Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Jun 2013 20:10 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Graphics, User Interfaces "Though 'flat design' is a popular meme right now, there is something much, much deeper going on here at Microsoft. With my own lifelong passion for design I immersed myself in the community and got a front-row seat on a journey that has its roots as far back as the late '90s with Encarta's bold use of typography and clean interface. But it truly sprang to life in late 2010 with the launch of Windows Phone and in the last few weeks has advanced even further with Windows 8.1 and Xbox One. I started from the very place I bet you are right now - disbelief that Microsoft is leading the way on design." They really are. If Apple really goes all minimalist and digital (I dislike the term 'flat') with iOS, Microsoft will have taken over the baton. Crazy world indeed.
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Comment by vtolkov
by vtolkov on Sat 8th Jun 2013 21:30 UTC
vtolkov
Member since:
2006-07-26

Here is a question: what should we, old farts, do, if we dislike/hate that all-digital design? Really, if you dislike teens' music, you can continue listen classical one. You can read 19th century books, listen to old-style radio and warm-lamp vinyl, buy and restore some used car, use furniture of your grandma, but what can you do about computers? It is not that old, all this Windows-7 or Mac Osx or iOS, it is just few years old. What if I like background to be a little textured? It gives me a sense of comfort and a piece of mind? I can't read on clear white, my eyesignt is not good enouth. Unlike old-style phone with rotating disk, it does not work anymore: you need to upgrade to keep level of security and support for the latest formats and protocols. Using old OSes is just unsafe. So should we, old fars, just die and leave the space to the new generation of designers with their libido, as it usually suggested? Or we should be allowed to choose Windows/OsX/iOS Classic and live confortably surrounded by loved things and kind people?

It is more than just design question. It is a respect to user's choice. We, users, need a choice. I can choose another phone, but I can't choose another planet, if we have just one copy-pasted design on it.

P.S. Sorry for English, Im not a native speaker.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Comment by vtolkov
by WorknMan on Sat 8th Jun 2013 21:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by vtolkov"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I've been struggling with this myself. It seems that there has been a concerted effort by giant tech companies to declare war on power users. They take a look at their metrics, find out that only a small percentage of users actually use/want a certain feature, and decide that those users are irrelevant.

After all, why worry about these people, who are not only picky, but also expensive to develop for, when there are millions and millions of tech tards who only care about what colors it comes in, or if it's made of aluminum. Hell, even Google has joined in on the action by killing Google Reader and numerous other infractions. Why bother giving people a choice of what they want to see, when we can just feed them information based on what their friends like?

Point being - power users don't matter. Of course, there's always Linux, but that swings too far in the other direction, catering to people who care more about what license it comes with than what sort of functionality it has.

Edited 2013-06-08 21:59 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov
by Adurbe on Sat 8th Jun 2013 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vtolkov"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

because most users arn't power users. These companies are targeting the mass market.

"Intuitive interfaces" should in theory make for smaller learning curves. Saving on TCO.

Systems designed for power users either end up completely reliant on tacit knowledge or considerable features being unheard of / unused.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by Jondice on Sat 8th Jun 2013 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

Ideally then we'd have open APIs, or at least semi-open, so that devs can make their own UIs to popular services.

If WoW can do it with GUI mods, I don't see why others can't.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by WorknMan on Sat 8th Jun 2013 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

because most users arn't power users. These companies are targeting the mass market.


Right, which was pretty much my point. And it really f'ing sucks when new versions of products come out with half the features of the previous version, and an 'elegant' user interface, which usually translates to a complete lack of customization. Have you seen the new and 'improved' Google maps that they recently launched a preview of. Many features from the previous version are gone.

And if you don't like it, well... tough shit ;) As long as its beautiful, then simpletons won't care, and these companies know it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by ze_jerkface on Sun 9th Jun 2013 00:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

There are easily over 100 million power users. I've seen power user utilities with over 60 million downloads for the year. But more importantly those power users serve as consultants for families and businesses.

