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It's been one week since the release of Enigma v4, and I wanted to take stock of our numbers, for those who are interested in such egotistical things.

By the end of today, about 7,000 users will have downloaded version 4 from deviantArt. Another 1,700 from the mirror on Customize.org. But the overwhelming majority will have come directly from the source repository on GitHub: 22,000.

This was a really stunning revelation to me. I have always assumed that deviantArt accounted for the bulk of our user base. The numbers, however, suggest that a good many of you are getting Enigma through either the official website, or through Rainmeter.net, where we are privileged to have Enigma listed as a "featured" suite.

I consider both of these to be good news, and I hope that it will lead more Rainmeter users to GitHib. I honestly didn't know what GitHub was all about until Smurfier roped me into moving the Enigma source code there. But in the two months since then, I have been thoroughly impressed by both its ease of use and by the powerful project management tools that it has to offer. A Rainmeter suite may not be anything like, say, Linux in terms of size and complexity. But it's been a pleasant surprise to discover that the same tools are not only relevant, but also accessible for a project in our class. If you're interested in sharing your Rainmeter code and concepts with others, or collaborating on a big skin project, I really encourage you to give GitHub a try.

Circling back to the numbers: Enigma 3.1 had about 170,000 downloads from deviantArt in the year since its release. Unfortunately, I had no way of tracking downloads from my domain before switching to GitHub. But since I've done little to no new advertising since 3.1, we can assume that the proportions were similar, which means that the total propagation of 3.1 was probably in the neighborhood of 770,000. I don't think there's any way to end this post without thanking everyone who's given their support to this project, and hope this wind stays at our backs. :)
Release notes on the deviation page. :)
Is available here.

I need to give special thanks to smurfier, who has been a huge help to me this cycle. Among many other things, he's contributed his latest features from LuaCalendar, and he's tightened up some of my code considerably. If you like what you see in Enigma 4, be sure to thank him.

I've decided to jump on the Chrome bandwagon and simplify my version numbering. The next stable update will be Enigma 4. After that will be 5, 6, 7, etc. If I need to do patches, they'll still use decimals (e.g. 4.1, 4.2).

Finally, for those who are interested, the Enigma source code is now being hosted on GitHub. So if you want to see, test, and give feedback on new features before the beta, you can "Watch" the project page on GitHub and follow Enigma's development in real time. :)

See the development thread on Rainmeter.net for more about the changes and new features coming in Enigma 4.
An update to Enigma will be released one week from today. This will mainly address bug reports and other feedback from Enigma 3.0. It will also streamline the configuration process, combining resources that used to be split across several files, and add a handful of new features and improvements.
More info.
A skin called "Enigma HD" has been posted in the Rainmeter gallery. This skin uses the same screenshot and description text as the original Enigma. This is a scam, designed to trick users into downloading malware.

I'd really appreciate it if you would take a moment to go to this page and click the "Report Deviation" button, which is located at the bottom of the far-right column. Use the form for "Permission Issues". It will only take a minute, but with your help we can get this knockoff taken down as quickly as possible.

The deviant responsible, GrieveLogs, has also posted a fake copy of Blue Vision. I'm sure g3xter would also appreciate it if we submit reports on his behalf.
I'm sorry to report that the next Enigma update is still not going to be forthcoming for a while. I'd rather not explain why, for which I am doubly sorry; suffice to say, a multitude of developments in my life have made pursuing a hobby project, even such a gratifying one, completely inappropriate for the time being.

I may take a page out of poiru's book and create a Google Code repository for my skin files, such that all you intrepid developers and customizers can still benefit from the work that's already been done. I don't know exactly what's involved in that process, but if it's simple enough I'll try to get to it this week.

Really sorry again, and I hope this interruption is a lot more temporary than last time.

And thank you, as always, for your continuing interest in and support for my work. It does in fact mean a great deal to me.
It's here! And I'll be taking full advantage of the new features in the very near future. :)
Ready and waiting. Check the post for screenshots and details. :)
If anyone's interested, the first beta version of Enigma 2.8 is available now. :)
At the risk of some pretentious rhetoric, I hereby formally endorse the Rainmeter Skin Package (.RMSKIN) standard. Releasing your skin as a .RMSKIN package means that your users no longer need to extract files out of an archive and figure out where to copy things. They can now install your skin in just one click. You can configure your .RMSKIN to keep their existing settings, and even load a skin or theme after installing.

This is really something that everyone in the community should be adopting now - it's a huge advantage to users and developers alike. As such, I have updated all of the skins in my gallery - including Enigma, Arcs, Simplicity 2, Rings, and Emiko - to use the new format. The more of you who do the same, the better and stronger the Rainmeter ecosystem will be. :)
I've finally got a few weeks of (relatively) free time ahead of me. I intend to make the most of it.

