Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2007 12:38 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Last week, Stardock released version 6 of WindowBlinds, their Windows skinning suite, which is the first version to include full support for Windows Vista. Stardock was kind enough to provide OSNews with a copy of WindowBlinds 6.0. Read on for some findings.
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so...
by JrezIN on Mon 8th Oct 2007 16:42 UTC
JrezIN
Member since:
2005-06-29

So, this article means StarDock should hire more professional designers to offer better quality...?

Well, IMHO that would be very positive! =]

but still... it's hard to judge a product by its 3rd parties... =]

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Great app
by Almafeta on Mon 8th Oct 2007 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Great app"
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

(for those who actually use GUIs ;) )


I'm kind of annoyed by this 'Real users use the command line' mentality.

Sure, I tend to use the keyboard to the exclusion of the mouse. But that does not mean I do not benefit from a GUI. I like having pretty programs, which have been enhanced by the (appropriate and conservative) use of graphics and sound. I like reading in well-designed eye-friendly variable-width fonts (that is a requirement for me, given how much of my life I spend sitting before a screen). I like having my commands organized into quickly-scannable lists of commands related to a particular topic (whether you're using dropdowns or ribbons, the concept is the same). It's great being able to summon application controls or OS controls with the touch of a single key (Alt or Win, respectively) and dismissing them just as easily. It rocks to have a well-designed GUI help me to do in three to five keystrokes what would take a command-line user a modestly-sized sentence, or a pure mouse user (oh, how I pity those poor souls) twenty or thirty seconds of lining up the cursor onto the correct spots. It's always nice when programs and features look like what they represent, and work like their look suggests. And when I happen to forget a command (we all use dozens of programs, some with hundreds of commands, it happens to the best of us), it saves so much time to be able to choose the command list of my choice and browse around the list of commands until I find the correct one, as opposed to having to look up the particular arcane switch I need in a manual (or worse, if they use online 'manuals', to have to open up another application to search for this manual -- granted I have internet access at all; wireless is not nearly as ubiquitous as it could be).

And when all you're doing is randomly browsing around, or playing a game to clear your head after beating it against a particular wall one time too many, sometimes that mouse really is the superior option (although I've been known to hold 'Tab' down to cycle through links for 10-12 seconds to not have to reach for the mouse).

Reply Score: 2

Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

"All of the above mentioned are YES on my system. That should be part of proof You are looking for. WinXP Professional...and WB6 free managed to freeze XP to the reset button point."


Windows XP crashed once when I inserted a CD - which is aparently "proof" that CDs are unstable ;-)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Great app
by Laurence on Mon 8th Oct 2007 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Great app"
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

""Kind of like the ketchup and mustard theme on Windows 3.1? ;-)"

Worse.

Example:

http://skins2.wincustomize.com/NightTrain/wb/6288.jpg"


The smilie in your system tray seems quite apt for that theme

Reply Score: 2

Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

Windows XP crashed once when I inserted a CD - which is aparently "proof" that CDs are unstable ;-)


Was it a RIAA music CD, by any chance? I know they sometimes hide malicious code in their discs to try to prevent computers from playing them...

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Great app
by Laurence on Mon 8th Oct 2007 17:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Great app"
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

"most of us OSNews readers see computers as tools to accomplish a certain task, and most of our UI setups (for those who actually use GUIs ;) ) tend to be geared towards productivity and/or comfort. Extreme desktop-modding is "Pimp my ride" with a computer. Crazy looking but absolutely useless, and more than once absolutely ugly."


Indeed. I was always puzzeled by case modders who stick bulbs inside their computer. For one, how many people actually look at the case when working on their computer - and secondly, wouldn't it make more sense to cool the computer rather than further heat it?

Reply Score: 2

Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

Nar - was just a blank CD-R. XP was just throwing a hissy fit as it sometimes chooses to do.

I was just making the point that personal experience does not constitute as computer science fact.

Edited 2007-10-08 17:21

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Great app
by merkoth on Mon 8th Oct 2007 17:23 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Great app"
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

Paranoid much? Nothing better to do than ranting?

I could point a few dozens of cases where GUIs are not needed. At all. But I fail to see what part of my post led you to such a misplaced rant. I never said "real users don't use a GUI". Maybe I should have said: "for those of us who actually use a GUI". Happy now? Do you feel better?

