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?
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.
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?
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.
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!
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
Stardock released their popular desktop management application, DeskScapes, into 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
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.
Monday, July 5, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
We hope you had a fun holiday weekend, and July continues to be a hot one! We love seeing your summer inspired desktop screenshots, so be sure to share with us what skins and themes you are using!
Post your desktops to the monthly thread here: https://forums.wincustomize.com/505719/
(This is a news thread and will be locked. Screenshot taken by DrJBHL)
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
Independence Day is coming next week for us in the United States! As with many holidays it can also be a fun time to put some related content on your desktop. Fireworks are obviously a popular one, and we have quite a few of those in the animated wallpaper gallery. There's also a variety of other types of themes, and we'll highlight a few below!
Let us know what you're doing for July 4th this year!
Thursday, June 24, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: WinCustomize News
Grab our popular software products for awesome prices
during our biggest sale of the year!*
Check out some of our featured sales below:
*Sale ends 07.08.21 at 1 PM ET. Prices may vary per distributor. Sale not valid for Ashampoo and Enterprise products.
The new proposal is intended to address complaints of 'widespread cheating'
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Personal Computing
Amid complaints from brick-and-mortar retailers in India, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs proposed a ban on flash sales on e-commerce platforms and preventing affiliate entities from being listed as sellers on Monday evening. These policies are in response to a rise in concern about what retailers allege as unfair practices employed by Amazon and Flipkart in the second largest market in the world.
In its proposal, India's Ministry of Consumer Affairs suggests that e-commerce firms should not be allowed to hold flash sales in India. These sales - akin to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. - are very popular during the country's festive seasons. E-commerce firms have traditionally seen the largest spike in customer orders because of the heavily discounted products, which is impacting the sales of stores that don't have the same enormous online presence.
In a statement, the Ministry said: “Certain e-commerce entities are engaging in limiting consumer choice by indulging in ‘back to back’ or ‘flash’ sales wherein one seller selling on platform does not carry any inventory or order fulfilment capability but merely places a ‘flash or back to back’ order with another seller controlled by platform. This prevents a level playing field and ultimately limits customer choice and increases prices.”
This new proposal may prohibit Amazon, Flipkart, and other e-commerce platforms from running in-house or private labels. The proposal asks that e-commerce firms ensure that none of their related or associated parties are listed on their platforms as sellers for selling to customers directly.
India already does not allow e-commerce firms to hold inventory or sell items directly to consumers. In order to bypass this, many firms have operated through joint ventures with local companies that basically operate as inventory holders in this way. The new proposal also asks e-commerce firms to introduce a mechanism for identifying goods based on their country of origin and suggest alternatives to "ensure fair opportunity to domestic goods."
Amazon has invested over $6.5 billion into the India side of its business and has said that it will be reviewing its policies. Flipkart's majority stake was acquired by Walmart back in 2018 for $16 billion and currently has made no comment on this new proposal. The Ministry will be seeking industry feedback over the next 2 weeks.
Online marketplaces have greatly changed the way that many of us shop. On one hand, it's obviously very convenient and has made finding things that are perhaps out of season or not readily available in our areas much easier than ever before. On the other hand, it's true that many brick and mortar stores have suffered because of that convenience. I, admittedly, shop online more than ever (thanks especially to the pandemic).
What do you think - should there be methods in place in order to curtail the growing dominance of online platforms and drive more business to traditional brick-and-mortar stores? Share your thoughts with me!
Monday, June 21, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
Galactic Civilizations IV was recently announced and is the newest installment of its award-winning space 4X strategy sandbox game series takes the best of what its predecessors had to offer and adds to it with many new and exciting features. As the all-powerful leader of a spacefaring civilization, the player must seek out new star systems and discover the exciting potential of the subspace realm.
Learn more about the game here: https://www.galciv4.com/
To help celebrate the announcement, we've released several animated wallpapers for DeskScapes featuring video assets created for the game.
This is the animated logo for Galactic Civilizations IV that you can have right on your desktop.
This is one of the animated backgrounds for the game and makes for a really cool animated desktop!
We took the official announcement trailer and edited it a bit to make this animated wallpaper work on the desktop.
Here's the trailer:
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: OS Customization
I used to enjoy changing the login or lock screen on Windows. We had LogonStudio which was a great tool for customization, but as Windows progressed versions the ability to customize it was pretty much gone. In Windows 10 you can set to your selected image or slideshow or use the Windows Spotlight feature which picks a daily image for you to display. You can also select certain apps that will show a quick status on the screen such as your calendar or mail app.
I usually don't pay much attention to the lock screen as when I boot my PC up, I'm trying to get right to the desktop. When I notice the lock screen sometimes, I'll usually just change image to something for the current season and that'll be it.
I just wanted to ask the question if anyone takes the time to change their lock screen, or gives it much attention?