Fences Modernizes Windows 11 back to 1992

Stardock is an interesting company that makes useful utilities like Fences 4.0, and games like Galactic Civilizations. Weird but true

There’s a software publisher like no other called Stardock. With a name like that, one might expect this company to release space-based games. Strangely, they actually do have several such titles, like Star Control, Galactic Civilization, Sins of a Solar Empire and Offworld Trading Company (to name a few). They also publish other games, like Demigod and Fallen Enchanters. Weirdly, that’s only half of their story.

In addition to their games, Stardock is also known for their small to medium scope Windows utility applications. They have utilities that extend icon packs, keyboard macros, window drop-shadows, PDF editor, start menu alternative, etc. For the size of this small company ($16M yearly revenue), that is a lot of ground to cover. Funny enough, I’ve actually purchased both utilities and games from Stardock without realizing they are from the same company. One utility that I use extensively is Fences.

Organizing your Windows desktop

Thirty years ago (even before Stardock was founded), Windows was a very different critter. You would actually use windows within Windows to group your applications and list your documents for easy access and launching. In other words, you could actually organize your computer’s desktop without hunting through a Start Menu.

Fences (current version is Fences 4.0) brings back the functionality of windows in Windows. However, instead of calling this visual organization by the name of “windows”, Fences calls them “fences”. Fences functions in modern Windows as though the old-school organization capability was never removed.

Not only can you group related applications, links and documents together, you can also create an expanded desktop with “desktop pages”, create collapsible fences, include “folder portals” and set automatic placement for new icons with “type-based rules”.

Fences allows you to organize your Windows desktop

I “borrowed” these images (above and below) from Stardock’s website because they do a great job at demonstrating the tool’s function.

I personally use Fences on my own computer to organize music, music applications, utilities, games, social media, photo editing, video editing, etc. This allows me to quickly find specific applications, links and documents by topic. Fences has definitely improved my experience with Windows.

Strange, yet true

This is not a paid-for article. This article contains no affiliate links. Google might insert an ad within the article, but I don’t control the placement or content of such ads. I created this article because I feel Fences is a good product and Stardock is a strange, yet interesting company to discuss.

Stardock is even more interesting than what I’ve discussed above. Check out the story of how Stardock settled a lawsuit with honey and mead. That’s not a joke or hyperbole. Stardock literally-literally did settle a lawsuit in 2019 with the exchange of honey and mead being listed in the terms of the settlement.

So many Certificates of Completion on LinkedIn

Show off your Certificates of Completion without overloading your LinkedIn profile

My previous article about C.V., resumes and LinkedIn profile covered general information about LinkedIn profile. But, now let’s look closer at your LinkedIn profile and how not to overload it with certificates of completion.

LinkedIn Learning and other learning platforms offer many courses on a variety of topics, from Business to Photography. That’s great. However, that can also be daunting when showing off completion of career related courses on your LinkedIn profile under Licenses & certifications section. If you complete a couple of courses, no big deal. However, if you complete dozens of courses, the certificates of completion will dominate your LinkedIn profile. This can diminish visibility of certificates of accomplishment, such as your CSWE, and important career enhancing licenses.

In the past, LinkedIn allowed you to reorder your certificates. You were able to place the most important certificates at the top of the the Licenses & certifications section. Unfortunately, due to revamping of the LinkedIn profile user-interface some time ago, this ability was removed. The current interface imposes a date-based list within Licenses & certifications section.

Flood of Certificates

Certificates of Completion

How does one mitigate the flood of career related certificates of completion without dominating your LinkedIn profile? You could be very selective as to which certifications you include. You could also start your own website where you list all of your certificates, with a link from your LinkedIn profile. However, if you really want to show your training results directly on your profile, there’s another couple of options that may work for you.

Learning Paths

On LinkedIn Learning, Learning Paths are groups of courses that are combined for a particular topic-specific training goal. When you complete the Learning Path, you get a special single certificate of completion for the entire training path.

