teknidermy

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craeonics: Eight years (2006). Pekomon failed his math and history classes
Kenray: 10 years???
craeonics: I would say insight is more important than cramming facts
PKtje: Haha.. yeah. Imagination is more important than knowledge...
craeonics: Which reminds me, how is that thesis of yours coming along

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2004 | 03 | 30

20:26 | retro time: MyPad and Codename2

Red stumbled across a piece of resurfaced skindom nostalgia, MyPad. One of the first skinnable apps.

“MyPad, one the first ever skinnable text editors, has had a new and final release. It is an major upgrade and total rewrite from the most common 0.6 version.

MyPad was one of the first skinnable text editors out there. Coded by Base2, the maker of CodeName2, the application was once of of the most skinned programs out there. Its simple, yet versatile, skinning format and small size let it look good without being bloated.

For a long time MyPad 0.6 was the most up-to-date version, but 1.0 was quietly released some time ago. That version was a C++ recode that added basic features such as scroll bars and a skin changer (prior to this, skins where changed from a text file, which was not unheard of when it was created). This final version fixes a major file opening bug in 1.0 and adds font control. I have successfully associated it with text files, which 1.0 could not do.

This is the final version of MyPad. It is no longer supported by the author (nor is CodeName2). There is no documentation included with the download. However, if you have any problems or questions, myself and others are willing to help.

Note:

I had to change the skin manually to ‘BarQNX2’ in mypad.ini to get MyPad to show up on my 1024x768 screen. If you only see it in the task bar, it is probably just off screen.

Changes:

  • Fixed file opening bugs (it forgot where they were saved to and named)

  • Added font control dialog box

  • Official support abandoned

On a personal note, it is sad to see the app go. I was long a fan of it, and have even skinned it myself in the past. The program includes several skins with it. Among them are the original default skin for version 0.6 and skin from the once well-known skin suite Scathe by Shoggot. It is almost like looking into the past. There is some good news though. This final version is pretty complete for a minimal text editor. The only thing it lacks to completely replace notepad is a find function. Other than that, it works very smoothly. I don't think I'll give up MetaPad for it, but I will leave it in the sub-menu of my text files for fun.”

If I dig deep, deep into the dark forest of chaos that is my memory, I can recall this app. This was the app that wouldn't run straight out of the box until you edited the paths in the .ini first.

Back then, such a thing was perfectly acceptable. Nowadays, people don't even know what an .ini is. No, don't worry, it got fixed.

Anyhow, some things red forgot to mention is that MyPad now appears to be resizable, plus it's configurable via its context menu. Which are quite some improvements.

Edit: okay, so apparently, it always was resizable. Strange that I can't remember that then.

That said, any interest in this will probably only be for historical purposes. As a text editor, its features are very basal, easily outdone by notepad. But then again, no really usable skinnable text editor has ever been made.

Aside from the re-emergence of MyPad, base2's other app, Codename2, a dock-like app launcher, also got an update. Apparently base2 found this improved version on a backup drive somewhere.

Since it comes with no documentation, let me explain how Codename2 works. Configuration of Codename2 is done via .cn2 files. Just plain old text files which you'll have to open up and edit in a text editor.

Clicking on the .exe will yield no results. Instead, you have to either 1) associate .cn2 files with Codename2 and then (double)click on such a .cn2; or 2) drag a .cn2 file onto the .exe. If the sample .cn2 file gives you errors when you do this, just open it up and comment out the lines with the word ICON# in it, by putting a semi-colon in front of the line. Those lines point to apps you probably don't have installed (or not at the designated locations).

Sounds confusing? Hey, it's a genuine blast from the past. Spoiled point 'n' click youngsters these days… || craeonics | comments (7)

2004 | 03 | 26

23:45 | ponderings from the pond

I've been, shall we say, ‘out of touch’ with skindom these last few weeks. In the editor's notes to our much delayed issue 13, which was written back in December but will never see the light of day (the editor's notes that is, not the issue itself), I lamented of my general weariness of skindom. A weariness that is primarily brought upon me by the complete and utter lack of innovation.

