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Stardock DeskScapes 8.00

Jazz up your desktop and screensaver with this customization tool

by Nick Peers

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License: Trial Software
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8
Requirements:

 

Languages: English
Software Cost: $9.99 (Windows)
Date Updated: 27 February 2013
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2306
Developer: Stardock
RSS News Feed:
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/#!/stardock
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.stardock
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Stardock DeskScapes 8
Spruce up your desktop with Stardock’s DeskScapes 8.

Many of us stick with the same desktop wallpaper and screensaver, happy with our lot. But if you’re the kind of person who gets tired of seeing the same old image day in, day out, you’ll have no doubt experimented with different wallpapers in an attempt to find something that grabs your attention.

One of the frustrations of the desktop background can be how static it is, which is where Stardock’s DeskScapes 8 comes in. Not only does it provide you with a host of static and animated wallpapers to select for your desktop background or screensaver, DeskScapes also allows you to apply special effects and animations to them too in order to give your desktop a more interesting look, from a slowly rotating Earth (which shows day and night in real-time) to vintage drive-thru with flying birds and animated girl and boy in his car.

It’s incredibly simple to use: once installed, right-click the desktop and choose Configure DeskScapes to get started. A list of available wallpapers – including those already present on your PC – are shown, with a link to downloading more from WinCustomize.com at the base. Pick a wallpaper, then use the Adjust, Effects, Colour and Settings tab to tweak it to your satisfaction.

The Effects tab is of most interest, providing you with dozens of ways to transform your existing wallpaper, from blur effects to colourizations and other filters. You can also create your own effects by combining up to four existing effects too.

Animated wallpapers are called “Dreams”, and while only a handful of provided in DeskScapes itself, you’ll find loads more at WinCustomize.com. Fancy creating your own? DeskScapes ships with Stardock DreamMaker 3, a free standalone tool that allows you to take an image and animate it yourself. It’s not the simplest to use, but there’s plenty of information online.

Deskscapes 8 is a new release, adding full Windows 8 support and access to a Windows 8-ready Dream Library on WinCustomize.com. It also debuts a brand-new user interface.

Verdict:

Produces impressive results, but do you really need to pay $10 just to animate your desktop? We’re not entirely convinced.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.1

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.1 brings:
 - WhatsApp Calling: Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s Internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes. Data charges may apply.

[...]
Value:
Free
Rating: