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Object Desktop members get to try the new DeskScapes before it releases

Mar 13, 2019 5:00 PM by Discussion: Object Desktop News

Object Desktop 2019 is here
Object Desktop is a powerful suite of desktop enhancements that transforms your Windows
experience. It’s like getting the next version of Windows today.

Object Desktop owners are the first to test beta versions of software before
they’re ever released and you get free updates to all Object Desktop applications.

What’s Coming in Object Desktop 2019:

  • Brand New Applications, starting with DeskScapes 10, which will let you completely personalize your desktop wallpaper with animations, pictures, and video.
  • New Object Desktop Manager, (coming soon) with a sleek new look, making it easier to access betas and install, update, and manage your applications.
  • Major Updates to your favorite Object Desktop applications.

Renew Object Desktop
Reg. Price: $49.99
Renewal Price: $19.99
Special Discount Price: $14.99*

Upgrade to Object Desktop
Reg. Price: $49.99
Upgrade Price: $24.99
Special Discount Price: $14.99*

Get Object Desktop
Reg. Price: $49.99
Sale Price: $29.99
Special Discount Price: $19.99* 

 

 

Try the DeskScapes 10 Beta Now
Stardock is pleased to announce a major new version of DeskScapes
Personalize your desktop wallpaper with animations, pictures and video.

The new version includes updates based on customer feedback such as:

  • A new wallpaper manager, complete with the ability to mark “favorite” backgrounds, as well as modifying and saving both static and animated wallpapers.
  • Seamless WinCustomize library integration allows direct browsing and downloading of backgrounds from within the application.
  • Comes in light and dark theme modes to suit your personal tastes.
  • Supports h264 videos with hardware accelerated decoding where possible.
  • New additional effects you can apply to static and animated wallpapers which can now easily be combined and ordered.

 

The DeskScapes UI has had a complete overhaul

As well as the obvious dark / light mode, the interface now splits the list in to folders allowing improved management of your backgrounds.

 

DeskScapes now allows you to browse the WinCustomize library directly from the app

Directly browsing the WinCustomize library from within the application puts new backgrounds a click away and offers greater exposure of new Deskscapes and wallpaper backgrounds to other users.

 

Apply effects and now apply more than one at once

If you've ever found yourself loading up an image into a photo editing app to tweak it to make for a better desktop background, look no further than DeskScapes 10.  The beta includes over 60 effects, along with the ability to combine multiple effects to give users the ability to turn pretty much any image or video file into a usable desktop background.

 

DeskScapes 10 beta is available for Object Desktop subscribers today.
A stand-alone version is expected to be released this Spring.

Renew Object Desktop
Reg. Price: $49.99
Renewal Price: $19.99
Special Price: $14.99*

Upgrade to Object Desktop
Reg. Price: $49.99
Upgrade Price: $24.99
Special Price: $14.99*

Get Object Desktop
Reg. Price: $49.99
Sale Price: $29.99
Special Price: $19.99* 

Visit www.objectdesktop.com to learn more.

 

*Sale ends 3/26/2019 at 1PM ET.

16 Replies Reply 7 Referrals

I'm on an airplane right now.  I've been flying pretty regularly since I was 5 years old (parents got divorced and back then they could live in different states). 

It's the flight experience where you can really see how much tech has changed.  More to the point, as Kurzweil has pointed out, tech is changing exponentially and it's gotten to the point where it's really hard to miss.

On the way to the airport

I was able to check in to my seat via the Delta app that put a notification on my screen while in my Tesla on auto-pilot.  Just a couple of clicks and I was good to go.

At the airport

I have TSA PRE and the new clear program which is supposedly (but not really) faster than TSA Pre.  I was through security faster than before 9/11.   The only hic-up, was that the monorail was down to the gate which meant hoofing half a mile.   Reminded me that most rail advocates probably don't use much rail.  Rail was a great tech in the 19th century...

I sit down near the terminal and every chair has its own little iPad type device for ordering food and drink.  Almost no one uses them now, they're already outdated because their iPhone or Android device "has an app" that's easier.

Under the covers, thanks to computer aided data analysis, what are in airports now are much nicer and useful.  They know what works in airports (coffee ships, mid to high end restaurants, shoulder massage) and what doesn't (fast food, general goods).  And tech has largely eliminated book stores (sigh).  The result is that the airports I visit are generally quite pleasant.

Moreover, the better experience means lower stress.  If Brad from 1989 were to time travel to 2019, the first thing I'd notice is how much happier people are.  The general smoothness of how air transportation works now (relatively speaking) means a lot less stressed people.  The only really archaic thing left are the &#$%@ drivers licenses or other physical ID we still have to mess with and of course the normal TSA experience (mainly the damn shoe thing).  But the end result is that people tend to be pretty relaxed (relatively).

On the plane

Many of the chairs have displays on the back.  Already outdated.  They're the display of last resort because everyone has a handheld or some kind.  Which reminds me, I can't find my Kindle.  

