WinCustomize 2K5 Report

10 things for 2005

Thursday, December 23, 2004 by Frogboy | Discussion: Community

 

January 3 is still the official public launching day of WinCustomize 2005 (i.e. the day we actually announce generally that WinCustomize has been re-done).  But obviously, with Christmas almost here and everyone going on vacation, we are getting close to the point where the site is as it will be when it's announced to the rest of the world (a week from this upcoming Monday).

So where do we stand? And what is left to do? 

1) Performance.  We have come a long way there. I think most people would now agree that WC2K5 is much faster than the old site. We just today added compression to more servers. 

There is still more to do on this end though. We need more servers. Our friends at deviantART use 60 servers to run their site. We don't have quite that many servers but we do use an awful lot. And they aren't cheap.  We will probably have a subscription drive next month to help get some more servers for the site.

2) Personal Pages. We just opened it up so that ANY current subscriber or Stardock customer can create their own personal page. Go HERE to create your own personal website.

3) The advocacy system is working now. So what is an advocate? Every time someone goes to your personal site or to one of your skins you get a point.  Non-skinners can become advocates too by RECOMMENDING skins they come across.  You recommend a skin, it shows up in your recommendations tab on your personal page. Then, if you go onto another site and provide a link to that skin, you get a point and the author of the skin gets a point. The same holds true with articles. Here are yesterday's top advocates

4) New Sections. We are going to be adding some new sections next year. The first new section will be Screen Savers.  Now, what about other sections such as Trillian or whatever? Here's the thing, WinCustomize only adds sections to apps that are reasonably popular already. It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship. It is expensive for us to have sections so there has to be a benefit to WinCustomize to have the section.

So the app has to either be really really popular already or it has to have a way of sending users here to get their skins.  Even if the program is fairly popular, we still want them to link to the library we create here so that we're not merely a free marketing channel for some program. We want to bring new users here and expose them to the wonderful world of Windows enhancing.

5) Forums. We really hope you like the new forum system. It is custom-made and probably the most advanced ASP.net forum system out there.  We highly encourage users to promote their new skins and themes in the "New releases" topic of the general forum.

The forums work opposite of those BBS systems other sites have.  In most BBS systems, you have to keep clicking and clicking all over to get to the "newest" stuff of each category.  In our system, the newest stuff floats to the top of the top most category. You can then get more and more specific as you weed down there.  It's a quasi-WinFS type forum system.

Example: A given BBS system might have a forum called "Windows Skinning". You click on that and you see posts for Windows Skinning but then you see some sub-categories called say "WindowBlinds" and "Winamp" and "Media Player".  If you want to know what's hot in there, you have to click on each one.

In our system, if you click on Windows Skinning, all the sub-topics posts will show up there based on last response.  You click on the sub-topics to find out more details on those sub-topics (i.e. things that may have scrolled off the top most forum).  We think this way, while different from other systems, is actually more scaleable as users can simply pick the level of detail they want rather than being overwhelemd (example: We could have a Tutorials->Wallpapers->Photoshop->Faces->Removing Blemishes->Age Lines, a user could simply hang out in the Tutorials->Wallpapers->Photoshop area and see all the Photoshop related tutorials. Or if their interest was purely Removing blemishes from images, they could hang out one level down - much more efficient).

6) Page Views. Since WinCustomize isn't ad-based, its entire system is designed to have fewer #s of clicks. We don't get paid by the page view so we have an incentive to make it easy for you to get to what you want with fewer clicks. Where we do add extra clicks is in the area that puts strain on the database (i.e. showing 50 skins per page or defaulting to showing comments or listing every skin an author has every made on a single page).

7) Moderators. With the site growing, we are going to be approaching people about becoming moderator/evangalists of the forums. They would be in charge of a particular topic on the forum and helping make it a fun place for users. We are just waiting until more moderator tools are developed before proceeding. This site is only possible thanks to the volunteer moderators who work very hard to keep this place going. Without people like Jafo, Paxx, Snowman, MikeB, Koasati, GoodMorphing, just to name a few this site would come to a screeching halt

8) Contests, Goodies, etc. . We have plans to start sending out more goodies, having more contests, etc.  The next contest will start in January and last for 60 days. It will be toolbar icons for WindowBlinds for the toolbar icons area.

