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The WindowBlinds Gallery is on Fire!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

How is that for a dramatic post title? Well, I'm only exaggerating a little as the WindowBlinds gallery has had a considerable number of beautiful skins added over the past few weeks. Some of these are new skins, some are updated, and some are being re-uploaded by "retired" members of the site.

It's nice to see a wide range of distinctive styles and colors being used, and it's been fun to combine these themes with various static and animated wallpapers from DeskScapes to create some awesome Windows desktops.

Here's a few of our recent favorites but be sure to check out the entire WindowBlinds gallery here.

Sunset II

 

Primo

 

Veritas

 

Dreadnaught

 

NOW AVAILABLE: Fences v3.1

Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Major Version Update for Fences Now Available

Stardock released a major update to Fences, its popular Windows desktop organization software, todayFences creates a one-of-a-kind experience for users by automatically organizing their Windows desktop shortcuts and icons in shaded areas, offering a clutter-free workspace for creating.  

Fences tucks files and folders away in plain sight with designated portals while also providing the functionality of pulling specific content onto the creative workspace. Based on preference rules, users can customize how icons are viewed and where files originate from. 

Fences 3.1

The 3.1 version update for Fences adds a new feature: Target Based Rules. Using this option, users can access something like a Steam link, or any other .lnk, .url, or .website files right within their fences. In addition, v3.1 improves startup times and disables icon move animations, plus makes several other improvements based on user feedback. This includes eliminating folder portal ‘flickers’ and incorrect sorting of icons outside of the fences on the desktop. v3.1 also improves the way icons and fences work on multi-monitor setups. 

Users have several options for customizing fences. The “portals” feature allows users to create a desktop portal from any folder, which automatically populates the folders’ contents into an easy-to-find Fence. Quick access to a commonly used folder without having to open Windows explorer is just one of many things that makes Fences ideal for organization and easy to use. 

Fences 3.1
Fences 3.1

 

Users can create “pages” on their desktop, accessed with a simple right or left swipe. Choose which Fences remain on each individual page and find them easily when switching between tasks. For people who use their PCs for dozens of different assignments and activities, the “pages” feature allows for easy organization and a seamless flow from task to task.

Fences 3.1
Fences 3.1

Get it now through Stardock or on Steam.
Fences is also available in our Object Desktop Suite, which contains over a
dozen programs for customizing your Windows PC.

A Look at Acoustic Bridge

Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Stardock Blog

In a world of media streaming, does Acoustic Bridge have a place anymore?

I decided to play around with the program a bit and see some of the advantages it offered over streaming music directly to a device via an app like Spotify or YouTube. I admit, in general I tend to stream things from my phone and hook it up to external speakers either via bluetooth or an AV cable, so I wasn’t sure if I would be interested in anything Acoustic Bridge could do for me.

Although I grab most of my music off of Spotify these days, I admit that it’s largely because of convenience. Before music streaming became big, I had a fairly robust iTunes account. I still do - it’s not like the music has gone anywhere - but in most cases I can find stuff on a streaming platform if I want to play it.

The ability to choose specific songs or avoid ads on many of these streaming platforms, however, comes with a monthly cost. Why would I pay that when I already have a huge music library of songs I know I like that I can listen to? This is where Acoustic Bridge comes in for me.

Using Acoustic Bridge, I was able to connect my main PC in my office to my laptop, which I can take with me anywhere in the house. I took it downstairs to my gaming room and hooked it up to a set of speakers, then streamed my iTunes music from my main computer onto the laptop. It was great!

No cumbersome downloads onto the laptop (I have a LOT of GBs worth of music), and a quick, simple, seamless way to connect. All I needed to do was download Acoustic Bridge onto both computers, set one to “send audio” and the other to “receive audio,” enter the computer key, and then boom - I was in business. 

It was nice not to have to skip through ads or click “yes” on the “Video Paused. Resume?” screen. I also found that I had a more consistent connection between my PCs instead of having to wait for loading when the music was streaming from an online source like Spotify. 

The audio sharing goes beyond music, too - I can transfer the output from any application, from Discord to email, ensuring that I don’t miss any notifications while I’m downstairs jamming out to the greatest hits of the 90’s.


Don't judge me.

One thing to note about using Acoustic Bridge is that you might need to dive into your Firewall settings a bit in order to make sure that the PCs can connect. I had to do a bit of finagling and seek a little help from one of my pals in IT, but I figured it out without too much trouble. 

