Windows users rejoice!
June 18, 2000 3:34 AM   Subscribe

Windows users rejoice! Finally, a program for Windows 9x that does the same as Kalidoscope... and it works well.
posted by cheaily (18 comments total)
What was wrong with WindowBlinds?
posted by brian at 4:36 AM on June 18, 2000


Crap. I feel stupid.
posted by cheaily at 4:44 AM on June 18, 2000

So how many Metafilterers use such programs? I'm often tempted by such programs, but ultimately I realize I'd rather have the plain boring Windows chrome because I'd rather be able to focus on the contents of that window, not the window itself. I suppose if I weren't a designer, I might feel differently. What do others think?
posted by owen at 5:43 AM on June 18, 2000

(placing dunce cap on dan, directing him to the corner)
I usually like these programs at first, but get tired of that after about 2 weeks and then uninstall them. That goes for a lot of programs tho, not just this type of desktop customization product.
posted by brian at 6:11 AM on June 18, 2000

(shouted from the corner)

i bet i'm not the only one to post a dud link the first time.

Anyway, after making windows look like a horrible combination of Aquas/BeOS, i've reverted back to normal Windows UI. Blah.
posted by cheaily at 7:17 AM on June 18, 2000

Yeesh, don't apologize, cheally. You tell everybody about a new program, somebody adds to it by mentioning another similar one. That's the way threads are supposed to grow. It's all good.

My problem with Windows "skinning" programs is that far too many skin designers don't stop at changing the appearance of the interface. Most add too many bells and whistles (sometimes literally) that you can't switch off independently. Also, some skins and skinning programs make invalid assumptions about other aspects of my workspace; I'm disappointed when programs are incapable of noticing that I've got a double-width taskbar at the bottom of my screen.
posted by harmful at 8:34 AM on June 18, 2000

Well I will say that WindowBlinds does do a very good job of letting the user select what options they would like to apply within a scheme. Just like WindowsPlus did/does. They also give you the option to disable skinning for specific apps that do not handle it well. That said I still don't use it, but nice features.
posted by brian at 8:45 AM on June 18, 2000

oh yeah (get back in there and put it back on) heh.
posted by brian at 8:47 AM on June 18, 2000

hmm. thing is that, it just makes it slower. heh. I tried it a while back.... however, on the mac, i have th macos7 theme, kind of nice, simpler too.
posted by tiaka at 9:05 AM on June 18, 2000

i work on four different machines, two of them have multiple operating systems on them. i gave up doing any sort of customization for my desktop. it's all i can do to keep email, bookmarks, what software is installed, etc.

posted by lescour at 9:31 AM on June 18, 2000

Most skin designers are good at implementing the look of other OSes, but not the feel: the widget sets aren't generally as customisible. And that's all-important: every OS has a shitload of usability testing behind its rationale. (Although Aqua makes me think that things are changing...) So while having a nifty line in metallic brushed shadow effects is fine for static drawing, it doesn't necessarily translate to a usable computing environment.
posted by holgate at 9:35 AM on June 18, 2000

from the tests i've seen, aqua has some serious problems to it. like being able to close windows which aren't in front - that'll make for some nifty accidents while i'm working. while apple has made some moves to improve functionality in the dock, it still works more as eyecandy and isn't conducive to individual ways of working. and i won't even get started on that ridiculous hockeypuck of a mouse (you know, the one everyone replaces in a week). very indicative of what's going on there. "someday, we'll all work just like steve jobs wants us to."
posted by patricking at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2000

I like it.
Sure, it's distracting, but it's beautiful!
I LIKE having my scrollbars animated!
posted by Bane at 12:01 PM on June 18, 2000

I'd expect these things to increase in popularity. Windows 2000 still has a lof of the old ugly features. Asthetically, the biggest addition is a drop shadow on the mouse pointer. It's still ugly old Windows. Users are clammoring for chrome, or candy, or whatever. Microsoft is clueless. The best they can come up with is themes. I kind of thought that Windows 2000 would be skinable, it doesn't seem to be.

I don't use these things for only one reason. They use valuable memory and kernal resources. I don't need more stuff helping Windows to crash. It's kind of like those crash gaurd programs that use so many resources, they actually make things worse.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 12:33 PM on June 18, 2000

I use Windowsblinds, and find it to be pretty stable, although good skins are always hard to come by. I usually end up sticking on skins that mimic existing OS's. (MacOS7 being my current favorite).

What I'd really like is more granularity in setting colors in Windows (win2000 may have addressed this.. I haven't tried it yet).
posted by Calebos at 3:34 PM on June 18, 2000

As a Mac user, I went through the customization phase a while back. You know what the desktop looks like now?

Plain ass grey - makes it easier to see graphics, etc.

posted by aladfar at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2000

Other than the visual aspect of these programs, theres also the problem of it not being resource friendly. Unlike MacOS, you can't simply replace the graphics with which Windows use to draw, so instead these programs have to sit in the background, and cut in when the OS wants to draw a window and say "don't draw this ... draw THIS".

Now as unstable as Windows is by itself, having this extra intervention is just another source of suspicion for me, when something goes wrong. I love the idea of window customization, and there _are_ designs which are both more appealing and practical (for instance, i could replace my windows to look like MacOS) but currently this sort of system is just a nasty hack IMO. I'll wait till Windows itself supports skinning (and it will).
posted by aki at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2000

Oh and heres one that's free. And as a disclaimer, my previous understanding on how they work is only how they used to it (both windowblinds and efx) but i haven't been keeping, they might have figured out new and better ways.
posted by aki at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2000

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