Planes typically have WiFi, it's not free but eliminates much of the boredom of long flights.  I use to pour through PC Gamer, PC Magazine, PC World, Macworld, etc. from start to end on these flights.  And even that was a big step up from the early 80s and 70s where I'd lug Infoworld with me in the late 80s.  I still miss reading Nick Petreley's articles.

But it's not just that it's improved, it's that the rate of improvement is accelerating.   

What are some of the things you've noticed changing that seems to be changing even more rapidly now?

 

43 Replies Reply 16 Referrals

Feb 14, 2019 7:50 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Tell us what you'd like to see us work on for Object Desktop this year.

New apps? Update existing apps? You let us know.

166 Replies Reply 18 Referrals

Feb 14, 2019 7:50 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Tell us what you'd like to see us work on for Object Desktop this year.

New apps? Update existing apps? You let us know.

166 Replies Reply 18 Referrals

Jan 31, 2019 2:45 AM by Discussion: Personal Computing

It’s no secret forums have seen a serious decline in recent years versus social media. Which is a shame because social media is so impersonal.

I think this year I’m going to focus more time hanging out here.

8 Replies Reply 19 Referrals

Dec 4, 2018 5:02 PM by Discussion: Fences

As we work on the next version of Fences, we are interested in getting your feedback on what you'd like to see.

We are particularly interested in features that will make Fences more useful in your work and enterprise environment.  

Please comment below with any ideas and suggestions you might have.

Thanks!

56 Replies Reply 79 Referrals

Nov 27, 2018 4:16 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Are you a software developer interested in working in the game industry? Are you a talented artist with a great eye for making games with a distinctive look and feel? If so, make sure you check out some of the positions available at Stardock

Stardock has been around 25 years with the average employee having worked here for over 5 years.  It's an environment that encourages innovation, career growth and is just plain a fun place to work.

Today's highlighted position: Game Developer

Stardock is trying to fill up engineering spots at its Plymouth Michigan studio.  The position would involve working on cutting edge games as well as helping us bring our games to other platforms.  

Primary Responsibilities Include:
  • Write gameplay code and UI code.
  • Scripting and helping create quests and campaigns.
  • Improving engineering skills.
Education and/or Experience Desired:
  • Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics or equivalent work experience.
  • A passion for gaming and game design.
  • Self-motivated, likes to identify and solve problems.
  • Strong C++ background.

If you're enthusiastic about the position and would like to tell us about it, please submit your resume and cover letter to jobs@stardock.com, with "Game Developer" in the subject line.

 

0 Replies Reply 38 Referrals

Nov 27, 2018 4:16 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Are you a software developer interested in working in the game industry? Are you a talented artist with a great eye for making games with a distinctive look and feel? If so, make sure you check out some of the positions available at Stardock

Stardock has been around 25 years with the average employee having worked here for over 5 years.  It's an environment that encourages innovation, career growth and is just plain a fun place to work.

Today's highlighted position: Game Developer

Stardock is trying to fill up engineering spots at its Plymouth Michigan studio.  The position would involve working on cutting edge games as well as helping us bring our games to other platforms.  

Primary Responsibilities Include:
  • Write gameplay code and UI code.
  • Scripting and helping create quests and campaigns.
  • Improving engineering skills.
Education and/or Experience Desired:
  • Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics or equivalent work experience.
  • A passion for gaming and game design.
  • Self-motivated, likes to identify and solve problems.
  • Strong C++ background.

If you're enthusiastic about the position and would like to tell us about it, please submit your resume and cover letter to jobs@stardock.com, with "Game Developer" in the subject line.

 

0 Replies Reply 38 Referrals

Nov 27, 2018 3:05 PM by Discussion: Personal Computing

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Stardock!  As the founder, President, and CEO of the company starting from the time I was a college student, I've made a ton of mistakes that you can learn from. Below is a list of both small and large errors I have made over the years.

#1 Computer Hardware becomes worthless

It is really difficult to admit that a perfectly good monitor, keyboard, mouse - or even PC - eventually becomes worthless.  Over the years, I tried to find increasingly ridiculous uses for old hardware simply because I couldn't stand the wastage. If you have a company of more than 100 people for enough time, you can imagine how much old hardware stacks up. 

Sure, you can donate some of it, or try putting pieces on eBay, but for the most part, you will spend far more time than it's worth trying to find a purpose for it once it is ready to be put out to pasture.

#2 There is no perfect office setup

We have spent countless thousands of dollars over the years on "Office Systems".  These are desks, cube walls, and all kinds of other things that are designed to create an efficient, yet comfortable, environment for your colleagues.  There are some great articles out there with many different ideas. However, you will find that these ideas come and go based on how fast technology is moving.  

Incidentally, once used, these office systems are worthless from a resale value.  When times change, just bite the bullet and be prepared to invest in a new "system".

#3 It is better to own a piece of a valuable thing than all of a worthless thing

In my younger days, I frequently made the mistake that I see countless entrepreneurs still making. It isn't the percentage you own of something that matters - it is the value of what you own that does. 