Have you used Acoustic Bridge before? I’d love to hear how you utilize it - share with me!

NOW AVAILABLE: The DeskScapes 11 Beta Enters Public Beta Today

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

The Public Beta for DeskScapes 11 is Now Available
Popular desktop background management application brings animated background creation,
cloud wallpaper library integration, and more

Buy from Stardock  |  Buy from Steam

Back in May, DeskScapes 11 arrived as a beta exclusive to the Object Desktop suite. Now, the beta for this popular desktop customization app is publicly available to everyone. DeskScapes allows users to manage and apply both animated and traditional desktop backgrounds with seamless access to cloud-based computer wallpapers.  A powerful design tool for creating animated wallpapers called DreamMaker Pro is also included. 

With DeskScapes, You Can:

  • Create your own animated backgrounds with pictures and video
  • Explore dozens of different customization options including drawing tools, brushes, logos, particle effects, and much more using a powerful design tool
  • Customize your backgrounds with dozens of special effects
  • Share your creations easily thanks to seamless cloud integration
  • Browse thousands of user-created backgrounds right from within the app
  • Add backgrounds of your choice to a playlist and cycle through them on your desktop as often as you like
  • Display your system resources or add a clock directly on your desktop background
DeskScapes 11
DeskScapes 11

Fans of desktop customization will love the ability to apply animated wallpapers to their PCs. If you like to create your own, the included DreamMaker Pro is powerful and easy to use, giving you endless possibilities for both creation and enhancement of backgrounds. Seamless integration with cloud-based services make it easy to both find and share backgrounds with the entire DeskScapes userbase.

DeskScapes 11 is designed to extend the Windows built-in desktop background manager to support features such as adding custom directories for backgrounds, fast searching, timed playlists, playing videos as backgrounds, online cloud integration, similar background search, additional scaling and sizing options, advanced multi-monitor customization, colorization, wallpaper filters, scheduling and more.

The DeskScapes 11 beta is now available to anyone for $2.99 (special beta pricing!)
Buy from Stardock  |  Buy from Steam

COMING SOON: Major Fences v3.1 Community Update

Monday, July 19, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Major Version Update for Fences Coming on July 22nd

Stardock announced a July 22nd release for a major update to Fences, its popular Windows desktop organization software. Fences creates a one-of-a-kind experience for users by automatically organizing their Windows desktop shortcuts and icons in shaded areas, offering a clutter-free workspace for creating.  

Fences tucks files and folders away in plain sight with designated portals while also providing the functionality of pulling specific content onto the creative workspace. Based on preference rules, users can customize how icons are viewed and where files originate from. 

Fences 3.1

The 3.1 version update for Fences adds a new feature: Target Based Rules. Using this option, users can access something like a Steam link, or any other .lnk, .url, or .website files right within their fences. In addition, v3.1 improves startup times and disables icon move animations, plus makes several other improvements based on user feedback. This includes eliminating folder portal ‘flickers’ and incorrect sorting of icons outside of the fences on the desktop. v3.1 also improves the way icons and fences work on multi-monitor setups. 

Users have several options for customizing fences. The “portals” feature allows users to create a desktop portal from any folder, which automatically populates the folders’ contents into an easy-to-find Fence. Quick access to a commonly used folder without having to open Windows explorer is just one of many things that makes Fences ideal for organization and easy to use. 

Fences 3.1
Fences 3.1

 

Users can create “pages” on their desktop, accessed with a simple right or left swipe. Choose which Fences remain on each individual page and find them easily when switching between tasks. For people who use their PCs for dozens of different assignments and activities, the “pages” feature allows for easy organization and a seamless flow from task to task.

Fences v3.1 will release on July 22nd.
The beta is currently available exclusively for Object Desktop members.

Fences 3.1
Fences 3.1

Don't have Fences? Get it now through Stardock or on Steam.

Favorite Triggered Animated Wallpapers for DeskScapes 11

Monday, July 19, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Since the DeskScapes 11 beta has been out for a few weeks, along with the release on Steam, I wanted to show off some more of the dynamic wallpapers we have for DeskScapes. These are dynamic wallpapers that will change based on the time of day to give your desktop a fun, changing background throughout the day!

