Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Tatiora | Discussion: Groupy News
Stardock Releases Groupy v1.4
Brings Improved Tabbed Experience to your Windows Desktop
Version 1.4 adds support for new Curtains app,
expands max tabs, and makes other major improvements.
Stardock has released a new version of its popular Windows desktop app, Groupy, today. With Groupy, you can organize multiple apps into grouped tabs on your desktop, making finding what you need while you work easier than ever. Version 1.4 improves the grouping user experience by adding several new features and taking into account user feedback to create an overall better user experience.
NEW Groupy v1.4 features
- Curtains style support
- Automatically selects suitable colors when using a Curtains style without custom Groupy parts
- Expands max tabs in a group from 25 to 50
- Tab bar remains dark in all apps for foreground state when in dark mode
- New "close all" button added on the far right of the tab (must be in tabs above mode and tab bar set to fill full width)
- Enables additional functionality for middle mouse-button in Explorer (open folders as new tabs like in a web browser)
- New option for using ctrl+tab for tab switching (access on advanced options page)
Groupy works on Windows 10, 8, and 7. Once installed, creating groups with the app is simple: drag a window to another window, which combines into a single window, with tabs showing in the title bar. To ungroup apps, drag the tab off the group.
You can also create saved groups of apps and sort tabs by task or function easily. Once a group is created, quickly switch between different windows using a hotkey or clicking on the tab. Groupy can automatically add launched programs into an existing tab group.
For a full list of new features and improvements in v1.4, view the change log here.
NOW ON STEAM: Curtains - Add New Style Modes to Windows 10
Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Tatiora | Discussion: Curtains News
Add Additional Style Modes to Windows 10 with Curtains
Now Available on Steam
Stardock released its newest customization tool on Steam today. Curtains™ allows users to apply new styles along the lines of Dark Mode and Light to Windows® 10.
Taking advantage of the groundwork built to support light and dark mode, Curtains includes several new styles including Fluent, Cairo, and Crystal mode that enhance the look and feel of the Windows UI along with apps that already support light and dark mode.
"The advantage of using a program like Curtains is that it's essentially just adding new 'modes' to Windows," said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock. "It already works with high DPI displays and your existing programs. This gives users a little extra touch of customizing the Windows experience."
In addition, Curtains also includes styles that allow users to switch Windows to looking more like Windows XP or Windows 95 as well as alternative operating systems.
Users can easily create and share their own styles using the built in style editor. A Curtains style can change everything that Light and Dark mode can change, including the Start button, title bar buttons, and title bar coloring. It also supports tweaking gradients, shadows opacity, and hundreds of other small elements of the Windows GUI.
"Curtains makes it very easy for people to make their own styles," said Wardell. "There are a lot of customization features that have been buried in recent years such as font faces and sizes, detailed color choices and much more. Curtains allows people to adjust all of that and save it with their style easily.”Get it Now
Visit the Curtains webpage for more information.
The purchase may happen as soon as September 15th
Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Tatiora | Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything
In a statement issued on Sunday, Microsoft posted on its corporate blog saying that it will continue discussions for a potential TikTok purchase in the United States.
For the unfamiliar, TikTok is a video-sharing and social networking service based out of Beijing, China founded in 2012. TikTok allows users to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos and share them with thousands of other users on the platform. The app currently holds worldwide popularity, and TikTok has global offices in Dublin, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Singapore, and several other cities.
According to the blog, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had a direct conversation with the president regarding the purchase and all of the safety and privacy concerns associated with the platform. Following the discussion, Microsoft says that it appreciates the importance of the concerns and is "committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review," along with promising some proper economic benefits for the United States.
Both Microsoft and ByteDance (TikTok's parent company) have provided notice to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on their intent to explore a preliminary proposal regarding the sale. The purchase would also grant Microsoft control of the service in other areas, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Microsoft has also said that it may invite other American investors to participate in the purchase on a minority basis.
The new structure of the platform would add "world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections." Microsoft also assures that the new model would ensure transparency to users and appropriate security oversight by governments in the countries they manage the platform in.
