Archive for April, 2009

To go Linux or stay with MS Windows?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

One of the things I often do is read many of the forums for both Microsoft Windows and also Linux and read through the debates on what is better for what.  There is no question that if your a gamer MS Windows is the choice OS to use, but what about everything else non game?

I am tired of the fanboi Linux users that simply bag Microsoft as the evil business just for the sake of doing so and trying to make themselves appear geeky by saying linux rules.  Don’t get me wrong I am not an MS fanboi, or linux for that matter.  I have used Mac OS’s Linux OS’ and of course the Windows variety with my main PC now running dual boot Ubuntu and Vista.  But at this stage I am probably using Vista more than I use Ubuntu.

It is not that I don’t like Linux it is the familiarity of the applications I have and continue to use on Windows.  There is also this niggling fact that I own a paid for version of Vista and I kind of think well I own it so why not use it.

It is also a case of comparing what linux is trying to be, now lets face it the GUI is based on MS Windows with a little Mac OSX thrown in.  Will linux just become a Windows clone which in turn is becoming a Mac clone?  If I take ubuntu 9.04 as an example it really is an OS that is probably smack in the middle of both the Mac and MS OS’s – but is that a good thing or not?

To try and define what is better that the other is a personal choice.  I will say however that for general use the Ubuntu 9.04 install is very fast compared to Vista, but with Vista to try and compare I have many background processors running – these mainly being the firewall. virus scanner, malware checking and spyware watcher – apart from that it works a treat.  This is where linux does shine, in that if I was to go pure linux the need for those scanners is pretty much gone as linux is not as open to those issues as windows is.

So my dilemma is do I continue to use Windows Vista and when its released update to Windows 7 or do I start the major switch to linux….. tough call really and I am not sure where I stand (yet) – so what do you use and why do you use it?  I am not interested in the fanboi issues, I want to know the real reasons for your choice of OS.

There is obviously a cost factor here, in that to continue operating windows I will need to update at a cost to me , whilst with linux the updates will always be free – so long as they keep providing those updates.

Hmm to go linux or stay with MS Windows?

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Replacement Icons for 7-zip (ver 2)

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I have had quite a few people wanting to use the icons I put together to replace the default awful looking 7-zip ones with many requests for the dll for the 64-bit version.  Instead of trying to keep pace with the 7-zip updates what I have now done is simple created the icons and added a file to change the registry entries for the links to each icon that 7-zip uses.

The icons are simply ‘ico’ files within an icon folder, of which after you have installed 7-zip you copy the ‘icon’ folder to your 7-zip install folder, for example c:/Program Files/7-zip/ and then run/open the registry file in the archived linked below (you may need to confirm as an admin user to do this).  To show the new icons simply log-off your windows account, log back in and presto your icons are now a little nicer than the default ones 🙂

Feel free to share the zip file below, any link backs are very much appreciated 🙂

7zip Replacement Icons

7zip Replacement Icons

7z Download the replacement icons

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Less is more….

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Ever heard of the phrase ‘Less is more’?  I am sure you have and you only need to look at the internet and some of the most popular websites to know this is so true.

For myself and many others I talk to getting to a website with a busy header, content on the left and right, some in the middle, some in the top of the middle a few more in the centre at the bottom and then there is the footer, oh and somewhere in all that mess is a menu – you know what I mean, the cluttered website.

So why is it that Less is more?

Well branding for one, how easy is it to see your name and logo if your name and logo is clearly visible and not being distracted by other header images or other highlighted content?  Google of course is the first that always comes to mind.  Google has shown that over the many years it has existed it has run a site that is… well simple comes to mind.  It has its logo, brightly coloured and very large when you consider the size of the text on the rest of the page.  Compare this to Yahoo.  While Yahoo is still a well known brand what comes to mind first for most people – do you Google it or Yahoo it?

Having a page less cluttered also helps the reader read your page.  An uncluttered page will have a more natural reading flow from top to bottom which is very user friendly.  Having extra columns with flashy signs might draw a persons attention which is fine if that is what you want (and many do), but if you want your content to matter then that is what you want your readers to see.

If you must have additional columns for content navigation and general awareness a great example is A List Apart (http://www.alistapart.com/) with its main content to the left for better reading and its columns while there are kept simple but easy to follow.  This also shows how a page can be well styled visually while still maintaining that simplicity.

There are lots of example sites out there on the internet that show how less is more… so consider it when designing your next website and maybe make your site less cluttered and strive for less to get more.

Other example sites;

That Net Site (http://thatnetsite.com) < shameless plug 🙂

Twitter (http://twitter.com/)

The Web Squeeze (http://www.thewebsqueeze.com/)

Creaticca (http://daily.creattica.com/)

Apple Computers (http://www.apple.com/) < Their ads often show good examples of less is more….

If you have other good examples of how less is more please share them

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