Re: Start menu
"Bob, what is it with you and 2D UI's?"
They *SUCK*. It's like being in a room with ugly wallpaper, or a ridiculous color scheme. It's "bad Feng Shui". It's disturbing, distracting, and NOT what I want. When I see it, it PISSES ME OFF, just by BEING there. [I actually tried to work with Windows 8 ("Ape"), once I put classic shell on it, but couldn't stomach it, nor the 2D FLATSO DevStudio that went with it. YUCHHHKKKK!]
I'll make the assumption that a large number of people reading El Reg weren't computer gurus back in the early 90's when Windows 3.0 first hit the shelves. So here's some history...
Back then, most computers were running MS-DOS with DOS applications that had text-based interfaces with menus, all flat-looking because you can't really do 3D effect without a GUI. Windows 286 and Windows 386 (both 2.x versions) were kinda sucky and looked a lot like THIS [but only slightly better]
Microsoft had been developing OS/2 presentation manager for IBM, but it ONLY ran on PS/2 machines, and a very select handful of clones, because IBM and the way they did things back then. I had taken a class in OS/2 Presentation Manager programming [I actually like the OS/2 API naming convention better than windows, because it's "object verb" not "verb object" and therefore easier to find similar things in the docs]. But when I tried to BUY OS/2, I couldn't. And I didn't have $$$$ to spend on a PS/2 machine with OS/2 on it.
OS/2 1.2 looked BETTER in so many ways than its predecessor, because the various elements were "3D Skeuomorphic", such that knobs on scrollbars looked like actual knobs, buttons looked like buttons [not just colored squares with text in them], and so on. It was just enough eye candy to make things PLEASANT and almost made you WANT to use the computer more. Well, I thought so.
THEN, Windows 3.0 released. It had the SAME KIND of nice 3D looking interface [like OS/2 PM 1.2], a 386 "enhanced mode" built in (so you could run your DOS applications in a window on the same desktop), and a Solitaire application that looked good and probably sold MORE copies of Windows 3.0 than anything else. Its appearance was pleasant, easy to understand, and relatively easy to work with (and you could customize it, to some extent).
Windows 3.0 _IS_ _WHAT_ _MADE_ _MICROSOFT_ . MS-DOS would've lost to OS/2 had IBM marketed their product for ALL computers. Instead, Bill Gates did that, and guess who won?
Not only that, but EVERY STUDY I have ever heard of, or even read about on El Reg, says that a 3D skeuomorphic interface is EASIER to work with, that people RECOGNIZE the UI components FASTER, and that it's PREFERRED over "Flatso" by a (conservative) margin of 2 to 1.
2D FLATSO on a _PHONE_ is even *UGLY*. And on WEB PAGES it's even *UGLIER*. I **HATE** the 'Australis' crap in Firefox. NOT being able to use a "UI Restorer" plugin is motivation to FORK FIREFOX so that I can CONTINUE to use one. Or, if I get motivated enough, maybe I can write my own webkit-based browser that FORCES a classic 3D look with menus and reasonable-looking toolbar buttons.
It's also POSSIBLE to *REBEL* against the 2D FLATSO. All you need to do is draw some bitmaps for the buttons in your applications, and use THOSE instead of system defaults. I "fixed" the icon of an application I've been working on (droid) so that it has 3D borders. MOST of the icons in the application list on 'droid (that version anyway) have shadows, which give them a 3D look. Everyone I know prefers a 3D look. Only a handful of FASCISTS that insist the REST of us have 2D FLATSO _EVAR_ insist that "we must stop being dinosaurs" and "get with the *MODERN* interface". They should just GET OFF MY LAWN. I want my 3D SKEUOMORPHIC INTERFACE, DAMMIT! Even if _I_ must WRITE IT MYSELF.