A few months ago we were discussing the upcoming release of WindowFX2 from Stardock, which was to utilize the graphics 3D hardware to render cool animations and transitions on your Windows. WindowFX2 is now out, there is a demo, and a very cool video where you can see the new, very cool transitions in action.
"A history of computer interfaces follows a nice, tidy timeline. In the 1970s researchers at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center invented the basics of the point-and-click interface familiar today: mouse, windows, menus. Apple peeked at the research and brought it to the masses with the Macintosh in 1984. Ten years later, Microsoft copied Apple with Windows 95." Read the article at Wired.
"First, usability is often thought of as how easily a process can be completed on the first try. A process does not have to be 100% brain free in order for it to be highly usable. The best interface is also efficient. A GUI should be accessible both with the keyboard and with the mouse." Read Matt Grab's article on usability, found on his home page.
Slow news day today, but this product is truly interesting and it deserves our attention. It is the most innovative graphics application I've seen since Painter (demo here), and that was many years ago. ZBrush from Pixologic is neither strictly 2D or 3D, but it is "2.5D". In addition to new features, ZBrush1.5, which comes out tomorrow, also provides significant enhancements in nearly every tool and palette. You'll get expanded and improved 2.5D painting capabilities, texturing options, and sculpting utilities, plus many behind-the-scene changes. The available demo for download (Mac/Win) is only for version 1.23b currently, but it will give you an idea of what this is all about. Also, CorelDraw 11 is out.
It seems that it is not just Apple, via Quartz Extreme, using the 3D capabilities of a graphics card to render a 2D desktop. Stardock has already released WindowFX 2, as part of their ObjectDesktop product, which is very equivelant to QE. As you can see from the screenshots, their preference panel for WindowFX contains a number of adjustments that you can do to the system and allows for very special effects to your modified Windows desktop with ease and speed.
I was reading Adam's preview of Red Hat Limbo beta 2 the other day, and was also checking out his screenshots. I already did a Gnome 2 review a few months back, and a month ago I did a more constructive article on KDE 3's UI. This time, I just picked a random screenshot off Adam's article, and I will suggest some UI changes to make it look better. IMNSHO, as always of course, so be prepared. Update: My post to Gnome Usability mailing list, regarding a more refined/fixed version of my GUI suggestion for the specific theme discussed.
Object Desktop 2002 is a desktop enhancement suite designs to allow Windows users to completely transform Windows into anything they want. It includes WindowBlinds, DesktopX, ObjectBar, IconPackager, WinStyles, and more. It also includes a 1 year subscription to ObjectDesktop.NET where users can download all the components of Object Desktop, updates, and new features. Our Take: I was lucky to have a "live" demo of the product from Stardock's CEO, Brad Wardell , a few months back. This set of applications truly transform the Windows GUI to something completely different, which is certainly not just skining, but a complete change of how the UI behaves and interacts with the user.
"Imagine a future in which you could tell your computer to move a folder inside another, and just by pointing with your finger, it would happen. Or being able to command your computer to print your vacation pictures on the nearest color printer, and not have to supply any more configuration information." The article is at InfoWorld.
There's a new personal e-zine, The Idea Basket, that's debuting today with an editorial on the commercial feasibility of a next-generation user interface. The editorial talks about the state of current user interfaces, software such as Apple's iPhoto that is pushing the envelope of interface design, reasons why there has recently been such a lack of innovation and research in the field of interface design, and some ideas that both consumers and developers can employ to help bring computer software to the next level of usability.
"Many people have argued that free software has trouble creating good user interfaces. Recently Matthew Thomas posted a nice example of this argument, which I found on Joel's web site. It was cool to find mpt's article, because it nicely articulates what's gone wrong with many projects - including past versions of all the major Linux/UNIX desktops." Read the rest of the editorial at Havoc Pennington's site.
"I’ve been having a discussion with someone from IBM about whether it’s ever possible for Free Software to have a nice human interface. In theory, I think it is possible. But in practice, the vast majority of open-source projects are also volunteer projects; and it seems that the use of volunteers to drive development inevitably leads the interface design to suck. The reasons are many and varied, and maybe one day I’ll turn this into a long and heavily-referenced essay. But in the meantime, here’s a summary." Matthew Thomas, a Mozilla contributor, explains why not many of the Free applications feature a good UI like most of their commercial counterparts do.
"Adobe Systems Inc. today will unveil one of the most important applications for Apple's MacOSX. The business world was able to hop on board the OSX bandwagon last November when Microsoft released Office v.X, but now the creative community can soon join the converts with the announcement of Photoshop 7.0. Photoshop 7.0 adds new features (the "Healing Brush" is one of them) and, of course, a new Aqua interface, but it's still the same familiar application that the creative professionals know and rely on to make a living." Despite the problems of the port, Photoshop 7 for OSX is here. Read the exclusive report and screenshots at MacCentral.
Stardock, the company behind WindowBlinds, the theme engine for the Windows operating systems, started a competition regarding GUI design. One of the categories where you can compete and win at GUI Olympics, is operating system User Interface design. By using the Stardock products in order to create compatible WindowBlind themes, you can enter the competition and you can even choose represent OSNews! Read more about the event and the cash rewards here.