How to use custom-made Themes under Windows XP/Vista/7

Deskmodding is the art or the act of customizing the appearance of the graphical user interface. Usually this is done on the level of the operating system, but there are also single applications that allow to modify their appearance by so-called skins. For the operating system Windows it is not possible to easily change the default appearance as the selection of themes that can be selected is limited to a handful of designs like the classic Windows interface, Luna for Windows XP and Aero since Vista. Windows Media Center Edition brought a revamped version of Luna which became very popular.

But apart from those designs, Windows does not permit to select user-made themes. This is due to a check in the file uxtheme.dll in the system32 folder. There are dozens of downloads of patches that promise to replace the file with a patched version that permits so select whatever style one prefers. But it is easy to download the wrong patch or even get a virus on one’s computer this way. But there is an alternative: UxStyle. Continue reading “How to use custom-made Themes under Windows XP/Vista/7”

Using Funambol to sync Thunderbird(s) and Windows Mobile phone

This is an article explaining how to synchronise one calendar (+tasks) and one address book of two PCs with Thunderbird (Lightning plugin for calendar) and a Windows Mobile phone. It is based on the open source synchronisation server Funambol and needs one of the computers to act as a server. The advantage to other solutions I tried (like FinchSync or the Addressbooks Synchroniser add-on) is that it covers all synchronisations even between different device types.

One disadvantage of my how-to is that the data which is synchronised is transmitted without encryption. However, it is possible to somehow use SSL encryption for the data transfer, but so far I am afraid of the effort to reconfigure all again now that it works. Another disadvantage concerns the fact that currently only one calendar and one address book can be synchronised. While this restriction does not bother me now, it might render this solution useless for you. Continue reading “Using Funambol to sync Thunderbird(s) and Windows Mobile phone”