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Mario F.
02-27-2008, 08:50 AM
I'm looking at recent software with a radical new layout on my XP machine. Recently I acquired Ranking Toolbox 6 and Hello Engines 6 from a deal with my web hosting provider. And I just now am trying the new version of Nitro PDF Professional.

These 3 applications are running on my beloved XP machine with that ugly, confusing, resource and screen real estate hog Vista layout. It's just unbearable that thing. Some may like it, I can understand that. But I don't.

So... what is going on?
- Is this thing switchable?
- Can I expect my sweet XP machine to slowly become crowded with this crap?
- Where is the closest Linux distro?

Elysia
02-27-2008, 08:53 AM
Heh. I think the majority is interested in sweet, nice looking GUIs. But obviously some aren't.
Myself, I do have some mixed feelings. I like pretty GUI, but at the same time, the applications seems to become less responsive. And that's bad.

Though I do not know of the software in particular, my thoughts on the wole are:
- Nope, not switchable.
- Yep, more apps will become pretty.

SlyMaelstrom
02-27-2008, 09:01 AM
I don't know these three applications well enough to say that there is no way to change the layout in their options. I would give it a look if you haven't... but yes, I would expect more applications to come out with the Vista style layout if they aren't going to offer Vista and XP versions seperately.

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 09:22 AM
Hmm... But so far we haven't had that problem, Sly. The OS would render my screen according to my preferences. Not enforce me a design I didn't choose. EDIT: I reckon, there's only a handful of examples where unskinned software is distributed with such radical changes in layout without calling my XP controls, but instead some other library

I'm thinking this is just the vendors trying to be "cool" and I just stumbled upon 3 examples in a row.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 09:25 AM
It's more of a trend nowmore. PerfectDisk had an Vista-esque GUI update for the 2008 version.
People like pretty GUIs. The majority of the XP users anyway. The casual users.
So companies respond to their desires and create pretty interfaces.
It's the future of the computer world. Eye candy.

vart
02-27-2008, 09:32 AM
Winamp in version 5 has get back to its native 2.x GUI (as one of available options)

So there are product managers that do listen to their users and provide also functional interface in the next versions, when they see that the previos pretty GUI has failed

Elysia
02-27-2008, 09:34 AM
...Which is a shame because there's nothing wrong with a pretty GUI. But eh... I don't use Winamp, so I don't really care.

maxorator
02-27-2008, 09:40 AM
As long as there are alternatives to thiose pretty-looking-ugly-performance programs, the end of the world is not present yet. :D

Elysia
02-27-2008, 09:41 AM
Let's hope people will start complaining about the performance next, but also start complaining if they remove the eye candy :)

maxorator
02-27-2008, 09:47 AM
As much as I've seen some Linux distros offer a lot of eye candy without much performance issues. For example Compiz (formerly known as Beryl) has 3D stuff plus tons of 2D eye candy and it runs quite well on older machines.

So it's possible to add a lot of eye candy and still maintain good performance. Most of the developers are probably just too lazy to care about performance issues.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 09:50 AM
Go Linux!
I'm going to have to look into some of those "distros" sometime.

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 10:00 AM
I can't find anywhere on these applications where I can turn this thing off. Running in classic mode with the Themes service disabled simply doesn't do a thing to it. I feel trapped. These things simply aren't customizable. They must be using some library that renders controls like this. I say good on them, I won't buy.

Below is a snapshot of Nitro PDF (the other apps aren't much different). Look at the amount of screen working area that is being stolen. Meanwhile this is just a PDF reader/editor, but my processor fan is running nonstop and I'm being paged this way to hell everytime I use the program.

indigo0086
02-27-2008, 10:02 AM
I hate that ribbon based bullsh!t on the recent microsoft office versions. It makes everything so unintuitive to find, moreso than a microsoft product should be.

Wraithan
02-27-2008, 10:04 AM
Was in a IRC room helping a guy set up a spread sheet and I use open office but in the past that hasn't been an issue since it is similar enough to excel. Turns out the new version of excel has one of those vista-like interfaces and so my telling him to go to certain menus and such didn't work at all.

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 10:05 AM
I hate that ribbon based bullsh!t on the recent microsoft office versions. It makes everything so unintuitive to find, moreso than a microsoft product should be.

Absolutely. It's just incredible how you are forced to change your habits every 5 years because the company said so. They try to develop, they say, user friendliness. But then force you to relearn the operating system every new version. Whatever.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 10:05 AM
Pic looks nice. I don't think it takes up too much of the screen at all, unless you are using a very low resolution.
The ribbon isn't inheritably bad, of course, but removing the menus and replacing them with a ribbon is just stupid. This we all agree on.