Here are some of our favorites, and you can find many more in the DeskScapes gallery here!


Beach Time

 

Outset Island Throughout the Day

 

Mountain View

 

Islands Day to Night

 

Using DeskScapes with Dynamic Changing Wallpapers

Friday, July 16, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: Stardock Blog

DeskScapes 11 is fantastic at bringing animated wallpapers to your Windows desktop, but it's also great at using and managing static wallpapers as well. Sometimes I don't want a fully animated desktop and would just prefer a more minimal setup. This is why lately I've been using triggered static .dreams that change based on the time of day. These are amazingly easy to make with DreamMaker, and we have added quite a few to the WinCustomize gallery also.

What exactly are they? Well let's look at one of my favorites, The Desert.

The preview shows a day and night view, but it actually has 8 images of the same scene but at different times of the day. Starting from the morning all the way to through late night, this .dream will change based on the time, so you'll have a dynamically changing wallpaper all day.

Another one of my favorites is Tropical Beach. As the name implies this is a cool vector scene of a tropical beach in the morning, afternoon, evening, and night. 

These .dreams are a fun way to add a new twist to your desktop wallpaper! Have you tried using triggered .dreams? Do you have any favorite scenes you'd like to see created?

 

Constant Innovation

Thursday, July 15, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Stardock Blog

Change is inevitable.

...hah, writing that first line just made me think of Thanos. The jerk.

ANYWAY, like I was saying: change is inevitable. As humans, we are constantly seeking, learning, and applying new concepts that result in incredible innovations. It’s amazing to see how much has happened, specifically in tech, over the last decade or so. 

Before I came to Stardock and found myself immersed more on the producer’s side of tech, I worked very heavily with the consumer-side. For about five years, I worked in a local school district, and I swear I learned more about technology from those kids than I ever did from any sort of formal class or gaming knowledge I’d picked up over the years.

The stuff these kids could create using a computer or even just an iPad was amazing! They constantly blew my mind with their creations - from short videos, to animated critters dancing across the screen that they controlled while learning how to code, these kids were endlessly exploring all of the great things tech could offer them.

Thanks to technology, they also played a fair number of games, which of course was part of why we got along so well. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with an 8 year old about who their favorite Pokemon is? Trust me, you’ll be charged for hours afterwards from just their energy.

In just the last 10 years, we’ve witnessed the rise of everyday technology. Stuff that, when I was a kid, seemed like just an imaginative idea but is now commonplace and interwoven into our daily routines. Things like social media, cloud computing, iPads, virtual assistants, fitness trackers...the list could go on and on.

We’ve seen some attempts at innovation that either flopped entirely or are still trying to get off the ground (smart glasses, anyone?), but there’s no denying that, failed or not, innovation is constant. Let's take a look at some of the developments within the last 10 years that have impacted me the most.

Video Chatting

I remember starting out on AOL Messenger waaaaaay back in the day. It was text only (and if you were anything like I was in 8th grade, that text was usually brightly colored and in very obnoxious fonts), and the idea of actually having a video chat with someone was just something I’d seen on Star Trek a few times. 

As the years went on, things like Skype started to creep onto the scene. A lot of the video chatting capability evolved because of the growth of the Internet and the ability to deliver higher speeds to consumers. Now, video chatting is so rampant - FaceTime, Zoom, Discord, and so on - that it’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t a “thing.” 

Video chatting is a large part of how I managed during the pandemic, in fact. It allowed me to converse with family members or friends who I couldn’t see in person. It has also paved the way for nightly FaceTimes with my 16 month old niece, Jade, who just melts my heart every time she says “Ni-ni, Kristy!” Is someone cutting onions in here?

Portable Tech

Do you remember the days of flip phones? Or heck, even the time when cell phones were only found in cars and were about half the size of your face? I have some very vague memories of my father having one of those.

If you had told me when I was a kid that someday I’d be able to hold a portable, internet-connected piece of technology in my hands like it was no big deal, I’d have called you crazy. And if you’d told me it was also a phone, I’d have definitely laughed at you.

I can’t believe how far we’ve come with our cell phones. I can do so many things from my iPhone, and even though innovation churns on faster than I can afford to upgrade, the slightly older model is usually just fine until I can manage to get the newest. I can search the internet, play games (obviously this is the most important thing, lol), video chat with friends, write in a word processor, and so much more.