A rather strange conclusion, for I never look at the available skin collections out there (no joke). So how can I come to that conclusion?

Turns out I am not alone.

Frogboy, also known as the head honcho of the biggest player in skindom: StarDock, has written a pair of interesting articles.

The first one ask the question: are skinners abandoning originality in exchange for popularity?.

Very much so it seems. The article, lavished with screenshots, gives many examples of the things WindowBlinds ('cause that, ofcourse, is what the article centers on) is capable of. However, all of these skins are years old, predating the XP craze.

One possible explanation given is that nowadays ‘skinners’ rarely innovate and experiment, because they fear the negative responses they might get. Responses that would lead to less downloads, less popularity. It appears that these days skinners no longer skin for their own enjoyment, but more so to raise their status. Therefore ‘wild’ skins are abandoned in favour of ‘minimalist’ skins.

As usual, the term ‘minimalism’ gets abused. Oh, how I would hope that people would not confuse the Mystic Arts of Minimalism with conservatism and the dread usability.

But for the most of it, I do agree.

The second article (which actually lead to the first one) is an overview of the history of WindowBlinds.

The history aspect of the article is rather brief. Aside from the ever-present mentions of StarDock's greatness on the OS/2 platform, the cryptic GDI limit excuse for the Win9x systems and the cascading empowerment of first 2000 and then XP, there is not much you didn't already know, had you been around these last few years.

This, however, is more than made up for by the vast amount of screenshots of WindowBlinds skins throughout the ages. Ranging back from the early days of '98 to the skins of today.

This alone makes this article well recommended for anyone who wishes to see for themselves how things have changed.

Skinning has gone mainstream. These are mere signs. Would it not be amusing if it were destroyed by its own popularity? Or are those the words of one who yearns for the olden days?

Anyhow, if my writing seems to be more twisted than ever, these last few days I've been reading 70's Defenders comics. Something that can really warp a man's mind. || craeonics | comments (6)

2004 | 03 | 21

14:49 | design contest on PersoPc.org

Brubbles informed me of a logo design contest for one of the francophone customisation sites he frequents (and administers):

“For your information, PersoPC is a french community board for and about customizing Windows. So what's this contest…

After a great start we are now looking to create our image, a way for people to recognise us. We have decided to do a logo contest. There is no restriction we are simply looking for a new logo, new colors, new image.

To enter the contest, create a logo that would represent the community of customizing that we are. Register to the board and submit you artwork, a limit of 3 per participant. The deadline is set for the 20th of April and the winners will be chosen by the admins of the board. (Jul, Extatic and BruB)

Prices include, the uses of 3 logos, the winners as the main logo and the runners up as alternate themes to the site. Prices also includes, a full license of Object Desktop offered by Stardock and a full license of Hoverdesk. No need to talk french really, as long as you can get around the site.”

Hop over to PersoPC for more.

Ah, good to see someone has finally found out how to submit news. || craeonics | comments (1)

2004 | 03 | 12

21:14 | sensible GUI Olympics deadlines

Sometimes I feel like Nostradamus. I figured one month to create you GUI Olympics skins would be a bit short. Guess I wasn't alone.

“We've received a great deal of requests, particularly by icon authors and Winamp skinners to push the submission deadline back to give more time. So we have! Judging won't begin now until May 4, 2004 and the Winamp and IconPackager events won't begin until the second week giving those authors adequate time to put together their submissions. That gives skinners and icon artists approximately 6 weeks to design and put together their contest entries.“

Ergo, you've got a month extra to enter.

So far there has been one entry in the IconPackager section, three for WinAmp and 11 for WindowBlinds, so an extension would be the logical path to follow.

Alternatively, one could say that WindowBlinds skins are easier to make than icon packs, so that more ‘skins’ for the first two should emerge by the end of the month. || craeonics | comments

21:01 | Trillian patch

Everyone's favourite news poster, Cut ‘the friendly ghost’ TheRedWire, suggested:

“crae: feel free to snag my trillian article, and even add your own spin to it. >;}“

Who am I to disappoint my fans? From skinnables:

Trillian is a skinnable program that replaces AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, and IRC clients. It comes in a freeware and shareware incarnation, each with plentiful features.

