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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > GUI Customization > Views on WinXP customization

Views on WinXP customization
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gruneeitelkeit
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Mar 22, 2005, 12:33 AM
 
After hearing some views expressed on windows customization, I feel that some people have the wrong view. I hear comments about how they are mac-wannabes, no creativity, no originality, no talent, and i think it is unfair.

In my opinion, I think it is mac customization that lacks creativity. I don't mean any offense, but there is very little variety on screenshots. There are so few themes available, and they all have the bevel glossy look. If any of you actually went around to see the good winxp customizers out there, I don't think you would be talking as much.

For one thing, most desktops in neowin.net are crap, I agree. Look more into more high-class windows customization such as customize.org. Here's a different side of the windows customization scene. If anyone can say these desktops are uncreative and have no sense of taste, then so be it. But be honest with yourselves here.

Heylove
http://www.customize.org/details/30042

Senex
http://www.customize.org/details/32014

Sticboy
http://www.customize.org/view/35702

FrostedFlames
http://www.customize.org/view/38876

CapitalizeX
http://www.customize.org/view/37982


Even after being in the mac customization scene for almost a year now, I don't see this level of customiation on macs. Most mac themers, and I mean most not all, only try to show off the wallpaper. The themes and icons don't neccessarily even match and it is hailed as a great screenshot. Remember people, theming is about the whole picture, not just a cool wallpaper that someone else created.

I don't what this to seem like a harsh thread, but I take some offense from some of these comments, and I think alot of us here can be inspired by some on the other side.
( Last edited by gruneeitelkeit; Mar 22, 2005 at 03:00 AM. )
     
69camaro
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Mar 22, 2005, 01:25 AM
 
IMO, the mac themes are still better looking than windows themes. The ones posted look so much like the style of themeing that was done in the OS9 and earlier days. Very boxy and harsh to look at.

OSX themes have that certain style and elegance to it.
     
siMac
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Mar 22, 2005, 02:31 AM
 
Originally posted by 69camaro:
mac themes are still better looking than windows themes.
Bull.

A good theme is a good theme, regardless of platform, and some of the above skins are knockouts. I wish OSX themers had the flexibility that Windows themers have at their disposition.
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siMac
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Mar 22, 2005, 02:32 AM
 
[Stupid fingers]
( Last edited by siMac; Mar 22, 2005 at 01:42 PM. )
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Gerrit Vanoppen
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Mar 22, 2005, 03:00 AM
 
Originally posted by siMac:
Bull.
A good theme is a good theme, regardless of platform, and some of the above skins are knockouts. I wish OSX themers had the flexibility that Windows themers have at their disposition.
Evidently the platform is of no importance at all. A bigger issue is to define what a "good" theme should be. Part of that no doubt will be layed out by general GUI rules about usability etc (let's also not rule out fashion !) - but another part will always be personal taste of both the themer and the user.
The formentioned themes are definitely knockouts - but only in the eyes of some, I think.

About the wannabes, I'd like to compare it with a keyboard player using a sampled guitar sound : for sure it's technically possible, but meh - it's not the real stuff. I'm in respect for themers who know the boundaries of their OS, explore and exploit them.
     
gruneeitelkeit  (op)
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Mar 22, 2005, 03:39 AM
 
I am not trying to persuade that Windows is better than Mac because there are crappy windows themes as well as crappy mac themes. But we should acknowledge both have uniquely positive points.

I agree with you Gerrit about Mac Wannabes. That side of windows I don't like. If you want a mac, get one. But I only find that true to a certain extent. Many times, XP Themers port over good OS X themes and incorporate it well into their style. They are able to embrace both Mac side and XP side. Yet it seems os x users seem intent on staying with one set style, while sleek, seems overused. The glossy large icons, round gradiated windows, 3D or glossy backgrounds. It would be nice to see more people with Macs explore different types of styles.
( Last edited by gruneeitelkeit; Mar 22, 2005 at 03:45 AM. )
     
digitaljames
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Mar 22, 2005, 05:05 AM
 
+1
     
Dave-o
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Mar 22, 2005, 08:20 AM
 
+2 and now tie my shoe!
     
