Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:33 UTC, submitted by Island Dog
Graphics, User Interfaces "Windows Vista has finally arrived! Many people have been asking us what are Stardock's plans? What can we do to take an excellent new OS like Windows Vista and make it better? There have been a lot of articles on how users of Windows XP can get a lot of the visual benefits of Windows Vista using Stardock Object Desktop. And while that may be true, Windows Vista provides us a whole new canvas of cool things we can do."
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RE
by Kroc on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:41 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

"What can we do to take an excellent new OS like Windows Vista and make it [del]better[/del] slower?"

Reply Score: 4

RE
by stestagg on Wed 31st Jan 2007 09:17 UTC in reply to "RE"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

I'm assuming that Windowblinds disables Aero. This provides a serious performance and power consumption improvement.

Reply Score: 0

RE
by tomcat on Wed 31st Jan 2007 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Disabling Aero does not provide a "serious performance and power consumption improvement."

Reply Score: 1

RE
by stestagg on Wed 31st Jan 2007 21:32 UTC in reply to "RE"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

erm....

Most people would realise that this discussion is about Aero Glass vs. Windowblinds.

About 300MB Ram, all of the processing power (not all in the GPU) required to calculate the blurring. The power requirement for keeping the graphics card active (According to Stardock, 40 mins per Dell laptop battery charge). The extra window redrawing that happens behind translucent windows. you do the math.

Reply Score: 1

aha!
by ari-free on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:44 UTC
ari-free
Member since:
2007-01-22

Just when we thought Vista couldn't be more slower or look more tackier and garish....well think again!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Various
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:47 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Windowblinds actually used LESS system resources than Windows XPs native themeing engine.

Please know what you are talking about before opening your mouths.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Various
by Kroc on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Various"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Yes, but on Vista the WM is already accelerated; and Vista does not support themeing; meaning they will have to rely on system hooks and owner-drawing the new theme:= more RAM, slower, less stable or compatible.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Various
by Island Dog on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Various"
Island Dog Member since:
2007-01-11

"WindowBlinds cuts battery consumption over Windows Vista Aero significantly. On our internal tests, running Vista with a WindowBlinds skin gave back over 40 minutes of battery life on a Dell laptop. You can test for yourself, it's pretty consistent. And if that's not enough, WindowBlinds is faster too thanks to DWM caching."

Edited 2007-01-31 00:13

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Various
by Kroc on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Various"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Ah, I see; so Windows users have to pay to get a decent WDM. How good for them.

I used to be real into all the ridiculous XP modding - Mac OS skin, Dock app, patched exe's, boot splash, the works. All it did was made the machine slow and unstable, and in the end it was just fluff. Provided no actual useful day to day productivity. I don't see any difference with the Vista version. You're paying so you can slow your machine down and show off your fancy desktop screenshots on forums.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Various
by ari-free on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Various"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

it's all good geeky fun. I have a place in my heart for that too. but there is no substitute for something that looks and feels good as a totality with a justification for every pixel. If the default theme is ugly, as is the case with Windows, the hope for a better one with super theming is tempting but never realized.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Various
by binarycrusader on Wed 31st Jan 2007 02:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Various"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

"WindowBlinds cuts battery consumption over Windows Vista Aero significantly. On our internal tests, running Vista with a WindowBlinds skin gave back over 40 minutes of battery life on a Dell laptop. You can test for yourself, it's pretty consistent. And if that's not enough, WindowBlinds is faster too thanks to DWM caching."

Somehow I imagine using Windows Classic or Aero Basic or whatever the minimal them setting is would accomplish the same thing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Various
by stestagg on Wed 31st Jan 2007 17:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Various"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Without the rich user experience. Something that is important to a lot of people. If you can afford windowblinds, then you can buy you cake and eat it any way you want.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Various
by binarycrusader on Thu 1st Feb 2007 00:26 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Various"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Without the rich user experience.

