Sunday, October 15, 2006

Firefox Theme, Mockup 2

Because I've been busy for the past month or so, I haven't really had time to work on that Firefox theme I promised I would do.... however, I finally got around to making a more polished mockup and also the [hopefully] final color tones for the toolbar and bookmarks bar, as well as some other changes and minor fixes.

- Changed color of widgets to "New Aqua", or iTunes-colored. Will offer range of colors but likely make this default to blend in better with iTunes/soon-to-be-Aqua apps.
- Scrollbar changed to reflect iTunes.
- Very present drop shadow between titlebar and toolbar. Will possibly change...?
- Status bar no longer has shine; blends in more with toolbars and scrollbars.
- Bookmarks bar now has a gradient as opposed to solid gray.
- Separators changed to blend in with other widgets.
- Refresh icon condensed about 60%.
- Google buttons currently Aqua; possible switch to iTunes metal in later versions.
- Slight changes on bookmark/toolbar drop shadows (can't be seen from the crappy picture, have to have PSD).
- Very minor fixes on the searchbar/button.

PSD available on request.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

iTunes 7, Graphically

The entire world probably knows iTunes was updated to version 7 a few days ago, and a lot of people have made discussions over the new- and much overhauled- appearance. It's very, er, different from most Aqua apps, mainly because it has no Aqua elements at all. And while I'm "mostly satisfied" (best way to describe it; taken from a Customer Satisfaction Form at IHOP) with the new design, let me run through it thoroughly:

  1. Main Window

  2. The actual window of iTunes hasn't changed too much, save for the thinner bottom bar. It still retains the unified look, which seems to be the way Apple is headed over Brushed Metal. I've always liked this, so I'm glad they didn't change it.

  3. Scrollbars

  4. I'm having mixed feelings about the scrollbars, just as many people are. If there's any proof that Apple is heading away from Aqua, that could likely be it, and I like the gradient instead. However, the color does not change whether you're on Blue or Graphite (as was prompted to me by a friend). Apple needs to make two versions of this gradient scrollbar- one blue, one graphite- like the standard Aqua scroll bars.

  5. Buttons

  6. One thing I really hate about the buttons is that they aren't consistent on the top and bottom: the top ones- like the play, scan forward/backward and view buttons have a cool little gradient, like it was in version 6, while the bottom, solid-color ones look like shit. These need to be changed. Seriously, Apple: do it before I post replacements.

  7. Icon

  8. I'm very split on the new icon. Being the freak I am, I'm probably one of the few people who actually wishes the icon retained its old style. I'm okay with it being blue (even though it was blue in Version 2), but I don't understand why Apple would put a drop shadow under the icon's polish/shine. It doesn't make any sense.

  9. Column Headers

  10. Look at your headers for Song, Artist, Album, etc. In the old version of iTunes, they were a silvery-white, and now they're an *almost* solid gray. Quite simply, I don't like it; it's just too boring.

  11. Movies/TV Shows

  12. Why does the Movies section have a black background, but the TV Shows section has a white background? Is one happier than the other?

  13. Podcasts

  14. The only real change here is the new Graphite-esque bottom bar, which is okay, but like I said before, it should change based on whether or not you're using Blue or Graphite appearances.

  15. That... glass... thing....

  16. Click on any item in the sidebar. See how it switches to white text with black backdrop? Well, if you ask me, it looks like shit right out of Aero with that glassy appearance. Bring back the gradient Apple, and change the color so it actually fits in the color scheme.

Keep in mind, of course, that these are only my opinions, which in the long run will be ignored. Apple will probably stick with the design for a while and disregard my annoying OCD-like behavior for graphic perfection requests, but it still gives me an excuse to talk about iTunes from a designer's perspective, which is all I need to continue posting.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fakery Analysis: Apple iMac

As most of you know, yesterday saw the release of three new iMacs. This has caused all sorts of technology news sites to buzz, but I have other beliefs about this.

But what are these beliefs, you ask? Well, after taking a look at Apple's iMac page, I have reason to believe that this site- as well as the new iMacs- are completely fake. Here's why:

  1. A look at the front iMac page would reveal that the 24-inch iMac's top-right corner is not cut correctly.

  2. Apple would NEVER use such a cheap gradient for the page.

  3. Where's the drop shadow, like almost every other Apple web page?

  4. The rounded edges on the footer of the main page are more of a gray, not light blue, like the rest of the page.

  5. The "64-bit" icon in the Intel Core 2 Duo section is lacking a drop shadow and wet floor effect.

  6. The picture of an iMac in the "Tech Specs" page is lacking a wet floor effect.

  7. The wet floor effect on the iMacs at the bottom of "Design" is WAY too strong.

  8. Pixel number 1,590 on this page is actually a slightly different shade of blue than the rest of the page. Any half-brained moron knows that Apple puts a off-shade blue pixel on 1,596.

That's a whole 8 things I found! It MUST be fake! 8!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 I mean, Apple couldn't do wrong, right? They are, after all, perfect, and would never make such careless mistakes. You may be able to fool the rest of the world, Apple, but you CAN'T fool me. Guess you'll have to aim for something better during your alleged special event on the 12th- which I'm also sure is fake.