However, if you cannot find a learning path for your role or training goals, you can create your own, with a catch.

Leverage LinkedIn Learning Collections

LinkedIn Learning allows you to create Collections for your personal use. A Collection folder allows you group saved courses. For example, you can create a collection called “Business Leadership”. Then, peruse the library of LinkedIn Learning in the Business category and add 5 to 10 closely related courses about leadership in business into your Business Leadership collection.

Once you build your collection, it’s time to complete your courses. As you complete each course, you will earn a Certificate of Completion. However, do not download individual certificates of completion right away. Wait until you complete the whole collection. LinkedIn Learning has a bad habit of redesigning their certificates frequently. If you take 12 months to complete your collection, the style of certificate could change. To avoid this issue, download your certificates at one time when you’ve completed the last course in your collection.

Add your Collection to your Profile

Once you’ve completed all of the courses in your collection, use a desktop computer with Adobe Acrobat Pro or other other application that allows you to edit PDF files.

  1. Download the individual certificates for all of the courses into a special location on your harddrive.
  2. Use Acrobat (or other PDF editor) to combine all the certificates’ PDFs into one PDF.
  3. Upload this combined PDF to your Google Drive or similar cloud storage (where you can allow public access to the file).

Now you are ready to add your combine certificates to your LinkedIn profile’s Licenses & certifications section.

  1. While you are logged into your LinkedIn profile, goto your Licenses & certifications section.
  2. If it doesn’t exist yet, you can add it using the Add Profile Section button near the top of your profile page.
  3. Use the + button in the section to add your new entry.
  4. Create a title in the Name field that briefly summarizes the collection, then include a keyword from each of the certificates, like “Business Leadership: Speaking, Confident Communication, Collaboration, Gaining buying from other Managers, Negotiations, Leading by Example” There is a limit on the number of characters within the Name field, so be as brief as possible. You may wish to add up the total time of all the courses and include that at the end of the Name field as well, like “[8hrs 25mins]”.
  5. In the Issuing Organization, enter the name of the organization that issued the certificates, like LinkedIn Learning.
  6. In the Issue Date fields, add the month and year of the most recently completed certificate.
  7. Ignore Expiration Date fields.
  8. In the Credential ID field, add the credential number from your most recently completed certificate.
  9. In the Credential Link URL field, add the URL for your combined PDF.
  10. Save

Now review your entry from the LinkedIn profile page to make sure it matches your desired intent. Check the link to your certifications PDF to make sure it works. Below is an image example from my own profile. If you click on the image, it will take you to my combined certificates PDF.

Rinse and repeat for any other collections you wish to complete and show.

Now, if you are on a learning platform that has courses that are longer than one week (40 hours) or have graded exams, you may wish to consider putting such courses in the Education and Courses sections of your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn profile and your resume or C.V.

Some people use their LinkedIn profile as a full replacement for an actual resume. For many others, it’s little more than a simple job history timeline. Still others may use their LinkedIn profile as a complete C.V. What’s the difference?

Some people use their LinkedIn profile as a full replacement for an actual resume. For many others, it’s little more than a simple job history timeline. Still others may use their LinkedIn profile as a complete C.V. I use my LinkedIn profile somewhere between resume and C.V.

People of certain backgrounds, countries and generations may not fully understand the difference between a resume or C.V.; or may not even recognize one term or the other. Recently, I’ve heard “CV” used instead of resume. There are a variety of viewpoints regarding C.V. and resume, including regionality and interchangeability of the terms.


Resume is a relatively short list of one’s employment and education history, with very brief summaries of skills, contact information, achievements and other information. Job descriptions for each role listed on a resume can be as short as one sentence. However, descriptions are often longer; covering as many details as possible while still focusing on brevity. These descriptions tend to focus more on general responsibilities rather than details about each and every individual achievement. Resumes are typically 1 to 4 pages long, with final length being based more on the number of jobs one has held rather than specific details about any particular role. Employment history in the form of a resume is common in North America.


