Liquid Dream
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Master Skin

Liquid Dream

Updated Jun 21, 2007 by Stardock Design


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KarmaGirl
Comment #21 Friday, June 29, 2007 7:28 AM
This dream is decent, and definately not upto par with the other "master" dreams..
not worth the $10 IMHO

I am not sure how you can critique something without actually having it

This dream is much different, in that you can customize it.  You can choose different backgrounds, including your own, you can choose from two reflections, and you can customize the ripples.

Here are 4 screenshots, all from this same dream:

Frogboy
Comment #22 Sunday, July 01, 2007 12:19 PM
include this in an object desktop subscription and I'll use it. I'll have to think twice before renewing my subscription this time. For Vista, the value is no longer there for me. Maybe if these premium dreams were included, maybe, but it's slim pickens with OD with Vista as far as real usefullness. I suggest that stardock re-think this a bit.

I Desktop Earth is included for Object Desktop users and that's a Premium dream.  Others are on the way as well.

As for Object Desktop on Vista:

  • IconPackager 3.2 changes Vista's icons and is the only program that supports changing living folder icons.
  • WindowBlinds 5.5 works well on Vista and WindowBlinds 6, due this Fall, supports blurring and lots of new features for Vista users.
  • DesktopX 3.5 lets users create sidebar gadgets of any size (even very small ones).
  • If there is a feature in TweakVista that you want, let us know.
  • DeskScapes is part of Object Desktop which is what makes these dynamic dreams that we're discussing possible.
  • LogonStudio for Vista is the only logon changing program I know of for Vista.
  • BootSkin for Vista in in development.
  • Keyboard LaunchPad is still pretty crucial I think whther on XP or Vista.

Personally, if you're not using TweakVista to tune your machine then I don't know what to tell you. I saved a couple hundred megs of RAM using TweakVista.  My desktop machine has no use for a good portion of the default services that Vista loads.

Point being, if you really think Object Desktop on Vista is "slim pickings" then my advice would be to not re-subscribe.  Though personally, I find there a bit of irony in that argument as we discuss this in a thread about dyanmic Dreams that are made possible only because of Object Desktop.

cavalierex
Comment #23 Sunday, July 01, 2007 4:15 PM
Uh-oh!

I've used Liquid Dream for awhile now with no problem. Recently, I had to change wallpaper to a static one, but then I wanted to switch back -- Now, I can't seem to load either the LiquidDream or the photo slideshow dynamic dreams!! Other (video) DeskScapes/DreamScenes work fine, but not the dynamic ones. Whenever I select them, the desktop icons flicker, but nothing happens. Clicking on the link to change the dynamic-dream's settings does nothing, either.

Any thoughts? Any fixes?

Frogboy
Comment #24 Sunday, July 01, 2007 10:43 PM
Have you tried rebooting? Maybe the DWM died?
cavalierex
Comment #25 Sunday, July 01, 2007 11:56 PM
@Frogboy: Yes, rebooting fixed the problem. How does the DWM die all of a sudden?

By the way, I'm still absolutely amazed how these dynamic DeskScapes use hardly any CPU, whereas Microsoft's DreamScene, per se, is CPU-intense.

If there is a feature in TweakVista that you want, let us know.


I listed a few ideas elsewhere. The ones that come to mind right now:

1. Turn x-mouse features on and off
2. Change shortcut arrow to small, unobtrusive one (like TweakUI allowed)
3. Change right-click menu options for desktop and filetypes
4. Change the 'New', 'Send to' and 'Open with' file/program lists in the right-click menu
5. Somehow make the Vista Control Panel load faster (it's really slow!)... Any thoughts here?
6. Whatever you can do to improve UAC further is welcome.

Other ideas for Stardock

1. 'Concentration' effect (probably best put into WindowFX; maybe TweakVista). See explanation here:
Exposé 'Concentrate' effects in vista

2. LiquidDream could also have 'Atmosphere'/'Natural Desktop'-like features; that is, depending on the time of day or weather outside, the reflection could change (from about a dozen options) to be a sunny sky with a few clouds to a full moon or half moon to a lightning-filled sky with faster rain drops.



On a totally unrelated note, Frogboy, what do you think about the situation with the paucity of Vista Ultimate Extras? You can reference my post (and comment, if you wish) here:
The Ultimate Letdown.
CATMANDU21
Comment #26 Thursday, July 05, 2007 7:56 PM
In my opinion, Stardock's out of control on the Premium Dream pricing scheme. The real reason this site is hot is because of the free submissions made by aspiring artists who frequent this site like TheMasterBaron, AzDude and others who have really brought Stardock's Dream Site area all of the hype it has and have also saved Microsoft's butts. Stardock's Premium Dreams have had little impact on the overall success of Dreamscene's, if anything Stardock and Microsoft are riding the coattails of all of Stardock's free submitters. Also realize that if the free users stopped submitting, Stardock would be dead in the water on Dreamscenes. Stardock shouldn't have any premium Dreamscenes, they should be free contributions for all the hits and revenue their users produce. They can charge for Object Desktop, Windowsblinds and the rest of their 100+ other products they have for sale on their site. Just to add, my opinion on why Stardock is charging is because Microsoft made things much harder for Stardock with Vista. In the XP days, Stardock brought Vista-like interface changes to the table. In that era, Stardock cornered the market on GUI customization. Today, things aren't so rosy. Vista performs many of Stardock's Object Desktop features natively, leaving Stardock to find new ways to make money. Understand Stardock's days are numbered in the GUI customiztion business. As OS's get prettier with age like Vista and MacOS, Stardock's software can now be considered "bloatware" and a waste of precious RAM and processor time.

