Customize your Windows experience with AeroBlend

716-icon-AeroBlendOne of the most interesting and fun things about Windows 7 and Windows 8 is that they are easily customizable. You can apply themes that not only change the way your desktop looks, but you can customize nearly every part of the UI, making it look the way you want.  While Windows provides an internal interface to help you do this, its isn’t always easy. Third party apps that can do that can sometimes cost you a bit of money, which is why you might want to look at AeroBlend. It’s a UI customization app for Windows, and its free.

AeroBlend automatically changes the color of Windows UI elements to match the current wallpaper or the active application. Wallpaper mode is probably the most recognizable mode, and the one that gets used the most often.  As wallpaper is changed, either manually or via the Windows slideshow, AeroBlend changes the Windows color. Your UI elements can reflect the pallet of the active application or its icon.

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AeroBlend is a cool little application. If you’re looking for some way to have your UI elements (Windows, buttons, task bar, etc.) look like the wallpaper or application you’re using, then this is the app for you.  The app, however, doesn’t do much more than this at the current moment.

It might be nice if this turned into a theme creating app that allowed you to create Windows themes and save them to *.themepack files so that they could be shared and distributed between PC’s. That might be something worth paying for…

download AeroBlend

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Customize the look and feel of your Windows 8 device with Decor8

Decor8-Review-2One of the things that most new Windows 8 users won’t like is the lack of interface customization options it has. The OS is almost completely new, and most users don’t know which end is up as far as putting a personal spin on it is concerned. This is why Decor8 is so important. It’s a Windows 8 customization tool.

Microsoft Windows 8 currently limits your start screen customization options to only a few provided background images and a few pre-defined color schemes. While this isn’t earth shatteringly disappointing, Windows 8 doesn’t really provide a lot of customization options, either.  This is where Decor8 comes in. It removes these limitations and provides the freedom to personalize your start screen with your own images and colors.

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With Decor8, you can choose from more background images to personalize your start screen.  You can add your own photos and images, select multiple images to create a custom slideshow, randomize background images in timed intervals, and apply effects to scroll, fade, blur, recolor and add contrast to your background images.  You can also choose an image for your lock screen background.

Decor8 will automatically create a color scheme to match each of your background images. You can also customize the color scheme, if you prefer. Custom color schemes can also be applied to your charms bar. You can also control how many rows of tiles are available on your start screen.

Decor8 is a decent app; and it’s one of the very few customization apps out there right now for Windows 8. The app follows the same look and feel as Start8, also from Stardock.  The one thing that I would do at the time of this writing is to hold off on any purchase of Decor8 until after the release of Windows Blue. The update is supposed to add to Windows 8’s customization options, and that will likely cause a rev in Decor8 as well.

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11 must-have Android apps that are free and really cool

Watchdog Task Manager Lite – there is one thing people don’t know for sure about Android: it doesn’t need a task managers. We need to get ride of the mindset that killing off tasks is a good thing. Why? Because Android kernels have their own task manager and it should be left up to them to decide when to free up memory. What you really need is an app which monitors your device and when an application malfunctions and starts using all your CPU power (without a reason), to kill that single app. This is what Watchdog does and that’s all you really need.


Astro File Manager – this app allows you to manage files on your phone without the need for a PC. You can perform actions such as copy, paste, move, delete, open with other apps and create folders. Additionally, you can select multiple files to perform actions which is really useful sometimes.Talking about what’s oh-so-cool, this file manager has the ability to backup Android Apps to SD card and quite a few more nice features.


Beautiful Widgets – is one of the most popular standalone widgets for Android. Well, the Lite version sports less than half the features of the full version but still, it is better than most other free clock and weather widgets out there. Beautiful Widgets free comes with a total of six widgets. These include four Super Clock (weather and clock) widgets and two Weather widgets.


Backgrounds HD Wallpapers – is an app which helps you find amazing background wallpapers & contact themes.You can choice from a huge selection and great variety of high quality wallpaper. The only bad thing is that it takes a little while to change pages and load the images but still… I love it! Take a look through the categories (funny, cute, sunsets, cars, girly, games, sports, scary, music, movies, animals, etc) and find the right wallpaper for your smartphone, every time you get bored of the one which you have right now.


Launcher Pro – is a great alternative to your Android application launcher which adds some exciting features to your device such as 3-D app launcher, super-smooth screen switching, a suite of Sense UI-like widgets, a scrolling dock at the bottom of the screen, and much much more. I’ve been using it for the past few months and I have to say that I’ve never been this pleased with the smoothness of any other launcher. Simply fast & highly customizable.


Google Goggles – this app is really cool. Basically, it uses image recognition technology to recognize objects and return search results. You can use it to identify products, landmarks, artwork, and popular images found online. For example, while skimming through a magazine, you see the picture of an actress that you like but you can’t remember her name. Well, you can use Goggles to find her name. All you need is your phone to be equipped with an auto-focus camera.


ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner – I’ve been using this from the first day I bought my phone. You can use it to scan barcodes on CDs, books and so on, then look up prices and reviews. Also, with it, you’re at liberty to scan QR codes to download apps, add a contact to your phone or jump to a Web link such as Youtube or any other without having to write the link in your Android browser.


handyCalc Calculator – is by far one of the best calculator you can find on the Android Market and much better than the one that comes with your device. Do you need to perform complex mathematical equations or functions ? Well, you can do them all. My only complains is that the buttons are a little too small and sometimes they are not that easy to hit. Oh, one more thing, the app also has some other capabilities like currency and unit converter.


Evernote – is probably the best cloud-based app you can find to helps you remember things across all of the devices you use. Use it to take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.


mVideoPlayer – is what I personally use as a video player replacement for my Android-powered phone. It has a lot of useful and handy features and a nice and clean interface. Perfect if your watching movie on your phone or video podcast! It will play mkv, avi, mp4, m4v and 3gp files and will also add a subtitle track if there is one with the same name as the video file itself. One thing that I like quite the most is that mVideoPlayer remembers the moment you stopped watching a video file and also that you can gesture seek forwards and backwards while watching.


Titanium Backup – I like to try all sorts of Android ROMs. Cyanogen, MIUI, Darky’s rom, you name them. Well, all cool but every time I had to reinstall my apps which is quite annoying.. Well, thanks Titanium Backup, there is no need to do this anymore. You can use this app to backup system and paid apps as well as their associated data, plus all your non-market installed apps. So, for example, Inotia3 (the cool RPG game) saves the game progress in a system directory which you can’t backup when you decide to upgrade your firmware or try other ROM. Well, thanks to this app, you can backup the game + the associated data (Savegames) and restore everything back when you’re done. Drawbacks? Well, there is one: your phone must be rooted.


That’s all for now but I still have many other great apps in mind. If you’re interested, check back later please because I’ll update this article with them.

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