One of my favorite stories is the story behind Impulse.  Stardock was the first company to engage in what we now call digital distribution. Defined as being able to purchase, download, and install a piece of content (a game, a piece of software) from an integrated app store, Stardock in 1998 was way ahead of its time.  The very first game that was released at retail and digitally was Galactic Civilizations in 2003. 

Seems smart so far, right?

During this period, we had numerous requests to invest in us, but I said no because I didn't want to give up stock to "strangers" (this is one of those issues of having grown up poor; I was very unsophisticated in business early on). 

Using our own profits, we built up what became Impulse. Despite it having a multi-year lead in both technology and market availability, it ultimately was eclipsed by Steam, which had vastly more capital available to it (and more importantly, Half-Life II).  Ultimately, we sold Impulse to GameStop, which did bring a tremendous return on our investment, but still nothing compared to what it could have been had I been more sophisticated when it mattered.

Capital is king.

#4 It's a business, not a cause

Most Entrepreneurs I've met are driven by something.  In my case, I was animated by a desire to see IBM's OS/2 succeed.  Stardock nearly went bankrupt in the 1990's because, despite knowing that Windows was going to obliterate OS/2 in the long-run, I was emotionally invested in OS/2.  Luckily, we survived this folly, but only barely.  Despite Windows NT 4.0 coming out in 1996, Stardock didn't migrate to Windows until three years after, which is an eternity in the technology industry.

#5 Attitude matters more than talent

I have made many bad hiring decisions over the years.  To the point that I rarely, if ever, get involved in hiring.  As CEO, my job is to find and recruit people more talented than I am (which admittedly is a low bar...), but that isn't the same thing as hiring them. If we define talent as "intelligence x conscientiousness x experience," then we will define "attitude" as their ability to act as a force multiplier on the organization. 

People who know me will tell you that I have a distinct lack of insight into people's character.  That is, I tend to like everyone I meet and if they are talented, I tend to fixate on that. This is why in the past decade or so, after the recruiting process, I largely step aside to let people with greater empathy and insight evaluate the potential new colleague.

However, no matter how talented a person is, if they are toxic to your organization, they can actually reduce your company's overall productivity. If you have a hard time judging the attitude of someone, get a good HR manager who can.  Your job as an entrepreneur is to identify talent and recruit them. But it is not a requirement that you are able to determine if they're a good fit. 

#6 Know when to let go

I literally grew up in a dying steel town.  Seeing the parents of friends lose their jobs in Detroit during the 1970's and 1980's had a significant impact on my attitude toward laying people off.  This attitude nearly ruined Stardock when we moved from OS/2 to Windows because we had to let a lot of people go in order to make that transition, and I was just not prepared to do that. 

Rather than laying off a few people early on, I ended up being forced to lay off a lot more people later on instead in order to migrate the company from OS/2 to Windows. If I had simply made the hard decision early rather than waiting, I could have saved several jobs (and several friendships).

If you ask someone in banking who has dealt with "work out," the #1 cause of businesses failing is not being able to downsize employees.  The companies will cut all kinds of pointless things ("Let's get rid of air conditioning!") to save pennies when the the right call is really to let someone go.

In the technology industry, layoffs are particularly aggressive because of its rapid evolution.  Let me give you a really obvious example.  For much of my career, I had an "Executive Planner".  This was a person whose job was largely to keep me on schedule.  I remember when Soren and I were starting up Mohawk and on my first visit with him I brought my Planner with me.  She was very organized, very professional, and personable. But now, just 5 years later, it would be ludicrous to bring on a human being to do what my iPhone or Surface can do far better.

Lots of permanent jobs have gone away as we have specialized or automated ourselves.  Only you can decide where to draw the line on keeping people who have been with you many years, but whose jobs are no longer make sense in your business, or having to make a painful cut. But knowing where to draw the line might mean the difference between success or failure for your business.

9 Replies Reply 48 Referrals

Oct 1, 2018 1:47 PM by Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything

One of the challenges I face in my role as the CEO of a company is that I always live in the future.  My job is to project things that will happen 1 year, 3 years, 5 years from now.  As a result, I tend to worry about things all the time.

Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, wrote a book I highly recommend called Only the Paranoid Survive. It's been a boon and a curse to me because I have learned a lot from it but at the same time, it has resulted in me constantly focusing on the future and not the present which is, frankly, not a very good way to live.

So what can be done? There is a concept called Mindfulness.  It is, in essence, about focusing on the here and now.  Many of us are aware of the advice to appreciate what you have today but that's easier said than done.  The question is...how?  Mindfulness is not advice, it is a series of techniques to try to focus more on the here and now to appreciate the moment, to live more in the moment in order to find a better balance between planning for the future and thinking of the present.

My question to you guys is, how many of you struggle with this as well and what techniques have you used to address it?

5 Replies Reply 36 Referrals

 
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