Wraithan
02-27-2008, 10:13 AM
Is that what they call it, 'Ribbon' I tried to use IE for the first time in a couple years at a friends house and was completely confused. I couldn't find any of the buttons I wanted. At least not right away.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 10:14 AM
Indeed... they hid the menu by default. You can still access it, however, thankfully.

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 10:24 AM
Sent Nitro PDF an email thanking them for the opportunity to try out their product and stating why I wouldn't ever buy it. Suggested also they use skinable interfaces if they want to provide users with ... read it with a flourish... new visual experiences.

indigo0086
02-27-2008, 10:33 AM
Absolutely. It's just incredible how you are forced to change your habits every 5 years because the company said so. They try to develop, they say, user friendliness. But then force you to relearn the operating system every new version. Whatever.

Sometimes I'm wondering about the direction Microsoft is going in. I mean i've been seeing it more recently because I'm "wired" into the system, having dealt with their OS's and having a 360 (great system, and less inhibited by their implementation upgrades as vista is). It seems like everything that should be "transparent" and intuitive,ends up being bloated and slow and where is MS when you need them...spend 30 bucks to get an e-mail through to them or have their Customer Support:india on the line to help you.

But that's a whole different issue.

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 11:09 AM
hellu, this is rashmna abetaziir huw may i helhp you?

indigo0086
02-27-2008, 11:56 AM
more like *in obvious indian accent* "Hello, this is Carlson, how may I help you"...Did you ever see that 60 minutes coverage of how they teach overseas workers how to sound "More american", it's creepy.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 12:02 PM
"Sir, I don't understand you. Can you speak indian, please?"
Heh. It's bad enough about the failing hardware, but they redirect their support outside the country to those who apparently has no skill in english, as well.

whiteflags
02-27-2008, 12:10 PM
>> - Where is the closest Linux distro?

Depends on what you need. I'd recommend reading this:

http://www.linux.org/info/wanttouse.html

As for what you actually get, well I have a number of CDs that have Fedora Core on them thanks to a lot of books. I'm big on companies sending me CDs, or getting them so I can avoid downloading it. That's the method I would recommend. But if you have the internet for it you can download what you need right off of www.linux.org

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 12:22 PM
Thanks for the info, citizen. What I also need is a good fat book that helps me with the transition.

Many years ago I had a S.U.S.E. distro, while they were still a german company and SUSE was in the mouth of everyone. I also used back then a Mandrake distro. I did get far in my learning of the OS until work forced me back into windows. I forgot everything I learned.

laserlight
02-27-2008, 12:31 PM
Ubuntu is a pretty good distro when it comes to hand holding and online documentation, so with that perhaps you would not need a (hardcopy) book.

Kennedy
02-27-2008, 01:59 PM
Got Slack?

The overall problem as I see it is this: Too many people are banking on the philosophy of "memory is free and processing power is unlimited" which I was hearing 15 years ago while in school. I disagreed with this philosophy then and do now as well. Code should be compact as possible, use as little memory as possible and run as fast as possible on EVERY machine. But, alas, not everyone shares my beliefs.

SlyMaelstrom
02-27-2008, 02:12 PM
But, alas, not everyone shares my beliefs.A.K.A. Salesmen. Beauty sells more than performance. Especially if they don't let you try the product first. :)

Elysia
02-27-2008, 02:15 PM
Got Slack?

The overall problem as I see it is this: Too many people are banking on the philosophy of "memory is free and processing power is unlimited" which I was hearing 15 years ago while in school. I disagreed with this philosophy then and do now as well. Code should be compact as possible, use as little memory as possible and run as fast as possible on EVERY machine. But, alas, not everyone shares my beliefs.

This is true, but it doesn't mean we should sacrifice everything for it. I will take a fast program over a bloated one every day, but I would still not miss a program that is pretty and fast. Memory, in general, means little to me, since I have plenty. But programs still shouldn't just waste it.

Kennedy
02-27-2008, 02:42 PM
Guys, I don't mean make it ugly and something that works. . . on the contrary, I mean make it pretty, but use the "standard" libraries of the system and don't get all cutesified for the sake of being pretty. There is a happy median.

I have this argument with my wife all the time: Give me something practical over something that looks nice. I mean, yes a smaller toilet is really nice looking in the bathroom (in that it takes up less space and makes the room look bigger), but if one cannot fit one's butt on it, what good is it?

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 02:43 PM
Will anyone mention usability?
I thought we were a programmers forum... just asking.