One of the dangers of having all of that technology packed into something we can easily bring along everywhere we go is the state of constant connection that we have, but I suppose that isn’t always a bad thing. I just have to actively make time to be “unplugged” so that I can have some time to myself now and again.

The best thing about smart phones, hands down though, is GPS. Remember when GPS was its own separate piece of tech? I mean, I guess it still is, but as far as I’m concerned it’s obsolete when my phone can do most of the same things. I haven’t gotten lost in a long time - and believe me, back when I’d have to print up directions on MapQuest and follow them that way, it happened a lot more often than I’d like to admit.

Virtual Reality

A virtual reality experience in my house? You’re kidding, right? Nope, definitely not - welcome to the future! This still amazes me, honestly. 

The first time I tried virtual reality outside of something like a theme park, was actually when I first came to Stardock. We’d gotten an Oculus for the office and a bunch of us stayed after work one night to play around with it.

We ordered some pizza, set up a screen so that we could look at what the person was seeing on their headset, and started taking turns. I remember playing Aperture Robot Repair or something like that, and when the floor started to fall out from underneath me I recall feeling a brief moment of genuine alarm.

This alarm was amplified when one of my giggling coworkers came and gave me a light tap on the shoulder, further startling me. We all got a good laugh out of it! Not long after that, friends started acquiring various VR devices and now several of them have setups in their own homes, which is super-ideal for things like Beat Saber parties!

Ah, what a time to be alive.

 There are obviously so many more innovations that have impacted my daily life - things like Steam and Amazon, which makes gaming and shopping super accessible (a little TOO accessible, sometimes!), and countless other things that I know I’m forgetting.

Do you remember the days before these inventions and innovations? Which technological advances have most impacted or improved your life over the last decade? Share with me!

ANNOUNCING: DeskScapes is Now Available in Steam Early Access!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

DeskScapes is Now Available in Steam Early Access
Stardock’s popular desktop background management application brings animated background creation, cloud wallpaper library integration, and more to Windows Users

Join Early Access on Steam

Stardock released their popular desktop management application, DeskScapesinto Early Access on Steam today. DeskScapes brings a host of desktop background features to Windows, including animated wallpapers, advanced background customization, and more.  

The newest version, DeskScapes, builds on the successes of all the versions that came before it and adds several highly desired features, including seamless cloud integration for downloading and sharing backgrounds, cycling playlists, and many new special effects. 

“The new version of DeskScapes is compelling both for animated and standard wallpapers,” said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock. “For fans of animated wallpapers, we include DreamMaker Pro, which is both powerful and easy to use for creating or enhancing desktop backgrounds.  We also added seamless integration to cloud-based services for finding desktop backgrounds.” 

DeskScapes is designed to extend the Windows built-in desktop background manager to support features such as adding custom directories for backgrounds, fast searching, timed playlists, playing videos as backgrounds, online cloud integration, similar background search, additional scaling and sizing options, advanced multi-monitor customization, colorization, wallpaper filters, scheduling and more. 

The included DreamMaker Pro tool makes it easy to create animated backgrounds. It includes dozens of different effects, drawing tools, brushes, logos, particle effects, and much more. 

With DeskScapes, users will be able to: 

  • Create animated backgrounds using pictures and video 
  • Explore different customization options including drawing tools, brushes, logos, and particle effects
  • Customize backgrounds with dozens of special effects 
  • Share creations easily via seamless cloud integration
  • Browse thousands of backgrounds from within the app 
  • Add backgrounds to a cycling playlist
  • Display system resources or add a clock directly to the desktop background 

DeskScapes is available in Early Access on Steam for a limited time special pricing of $2.99
The beta available through Stardock's Object Desktop 

DeskScapes 11
DeskScapes 11
DeskScapes 11
DeskScapes 11
DeskScapes 11

New Curtains Themes to Download from Danioc!

Monday, July 12, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

We are back from break and hope that everyone who celebrates July 4th had a fun and productive holiday. It seems like summer is halfway through, and it's certainly been a hot one so far!

Danioc has been remarkably busy over the past couple of weeks creating some new Curtains themes to share on WinCustomize! I wanted to take a few minutes and share what he's been working on.

Check out these and more in the Curtains gallery here.

Alpha 7

 

Eleven

 

Eleven Dark

 

Eleven Blue




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