If "rich user experience" is defined as crappy themes, random crashes, and less memory available for the OS as it has in my past experience with Window Blinds, then count me out.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Various
by stestagg on Thu 1st Feb 2007 02:24 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Various"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

I did indeed experience this with earlier versions, but since XP had a WM that natively supported themes, I re-tried it and the stability has greatly improved. I don't actually use it, I just use the native visual styles hack to run some decidedly uncrappy themes. As for ram, I don't think the difference between the Windows Luna theme and a WB skin is very great. Of couse, I'm sure that you go with the 'classic' window borders.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Various
by ari-free on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Various"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

I compare to Windows classic mode which is what I use on XP. It's a bit on the simple side but it's the only theme that doesn't look like it was made by kids or goth fans.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Various
by silicon on Wed 31st Jan 2007 05:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Various"
silicon Member since:
2005-07-30

Have you measured it?

How did you measure it?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Various
by Soulbender on Wed 31st Jan 2007 07:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Various"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Windowblinds actually used LESS system resources than Windows XPs native themeing engine."

Unless Windowsblinds actually replace the native engine completely there's no way this can be true.
Then again, maybe it does replace it. I've never given ObjectDesktop the time of day, thinking that the kind of people who pay for this stuff are the same kind of people who put a peeing Calvin and spoilers on their stock Mazda's.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Various
by Obscurus on Wed 31st Jan 2007 11:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Various"
Obscurus Member since:
2006-04-20

It extends the WinXP style engine to take better advantage of graphics acceleration, and effectively it does replace it. In my personal experience, it definitely improves performance quite noticeably over the default XP engine. I personally find 95% of the themes available for Windowblinds to be utter crap, but some good ones are: Pristine OS 1.1, Noire, Royale (a copy of the MS theme of the same name - just runs a bit faster in windowblinds than the Microsoft default version) and SoftCrystal (based on the default KDE theme).

I don't know that it was worth the money, but it certainly does make an improvement over the standard Windows engine, and there are plenty of themes that are very straightforward and usable in amongst all of the horrible ones.

Reply Score: 2

v Ad?
by Gorapa on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:50 UTC
RE: Various
by binarycrusader on Tue 30th Jan 2007 23:55 UTC
binarycrusader
Member since:
2005-07-06

Windowblinds actually used LESS system resources than Windows XPs native themeing engine.

Maybe, but all it did was crash for me.

Reply Score: 5

Bad, bad screenshots
by PowerMacX on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:03 UTC
PowerMacX
Member since:
2005-11-06

OK, I know that beauty is subjective but... this is objectively ugly:
http://www.stardock.com/brad/vista/SDplan8.jpg

And if there is one thing most Mac users would like is to get rid of the brushed metal so, who had this "great" idea for a skin?
http://www.stardock.com/brad/vista/SDplan6.jpg

I'm sure there had to be better examples of Stardock's new capabilities...
(edit: if/is)

Edited 2007-01-31 00:05

Reply Score: 5

RE: Bad, bad screenshots
by ari-free on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:06 UTC in reply to "Bad, bad screenshots"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

I think the idea is that if you take a billion monkeys making themes with Stardock for a billion years, maybe one of them won't look ugly.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Bad, bad screenshots
by Kroc on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:09 UTC in reply to "Bad, bad screenshots"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Of course they're going with brushed metal; Windows is always years behind Mac OS ;) (bonus point if you can spot the joke, that started at the beginning of this paragraph, and ends here)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bad, bad screenshots
by Coxy on Wed 31st Jan 2007 16:52 UTC in reply to "Bad, bad screenshots"
Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

hahah. They're always horrible. Fortunately even fewer 'normal users' have heard of StarDock than have heard of Linux so you don't see many of these ugly schemes being used.

Look at this crap:
http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?skinid=6005&libid=1
- Count the fonts used
- Count the colours used
- Why do you need to see how much ram and space on your drives you have?
- Why do you need to see a graph displaying processor usage?
- Read the funny comments: 'This is ROCKING!!!!!!!
This is awesome!
Wicked thank you'
- It even comes with a free game... it's called spot the mouse pointer.

Maybe MS wants to do the world a favour and made Vista slow so that nobody even considers using this software. :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Bad, bad screenshots
by Island Dog on Wed 31st Jan 2007 17:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad, bad screenshots"
Island Dog Member since:
2007-01-11

That is something a user created, that really has nothing to do with the software itself. There are plenty of other themes and skins out there.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Bad, bad screenshots
by CowMan on Wed 31st Jan 2007 22:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad, bad screenshots"
CowMan Member since:
2006-09-26

That it is but one theme aside,

-> monitoring hard drive use is not foolish. Malignant programs can, and not uncommonly enough, continue to dump data to files until the hard drive fills up and your system crashes hard. I've had a server do this when the log rotation program failed to run. It's a quick way to see this this and shut the thread down.
~ Also - if you download much, it can be a quickly retiring asset. Makes sense to watch it then too.

