Just a note, if you read this I've moved the blog and such to http://www.vanillasoap.com. Be sure to update your RSS feeds and such as well!
Drama Breeds Drama
Yeah, okay, seriously - this weekend I'll work on updating to the new look. I've been putting it off for months and I'll most probably just wipe* the slate clean and slowly re-add updated posts with goodies.
I'm not sure what to say about the whole Façade drama on MTF. Although I think it'd of probably been best to not hype things up until they were more settled. I thought I'd take the time to talk about a few things. First off, I'm not really "sided" with anyone concerning Architect-vs-Other Theme Apps. I stopped visiting MTF because it was balls and was growing frustrated with the community and moderation. I don't mean the moderators, I know most of them and they're all awesome guys. I just feel things aren't strict enough, through no fault of their own.
Anyway, Johnny basically hit me up one day and showed me what they were working on and it got me interested. I recently helped them with their website preview. It's not as excellent as I'd of wanted but I didn't get much time to refine it. I liked how the bars, rope and frames turned out however.
So, long story short - too late! - I'm working on a theme. No hype or silly previews or anything. The Façade preview site will feature a preview but that's about it. Hopefully folks will like it. One of the decisions to try Façade and Architect was because of the idea of themes for money. I wanted to explore this. A lot of themers spend a lot of time crafting themes and, to be frank, they don't get a heap for it. The idea of paying for themes is a bit alien. I'm sure there will be a lot of folks who complain and stomp their feet but then you could turn around and say "You don't think a month of work from me is worth the cost of a coffee?" One idea I thought would work well would be for the theme-app developers to charge for the app and then hire themers to create themes. This would keep themes free to the end user, besides the initial cost of the app, and give more top quality themes to market the app with.
I've no clue how much Qui will be. This is more an experiment in seeing if people are willing rather than trying to gouge them. No more than $3 was my first thought. Opinions via comments are welcome on the matter.
Hopefully things work out and it'll breath new life in to Mac theming.
Oh and yes, if things go well, there will be a Niqu 2.
Cry Some More
Okay, stop fucking whining on about Chrome. If I hear one more fucking person say "I DON'T GET WAT DA FUSS IS, DERES NO ADBLOCK, SHIT SUX OGMGZ" I'm going to take a cricket bat to someone's balls. It's been out like three fucking days. Did Firefox (ahem Phoenix) have AdBlock after three days? No. So spewing worthless shit about how the internet is unusable with ads - that's bullshit by the way - adds nothing to any discussion. It'll get a God damn ad blocking addon, now shut the hell up.
Alternatively I'm also sick of the "OMGZ IM FED UP OF HEARIN BOUT CHROME OMGZ" folks. Google releasing a browser is big news regardless if you think it's good. If you don't care, you don't care about the web trying pull away from the shit stain that is Internet Explorer.
It's really hard scrolling by articles/Twitter entries/comments. My heart bleeds for you.
Actual Title: FYI, I'm a Spy^H^H^HReally Cool Dude.
Things to do: a) Actually do things! b) Secret things! c) Jazz!
Yeah, I know, I should keep this more updated but nothing is really super exciting at the moment. I have been working on goodies though. Wink, wink. Oh and this is reason enough to use Firefox if you're on Youtube a lot. (Seriously, I think 95% of Youtube members are the most fucking retarded ass-cocks in the world.)
Take it easy folks. Where's my peanut? I feel a game of Space Invaders coming on.
Big Boss, Big Ego (Usually)
Quoting this from Gruber:
I posit that the usability and elegance of any product, software or hardware, tends to reach and seldom surpasses the level that satisfies the taste of whoever is in charge of the product. This applies universally, not just to free and open source software. For example, it explains why Microsoft produces such crummy software even though the company employees thousands of talented programmers and even designers -- Microsoft's decision makers have no taste. But the problem is endemic to open source. The people in charge of most free and open source software products tend to have poor taste in user interfaces; people with good taste in user interface design are seldom in charge of open source software projects.
This is totally on the mark. You can have the best artists in the world, but if the guy in charge wants polka-dots everywhere, your service is shit out of luck.
