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  • Ready for change?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Ready for change?

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      • #2354653
        Susan Bradley
        Manager

        Microsoft is working on new icons for the fall release of Windows. Now there are some icons that probably do need updating… for example I’ve heard t
        [See the full post at: Ready for change?]

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2354664
        sheldon
        AskWoody Plus

        We should be installing that update sometime in early 2022 – can’t wait LOL

         

      • #2354686
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        We’ve probably all heard the apocryphal story of the kid who, upon seeing a 3.5″ floppy for the first time, said, “Cool, you 3-d printed a save icon.”

        The power of symbols is in recognition, and while youngsters today may not have existed when we were using floppies, they know it’s a save icon, and that’s all they really need to know. Doesn’t matter what they think it looks like as long as it’s recognizable.

        I know some things are before the time of some people, but when I think back to my childhood, I would not have been mystified by everyday household devices from 20 years prior. Of course, no one said any of the individuals who think the icon looks like a vending machine are mystified… they just think it looks like a different object, just like we all see a lot or a cloud or some other thing and think it resembles some other thing. That’s not a reason to change it. As long as everyone knows what it does, it’s fine.

        Now some of the programs I’ve seen have save icons that are not recognizable, because now that the floppy is passé, each is left to make up their own save icon. Some are contradictory! For example, Firefox’s icon in the PDF viewer to save the current PDF is a folder with an arrow pointing down. Blue Griffon, a HTML editor based on Firefox, uses a document icon (looks like a sheet of paper) with an arrow pointing up to save (to a local location, not publish to a web server). How does that make any sense?

        Both of those could use the plain old floppy disk save icon. I certainly do not use floppies anymore, but it’s a distinct icon that has no other meaning than to save.

        Firefox’s save button in its PDF viewer has “download” as a tooltip, which explains the download icon, but the document in question is already right there on my PC. It was already downloaded, which is why I am looking at it. What I really want to do is save the document that’s loaded in the PDF viewer, not download another copy of the same file to my browser’s cache.

        I am guessing they are dumbing it down for people who don’t know what “download” really means, but playing along with someone’s misunderstanding is a poor solution. If they had put a save icon on there, chances are everyone would know what it means, even if they don’t know why that particular thing means save.

         

        I

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.4 User Edition)

        • #2354696
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          I would guess that things like this are the result of people, in a big company, having to do something, anything, to made themselves stand out from the mass of employees, in hopes to gain the favorable attention from higher ups as well as to try to justify the wages they are being paid. This is so in many walks of life, and scientists, for example, are not exactly exempt from this, hence the “publish or perish” notion that is taken as a given by many among them. Except that scientists, engineers, artist and others, working in usually small groups, sometimes of just one person, with some luck and enough talent, may find more easily and, given the nature of their work also more naturally, opportunities to attract such attention and make progress in their careers.

          In the meantime, more of the same will keep coming. Icons are small, simple, not vitally important and, consequently, easier to get away with modifying them; but it also could be a silly change made to something bigger, more complex and really important; so it could be much worse. And probably it will be: just wait.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          7 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2354750
            lurks about
            AskWoody Plus

            Also, these individuals have forgotten the primary purpose of icons, communication, which Ascaris noted. The whole point of having a set of standard icons is for users to know at a glance what the function is.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2354731
          anonymous
          Guest

          Since you use KDE neon, I’m assuming you know what works well and what doesn’t.  You don’t get to KDE neon without spending lots of time with messy distros.

          No, you’ll never learn anything truly useful without some pain along the way.  Even though this blue file folder thing looks like some common styles of Linux icons (consumer distros are mostly hobby/low budget projects, so they deserve a break), it’s another example of kids raised by phones.  “Tech” has done a great job of keeping users as dumb and childlike as possible; it’s easier to keep them making the equivalent of a car payment monthly on phone junk.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2354809
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            I have tried a bunch of distros, but Neon’s combination of the stable Ubuntu LTS base with the cutting edge KDE stuff has worked the best for me. KDE Plasma has long been (more or less correctly) regarded as resource-intensive, slow, and buggy, but the devs have been doing great work getting it into shape. I don’t want to wait for the bug fixes to trickle down to Kubuntu LTS… there is at least one bug KDE fixed a year ago that is still in Kubuntu 20.04, and it’s one that has been a thorn in my side.