Needlessly ignoring that group is just plain stupid.
But that describes Microsoft in the last 2 years, just plain stupid.

Edited 2013-06-09 00:09 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov
by woegjiub on Sun 9th Jun 2013 01:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vtolkov"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

GNU/Linux really is the solution, though.
You can do everything you could under the other OSes, and you can pick and chose how you want your system to look and behave.

It's also so insanely simple these days, a monkey would have no trouble with it. Even Arch, which has a reputation of being difficult, is simple and easy to use, so long as one can read and follow instructions.

If you like the old ways, I would suggest grabbing a KDE-based GNU/Linux (Kubuntu, OpenSUSE or Fedora if you like GUIs), and themeing it to your liking.

You get all possible features, the latest in security updates (It's more secure than OSX or windows), and more "power user" customizability than you ever had in windows.


N.B.: I consider "power users" to be plebians incapable of using a terminal properly due to loving their GUIs so much, so take that with a grain of salt.

Edited 2013-06-09 01:25 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by ze_jerkface on Sun 9th Jun 2013 03:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

GNU/Linux really is the solution, though.


No it isn't though.

The graphics stack is still hmmm how should I say.....crappy but more importantly there is the compatibility factor. Half the country expects to be able to run iTunes and the other half has some application or printer they expect to work immediately. That's just the way it is.

By the time the graphics stack is sorted out Android phones will have hdmi out and will offer more than the Linux desktop.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by Soulbender on Sun 9th Jun 2013 10:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

No it isn't though.


Sure it is but not for everything and everyone. Nothing is though.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov
by ze_jerkface on Sun 9th Jun 2013 16:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

I'll make my position clear.

Linux is not the end-all-be-all solution and in fact the quasi-religious attitude that goes with that belief hampers adoption.

I believe that Linux would be further on the desktop if there was an honest annual assessment by the Linux community about its benefits and limitations. Trying to sell it as God's gift to computers has led to unrealistic expectations and complacency by developers that gloss over problem areas.

But it doesn't really matter at this point because Android will eventually supersede it in terms of functionality and desktop distros will be perceived as part of the past.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 10th Jun 2013 21:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Why do you think the graphics stack is crappy? Are you just talking about the driver support? OpenGl, maybe? "Most of the country" doesn't really care about "the graphics stack". As long as its good enough for general desktop use. I mean, if Itunes was the killer app that everyone needed to have, the graphics stack isn't that much of a concern...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov
by ssokolow on Mon 10th Jun 2013 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Why do you think the graphics stack is crappy? Are you just talking about the driver support? OpenGl, maybe? "Most of the country" doesn't really care about "the graphics stack". As long as its good enough for general desktop use. I mean, if Itunes was the killer app that everyone needed to have, the graphics stack isn't that much of a concern...


Not to mention, the OSX OpenGL stack was pretty crappy too before Valve started collaborating with driver developers to port Steam and the Source Engine.

Apparently similar improvements are already arriving from their Linux porting efforts.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by vtolkov
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 11th Jun 2013 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, but in all fairness the OpenGL stack is a bit outdated on linux.

OpenGL 3.1 is the most advanced version supported on linux ( and even then only the intel drivers), but the latest version is 4.3.

So, there is an argument to be had there, if you are concerned with the latest OpenGL versions ( most desktop users are not...)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by WorknMan on Sun 9th Jun 2013 05:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

GNU/Linux really is the solution, though. You can do everything you could under the other OSes


No it isn't, and no you can't. For example, I'll give you $1,000 if you can find me an adequate replacement for this:

http://www.osnews.com/thread?564148

Yeah, I know what you're going to say... it's a 'specialty' application. But power users thrive on all kinds of these apps. There's more to life than just a terminal ;)

N.B.: I consider "power users" to be plebians incapable of using a terminal properly due to loving their GUIs so much, so take that with a grain of salt.