I've been trying to wait for something eventful or worthy to blog about, but since people yell at me if 'Suds sits on the porch and enjoys a brandy instead of yelling very loudly about things, I thought I'd make a quick one.
The super-duper new website is still in the works. Basically everything hard is done ("Float does what?" "Why is that DIV there?") and I just need to stop avoiding the boring shit of re-formatting the current entries and redoing all the damned previews. That's annoying, especially for things like the dock skin previews where I have to faff around changing them and shit. I also want to make a few tweaks to the preview templates before I start that, so that's holding it up a little too. I've still got my list of goodies and bits that I'm going to be working on. No worries.
Looks like I need to update MT's Spam protection, was a few pages worth. Also need to update/fix the other blogs on this MT installation (like my lemonpie's), 'cause they're throwing out errors when folks comment, huh.
Updated - Actually, I thought it might be cool to show how it's going to look, so you can click here to take a gander at test blog. I included this entry as well as some testing ones for comparison.
If anyone with a higher CSS power level than me can recommend changes, or can say if I've done something bloody stupid, I'd love to hear from you. Also if anyone knows how I can make the left and right column's text lines line up even after paragraph breaks, I'd be real grateful.
Shit Bomb, Yo
Probably everyone who's a UI-freak has already seen Gruber's Flickr about an atrocious iPhone app design. I wasn't going to make a post about it before, at least I thought, it was obvious why it was poorly thought out and implemented. Of course then the creator decided to reply to the majority with basically 'I've been doing this for twenty years, and I'm not bankrupt, ergo I'm right and you're all wrong'.
Sorry Steve, it doesn't work that way. So I thought I'd go through and list what is actually wrong and offer a solution.
• The background colour. It's very web 2.0 of you, but it doesn't match any of the iPhone UI colours. White, black or the stripes are usually the best route unless you have at least some idea of colour balance.
• The top tabs and "Car #1" button. They're connected to nothing, are they supposed to be related? They give no indication if they're going to alter the view or are just selectable.
• The "Type" buttons. Now you're using different things for (apparently) the same style option. One you gave tabs, the other you're using separate buttons.
• The dial is not a fast-input method. And it's taking up a shit load of screen estate. Not to mention it's function is to fill the screen horizontally, to give users enough room to actually, you know, use it. Lumping it in a corner feels odd.
• The "Destinations", "Purpose", "Frequent Trips" etc on the left are all aligned wrong. You align these to the right, so they're all the same distance from their object.
• The plus and edit buttons are detached from the list of frequent trips. And the list has no indication if it's going to work like the regular list view and be scrollable. Also, why is one green? What does that mean?
• The $ Spent, Save Data (Data? Jesus) and Clear are just lumped in to the middle of the UI. There's a reason most people put the final choices such as Save, Cancel, etc at the bottom of UIs, because they're meant to be the last thing you do. And the $ Spent isn't even aligned with the other two.
• The Latest list doesn't even match what the others look like. The fields are all aligned differently. The arrow button isn't even attached or clear what it'll do.
Steve's whole defense summed up was that he knew his customers and that they wanted a fast UI. I'm sorry, but 'fast' isn't an excuse for eye-forking bad design. In fact, the whole point of UI designers are for them to create ways to use an application quickly and trouble free whilst pleasing to the eye. See any IconFactory's Twitterific for the iPhone for an idea on this.
My recommendation would be of Paul Walker's take on how it should be designed.
Additional: Check out some absolutely amazing artwork. I liked to the Undead section because they're stunningly grotesque.
I'm sick of MacThemes bullshit. I remember when people had the balls to actually say when they disliked something and offer critique on things they thought could be improved. I remember when people didn't pander to shitty 5-minute releases. One of the biggest problems with a community which is based on people spending (a lot of) time on freeware things for other people's enjoyment is: They get better. And then they start doing it for money. When you start doing something as actually work you start to lose the enthusiasm for doing the same thing in your free time.
And so good releases tend to dry up for periods. This lowers the overall quality bar and new members have nothing to compare them to. That's not to say there aren't good releases anymore. Jonas always releases high quality works.
I don't care if this sounds elitist, but it damn well should be. You should want a community you've been around for years to want the fucking best of every single member. I don't want JoeSchmoe's fifteen minute icon, I want someone to slave over every pixel and make sure it's damn impressive. I don't want rehashed iPhone releases, I want some innovation.