Also, isn't Stardock getting any Microsoft kickbacks being that Dreamscenes and Deskscapes/Dreammaker are collaborative efforts as they work into one another, I mean Stardock has bailed Microsoft out on what would have been a pathetic release with only 10+ dreams available from Microsoft when Stardock currently brought over 200 more Dreams to the table? Finally, if you purchase any of these Premium Dreams, you'll have to activate this product, a little overboard for a $10 wallpaper. Even better, if your system should fail and you are reinstalling Windows and you don't take backup images like a friend of mine who purchased one, then chances are your going to have to call/e-mail Stardock to reactivate your Premium Dream as this activation is paying attention to your SID's when activated to prevent piracy so a reinstall or sysprep would force reactivation, yuck! Saddest part, after the paying customer has all these hoops to jump through, I can guarantee crackers have already infiltrated the activation so in the end the guy paying the $10 feels like, um..........

Hopefully, Stardock's work in the GUI business will not be in vain, leading to a buyout or takeover by Microsoft being that your GUI enhancement's have influenced Vista greatly. In the end Stardock could take over the GUI development portion of the next Windows OS after Vista, which would buy Stardock more time in the game. Some may say it's crazy, but look at the Winternals acquisition. Winternals showed Microsoft how to use System Restore and make it work. They also introduced Microsoft as well as BartPE, UBCD and Reatogo to the bootable Windows environment, which changed the face of Vista as alot of Winternals ERCD's features are integrated into Vista's install DVD. Business constantly changes and evolves, eventually Stardock's position in the market will change drastically, hopefully for the better!!
cavalierex
Comment #27 Saturday, July 07, 2007 5:11 PM
Today, things aren't so rosy. Vista performs many of Stardock's Object Desktop features natively, leaving Stardock to find new ways to make money. Understand Stardock's days are numbered in the GUI customiztion business. As OS's get prettier with age like Vista and MacOS, Stardock's software can now be considered "bloatware" and a waste of precious RAM and processor time.


I understand your arguments, but I still wouldn't say that Object Desktop is bloatware.

I think Vista is a good OS. I'm glad it has included lots of features that I used to have to hack/customize my computer to get. I even like the Aero GUI and have used it, without tiring of it, since I installed Vista back in February. But I still have WindowBlinds installed, and as new themes are developed, I'm sure I'll be tempted to change. IconPackager is also indispensible, as Vista does not include an easy way to globally change icon sets. ObjectDock has become a crucial part of my GUI. Sure, nowadays someone can quickly find and run something through the Start button's search field; and the Start button's menu itself has gotten better; but there's something about that tabbed dock that just makes things oh-so-easy and graceful. Sure, Microsoft may release an OD-like feature in the future (Ultimate Extra, maybe?), but for me OD's here to stay. DesktopX is another example: I don't use it to replace my GUI anymore, but it is probably the best way to make any kind of gadget, especially Windows Sidebar gadgets. And for those who want to completely change the desktop environment, the possibility is there. Furthermore, newer products like DeskScapes deliver what Microsoft has failed to do -- Whereas DreamScene (preview/beta) is still a CPU-hog, dynamic DeskScapes such as the LiquidDream don't slow the computer down at all. It's beautiful! And products like TweakVista (or the unrelated TweakVI, from a different third-party developer) also deliver tools to the power-user that are much needed. TweakVista (unlike TweakVI) is still free.

I agree with you that Stardock's fate is closely intertwined with Windows' future. But the people at Stardock have continually proven themselves to be innovative and pioneering. Okay, so maybe $10 for some Dreams may seem a bit overpriced. One just has to consider whether that's worth buying, according to his own cost-benefit scale. But by charging for some things, Stardock can afford to subsidize its other programs, such as the development of free utilities (TweakVista) and subscription-based applications (SkinStudio, IconDeveloper, IconPackager, DesktopX, etc.) that are continually updated and improved. Not to mention running community sites such as Wincustomize, JoeUser, etc.

I wish Stardock the best of luck. They've done a lot of great things that have earned them a lot of goodwill. I hope my $10 for LiquidDream will, in some small part, contribute to helping their laudable R&D efforts; and I hope to see new and pioneering things from them in the future.