Hi I'm Ben
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Mar 22, 2005, 11:33 AM
 
I think a lot has to do with the fact that XP just has about 20931092312901293012930909102391023901239120391203 91203912032190894819283190283091284901238901283091 28390182309128094518095819023918239018230918203918 29032103 more themers then Mac OS X has.

Aside from just that.. right now all we have to change themes is Shapeshifter, it's $20. Whether you think that's cheap or not (and I do because I can't stand pinstripes) there's a large percentage of people that go "heh.. I don't care about the way it looks." However on XP if I do the uxtheme.dll hack so they can install any theme just by double clicking it they do care, they want as many themes as possible and all of a sudden themes are interesting to them. I personally believe that Shapeshifter, because it is your only REAL option for installing themes, is ruining the mac themeing community.

As far as Icons go.. there are TONS and TONS of good icons for Mac, but I Just think some are more popular then others and that's why people happen to use them. In the icons area I don't think Mac lacks. And other then applying a particular theme, I feel that the Mac OS is extremely easier to customize then WinXP for the average user.
     
ultraman
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Mar 22, 2005, 12:35 PM
 
+3

It's true that I don't really see a lot of original desktop in mac platform, always the same kind of desktop but it's harder to customize a mac.

It's really easy to change everything on XP with a few program.
It's not so easy on mac cause you have to manually open resources files and modd png files. You can rarely change a skin with a simple clic.
     
vip
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Mar 22, 2005, 01:59 PM
 
i dont see whats so great about any of the screenshots you posted? i have used windows all my life, and just recently got a mac, i tell you i love the themese on mac a lot better ... i do admit, there are themes on xp i miss, such as alunamin, kuantum, b0se's works and a few more .. but the screens you posted above are all very small, pixel fonts, and some i couldnt work with, such as the all white .. .blended in with the wallpaper ... why would you want that? oh well, thats just my two-cents about the shots...
     
cruciarius
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Mar 22, 2005, 02:24 PM
 
i looked at those windoze xp themes and i didn't think they were impressive at all. few were actually ugly looking. though mac osx also has its share of ugly themes, but thats also just an opinion of the user. yes, windoze has more themers and cheaper software to customize, but i feel that mac osx has the safer methods. shapeshifter and other customizing software isn't free, so i could see why some mac users don't customize their mac.

windoze xp may have a lot more users/themers, but just because they have more, doesn't mean they have better themes. sure, they have some great ones, but i think the majority of mac themes are better than the majority of windoze themes.

icons, i wouldn't know about, since the only icons for windoze i ever really looked at were those popular alienware ones. though, those were made on a mac, so i guess we can't really count those for windoze.

as for the overall look for themes being similar, i think thats expected. if something works, use it. if you like gloss, why not use it in your theme? makes sense to use it.
     
Hi I'm Ben
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Mar 22, 2005, 03:49 PM
 
Originally posted by cruciarius:
a mess

Sounds like you just want to hate something because it's not mac. There are many GREAT pc themes.
     
cruciarius
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Mar 22, 2005, 04:04 PM
 
Originally posted by Hi I'm Ben:

Sounds like you just want to hate something because it's not mac. There are many GREAT pc themes.
i didn't say their aren't any great themes for windoze xp. it's just i personally haven't seen any i care for.

their are several great mac osx themes, but only a few i'd actually use.
     
optimus_prime
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Mar 22, 2005, 06:08 PM
 
and where are all these great themes with icons you were boasting about?
the only theme i liked there was Frosted Flames/Spring Break, its the only one that had decent icons.
     
ZXspectrum
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Mar 22, 2005, 06:45 PM
 
1. XP theming is a business.

2. It looks like XP is more flexible than OS x. they can do sooooo many things with XP. Like changing the Menubar position, creating your own custom Start bars, finders, pop-up menus, program launchers pop up menus and bars, changing the icons sizes, adding special effects to the windows and icons... basically they have so many programs that let you completely customize the way Windows looks & feels. we have 1!!!

3. And regarding the themes 99% of the themes are really bad. but the 1% that are good are unbelievable.



P.s - it would be nice to push os x into a more graphic direction...like SHADED( windows | http://www.customize.org/view/35619) or 8270( windows | http://www.customize.org/view/34340) for example.
     
kmkkid
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Mar 22, 2005, 07:00 PM
 
Just a little bit of education for those in this forum who just crawled out of a hole. It's spelt 'Windows' not any other imaginative way.