With tools like Autohotkey, you'd be surprised at what you can do with GUIs ;) Sure, I can use a terminal, but I rarely need to. In Linux, is there a util you can use to program custom hotkeys and macros in any application where none previously existed? And if so, does it work in Gnome and KDE apps?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by bert64 on Sun 9th Jun 2013 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

And for many "power users", myself included, there are many things in linux that other systems cannot do, or do badly and being able to customise or outright replace the ui is just one of them. You could say the same thing, that these are "specialty applications".

So given that no system is perfect, you just have to weigh up which compromises will hurt less.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by woegjiub on Sun 9th Jun 2013 13:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

The only software in that link was google reader, and there are vast numbers of RSS reader apps out there. I use one I wrote, because my needs are simple, but tt-rss, akregator, rssowl, etc. work as well, if not better than google reader.

In GNU/Linux, you can edit the keys directly, to pass it through x as something different. Mapping functions to keystrokes is similarly simple in KDE, or any reasonable WM. I use awesome, so I map shortcuts to bash scripts.


You can similarly pass through a string of hotkeys or whatever, but that sort of thing is better done interacting with the actual program, and having an alias, than it is running the GUI to it, and waggling a bloody mouse around.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by ssokolow on Sun 9th Jun 2013 18:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21


No it isn't, and no you can't. For example, I'll give you $1,000 if you can find me an adequate replacement for this:

http://www.osnews.com/thread?564148


Are you sure you pasted the right link? I'm having trouble figuring out what application you're referring to.

With tools like Autohotkey, you'd be surprised at what you can do with GUIs ;) Sure, I can use a terminal, but I rarely need to. In Linux, is there a util you can use to program custom hotkeys and macros in any application where none previously existed? And if so, does it work in Gnome and KDE apps?


There are actually tools that at least try to do that. I ran across some a few years ago when I was researching to write a replacement for xbindkeys that could listen to more types of input and required fewer fork() calls to get things done. (I'd spread myself too thin, so it's currently shelved while I clear out projects that are more urgent or have more seniority.)

Unfortunately, my notes for it are a mess, so I'm not sure where I put the URLs for them. (The obvious project notes only include links for if I do decide to implement.)

As long as you stick to stuff built against toolkits supported by AT-SPI accessibility (Qt 4.8+, GTK+, Java Swing, LibreOffice, Mozilla), raw key/button presses injected via X11 XTest, or functions exposed via D-Bus, the hardest part of implementing an analogue to tools like AutoHotKey and Applescript is actually putting the proper amount of effort into designing the UI and scripting API and choosing a scripting language.

I haven't confirmed, but it looks like one could (ab)use LDTP (a GUI unit test adaptor library) as a simplified API for puppeting applications using AT-SPI.

Beyond those mechanisms, it's also possible, but you're marching down the curve of diminishing returns (eg. writing a DCOP backend for D-Bus equivalent functionality with KDE3/Trinity applications).

Edited 2013-06-09 18:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov
by WorknMan on Mon 10th Jun 2013 03:23 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Are you sure you pasted the right link?


No I posted the wrong link. Here is what I meant to post:

http://www.jmelas.gr/motif/lib.php

As for AHK, it's clear that there is no Linux solution that does what AHK does, even if it were possible to do it. And it (along with its cousin, AutoIt) does a hell of a lot more than hotkeys. It's one of those little utils that keep me on Windows ;)

Insofar as Linux goes, I like the OS, but the apps just aren't there, and most of the best ones are available for Windows anyway, or have superior commercial counterparts. OSX is the same way - people always talk about how superior it is, but on forums for many of my favorite Windows apps, there's always people begging for a Mac version ;)

Edited 2013-06-10 03:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by vtolkov
by ssokolow on Mon 10th Jun 2013 03:33 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

No I posted the wrong link. Here is what I meant to post:

http://www.jmelas.gr/motif/lib.php

Ahh. That makes sense. I still have to put together something to snoop on the MIDI SysEx messages Yamaha MusicSoft Downloader uses so I can write a portable, open-source equivalent.