9) WinCustomize Subscribers.  For 2005 we will be putting in more effort for WinCustomize subscribers to be able to get additional suites and skins and other goodies.  We also plan to provide more goodies for WinCustomize subscribers and skinners such as sneak previews of videos we plan on doing (video reviews of skins and themes and such). 

We also plan to commission some skins and themes that will only be available to subscribers that will be in the skin library.  If this works out, we'll be able to raise the download cap for non-subscribers from 50 megabytes to 100 megabytes. We're still playing around with this concept. 

10) Site skins, etc.  Yes, they will be coming back.  We plan to provide templates so that users can submit their own site skins to the site eventually but early next year the planet will be to provide roughly 5 different designs. These may only be available to subscribers. But you'll be able to pick between all kinds of different color combinations and looks and feels.

So that's where we're at.  2004 was an exciting year but 2005 looks like it will be even more exciting.  Our overall goal with the site is migrate to a system of rewarding subscribers rather limiting non-subscribers (i.e. we want to raise download caps and provide more features overall to more people).   We also hope to add a lot more sections.  If you are friends with the people at Trillian or any other major skinnable program that you'd like on here, let us know here.  All we require is that the site link to us in a signficiant way so that their users know that their skin library here exists. 

First Previous Page 1 of 2 Next Last
ExodusCrow
Reply #1 Thursday, December 23, 2004 4:07 PM
Looks like WC and Stardock are going to be VERY busy in the upcoming year. Can't wait to see all the new features and improvements.
zn40
Reply #2 Thursday, December 23, 2004 4:32 PM
...Help me out here...need more servers sooo...we'll have another subscription drive...which will create more demand...which will create a need for more...servers? BTW...you guys have really done a great job here watching this community grow has really been a thrill...special thanks to all of the artists (that includes the programmers... hey,they make it happen)
Thomas Thomassen
Reply #3 Thursday, December 23, 2004 4:33 PM
Can I just bring to focus that I cannot view any article or forum page in Firefox any more. All I see is the WC header. The entire HTML document is downloaded. Seem to be some rendering problems. Perhaps som broken tags?

This started today.
Frogboy
Reply #4 Thursday, December 23, 2004 4:38 PM
That's being looked at. That should go into the site issues forum btw.
Essencay
Reply #5 Thursday, December 23, 2004 7:26 PM
I applaud the Herculean efforts that you folks have put forth....you've come a long way since when the new site was first accessible to some of us.
MDAW2254
Reply #6 Thursday, December 23, 2004 8:09 PM
Nice ideas!!! One problem. I don't have a credit card, and I reeeaaallly want to buy a WinCustomize Subscription. Can you make it so you can pick if you can get a CD or something that you don't need a credit card for.
CerebroJD
Reply #7 Thursday, December 23, 2004 9:51 PM
You dont nescesarily need a credit card. Stardock accepts money orders as well. This http://www.stardock.com/order.txt will take you to the order form for that.
Nomad529
Reply #8 Friday, December 24, 2004 12:43 AM
~ It's hard to believe the current site could be improved upon but the tireless efforts of those involved have done just that. Watching the progress from beta has been a pleasure and I can't wait to see the final version!!

~ And I must say KUDOS to giving the user the option to change colors or use site skins...something I've been pushing and hoping for since day one. Thank you.
Randahl
Reply #9 Friday, December 24, 2004 2:49 AM
You all are great, thinking of both subscribers and the new features for non's! The site is wonderful and really fun to play around in! Thanks for making 2005 the year of WC!!!
Mackintosh
Reply #10 Friday, December 24, 2004 4:14 AM
Sounds really good Brad. I'm especially looking forward to more goodies for subscribers
WebGizmos
Reply #11 Friday, December 24, 2004 8:24 AM
All I can say is that I'm pickled tink...uhmm...tickled pink with the new site!
joeKnowledge
Reply #12 Friday, December 24, 2004 9:03 AM
...Help me out here...need more servers sooo...we'll have another subscription drive...which will create more demand...which will create a need for more...servers?



