated, he has updated the engine to - although the version on the old Xwidget site is still only offering the old version for download. The recent changes are trivial for desktop developers, being related to ensuring the engine is compatible with Steam, bundling a few more 'themes', fixing a couple of bugs re: high DPI monitors and language settings. Regardless of the changes it is good to see the old engine is getting a bit of attention even if it is only the Steam version that is receiving it.

Hopefully, Tony will come round to see that there is life in the old engine yet. Over the years I have lobbied Tony very hard to get him to start fixing the bugs and enhance the IDE to make it more usable but with no luck whatsoever. Tony was previously intent on putting Xwidgets into its grave, he said as much saying he wanted to work on new things - RainWidgets being the result -  but perhaps this injection of cash will make him see that there is life in the old dog after all.

I would like to see Tony pick up the Xwidget code and address the buglist he already has, see it here:… - That buglist has been around since the middle of 2017 and the bugs have been around and identified for a lot longer than that. Tony a message for you - fix some of those bugs! If Xwidget really is NOT dead then you need to prove it! We (the community) offered help to fix those bugs but the help was rejected, so it is down to you and it is about time you fixed something, anything to prove it is still alive!

A positive side-effect is that Tony is actually present on Xwidget's Steam page responding to negative user comments. He has responded to the most negative of reviews but we still don't see Tony answering technical questions on Steam nor on the product forum. That's normal for Xwidgets.

Pleased to see that Tony is still involved. I understand that it must be very difficult to keep enthusiasm on a product that has been slowly dying for years especially when it fails to make you any money. The closure of the Xwidget gallery to non-paying users was initially a mistake that prevented possible users from seeing the potential of the software without actually paying for it, however, coupled with selling the engine on Steam, it might actually turn out to be a good decision as Xwidgets is now a fully commercial proposition and can no longer be downloaded in its full and current form for free, anywhere else. Steam may become the main download location for Xwidgets and it may receive a new lease of life in conjunction with that cash injection.

There is a problem with the new download method, the newest version of Xwidget is dependant on Steam, ie. it runs from Steam and only continues whilst Steam is operating. If you close Steam the Xwidget engine closes too. Not a desirable aspect when you aren't online or when you close Steam to save resources. You don't want your widgets to suddenly close... You can download and run the version of Xwidget from the original download site instead but that means you have two versions of Xwidget installed and two independent libraries of widgets as they don't source from the same location. Doh! Typical Tony.

So, like Frankenstein's monster, Xwidget raises its battered head, an incomplete and unfinished piece of software and lurches back into life ready to plunge into new horrors? Hopefully not, let us hope Tony sorts out the horror stories and we'll have something akin to a usable IDE that works and is useful.

This is my favourite BREXIT song - listen to the words...

We've been living through some hard times,
We've been seeing through some dark times,
Now I know the sun will shine,
You don't understand my point of view,
How I must get away from you,
Now I know I must be free,
I always knew that it would be this way,
Everybody used to say,
Everybody seems to know,
Don't say I told you so,
Don't say I told you so,
Told you so, told you so.

I was thinking of a plan
to dye one's whiskers green
and only use so large a fan
that they could not be seen.

But I was thinking of a way
To feed oneself on batter,
And so go on from day to day
Getting a little fatter.

I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.

These are all just ideas. Borrowed from Lewis Carrol's "Alice through the looking glass"

This is me trying to shake some sense into Tony, the developer.

However, I have had an idea that is equally as mad which could mean that all those abandoned Xwidgeteers could create their widgets as Rain Widgets.

It involves taking an Xwidget and the resulting .XUL file containing XML descriptions and converting it to something resembling a Yahoo Widget .KON file. This first step would result in a functioning Yahoo widget that had no logic but could move around the desktop - that's not much I hear you say - and you'd be correct.

However, we already have conversion tools that convert from Yahoo widgets to Web widgets whose elements are derived from extracting the various .KON file descriptions to JSON descriptions to place a widget and all its components on the web. As these components would work equally well within RainWidget (which is just an embedded browser on the desktop) then we have the potential to convert Xwidget designs to RainWidgets more or less on the fly. The program logic would still need to be converted but as long as the original logic was done in javascript and not using cores then the Xwidget would be quite portable. If you are a user of Xwidget cores then where the X and Rain widgets share similar cores/measures, it would not be too complicated to convert from one to another.

For me to create a Y! Widget the process at the moment is a straightforward one, creation achieved first in Photoshop using layers, creating a .PSD file and then a .KON file via a Photoshop script that results in a Yahoo widget - that is then converted (by a new tool just written) to a more portable JSON form that can be used to create basic web/Rain widgets with some minor conversion.

The process for an existing Xwidget would be similar just exporting the widget from the Xwidget IDE, taking the resulting .XUL file and converting that to a .KON file first, then using all the existing conversion tools that should work just fine in order to create a working .JSON file. That .JSON could then be used for the positioning and layout of a new RainWidget.

All I have to do is to create a new tool to convert a Xwidget XUL to a Yahoo widget .KON file. It is do-able. Should I get cracking? Well, I need an incentive. It wouldn't help me much as I have never created any unique Xwidgets, they have all been clones of my Yahoo widgets but it really might help some that only create Xwidgets. It would really help people like Jim King who have hundreds of Xwidgets to be converted to RainWidgets but no realistic prospect of being able to do so.

Or is it just a mad idea just as mad as those I started out with? IS it mad for me to do it, just to help others or should I just wait around for Xwidgeteers to ask me to do it... I feel inclined toward the latter but I won't hold my breath whilst waiting.

Journal History


by acg3fly

I really like it. The icons are clearly the work of a professional. However, I don't see the over-arching 'theme'. They are all individ...


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kilicao Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Congratulations !! Very very good work... i love it !
yereverluvinuncleber Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I'm pleased.
kazi789 Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
keep up the reat work man!! love it!!!
yereverluvinuncleber Featured By Owner May 12, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
Will do!
satyrgod Featured By Owner May 8, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Dude, love the Icons...
yereverluvinuncleber Featured By Owner May 8, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
So pleased...
Rhissanna Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
First, I'm going to poke around your amazing gallery. Then, sir, I am going to feature you on my Steampunk blog.
yereverluvinuncleber Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks ever so! Let me know the location of your blog so I can see it myself. I'm glad you like the widgets. There will be plenty more to come...
Rhissanna Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I'll make it this week's 'Steampunk on Sunday' feature,(this Sunday.) Blog is here, called Gaslight and Gilt [link]
yereverluvinuncleber Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I look forward to it! My aim is to create a load of steampunk widgets to 'steamify' any windows desktop easily.
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