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Notices for 14th May 2007 to 21st April 2007

Monday, 14th May 2007

Some of you will be aware of my fondness for graphical interface design. Something that disappoints me is the tendency for interface design to be focused primarily on copying the prevalent systems of the day without regard to some of the more obscure, “unconventional” systems. They’re not truly unconventional, as they’re often old enough to have set the conventions. Sadly, the current developers who do all the work that gets noticed (GNOME and KDE for example) don’t heed these systems much.

There is a certain irony, then, that KDE contained a RISC OS skin yet failed miserably to contemplate and incorporate the ideas contained with that particularly unusual operating system. There is also irony in the fact that, despite all the attempts to incorporate the Mac look and feel into modern graphical interfaces, most people fail to understand what it was that made the Mac what it was. Simply putting the menu bar at the top of the screen is a poor homage to the wonder that Apple created. (I am not sure it’s even the best way to operate menus.)

For now, however, I’ve focused on RISC OS 3.1. Launched at the same time as Apple’s System 7, it is radically different to – and in many ways years ahead of – the Macintosh interface, especially as the general concepts go back to the launch of the Archimedes in 1987. I’ve written up a page about some of the unusual aspects of the RISC OS graphical interface. It’s a fascinating insight into an alternative graphical interface that, curiously, shares more in common with the Amiga than any other system I’ve seen so far.

The article is far from complete, as there is much more that I could explore in time. Perhaps I will.

Friday, 27th April 2007

Some of you may remember Google Mordor, my old Lord of the Rings–inspired Google skin. Michael Walker has created a new Google Mordor as part of his skinnable Google front-end. For the first time in nearly three years later, Google Mordor is live again.

Saturday, 21st April 2007

I have updated the Hall of Shame page — wooden table FTW!

I have also documented my observation of a secret woodlouse religious ritual although I have yet to understand the nature of the ritual.

The above page is added to my Assorted odd pictures section, for which the first picture is an item of graffiti in Welham Green. Owing to this, I have finally received my first genuine threat e-mail, from the perpetrators, to be beaten up if I ever set foot in Welham Green again. Nice people. But the photo stays.