Yes, as the OS becomes better and better, what Stardock focuses upon will necessarily change. But I'm sure they'll still be among the vanguard of innovative GUI/OS customization.
CATMANDU21
Comment #28 Monday, July 09, 2007 10:50 PM
Like I said, I'm not anti-Stardock, just not seeing the benefit long term for Stardock to charge the Ultimate customer for his dedication to the Windows platform by paying extra for Ultimate. I realize Stardock is not responsable for Microsoft's shortcomings on the Vista Ultimate Extras lackluster debut, however, Stardock does get a piece of the Dreamscene pie. For their Deskscapes/Dreammaker contribution they should be allowed to profit from Dreamscenes, but why take this "pirate's booty" approach to the whole thing.

What Stardock should have done is donate those Dreams to keep both the Ultimate customer and Dream creator feeling like Stardock is contributing to the cause, rather than taking advantage of the hype that Dreams contributed by users attracts to this site and in return gets all your products a lookover. You also produce the opinion that Stardock isn't all about the money, instead Stardock is about innovation and making the customer feel part of the process and not a dollar sign. Is life that bad with Vista that you charge $10 for a Dream when you have so many other products to offer the customer. Brand loyalty and customer loyalty will be crucial to Stardock's continuing viability. Their could come a day when another site starts making their own Dreams and offer more to customer than Stardock. It's at times like these that the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Frogboy
Comment #29 Wednesday, July 11, 2007 9:05 AM

CATM:

Let me first say that I appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback on these issues.  Let me try to respond to your points:

In my opinion, Stardock's out of control on the Premium Dream pricing scheme. The real reason this site is hot is because of the free submissions made by aspiring artists who frequent this site like TheMasterBaron, AzDude and others who have really brought Stardock's Dream Site area all of the hype it has and have also saved Microsoft's butts.

I can't really say whether the free submissions are the "real reason" people come here.  However, the existence of premium content does not in any way take away from their efforts. One might argue that premium content is the best-type of context-sensitive advertising (for instance).  Rather than seeing a "punch the monkey" ad, you instead see a Master skin in which users can choose to purchase if they want. If they don't want to purchase, that's their right too.  As for what's popular, 4 of the 10 most popular Dreams on WinCustomize.com were created by Stardock Design -- for free.

Stardock's Premium Dreams have had little impact on the overall success of Dreamscene's, if anything Stardock and Microsoft are riding the coattails of all of Stardock's free submitters. Also realize that if the free users stopped submitting, Stardock would be dead in the water on Dreamscenes. Stardock shouldn't have any premium Dreamscenes, they should be free contributions for all the hits and revenue their users produce.

I can't say whether Premium Dreams have had a lot or little success on DreamScenes. To me, it's largely irrelevant since Premium Dreams don't exist to help DreamScenes but rather to benefit from the demand for Dreams in the first place.  The existence of commercial software, for instance, does no harm to the existence of freeware.  If anything, premium content gives an incentive for people to appreciate free content even more.  That said, the revenue that pays for the development of DeskScapes (which is what makes dynamic content possible in the first place as well as pays for the creation of the free Dreams Stardock Design creates -- which I mention again has nearly half of the top 10 most popular slots) comes from the sale of premium Dreams.

They can charge for Object Desktop, Windowsblinds and the rest of their 100+ other products they have for sale on their site. Just to add, my opinion on why Stardock is charging is because Microsoft made things much harder for Stardock with Vista. In the XP days, Stardock brought Vista-like interface changes to the table. In that era, Stardock cornered the market on GUI customization. Today, things aren't so rosy. Vista performs many of Stardock's Object Desktop features natively, leaving Stardock to find new ways to make money. Understand Stardock's days are numbered in the GUI customiztion business. As OS's get prettier with age like Vista and MacOS, Stardock's software can now be considered "bloatware" and a waste of precious RAM and processor time.

There's a lot of erroneous statements in what you say above.  First off, I am not aware of a single feature of Object Desktop that is in Windows Vista.  Can you name these features that Windows Vista has that are new over Windows XP in terms of customization?  If anything, Windows Vista is a step back from Windows XP in this area.  In Windows Vista, you can't even change folder icons anymore for live folders in the OS (you could change folder icons on Windows XP).  Moreover, on Windows XP, users could patch uxtheme.dll and use a skin editor to create new styles for Windows XP.  On Windows Vista, you can't. The most you can do is replace bitmap resources.  I do agree that Windows Vista is prettier than Windows XP. But that has nothing to do with Object Desktop or why people purchase it.  Object Desktop and WindowBlinds sales have continually climbed over the years.  Windows Vista users are disproportionately represented on new purchases (15% of Object Desktop purchases are by Windows Vista users compared to 8% of the general public that uses Windows).

The other primary mistake you make has to do with what you consider "bloatware".  WindowBlinds, for instance, not only is faster than Aero, but it vastly reduces the power consumption.  On a typical laptop that gets 4 hours on a single charge, running WindowBlinds instead of Aero will provide you with approximately 45 more minutes of battery life.  That's pretty significant.  Even if you just used WindowBlinds on Windows Vista with an Aero skin, you would see faster performance and longer battery life.  This strikes me as quite the opposite of "bloatware".

