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fashion victim

Fashion Victim

Stardock, the latest victim of “fashionable hostility”?

A few weeks back, skinnables.org held a contest, in which contestants were to design a new skinnables.org link button. The grand prize was a skinnables.org email account. Not particularly enticing to me. But things became interesting when skinnables kahuna panda Integer promised me he'd start a positive thread about Stardock if I (crae) would win.

I won. Integer wrote his article. It was good. And so we're reprinting it here.

Ok, some of you will know that I'm posting this as a consequence of a bet with craeonics, but I'd like to point out that I'm not saying anything I don't believe here — I mean every word of it.

Many things have been said about Stardock — it seems to be one of the most discussed subject's in this so-called “community/scene", if not the subject that brings out the extremes in people — me incuded. I have said many things that I wish I hadn't — things I still believe in, but perhaps were not appropiate at the time and only resulted in further animosities — my bad, shame on me.

First off, I'd like to clarify where I stand. I'm not anti-payware, I don't think “Stardock is evil”, nor am I on a crusade to turn everyone against payware or Stardock. I don't think anyone who charges for their software is greedy or selling out etc… I'm not jealous of people who make money by doing what they enjoy, and I haven't jumped on the “Stardock is evil” bandwagon — all my opinions are exactly that — my own opinions that haven't been swayed in any way by anyone else, and I don't expect anyone else to be swayed by mine.

Now that I've made that clear — let's get down to business. Is Stardock evil? No. It's a software company — how can they be evil? My only misgivings about Stardock are their marketing techniques, but I'm not going into that here, that horse has been flogged already.

In my view, people that actually have real, well founded opinions against Stardock are few and far between, but the ball is kept rolling by the many apparant “teens” that pop up everywhere screaming “Windowblinds is buggy”, “its a resource hog”, “it slows my computer down”. Now, some of these may be valid points in certain situations, but I'd like to bet the majority are just kids trying to be cool and rise against the big nasty corporation. This ensures that any mature opinions are lost in the mayhem, and everyone is branded as a member of the “free beer” campaign. It usually turns out that these people are running very old versions of the software, or a heavy skin.

This whole scene revolves around customisation, and that goes hand-in-hand with tweaking, and tweaking some more, its very rare to fire up your new customising app and have it run silky smooth right off the bat — they need work. It seems fashionable to jump on to a messageboard at the slightest problem and bitch to your friends about how much Windowbllinds screw up/slowed down your system instead of trying to solve the problem yourself or contacting the developers… For some reason Stardock seem to suffer more from this than any other software companies, and I'd like to bet that this is because it's deemed fashionable to bash Stardock, and we all now that kids are suckers for the latest trend.

I have very little experience with Stardock software — I have tried some of the shareware versions, but I didn't continue to use them simply because they were not what I was looking for at the time. This isn't to say it's bad software, just that it's not for me. The developers at Stardock know more about their trade than probably all skinners put together, and I'm sure as hell they know more than the kid down the road who's telling them how crap their software is. It's comparable to 90% of computer users saying how crap windows is — I'd like to bet that more than half of that 90% wouldn't be using a computer if it wasn't for windows. Again, it comes down to being fashionable to slur the big corporations…

At the end of the day, the same principles apply to all software users/developers. If you find a bug — report it so it can be resolved. If you dont like the software — dont use it, but theres no need to tell everyone else not to use it. If you love the software — tell the developers — they all need a pat on the back now and again. If you have a feature idea — tell them that too, it may be implemented in a future release.

There has been a lot of bad blood between Brad and I, perhaps with mistakes been made on both sides. I can't say that we're gonna be the best of friends, but the pistols are certainly back in their holsters. Things seems to have settled a bit now, community-wide. It seems that instead of one big happy(!) family, we have wandered off and found our own little niche's in the community, and things tick along nicely until someone steps over the borders of these little niche's, and then the feathers fly. Let's call these niche's “villages” for example.

On one hand its a shame, because back in the days of the “big city” everyone pretty much knew everyone else, and there was a sense of belonging — but on the other hand, the divisions could be beneficial — the population has exploded and divided into villages — each village has it's own loyal followers, and they provide more input than perhaps they would if they were out in the big city — thus strengthening each village, and enhancing the villages particular product.

I suppose its a natural progression, let's just hope the populations of each village can learn to accept the other villages ways — we've had enough civil wars to fill a history book already…

This article originally appeared over at skinnables.org.

— Integer, September 18th 2002

Now let's see if Ye Olde Panda approves of this.

craeonics {09.30.2002|12.47}

looks ok to me, except for the typo in the first paragraph :) price = prize

integer {09.30.2002|15.35}

@#$%!! Scram, you Jafo!!

craeonics {10.01.2002|02.02}

oh how cute!!!!!!!

