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iTunes, Brushed Metal. Lunch in this town again.
September 9, 2005 9:45 PM   Subscribe

The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme.
posted by Tlogmer (55 comments total)

 
yawn
posted by wfrgms at 9:49 PM on September 9, 2005


I don't understand.
posted by marxchivist at 9:56 PM on September 9, 2005


No one gives a shit about Calculator.
posted by loquacious at 9:59 PM on September 9, 2005


(I thought it was funny.)
posted by loquacious at 10:00 PM on September 9, 2005


I think it's hilarious. John Gruber is always a great read.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:01 PM on September 9, 2005


This is probably the best thing he's written, but, of course, you have to be a Mac afficianado to get it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:04 PM on September 9, 2005


Hilarious. I love the bit about Aqua being down and out and drunk.
posted by brundlefly at 10:16 PM on September 9, 2005


.
posted by slogger at 10:45 PM on September 9, 2005


That was fantastic.
posted by nightchrome at 10:49 PM on September 9, 2005


I'm a consistency fan, and clearly two window styles were enough. I must admit, though, this new iTunes is one sexy bitch...
posted by abcde at 10:52 PM on September 9, 2005


Funnay.

Also, apple sucks. STOP WORSHIPING A CORPORATION LIKE A GOD, PEOPLE!
posted by delmoi at 10:52 PM on September 9, 2005


Mmm... I like Apple's products. Does that mean I'm bowing down to an Apple altar?
posted by brundlefly at 10:55 PM on September 9, 2005


It's funny how liking the products a company produces and trusting them to continue producing products that you will like, is somehow construed as worshipping that company as a god.
posted by nightchrome at 11:03 PM on September 9, 2005


Ha!
On panther, I installed ShapeShifter with the Unleaded theme to get that shallow flashy metal guy out of my face. But the theme doesn't work with Tiger, so I'm back to staring at dark angry window borders. I'm glad to hear brushed is on the way out. Howdya fuckin’ like it now, bee-yotch?
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:10 PM on September 9, 2005


Snicker.

I've got to say, I won't be sad to see Brushed Metal go. One of Apple's worst UI designs in years.
posted by hattifattener at 11:11 PM on September 9, 2005


That made me happy, and Brushed Metal didn't. I want to see Brushed Metal, wild-eyed and trailing sad-eyed coke-whores, staggering into it's late-model Ferarri convertable and going for a late-night speed rally. On the pacific coast highway.
posted by freebird at 11:29 PM on September 9, 2005


Brushed Metal > Gray Plastic.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:53 PM on September 9, 2005


In a wood cask hot tub no less.
posted by loquacious at 11:53 PM on September 9, 2005


I was amused.
posted by kyleg at 1:10 AM on September 10, 2005


Reminded me of Tycho's writing from Penny Arcade for some reason.
posted by dazed_one at 1:22 AM on September 10, 2005


I don't use Apple or iTunes, but still thought it was hilarious. Good post.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:23 AM on September 10, 2005


yawn
posted by wfrgms at 11:49 PM CST on September 9 [!]

I was thinking this exact word, and then I clicked the thread.
posted by angry modem at 1:36 AM on September 10, 2005


Brushed Metal hangs up on Aqua in disgust. He stops at a redlight and rests his head on the steering wheel. Where to go now? What to do? He punches in a platter but launches "Apple CD Player" by mistake. Just then a man with wild eyes and smeared KISS makeup runs out to the intersection and dives into the passenger seat. His left foot guns the engine. Through snaggly teeth he smiles over at BM now frozen in horror. The last thing BM sees is the ragged grey windbreaker of this somewhat familiar stranger whipped open to reveal a threadbare T- Shirt silkscreened with a single... black... pixellated... bomb. System 9 leans towards BM and whispers "Sorry, A System Error Has Occured." His gnarled grabber hand yanks the wheel of the speeding hover car into a brick wall.
posted by hal9k at 3:03 AM on September 10, 2005


'Brushed Metal: The new theme is living at Jobs’s house?

Mike: They’re tight.

Brushed Metal pauses to think.'

Heh, wonder who does the interior decorating at Steves pad and if it bears any semblance to his aesthetic choices of software design.
posted by rawfishy at 3:04 AM on September 10, 2005


Just installed it and I think it's ugly as sin. Glad J River is my main squeeze these days.
posted by Jawn at 3:10 AM on September 10, 2005


good post, made me laugh at 6 am, and that ain't easy!
posted by HuronBob at 3:41 AM on September 10, 2005


Hilarious, thanks.
posted by Rothko at 3:55 AM on September 10, 2005


Ummm... so now I've just checked what this updated iTunes looks like... Ick.