(Or at least something more polished. MusicSoft Downloader is an inefficient eyesore.)

As for AHK, it's clear that there is no Linux solution that does what AHK does, even if it were possible to do it. And it (along with its cousin, AutoIt) does a hell of a lot more than hotkeys. It's one of those little utils that keep me on Windows ;)

Now you've got me curious. Mind giving a quick but comprehensive overview of its features? (from a user's perspective rather than Wikipedia's)

If I ever take my plans out of mothballs (placeholder name: *binder ), maybe I'll try to match it.

Edited 2013-06-10 03:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by vtolkov
by WorknMan on Mon 10th Jun 2013 04:05 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by vtolkov"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Now you've got me curious. Mind giving a quick but comprehensive overview of its features? (from a user's perspective rather than Wikipedia's)


I think the home page gives a pretty good overview:

http://www.autohotkey.com

My favorite thing is being able to configure different hotkeys and hotstrings on a per-application basis. For example, with any app that has tabs, I use AHK to map the same keystrokes for manipulating tabs (opening/closing/switching between), so I don't have to remember different keystrokes in different apps. It's kind of the same thing as making 'dir' and 'ls' do the same thing on both Windows and Linux ;) And the hotkeys usually work even when apps don't have focus, so just about any app supports global hotkeys by default. Among the other things it does is to automate GUI tasks (kind of like having Office macro-like capabilities across the entire OS), although I prefer using AutoIt for that.

When doing hotstrings, there's all kinds of different switches, so for example, sometimes the event happens as soon as you type a word, or you can make it happen when you press the spacebar. I like that kind of flexibility.

As for writing a replacement, AHK has been in development for years, so that ain't gonna be a small task. I think somebody might've started a Linux port, but to truly be useful, it would have to work in all kinds of apps (QT, KDE, etc) and across a variety of desktop environments.

Edited 2013-06-10 04:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by panzi on Sun 9th Jun 2013 20:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

I don't know if such an app exists under Linux, because I never needed one. KDE apps usually have A LOT of actions that can be assigned to hotkeys (even global hotkeys). Using DBus and a tiny scripted KDE app (for global hotkey support - hotkeys are an integral part of KDE/Qt and thus very easy to implement) I guess one could write such an app for all KDE and probably many Gtk apps. Heck, that what I did for the special case of media players:
http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=144437 (a plasma widget that lets you assign global hotkeys for play/pause/next song/previous song which will be sent to whatever media player is currently active - 614 LOC including license header, GUI code and special case code for several buggy players and two different MPRIS API versions)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by vtolkov on Sun 9th Jun 2013 07:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
vtolkov Member since:
2006-07-26

This is DIY type of solution, which is always an option. But we are talking about companies. In theory, after satisfying majority of the user base, they should spend R&D money to investigate and address the tails of the user base distribution, making the product convenient for the diverse groups. But they rather put money into advertisment, trying to extend user base by brute force.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by Wafflez on Sun 9th Jun 2013 15:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
Wafflez Member since:
2011-06-26

Is it? Really?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov
by Tuishimi on Sun 9th Jun 2013 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vtolkov"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Power users simply find a way to bend the OS to their needs. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by shotsman on Sun 9th Jun 2013 09:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Or give up and stop using it at all.
Just like I did with Windows. I got fed up with all the seemingly endless updates, AV using lots of CPU etc etc.
Windows became just too much of an effort.

So I moved all my personal use to OSX and have not regretted it at all.
Why not Linux, some will ask?
Two reasons.
Photoshop
Lightroom

I do use linux wherever possible and am running Fedora 19 Beta on a 5yr old MBP at the moment.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by Tuishimi on Sun 9th Jun 2013 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

The irony there (to me) is that everytime there is a problem on my wife's macbook it is because she says "no" to all the update notifications and when I go to look at it I find half a dozen updates pending.

Happens with my kid's Windows machines as well.