Childish. And the sad thing is these are probably grown men typing these things.




Chris
     
cruciarius
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Mar 22, 2005, 07:21 PM
 
i wanted to point out that a few windoze themes i have seen you actually had to buy to get. in osx, we just pay for shapeshifter and nothing more (unless you want custom cursor ect.).

kmkkid, i know its called "windows", but i call it windoze, because its boring...i doze while seeing it.
     
ZXspectrum
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Mar 22, 2005, 07:22 PM
 
Originally posted by kmkkid:
Just a little bit of education for those in this forum who just crawled out of a hole. It's spelt 'Windows' not any other imaginative way.



Childish. And the sad thing is these are probably grown men typing these things.




Chris

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with with us almighty
     
kmkkid
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Mar 22, 2005, 07:57 PM
 
Originally posted by ZXspectrum:
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with with us almighty
Thank you for thanking me.
     
ZXspectrum
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Mar 22, 2005, 08:58 PM
 
Originally posted by kmkkid:
Thank you for thanking me.

What cologne do you think smells the best?
     
kmkkid
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Mar 22, 2005, 09:04 PM
 
Originally posted by ZXspectrum:
What cologne do you think smells the best?
Swiss Army. Care to keep this going?
     
ZXspectrum
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Mar 22, 2005, 09:21 PM
 
Originally posted by kmkkid:
Swiss Army. Care to keep this going?
no thanks.

next time try to stick to the subject. it's not the first time that you are trying to insult/annoy people on the forum.

it you are bored get a dog
     
kmkkid
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Mar 22, 2005, 09:58 PM
 
Originally posted by ZXspectrum:
no thanks.

next time try to stick to the subject. it's not the first time that you are trying to insult/annoy people on the forum.

it you are bored get a dog
Good Boy.
     
aquaslave
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Mar 22, 2005, 10:07 PM
 
i became a convert about a year ago and am absolutely loving the mac scene. i purchased shapeshifter and have been playing with various themes on my powerbook. funny that just today i was thinking about some of the wonderful themes available for windows and this thread should appear

anyway .. a few months back, macman4000 ported avenger from windows (and a wonderful port it was!!) and i was hoping that would be a beginning of some sort of reverse migration. there are some truly breathtaking themes available for windows - breathtaking not just because of eye candy but because some of them are just made to use on a daily basis.

i point you to the following themes (i understand that not everyone may find these appealing but i sure do and i hope that some of these may be worthy of a reverse port to the mac) :

serene and yet high-tech
Luster by Mike Bryant

truly an electrifying theme!!
Multipass Carbon by Mike Bryant

absolutely my favorite theme - stunning in detail and simplicity
StealthOS by Mike Bryant

wonderfully creative and yet highly usable :
Airlock by Mike Bryant

a bit jazzy maybe but cool eye-candy and very usable:
Mako by PixStudio

Obviously, this is by no means an exhaustive/complete list. there are so many more wonderful themes out there. I just thought I'd give you an inkling about whats "out there"

thanks for reading this.
     
ZXspectrum
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Mar 22, 2005, 10:21 PM
 
Originally posted by kmkkid:
Good Boy.
     
realitybath
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Mar 22, 2005, 11:43 PM
 
Originally posted by vip:
but the screens you posted above are all very small, pixel fonts, and some i couldnt work with, such as the all white
there's alot of great windows themes, but yeah, thats definitely a pet peeve of mine is those great themes that are built with gui elements that are way too small and puny fonts too. Really hard on the eyes.

OTOH, gradients do get annoying too for some reason.

I always liked that heylove desk.
     
gruneeitelkeit  (op)
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Mar 23, 2005, 02:22 AM
 
While themes apparently play a large part in desktop customization, it is no where near what all of customization is about. I think that Windows desktop customization goes a lot further than most mac screenshots I have seen in terms of the whole of customization.