I am enormously grateful to ~dragonmage and smurfier, who took it upon themselves to keep Enigma up and running during my year-long absence. I've released their changes as Enigma 2.7, and I'll be continuing to work with dragonmage to implement some very intriguing ideas.

The current plan is to make Enigma 2.8 ready by January, to coincide with the release of Rainmeter 1.4. The first alpha should go up on the Rainmeter forums in the next week or two; I'll post another update then. New features in Rainmeter 1.3 & 1.4 have made it possible for me to simplify and streamline the Enigma source code to an unbelievable extent, while offering some powerful tools for users and modders to make it their own - as they always have.

I'm really excited about this one. I feel that Enigma has grown old and stale in comparison to beautiful suites like Gnometer and ABP, and I have some ideas that I hope will bring an old favorite into the new decade.
Never again. I've come back to 1700 messages in my inbox, and that's just on deviantArt. I'll get to as many as I can in the next few days/weeks/months, but I'm really sorry if I don't answer yours. If it's important, don't be afraid to keep pestering me.

I'm really looking forward to getting back into the Rainmeter community - especially anxious to try out 2.0 - as soon as I can. But the fact is, I don't get paid for Enigma, and due to my financial circumstances for the past 6-7 months - forgive me for omitting the personal details - I've had no choice but to focus on what I can get paid for. I'm hopeful that things will loosen up soon, though. In the meantime, I can't thank the members of this community enough for your patience and overwhelming support. I ain't gonna abandon you, I promise.

Note: I've updated my email address and homepage URL below. My profile here was woefully outdated, and I apologize for that. Email is still the best way to reach me.
We've had a report that Iranian users are being blocked from downloading Rainmeter. If there are any Persians on my watchlist, I would really appreciate it if you'd head over to Rainmeter.net and let me know if you're able to download the software.

Now, there is only one confirmed case of this, so it's way too early to start pointing fingers. But after the nightmare of the election protests in June, which I followed obsessively, the possibility of such oppressive Internet censorship, applied to a project and a community into which I've poured a lot of work and creative effort, hits close to home.

It may be a small matter in the grand scheme of things - if Rainmeter is blocked, then so are hundreds of other programs, I'm sure - but, as the U.S. Marines say of their rifles, this one is mine. Simply put, if your government is trying to build a wall between you and this community, I will make it my mission to defeat them. I have some server space that I could set up as an alternative download source, a proxy server, etc. Failing that, I could just email the damn thing to as many Iranians as request it. I know others who are willing to do the same.

Anyway, if this isn't the case at all, please don't hesitate to say so and make me look like an idiot. :)
For those of you who haven't caught the word, Rainmeter 1.1 is now available from the newly-revamped rainmeter.net.

While this was originally promised as a quick update to follow the 1.0 release back in August, the length of the delay is proportional to the growth of the feature list. :) Here's a partial list:

- A new utility called RainBrowser helps users manage their library of skins through a GUI interface. RainBrowser lets you preview skins, read detailed setup instructions, and even search by tag. Thanks to the addition of skin metadata, this is something other apps can take advantage of, as well.
- Taking a cue from HTML5, skins may now use local fonts. This means you can design and download skins with gorgeous fonts without having to fully install them in Windows.
- Instead of a lot of tedious and repetitive coding, new stylesheets let you customize appearance and settings for many skins at once.
- Enigma now supports Google Calendar, Yahoo! Weather, Winamp and Foobar right out of the box. New skins also let you monitor your WiFi signal, world clocks, and even the current moon phase (which has been requested surprisingly often).
- Rainmeter's improved interface lets you middle-click to cycle through a family of skins and launch useful addons from the context menu.
- Last time, many people were frustrated by having to add skins to their desktops one-by-one. With the new pre-made Preview Theme, you can make your desktop match the arrangement in the preview screenshot with one click.
- The instructions have been expanded into a full-sized PDF manual.

As always, I'll be updating the source files here on dA (gonna take care of that right after this post). I've made some new additions to the Special Features suite, including a Launchy skin and Visage, a tiny tray utility that lets you set the transparency of open windows using hotkeys.

For more details (especially for skin developers, who probably benefit the most from this update), see the preview post from last month. :)
I just wanted to make you all aware that the deviant account InTime-69 is uploading some sort of spam or malware and disguising it as stolen copies other people's work. (I find this method rather self-defeating, but then, as was said by a certain fictional president, "some of the stupidest criminals in the world are working right here in America - I've always been very proud of that.")

As you may have guessed, I discovered this when I saw a copy Simplicity 2.0 - which I uploaded this afternoon - appear in a search as "Simplicity V3." The download contains nothing but a setup program for "Realtek Azalia Audio - Event Monitor." I made what I think was a wise decision not to run this program.

