IMHO, it's crap. Many of us buy Stardock software to eliminate this look on our OS. It's too much blue, blocky, flat, boring and smells like MS. Mark me down as an unhappy camper. The only good thing about this change is that my new job and its hours keep me from being as active here at WC as I'd like to be so my exposure is limited.
PLUS.........it still doesn't use all my screen real estate. Lose those stupid, outdated waste of space blank areas on the sides already, will ya? For the entire site, not just the forums. Who runs 1024x768 nowadays anyway?
Right on,Wiz, the Microsoft look - ala Fisher Price - is nauseating at best. And you're right, we pay good money to Stardock to escape that horrible look, then Stardock goes and plasters it across our forums. Okay, Wincustomize is their site, I guess, but we the users are the ones whose eyes are hurting from butt ugly MS Blue.
As for the unused space on the sides, I agree that too much screen real estate is being wasted and more could be done to make use of it.... WITHOUT filling it with ads [self-promotional or otherwise], as too many sites do. Skins of the day, week, most popular of all time is one idea, but why not just expand the content outwards to the edges.
Oh yeah, and congrats on the job. Hopefully it pays well enough to provide you and yours some quality of life and a decent standard of living.