* Posts by j7n

6 posts • joined 13 Nov 2014

It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower


I notice that "flat" icons and buttons lack robustness to unexpected changes in visibility or composition. Take a pale single color shape without an outline and put it on a background of uniform color and it will likely disappear if both colors are similar enough, or have same luminosity. The outline or the shadow of a 3D icon with multiple coherent layers would still remain visible, so the icon can be read from the fill or the line, whichever works. A color clash commonly occurs if you look at an LCD from an angle, or with icons that can be freely arranged.

Another vote for beautifully designed BeOS icons, or the similar ones from Windows 98/2000.

Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward



I still use both Jasc PSP7 and PSP9. I couldn't get used to movable palettes that obstruct the work area, and actually prefer the new GUI. Both programs have a solid Windows native feel to them, which I value above else (Qt and GTK do not have it). Photoshop in comparison feels foreign. The details add up, such as Alt activating both the menus and also modifying the tool.

However PSP wasn't at all optimized for "high" resolution images (relative to the available cpu/ram). Calculating a histogram and executing preview takes ages. It updates the entire image instead of only a block of it, or the current zoom level. PSP didn't have its own virtual memory (scratch disks). Color depth reduction methods are inferior to contemporary Photoshop 7.

PS7 from 2002 is my main tool. Palettes aren't that bad actually, and allow more screen area. I only wish I could rebind the Tab key to something else, like the Grave/Tilde, because Tab also focuses textboxes. The UI widgets are a bit lumpy, but compact and responsive.

Earth wobbles on axis as Google rebrands


The elegant logo in Giovanni font looked legible enough on 1024*768 shadow mask screens in 1999-2000. Nobody asked for a paragraph of body text set that type and color to be read. If devices with an even lower resolution screen than that exist today, which I doubt, Google could serve a simplified logo exclusively to them, perhaps in formatted HTML, and no pictures at all. Problem solved.

The earth did kinda wobble, because I heard about the logo on the World Service yesterday. I didn't pay any attention to yet another "doodle" on the corner of the search results page.

Thanks a lot, Google, for snatching .dev for yourself. It's not like the rest of us wanted it


A problem with these domains is the they don't look like internet addresses at all without an unambiguous context (until you add http mail or forward slashes). I wouldn't register a name like that for free. developer.app looks like a file name and google.lol - some kind of new #leet @speek or a typo instead of a hostname.

New Windows 10 Build 10122 aims to fix file association hijacking


Microsoft should make a powerful manager for file type associations if they are preventing third party software from handling this task. "Folder Options" on steroids, with a compact, tabular or tree view of all associations. I realize it is not going to happen, because we must have big icons with lots of whitespace around them in the Metro world.

The program should be able to assign and remove an application from handling an "action" to a long list of file extensions all at once (mp3, mp2, mpc, ogg, etc), but without merging those extensions into a single ProgId. Each format should be able to have its own icon and format name. The action could by default be "Open", but should be customizable. It used to be very tedious to choose a program for each file extension in "Open With", again and again.

Having one "default app" is not enough. For example, for image files I would expect to see choices Open (with IrfanView), Edit with Photoshop, Edit with Paint Shop Pro, Edit with JPEGCrop, Crush with PNGCrush, etc. Likewise for audio files: the default action on doubleclick should play them, and the rest should perform editing actions in much more bulky specialized software. Leaving it up to Microsoft to define what "image files" or "sound file" are is not acceptable. It will take forever for MS to add exotic formats to those categories.

The applet should allow the user to _choose_ with a simple checkbox whether to "prevent applications from changing file associations". Can software still write to the HKCR registry key directly to add associations without involving an API?

Google flushes out users of old browsers by serving up CLUNKY, AGED version of search


Google always had legacy versions

I've noticed since about a year ago that Opera 8, MSIE6, Opera 12 when searched from the bar, and Chromium were served different search pages. I've actually preferred the version with the black header because it loaded a tiny bit faster, and seemed visually more coherent, less "flat". Actually the Opera 8 no-frills version, only returning the search results themselves, was the fastest and preferable if given the choice.

The problem was that they were gradually removing functionality from the old page versions. The [Translate] link has been gone for a while from Opera 8. [More results from] disappeared later. The issue from their latest stunt now is that Image search in Opera 12 is completely broken. It is not possible to access the direct link to an image at all. Incidentally, Opera 8 image search is still working.

I've overriden the user-agent for www.google.com, and this returned the modern white style. However, the arrows for the [Cached] menus are not correctly aligned and sometimes are not clickable.

Google has almost arrogantly pulled a Microsoft here, artificially making their sites incompatible. I am afraid I will not be installing a Opera Presto onto computers anymore, with the exception for users who need a Mail Client. Tweaking user-agent is an unreliable short-term workaround. This move has influenced my decision way more than talk about abstract "security". Ironically, security was the whole reason why I had been preaching in favor for Opera, and often ridiculed for that. Win for Google and its cursed Chrome (I'll go with "Opera 25" in my case).

I'm sure the main reason for the ever increasing, unnecessary JavaScript bloat on their sites is also to nudge users towards Chrome/V8.


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