November 2006   

What's in this issue

GUI Championships Wraps Up
The 2006 GUI'sThe end of November brings us the end of the 2006 GUI Championships.  This year, we've seen entries from all over the globe, with artists representing countries such as The United States, Australia, Brazil, China, Pakistan and Russia (just to name a few!).  In the past few months, we've announced the winners of Most Usable and Most Original Wallpapers, Icons and Visual Styles, giving away two video cards from EVGA/NVIDIA, piles of cash, as well as software from Stardock, Eclipsit and subscriptions to DeviantArt.

This week, the winners of our final events have been announced.  The Best Overall events are what the competition is really all about, showcasing and rewarding the absolute best of what has been submitted.  These final three events account for over $3,000 in prizes, including two XBox 360 Premium consoles!  On top of that, we have the overall winner of the competition, and the recipient of the Alienware Area-51 m5750 Multimedia Entertainment Laptop!  With the laptop, we officially hit the $12,000 mark!

  • 1st Place, Best Overall Wallpaper: Africa by evilhomer145
  • 1st Place, Best Overall Icon Package: Aqualix by Dexter 2005
  • 1st Place, Best Overall Visual Style: Azenis 2 by JJ Ying

The 2006 GUI Champion, and winner of the Alienware Laptop: JJ Ying!


Visit: []

WindowBlinds Beta For Vista
Microsoft Windows Vista went to manufacturing earlier this month, and one of the most frequent questions we've received from customers and community members is when they can expect to see a beta version of WindowBlinds that runs under Vista.  Well, the wait is over!  On November 15th, WindowBlinds 5.5 Beta made its way onto Stardock Central and includes full skinning support for Vista.  One of the goals with making WindowBlinds Vista compatible, was to allow existing skins that run under WindowBlinds for Windows XP to under WindowBlinds for Vista.  This means that Vista users will have a vast library of skins to choose from right at release this coming January!  This is a pretty big deal for our users who have their favorite skins under XP since they'll be able to load them right up when they upgrade to Vista.

Right now, the only way to get WindowBlinds on Windows Vista is to have Stardock Object Desktop, which you can pick up at  Object Desktop includes over a dozen different programs that improve the user experience of Windows.  In January, Stardock expects to make WindowBlinds 5.5 available as a stand-alone download.  Current owners of WindowBlinds 5 can upgrade to Object Desktop here at the discounted price of $34.95.

Guided Tour:  [WinCustomize Article]
Part of:
[Object Desktop] (get it now!)

ObjectDock 1.5 Released
On November 14th, Stardock launched ObjectDock 1.5.  ObjectDock is a program that lets users add docks on their computer which can host programs, running tasks, docklets and more.  It's a great tool for customizing your PC and looks really cool!

ObjectDock 1.5 comes loaded with a ton of new features.  Included on the feature list is Windows Vista compatibility!  That's right, one of our most popular utilities now runs under the latest Windows Operating System.  On top of that, there's a new image search feature, support for the .DockZip format, a new algorithm for zoom docks, drag and drop support for items on docks, tabbed dock rotation when docking to a screen edge, a host of mouse-over activation features and more!

ObjectDock is freeware, but a Plus version called ObjectDock Plus, which adds tabbed docks, multiple concurrent dock support, system tray support, task grouping and much more, is also available for purchase.

Guided Tour: [WinCustomize Article]
Download: [ObjectDock Homepage]

Skinner of the Month
Each month we try and feature one of our popular skinners and find out what they are working on now and if they can share any tricks of the trade. In this issue of WinCustomize Magazine Zoomba sits down with skinner SK Originals, prominent member of the skinning community, and learns how he got started and what he's working on in the future.  Be sure to check out the interview as well as the great skins that SK Originals has created and shared with the community.

Interview: [WinCustomize Article]
Skinner: [SKoriginals' WinCustomize Page]

Beta Test WinCustomize 2007
For the past few months, we've been talking up the next version of WinCustomize.  A lot of great new features are being added, the look and feel is being completely updated, and overall the performance of the site has been greatly improved.  Near the start of the month, we opened up the new site to our WinCustomize subscribers to take for a spin, asking for any bugs or anomalies they found.  So far it's been a great help in getting the site ready for launch.

Starting November 20, the new site will be opened up for a public beta test.  Any user will be able to explore the new site, get a feel for where things moved and how the new functionality works.  This will be your chance to help us catch those last few bugs, those remaining browser compatibility issues we haven't found yet.  Help make the site the best it can be by testing and reporting bugs!

Some of the highlight features:

  • For subscribers: It'll be skinnable.
  • Much faster overall (see forums for a taste)
  • Much lighter (lot less graphical content in the design)
  • Skinners with Master access or higher will be able to optionally sell skins and themes (giving an incentive for classic skinners to keep making new stuff and an incentive for up and coming skinners to release lots of good free stuff to move up -- subscribers will get at least 25% off the price)
  • A simpler UI to get to things more easily.
  • More galleries
  • Featured Skinner section

Beta Site: [WinCustomize 2007 Beta Site]

November Skinning Highlights
Here are some of the most popular skins and themes from WinCustomize for this month for ObjectDock and WindowBLinds:



Go 'All-in' with the Texas Hold Em Suite from Stardock Design
Stardock is pleased to announce a new premium suite available for sale now on Texas Hold Em!

The Texas Hold Em Suite from Stardock Design is a playing card and poker chip themed suite with a slick new skin from Hippy, a Blackjack game gadget from CerebroJD, a set of six wallpapers, a bootskin, a LogonStudio skin and a matching set of icons by Voo!

Visit: [Texas Hold Em Suite]
Requires: [Object Desktop]

Articles of Note on WinCustomize

It's been a busy month on WinCustomize, and some of you have taken to writing up your thoughts on any number of issues.  Here are some articles of note from November:


Island Dog has been writing up a storm, with product guides and community highlights:

  • This Week In Skinning
    A look at what is happening in the customization community during a given week.

    • November 10th [Link]

    • November 17th [Link]

  • Using Multiplicity in a Home Office [Link]
    A first time-user goes through setting up Multiplicity in his home office.

  • Make Your Own Custom Cursor with Stardock's CursorXP [Link]
    A very short and easy to follow guide on building your own custom cursor.

Object Desktop for Windows Vista Preview [Link]
Brad Wardell goes over what Vista means for Object Desktop's future with WindowBlinds for Vista, the future of gadgets and a super-secret project with Microsoft.


Get the latest in tech news from the PowerUser.TV podcast

WinCustomize sponsors a podcast called They are up to 59 episode, where they chat about the Nintendo Wii, clothing that cuddles you, voting machines and more! In order to get the video you must visit the site. Check out what all these zany characters look like (if you dare) or just download the audio version and carry it with you.

Visit: [PowerUser.TV]

About WinCustomize Magazine

WinCustomize Magazine is a monthly magazine that is sent to WinCustomize users. If for some reason you do not want to continue receiving this magazine, visit and click on "My account" once you're logged in. Then click on the "Account information" tab and type in your userID/password to bring up your personal info. On the mailing list tab you control which mailing lists you are subscribed to. Uncheck "WinCustomize Magazine".