Call me when people start really caring about the community instead of bubble-wrapping butt-hurt newbies.
Addendum: This is all in start contrast to an earlier entry. It really does seem like the pendulum swings between Eat-Up-Shit and Assholes-Everywhere. If only it hung in the middle or just off-center to the right.
W.E.S. The Silent Killer
I'm behind on doing shit, yeah I know. Sorry. Tiny entry today mostly because I'm fucking sick of what I'm going to dub "Website Expansion Syndrome". Stop making websites so fucking wide. There's no reason in the fucking world why you need to eat 1000px of width whilst reclining on my display. Excuse me for wanting to be able to read something in Safari and have a few other windows open uncovered!
Apple is one particular offender with this. I've recalled some of their pages being upwards of 1200px wide. Just because they want a hugely large image smacked on it.
Fucking stop it.
We Can Rebuild Him
Just a note that I'm going to be fucking around with the site this week, so if Soap Suds disappears or you start getting a lot of 404s don't worry. It'll all work. In the end. Hopefully. Well, maybe.
A lot of people are going on about the gradient in Firefox, in some cases saying odd things like Firefox is brighter in the middle. This isn't how it seems they've drawn the window.
You see, the gradient is STILL a linear one, except it's not stretched as far as the actual window height it seems. Once you split it in to parts (see above, right), you can distinctly see that there's the main window background, then the gradient and then flat darker part. It's really obviously Wrong™, because it looks like crap. I don't get what the big hold up is over it either. Just make the gradient stretch all the way from top to bottom.
And because it's there, I'm going to whine about how horrid those back/forward buttons are. First off, the curve of the inset behind the buttons doesn't even match the circle of the back button, making it look uneven. Next, why are the buttons separated? Segmented buttons are not detached, because they're... Well, they're a segmented button, y'dig? Personally I've got no idea what they were thinking. Here's something I threw together in a few minutes that I think would of looked much nicer.
It makes me laugh though, really. Firefox is so meh on OS X. Literally the only reasons I hear from people that use it on a Mac are "It has X plugin that I need". You have to hand it to them, adding open plugin functionality was a clever fucking way of making users "need" that app, when all they really need is a specific plugin.
On a related note, I'm trying out Safari 3. I've been a Camino user on and off for probably 6-12 months. Mostly form my time on my G5, because Safari could be a hog after a few hundred tabs. The only thing I miss is having the tab bar move tabs along as I moved along, so I always saw my selected tab in the tab bar, and ones adjacent to it.
So, WWDC has been and gone with the fabled keynote. Overall I found it was tedious for the most part. The highlights were basically the iPhone price drop -- which, surprise surprise, no-one rumoured -- and... Oh. That was basically it. MobileMe is just .Mac, renamed with redone web apps. It's cool for the people that like it's features, the new online iDisk seems a big improvement. But it's still pricey in my eyes for what it delivers. A friend of mine, when the iPod was becoming more popular and more of a focus at Apple had a routine that he would complain how Apple paid so much attention to it. Special events, keynotes mostly dedicated to it. Imagine his frustration when this happens all over again with the iPhone.
Anyway. The iPhone price drop is good news and Snow Leopard seems to be as predicted really, except it contains a lot more new developer technology that people anticipated. Things like "Grand Central" and OpenCL are going to improve performance on any recent Macs and even more so in the future as consumer machines move from two physical processor cores to eight logical cores when the quad-core chips with SMT start shipping. Most applications don't make best use of four or more cores at the moment, and even then they're usually professional applications. As we move forward, more multi-threaded support seems crucial.
Next subject, I'm working on the overhaul of Soapsuds. After thinking about it a bit, I'm going to move it to the main domain, out of the subfolder and aim Soapsuds more towards a mix of its current blogging with more regular goodies releases. I'll also be rearranging the site structure to make it easier for me to organize files. The old files that haven't been available in a while (such as Capture) will be moved and I'll be sure the 404 has a list and links to older unsupported downloads.
Hoozawinga! Twopence more and up goes the donkey!