-> You should monitor your RAM. It's a basic stat that can quickly sum up the state of your system, and if it's running slow - the second place to glance to for "why".

-> The first being the processor. Knowing how the processor is being hit can tell you if you have any form of evil programs running, why perhaps it shuts down randomly if it does so, if a program has hung, etc.

System monitors are not just eyecandy, my friend!

Reply Score: 1

v Welcome!
by Kroc on Wed 31st Jan 2007 00:11 UTC
This dont even come close
by SlackerJack on Wed 31st Jan 2007 01:29 UTC
SlackerJack
Member since:
2005-11-12

To Shape Shifter on OS X, I think they should look up the word "elegant" and learn. A lot of Stardock themes are just awful and claiming Aero looks so good and then changing it to this crap, well what can I say.

Reply Score: 5

Of theme-ing and mods...
by ituloyangsulong on Wed 31st Jan 2007 03:55 UTC
ituloyangsulong
Member since:
2007-01-09

I used to utilize various OSX theme for XP (i.e. flyakiteosx, Y'z dock) but after a while you'll get tired of it. I always switch back to classic win32 look. Or just boot into GNU/Linux and enjoy ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Of theme-ing and mods...
by ari-free on Wed 31st Jan 2007 04:45 UTC in reply to "Of theme-ing and mods..."
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

oh osx theme is horrible. First you think "oh this is by far the best theme." Then you realize all the other themes really suck. Then you realize an osx theme doesn't make any sense on windows. Then you realize you have absolutely nothing to be happy about.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Of theme-ing and mods...
by Brmbolec on Wed 31st Jan 2007 08:05 UTC in reply to "Of theme-ing and mods..."
Brmbolec Member since:
2005-07-23

OSX theme looks terribly on Win32, they can't even rip it right ... only some very *similar* crap ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Of theme-ing and mods...
by Quietleaf on Thu 1st Feb 2007 00:05 UTC in reply to "Of theme-ing and mods..."
Quietleaf Member since:
2005-11-11

I hear ya. I prefer plain Win2k with TClock3 (see below)
http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=86943
to get the Aero taskbar. For me it's the best of both worlds.

Reply Score: 1

Things Object Desktop did first:
by draginol on Wed 31st Jan 2007 07:40 UTC
draginol
Member since:
2006-05-20

People get fixated on eye candy but consider this:

Object Desktop has had either first or made done particularly well:

1) treating ZIP files like native folders in the shell (OS/2 version 1994, Windows version 1998).

2) Introduced live desktop objects (commonly called widgets except much more light weight, 1999, 2000).

3) First product to do GUI skinning and make it easy for users to add roll-up buttons, always-on top buttons, and control what right clicking on the title bar does (1999)

4) Real-time scaleable windows (2001)

5) Export desktop objects as standard Windows programs (2003)

6) Extend the file dialog to support user configuration (2000)

7) Replace the right-click desktop menu with one that is totally user configurable (including support for incorporating widgets into it)

8) Fastest virtual desktop program out there and one of the first virtual desktop programs (1993 on OS/2, 1997 on Windows)

9) Allowed users to build desktops with drag and drop including support for ActiveX controls and Javascript right on the desktop (2001)

10) Universal hot key support for storing clipboard, program shortcuts/shadows, etc. (1994 on OS/2, 2000 on Windows)

Every time there's a news item on OS News about this stuff, you always get a handful of people who don't seem to grasp that Object Desktop is software, NOT THEMES. If you don't like the skins people make, my question is, what the heck does that have to do with Object Desktop? It's like people saying Windows is crummy because people make ugly wallpapers for it.

From a screenshot perspective, certainly things like WindowBlinds have the most visual impact. But that's hardly what the bulk of what Object Desktop does is.

(Brad from Stardock)

Reply Score: 4

ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

the whole article was about changing themes. Also you have to understand that we have a high sensitivity to usability

but

I would be very interested if you could right click on app title bar and send it to any workspace like you can in KDE.