yeah, I guess that is how it goes. for every new subscriber, there will be 3 new non-subscribers. (just a guess)
Chef Garry
Reply #13 Friday, December 24, 2004 10:42 AM
"WinCustomize Subscribers. For 2005 we will be putting in more effort for WinCustomize subscribers to be able to get additional suites and skins and other goodies. We also plan to provide more goodies for WinCustomize subscribers and skinners such as sneak previews of videos we plan on doing (video reviews of skins and themes and such). "

While WC2k5 is awesome, there really doesn't seem to be a need for the WC browser anymore. As I subscribe, I still use it to view and apply skins but it's become pretty much useless regarding news and forums. Does anyone else use skinbrowser? Not to say this site isn't fantastic.
Black Xero
Reply #14 Friday, December 24, 2004 11:43 AM
4) New Sections. We are going to be adding some new sections next year. The first new section will be Screen Savers. Now, what about other sections such as Trillian or whatever? Here's the thing, WinCustomize only adds sections to apps that are reasonably popular already. It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship. It is expensive for us to have sections so there has to be a benefit to WinCustomize to have the section.


It will be a good change but I have some concerns about it.

1. Like there are millions and millions of savers around and any one could cheat you by uploading someone' work to his name.

2. What will be the way of using those savers. Will there be a new SD Prog. to install and use them or will there be executables to install them?

7) Moderators. With the site growing, we are going to be approaching people about becoming moderator/evangalists of the forums. They would be in charge of a particular topic on the forum and helping make it a fun place for users. We are just waiting until more moderator tools are developed before proceeding. This site is only possible thanks to the volunteer moderators who work very hard to keep this place going. Without people like Jafo, Paxx, Snowman, MikeB, Koasati, GoodMorphing, just to name a few this site would come to a screeching halt


Another good decision. I don't have words to describe the effords of the fallows running and maintaining the site and consuming their precsious time just for US.The only thing I can say about them is that they are just Great.
SINSISTERX
Reply #15 Friday, December 24, 2004 12:55 PM
Sounds like a plan to me
Riahon
Reply #16 Friday, December 24, 2004 1:12 PM
Keep up the GREAT work. I love the NEW site! I can't wait to see what the new year will bring!
Sleeping Dragon
Reply #17 Friday, December 24, 2004 1:50 PM

I just wish there were an applause icon that you folks could press and listen to me clapping for about 2 hours in appreciation for all you have done.
Mister Mike
Reply #18 Saturday, December 25, 2004 9:27 PM
I really like the site much much better! The other Site was sooo slow to load. At the risk of being a bit of a grump, of which I am usually not, I am still waiting for a reply from tech support about a problem that I have had with the downloading and setting up of Object Desktop. This email was origonally sent on 11-11-04 and sent again about a week later, with still no reply. It's probably due to the holidays so I won't bring it up again. Except for this, You guys are really Pretty Good!! Let hope you won't lose your unique Status.
GreenReaper
Reply #19 Saturday, December 25, 2004 9:50 PM
Mike, did you get an autoreply to that? If you got nothing at all, chances are the mail or its reply didn't get through. If you did, did you use the approrpiate format when sending it again? (I think you need to put NOT RESOLVED in the subject)
Frogboy
Reply #20 Sunday, December 26, 2004 2:45 PM
Mister Mike - remember, WinCustomize isn't Stardock. It is owned by Stardock but it's a totally different team. Writing about a tech experience here won't help. Yuo could ty posting in the Stardock support forum which has been added.

Please login to comment and/or vote for this skin.

Welcome Guest! Please take the time to register with us.
There are many great features available to you once you register, including:

  • Richer content, access to many features that are disabled for guests like commenting on the forums and downloading skins.
  • Access to a great community, with a massive database of many, many areas of interest.
  • Access to contests & subscription offers like exclusive emails.
  • It's simple, and FREE!

Articles Filters

Category:
View:
Search:
Apply



walnut1