The final problem with your argument is that if Stardock is indeed doomed by Windows Vista, does that not make the case that Stardock should be more aggressive in charging users for Dreams as well as charging users for the use of its other services? Also, if Windows customization is doomed, wouldn't traffic be going down?  According to Google Analytics, traffic to WinCustomize.com is up around 10% over this same period last year. Which, if you think about it, is pretty amazing since that was the peek of the pre-Vista hype (i.e. maximum demand for people wanting to skin Windows to look like Vista and such last year).

Also, isn't Stardock getting any Microsoft kickbacks being that Dreamscenes and Deskscapes/Dreammaker are collaborative efforts as they work into one another, I mean Stardock has bailed Microsoft out on what would have been a pathetic release with only 10+ dreams available from Microsoft when Stardock currently brought over 200 more Dreams to the table?

Microsoft doesn't pay Stardock anything.  Similarly, AOL doesn't pay us anything to support Winamp.  Moreover, Stardock hasn't brought 200 Dreams to the table, individual artists through their hard work have brought 200 dreams to the table.

Finally, if you purchase any of these Premium Dreams, you'll have to activate this product, a little overboard for a $10 wallpaper.

Why should you care if you activate a $10 wallpaper? The benefit is that activation makes it much easier for users to re-download in the future -- a key thing for people who make on-line purchases.

Even better, if your system should fail and you are reinstalling Windows and you don't take backup images like a friend of mine who purchased one, then chances are your going to have to call/e-mail Stardock to reactivate your Premium Dream as this activation is paying attention to your SID's when activated to prevent piracy so a reinstall or sysprep would force reactivation, yuck!

This is completely untrue.

 Saddest part, after the paying customer has all these hoops to jump through, I can guarantee crackers have already infiltrated the activation so in the end the guy paying the $10 feels like, um..........

Anti-piracy is only a relatively small part of what activation is about. The primary part of it is to ensure that each user is in the system so that they can easily re-download in the future (hence your argument that you have to call Stardock to reactivate is nonsensical). 


Hopefully, Stardock's work in the GUI business will not be in vain, leading to a buyout or takeover by Microsoft being that your GUI enhancement's have influenced Vista greatly. In the end Stardock could take over the GUI development portion of the next Windows OS after Vista, which would buy Stardock more time in the game. Some may say it's crazy, but look at the Winternals acquisition. Winternals showed Microsoft how to use System Restore and make it work. They also introduced Microsoft as well as BartPE, UBCD and Reatogo to the bootable Windows environment, which changed the face of Vista as alot of Winternals ERCD's features are integrated into Vista's install DVD. Business constantly changes and evolves, eventually Stardock's position in the market will change drastically, hopefully for the better!!

Stardock has no intention of being bought out by Microsoft or anyone else.  As a company that has been around over a decade, had we wanted to be bought out, we would have been bought out by now.  The trends in windows customization is pretty positive overall -- from Stardock's point of view.  As pretty as Windows Vista seems today people once felt the same way about Windows XP.  If you do Google searches, you can no doubt find plenty of posts in which people said the same thing about Windows XP and how it would doom Stardock.  When something is new and fresh, one thinks they will never get tired of it.  But history has shown that what seems new and fresh today gets pretty stale.  Moreover, customization is about personalizing ones environment.  I don't care how good looking a given car design is (for instance). I certainly wouldn't want my car to look exactly the same as everyone else's car.

Thanks again for your time.

Frogboy
Comment #30 Wednesday, July 11, 2007 9:07 AM
What Stardock should have done is donate those Dreams to keep both the Ultimate customer and Dream creator feeling like Stardock is contributing to the cause, rather than taking advantage of the hype that Dreams contributed by users attracts to this site and in return gets all your products a lookover. You also produce the opinion that Stardock isn't all about the money, instead Stardock is about innovation and making the customer feel part of the process and not a dollar sign. Is life that bad with Vista that you charge $10 for a Dream when you have so many other products to offer the customer. Brand loyalty and customer loyalty will be crucial to Stardock's continuing viability. Their could come a day when another site starts making their own Dreams and offer more to customer than Stardock. It's at times like these that the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Catm:

Given that Stardock gives away DeskScapes for FREE and are one of the top producers of FREE dreams, it's kind of hard to understand how you can argue that you think Stardock is "all about the money".

The existence of premium content does not harm you anymore than the existence of commercial software harms you.  If you don't want to pay for the handful of premium content on this site, then just don't.

Drzues
Comment #31 Friday, July 13, 2007 6:26 AM
Why is it only available for Vista Ultimate? Are there really that many people out there willing to shell out that much cash for just this feature?
CATMANDU21
Comment #32 Friday, July 13, 2007 11:01 AM
Some Responses.......