EDIT: Ah! Kennedy just did. Thank you.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 03:17 PM
Heh, wasn't that discussed already with Microsoft's Office Ribbon? How they take away the menus and add ribbons and toolbars instead?
You're right. An easy to use GUI is the most important of all, then speed, and then a pretty GUI.
But a pretty GUI shouldn't waste system resources either, and we'll all be happy. I think.

Neo1
02-27-2008, 03:41 PM
But a pretty GUI shouldn't waste system resources either, and we'll all be happy. I think.

Well, if the system resources are used on making the GUI pretty, then technically they aren't wasted, are they :P

Has anyone here ever used Realteks AVRack, now THAT is an abomination, i think this is the only GUI that i would go so far as to call down right ugly, it's hideous basically..

http://hwt.dk/images/literature/1638/1638-7.jpg

maxorator
02-27-2008, 03:53 PM
Well, if the system resources are used on making the GUI pretty, then technically they aren't wasted, are they :P
Why not use the same resources for better functionality? :D

Neo1
02-27-2008, 04:01 PM
Why not use the same resources for better functionality? :D

Well yes but then we are talking about priorities, some people will want better functionality, others will want retarded ribbons that makes your computer slow, in either way, it's not really wasting resources. Just as some people will want to spend their money on fast cars and others will spend it on expensive hardware...

robwhit
02-27-2008, 05:12 PM
__________________________________
_________________________________X|
| Please choose one: |
| |
| A) retarded ribbons and crap |
| B) sleek, functional interface |
| |
| OK CANCEL |
|_________________________________|Problem solved.

lightatdawn
02-27-2008, 06:18 PM
Problem solved.

The option is better than none. However I spend quite some time on a new Windows install turning off all the garbage that shouldn't have been there in the first place. GUIs that force their own interface &^%# me off. Fancy "features" that you actually don't use or need that waste my time &^%# me off just as much. Why do drop-down menus "slide" open by default? Are we all so horrifically retarded that this is actually amusing?

"Select your Country"
*click*
*shwooooooooooooooooooooooooooop*
*drool from mouth corner* *vacant stare* "Oooooo!"

Anyways, it's obvious to tell how I feel about the subject.

Daved
02-27-2008, 06:23 PM
And yet... near the top of our feature list for the next release was to add (as an option) the Office 2007 look and feel, which is basically just ribbons. Why? Because sex sells. We ask our devoted customers and hard core users what they think, and of course they'd much rather the effort be put into real meaty issues. But that doesn't mean that there aren't thousands of other customers or potential customers that wouldn't prefer ribbons or wouldn't think that the product is nicer/better/more modern than the competition that is fugly.

Elysia
02-27-2008, 06:37 PM
The option is better than none. However I spend quite some time on a new Windows install turning off all the garbage that shouldn't have been there in the first place. GUIs that force their own interface &^%# me off. Fancy "features" that you actually don't use or need that waste my time &^%# me off just as much. Why do drop-down menus "slide" open by default? Are we all so horrifically retarded that this is actually amusing?

"Select your Country"
*click*
*shwooooooooooooooooooooooooooop*
*drool from mouth corner* *vacant stare* "Oooooo!"

Anyways, it's obvious to tell how I feel about the subject.

Uhhh... wow.
It's prettier, that's all. It's nice to look at than just some box popping up right out of nowhere.
All those who seem to think like this... GUIs are evil, pretty interfaces are evil, memory is everything, processor power is everything... Sometimes I think that they're all better off with DOS, and I can't figure out why.
Why is it so important? Why is everything pretty bad? Why is GUI bad? Why is CLI good?
Do you not like pretty things? Do you dull, ugly things? I'm sure you'd rather want a pretty vase than an ugly one. And the same goes for everything else... so why are computers and GUIs exceptions?
Or am I off the target here?

Mario F.
02-27-2008, 08:03 PM
Do you not like pretty things? Do you dull, ugly things? I'm sure you'd rather want a pretty vase than an ugly one. And the same goes for everything else... so why are computers and GUIs exceptions?
Or am I off the target here?

I swear, if you say it is pretty again I'm gonna smack you. ;)

You are indeed just a tad bit off the target. The issue is not about some people liking it, other not. The issue is about you not being able to do anything about it, if you don't like it. Especially when you already instructed your OS to not use the fluff as I have been doing ever since windows friggin'95 (before that we didn't have this problem).

It is also about the fact the GUI changes in completely unusual ways. This is disruptive. User friendliness is also about consistency. You shouldn't tell people to relearn how to operate their OS every new version. And finally its about usability, this GUI is simply horrid. There's no file menu anymore! The working area is enormously reduced because of the size of those ribbon things. The logic is confusing with help items being spread in the ribbon and on the help menu and... on the Application Icon! Same goes for other usual stuff like items that you used to see on the ever present View menu now being scattered even on the status bar.

