3DNA (Desktop Replacement) Review

Dennis Faas's picture

Windows looks about the same every time I startup the computer. The icons on my desktop always look the same, and my Wallpaper only changes on occasion. Even the taskbar has a certain familiarity that's comforting, albeit terribly dull -- no matter which version of Windows I use.

Recently, I discovered a desktop replacement program called 3DNA, and now using my Windows PC is like a new adventure after every click.

What is 3DNA?

3DNA is a three-dimensional (3D) alternative to the traditional Windows desktop environment.

The application provides a fully customizable workspace (referred to as a 'world' in the program) for interacting with all the folders, files, and programs on your hard drive in a 3D interface. 3DNA coexists with Windows, allowing quick access to applications when you need them.

It's 3D, so it must be complicated to use, right?

Wrong: 3DNA is quite easy to setup.

After customizing your world, finding files is actually more intuitive than searching through an endless jumble of files and folders in the normal windows interface. Files are placed where you want them in the 3D world, similar to arranging furniture in your house.

3DNA: Features

  • Shortcut Panels (picture above) provide quick access to Windows applications and files using intuitive graphical links.
     
  • Audio Control (picture below) supports playback of music files within the 3D world using either WinAmp or Windows Media Player.
     
  • Browser Bay stores Windows favorites as image links easily identifiable within the 3DNA world. This feature currently supports Internet Explorer only.
     
  • Dynamic content feeds from the Internet provide real-time information updates by automatically downloading information into 3DNA.
     
  • Drag-and-drop information from the Windows desktop into your 3DNA world.
     
  • Shoot some hoops in the 3D Hoopshot game or select from an arcade filled with games.
     
  • Teleport hotspots (think Star Trek) located throughout the world speed up navigation to favorite destinations and information stores.
     
  • Add-on skies change with the time of day, providing the 3D world with a sense of day and night, just like in the real world.
     
  • Numerous add-on worlds make further customization of your own private universe possible. A few add-on worlds are available to users of the free version of 3DNA, however, most require the registered version of 3DNA. The additional worlds have no additional fee associated with them.
     
  • Key mapping allows you to choose specific control sets for easier navigation.

3DNA: Pictures

Click to view: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3.

3DNA: Compatibility

3DNA is compatible with Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP.

Conclusion

3DNA is kind of like playing "The SIMS" with your own stuff. Working with applications and decorating my desktop hasn't been this much fun ever. 3DNA is quite possibly the most immersive computing experience I've ever encountered.

I can't promise 3DNA will make you a more productive Windows user, but you will certainly have more fun interacting with programs, documents, and multimedia files when you are accessing them from your own customized 3D world. 3DNA will work with a minimal selection of skies and worlds indefinitely.

If you decide to purchase 3DNA, be sure to check out the Undersea Lab world (picture above); it's like having your own private Atlantis.

3DNA: Download

The download for 3DNA is a staggering 21.1MB download -- but well worth it, in my opinion. This is the only shareware app I've ever given my personal stamp of approval with a file size this big.

With high-speed Internet access at 150k/second, it would take 2.5 minutes to download 3DNA. For a 56k (dialup) connection at a constant transfer rate of 4.5k/second, it would take approximately 74 minutes to download.

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