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New Longhorn Screenshots – Ick!

I have no idea how anyone could possible think these new Longhorn screenshots look good.

19 Responses to "New Longhorn Screenshots – Ick!"

  1. My favorite one is the Longhorn install screen. Notice the buttons on the screen at this url if you can spot them. You'll see a Continue button in the lower right-hand corner; a Cancel button in the upper right-hand corner and a Back button in the upper left-hand corner. Are you freakin' kidding me?! It's absolutely mind-boggling that Microsoft has been working on Longhorn for so many years and this is level of polish on UI. They always keep saying that later betas will have the "real" Aero UI -- what a joke.

  2. Good gosh! I assumed that it was some sort of lame Linux skin at first.

    Is Microsoft serious? Do they hate their users enough to put the menu bar UNDER the location bar?? To make everything a bland grey that kills the eye's ability to distinguish things? To just have a big ugly crap on the screen? I mean, I've complained about Linux's inconsistent look before, but this is… Ugh. It's just unspeakably bad. They've scrambled the position of items on the screen for no discernible reason. Do they really pay people to design this garbage?

    But hey, there is some consistency with old versions of Windows-- they kept the tray of taskbar icons and bubble pop-ups. 'Cos, you know, there's nothing HORRIBLY WRONG with those… Except that they're impossible to manage and make no sense and things come and go at random with no input from the user at all. Heaven knows, I prefer to get all of my system information from a comic book ballon that comes and goes as it wills.

    (On that topic: How hard would it really be for MS to make a "Taskbar Manager" to allow you to add and remove icons from that thing? I mean, I know we can't expect them to have something as sensible as CMD-dragging icons out of the taskbar, but is it really so impossible to centralize the adding and removing of those pieces of shit? My favorite example of MS's incomprehensible idiocy is that their "solution" to the taskbar problem is to make icons go away automatically at random-- which they do EVEN AFTER YOU CLICK THE BUTTON TO REVEAL ALL THE ICONS!! Yeah, I could expect them to go away again eventually, maybe sure. But while my mouse is still over the taskbar? And it's been less than 20 seconds? Why Bill, why?)

  3. Also, I know this is a pre-beta or whatever, but why do they STILL have 32x32 16 color icons scattered in at random? Didn't XP come out in 2001? They've had 4 years to get someone to draw a nicer looking control panel icon-- was that person in a coma of some sort? If not, are they paid to not draw a new icon, and if so, how do I sign up to not draw icons for Microsoft? It sounds very lucrative.

  4. I love the Desktop Window Manager dialog on page 4. Apparently, the minimum requirements include a 0.0GHz processor! I know it's beta, but they could at least but in a dummy string that says something sensible. If I need a 0.0GHz processor to run Windows, then I can just take that scorching hot processor out then and still meet the 0.0GHz requirement, right?

    I say keep up the good work Microsoft! Your idiocy is our gain.

  5. That is so awful. How will I be able to stay still until December 2006?

    Oh, right, I'm getting Tiger on Friday. And whatever comes after Tiger BEFORE Redmond Bob, Bill Gates and Sweat Ballmer let's their cow out.

  6. I'm not wild about it, and the brushed metal theft is obvious, and I don't like the "browser controls" above the menu bar... but for a pre-beta release it's not bad. I've seen a lot worse. It's worth keeping in mind that they've got more than one year left on development, and that XP looked decidedly worse when on that stage (no, the fisher-price look isn't the only look it ships with).

  7. "5048 officially marks the start of what is promising to be an exciting time for the next 2 years for us in the beta world."

    My god... They do like to torture themselves, Windows users? My favorite bits are page 4 and 5 on - the beta-beta of the new GUI engine showing off how it looks when you minimize and maximize windows, and then the "SearchScroller" as the author names it (*cough, cough* Spotlight=)..

  8. Wow, that is ugly. bad color combination, poorly-rendered text, bad mix of fonts, and some really ugly shadows under some text.

    And it's unusable .. the combination of no color contrast between widgets and the background and the lack of appropriate whitespace makes it extremely difficult to see the widgets. I don't think Aqua is incredibly beautiful, but it's very easy to use as the widgets stand out from the window background so you can find them. (And they're placed in a sensible manner, unlike Microsoft's seemingly random placement.)

  9. Microsoft culture is owned by geeks.

    Apple culture is owned by wanna-be artists who happen to have geek skills.

    Is it any wonder Microsoft gets it wrong and Apple gets it right?

  10. Those screenshots are more repulsive than Tubgirl and Goatse and the XML-RPC Specification combined. Wow.

    Microsoft still doesn't get it. If they think that they can make a truly good interface by redesigning individual widgets to make them look more metallic and shiny, then they're sorely mistaken. And if they think that they can make a good interface by redesigning individual widgets to make them look more like Aqua, but keeping enough differences so that it won't look like a complete ripoff, then they're admitting that they have no sense of style.

    To be honest, I don't really mind the current XP interface (Luna?), at least in the more subdued, less Teletubbies-esque color scheme. The problem is simply that good design goes beyond widget and frame appearance. Microsoft can change their widgets to their hearts' content, but it won't make poorly-designed programs look good. Aside from icons and widgets, the interface hasn't changed much since Windows 95. Mac OS X programs that follow the Aqua HIG will look good, and I always prefer such programs; if Microsoft even provides such guidelines, it appears that even their own programs ignore them (or the guidelines themselves are bad). It makes me wonder if they have any professional designers, or if they just have their geeks draw widgets in MSPaint.

