Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on October 30, 2010 By Draginol In OS Customization

I’m slowly putting together the 2011 business plan for Stardock. Where to budget what.  It’s a difficult challenge this year because the Windows market isn’t just fragmented but the tech market is fragmented (iOS has become a serious venue for development).

Our business model for skinning has slowly broken down over the years. Years ago, we would come up with app ideas and then look out on the net to find someone who has made something similar and work with them on a royalty basis. 

Nowadays, the expectation of quality is such that you can’t really get away with having some college student making this stuff in his spare time for some extra money and our seasoned developers have moved on to other things or are juggling many different programs at once.

For example, I’d love to do a full blown WPF DesktopX successor.  But we’re having a devil of a time getting DesktopX 4 out the door as-is.  A WPF desktop creator might be a big hit or…it might be a huge amount of work that amounts to very little.

As Windows itself has gotten nicer looking by default, the demand for software fix the Windows experience has naturally declined. I use IconPackager, WindowBlinds, ObjectDock, Fences, and DeskScapes.

I think there’s a lot more that could be done with DeskScapes going forward.  IconPackager is a lot tougher because the time versus pay off ratio doesn’t work out.  WindowBlinds still has a lot of good stuff we can do for that.  ObjectDock 2 just came out and there’s a lot that can still be done there.

We already have a couple of new things in store for next year but increasingly, our focus is on things that improve the experience of Windows less via eye candy and more by modernizing the experience.  Anyone who has used an iPad (or Windows 7 mobile) can really see how rickety Windows (and MacOS for that matter) have really become.  Not because they’re overly complicated but rather because their user experience was designed during a different era. 

The whole Windows experience needs a serious overhaul but such an overhaul wouldn’t be cheap and it might amount to nothing if users didn’t like it.

I know I’m more than a little annoyed that Microsoft has taken their eye off the Windows ball. WPF and Silverlight are awesome – on Windows.  Microsoft needs to quit putting mindless suits in charge of things and get some people with common sense running the show.  Windows need not to a legacy platform, it just needs a revisit from a 2010 perspective.

And so that’s what I’m looking at.  The challenge is finding developers who are willing to work on a royalty basis rather than a salary basis.  People to share the risk in creating cool new things.


Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 31, 2010

Just a suggestion. Look to Uncle Sam aka US of A. Analytical Graphics Inc. has a 3D program that does satellite telemetry for the government. Why not approach them with an app similar to windowblinds that will give them a different 'feel' as it were for the desktops they use. Look at Sysmetrix and what its capable of, monitoring systems and such. Deskscapes is powerful enough. Why not real time images that can keep track of all they have up there. I'm sure they already have something similar but the user experience might draw others into the fold and breath new life in a rather lackluster space program. May not be easy but the payoff could be extravagant considering how much into making money the government is. Just a thought.   

on Oct 31, 2010

For example, I’d love to do a full blown WPF DesktopX successor. But we’re having a devil of a time getting DesktopX 4 out the door as-is. A WPF desktop creator might be a big hit or…it might be a huge amount of work that amounts to very little.

As Windows itself has gotten nicer looking by default, the demand for software fix the Windows experience has naturally declined. I use IconPackager, WindowBlinds, ObjectDock, Fences, and DeskScapes.

The first half of that disappoints me greatly.

The second half scares me, because if you don't like DX well enough to use it, how can we have faith that you'll give it the attention it deserves?

on Oct 31, 2010

Deserves?

on Oct 31, 2010

GregII
Deserves?

Hell, yes. Deserves. DesktopX is one of Stardock's most powerful apps, it just needs love.

on Oct 31, 2010

Just a suggestion. Look to Uncle Sam aka US of A. Analytical Graphics Inc. has a 3D program that does satellite telemetry for the government. Why not approach them with an app similar to windowblinds that will give them a different 'feel' as it were for the desktops they use. Look at Sysmetrix and what its capable of, monitoring systems and such. Deskscapes is powerful enough. Why not real time images that can keep track of all they have up there. I'm sure they already have something similar but the user experience might draw others into the fold and breath new life in a rather lackluster space program. May not be easy but the payoff could be extravagant considering how much into making money the government is. Just a thought.   