Microsoft concludes the blog by stating that the discussions are only preliminary and that "there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed." The company has no intentions of providing any additional updates before there's a definitive outcome of the discussions.
Do you use TikTok? If not, if Microsoft purchases it, do you think you might start?
Monday, August 3, 2020 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
August is here! Summer is quickly wrapping up and we'll be sliding right into Fall before we know it. But since we're starting a new month lets look at some of the newest wallpapers available on WinCustomize!
You can browse all wallpapers in the wallpaper gallery, or do a search at the top-right of the site if you're looking for a particular scene, color, or any other keyword.
Friday, July 31, 2020 by Island Dog | Discussion: OS Customization
The holidays we celebrate throughout the year have always been a popular occasion to apply some cool skins and themes to your desktop. Out of all the holidays during the year, a few stand out for skinning.
- Valentine's Day
- New Years
I think Christmas and Halloween are the two favorites, and they are definitely mine!
Do you have a favorite skinning "holiday"? Let me know in the comments if any of these area favorite, or if I missed one.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
Happy Birthday Windows 10! Today is 5 years since Windows 10 was originally released on July 29th, 2015. I've been a user since before that being in various beta programs, and overall I have been happy with it over these past few years. It's also exciting for me to be part of a great company that makes awesome products to make Windows 10 even better!
Windows 10 has certainly changed a lot over the past 5 years with lots of updates, and our friends over at Neowin have put together a great article with lots of screenshots on what has changed.
It's a great post showing a visual comparison of Windows 10, so be sure to head over there and check it out!
Monday, July 27, 2020 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
I can't believe we are just coasting through summer and that August is just about here! I hope you're staying somewhat cool as the heat here has been just about unbearable. It has been quite a busy summer already and that's what we'll go over in this month wrap-up.
"Stardock released its new customization tool today. Curtains™ allows users to apply new styles along the lines of Dark Mode and Light to Windows® 10.
Taking advantage of the groundwork built to support light and dark mode, Curtains includes several new styles including Fluent, Cairo, and Crystal mode that enhance the look and feel of the Windows UI along with apps that already support light and dark mode."
Community Posts You Might Have Missed:
New Skins, Themes, and Wallpapers:
Friday, July 24, 2020 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
Computer monitors have become much bigger and the prices have become quite more reasonable than they used to. I picked up a nice 34" widescreen for just a couple of hundred bucks. It's not 4K, but HD has been working quite well for me. I do have a 4K touchscreen laptop, and that is certainly nice to have when working with images and video.
But the question today is what size wallpaper resolution do you typically look to download? Do you even look to see what resolutions are available?
Thursday, July 23, 2020 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
I have a new CNC machine going in my shop, and I needed a Windows PC to run the code going to the machine. My current laptop I use for work is a Dell XPS 15" 4K touchscreen which is something I'm not going to keep in a place that is often filled with sawdust. So I needed something as cheap as possible but still capable of running quite a few applications. After searching on Amazon and eBay I narrowed it down to a $90 Windows tablet and an Acer 15" laptop for $190. I ended up purchasing the laptop as I preferred the much larger screen. It certainly has it's limitations, but with a 1080p screen, 4GB of RAM, and wi-fi, it should do everything I need and more for this particular task.
It came installed with Windows 10 S, and upgrading it for free to Windows 10 Home as I needed to install software that isn't available on the Microsoft Store. Now I took the time and cleaned out all the installed apps using Ashampoo Unistaller 9 so I could install just the handful of apps I need for shop work.
If you've read my blogs over the years you won't be surprised to hear Fences was the first app I installed. I use Fences on all of my PCs to quickly access folders and to group icons that I usually organize into projects. I can't express how much time this saves me from finding my project files and just keeping things organized. I will also make a folder portal with OneDrive so I can easily transfer files from my office PC to the shop laptop. Start10 is also installed which also gives me the ability to integrate Fences into the Start menu.
Even though this is a shop PC, that doesn't mean I can't do some customization to the desktop. Curtains seems to be the perfect match for this laptop, and I have had a great time playing with all the themes and customizations available. I'm sticking with a lighter theme for now, but those dark themes from danioc are quite tempting!