No OS is "update free" these days as they all try to push out incremental updates.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov
by bornagainenguin on Sun 9th Jun 2013 15:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov"
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

So I moved all my personal use to OSX and have not regretted it at all.


How do you handle the death of Perian? As someone who just became the owner of a refurbished 2011 Macbook I'm finding myself quite disappointed that in order to fully make use of the built in Quicktime player I will now have to convert or remux most of my 2TB video collection to MP4 instead of just keeping it in the MKV format that I originally obtained it in. Subler looks like it will negate most of the pain once I figure out how to automate its conversion (thankfully most of my MKV collection is in h264 so remuxing is all I need to do in most cases) but still...

Of course I could just use Gnu\Linux applications like Mplayer or VLC instead, but I think once you start down that road you end up with less and less an Apple experience and might as well simply install a preferred brand of Linux on the device--in which case what was the point in paying the Apple premium just to run Linux?

In fact to bring this back 'round to on topic again, I wonder at which point does our need for customization detract from the promises and benefits of the platform we're supposed to be running?

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov
by tylerdurden on Sun 9th Jun 2013 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Huh? What's wrong with using VLC on OSX?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by vtolkov
by panzi on Sun 9th Jun 2013 20:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by vtolkov"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

VLC on OS X has a native GUI and looks different than VLC on any other platform. The nice look of VLC under OS X is something I'd wish VLC would have under other OSes.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov
by olejon on Sun 9th Jun 2013 10:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vtolkov"
olejon Member since:
2012-08-12

It seems that there has been a concerted effort by giant tech companies to declare war on power users.


So true. Funny thing; those are the ones actually creating the software ("apps"). The can't even seem to build Office in Metro. When it launches it will lack features for sure. So when will we see an IDE?

I fear that in the future developers have to buy special hardware and software to develop, because what the majority uses is not capable of doing any real work. Then it will again only be rich companies who can afford to develop software. One of the great things about the "app revolution" is that anyone can join, giving us so much choice.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by vtolkov
by Nelson on Sun 9th Jun 2013 11:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Office is a pretty large and sprawling application, there's no way that will be ported over, especially not fully.

Furthermore, I'm not exactly sure they'd want to implement _every_ Office feature in a Metro styled office.

I'd want them to be thoughtful in how they introduce features and take into account battery life and touch.

On the Visual Studio front, a lot still has to happen to bring that forward. This has less show stoppers than Office, so it'd be an easier time to port.

I'm just not convinced they're doing it quite yet. Maybe after their Compiler as a Service is done.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by vtolkov
by Soulbender on Sun 9th Jun 2013 02:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by vtolkov"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

It is more than just design question. It is a respect to user's choice.p


Where was the choice for people who didn't like the previous designs?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov
by ze_jerkface on Sun 9th Jun 2013 03:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vtolkov"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

With Vista and Windows 7 you could choose the classic theme if you didn't like Aero.

I like Aero but now I'm supposed to accept flat 'n ugly because that is what design trendsters favor and the Windows team no longer believes in choice.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by vtolkov
by vtolkov on Sun 9th Jun 2013 07:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by vtolkov"
vtolkov Member since:
2006-07-26

"It is more than just design question. It is a respect to user's choice.p


Where was the choice for people who didn't like the previous designs?
"

Exactly!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by vtolkov
by malxau on Sun 9th Jun 2013 05:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by vtolkov"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

Here is a question: what should we, old farts, do, if we dislike/hate that all-digital design?...What if I like background to be a little textured? It gives me a sense of comfort and a piece of mind?


Speaking personally, my home desktop boots to Linux by default, with a configurable window manager, currently FVWM.

If you're picky, something like this can be configured very exactly, and if you're less picky, it can be configured relatively simply to achieve your UI ends. You can also use largely generic configurations and be picky about the little things that matter a lot to you.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by vtolkov
by Neolander on Sun 9th Jun 2013 07:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by vtolkov"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, there is choice. If you go Linux/Android and trade the most common desktop environments for more obscure and customizable ones, you can tweak your computer and cellphone to look and feel pretty much the way you want.