            As for the pain bit… I bring a lot of that on myself semi-deliberately, as I frequently do things  with the mindset of, “I wonder what will happen if I…” I don’t really mind if I break something, as now I know what happens, and I have a chance to learn to fix it. If I can’t, I do have backups, which are why I am emboldened to take chances in the first place. I learn a lot more that way than just having things work fine.

             

            Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.4 User Edition)

      • #2354706
        F A Kramer
        AskWoody Plus

        What about adding pickles and mustard to the hamburger icon?

        More seriously, I am convinced that much (most?) of the changes being made today, and not just in software, are done solely to justify one’s employment, as OscarCP says. This is especially true in marketing to judge from the “changes” I see in the local grocery store.

      • #2354738
        anonymous
        Guest

        Doesn’t really matter too much to me as long as I can find what I need and they don’t change terminology or flow for it’s own sake.

        Going from directories to folders was confusing but made sense for the masses.  Win 2000 gave us what I called the “Dr. Seuss Interface.”  Mac users (there were some back then :)) loved it, “Looks just like a Mac!”  My response was that long “Ughhhhh” Lurch made.

        Then the Phone interface Win 8 introduced with full immersion in Win 10, both beyond awful, especially since MS did their best “Run away!  Run away!” from phones, leaving the entire planet with a junk interface.

        Far too many people at MS with absolutely nothing to do.  They’re promoting the File Manager from Win 3 these days.  Also some bizarre utility that scans for malware missed by all the other scanners built with Windows.  Neither have any value whatsoever beyond tweaking cynics.  Yup, nothing to do!

      • #2354762
        Average-Jane
        AskWoody Plus

        The power of symbols is in recognition, and while youngsters today may not have existed when we were using floppies, they know it’s a save icon, and that’s all they really need to know. Doesn’t matter what they think it looks like as long as it’s recognizable.

        Another example is the way the Call icon usually looks on a mobile phone.  Not even landlines really look that way anymore.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2354780
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        Since the advent of the iPhone and all the great iThings that followed on,
        the iconification CROWN belongs to Johnny Ive..nothing has come close IMO
        Childsplay for adults, teenagers and children with simplicity that’s recogniseable in an instant.
        It’s like ‘modern digital heiroglyphs’ that stand the test of time.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2354824
        anonymous
        Guest

        Like a lot of stuff about Windows these days, this reminds me of the U.S. auto industry in the late 50s/early 60s. They keep changing the tailfins but not actually improving the product.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2354827
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        While we are on the topic of icons…

        Back in the early Windows XP days, I quickly learned to simply disable the Themes service (on a fresh Windows installation) to get to the Classic appearance/theme. Since I wasn’t going to be theming anything, why even have it running? You could turn it off in other ways, but this one made the most sense to me, especially since I was going to be in services.msc disabling other stuff anyway.

        One thing I could not change with a simple setting, though, was the icons. Rather than the clear, obvious icons from older versions of Windows (I had come from Win Me, which had the same UI as Win 2k), it had these “cool” pastel and semi-transparent looking things that often appeared as a fuzzy patch of color rather than an actual picture of something. The “found new hardware” icon used to look like an add-in card, quite obviously, but the new XP version of that looked like a smudge in the taskbar. If I zoomed in on it, I could see what it was, but icons are not supposed to require sleuthing to figure out what they do. It’s not a piece of modern art… it’s supposed to be about clearly depicting what is going on, and the obvious effort to be “cool” bothered me even when I could see what the thing was supposed to be.

        I didn’t want to pay for Win2k, and there were a few things I liked better about XP, so instead, I obtained a few resource editors (Resource Tuner and Resource Hacker) along with Articons Pro. I looked through all of the files in the Windows folder, and in system32, and in some other places, and found all of the places where icons were hiding. Most were in shell32.dll, a bunch in explorer.exe, and the rest scattered among what ended up being about 160 files.