Doreen {10.12.2002|13.41}

*harrellj giggles

harrellj {10.12.2002|17.14}

hrm..that panda looks a bit mean... :)

integer {10.13.2002|13.35}

frog's cute tho :)

integer {10.13.2002|13.35}

stardock marketing and windowsblinds stability / resource sucking. this debate is kinda a dead horse i think. Those that use windowsblinds already made their choice and paid for it (or they should have). The others pay for the other choice (styleXP - same price).

some don't use that kind of software at all... and few of us (me included) just use the patch from tgtsoft to apply themes for free.

so stardock the evil ? i don't think so, their doing their business quite well, they're skinner friendly...
but who cares, the choice is made...

another debate i'd like to see on tek : why do the two main companies (stardock and tgtsoft) make US the skinners, pay to get the software that allow us to skin for their product ?

without us, no more windowsblinds or styleXP...

the first one that make its skinning app free will won the war...and will gain the love and respect of our community.

i know frogboy reads tek... mate, if you do that i move to windowsblinds in a second !

L-courni {10.13.2002|16.31}

from this issue of tek :

"Tek: Is Aston new? or has it been around, I don't recall seeing that one

Elwin: No, — actually an older app. It had a section on Skinz but it's web page was originally all in Russian, so for a while communication with them was a little lite. They're doing much better now, with a choice of a full English site. They even have a deal where you skin the app, and get a free registration.

Tek: No way! something for free if you skin it!!!!!!!

Elwin: Imagine that… ;p "

hehe...cool idea, no ? ;)

fuzzy wuzzy {10.13.2002|16.38}

Hmm, do I see some derogatory comments regarding the 'free beer' campaign.
Damn philistine......

I love Andy's city/village comparison, it rings very true. I consider myself a 'wandering vagrant' these days, going from village to village on a regular basis, but I'd give anything to have a 'city' to go back to.
I miss the old Skinz.org days, things haven't been the same since it ('it' being the original inception of the site, not the current version). went bye-bye.

Hippy {10.13.2002|16.43}

Damn me, hitting the bloody button before I've finished my post.

The whole 'skin an app, get it for free' idea is a nice thought, but if you consider that most non-skinners who buy these apps almost eventually end up making one or more skins, then if you're handing out free reg's to folks, left right and center, you're not going to exactly make much money.

Hippy again {10.13.2002|16.51}

that's right. but if stardock send a registration for "skinstudio" to the skinners that actually do "good" skins for WB ... (by picking them...i don't know how :p) , they can kill tgtsoft in one week ;) , that's just as good in marketing terms

L-courni {10.13.2002|17.01}

Hey! Stop quoting me! :)

Bottom line:
Every company has their own marketing strategy.
You can't force them to all play by the same rules.
If the folks from Aston decide they need to promote their products in such a manner - great!
But there's lot's of skinnable app programs out there, and I don't see people beating on 'their' doors demanding that they give up free regs.
There ARE free alternatives to just about everything in the skin world.
Stop by [link] and see for yourself.

But remember: you get what you pay for.

Lighten up folks...

Elwin {10.13.2002|18.31}

Stardock gives out free copies of WindowBlinds to skinners all the time. It's just done in an informal way.

Frogboy {10.13.2002|22.27}

And don't forget the whole GUI Olympics thing in which EVERYONE was given a free version of WindowBlinds and SkinStudio for the event (That timed out after the event) and virutally anyone who entered in a decent skin into the contest ended up with a free full version.

Frogboy {10.13.2002|22.31}

yeah, you're right frogboy :) so what about a new gui olympic ? every 4 year, or what ? :D

L-courni {10.14.2002|00.41}

I'd like to see one every 2 years but we would need volunteers. To do the last one, Pat and I were practically doing 80 hour weeks for a month and a half (60 hours on Stardock - jobs and 20 hours per week volunteering on GUI Olympics). We'd need volunteers to kind of run the thing. Not moderators but literally people who could do HTML and ASP and that sort of thing.

Frogboy {10.14.2002|21.12}

Hmm... I guess it could be the trend. I think there are more reasons, but that is deffinately not one to over look.

CutTheRedWire {10.16.2002|02.12}

Ever noticed how stardock makes all of its products that are being competed against free? I mean, windowblinds excluded (its' only real money generator), think about it: object bar: competitor: y'z dock. logonstudio? there are a bunch of other apps that are competing against it. I mean, it's just a marketing strategy, but it makes me not like them at all. I'll take my uxtheme.dll patch any day.

walker {03.02.2003|22.57}

teknidermy editor's notes art uproar puppy love fashion victim elwin the fool the skinner who came in from the cold show us your honz babyafied whodunnit? issue eleven
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