But obviously, for every freedom, there is a price to pay in return: using Linux in and of itself entails extra maintenance work and software incompatibilities compared to other OSs. And the more customization power you want, the more time it takes to build up your own custom work environment, so there's a tradeoff there too.

As far as I'm concerned, the sweet spot between simplicity and customization lies somewhere around a carefully tweaked Mint 13 Xfce, together with a few PPAs to keep some software like Gimp or Libreoffice current. It is robust enough for my needs, yet doesn't require so much fiddling to keep working.

I've also seen some people say good things about Gnome 3 extensions recently. But I still think that requiring GPU acceleration for basic tasks is a mistake on a non-commercial OS like "consumer" Linux, so I won't try that for now myself.

Edited 2013-06-09 07:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by vtolkov
by Gaius_Maximus on Mon 10th Jun 2013 14:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by vtolkov"
Gaius_Maximus Member since:
2012-08-31

Try Linux Mint Mate.

I migrated my entire family from Windows to Ubuntu 5 years ago, and we all really loved it. But then Gnome changed direction toward a 'cool', 'new', touchy-feely interface. And Ubuntu did the same with their Unity UI. Now we use Mate on Linux Mint.

That's choice.

Reply Score: 1

Modern is just another word
by ze_jerkface on Sun 9th Jun 2013 00:09 UTC
ze_jerkface
Member since:
2012-06-22

Modern is just another word to describe a design style. That design has no more importance than plaid, neon or retro.

But like plaid it's a design trend that is cyclical.

Microsoft is not ahead on anything, flat and minimalist is trendy now but in 5 years something else will be perceived as the right way. This is because design is inherently subjective and while it is possible to believe otherwise it is not possible to correctly predict the preferred design of customers that actually buy things that allow designers to have jobs.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Modern is just another word
by vtolkov on Sun 9th Jun 2013 07:13 UTC in reply to "Modern is just another word"
vtolkov Member since:
2006-07-26

Actually, I think, Microsoft is just trying to cut expenses. C# is a cheaper way to develop software, comparing with C++, it allows to hire less expensive developers, and Metro is a way to do the same with design and designers. Kind of IKEA in software.

Reply Score: 3

Torbjorn Vik Lunde Member since:
2009-09-04

Modernist or minimalist design is not easier (and thus cheaper) to do than design that uses more elements. You have to pay very close attention to spacing, rhythm and composition among other things. Using visible elements and not white space is usually more forgiving and easier to do.

Reply Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

The cheapest option would have been to add a flat 'n ugly theme and keep Aero. Removing the start menu after lying about plans to leave it also took them more work than simply allowing it to be enabled through the registry.

They have an agenda and profit isn't the main priority. Becoming while displacing Apple has been the priority and they are failing miserably.

The easy money would have been to keep selling Windows 7. Windows 8 and Surface so far have been a waste of money and at an additional cost to their reputation.

Reply Score: 3

siride Member since:
2006-01-02

No, leaving Aero and the new theme is not the easiest option. We're not talking about which of two books to leave on a shelf. Various parts of the system have to be changed depending on which path is taken. Applications and utilities that come with Windows have to be designed to work with both themes. There's a cost.

Truly, the simplest option would be to just keep Aero as is (that is, do nothing).

Reply Score: 2

Modern is more than a word
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Sun 9th Jun 2013 07:17 UTC in reply to "Modern is just another word"
Torbjorn Vik Lunde Member since:
2009-09-04

Modern, or more accurately modernistic is way more than a style. It’s a design/arts philosophy and to a certain degree an general ideology.

Work that references the style of 50s/60s modernist design probably does cycle, but I don’t know if we can say that modernism in the true sense of the word actually cycles (or maybe it does… I’m not a historian). It’s ironic and a bit sad that these does cycle since modernism as design philosophy strongly rejects cycles, trends and fashion. Some designers (like Massimo Vignelli) even designs the same way today (more or less) as they did 30 years ago.