The recent update is called a security fix on the download page, but a crash fix in a news article. Either way, it is probably a good idea to upgrade. It is built into the current versions, so if you downloaded recently, you should have the fix. If not, you can download patches.

Trillian Pro is up to version 2.012, and its patch is only available in the members section. Trillian Basic is up to version 0.74H, and its free patch is right on the download page.

Quotes from the download page:

“Trillian 0.74 users should apply patch H to address a recently discovered security vulnerability. You must be using 0.74 to use this patch.”

Quotes from the news article:

“A patch is available for all version(s) of Trillian and Trillian Pro to address a recently discovered bug which may cause the software to crash at a random time. This patch includes previously released patches.”

Ofcourse, our spectral friend could also have mailed me that post. Red, you lazy bastard! || craeonics | comments (2)

2004 | 03 | 06

19:38 | tekniwear: who wants a t-shirt?

For some reason our new logo seems to appeal to people. All of a sudden everyone wants to have a t-shirt with it.

Unfortunately for them, I'm way too lazy to set up such a scheme.

But never factor out Doreen. She wants one too. And if Doreen wants something, Doreen makes sure she gets it. And a certain Dutch person might better not get in her way.

So Doreen's been investigating the options of printing some tekniwear. Notably, a long sleeve t-shirt.

The search is split up into three steps:

  • Find out if printing a t-shirt the way we want it is possible.

  • Investigate methods of payment.

  • Explore shipping options and costs.

Step one is not as easy as it sounds. Sure, it's not too hard to find places to print t-shirts in limited numbers. But those t-shirts happen to be either white or blue.

White or blue t-shirts are absolute no-no's in Tekville. The lameness of white t-shirts is beyond comprehension, while blue shirts are corporate. How are we, righteous underground bunnies, to look at ourselves in the mirror wearing sell-out colours?

No, tekniwear should be brown or if that's not possible, black.

Turns out printing shirts in a custom brown colour like we use here on the site, is only feasible if you produce them in batches of thousands.

With some luck though, a printer who can print quality black t-shirts was found (and lo and behold, just around Doreen's corner).

By the end of next week, a test run of twelve t-shirts, looking something like the mock-up below, will be printed. These will be black, long-sleeve t-shirts, carrying three silk screened images: the bunny skull and cross-bones on the front, ‘teknidermy.com’ on one sleeve and ‘skinnaholic’ on the other.

The price of a t-shirt depends on the amount of shirts that get printed, plus possible extra costs that may rise from handling payment. We currently estimate a shirt will cost in between $15 and $20, though we try to keep the price as low as possible.

Added to that will be shipping costs, which will probably be something in between $5 and $10 depending where it should get sent to (from Doreen's abode in LA to wherever you may dwell).

We (or should I say ‘Doreen’, for I ain't involved) are still investigating methods of payments and shipping, so we're not yet sure on that.

Meanwhile, what we would like to know from you, is if you would be interested in such a t-shirt. If so, how many shirts would you like to have? What size should they be? Would you prefer then to be short-sleeve instead of long-sleeve?

If you want one, let us know. We'll collect responses 'till April and then decide what our next step will be. So don't expect to have one next week, we're just planning and researching at the moment.

Also, if you have some ideas on how we could handle payment and shipping, do comment. || craeonics | comments (48)

2004 | 03 | 01

20:08 | …and the GUI Olympics kicks off

Already announced a couple of days ago, but today, the GUI Olympics has officially kicked off today.

For those of you that have been living under a rock (most likely the same folk who think Tek is long dead):

“It's a contest to see who can create the world's best WindowBlinds visual styles, icon packages, and Winamp 5 skins. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes will be provided by Stardock, Microsoft, ATI, Nullsoft, and others.”

So now you know. And I'll be damned! They finally updated that GUI Olympics site, after two years of stagnancy!

One minor note here though: it starts today and the judging will take place next month. That gives you four to seven weeks to make your stuff.

Not an awfull lot of time. || craeonics | comments (9)

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