Leaving Hope, Such Smiles She Sought
Taking a trip back to the past, I remember one of the first popular releases of mine -- five years ago! -- was the "A.B.S.T." series of wallpapers. They weren't very technical or hard to make (they lagged my 400Mhz Pentium II to hell though), but some folks enjoyed them. By the time I was finished there were over one hundred and ten wallpapers in the series. The progression from abstract and blurry to funky psychedelic was evident.
Abstii was a thought to go back and revisit older ideas, but in a better way. Almost by mistake I was playing around in Quartz Composer and just thought "That looks pretty neat". My favourite of the pair is the gloomily named 'Dead Souls', pictured above in the preview. With almost lava-lamp like black liquid floating upwards. Thanks to the #TUMT folks for bugging me in to creating a slower, different version that turned out to be much better.
Last up, I've not forgotten about things. I'm still plodding along with the Leon HDD2 set as well as some other icons I'm finishing off. Hope everyone has a fun geeky day with Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC08) - I'm trying to resist the urge to do my Apple event ritual of lurking on MacRumor's live IRC feed and instead just watch the keynote when it's put up.
BT Stands for Bullshit Totally
I'm so pissed off right now. Since moving, I've used a BT Total Broadband package. I needed something with a decent speed and no usage cap (I've bounced between 30GB and 75GB a month usage). It looked like a decent deal.
First annoyance is that I couldn't use my own wireless router. I fucking paid £150 for a good router, why do I have to use your £20 one? And true enough, within a few months it was dead and wouldn't start up. A week waiting for a replacement later, I got the next one. Ever since I barely get 400kb/sec during non-peak times. During peak time, I get around 140kb. Oh and it likes to drop connections like no-one's fucking business. And routinely slows to "Weak" strength. In fact, in XP I've never seen it higher than two out of five bars in strength. About three times a week it will just plain stop new connections - meaning that downloads will continue if I started them but it won't let me open new pages in Camino, or let me reconnect if I drop IRC, AIM and the like.
I should not have to baby sit your shitty hardware, BT. And your shitty excuse for a line is driving me nuts. So, the obvious option is to leave right? Sure, I have a contract, but I'll pay the fee and move on. Except I actually went to check out the price of that.
BT Total Broadband charge the full amount due over the remainder of the minimum term of the contract.
WHAT. THE. FUCK. I pay £25 a month, and the minimum contract length was fucking eighteen months. That means if I cancel early I'd have to pay a fucking charge of two hundred and fifty pounds ($500). That's fucking outrageous. Not only that, BT may charge an additional £40 to migrate my line to someone else.
That ends up as nearly £300. To get off this shitty line.
I'm going to be looking up some numbers for trading standards for sure this week, I'm not biting £300 of costs simply because my ISP is unable to supply a working router and connection I was advertised.
Here Pussy Pussy
A quick entry because shitters are annoying me whining about the OS X 10.6 rumours.
First, concerning the name: It's a code-name. This doesn't mean it will be used for marketing. Fucking hell, it doesn't even mean they'll tell people it's called that. Jaguar's point releases had stupid names like Jaguar Blue, Jaguar Red, Jaguar Plaid -- and they were just internal names.
Also, it's a fucking name. Tiger sounded lame. Stop being a whiny whore.
Next, the price. No-one knows it. Stop saying "Baaaaw, I'm not going to pay $129 for a bug fixing release!" because you sound fucking stupid. It could be $5. It could be $29. No-one knows until it's on the store. Dropping Carbon and PowerPC macs? Good. People should be using Cocoa anyway, at the very least for the UI because of Carbon's quirks. Remember folks this won't be out until sometime next year. Most PPC macs were phased out in '06. It would not be outside the realms of possibility that 10.6 comes out in 2010 (Fuck yes, sci-fi dates people!) meaning four years of support.
Apple is not one to keep legacy support for long. This is how they work. Not many CEOs stand on stage and call people "laggards" for not upgrading within a few years.
Why are they doing all this? Here's my guesses. First Snow Leopard is not going to be a whizz-bang release. It's going to be mid way between a full OS update (Panther/Tiger/Leopard scale) and something akin to Puma (10.1). The first version of OS X (Cheetah) was very slow. Puma was a free upgrade for everyone as a thank you for sticking with it. Snow Leopard won't be free, but I could see a price of around $39-$69. Possibly something like: $69 for full, and $39 if you're using Leopard already. I would not be totally shocked if Leopard users could buy and download the update over the web -- Even a 6GB download isn't shocking anymore.