C.V. (or Curriculum Vitae) is a relatively long version of one’s employment history. It’s a comprehensive document that summarizes a person’s educational, professional, and personal background. C.V. typically includes the following information in detail: contact information, educational background, professional experience, skills and abilities, awards and honors, publications, personal interests and other relevant information. Basically, a C.V. is more detailed than a resume. Employment history in the form of C.V. is common in Western Europe, though such C.V.s aren’t necessarily as long as suggested here.


To someone who has a LinkedIn profile page, the common information found on a C.V. might look familiar. LinkedIn profile has sections for the user to input their employment history, licenses and certifications, projects, education courses and history, recommendations, volunteer experience, publications, patents, honors and awards, test scores, languages, organization memberships and supported causes. Due to all these categories, one may end up putting their full C.V. into their LinkedIn profile.

That said, it’s easy to put so much information in one’s LinkedIn profile that information-overload can occur. An upcoming article will cover how to reduce some of that noise without drastically compromising the amount of information. I’ve covered LinkedIn in the past, and will likely also make an updated version of that article in the future.

Houston User Group Meeting

I enjoy opportunities to visit SOLIDWORKS users. My previous trip found me in St. Louis. Recently, I visited the Houston. While in Houston, I was able to present at the Houston SOLIDWORKS User Group at their meeting on June 13, 2023. Joe Lance is the leader of the user group. He was instrumental in setting up and running the meeting. Also, he also gave me sound advice for my travel arrangements in Houston. Additionally, I was also able to connect with several customers and resellers during my trip.

I actually gave two separate presentations at the user group meeting!

My first presentation covered the topic of xDrawing and the associated Manufacturing Definition Creator Role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The benefits of xDrawing are numerous, not least of which is the flexibility to create drawings and MBD product definition from the same data set, so work is not duplicated when creating either, and so that data always matches between these different methods.

My second presentation followed a break and interlude where Joe Lance gave out swag to attendees. Joe gave away lot of great SOLIDWORKS themed items! The topic for my second presentation was about the Product Definition team and how we work to make sure we keep our customers at the forefront of the decision-making process for SOLIDWORKS products. This presentation was impromptu, without slides nor firm outline.

Exploring the Town

Overall, this trip was a little shorter with a more tightly packed schedule. As such, I didn’t get much time to explore Houston. There are some sites/sights I was able to squeeze in, such as a visit to the Space Center Houston and an evening at Saint Arnold Brewing Company.

Replica Space Shuttle Independence and an actual Space Shuttle Aircraft, Boeing 747
Evening at Saint Arnold Brewing Company

I did discover a good breakfast crepe at Melange Crêperie. Are there more hidden gems in Houston? Another trip back may be in order at some point.

Journey via 3DEXPERIENCE World 2023

The day was Wednesday, February 12, 2020. This was the end of 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020 in Nashville, TN. Many of us flew to our various homes without realizing we were only weeks away from a changed greater world. The first conference to wear the moniker of 3DEXPERIENCE World was the last the unbroken chain of conferences previously known as SOLIDWORKS World. Then, the long night descended upon our lives. 3DEXPERIENCE Worlds 2021 and 2022 where both held by electronic vigil on a multitude of glowing screens. These conferences were not in-person; only online or virtual.

Then there was 3DEXPERIENCE World 2023, a return to an in-person conference. Not everything is the same as before. 3DEXPERIENCE World 2023 was both in-person and virtual. General Sessions and break-out sessions varied in length and schedule. But, it was also in Nashville.

We had many informative Break-out, Hands-on and Virtual sessions for a various of technical presentations about Dassault Systemes many products. There was also the CSWE Event, Tuesday Night Off-site Event, and the Sunday afternoon and Monday receptions in the 3DEXPERIENCE Playground (formerly Partner Pavilion). The food for breakfast and lunch was good too.

I was able to reconnect with many power users, user group leaders, influencers and other customers. It really seems like there was a lot of pent up interest by customers to engage with DS team members face-to-face, especially after going without an in-person conference for two years.