Edited 2007-01-31 09:09

Reply Score: 1

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

right click on app title bar and send it to any workspace like

Sign me up too, but I'd also want reliable remembering of per application window settings, rollup, topwindow, all without hacks.

Reply Score: 3

draginol Member since:
2006-05-20

right click on app title bar and send it to any workspace like

Sign me up too, but I'd also want reliable remembering of per application window settings, rollup, topwindow, all without hacks.


WindowBlinds can do all these things except for sending to a workspace but it can minimize to the taskbar or system tray by right-clicking on the title bar which is pretty handy.

Reply Score: 1

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

WindowBlinds can do all these things

Ok, but I'd like to see these happening by default, on the OS level, not with 3rd party apps and hacks. I guess I'm expecting too much.

Reply Score: 2

draginol Member since:
2006-05-20

There's nothing hacky about WindowBlinds. It's as native as any Windows feature.

Bundles doesn't make it "on the OS level".

On Linux, does "OS Level" depend on what happens to get included in the distribution?

Reply Score: 1

JamesTRexx Member since:
2005-11-06

http://virt-dimension.sourceforge.net/
I'm using it on every XP machine I work on. The last version is from July 2005, but I know development is still active.
This only gives you virtual desktops though, not themes, desktop enhancments, etc. like Object Desktop.

Reply Score: 1

MattPie Member since:
2006-04-18

- Snarky Comment Mode On -
2) Introduced live desktop objects (commonly called widgets except much more light weight, 1999, 2000)

xclock, xload, etc.?

7) Replace the right-click desktop menu with one that is totally user configurable (including support for incorporating widgets into it)

twm, well maybe not adding xclock to the twm menu. ;)

Just kidding around, most of the items in the list are pretty impressive.

Edited 2007-01-31 15:18

Reply Score: 1

RE: Things Object Desktop did first:
by Coxy on Wed 31st Jan 2007 16:56 UTC in reply to "Things Object Desktop did first:"
Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

'1) treating ZIP files like native folders in the shell (OS/2 version 1994, Windows version 1998).'

- RISC OS 1987 (ArcFS)

'3) First product to do GUI skinning'

- RISC OS 1987 - Built in. Just copy the image files for the WIMP sprites and edit them.

Edited 2007-01-31 16:57

Reply Score: 1

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

Haven't used windowblinds in ages, but let me just say thank you for your stand on PC games copy protection.

Reply Score: 2

Meh..
by zsitvaij on Wed 31st Jan 2007 09:39 UTC
zsitvaij
Member since:
2006-06-14

I preferred bblean while I was still using XP. Nice and functional.

http://bb4win.sourceforge.net/bblean/

Reply Score: 2

RE: Meh..
by JamesTRexx on Wed 31st Jan 2007 12:43 UTC in reply to "Meh.."
JamesTRexx Member since:
2005-11-06

I've been using xoblite for a while now, love the simple looks, the only thing bothering is that most windows start on the first desktop.
I think I'll go back to using Virtual Dimension though as that feels more like the KDE I use most of the time.
http://virt-dimension.sourceforge.net/

Reply Score: 0

RE: Things Object Desktop did first:
by Tuishimi on Wed 31st Jan 2007 11:10 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

Here here! Yeah, I first bought/used OD on OS/2 back in the 90's. And at that point the GUI aspects of it did actually help make OS/2 a bit more useable (that is 100% opinion of course).

Reply Score: 3

kiz01 Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with your opinion. I also bought OD for OS/2 (that and Galactic Civilizations) and loved it. It took an OS that was way better than Windows 95 and made it tons better. I'd give OD a serious look today if I had any Windows machines.

Reply Score: 1

Usability
by Island Dog on Wed 31st Jan 2007 15:06 UTC
Island Dog
Member since:
2007-01-11

Speaking from a standpoint as both a user and employee of Stardock, usability is still very important to me. Spending 10+ hours on a PC everyday any kind of shortcut to make my day easier is welcome, and thats why I have been a long-time customer.

ObjectDock, RightClick, and DesktopX are a few applications that I use to make my day more productive and to make my desktop more "usable". As Brad said, it's not always about "eye candy", but I would rather stare at a nice semi-transparent theme, than a default Windows theme, but thats just my opinion.