"I can't really say whether the free submissions are the "real reason" people come here." - That I find the biggest insult, not only Dreams, but Wallpapers and the other user contributed creations. Stardock's users are the real reason the hit count is good around here. Customers usually don't hang around a vendor's site just because they like their product and want to hang around and watch the home page. Stardock's users, from wallpaper creators to full fledged artists, make 95% of the total contribultions for content on this site. Using Deskscapes for example, Stardock provided the software and about 10-15 dreams to wet the appetite. The users in return came up with the other 200+ dreams helping Stardock to "have" a product. Had the artists not made those 200+ dream contributions, users would have been gone a long time ago because nobody hangs around a forum talking about the same old 10 dreams forever, do they?

"There's a lot of erroneous statements in what you say above. First off, I am not aware of a single feature of Object Desktop that is in Windows Vista." - exactly my point; Microsoft's improvements in Vista's GUI have put Stardock in an uncomfortable position. Microsoft threw Stardock a bone with Dreamscene's since Microsoft totally screwed Stardock's niche market all up on Vista. Like I said, Object Desktop on Vista IS BLOATWARE!!! In Stardock's heyday in the XP-era, Stardock had something unique to bring, today OS's bring it natively withhout 3rd Party intervention.

The other primary mistake you make has to do with what you consider "bloatware". - again, you stated that Vista and Object Desktop are kind of useless together so you've answered your own question.

WindowBlinds, for instance, not only is faster than Aero, but it vastly reduces the power consumption. - So your saying that Vista Ultimate users are going to actually disable Aero in favor of WindowBlinds? You've definitely lost it now!! The dream customer is an Ultimate customer, the user who want's all of Microsoft's features and is willing to pay a premium for it. For that same user to disable Aero in favor of Windowblinds, why buy Ultimate then? Why not buy Vista Basic and save yourself the $200 or even stick with XP! So the Ultimate user is in essence paying $200 more for Dreamscenes, and Hold em' Poker. Again, most customers I know don't like throwing money away, your plan is insane!

Why should you care if you activate a $10 wallpaper? The benefit is that activation makes it much easier for users to re-download in the future. - I don't care personally, however I was speaking for the customer who does care. Microsoft always talks about the "benefits" of activation and I haven't seen it yet. At least Microsoft is protecting a $400 product with activation like Windows Vista for an example, Stardock is making the customer inconvenienced by protecting their $10 wallpaper. Greater software has been offered with less headaches.

Even better, if your system should fail and you are reinstalling Windows and you don't take backup images like a friend of mine who purchased one, then chances are your going to have to call/e-mail Stardock to reactivate your Premium Dream; This is completely untrue. - untrue? So your saying if I reinstall Windows and attempt to reinstall my Premium Dream, no re-activation will be required as my Premium Dream will recognize that I have already registered and that even though my computer's Windows installation is now entirely different, highly unlikely. If this is true, try to pass on one of your premium dreams to a friend as a test and give your friend your registration info and see if he can install the Dream, how's it going?

Stardock has no intention of being bought out by Microsoft or anyone else. - Neither did PeopleSoft, Enron, Worldcomm or anyone else out there but guess what! Whether Stardock will be acquired by another company hinges solely on Stardocks' financials and their future viability. Stardock only has as much control as their business practices dictate. Bigger companies have talked your talk and 10 years later, found themselves eating those words. When people get bought out, it's usually not by choice, remember that!!

I understand that you have to show your vendor loyalty being that your working for Stardock, however your points were weak at best. As I said, I'm not anti-Stardock! I just don't like the direction on the Deskscapes\Dreamscenes pricing scheme simply put. Like I also said, I credit Stardock with many of Vista's native GUI featureset so actually I have given Stardock a compliment. All businesses aren't perfect, I'm simply pointing to an area that Stardock needs to work on. Thanks again for your time.





CATMANDU21
Comment #33 Friday, July 13, 2007 11:29 AM
Also:
According to Google Analytics, traffic to WinCustomize.com is up around 10% over this same period last year. - Why do you think that is? Simply put, the largest variety of Dreams are available on the Stardock site as compared to other sites, which at best mirror Stardock's Dream content. You can thank Stardock's great artists for that 10% bump up, not some $10 Premium Dream. Don't believe me? Go to the Dream section and search by "downloads overall". As of today, these are the top 3 most downloaded dreams:

1.Future World
By zonester
Updated Mar 7, 2007
46778 Downloads

2.Wasserfall
By peter22
Updated Feb 22, 2007
43459 Downloads

3.Deep Ocean
By inspiredORANGE
Updated Feb 14, 2007
36859 Downloads

4.Sylock Red
By Stardock Design
Updated Feb 13, 2007
26525 Downloads

Where's Stardock? You'll notice Stardock's got 4th with Sylock Red, however 10k more people downloaded Deep Ocean in 3rd, talk about proving my point. Look also at the release dates, Sylock Red had the earliest release. Add up Stardock's numbers, they don't lie. If anything they should put AzDude, TheMasterBaron, NGTV, peter22, inspiredORANGE and any other users that have released more skins than Stardock on the payroll as they are your true heavy hitters and the reason for Deskscapes success. If these users above were to defect over to another .dream site, Stardock would have some trouble trying to hang with these few individuals alone as they produce 5X more content than Stardock. I don't produce .dreams, I do however have a respect for all these users who have made you, Stardock should do the same. I apologize if I have forgotton other heavy hitters from my short list as even a person who submits one good Dream is valuable.
Frogboy
Comment #34 Friday, July 13, 2007 11:14 PM
"There's a lot of erroneous statements in what you say above. First off, I am not aware of a single feature of Object Desktop that is in Windows Vista." - exactly my point; Microsoft's improvements in Vista's GUI have put Stardock in an uncomfortable position. Microsoft threw Stardock a bone with Dreamscene's since Microsoft totally screwed Stardock's niche market all up on Vista. Like I said, Object Desktop on Vista IS BLOATWARE!!! In Stardock's heyday in the XP-era, Stardock had something unique to bring, today OS's bring it natively withhout 3rd Party intervention.

The other primary mistake you make has to do with what you consider "bloatware". - again, you stated that Vista and Object Desktop are kind of useless together so you've answered your own question.

Please re-read what I said. I didn't say that Vista nd Object Dekstop are "useless together". I said Vista adds nothing that competes with Object Desktop.

People buy Object Desktop because they want to personalize their desktop experience.  The prettiness of Vista is nice for Vista but means little to Object Desktop users who want to apply THEIR OWN look.

WindowBlinds, for instance, not only is faster than Aero, but it vastly reduces the power consumption. - So your saying that Vista Ultimate users are going to actually disable Aero in favor of WindowBlinds? You've definitely lost it now!! The dream customer is an Ultimate customer, the user who want's all of Microsoft's features and is willing to pay a premium for it. For that same user to disable Aero in favor of Windowblinds, why buy Ultimate then? Why not buy Vista Basic and save yourself the $200 or even stick with XP! So the Ultimate user is in essence paying $200 more for Dreamscenes, and Hold em' Poker. Again, most customers I know don't like throwing money away, your plan is insane!

I don't think you understand the various versions of Windows Vista then.  First off, users are buying WindowBlinds with Vista Ultimate. 

You really don't seem to understand why people buy WindowBlinds.  Aero is a not theme. But it is, ultimately, one theme.  I don't happen to be in the camp that thinks Aero is even particularly good but even if one thinks Aero is great, it doesn't change the fact that people want to personalize their desktps.

People pay $200 more for Ultimate because they want to also have the corporate features (like Remote Desktop Server and domain logon) AND the consumer features (Windows Media Center). 

What does Windows Ultimate even have to do with WindowBlinds? I can get Windows Vista Home Premium for a fraction of the price of Ultimate and I get Aero with that.  They're not paying for Ultimate to get Aero.

Why should you care if you activate a $10 wallpaper? The benefit is that activation makes it much easier for users to re-download in the future. - I don't care personally, however I was speaking for the customer who does care. Microsoft always talks about the "benefits" of activation and I haven't seen it yet. At least Microsoft is protecting a $400 product with activation like Windows Vista for an example, Stardock is making the customer inconvenienced by protecting their $10 wallpaper. Greater software has been offered with less headaches.

What headaches?  Fact: Activation automatically inserts a user into the database so that they can painlessly redownload.  What exactly is the downside here?  Users can activate multiple times on multiple machines.

Even better, if your system should fail and you are reinstalling Windows and you don't take backup images like a friend of mine who purchased one, then chances are your going to have to call/e-mail Stardock to reactivate your Premium Dream; This is completely untrue. - untrue? So your saying if I reinstall Windows and attempt to reinstall my Premium Dream, no re-activation will be required as my Premium Dream will recognize that I have already registered and that even though my computer's Windows installation is now entirely different, highly unlikely. If this is true, try to pass on one of your premium dreams to a friend as a test and give your friend your registration info and see if he can install the Dream, how's it going?

I am saying if you reinstall Windows on an existing machine that already has the Premium Dream on you won't have to reactivate it. 

 

Stardock has no intention of being bought out by Microsoft or anyone else. - Neither did PeopleSoft, Enron, Worldcomm or anyone else out there but guess what! Whether Stardock will be acquired by another company hinges solely on Stardocks' financials and their future viability. Stardock only has as much control as their business practices dictate. Bigger companies have talked your talk and 10 years later, found themselves eating those words. When people get bought out, it's usually not by choice, remember that!!

I understand that you have to show your vendor loyalty being that your working for Stardock, however your points were weak at best. As I said, I'm not anti-Stardock! I just don't like the direction on the Deskscapes\Dreamscenes pricing scheme simply put. Like I also said, I credit Stardock with many of Vista's native GUI featureset so actually I have given Stardock a compliment. All businesses aren't perfect, I'm simply pointing to an area that Stardock needs to work on. Thanks again for your time.