Amazon Music is next up in the installation list. I subscribe to Amazon Music and since this laptop has Bluetooth, I can connect it to my garage speaker so I can have plenty of music in my shop.
Another one of my favorite apps on both PC and iOS is Microsoft OneNote. It's one of the best multi-platform apps for taking and sharing notes on a variety of devices. I can put some ideas down on OneNote on my iPad and then have them to work on in either my office or shop PC.
That's really most of the basic apps I have installed so far. Of course there are some shop specific apps like Carbide Create and Carbide Motion for CNC work. Also, Lightburn is a great app for laser applications.
So far this "cheap" laptop has done more than I thought it would, and to be honest I'm quite surprised given the price point of this machine. I guess it's good to know you can get a decent PC for a low price if you needed to, as long as you know the expectations of such a low cost device.
Depending on what you want to do with it, there's a lot out there
Thursday, July 23, 2020 by Tatiora | Discussion: Personal Computing
My first experience with any kind of video editing was in college. I had a camcorder (man when's the last time you called anything THAT?) and I wanted to do a creative project for a class. So, I gathered a bunch of friends, slapped them in costumes (it really didn't take much convincing, we were all a bunch of fun-loving nerds), picked a peppy song, and took a bunch of footage. Then I lugged my gear to the Mac lab to teach myself how to edit together a video.
An ancient shot from an ancient video that's, well...ancient. If circa 2003 is ancient, anyway.
Once I got over the initial hurdles of "WTF am I looking at?" and "Where the heck do I even start?" it wasn't so bad. Final Cut Pro (I don't even know what version it would have been at the time, this was over 10 years ago) was fairly intuitive for me, even if using a Mac wasn't (I've always been a PC user). The tools were straightforward and easy to access, making it easy for an amateur like me to put out a decent product. That video currently lives on YouTube, but there's no way I'm subjecting anyone to that.
Final Cut Pro remains one of the best options for Mac users (at $300 it's hardly cheap - but at least it isn't a subscription model!), although the much less expensive Adobe Premiere Elements for PC & Mac can offer a lot of the same features for a third of the cost. These days, I use Adobe Premiere Pro for editing video clips, short ads, VODs, and other such things, but I get it through a work subscription. Although $20 a month (that's JUST for Premiere, not the rest of the Creative Cloud) isn't necessarily bank-breaking, I really don't use it enough personally to make it worth it.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Fortunately for me and other casual video editors, there are plenty of good free or low-cost options out there.
For starters, let's take a look at Vegas. This program has several versions ranging from affordable to "yikes." The Vegas Post software will put you out about $1000, while the Vegas Pro software comes in around $599. Unless you're working on high-end projects with lots of demand for special effects, rendering, etc., you probably don't need that much. The VEGAS Movie Studio software is much affordable, coming in at $49.99 for the basic version (which will cover most of what a casual creator would need) and $139 for the Movie Studio suite.
Another low cost (and free, actually, if you want to go that route) option is Lightworks. You can download and install Lightworks for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. If at a later date, you decide you want to invest in an improved experience, you can upgrade to Lightworks Pro (monthly for $24.99 or own outright for $320). With this upgraded version, you’ll be able to export your projects in different formats and upload straight to YoutTube.
One more totally free option is Adobe Spark, but you'll have to be OK with your video having a watermark on it. More advanced editing tasks are also hidden in the pro version, so you'll need to pay up before having access to all of that.
Lightworks has a bit of a steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes one of the better free options out there. Other free options include Shotcut, Hitfilm Express, and VSDC. All of these free programs will do the basic trick, but have lots of additional features hidden behind a paywall. The nice thing about having the free versions is being able to test what it is you like and get an accurate gauge of just how much power you'll need for whatever projects you're wanting to do.
Next time, I'll talk a little bit about the couple of programs I find extremely helpful when I'm doing my editing - namely, Groupy and Multiplicity. Being able to sort things into multiple tabs is a godsend when I'm trying to find files, and working easily between two computers with one doing the heavy lifting while I work through my creative vision on the other is great for my productivity.
Do you do any video editing? What's your preferred program for it?