I'm sure there'll be more than just 'general security and stability', remember OS updates are usually the prime time for Apple to bugger around with the built in apps such as Safari, Mail, iChat et al.
My only wish for it is: Please fucking kill plastic capsules Apple.
We're Off to See The Wizard
Quicky note entry today. I should have a rather long first-impressions and first-experiences post(s) concerning my trial of Age of Conan soon. Also I'm still working on some goodies, I've got a list that I want to do and hopefully can get them all done relatively close together and make a nice fancy release. And God damn I will get something concerning the "proper" site front sorted. If only it's a static page or some shit.
Not dead or lazy, I'm on the case!
Fuck you greedy shitfucks in Hollywood.
In my head Alien Resurrection, AVP and AVP2 do not happen. No, Weyland-Yutani do not get their technology from fucking Yautja. No, xenomorphs do not reach Earth ever, because if they do it's game over. No ifs, no buts. Seven-hundred-odd years in to the future it would be game over. 21st century Man wouldn't stand a chance - bar nuking the contentant. Maybe that'd work. And the bullshit of having 'Bishop' be Weyland. I'm sorry, did you miss Alien 3? The whole Bishop was designed to look like his designer thing? The one that visits Ripley and gets fucking hit on the head?
SORRY DID YOU SLEEP THROUGH THAT?
But no, it's not enough, they went and shit all over Doctor Jones too. A God-damn refrigerator, Jesus.
Love, Life and Leon
I actually managed to get some sleep, fuck yeah. First, happy anniversary to my peanut butter! She's better than pasta, coke and a Brasgalla icon all put together. An' that's saying something.
Bits and pieces in today's entry. WinClone looks like it'll be very handy. For those that don't know, it lets you clone your BootCamp (well, any disk really) to a disk image and then lets you restore it. All this is doable through Terminal and Disk Utility but WinClone makes it easy, fast and it's free. It's icon is pretty hideous though, so I'll probably end up doing one soon.
I also want to talk about Lutetium; frankly I'm just not happy with what I've done so far. I gave one of the #TUMT regulars the saves for him to cut up and throw around for the other regulars, but I don't think I'll be working on them again. There's a few reasons and I thought it'd quell (at least a little) some of the fist-shaking if I went through them.
Number one: Lutetium Eon was started before I moved to pure-vector work. As a result the majority of the older work were bitmap at 256px to 16px. Ergo, I couldn't neaten them up to the standard I want nowadays. I did make a start on redoing the 32px sizes and some folks liked those. But they're just not how I wanted LEON to end up.
Number two: The style. Originally LEON was to be a rather Minium° like set. Focusing on matching the folders to Apple's current designs. It went through lots of changes. The first, frankly, took fucking ages for me to do. I just don't have the time to spend three to eight hours on every single icon. The second was more simplistic but looked 'old fashioned' compared. Lastly, the front-on Leopard view. It's not really exciting.
The hard-drives seem quite popular. I'm really disappointed with the 32px state I ended up with though. At the very least I want to redo the hard-drives to a higher quality. Maybe include a generic folder and PSD, let people work with it. Should be a decent compromise. I know it doesn't set a good standard (what with Myre and a number of other icon sets not being finished), but this really isn't a case of just Can't-be-bothered-itus. Lutetium has a very specific kind of aim in my head, and I just don't want to release it until it... Well... Matches. Unfortunately my brain is rather good at changes it's mind on what to focus on.
I do have another very simplistic set I've worked on, called Lätt. I will finish this, no teasers or any of that junk, because Raz will literally gut me like a fish if I don't. I'll try to have some goodies for you folks this weekend.
Have a good day guys.
iMac the Good, Parallels the Bad, Lovesnickers the Saucy.
Been not too eventful past few weeks. Work and jazz, I got my snazzy new 2.8GHz 24" iMac yesterday. So I thought for once, fuck it, let's have a cheerful entry. Well mostly cheerful.