Reply Score: 1

what if...
by Bully on Wed 31st Jan 2007 18:49 UTC
Bully
Member since:
2006-04-07

If I ever.. in an very unlikely future I start to use Vista.. Then all i need to know it how to make it less system hungry.
Adding eyecandy is not something i'd be interested in.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Things Object Desktop did first:
by Tuishimi on Wed 31st Jan 2007 19:30 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

"(that and Galactic Civilizations) and loved it"

Oh man! I forgot all about Galactic Civs! ;)

Reply Score: 2

draginol Member since:
2006-05-20

"(that and Galactic Civilizations) and loved it"

Oh man! I forgot all about Galactic Civs! ;)


Thanks! I was in college when I wrote that.

I miss OS/2. There's a lot in OS/2 that Windows (and Linux) still can't even remotely touch.

Reply Score: 1

lol !!!!!
by Duffman on Wed 31st Jan 2007 20:37 UTC
Duffman
Member since:
2005-11-23

what this crap supposed to be ?

Edited 2007-01-31 20:39

Reply Score: 0

Life with out eye candy.
by systyrant on Wed 31st Jan 2007 20:41 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

I use to love eye candy and transparencies with my OS, but I've grown away from them. And yes I did use Stardocks products.

I'm probably not in the majority when I say this, but I don't like eye candy much. It's been my experience that computers running Windows XP tend to run better when you turn off the eye candy. To me it's more about performance than looks. Besides the eye candy doesn't do much for usability (still talking about Windows XP).

The one thing I do know days is turn off pretty much anything that doesn't have a usefulness to me. That includes shadows and animations.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Life with out eye candy.
by Obscurus on Wed 31st Jan 2007 21:43 UTC in reply to "Life with out eye candy."
Obscurus Member since:
2006-04-20

"The one thing I do know days is turn off pretty much anything that doesn't have a usefulness to me. That includes shadows and animations."

I actually find shadows very useful - they make it easier to find the mouse cursor and active window for starters (on a 22" widescreen display, this makes a big difference). Animations are also useful where they indicate that a process is occurring, and can help to highlight actions you might otherwise have difficulty noticing.

If overdone, animations and effects can make a desktop too chaotic, but if used thoughtfully they can dramatically improve the usability and productivity of the interface.

I personally don't find transparency at all useful in most situations, and the vast number of Vista clones made for Windowblinds is rather irritating. Most Windowblind themes either copy another OS (sometimes very well), or are garish and unusable in the extreme.

But you can't judge a program like Windowblinds based on the worst examples of the most poorly designed amateur skins - there are plenty of very usable, clean, professionally designed themes available, and the good ones really do result in a better interface that is less hungry for system resources than the default Windows XP options, even the classic mode.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Life with out eye candy.
by draginol on Thu 1st Feb 2007 02:50 UTC in reply to "Life with out eye candy."
draginol Member since:
2006-05-20

I'm probably not in the majority when I say this, but I don't like eye candy much. It's been my experience that computers running Windows XP tend to run better when you turn off the eye candy. To me it's more about performance than looks. Besides the eye candy doesn't do much for usability (still talking about Windows XP).

I'm that way too actually. The way I work doesn't look pretty but it's designed to be functional:

I have a skin that looks like the old Solaris Open Windows with a few extra controls on it for managing multiple windows.

I then have a TON of clipboard snippets, URls, etc. in Keyboard LaunchPad (Ctrl-Shift-O brings up OSNews.com for instance). I have no Start bar at all and nothing on my desktop. I use ObjectDock Plus to have some tabs that barely show up on the edges when I need to get to something I don't have in KLP (or just don't remember). And I use WindowFX's Alt-Tab raplacement to get around programs more.

I'm a keyboard guy in other words.

The reason things like WindowBlinds gets so much attention is that it makes a nice screenshot.

Nobody hears about the corporation who licenses Object Desktop to build secure desktops that are blank other than having 5 desktop objects because it's "boring".

The idea behind Object Desktop is to turn Windows (like OS/2 before it) into clay that can be sculpted into whatever the user wants. A lot of people use that power to have really wacky, resource intensive desktops and I say more power to them if that's what they want. It's not what I use it for though.

Reply Score: 1