Gah!

lightatdawn
02-27-2008, 09:24 PM
Or am I off the target here?

A little, yes.


Uhhh... wow.
It's prettier, that's all. It's nice to look at than just some box popping up right out of nowhere.

I fail to see how it's pretier. It wastes time. It suppresses the beauty of my amazingly fast piece of electronics by pretending that a graphic button can't be loaded instantly.

There are plenty of attractive features of many applications that don't detract from the useability. It's when I realise that my archaic PII machines can run a DamnSmallLinux distro and surf the net, play music, display movies, and network with my LAN, at speeds rivalling my spanking new Boxes with 64-Bit Dual Cores and 4 gigs of RAM, that I begin to get irate.

It is my profound hope that with the slowing of processor progress in the near future, and Microsofts proclamation to produce a sleeker, thinner, more trimmed down OS, that we'll see application makers finally step up in this area as well. I see no reason at all that my web browser shouldn't open instantly. I mean instantly. I've disabled just about every feature it has to offer (Java, ActiveX, Javascript, Plugins, Sound, AutoComplete, etc), so what am I waiting for exactly?

VirtualAce
02-27-2008, 10:37 PM
I think GUIs are getting far more cluttered and fancy than they need to be. Half the time I turn off all the junk just so I can use the program like a normal application. Navigating icons, ribbons, etc, etc, is just terrible. MSN Messenger -oh,sorry, Windows Live Messenger insists on not displaying the menu and hiding the caption bar or title bar by default. Luckily this can be changed so menus are displayed and the title bar as well.

However in my huge list of complaints about Vista, the interface and it's performance were not on the list. Aero is sleek, fast, and nice eye candy. I did not have any problems with Aero on my system and I miss it on my XP. Now I don't miss anything else about Vista so don't peg me as some Vista fanboy because I'm not. How other apps utilized Aero was another story. Most of them tended to heavily abuse their newfound functionality. But the overall basic Aero interface for Vista itself was very nice. Aero rocks.

vart
02-27-2008, 11:20 PM
The option is better than none. However I spend quite some time on a new Windows install turning off all the garbage that shouldn't have been there in the first place. GUIs that force their own interface &^%# me off. Fancy "features" that you actually don't use or need that waste my time &^%# me off just as much. Why do drop-down menus "slide" open by default? Are we all so horrifically retarded that this is actually amusing?

"Select your Country"
*click*
*shwooooooooooooooooooooooooooop*
*drool from mouth corner* *vacant stare* "Oooooo!"

Anyways, it's obvious to tell how I feel about the subject.

Why to waste time on this?
My computer/Properties/Advanced/Performance/settings/visual effects/Adjust for best performance - Click OK

Neo1
02-28-2008, 12:22 AM
Now I don't miss anything else about Vista so don't peg me as some Vista fanboy because I'm not.

This MUST be the understatement of the year. Shouldn't you be in the basement playing with voodoo dolls of Microsoft Devs?

lightatdawn
02-28-2008, 12:33 AM
Why to waste time on this?
My computer/Properties/Advanced/Performance/settings/visual effects/Adjust for best performance - Click OK

Obviously. But there is so much more housekeeping than just this simple step.

Also; Some of the options available in this list I can see people enjoying. Others, I wonder why they hog my resources by default. The computer experience should be one of functional ease, simplicity, and reliability. One day, developers will strive for these things first, and others second.

Sang-drax
02-28-2008, 01:04 AM
Aero is sleek, fast, and nice eye candy. I did not have any problems with Aero on my system and I miss it on my XP. [...] How other apps utilized Aero was another story. Most of them tended to heavily abuse their newfound functionality. But the overall basic Aero interface for Vista itself was very nice. Aero rocks. Couldn't agree more.

Elysia
02-28-2008, 06:08 AM
I swear, if you say it is pretty again I'm gonna smack you. ;)

You are indeed just a tad bit off the target. The issue is not about some people liking it, other not. The issue is about you not being able to do anything about it, if you don't like it. Especially when you already instructed your OS to not use the fluff as I have been doing ever since windows friggin'95 (before that we didn't have this problem).
But the main question is... why is the fluff so bad? Resource hogging?