Since I own Stardock, I decide whether Stardock is acquired. It has nothing to do with finanicals. We're not a democracy. I am the principle shareholder of the company.  So yea, I have control over whether we're bought or not.

You say that my arguments are weak and yet your assertion is basically that Stardock should just give away Dreams that cost significant amounts of money to create.  Why would we do this?  If Premium Dreams didn't sell well (and they DO sell well) we simply would stop making them.

But as a business, we have to generate revenue that exceeds cost.  Developing DeskScapes costs money. Creating premium content costs money. Someone has to pay for that. 

And while pointing out that a given dream has 46,000 downloads may seem impressive, it's a trivial number compared to the 30+ million visitors this site receives each month.

At the end of the day here is the reality:

Dreams only work for Windows Vista Ultimate.  Windows Vista users currently represent around 8% of the Internet.   Ultimate users represent a tiny fraction of that.  There is no justification whatsoever for a business to create free content based on the idea of mass user bases when Vista Ultimate users are such a tiny % of the on-line base.

If Dreams didn't take off and weren't popular, then Stardock would simply focus on something else.  Demand drives what businesses put resources towards.

The only business justification is to create high-end content is if a reasonable percentage of users will buy it.

It's not Stardock who should be thanking and appreciating the free Dream makers like AZDude and Baron. It's users like you who should be thanking them.  You seem to have the relationship backwards.

 

 

BeLGaRaTh67
Comment #35 Friday, July 13, 2007 11:55 PM

The only business justification is to create high-end content is if a reasonable percentage of users will buy it.


Off topic I know, but after using that phrase can you justify not updating the Photo Collage dream when the majority of people who bought it (including myself) are requesting updates to make it better? e.g. Cursive Directory scanning and an actual random feature, instead of having to rely on third parties like Holm76, who isnt making any money from his contributions, to make things work as they should really do in the first place, and are being ignored. Despite the fact that I have personally sent around a dozen mails regarding it (all of which have been ignored) and also posted in the Desktop Collage comments regarding it, again being ignored.

So basically you create "high-end content", then when "users buy it", you ignore any requests for improvements/updates?
Frogboy
Comment #36 Saturday, July 14, 2007 10:35 AM
Off topic I know, but after using that phrase can you justify not updating the Photo Collage dream when the majority of people who bought it (including myself) are requesting updates to make it better? e.g. Cursive Directory scanning and an actual random feature, instead of having to rely on third parties like Holm76, who isnt making any money from his contributions, to make things work as they should really do in the first place, and are being ignored. Despite the fact that I have personally sent around a dozen mails regarding it (all of which have been ignored) and also posted in the Desktop Collage comments regarding it, again being ignored.

So basically you create "high-end content", then when "users buy it", you ignore any requests for improvements/updates?

The recursive directory scanning is going to be added to it in a future update.  We don't ignore requests. We simply can't personally respond to each and every feature request email we receive.

KeepOn
Comment #37 Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:06 PM
I have bought the Liquid dream and I am having fun with it. I have dual monitor on vista Ultimate 32. I have several wallpapers that are 2560x1024. Having them this size, I end up with one image displayed on two monitors. I hate seeing the same wallpaper on the two screens. Reading in the forum, trying to understand dynamic dreams. When I read I could put my own wallpaper, I assumed that I would end up with one wallpaper and have the liquid dream on top giving a mirror evect to my wallpapers. I guessed I assume wrong. I und up with the same image on both monitors. Even if I play with the tile option in the dream. If you guys have any ideas, if their is something I can do or tweak, please tell me.


Keepon
lmgppag
Comment #38 Monday, July 16, 2007 10:41 AM
Hi. This dream is really brilliant. My desktop resolution 1440 x 900 (Laptop HP Pavilion dv 9286ea) My graphic card Nvidia GeForce 7600 have 1G memory (1007 mb) all dreams works fine but when a window is maximized ..... dream don´t work, is frozzen....
I play different dreams... desktop collage, shapes ... is the same... when maximized a window...stop.

Any ideas ? Thanks
CATMANDU21
Comment #39 Monday, July 16, 2007 8:01 PM
As I said, I'm not anti-Stardock! I just don't like the direction on the Deskscapes\Dreamscenes pricing scheme simply put. Like I also said, I credit Stardock with many of Vista's native GUI featureset so actually I have given Stardock a compliment. All businesses aren't perfect, I'm simply pointing to an area that Stardock needs to work on. Thanks again for your time. - Looking at it all, I was and am still giving Stardock a compliment. You did bring up some good points though. I have and will again "THANK" the many dream makers out there who work at making dreams that users get to enjoy for free and Stardock indirectly profits from even though thanks for this goes to Stardock for throwing those poor dream creators some HD space, you bunch of lucky individuals. Again, if you feel Stardock doesn't need to thank these guys well.....