Come back brushed aluminium, all is forgiven.

Can I un-upgrade?
posted by pompomtom at 4:16 AM on September 10, 2005


Yup. It's ugly like plastic. Unbleached iBook. But just give me some consistency across apps please.
posted by brautigan at 4:18 AM on September 10, 2005


This is the apple nerd equivalent of the brad, jenn and jolie thing then?
posted by srboisvert at 4:49 AM on September 10, 2005


Tee hee.
posted by jack_mo at 5:29 AM on September 10, 2005


From MoFi. :P
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:37 AM on September 10, 2005


John Gruber is a consistency facist and generally a cock about it. But this is funnn-ay to the eXtreme.
posted by zpousman at 5:49 AM on September 10, 2005


I kinda liked brushed metal..
posted by c13 at 6:03 AM on September 10, 2005


I installed it and I don't really see that much of a difference. I guess I'm not hip.
posted by moonbiter at 7:32 AM on September 10, 2005


The only big announcement I want to hear about itunes is that there's a version for linux. After that, I won't care whether it uses brushed metal or not.
posted by kaemaril at 8:08 AM on September 10, 2005


Brushed metal was always a very silly move, I thought. Sure, there should be an intuitive metaphor linking a virtual device with its real-world counterpart, but it always seemed to me that using a brushed metal skin with a buttons interface which is very different from a real-world music and video player (in the case of Quicktime) was akin to getting the idea completely backwards.
posted by clevershark at 10:40 AM on September 10, 2005


I think I like the new interface...though, I just installed iTunes 5 (on XP) and got all sorts of crazy warnings from Zone Alarm during the process...most notably something about "Bonjour" (in the form of mDNSResponder.exe) being installed on my machine. What gives?

Blech....
posted by tpl1212 at 1:55 PM on September 10, 2005


That was good. Not laugh out loud but good.
posted by StarForce5 at 2:29 PM on September 10, 2005


Bonjour is the new name for Rendevous, also known as ZerConf Networking.

It's the networking protocol that iTunes Music Sharing (DAAP)runs on top of. It's not going to kill your computer any more than TCP/IP would.
posted by blasdelf at 2:58 PM on September 10, 2005


blas--

Well, sort of. Listeners are always threat surfaces.

Someone's going to do a DAAP exploit just to shut Mac people up about their immunity to viruses. (OK, they didn't let it go when it turned out that you could boot systems into running arbitrary code just by playing with the local DHCP reply, but heh.)
posted by effugas at 3:03 PM on September 10, 2005


XP Red Green and Blue Plastic: I don't get it.
posted by fungible at 4:00 PM on September 10, 2005


I checked out the "new" UI. It's a slightly darker and shinier version of the "Platinum" UI which seems to appear only in the Mail and System Preferences applications. It's not gorgeous, but it's a shitload easier on the eyes than the metal was, and prettier than the "Pro" application interface used by DVD Studio Pro and such.

For loathers of brushed metal like me, deMetallifizer is a godsend. It works just fine with Tiger and the current APE and while it doesn't fix iTunes or QTPlayer, it does un-fuck the Finder nicely. Die, brushed metal, die!
posted by majick at 4:06 PM on September 10, 2005


The description of the link was better than the link itself.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:53 PM on September 10, 2005


You know what's totally awesometacular about the new iTunes? How they managed to add like five or ten useless features designed to try to sell me iTunes store downloads, and didn't add the one useful feature I wanted! Jobs, you incorrigible genius! May you also be stricken with a library full of error-flagged tracks and no non-destructive way of telling iTunes they don't exist.

Oh, and the new skin style? Boring and ugly. Still better than anything XP ships with, though.
posted by arto at 5:27 PM on September 10, 2005


May you also be stricken with a library full of error-flagged tracks and no non-destructive way of telling iTunes they don't exist.

Will it at least recognize duplicates, now? Cuz I'm mighty tired of having to delete and recreate the entire iTunes library every time I want ot make sure it's recognized all the tracks in my library.

iTunes...what a piece of crap... did they, or did they not just buy this piece of crap from DataBecker? Cuz that's what it feels like....[grumble /]
posted by lodurr at 6:43 PM on September 10, 2005


Will it at least recognize duplicates, now?

