Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
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April 14, 2020 by Frogboy
This PC is using Windows 10.  But not just Windows 10 on its own.  It's been upgraded a bit with Object Desktop. That's what Object Desktop does.  A lot of the things in Windows we see today first showed up in Object Desktop.  A few examples include transparencies, shadows, gadgets, ZIP files as folders, GUI skinning, etc.  There is a natural progression to the operating system. On this screenshot I have Groupy, CursorFX, Fences, Start10 and a new app that hasn't ...
April 9, 2020 by Frogboy
April 8, 2020 by Frogboy
This week’s update to the Political Machine adds Ronald Reagan.  He’s the first candidate that includes a scoring handicap which means that your score is modified slightly because he’s a bit easier to win with than other candidates.  We’ll show you here. The update also includes AOC, Al Gore, and Barry Goldwater.  The Reagan Era Ronald Reagan was one of the last Presidents we had before the hyper politicization of American life really took hold...
April 2, 2020 by Frogboy
With our state on lockdown, our offices are empty.  This gives me a rare opportunity to give a little tour of our offices with almost no one here.  A little bit about Stardock So I started Stardock from my dorm room back in 1991 and incorporated it in 1993.  The building we’re in now, we bought in 2005.  We own it, so we are able to do whatever we want with it.  It’s about 20,000 square feet and we’ve had the opportunity to try out various worki...
March 30, 2020 by Frogboy
I found a magic planet. It’s not that it is a class 20 planet – it only started as a class 14 and I’ve upgraded it since.  It is that it had 6 fertile tiles with 5 of them ready to have something amazing placed in the middle.  In this case, Kimberly’s Refuge.  Combined with the planet being a fertile world the result is that this one planet produces 34 food.  Of course, having the time to build this up required relative peace to be the norm w...
March 27, 2020 by Frogboy
As I write this, we’re starting to find a lot of friction due to the way some communications apps work when it comes to multiple servers.  I’m looking at you, Microsoft Teams. While connecting multiple Teams servers (not teams) isn’t hard, it is a bit tedious.  I end up having to click on the drop down and then select the server I want. Now, ideally, I would like Teams to let me have a truly integrated experience (where I can move teams from various serve...
March 24, 2020 by Frogboy
The next update to The Political Machine will be including mod support to Steam Workshop.  Specifically, we are going to let people make their own ideologies and share them with others.  We include quite a few in the game.    We will be uploading a few ideology mods to get things started and to help others learn how to make them. What is an ideology? An ideology is a set of issues your candidate wants to run on.   Unlike normal campa...
March 3, 2020 by Frogboy
Today let's do a quick walk-through of The Political Machine 2020.  This will include what's new from previous editions as well as a discussion of the underlying simulation. Creating a candidate When creating a candidate you have a finite # of points to use to figure out what your candidate's strengths are. Stamina: How many moves you get per turnIntelligence: Enhances how well you do on interviewsCharisma: Affects how well your speeches and ads doMedia bias: Affects how many i...
February 22, 2020 by Frogboy
We’ve had some great discussions on Hard drive speeds over the years. One of my favorites was the one about whether SSDs was worth it. I’ve also been benchmarking my PC’s for a very, very long time: https://forums.wincustomize.com/168111 Here is a brief recap: ...
February 19, 2020 by Frogboy
The biggest, most game changing feature of The Political Machine 2020 are the ideology trees.  Each candidate can have their own ideology tree which makes Bernie Sanders play quite a bit differently than say Joe Biden. For today's entry, I am going to try out making a custom candidate and choose the Fascism ideology.  I'm going to loosely base him off of one of my favorite villains of Stephen King's book, The Dead Zone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEE141IC4Q8 We inc...
February 18, 2020 by Frogboy
One of the options in the game is to simulate the election cycle.  The player just chooses two candidates and sees how they do.  Now, you won’t get the exact result every time, but it’s fun to see how a given candidate will do if run by the AI. This mode helps us test against any unintentional biases in the issues. Since no one knows how the election will go, it can be difficult to draw the line between when candidate A is simply more viable than candidate B.  In th...
February 17, 2020 by Frogboy
The Political Machine is a strategy/simulation game.  What has made it so popular over the years is that while it is a game, it has a pretty serious and robust simulation running behind it.  Most of the data is collected from a wide array census results, surveys and demographic research.  Every four years when we update the data, we are constantly surprised on the changes we see in different states.  The opioid epidemic is one example.  This issue wasn’t on ...
January 15, 2020 by Frogboy
As I mentioned yesterday, there is a really good use-case for the Surface Pro X as a device that uses Remote Desktop to your "main machine" when doing heavy lifting provided that it is sufficiently powerful enough to do light tasks on its own relative to say a Surface Pro 7. Now, this is for my purposes.  YMMV.    As you can see, for me, the Surface Pro X hardware has the edge over the Surface Pro 7.    It's on the software support -- from Microsoft -- where...
January 14, 2020 by Frogboy
This is my work station area at Stardock when I'm working in the Object Desktop area of the company which is located on the third floor of the building. As you can see, I have 3 monitors connected to a Surface Pro.  The reason I'm up here is so that I can collaborate in person with the rest of my team.  And the reason for the Surface Pro is that I frequently use it as a tablet for sketching on screenshots and designs. The only downside is that the Surface Pro 7, while quite power...
January 6, 2020 by Frogboy
So I still play quite a bit of StarCraft online.  I am not great at it (low Diamond league) but I am good enough at it to know when I'm playing a Smurf. A Smurf is someone who is deliberately playing in a league far lower than what they should be in and they really ruin the game experience.   Smurfing isn't specific to StarCraft and there really isn't much that can be done about it that I can think of.  But it is one of those things that helps remind me as to why I don'...