Some reading for those who are interested:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Typographic_Style
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionalism_(architecture)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_architecture

Reply Score: 2

Given...
by deathshadow on Sun 9th Jun 2013 05:47 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

The idiotic inaccessible train-wreck design of that website that shows a complete lack of understanding web technologies, (and took me a while to figure out how the **** to even get around it) it's not exactly an encouraging way to say they are doing anything in 'design' worth a flying purple fish... what with the color contrasts below accessibility norms, px metric fonts on everything, unusual navigation, and endless pointless bloat of images that don't mean a blasted thing.

Just more proof they need to fire every last mike-foxtrot working on interface design at this point; the level of ineptitude shown in that site ALONE is on a scale the likes of which I've not seen since my last visit to Yahoo.

Of course, that I absolutely HATE 'metro' or whatever the blue blazes they're calling it this week and find it near impossible to use with the effectively random order of elements, acid trip of childish colors resulting in illegible text, and it in general being Microsoft giving a giant middle finger to desktop users -- well, that doesn't help much either.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Given...
by ze_jerkface on Sun 9th Jun 2013 16:22 UTC in reply to "Given..."
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Thank you Patton for rising from the dead to help take on the Metro Menace.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Given...
by Lurking_Grue on Mon 10th Jun 2013 18:43 UTC in reply to "Given..."
Lurking_Grue Member since:
2013-03-15

My eyes suck so I tend to magnify the webpages. This page was unusable until I turned off stylesheets.

I don't like this style of webpage design.

Try hitting page down key and you get no love.

Reply Score: 2

Going in the right direction
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Sun 9th Jun 2013 06:41 UTC
Torbjorn Vik Lunde
Member since:
2009-09-04

It was been fascinating watching Microsoft grow confident with their particular design style. I remember the XP betas (called Whistler then) had a theme for windows that was quite elegant and minimalist (although not done). Then OS X came out and Microsoft panicked and made XP with it’s Aqua-esque style in reaction. Too bad, Whistler was always better IMHO.

Now they seem to be a little less reactive and are standing on their own feet design wise, but I don’t think they are doing quite as well with design as people say. That is, they finally have their own design philosophy and style, but I still think they got a way to go with regards to implementing that design consistently across the company with high quality.

You may or may not like the design philosophy Apple has taken, but I still think they have the highest quality when it comes to the quality of what they make. When I use non-Apple I always notice the lack of polish. (Not that Apple are perfect, but IMHO more polished than most others.)

It seems very clear to me that Microsoft wants to be great at design, and I think that’s great, but I’m not sure if they’ll get there that quickly. I think Google is putting up a stronger fight against Apple design wise than Microsoft is doing. Google may not have such a unique philosophy (being neither very physical like Apple or digital like Microsoft) but I think they outdoing Microsoft and are even sometimes challenging Apple in terms of design.

This is a bit of a simplification, but not too many years ago Apple was pretty much the only company that really cared about design, now Microsoft, Google, Facebook and many others are all working hard to have great design in their products. That’s a great thing! Now if they could only stop spying on us…

EDIT: Very strange to find quote from Paula Scher in this context. My impression was that she neither is positive towards modernist design (her most famous work is more post modernist in style), although like most graphic designers she probably does not like any design that references real life objects. Most of all though, I’m surprised because when she is interviewed in Helvetica she mentions that she have no interest in computers at all, they are just tools to her.

Edited 2013-06-09 06:47 UTC

Reply Score: 4

What am i missing
by Soulbender on Sun 9th Jun 2013 09:48 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

All I get in firefox is a huge picture of some offices (presumably at Microsoft), a right sidebar with a tablet or something and a vertical scrollbar that goes nowhere.

Oh, you're supposed to scroll horizontally.
What the hell?