Anyway, the more people who report it, the better chance we have of stopping the bugger and saving more deviants' good work from being hijacked. So please take a minute and click the button. :)
Windows-customizing deviants will be pleased to learn that Rainmeter, the popular system monitor app and a growing competitor to Samurize, has just undergone its first public release in over three years. After a long period of abandonware status, the project was resurrected several months ago by a dedicated team of developers and is now officially supported once more.

Enigma, meanwhile, is a skin package for Rainmeter which has received widespread attention from the likes of Lifehacker, Windows Vista Magazine and the German publication Computer Bild.

To consolidate each other's popularity, these two projects are being released together, with Enigma as Rainmeter's new "default" skin. You can now download Rainmeter 1.0 from its homepage at Rainmeter.net.

- - - - - - -

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 (www.rainmeter.net/forum/index.…) 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.
A few days ago, I announced that the next - and in a sense, the final - update to Enigma was swiftly approaching. As of now, Enigma 2.5 is here.

But that's only half the story.

I also mentioned a particular "surprise" that was still under wraps. I've been eager to unveil this news for days, and now that the moment has arrived, I'm free to talk. As you may already know, Rainmeter is finally coming out of beta, with its first major update in nearly three years. And among a plethora of new and improved features - a list long enough to warrant its own post - there is one that is most exciting for me: Enigma has been chosen as the default skin for Rainmeter 1.0. As of now, the entire config comes prepackaged with the current version of the app.

Get it here.

This dual-release is not only an accomplishment for the app developers and myself, but a real tribute to the strength and passion of the nascent Rainmeter community. After literally years of drifting in the Internet void, the project was resurrected a few months ago by a group of designers for no other reason than their belief in Rainmeter's potential. This was around the same time that I took a bit of an unplanned sabbatical from the community.

Imagine my surprise to find, three months later, an active forum, full of new skins, third-party addons and plugins, a lively exchange of tips and concepts, tech support from people who know what they're talking about, and even streaming updates to the app itself, brimming with long-awaited features and fixes. A centralized wealth of talent and creativity that makes the atmosphere in which I first developed Enigma look like the Dark Ages, and is literally a dream come true.

This time around, I had a board full of beta testers. I had daily releases with exactly the upgrades I needed for the things on my rather-ambitious agenda. I had my coding questions answered by the makers themselves. And there was almost always someone in the IRC chatroom, where the whole idea of this joint-release came to be. For the past week, I've been working 'round the clock with the developers - Gregory Schoppe, "Sergeant" E. V. McKay, elestel, kenz0, dragonmage, the indispensable Jeff Morley (who spent a full day on the config tool that now appears in Enigma), and of course Rainy himself - to get this thing ready for the public and the next phase of its evolution. These guys are as clever as they are fearless, and I honestly believe the Rainmeter platform has the potential to eclipse Samurize and redefine an entire class of desktop applications. It is a real honor to be a part of it.

Please don't hesitate to register at Rainmeter.net and get involved in the community. There has never been a better time.

- - - - - - -

Read more at Liquid Crystal Discourse.
Hi, folks.

First of all: Anyone who's e-mailed me or left me dA messages about Enigma deserves my deepest apologies. I'm doing my best to respond to as many of you as possible, but there are still hundreds of messages that have gone unanswered, some of them for months, and I feel terrible about that. (If I ever run into some money, I'll hire an assistant to respond to them all.) I know it's become cliché to say something like this, but it's humbling to see how passionate and genuinely appreciative you all are, and I really have read each message. I hope the fact that most of this paragraph was copied and pasted from my Flickr post won't undermine my sincerity. :)

Speaking of which, please do have a look if you're interested in my future plans for Enigma. I know there are still some glaring issues with the current version, and I assure you those will take priority.

Lastly, I know at least a few of you were disappointed that Liquid Crystal Discourse never really got off the ground, so I wanted to let you know that I'm reaffirming my commitment to the blog with a minimum quota of 1 post per week.

Cheers, and thank you very much for your patience.
For a while now, I've been thinking about starting a blog dedicated specifically to desktop customization concept and design. That blog is now a reality:

Liquid Crystal Discourse

I have no idea if there's any interest or potential readership for this thing, but I'm going to give it a shot. Planned content includes continuing shots of my own desktop setup, updates on my various projects, features of other people's setups that I think are worth spotlighting (like Lifehacker's featured desktops), aimless musings on interface concept and theory, answering questions/requests, and whatever else comes to mind.

It probably won't update too frequently; I prefer to go for quality over quantity. But that depends very much on how much demand there is, so if you're interested, I hope you'll have a look and comment a bit. Dialogue, sharing of ideas and resources, is the whole point. :)

I've written a whole intro post over at the blog, if you want to learn more.

Also, I vetted the title a bit, and it seemed to go over well, but if it's actually a violent offense to people's literary sensibilities, I apologize.