InfoWorld's John Rizzo chronicles the 20 most significant ideas and features Microsoft and Apple have stolen from each other in the lead up to Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard. 'Some features were stolen so long ago that they've become part of the computing landscape, and it's difficult to remember who invented what.' Windows 7's Task Bar and Aero Peek come to mind as clear appropriations of Mac OS X's Dock and Expose. Apple's cloning of the Windows address bar in 2007's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard as the path bar is another obvious 'inspiration.' But the borrowing goes deeper, Rizzo writes, providing a screenshot tour of Microsoft's biggest grabs from Mac OS X and Apple's most significant appropriations of Windows OS ideas and functionality.
Gimp critics will have one less thing to complain about when Gimp 2.8 is released later this year. Single window mode is coming with the next major release along with some other interesting UI enhancements.
Last week, Culf of Mac published an article showing off some of Snow Leopard's beautiful 512x512 icons, revealing some interesting tidbits about them you could only see when the icons are fully maximised. In this article, I compare some of Snow Leopard's icons to those of Windows 7, and you'll see while both operating systems have beautiful icons, there are some key differences between the styles of these icons. Note that this article contains some large images, so if you're on dial-up, you've been warned.
You probably missed this earth-shattering news, but
Ikea IKEA, the Swedish furniture and other assorted home decoration products company, has switched fonts. The company always used the Futura font for its catalogues, but the latest edition has ditched it in favour of Verdana. This has caused quite the stir among typography geeks.
Adobe has announced it is dropping PowerPC support from its next version of the Creative Suite for the Mac. "By the time the next version of the Suite ships, the very youngest PPC-based Macs will be roughly four years old. They're still great systems, but if you haven't upgraded your workstation in four years, you're probably not in a rush to upgrade your software, either. Bottom line: Time & resources are finite, and with big transitions underway (going 64-bit-native, switching from Carbon to Cocoa), you want Adobe building for the future, not for the past."
Brandon Walkin has just published a fascinating article on the topic of managing user interface complexity. "I've spent the past year redesigning a particularly complex application with my primary focus being on reducing complexity. In this article, I'll go over some of the issues surrounding complexity and techniques that can be used to manage it."
The Engineering 7 weblog has an item about the improvements made in the ClearType font rendering technology which has been included in Windows since Windows XP. While I won't go too deeply into that post, I did figure it was a good opportunity to talk about font antialiasing in general; which type do you prefer?
I's time for another "OSNews Asks", a blatant rip-off of just about every other website in existence. Anyway, today we want to focus on multitouch. The technology behind it has existed for a long time, but only recently have companies like Apple (iPhone, trackpads) and Microsoft (Surface, Windows 7) begun promoting it. We have a question for you, about multitouch in desktops and laptops.
About a year ago, OSNews reported on Grape, a new way to manage your desktop. Back then, Grape was only a concept, a set of ideas without an implementation. This is different now: Grape has been turned into an actual piece of working software, and the people behind the project, Yann Le Coroller and Dockland Software's Stephane, gave us early access by means of a beta release. We are also giving away beta access, se be sure to read on to the end of the article to find out how you can get beta access (hint: post a comment). Update: The response has been more substantial than I anticipated, so the cut-off point is 50 comments. Twelve comments left, guys and girls, so hurry up! Update II: Sorry guys, we're full already (that was quick)! Thanks for the enormous interest from everyone. I'll send the invites out today! Update III: All invites have been sent out. Enjoy testing Grape, and be sure to post your findings here on OSNews. Also, report any bugs here.
We've all seen the early demos of something called "BumpTop", a sort of 3D desktop where files are presented as 3D objects with physical properties. Recently, the project moved from concept to product with the release of BumpTop 1.0. The big question now is: are we dealing with the next big thing in desktop computing, or just a gimmick?
Adobe has a promotion that states that if you will attest that you're unemployed, they'll give you a free license to Flex Builder 3 that you can use to burnish your skills.
This is the eleventh article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. After a rather long hiatus, this eleventh instalment will focus on bling, desktop effects, and compositing, and what they can contribute to the desktop experience.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is one of the most important technologies in the graphics arena. Since Flex inherits most of its features from Flash, it has very good support for vector drawing. This article introduces you to the fascinating world of SVG in Flex. It teaches you how to create custom graphics and build appealing flashy components just by vector drawing.
It's a bit of a slow newsday at the moment, so I figured we'd pass the time with something special. Let's take a look at some obscure and/or older user interfaces listed in ToastyTech's GUI gallery, and see if there are any interesting ideas that can be found in those old user interfaces that we would like to see in our modern user interfaces.
The Avant Window Navigator (Awn) project has released version 0.3.2 of the dock for the Free Desktop, and its applets. This represents a year's worth of bug fixes, performance improvements, and new applets. The developers are actively working on getting updated packages to various distributions. The source code tarballs for both the dock and the applets are available on Launchpad.
A long time ago, we asked everyone to show their desktops, and we figured it would be nice, on this (for me) cold and dreary Monday to do that all over again, over two years later. The questions remain the same: cluttered or clean? Icons or no icons? Dual or single panel layout in GNOME? How free-form is your Plasma desktop? Are there any real computer users in here (as in, using CDE)? Read on for my own two desktops.
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is filled to the brim with product announcements and new useful (and useless) gadgets, but some stand out more than others. One item that topped the headlines the past few days is Palm's announcement of its brand new operating system.
Geek.com gave a graphics designer a few months with the latest Adobe CS4 suite, and tells you everything you wanted to know about CS4. From the article: "It's been several months since the CS4 Master Collection became available, and the focus of this follow-up review is to highlight the new features that have remained on my radar since first installing the programs. While every Adobe release features a slew of new features, I usually find that only some of those features remain completely indispensable as the novelty wears off."
High bit depth support, non-destructive editing (so called "effect layers") and colour management. Three hot topics in photography editing - that users have been waiting for for a long time now to appear in GIMP. Today Linux & Photography blog features an exclusive interview with Martin Nordholts, one of the core contributors to GIMP. Nordholts speaks about the current state of affairs, explains what is going on deep inside the GIMP (and GEGL) and also lifts a corner of the veil about what is to come.
Virtual Worlds User Interface for the Blind is a prototype user interface that enables blind users to participate in virtual world environments. It provides communication, navigation, and perception functions using GUI elements. As a way of enriching the virtual environment with descriptive semantic information, sighted users contribute annotations of virtual objects using a scripted gadget equipped by their avatar. These annotations are then made available to the blind users through the special user interface.