First impressions were... Well. Whoa. My old G5 iMac was not - to me - a slow dog. Sure, after 300 shapes and junk in Fireworks things did slow down. Sure, Camino took like 10-seconds to launch and usually ended up taking 15 seconds for a new window after I'd done some browsing. But it was fine. This thing screams ahead. Screams. Every app opens literally instantly. Starting up is super fast. I've yet to even get both cores to 50% usage. It's insane. I haven't reinstalled Illustrator or Fireworks yet, but I'm looking forward to giving them a spin on some of my larger saves and seeing how well it does.
The other big things besides just having a speedier CPU was the fact it's an intel Mac. Yes, I'm so fucking late to the party the drunk loud-mouth tart has already been under the coat pile for a few hours, the even drunker rambo has already run a car through the wall and no-one knows where all the cheese-it snacks went to.
So I opened Boot Camp, partitioned the drive - which in retrospect I should of given it more like 40-45GB, I've already used half of the 32GB - it was all really easy. I restarted with the disc in and everything went smooth. The installer restarted again and bam "Disk Error"... Hm. Well after twenty minutes of just thinking my discs were busted, I found out you're supposed to quick-format the "BOOTCAMP" partition, or else it'll still be HFS+. So I did that, everything worked fine.
Apple amazes me sometimes with their little touches. I popped the Leopard disc in, and wham. The Boot Camp installer leapt up and started doing it's business. After another restart it was done. Everything seemed to work great. Drivers for my 8800GS made the window drawing really smooth, even the volume keys on the Apple keyboard worked. Exactly like in OS X. You push one and it does the "POP!" noise and the volume overlay. I was pretty stunned at that.
Clearly, lots of effort has gone in to Boot Camp from Apple to make Windows that bit more familiar.
Later that day though, disaster struck. I let Parallels use that Boot Camp drive for it's virtual machine... All seemed fine, until I restarted and tried to install some games. "Disk full". What the fuck? I'd only used, at most, 10GB of the space. Yet it told me none was free. Turns out Parallels seemed to have buggered it all up. Don't ask me how. I don't know. In the end I had to reinstall Windows, formating the Boot Camp drive again and then re-set everything up... After that everything has been pretty okay though.
One odd problem I have though is that the sound is fucking loud. Even on the minimum setting, it's too loud for me to use headphones without thinking my head will explode. Going to try fixing that later.
Why would I go through that hassle of Boot Camp? Games. Of course it's games. I've not really played a 'modern' Windows game since '01 or something. The fact I play new games and play them well was a huge selling point. I'm so very lucky Apple upgraded the iMac just at the right time. I haven't tried many games yet. The Portal demo runs great. Could probably do with a bit more RAM, as it stutters during loading. Bioshock runs... Well, I was stunned basically. Only played 10-15 minutes of it but my jaw was open most of the time. The amount of work, attention to detail... Atmosphere... It's amazing. Can't wait to play through it.
Anyway, in short: It's all good, apart from a few Windows related hiccups. Really pleased with the purchase. Lastly, tomorrow is me and my girlfriend's first year anniversary! A whole year of her putting up with me and my toes, aren't you just amazed?
[Apologizes for any grammar/typos, no sleep and no sleep make Rick something something.]
To Kill a Mocking eBird
Alternative title: How Tech Journalism is a Shithole of Hitcount Jerking Fuckwits.
Okay guys, that's it. I'm serious. You see the "journalistic" blogs filled with anti-Mac rubbish or Apple-doomsday articles? The ones that entice Apple fans to go and tell them how things actually are (in the real world, where the sun is blue)? Stop giving them hits. Yes, I know it's nerd-rage inducing but seriously. I'll make this clear: These people WANT you to go there and correct them. They want to be able to comment back going "Ho ho ho, lookit the Apple fanboys oh lawlz!" regardless of what you actually say.
THEY WANT YOUR ATTENTION.
Stop fucking giving it to them. If you want to hate them bald, do it on your own blog. With no link back. Do it in IRC, with no link back. But for God's sake, stop linking to them and letting them jerk off over how many hits their latest article on how Apple needs an open iPod or needs to license OS X or needs a $50 Mac or some shit gets.
Just don't fucking give them any attention.