Most posts tended to only acknowledge the style of the the theme and not the ability to combine elements. While the themes themselves may not have seemed like much, the way everything fit together is something else. I use these screenshots as examples not to show how wonderful Windows is, but a level of customization I don't see on Macs too often. The only desktops that pop into my mind now are those of Gerrit's. He seems to be one of the few mac users who understands that it isn't the individual elements that make the desk, but the combination. He often uses themes, icons, walls, most of us tend to overlook and create something that fits very well together.

Most mac users as well as most windows users only tend to use the popular elements throwing them all together. This higher level of customization I talk about is about finding items or even in some cases creating your own items to fit the desktop that not neccessarily look good on their own. The difference between macs and windows in the sense, is that I don't see many of these sort of customizations on macs and much more on Windows. Of course, this may be due solely to the fact that there are a gizillion more windows users.

If I am wrong about any of this, go ahead and say so. I haven't seen all mac screenshots and would be very interested if someone could point me in the direction of where these screenshots lay.

I understand the fact that mac customization is very limited and I hope there's a movement to get that changed. I personally do not believe that one should have to pay for theming so I agree with I'm Ben that Shapeshifter is hindering customization on the mac side. But even with such limited resources, users such as Gerrit have shown us it is possible to create a truly seemless desktop with the tools we have now. Sorry for the long posts.
     
realitybath
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Mar 23, 2005, 03:53 PM
 
Originally posted by gruneeitelkeit:
I personally do not believe that one should have to pay for theming
Personally, I find programming so incredibly boring that unless the os maker includes a shapeshifter type app in the os, I expect to pay for substantial themeing software.

I can't envisage paying for themes though... kind of reminds me of how microsoft releases themes only in pay for packages like plus! and then when they do they are fairly lame (the entire package and the theme).

Also, though you may like the style of the screenshots you posted, they do show the same sort of uniformity of style that you don't like on the mac side - a different style but uniformity nonetheless. Though I can see your point on the idea of extent.

Also, regarding the lack of themes that change the style of everything on a desktop - they also change the practicality. I've used some of those types of windows themes (heylove + her cohorts themes), and I can't use them for longer than a day really.

And for some strange reason minimalism rubs me the wrong way... its almost like they make my desktop arrogant or something , kindof like how living in a modernist/minimalist house would make me feel like I'm living in a sterile mortuary or museum. Dawn of the architecturally self-conscious undead sort of thing.
     
Gerrit Vanoppen
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Mar 24, 2005, 01:49 AM
 
@ gruneeitelkeit
Those are kind words, thanks a lot for your appreciation.
You yourself have already shown potential here. I hope you'll get inspired by contributors on this forum as much as I've been myself. And I'm sure you've got more good stuff coming soon enough - can't wait to see it.

I too browse customize.org, and I'm under the impression that there's a different (steeper ?) pattern of expectation there : you're supposed to show some of your very own modding skills or you'll be called like "OK, apparently you can download stuff, so what ?". Perhaps MacNN Forum is a bit more of a relaxed kind of place Of course I can be wrong.

@ realitybath
Uniformity is perhaps one proven way to support minimalism. Talking in terms of GUI, a button and a scrollbar are both "things to click", so basically they can be the same graphic element used in both instants.
In terms of architecture, yes, I believe minimalism can awaken a certain feel of sterility. But using as little "elements" as possible to obtain nevertheless exactly the goal you're seeking, can, on the other hand, create an aesthetical environment that is (and hopefully remains) intriguing - to say the least.

Minimalism is perhaps often misunderstood as a "lack of everything", which IMHO isn't exactly true. So a screenshot with p.e. a solid color background and only one Finder window showing, isn't considered minimalist as such - at least not by me.
     
aristotles
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Mar 24, 2005, 02:55 AM
 
@gruneeitelkeit: Those things look like crap son. They are just variations on the classic theme.
@aquaslave: The only one that appeals to me is Airlock but I'm not sure I'd find that button placement useable.

As a former windows user and a former licensed user of windowbinds, I admit that the flexibility of the button placement had a certain novelty and offered a distraction from the crapstastic nature of windows but now I care about usability more. Moving buttons around from theme to theme create usability and consistency issues.

Now I look at those screenshots and cringe in horror. They remind me of those gaudy Enlightenment desktop screenshots linux users used to post.

I would be happy if they could figure out the text colour issues that still exist with dark themes with shapeshifter.
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