I can’t stant it no more

October 12, 2007

I admit it, I simply cannot use Vista laptop for more-less serious tasks and I’ve completely given up using it for GUI design.

I never though I’d want to have XP installed on it that much… Sorry, Microsoft, but Vista is a fucking slow and buggy piece of crap and I can’t imagine any good use for it.

Advertisements

Vista icons: could they be better?

July 18, 2007

No vector icons. OK, bitmaps are usually large enough. But are they worth looking?

Iconfactory, the creators of original XP icon theme has made a lot in order to give Vista a brand new look. However, what we actually see is far not as good:

computers.jpg

Just compare the same computer’s icon from Iconfactory portfolio with the one from an actual Vista.

The reason, I suppose, is simple: unwilling to pay for a complete icon suite from Iconfactory Microsoft has just taken a sample set and made the rest by its own designers (obviously far not that skilled). As a result, we see lots of elegant and nice looking icons (like Recycle bin) aside with ugly, blocky and aliased ones you’ll unlikely wish to enlarge.


Vista, the next “Millenium”?

July 15, 2007

Last week I had a chance to make a test drive of Microsoft’s latest effort in Desktop OS development, Windows Vista. Actually, after reading numerous reviews and/or previews I had a mixed feeling about a need to look at it at all, but my designer’s curiosity has won. So, in short, what do we get on upgrading?

Pros:

  • Vista Aero UI is pretty. Really pretty. Just as much as some people love Wincustomize stuff they would love Aero, especially its clean skin and small details like Window header blur or “file flare” animation on copy.
  • Explorer is redesigned for good. Breadcrumb control (previously actively used by GNOME Nautilus) makes navigation more efficient and file thumbnails are more useful than before.
  • Aero UI has finally got rid of this nasty “GUI art” (redraw problems) and thus looks a bit more pleasant.
  • Gadgets and Desktop search are nice addons to old XP Desktop.

Cons:

  • It’s damned slow! On a modern PC with an excellent video card, modern processor and 2 Gb of RAM it’s visibly slower than XP. The difference is subtle at first, but the more you work, the more you notice annoying control delays. Besides, “eating” half a gigabyte of RAMjust after start…
  • Aero is annoying. In a few hours “wow” effects stops and you understand all its ugliness. All this sexy animation, stripes and highlight is very impractical and non-functional. The difference between active and background windows merely exists, soaped backgrounds make you mad, rolodex view is merely usable and taskbar hints are sometimes lost. You may return to the simplified non-transparent version of UI, but it’s times less eye candy and just ugly. Even with hardware acceleration minor graphical quirks exist, like windows, slowly restoring its content after minimizing…
  • The new UI is very inconsistent. You’ll have to learn things anew and controls seem to be located in the most bizzare places…

Overall, it’s disappointing. After 5 years of development we come up with a merely usable product (software, unwilling to operate properly, “are you sure?” anti-user protection on each step, slow operation…) with very arguable advantages over XP. Do you really want Vista? Try Mac or Linux first… Seriously. Macs had most of this stuff in Tiger for years and they’re more functional. Linux offers a competing Desktop with a much less price. And what about Vista, I’m not even sure Microsoft would be able to fix all the quirks with its service packs, so we may probably have to wait for the upcoming Windows 2009 or whatever it delivers next.


Microsoft Vista icon design tutorial published

March 22, 2007

Microsoft has just published a draft version of their new Vista icon design tutorial. Definitely a must-know for everyone involved in the process of software design.

Even now the tutorial is quite comprehensive (especially compared to Apple’s guide with a little of useful info), but some graphics is blocky (nearest neighbor resampling, oh no…) plus some there’re certain problems with text parts on images. An excellent document nevertheless!

As you may also notice, Vista icons try to balance between a photorealistic Aqua style and “dummy”-like XP. I don’t personally like the whole their icon set, but some icons are interesting.

P.S.: does anyone know, who worked on Vista icons this time? Before there used to be IconFactory, who has made a classic XP style.