Edit: Spelling and removed the quote.

Edited 2007-10-08 17:31 UTC

Reply Score: 4

OddFox
Member since:
2005-10-05

Sounds like a driver problem, like most everyone else here who's actually using or used WB6 those issues you're having are quite isolated. No stability problems, no responsiveness issues, not even with the whiz-bang new flaming theme with that fire-breathing dragon in your start menu, and I've even got an ATI video card! I would expect issues from that at least. Maybe you should seek assistance with your problems from the people who make the application?

Reply Score: 1

Theme preferences
by GreenReaper on Mon 8th Oct 2007 19:04 UTC in reply to "Great app"
GreenReaper
Member since:
2007-10-08

...for some reason wincustomize is full of horrid, garish themes. Even more disturbing is that many of them are, by all appearances, very popular.

The reason it is full of them is that they are popular (and not, as you might imagine, the other way around). Most WindowBlinds customers are looking for something spiffy. Usability is not necessarily their top priority. I have always tried to make my own skins usable, but for many what matters most is the look, and it is not necessarily a subtle look.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing - it's just a thing. :-) As for the included skins . . . well, perhaps having a dragon on the start menu isn't the ideal UI, but it sure is a neat way of showing off a new feature! Consider them as an example of what you can do, rather than what you should.

If you don't like the included themes, there are many good skins on WinCustomize. I suggest you make use of the "sort by rating" option ( http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?libid=1&sort=rating ). Not all of the highly rated skins are likely to be to your taste, but that's true of any art form. In my view, what matters is that some people like them - and if that's the case, what's the harm if you do not?

(Me, I like Blackcomb, but I'm the simple sort . . .)

Edited 2007-10-08 19:23

Reply Score: 1

Skins
by Island Dog on Mon 8th Oct 2007 19:05 UTC
Island Dog
Member since:
2007-01-11

Everyone has different opinions when it comes to skins. Some like themes that are more minimalistic, and some prefer skins that are more "extravagant" and have features like animations.

Some of the most popular skins out there today are:

http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?skinid=5758&libid=1
http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?skinid=6156&libid=1
http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?skinid=6285&libid=1

Edited 2007-10-08 19:07

Reply Score: 1

Catch 22?
by null_pointer_us on Mon 8th Oct 2007 20:21 UTC in reply to "I agree with your chief complaint."
null_pointer_us
Member since:
2005-08-19

IMO, WindowBlinds does not have many themes suited to more practical users like Thom because more practical users like Thom do not normally use WindowBlinds.

Maybe holding a minimalist/practical theme competition here on OSNews would be a good idea?

I mean, people are always picking apart the new themes on the open source OS's, so there must be some knowledgeable people here. If StarDock thought it was a good idea, they could give away a free copy or two of ObjectDesktop and WindowBlinds to the winner and the runner-up, respectively.

Eugenia is quite...particular about GUI design. Maybe OSNews staff could come up with an OSNews-themed skin that could be a free download after the contest?

I am assuming that the trial versions of WindowBlinds and SkinStudio would work for this; otherwise, people would have to pay $20 or more to enter the contest!

Edited 2007-10-08 20:24 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Catch 22?
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 8th Oct 2007 20:26 UTC in reply to "Catch 22?"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Eugenia is quite...particular about GUI design. Maybe OSNews staff could come up with an OSNews-themed skin that could be a free download after the contest?


I'm about as particular as Eugenia when it comes to design. And yes, I indeed have a lot of ideas on how a GUI should look and, more importantly, behave. However, the ideas I have cannot be made to work in a mere theme - they entail so much more.

I've long thought about turning all those ideas, which are fairly coherent, into a nice design document. The sheer amount of work, though, is holding me back at the moment.

Who knows what the future brings.

Reply Score: 1

Rhapsodized
by dylansmrjones on Mon 8th Oct 2007 20:32 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

I can understand why Thom is so fond of "Rhapsodized". It looks really smooth. Tish meets Clearlooks-Square (sorry about that comparison ;) ). And no round corners - I like that... a lot.

Reply Score: 2

Yogurth
Member since:
2005-07-20

I guess uptime ranging from 30 days to 3 months should be a good pointer if there is something wrong with my system.

Reply Score: 1

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