It is also about the fact the GUI changes in completely unusual ways. This is disruptive. User friendliness is also about consistency. You shouldn't tell people to relearn how to operate their OS every new version. And finally its about usability, this GUI is simply horrid. There's no file menu anymore! The working area is enormously reduced because of the size of those ribbon things. The logic is confusing with help items being spread in the ribbon and on the help menu and... on the Application Icon! Same goes for other usual stuff like items that you used to see on the ever present View menu now being scattered even on the status bar.
I agree on this one. Hiding menus and forcing to use ribbons and such is just annoying. It disturbs the way users have been working with programs for years. When you can't find what you're looking for, you're bound to get annoyed.
Yes, keep is consistent.

However, I don't see the problem with the viewing area. It's big enough to work with, unless you have a really, really low resolution.
Does it eat up 50% of the screen?


I fail to see how it's pretier. It wastes time. It suppresses the beauty of my amazingly fast piece of electronics by pretending that a graphic button can't be loaded instantly.
Speed is important, of course, but on modern computers, it's hardly (or should not be, otherwise it's a design flaw) noticeable. It will load just as fast as if all the fancy stuff didn't exist.


There are plenty of attractive features of many applications that don't detract from the useability. It's when I realise that my archaic PII machines can run a DamnSmallLinux distro and surf the net, play music, display movies, and network with my LAN, at speeds rivalling my spanking new Boxes with 64-Bit Dual Cores and 4 gigs of RAM, that I begin to get irate.
So why keep such an old computer around? Not willing to part with it?


It is my profound hope that with the slowing of processor progress in the near future, and Microsofts proclamation to produce a sleeker, thinner, more trimmed down OS, that we'll see application makers finally step up in this area as well. I see no reason at all that my web browser shouldn't open instantly. I mean instantly. I've disabled just about every feature it has to offer (Java, ActiveX, Javascript, Plugins, Sound, AutoComplete, etc), so what am I waiting for exactly?
Speed-o-freak! I like that :)
I'd like to see fancy GUI with no loading times in the future :D


However in my huge list of complaints about Vista, the interface and it's performance were not on the list. Aero is sleek, fast, and nice eye candy. I did not have any problems with Aero on my system and I miss it on my XP. Now I don't miss anything else about Vista so don't peg me as some Vista fanboy because I'm not. How other apps utilized Aero was another story. Most of them tended to heavily abuse their newfound functionality. But the overall basic Aero interface for Vista itself was very nice. Aero rocks.
I completely agree there. Vista had a few nice things, but mostly Aero. The performance of the OS however... sucked. :p

Mario F.
02-28-2008, 06:41 AM
But the main question is... why is the fluff so bad? Resource hogging?

For one. I already named them; resources, aesthetics, usability,... But mostly, I simply don't like fluff. I can't put it any more simpler than that. I always liked my applications simple, efficient and to the point. It's the way I am, from computers to clothing.



However, I don't see the problem with the viewing area. It's big enough to work with, unless you have a really, really low resolution.
Does it eat up 50% of the screen?

Again is the problem of efficiency. But this time applied to the use of space. The fluff at the top plus the fluff and the bottom together eat up almost 1/3 of the my vertical area. Resolution has nothing to do with it. I'm speaking of relative areas. But if you want to know i'm running at 1024x768.

Now, take a good look at that screenshot again. Picture in your head what would happen if all that vertical space was optimized by the use of regular menus and a couple of toolbars. Can you see the tremendous gain in the working area?

The problem is not so much my working area was reduced to a point its unusable. It wasn't. The point is the fluff is stealing working space. For me that's the anti-christ of a good layout.

Elysia
02-28-2008, 06:45 AM
Now, take a good look at that screenshot again. Picture in your head what would happen if all that vertical space was optimized by the use of regular menus and a couple of toolbars. Can you see the tremendous gain in the working area?

I did look at it and it didn't bother me at all. So long as I have a large viewing area to work with, everything is dandy.

vart
02-28-2008, 08:05 AM
I did take a look at Ranking Toolbox 6

1. There is a mimimal size of the screen with program could take. And it is 784 pixels in hight - if I reduce the window to the smaller size - the left panel gets the scrolling which takes "hours" to finish. And I saw no way to increase the scrolling speed. Also Scrolling arrows are to small in high, about hafl of the regular hight of the scrolling arrows in the regular scroll-bar - which does not makes easier to target them
2. The toolbar in the top, and image menu-bar in the left, and "Start Center" menu in the right - all show the tooltip in the bottom "Info Panel". I do not feel comfortable to look for "tool-tip" of the current button in the opposite corner of the working Area...

And this are only two greate inconvinincies found just by looking on the main screen - I didn't started the actual work with this tool, and do not plan...


Also - this application does not followes the settings of the Windows - I have disabled all menu delays, and still - it opens submenu with annoying delays