Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2007 12:38 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Last week, Stardock released version 6 of WindowBlinds, their Windows skinning suite, which is the first version to include full support for Windows Vista. Stardock was kind enough to provide OSNews with a copy of WindowBlinds 6.0. Read on for some findings.
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I agree with your chief complaint.
by VenomousGecko on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:12 UTC
VenomousGecko
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have always thought that WindowBlinds was a unique application, but if you did not like the default themes, there wasn't much available that had any type of quality.

Reply Score: 1

more than elegance missing
by jtrapp on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:23 UTC
jtrapp
Member since:
2005-07-06

Decreased stability,
Decreased responsiveness,
Fugly and incomplete themes,
Where do I get one?

Reply Score: 6

RE: more than elegance missing
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:28 UTC in reply to "more than elegance missing"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Decreased stability


Proof? No problems here.

Decreased responsiveness


Proof? No problems here.

Fugly and incomplete themes


As said in the review, yes.

Reply Score: 1

Great app
by makfu on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:31 UTC
makfu
Member since:
2005-12-18

WB6, on Vista, is a very impressive application. By interacting with DWM, the entire experience "feels" more thorough and there appears to be no overhead or any of the strange themeing weirdness that always seemed to plague WB under XP. There are at least two theme's available (one provided in box) that were pretty (both derived from other OS GUI's) and didn't impact usability.

That said, yes, for some reason wincustomize is full of horrid, garish themes. Even more disturbing is that many of them are, by all appearances, very popular. This would seem to indicate that all the goodness of WB6 will be used to help people turn their desktops into the digital equivalents of "hoopties".

Nevertheless, WB6 is by far the best version yet.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Great app
by DoctorPepper on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:47 UTC in reply to "Great app"
DoctorPepper
Member since:
2005-07-12

This would seem to indicate that all the goodness of WB6 will be used to help people turn their desktops into the digital equivalents of "hoopties".

Kind of like the ketchup and mustard theme on Windows 3.1? ;-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: more than elegance missing
by Yogurth on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE: more than elegance missing"
Yogurth
Member since:
2005-07-20

All of the above mentioned are YES on my system. That should be part of proof You are looking for. WinXP Professional...and WB6 free managed to freeze XP to the reset button point.

Reply Score: 2

on the other hand...
by pjjmartin on Mon 8th Oct 2007 13:58 UTC
pjjmartin
Member since:
2005-07-08

I've tried Stardock in the past and it was nice in what it did, but after a while the price in system resources wasn't worth the cosmetic gain.

For those of you interested in going the way of minimalization, try GeoShell. I've replaced my explorer with it and my system is much more responsive. http://geoshell.org

Reply Score: 2

RE: on the other hand...
by merkoth on Mon 8th Oct 2007 14:25 UTC in reply to "on the other hand..."
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

I've tried Stardock in the past and it was nice in what it did, but after a while the price in system resources wasn't worth the cosmetic gain.

For those of you interested in going the way of minimalization, try GeoShell. I've replaced my explorer with it and my system is much more responsive. http://geoshell.org


"Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 16777216 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 8192 bytes) in /home/geoshell/sites/geoshell.org/gallery/lib/adodb/adodb.inc.php on line 808"

That's when trying to check some screenshots. I remember it from long time ago when I was trying to get rid of explorer in a Windows box I had to use. It was pretty cool, IIRC. It's not a WB replacement though.

Regarding WB, I wholeheartedly agree with Thom: it's been alwasys a cool app, but the lack of (useable, elegant, clean) themes degrades the experience. The only really useable themes come from the base package and, as someone already pointed out, they're inspired in other OSes GUIs. I will never understand why would I like to have little goldfishes swimming in my windows' title bars.

It's a shame, WB6 is a solid, powerful and affordable product, ruined by the lack of cool themes besides the always present yet-another-custom-aqua-like theme.

Reply Score: 3

Stablility
by whittmadden on Mon 8th Oct 2007 14:35 UTC
whittmadden
Member since:
2007-10-08

I had used Windows Blinds on previous versions, and although I thought that it was a great idea, I agree with the others, about lack of good themes. The biggest problem that I experienced with it, was stability. Older versions were a resource hog for me, and I couldn't justify using that much of my system resources for eye candy. There was very little that added any valuable functionality, and some of the themes were very buggy indeed. I don't use Vista, so I can't comment on this newer version, but from what I've read, it still suffers from the same issues as previous versions.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Great app
by makfu on Mon 8th Oct 2007 14:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Great app"
makfu
Member since:
2005-12-18

"Kind of like the ketchup and mustard theme on Windows 3.1? ;-)"

Worse.

