Stardock Suite is Sweet

The Stardock suite of tools, Object Desktop, are really nice. For those that do not know this suite is a set of 20 some utilities you can use to customize Windows. WindowBlinds is the most noticeable part of Object Desktop since it skins all of Windows - It has a few XP only touches as well. I personally got tired of the new XP "luna" look and I do not like the black text on darker khaki of the "Classic" theme. The problem I have found is there are very few skins made that could be used on a daily basis. Most are either too flashy and distracting or are just not usable for actually working on a PC. Of all the sites that have WindowBlinds skins I have found 2 that are usable. I like the Mozilla Modern (It looks like Mozilla or Netscape 7) and I also like the Blackcomb skin. I use Blackcomb 99% of the time because I like the negative UI elements, meaning white text on a dark (in this case dark blue) background. This is a lot more readable than black text on khaki (which is what both the Classic and XP themes use). WindowBlinds integrates right into the "Appearance" Tab of the Display Control Panel. When you install Skin Studio, it is incorporated into this control panel as well. The integration is very nice. Skin Studio is a really nice application in itself. I have used to it to customize parts of Blackcomb to my liking. WindowBlinds has a lot of customization features independent of the skin itself. You can choose if only parts of the skin take effect for example. One of the nice features of WindowBlinds is a Roll Up Feature (which would be called Window Shade on the Mac). This is a feature that Windows does not use at all, being able to "roll up" the document into nothing more than the title bar. I use this a lot on my Mac even though I have to use WindowShade X on OS X to do it. Another Mac OS feature I miss in the Windows world is spring loaded folders. Well there just happens to be a component of Object Desktop called SpringFolders that does this very well. Granted it is not worth $50 for just SpringFolders but WindowBlinds and the other applications make it worth it IMO. DesktopX and ObjectBar are much like Konfabulator is for OS X letting you create whatever kind of widget you want on your desktop. You can even put a Mac OS X like Dock in Windows. Using DesktopX I have created a few widgets myself as well as downloaded a couple made by others from the WinCustomize site. DeviantART has, among other things, a lot of Object Desktop skins and stuff. IconPackager lets you change all your icons. I have not really gotten into this part of Object Dekstop but I probably will soon. I mainly use WindowBlinds and DesktopX and also have SpringFolders running. I do not notice slowdown with these 3 things running, but I am sure your mileage may vary. I really like Object Dekstop. It gives me some familiar Mac like GUI features and also lets me put a more usable face (IMO) on Windows.

Comments (4)

eep, Stardock stuff is all bloated and nasty!
Well, to be honest, its not as bad as it once was, I remember using it on Windows m.e. and my system crawling to a near death like performance. They do seem to be on the ball these days though, the newer products are ok.
Dont think I'd use them myself though, just a personal preference. I do use their "dock" application sometimes.

I have heard the older stardock stuff was bloated as well. and it also depends on the widgets and how well the skins are optimized. I am using a hella fast P4 so im not really gonna notice the lag.

They run ok on my aging 1GHz AMD Thunderbird. Wouldn't say no to a lovely new P4 machine tho :D

Dark Phoenix:

I'm rather glad that my Mozilla Modern WB skin got a mention, it was my first effort at skinning WindowBlinds, and I'm proud to say that is has been included by default with the new builds (4.0+). I've been using Object Desktop for a couple of years now, and things have improved much in that time, I'll be continuing my subscription for a while to come...

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