To all the dream makers out there; look for thanks from the users who are fans because as Stardock puts it "It's not Stardock who should be thanking and appreciating the free Dream makers like AZDude and Baron. It's users like you who should be thanking them. You seem to have the relationship backwards." So with that said, be happy Stardock has an area to post dreams to or all you guys would be up the creek without a paddle. Stardock made you, they created the format so you could make Dreams. If you want appreciation for your artistic talents, don't look at Stardock, actually every time you submit a dream, put "thank you for making me somebody" in the comment field when posting since Stardock doesn't need you, they're mearly throwing you a bone.

Dreams only work for Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows Vista users currently represent around 8% of the Internet. Ultimate users represent a tiny fraction of that. There is no justification whatsoever for a business to create free content based on the idea of mass user bases when Vista Ultimate users are such a tiny % of the on-line base. - and it is because of that concept that I feel Premium Dreams should be given for free. If their is such a small number of people who are interested in this, why even make Deskscapes to begin with as it would sound risky to invest money in something that is "such a tiny % of the on-line base". Being that this division of Stardock is such a minor portion of the picture, why should profit matter?

I understand Stardock has other products and the "30+ Million" users don't come here solely for Dreams so my 56k count on the top dream is "who cares" data. When I state that users come to Wincustomize for dreams, I mean that your site has the most and newest selection of the currently available dreams on the internet. With that said, how do you think it got that way? Not because of the 5 Premium Dreams you got up, that's for sure!! When I give a count of 56K on your top user downloaded dream, I bring it up to point out that probably if you totaled up the total sales of all 5 of your Premium Dreams, the numbers totaled together would be close to 56K. I imagine you didn't sell 56K of any of those Premiums so that number in that context is impressive.

To be more clear about the Windowblinds/Aero debacle, the user you speak of doesn't exist because Windowblinds users wouldn't disable Aero and enable Windowblinds! If your looking to enhance performance, why disable Aero only to run Windowblinds because it runs with less resources, it's an oxymoron? If your concerned about performance you wouldn't have Windowblinds or Aero, you would have set yourself to Windows Classic, disabled the "Themes" service and probably killed your System Tray startups and tweaked HKLM/Run and MSCONFIG for startup items as well. For the user that likes it all, they will probably run Windowblinds with Aero so they can enjoy Transparent Windowsblinds themes. This type of user isn't so concerned with CPU time or memory usage, they want a particular look and feel and are willing to sacrifice some performance for visuals. Users like these won't sacrifice either.


End result, you still should have given your five(5) Premium Dreams away.
Others have given away more for free;
Spybot S+D
Ad-Aware
CCleaner
Sysinternals Tools (Autoruns, NewSID)
Google Earth
Picasa
Adobe Reader
and 1000's of others

Why act so desperate? You have 100's of other very successful products in your arsenal, you still haven't made a point of why you charge. On one hand you minimize the market, call it a small piece of the pie, irrelevant. Then you talk about all this cost to produce this product and how profits are needed or calamity befall you. My company sponsors a quarterly customer appreciation day where they give away coffee, soda, etc.. No customer is charged for this as it is looked at as a short term loss for the long term gain. I view the small market, as you put it, of Dreamscenes as just that, a niche market for the Ultimate user who wants all the bells and whistles. For the record I am a Vista Enterprise user so Dreamscenes or Deskscapes doesn't apply to me. When I say Stardock should make Deskscapes and in-house dreams free, I don't say this to benefit myself. I say this because from the outside looking in, it would seem that, speaking in your language, Stardock could potentially make a bigger killing by giving this stuff away for free in the long term...........
CATMANDU21
Comment #40 Tuesday, July 17, 2007 1:39 AM
ALMOST FORGOT..........

Given that Stardock gives away DeskScapes for FREE and are one of the top producers of FREE dreams, it's kind of hard to understand how you can argue that you think Stardock is "all about the money". The existence of premium content does not harm you anymore than the existence of commercial software harms you. If you don't want to pay for the handful of premium content on this site, then just don't.

What is Deskscapes? Basically it's an interface add-on of sorts to view and open .dream files . The .dream file format is similar to .zip in that it contains multiple files packaged such as the .mpg/.wma dream file, a .jpg screenshot, etc. If the files weren't packaged in .dream format, they would be in formats natively readable with Windows Dreamscenes. Go to the path;
C:\ProgramData\Stardock\DeskScapes\ExtractedData

For those who don't know, within these folders are all the dreams you have viewed extracted from their .dream archives. My point, why is Deskscapes needed and why is the .dream format such a step up from .mpg and .wma? More important, should the Ultimate user pay for software when it would seem that it would have been possible for Stardock to still create dreams using Windows Dreamscenes native software rather than create Deskscapes? Third, you are not one of the top producers of FREE dreams, Stardock mearly has a page and storage available for users who would like to submit dreams. Actually Stardock has about 15-20 dreams, five or more are Premium so in reality you're the top producer of PAY FOR dreams! Their are other artists that have triple Stardock's content in the dream department.......

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