Virtual Bloke

A most splendid computational device

Every now and then I get bored with my current desktop and set about changing it. This time around, inspired by some amazing widgets that I found, I went full-on steampunk. With knobs on!

This is the desktop as it currently stands:

The wallpaper is a stunner: Cell Wall Inverted by TormentedArtifacts on DeviantART. It’s such a bloody gorgeous, rich blue that – while I could have gone with any number of the really great wood/leather/cog wallpapers that I found – I couldn’t resist it.

Next, the Windows 7 skin. This is a WindowBlinds skin called Steampunk II  by k1ow3 on DeviantART. The theme is free, but the WindowBlinds program costs $9.99 (get it here). It comes bundled with Skin Studio, which is good for editing skins (I had to increase the font size on the taskbar buttons, as 8px was just far too small to be comfortable) and also for making your own.

There are a few minor issues with the skin, which I’m going to dig deeper into, using Skin Studio. The replacement start button, for example (as you can just about see in the full desktop screenshot above) doesn’t fill the taskbar; rather it sits at the top of it. But here are some screenshots of the lovely  things it will do to a Windows 7 installation:

I’d love to be able to give these keys a wood or brass texture:

And here’s the start menu. As you can see, I’ve begun replacing the icons (only the Notepad one is done at the moment). What you can’t see there is all the animated cogs that whir at the top, which weren’t captured by my screenshot program. Check out the screenshots at the creator’s DeviantART page to see those.

You can just see a glimpse of my Firefox theme in the image above. I’m using Steampunk Dream3 by DianCecht.

The icon set is a massive one by Samantha-Wright on DeviantART, called Icons of the Library. 918 utterly gorgeous old icons to replace those on your desktop. Long and skinny screenshot of the few that I keep on my desktop (I don’t like to clutter a desktop with too many icons, as it makes for a slow start-up, thanks to prefetching) –

The last two are shortcuts, but I found a nice little registry tweak that removes the anachronistic (and, let’s face it, downright fugly anyway) shortcut arrow. Check out this post by Mr Tibbs on the Brass Goggles forum.

And here’s what started it all off: the breathtaking steampunk widgets by LightQuick Web Design. I’m using the ones that run on the Yahoo Widgets engine (the old Konfabulator engine) but there are variants for XWidget and Rainmeter as well.

First, the weather widget. This pulls from either a list of cities (sorry, but you’ll have to go to the nearest city or large town for this; local weather not supported) or METAR data, which can usually be found at your nearest airport. For a list of ICAO codes (for METAR entry) see here.

Next, the Orrery Calendar Clock. All of these widgets are resizable, so you can have this filling the desktop, if you like. This is what made me change the whole damn desktop theme, because it’s stunning. And did I mention that all of these are animated?!

The Resource Monitor widget, which has so many options, you’ll be fiddling for hours ;-)

The Clock Calendar widget (and yes, I know this means I have a load of clocks and calendars on my desktop now. I don’t care!)

And, finally from LightQuick, an adorable little Nixie Tube Valve Clock. By default this also counts the seconds, but I only wanted hours and minutes:

(Another great little Nixie Clock that I downloaded but which didn’t really fit with the general style of what I had in mind is Erco’s Nixie Clock. You might find this one works well with a darker background.)

LightQuick also have some great steampunk-style icon sets, here.

Soooo, did I stop at my computer?

Nah. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I was gonna use it ;-)

All of the customisation is by Mindseed Design. Because they all run through apps, you don’t need to root/jailbreak your phone for them.

The lock screen (above) runs through GO Locker, and it’s the Steampunk Light GO Locker. (Google Play link.)

The main launcher is GO Launcher, and I’m running Steampunk GO Launcher. (Google Play link.) This is my home screen. There are so many available slots that I’m struggling to fill the other four screens!

The keyboard runs through (you guessed it!) GO Keyboard. Steampunk GO Keyboard. (Google Play link.)

And, finally, the SMS runs through (yep!) GO SMS. Steampunk GO SMS Widget. (Google Play link.)


I’ve added some Rainmeter skins (and removed the Windowblinds skin for now; while it was beautiful it was messing with some of my programs to a degree that made it annoying). The desktop now looks like this:

Click here for a larger version

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5 thoughts on “A most splendid computational device
    1. It’s a stunner, isn’t it? Needs a few small tweaks, but overall it looks amazing. I’m really pleased with it.

    1. Thanks, Uncle Bert ;-)

      If you’re taking requests, I’d love to see a steampunk-style sticky note widget. At the moment, I use the Win7 sticky notes app for stuff that I need to remember, but it’s pretty jarring against all the other steampunky stuff.

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