Weather-based Aero Color

good
key review info
application features
  • Temperature-based color changes
  • (3 more, see all...)

What does weather forecast have in common with Windows 7? Well, it looks like the temperature outside can influence the looks of your Windows 7, if you have AeroWeather installed. This little application is designed to change the hue of your Aero theme according to the temperature or weather condition in a specific area.

Some users like changing the way the desktop looks only once in a while, but others live in the fast lane and need to see some modification, as small as possible, with a higher frequency. CustoPack Tools gives you the chance to a total makeover of Windows 7, while the operating system itself offers the possibility to alter the color of the windows and, implicitly, the Aero theme if transparency is enabled.

In this regard, you benefit from color mixing choices. There are sliders to adjust color intensity as well as Hue, Saturation and Brightness editing options. This is exactly what AeroWeather uses in order to render a different blee, according to the temperature outside.

The application retrieves the location based on the zip code of your location and then connects to a weather server to retrieve the current temperature. One thing you should know, though, is that it only accepts valid US location codes (so the temperature is only in Fahrenheit degrees).

Installation is no tough job. When this completes (it only takes an instant to show the application window, thanks to the ClickOnce installer) you are ready to start the configuration process; make sure you have .NET Framework installed. This should not take long considering that you have to punch in the zip code of your location (the app will validate it by showing its name), choose the regulator of the color type (temperature or weather condition) and the color range (from zero to 100).

During our tests we found it impossible to update the program to the weather conditions and only temperature would dictate the color change. The color range for temperature is between red and purple. Thus, the colder it gets outside the closer to purple your window color will be, while heat will alters the hue towards the red gamut.

Besides setting the zip code or color range, AeroWeather brings a night mode option designed to dim the aero colors automatically at night. The result will be a less vibrant color. The information on the sun set is retrieved from the weather server.

AeroWeather makes for a pretty handy guide on the temperature outside, as soon as you get familiar with the colors and the temperatures they represent, but the improvements it can undergo compile a hefty list. Starting with the simple issues, like the restriction to US territory or lack of support for Celsius unit measurement, and ending with more complex ones, like updating the weather conditions, the application has plenty of flaws.

Still on the downside, we noticed that AeroWeather does not place an entry among the items starting with Windows, nor does it feature an option to add it to this list. This means you will have to manually start it or fit its shortcut in Windows Startup folder.

When the application is closed, aero color will not revert to its initial configuration, but maintain the last temperature-based hue. Luckily Windows lets you save a copy of the original theme before altering it, complete with the aero color you set, so you can revert to that.

When the program is restarted it will no longer display the name and state of the town the zip code makes reference to. Instead, it would appear as not set, which leads us to the conclusion that you have to set it each time you start the app. Fortunately the zip code is preserved, so you only have to re-type it and re-validate it.

AeroWeather was built more for aesthetic reasons rather than functional ones, as continual change of Windows Aero color is a very neat trick to pull; plus this benefits all computer users. However, for those up to the challenge and based in United States, the app also informs you on the temperature of your current location.

It does not take too much effort to install and run it, but it can be further improved to appeal to a larger audience.


The Good

AeroWeather is easy to use and makes for a pretty good aero color changing gadget. You get to customize the color range it should use for rendering the temperature.

It features night mode feature, which, once enabled, causes the colors to dim at night automatically.

The Bad

There are plenty of improvements to be made, like adding support for areas outside US, or Celsius measurement.

Also, adding an option to make it start with Windows or revert aero color to its initial setting would be a great touch. Moreover, updating weather conditions did not work in our case.

Another downfall is the fact that configuration window which is visible only if the desktop is clear of other windows.

The Truth

AeroWeather makes for a nifty gadget that changes the window color according to the temperature. It does not support locations outside US, so the rest of the world can use it just for aesthetic reasons.

The app is a small project which can be further enhanced both with features as well as options and fixes.
user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
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