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.
Though this technology isn't incredibly new (the video is dated June of 2006, and OSNews has covered it before), it's still not publicly available; however, it'll supposedly have a beta out for subscribers to test someday. Branded "BumpTop," this new interface builds off of the idea of organization done on traditional desktops-- I mean the wooden, metal, or glass ones. People naturally organize papers and other items into piles that make sense to their own ways of thinking. This kind of organization is limited on operating systems today, but BumpTop makes an old idea new by turning your virtual desktop a little more real.
HP and the Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State recently demoed a new technology we thought was only possible in Minority Report. Dubbed flexible displays, these modern miracles not only may one day be used in netbooks, smartphones, and other mobile and compact devices (perhaps even digital paper), but are supposedly indestructible, use 90% less resources to manufacture, and basically sip electricity when compared to today's standard display technologies.
At its annual MAX user conference, Adobe puts on the dog and serves up new tooling and other support for Flash. Adobe introduces Flex Builder Gumbo, Flash Catalyst â€“ formerly known as Thermo, the availability of Adobe AIR 1.5 and a pre-release of the 64-bit Linux version of Adobe Flash Player 10. Adobe also opens up its cloud initiative, known as Cocomo, as a public beta.
Oliver Hamann released a new version of his futuristic user environment called Eagle Mode. But the most interesting news is probably his project philosophy. There he lists pros and cons for replacing most of today's user interfaces by zoomable user interfaces. But unlike others, he don't want to replace the concept of desktop windows.
This is the tenth 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. Fitting for this rounded number, part X will detail the window.
The GIMP Project has released GIMP 2.6.0. Among some UI-based changes and additional fixes, it comes the long promised integration of the GEGL library. The promise of 16 bit per-pixel non-destructive editing goes back to 2002, but it's at last here. This means that GIMP is now ready for prosumer (and in some cases even professional) photographer's usage, and this can only be big news and a big win for the F/OSS movement. GEGL will also help in future releases with proper support of CMYK. UPDATE: I guess things are not as good as the release notes want us to think. GEGL was turned "on" in the Color menu as per instructions, but I still got a no-support message for high depth TIFF pictures. If GIMP can't read existing 16bpp pictures, the feature I earlier gave them so much credit for, is useless.
This is the ninth 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. In part IX, we are going to talk about the menu.
The US patent might be a bit daft, especially when it comes to software, but it does offer some interesting insights into what crazy things the big companies might be working on for future products. One such patent emerged today: Microsoft applied in 2005 (and was granted in 2008) a patent which describes how different windows may be coloured differently, or that they may have different transparency settings. This sounds a bit weird, but it may actually prove to be quite useful.