NOTE: This post was merely a comedic way to point out the problems I found on this page. Don't take it seriously, or I- and the rest of the world- will laugh at you. And yes, I know it's been slow around here lately- eventually, I will post something relevant.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Firefox Theme

As anyone who subscribes to this blog knows, I haven't really updated it with new Leopard screenshots, mainly because the real Leopard kicked in and took care of that for me (and crushed some of my more extravagant hopes for new features). However, after downloading and installing the Firefox Beta 2 and discovering how badly the Visual "Refresh" was- and my dissatisfaction with any and pretty much all Mac-like themes- I am going to start work on a Firefox theme of my own.

However, let me just state two things off the bat: first, I don't know jack s**t about creating Firefox themes. Secondly, I'm not positive on the exact design (which doesn't surprise me, especially since this idea of mine has only been in the works for a couple of days).

But since this post would be kind of pointless without posting some kind of idea, I have created a mockup of what I want it to look like. Here it is, in wonderful JPG form:

(You can also e-mail me if you want the PSD).

Essentially, the point of this project is to create a Mac theme that is eye-pleasing and subtle on the OS X candy, the latter of which I think many Mac-like themes fail to do. I don't know when I'll finish it (or start it, for that matter), but I definitely want to see it come to life, so stay tuned and give me your feedback on what you'd like in the theme.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pre-WWDC Video Breakdown

On the eve of WWDC, it looks like another video claiming to be a beta version of Leopard has risen (via LeopardTracker), and has, like all of the others, given Mac users a chance to comment on it's authenticity. And being a screenshot blogger, I'm no exception.

This video is creating mixed feelings, for me at least: in some ways, there's evidence to suggest it's real, but here's why I think it's fake:

  1. The About this Mac box is missing a drop shadow, and the text I believe reads "Virtualization" is black, whereas the other, real items are in a dark grey.

  2. Part of the text in the Processor item is a different shade of grey from the rest of the text.

  3. Besides the blatantly fake About this Mac box, he's running nothing but Windows applications, meaning that could simply be an image.

  4. The "Dock" body is too transparent (but in its defense, Apple might have made this change in Leopard).

  5. Besides "virtualization", there is no demonstration of any other features of the OS.

  6. The Command Prompt application title bar reads "C:/WINDOWS". Mac OS X, obviously, cannot be stored in such a directory.

  7. The OS X menu bar only has one item in it, which I think reads "Finder". Where's the rest of it?

  8. There are Windows-style folders on the desktop, which obviously doesn't make any sense.

So as far as I can see, this screenshot is simply Windows with an OS X theme. However, given WWDC is tomorrow, I can't make any promises, so I guess we'll find out when the Stevenote rolls around.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Screenshot Contest Submission

With the results of Phill Ryu's screenshot contest slowly on the horizon, I thought I'd take a second to post what I've submitted (and because I haven't updated in a good week or so).

So for my submission, I inserted the TextEdit app I conjured up a few weeks back, and I finally got around to starting my iCal/Address Book hybrid app I promised to make (and hinted at in my original screenshots). In the Safari window, I've implemented the iTunes metal color and also added in a lovely new RSS reader, and lastly, fixed the About this Mac box to say "DDR2 SDRAM":

Because of the amount of content in the image, I had to up the resolution to 2560x1600 pixels, so it's kinda hard to read since Flickr scales my screenshots; if you want, you can e-mail me if you want the full-size version or a copy of the PSD.

Enjoy, folks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Leopard Screenshot Analysis: "Desk 2"

After what looked like an end to Leopard screenshot (and video) fakery, it appears as though it's still alive and well. Digg user "qwertymen" has posted a screenshot purporting to be Mac OS X Leopard (link), which, unlike most attempts, actually proposes new features and additions to the OS, and is somewhat different from the many photoshopped Finder and About This Mac boxes that have circled the Web for quite some time now. And while that may be enough to lead people to believe it's real, I'm almost certain it isn't. Here's a list of problems I found with the image:

- The Apple and Spotlight icons are different colors; Apple originally had them this way when testing Tiger in WWDC 2004, but changed them back to match the rest of the menu bar when it was released.
- A small strip of the menu bar is slightly brighter than the rest of the bar (look at the image from an angle to see it better).
- Is that my Desktops Switcher icon I see in the menu bar?
- All of the drop shadows in the image are at a 120 degree angle. All drop shadows in Mac OS X are at a 90 degree angle.
- The "Start Menu"'s drop shadow is nowhere near the size and blur it is in Tiger.
- The whole bottom bar looks way too Windows. There's no way Apple would put in their own versions of the Start Menu, Quick Launch and toolbar (and in their exact same places, I might add).
- The shelf that appears at the right is not rounded off on the bottom, and transparency is not used for shelves.
- Another brightness problem on the bottom bar.
- The giant "Desk 2" bezel is too large, the shadows are not right and the bezel's rounded rectangles appear to be distorted.
- Um... why the Click Wheel?
- The image quality and size is very poor; Mac OS X does not create such low quality screenshots.

So there you have it. I do give kudos to the creator for thinking of ways to improve Mac OS X, but there are too many mistakes for me to believe it's real.