virtual plastic

resistance against aero glass

New icons

“Less is more.”
—Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (↵1959)

Upgrading your hardware for tilting your windows “threedimensionally” on your desktop, as Madotate did for Win2k already years ago? For having simulated plexiglass frames around your windows? Well, I did not buy one of the new Sony LCD-televisions, exactly because they have a physical plexiglass rim, in turn cheaply metal-framed—sharp edges, corners, and all. A true masterpiece of design. If you opt for a mid-sized device and place it on the floor, the upper needle-pointed corners are exactly at the height of little children’s eyes, and perfectly placed to rip open every passing-by adult’s upper limb. That can’t happen with Vista’s Aero Glass windows, granted. They have rounded corners, I know. Anyway, I upgraded my hardware significantly—my machine would swallow Vista without recognizing, but I did not install it. Instead I again opted for XP Pro, because from everything I read and saw, I do not see what edge Vista could give me. Furthermore I am used to XP, it runs perfectly stable, and has everything I need. In fact it has way too much for my taste when it comes down to the graphical user interface (GUI). It is always the same with me … every time I get a new system I more or less immediately start to tweak it to my taste. At first in terms of performance, but sooner or later in terms of look and feel of the operating system (OS) as well. During the last days I had something like a backflash to the times when I first got Win2k. Back then I dived headfirst into GUI modding and more. Do you remember the time, when there was the race for completely exchanging Win2k’s bootscreen and logon/-off windows? One file name I will always remember: msgina.dll. Because of the “Gina” in it, in my mind I always pictured it as some Italian woman, Monica-Bellucci style. Sick that is? Well, you can’t do nothing against them associations. As far as I recall, the mentioned .dll contained the bitmaps for the logon/-off windows. Once resource-hacked, you were able to substitute the .bmps by your own ones. Ah, those were the days … With GUI-modding it seems to be just the same as with casemodding—it became a professionalized business, at least in parts. But there of course still is the real thing around on the Net, still going strong. This morning I restumbled into a website I knew from ye olde days: virtual plastic—it has everything you need, if you want to change the looks of your windows-OS manually, by haunting its innards. Now for my project. I want to erect a beacon of hope against the resource-hungry design craze of Aero Glass and the like. My XP Pro will be stripped of every single bit of so-called funky “design”, I want a perfectly flat thing, uncolourful. I want this style from the very moment on I hit the ignition button of my machine. I do not want to through a skin over the GUI, I want the thing itself permanently changed. During the weekend I started by designing some flat icons for the desktop [see above]. They are real .ico files, have transparency, and contain 128×128, 64×64, 48×48, 32×32, 24×24, and 16×16 pixels versions. I am not yet content with their looks. Once I am, and once the set is complete, I’ll release the whole pack. Having clear-cut, easy-to-recognice icons renders the text beneath them superfluous. To get rid of it was easy in 2k, but is a little awkward in XP. Next task to accomplish …