Reply Score: 5

RE: What am i missing
by deathshadow on Sun 9th Jun 2013 10:23 UTC in reply to "What am i missing"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

That's part of what I was talking about with the 'inaccessible train wreck' -- alongside the fixed px metric fonts that send me diving for the zoom, which of course breaks the layout; the text colors and background colors being too close together resulting in it being illegible, the complete lack of semantic markup making it near impossible to navigate, etc, etc...

If this is their idea of good design, whoever did it needs to be put down like old yeller.

But then, there's DESIGN and then there's DESIGN -- one is about building something functional and useful, the other is artsy fartsy nonsense designed by people who go "WCAG, what's that?!?" who could give a damn about it actually being usable to visitors, they just want their "gee ain't it neat" artsy BS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What am i missing
by ricegf on Sun 9th Jun 2013 12:39 UTC in reply to "What am i missing"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Exactly. If you can't design a usable blog interface, you really shouldn't be designing the next generation of a corporation's cash cow. This just explains... so... much.

Reply Score: 3

RE: What am i missing
by Lion on Sun 9th Jun 2013 12:48 UTC in reply to "What am i missing"
Lion Member since:
2007-03-22

At first I thought "This page design is horrible!" then I opened it on my surface, and it's actually quite nice on there...

I don't really know where to take this post from here, but I thought it was kinda amusing that they'd made a webpage that's only really usable on their own devices

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: What am i missing
by deathshadow on Mon 10th Jun 2013 02:52 UTC in reply to "RE: What am i missing"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Which is just more proof of the ineptitude as it REEKS of "But it works on what I designed it for, **** everything else". Great, it works on Surface... Because everybody has one of those. Again, more of Microsoft's "shtup desktop users up their tuchas" 'modern' design.

PROPER website design is about building pages that work everywhere on everything -- using semantic markup, progressive enhancement, semi-fluid elastic responsive design.

Concepts that the re-re's who crap out fixed width layouts with all the fonts declared in pixel sizes, doped to the gills with goofy "gee ain't it neat" scripting trickery and non-standard navigation methods will never understand -- to the point what I just said might as well be an alien language.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Sun 9th Jun 2013 11:35 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

Encarta? no, that wasn't the new "flat UI". Encarta was still pseudo 3D-like UI. And no, MS was not the first to introduce flat UIs, really.

Reply Score: 1

MacOS Design
by shotsman on Sun 9th Jun 2013 12:00 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

While I'm no expert here it seems to me that the old MacOS screen design is pretty flat. There wasn't much you could do back in the days of B&W displays.

Possibly like the first version of DECWindows.

From my limited use of MacOS it seemed simple, uncluttered and well, dare I darn easy to use.

If Apple resort to a 'flat' design how many nay sayers/ apple haters will just say that they have copied Microsoft? Could it be possible that it was the other way round. This is all rather sad and we should just get on with life and focus on the more important things in it.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by judgen
by judgen on Mon 10th Jun 2013 09:53 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

I hesitate to say this as i will probably get voted down. But in design/art school flat is considered the lazy way out.

Reply Score: 3

We just have to wait a few years...
by sprag on Mon 10th Jun 2013 14:52 UTC
sprag
Member since:
2010-08-13

and then we'll have the 3d look again when people start to realize that with flat design it's hard to tell what things are active and what things are just decoration!

Interestingly, this screenshot of Windows 1.0 looks disturbingly similar to the crap they're trying to push now...

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/steve-ballmer-windows-tv-commercia...

Dock on the bottom, no overlapping windows, flat look...

So now that we're back to windows 1.0 we just have to wait for the cycle to continue until XP shows up again. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 10th Jun 2013 15:35 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Funny to see people still believing Linux will save the day for desktops.... Except for one little overlooked (or ignored) tidbit, ....it never has. Oopsy!

Reply Score: 2

Damn.
by Lurking_Grue on Mon 10th Jun 2013 18:33 UTC
Lurking_Grue
Member since:
2013-03-15

Yuck! Horizontal scrolling article.

Reply Score: 1