Example:

http://skins2.wincustomize.com/NightTrain/wb/6288.jpg

Reply Score: 1

True
by Ultimatebadass on Mon 8th Oct 2007 14:46 UTC
Ultimatebadass
Member since:
2006-01-08

Most of WB themes are overdone, incomplete or simply ugly (and to top that, the themes for XP dont work very well under vista), but I'm sure once people like http://-kol.deviantart.com/ get their hands on the new version some nice AND usable themes will be produced ;)

I'm waiting patiently ;)

Reply Score: 1

Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

No one is doubting you experienced it, but how is one to know that it is a Windowblinds problem and not a problem with your system, or other software on it, or drivers, or something else entirely?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Great app
by Gryzor on Mon 8th Oct 2007 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Great app"
Gryzor
Member since:
2005-07-03

The worst thing is that you will read comments like these:

"Thanks man, this is the best skin I've seen so far"

Or people that will say...

"I have been looking for this !! "

I guess that we're outdated ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Great app
by merkoth on Mon 8th Oct 2007 15:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Great app"
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

The worst thing is that you will read comments like these:

"Thanks man, this is the best skin I've seen so far"

Or people that will say...

"I have been looking for this !! "

I guess that we're outdated ;)


I don't know if we're outdated, but one thing is sure:

most of us OSNews readers see computers as tools to accomplish a certain task, and most of our UI setups (for those who actually use GUIs ;) ) tend to be geared towards productivity and/or comfort. Extreme desktop-modding is "Pimp my ride" with a computer. Crazy looking but absolutely useless, and more than once absolutely ugly.

Reply Score: 5

does anybody know
by thebackwash on Mon 8th Oct 2007 16:00 UTC
thebackwash
Member since:
2005-07-06

What kind of hardware acceleration WindowBlinds brings to Windows XP? I would presume it only brings 2D acceleration. There's no mucking with GDI to get a buffered, 3D composited desktop, or anything like that, right?

Edited 2007-10-08 16:01

Reply Score: 1

so...
by JrezIN on Mon 8th Oct 2007 16:42 UTC
JrezIN
Member since:
2005-06-29

So, this article means StarDock should hire more professional designers to offer better quality...?

Well, IMHO that would be very positive! =]

but still... it's hard to judge a product by its 3rd parties... =]

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Great app
by Almafeta on Mon 8th Oct 2007 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Great app"
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

(for those who actually use GUIs ;) )


I'm kind of annoyed by this 'Real users use the command line' mentality.

Sure, I tend to use the keyboard to the exclusion of the mouse. But that does not mean I do not benefit from a GUI. I like having pretty programs, which have been enhanced by the (appropriate and conservative) use of graphics and sound. I like reading in well-designed eye-friendly variable-width fonts (that is a requirement for me, given how much of my life I spend sitting before a screen). I like having my commands organized into quickly-scannable lists of commands related to a particular topic (whether you're using dropdowns or ribbons, the concept is the same). It's great being able to summon application controls or OS controls with the touch of a single key (Alt or Win, respectively) and dismissing them just as easily. It rocks to have a well-designed GUI help me to do in three to five keystrokes what would take a command-line user a modestly-sized sentence, or a pure mouse user (oh, how I pity those poor souls) twenty or thirty seconds of lining up the cursor onto the correct spots. It's always nice when programs and features look like what they represent, and work like their look suggests. And when I happen to forget a command (we all use dozens of programs, some with hundreds of commands, it happens to the best of us), it saves so much time to be able to choose the command list of my choice and browse around the list of commands until I find the correct one, as opposed to having to look up the particular arcane switch I need in a manual (or worse, if they use online 'manuals', to have to open up another application to search for this manual -- granted I have internet access at all; wireless is not nearly as ubiquitous as it could be).

And when all you're doing is randomly browsing around, or playing a game to clear your head after beating it against a particular wall one time too many, sometimes that mouse really is the superior option (although I've been known to hold 'Tab' down to cycle through links for 10-12 seconds to not have to reach for the mouse).

Reply Score: 2

Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

"All of the above mentioned are YES on my system. That should be part of proof You are looking for. WinXP Professional...and WB6 free managed to freeze XP to the reset button point."


Windows XP crashed once when I inserted a CD - which is aparently "proof" that CDs are unstable ;-)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Great app
by Laurence on Mon 8th Oct 2007 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Great app"
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

""Kind of like the ketchup and mustard theme on Windows 3.1? ;-)"

Worse.

Example:

http://skins2.wincustomize.com/NightTrain/wb/6288.jpg"


The smilie in your system tray seems quite apt for that theme

Reply Score: 2

Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

Windows XP crashed once when I inserted a CD - which is aparently "proof" that CDs are unstable ;-)


Was it a RIAA music CD, by any chance? I know they sometimes hide malicious code in their discs to try to prevent computers from playing them...

Reply Score: 1

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