What?

on Oct 31, 2010

I've said this on the ObjectDesktop 2011 thread, whatever you decide to do the only qualification should be if you make it available to the community is that it works.

on Oct 31, 2010

Brad: With regard to IconPackager, couldn't you do something with Chaninja's "LaunchIcons"? Could it be integrated into IconPackager, maybe as a deluxe version?

http://launchicons.com/

on Oct 31, 2010

I know that it is difficult to keep up with the changes but I would like to be able to skin all of my apps (ie8, office, etc.)

on Oct 31, 2010

i know what you mean, images can be flipped expanded ect with just a finger touch nowadays and yet we are still stuck with stagnent items that dont do many exciting things like that (apart from a few animations we can do).... wb should be like that too, but yeah we are being left behind......

i would ask Sviz  for help she is amazing at coding and could probably help.

on Oct 31, 2010

It was meant to stir the creative juices. If one company can do it and be successful who's to say others can't do the same. It all points to what Object Desktop is capable of. Apps like Deskscapes that can generate amazing images in the hands of experienced people. Sysmetrix monitors just about everything a computer does. You don't think it can do more. Look at DX. That app is like SMX's big brother. Rainlendar is among the simplest apps. It has eight controls and I've used them all. Controls only do what you tell them to just like a computer. What I'm driving at is the versatility inherent in the combined apps. What's stopping it from going to the next level. Farfetched? Maybe. 

on Oct 31, 2010

I dunno whether it's a legacy from my years with alternate shells [Litestep] but my use of skinnables/skinning these days is all about the 'I', not the 'G' in 'GUI'.

Functional access to 'stuff' defines my use of it all...even Windowblinds only for the Z-order handling and 'roll up'.

Whether or not every pixel is cute...or even matches is not important to me these days...

on Oct 31, 2010

I dunno whether it's a legacy from my years with alternate shells [Litestep] but my use of skinnables/skinning these days is all about the 'I', not the 'G' in 'GUI'.

Functional access to 'stuff' defines my use of it all...even Windowblinds only for the Z-order handling and 'roll up'.

Whether or not every pixel is cute...or even matches is not important to me these days...

Well, you probably like my stuff then...

on Nov 01, 2010

having a devil of a time getting DesktopX 4 out the door as-is

Unless I missed something I don't think you guys did a single thing to fix DesxtopX 4 after you received feedback from it. How could it possibly have a chance? Heck, I think Redneck Dude still uses 3.5, and if he can't use DX4 then ....

I would love to see new stuff but even more..., I'd love to see the core stuff working and more promises kept when it comes to the announcements/goals. Good luck on whatever path you choose to take.

on Nov 01, 2010

Unless I missed something I don't think you guys did a single thing to fix DesxtopX 4 after you received feedback from it. How could it possibly have a chance? Heck, I think Redneck Dude still uses 3.5, and if he can't use DX4 then ....

Ironic too, because 4.0 comes with 2 of my skins pre-installed...and I can't use it....irony is so ironic...

on Nov 01, 2010

Brad: With regard to IconPackager, couldn't you do something with Chaninja's "LaunchIcons"? Could it be integrated into IconPackager, maybe as a deluxe version?

Boxxi I love that idea I have a set I was working on and only stopped because I needed to make the target configureable by the end user.

I kinda finished one up and uploaded it here to my personal site only (to keep it out of the galleries) . That way

Brad and You can take a look here... http://www.wincustomize.com/explore/desktop_gadgets/135/

Best part is if we make it's target user configureable it run on the DX platforn (    RND ) so not really any new software needed just some fine tunning!

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