    Speaking of complete ripoffs, I've noticed that the new Monotype Segoe (the UI font in these screenshots, and presumably for the final Longhorn release) is an almost exact copy of Adobe Myriad, a beautiful humanist sans-serif font, now very well-known for being Apple's official font, seen in all their marketing materials. (For a few similarities, look at the general proportions and stroke widths, the slanted top of the lowercase 't', and the round dots over 'j' and 'i'.) Could this be another act of intentional Apple-copying on Microsoft's part, or could licensing this nice-looking ripoff font be coincidental?

    And speaking of fonts, why is it that they still can't seem to do actual anti-aliasing? It looks like in these screenshots, the text is just pixel-rendered and then blurred on the edges a little. That's, like, so 1995.

    Bah. Microsoft's heyday is over, and I'm sure they know it. Over the upcoming years, I fully expect their influence to whither and fade. At this point, I wonder how many times the Windows "Tiger-Food" Longhorn release date has been pushed back. I'm starting to have Copland déja-vu over all this.

  11. And speaking of fonts, why is it that they still can't seem to do actual anti-aliasing? It looks like in these screenshots, the text is just pixel-rendered and then blurred on the edges a little. That's, like, so 1995.

    Are you disinformed or are you just being inflammative? Microsoft has "ClearType", their version of subpixel anti-aliasing. The earliest mention I could find about it on their site was from April 1999, and it looks like it had already been made public by then. ClearType debuted in Microsoft Reader, an eBook-reading program for Pocket PC, and soon followed to Windows XP as a built-in but optional setting. I should expect that it's made default in Longhorn.

    Again, ClearType is subpixel antialiasing. Three out of OS X's four settings for text rendering uses similar subpixel antialiasing methods, and produces similar (while not identical!) results. The fact is that they started doing "actual" anti-aliasing a while ago, and that the difference between pre-ClearType antialiasing and ClearType is stunning. I'm simply calling bullshit on this, and not as some kind of crazy Windows advocate or anti-whatever (I use both OS X and XP daily).

    I agree with most of the rest of your comment, aside from "ripping off Apple" regarding fonts.

  12. Remember, this is a beta. Perhaps they'll improve things before the final release. Perhaps.

  13. "Remember, this is a beta. Perhaps they'll improve things before the final release. Perhaps."

    1) It's a "beta" they've been working on for years and years.

    2) If they weren't ready to change the interface, wouldn't it just have a standard Windows look plus a couple rounded icons? The problem with this is that they're trying to add design elements, but they're adding them in at random for no discernible reason. Sure, to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but with this design, Microsoft came back from the hammer store with a "soup bowl" consisting of a couple interlocked hammers. My meaning is, sure Microsoft might just be testing out its ability to use some new UI gejaws they invented, but if so why did they use those gejaws to build something so impractically and uselessly different?

  14. Jesper: I've heard of this "ClearType," and demonstrations on MS's website make it seem very good, but in these screenshots, it looks terrible. When it's a small, light font, like in title bars, it's harder to read; when it's a larger or thicker font, the antialiasing around the edges hurts my eyes. I can't see how it's supposed to be better. I've tried all four of OS X's settings, and none look as bad as it does in Windows.

  15. you sure those aren't just bad skins? it doesn't look different from XP in any significant way at all...

    or maybe i'll be an OSist and just say "all Windows look alike."

  16. I suspect Microsoft purposefully made it look ugly so they could surprise folks with the real thing.

    Conceptually its more of the same though. Start menu: Ick. Explorer: Ick. Where's the promised innovation?

    They may be able to make it prettier but using it is still going to suck once the "new OS feel" wears off and the old things you hated about XP's UI experience are still there.

  17. Hmmmm those screenies don't look much much than the average homepage on the net *grin*

    just poorly asasembled graphic snipets in the hope to give a GUI in the end.

    on the other hand, it looks like every windowds i have seen - i dont see an innovation in the interface ?

    This is SO incredible in comparison to Tiger (and of course panther too, to a large degree, but tiger's gui is a polished/finetuned panther look) - I really think Windows looks like a single-pass rendered preview from a thumbnail while OSX was the finished scene (in terms of display quality)

    Just glad to have something OSX when I see Windows...

    But hey, its the same for every Hardware: They keep on making it "round", they add jelly-colours, fancy bezels etc - but it always will look like McDonald Meal Toys

    Steve Jobs said it years ago: " The problem with microsoft is, they have no taste. They have absolutely no taste (...)"

  18. Someone today told me Microsoft does their UI last (which goes to show you how important they think it is). I don't believe it, of course. Mac OS X was visible, publicly, three to four years prior to its 10.0 release.

  19. "I've heard of this "ClearType," and demonstrations on MS's website make it seem very good, but in these screenshots, it looks terrible."

    ClearType is rendered for the particular screen it's used on. Screenshots can't do it justice at all, just as screenshots of OS X's anti-aliasing can't.

    I personally prefer the latter over ClearType, but ClearType looks far from terrible.

    "Someone today told me Microsoft does their UI last (which goes to show you how important they think it is)."

    That's correct. The Whistler (Windows XP) alphas had the Windows 2000 / Windows Neptune (never released Windows 2000 Home Edition) look at first, then the Watercolor theme (Google for it). It wasn't until the early 2001 betas that the Luna look was added, and before it, the entire GUI had /no/ hints whatsoever of Luna.

    There's no reason to believe that this will be any different for Longhorn. The alpha and beta UIs are purely experimental; judging the OS by them is pointless.