It could do that before this version.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:48 PM on September 10, 2005


a library full of error-flagged tracks and no non-destructive way of telling iTunes they don't exist

You can't even get shown all such tracks simultaneously, and you sure as shit can't fix the path info for more than one track at once. Grumble grumble.
posted by kjh at 11:47 PM on September 10, 2005


Yes, it recognizes dupes - but when you filter down to only dupes, you get the originals in the list as well, so deleting that list will delete not only any dupes, but the original of anything that's duped. Very helpful, ta iTunes. Or am I being an idiot and there's a sensible way to use this function?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:22 AM on September 11, 2005


I hate Brushed Metal, but I like Aqua. iTunes 5... nyeurgh *shrug* it's better, I guess.
posted by nthdegx at 4:04 AM on September 11, 2005


I never understood what was supposed to be so great about Aqua. Wnat was the deal with the color-coded window-action buttons? What was that color supposed to tell me? Symbols would be much, much better. (Yes, I know there were symbols, but I had to scrub the buttons to get them.) The colors were actually a distraction. First thing I did was get rid of them.

As long as I'm bitching....

Back a few years ago, in one of Tufte's books, I found a throwaway bit where he argues concisely that the appropriate color for a window border in a UI is light yellow. I thought about that; I tried it; it worked: I could suddenly, very easily, see what window was in the forground. Ever since then, I've set up all my Windows and Linux systems to display windows that way.

Well, that doesn't work on a Mac, because the UI doesn't have a window border element. (Which has the salutory side-effect of contributing to the app-window-confusion that characterizes working on a Mac, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

That's not really a nit -- it's a basic failure to anticipate. Or, to put it another way, a reflection of arrogance on the part of Mac UI designers. People talk about Apple's user testing labs, but from what I can see as an all-day every-day Mac user, they design first, then test to justify their results.

Case in point, that window border. If they had one, it would be one small way to overcome the greatest weakness of their pet obsession, the top-of-screen menu bar: That it gives you no obvious way to tell what the hell application you're using, or -- to be more precise -- what windows it's bound to.

This was a funny piece. But it's even funnier (or even more frustrating) when you consider that it's written by a guy who (as far as I can see) shares that Apple-sanctified attitude toward the primacy of design in UI design. Apple is shifting from "Metal" to "Gray beige" [which, btw, I do actually like better] because Teh Steve likes it -- i.e., because the Maximum Leader thinks it looks Cool. Anyone who pretends it's got anything really to do with serving users is fantasizing. It's really just a part of their sick co-dependent relationship with the fan base.

Aside: Why in the world are these looks hard-coded, anyway? Isn't that a really old-fashioned and non-customer-centric way of thinking about UI design for OSs?
posted by lodurr at 6:12 AM on September 11, 2005


Mail has been switched to look like the new itunes too... Brushed metal is on his way out!
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 6:49 AM on September 11, 2005


Well written and funny. Thanks for the post.
posted by NationalKato at 5:07 PM on September 11, 2005


Actually, lodurr, I think that the depth-cue effect of the window shadows is a pretty nice design. Dunno whether Tufte would actually agree with me, but it does seem to follow his design dicta. Also, The Steve has so far not mucked with them. Probably they're too subtle for him to notice.

(As for the colorwed window buttons — they get symbols in 'em if you mouse near 'em, which is handy — but only kind of handy, because there are no clearly-understood symbols for the half-dozen or so operations usually found in titlebars…)
posted by hattifattener at 6:18 PM on September 11, 2005


The what-cue whats?

Oh, I see. There's a drop shadow on the active window. How very aesthetically pleasing. How easy to edit out of awareness. And what a great example of taking metaphor (in this case, spatial) too far.

Put another way: It takes too much effort to see that. A contrasting border color is visible immediately, without cognitive effort. Yellow, turquoise, I don't really care what the color is (though I tried several and I think Tufte's probably right about yellow).

Apple are and generally have been far, far too concerned about the emotional aspects of user experience. It's possible to have an emotionally intense experience that's unhealthy. Apple users have emotional attachments to their badly-designed devices.

As for why I use one myself: Apple software and hardware may be frustrating in its willful pursuit of glitz over substance, but at least it's not Windows XP. And after several torrid affairs with Linux, it's nice to be in a situation where I just have to ignore a lot of annoyances, instead of putting up with deep difficulties every step of teh way. 'Nuff said.
posted by lodurr at 9:25 AM on September 12, 2005


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