        I swapped each icon from Win ME into XP where possible. I used the 256 color versions in place of the hicolor icons in XP, and I edited out a lot of the annoyances… the recycle bin became a trash can (no need to be politically correct about it!), and the orange dot shading on the 256 color folder icons was removed. Lots of stuff like that.

        I changed lots of bitmaps too. A lot of the toolbar icons were in BMP form, with magic magenta as the background color (#FF00FF). I also moved over the AVIs, and where none existed, used the bits from other AVIs to make new ones.

        I did it, though. I had XP that looked exactly like Win2k. When I posted some screenshots, some of the people accused me of editing in the About info as being from XP, but it wasn’t fake.\

        What it was, though, was a huge headache when it was time to update. Shell32.dll was replaced numerous times, and that one had a TON of stuff that had to be swapped, and I didn’t have any idea how I could automate it. I just did it by hand, over and over… until one day I just became weary of the whole thing and put it off until later, and later never came. I guess that since I knew that keeping the bad icons was my choice, I was more okay with letting it be than I had in the beginning.

        Now, in the KDE Plasma desktop in Linux (I’m going somewhere Windows-related with this, just bear with me), if I don’t like the icons presented by default, I just go to System Settings (like Control Panel), then Appearance, then Icons. I can choose another icon set from there, or press the button to browse and download hundreds more icon themes that have been made by others and posted to the KDE site.

        Icon themes are cross-desktop, so while some of the KDE specific things may not have icons, I can use an icon theme from GNOME or whichever other setup they were meant for. I can add the icons that are missing from another theme (I’ve done that a few times), and system updates don’t affect it, because the icons were never embedded in the system files in the first place.

        It’s not just icons that one can customize like that in Linux. Window decorations (the window title bar and the border around the window, if any) and the application appearance (I would call them widgets, but those are something else in Plasma), and the desktop appearance (the equivalents of the Start menu, taskbar, and the desktop itself) can also be freely themed, with buttons to download many other custom themes present in each of those as well.

        Icons, like the rest of the UI themes, are a personal thing, with some wanting them to be “beautiful” and others just wanting them to be clear about what they represent. Some people have expressed disdain for the “outline” style icons that are trendy now, while undoubtedly someone out there likes them (or they would not be out there). You can’t please everyone… so why embed them in the system files in the first place? Why must Windows users be “ready for change” because Microsoft wants it?

        Microsoft, by contrast, made it so that themes had to have a Microsoft signature to be recognized by the system. Even a kernel driver, a potentially dangerous thing if it is malicious, only had to have a signature from a recognized CA. The themes, harmless though they are, have to have a MS signature, and MS doesn’t offer signing them as a service.

        Fortunately, the aftermarket themers quickly figured out a hack to make MS think every theme was signed, so it shows them all, and fortunately again, MS has chosen not to block the hack, for reasons known only to themselves, so Windows is themeable. The icon-swapping thing wouldn’t work anymore, though, as it would unsign every one of the files, which wasn’t a thing back in the XP days, apparently.

        The point is that MS exercises tight control over how Windows looks, and it’s not for your benefit. It’s for theirs. Windows must always “look like Windows,” whatever that may mean at any given moment in time. This is part of their branding… having a distinctive Windows “look” is supposed to help them sell more copies, or something. That kind of thing is really big in the corporate world, and it’s far from being strictly a Microsoft thing. Still, it stinks, and it’s why you have to care about how the new icon set will look, or why you have to be ready for change. It’s because it’s their choice, not yours. That also stinks.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.4 User Edition)

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2354870

        Change for change’s sake. Rearranging desk chairs on the Titanic.

        Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit ESU, Dell Latitude E6330, Intel CORE i5 "Ivy Bridge", 12GB RAM, Group "0Patch", Multiple Air-Gapped backup drives in different locations. Linux Mint Greenhorn
        --
        "A committee is the only known form of life that can have least four legs and no brain."

        -Robert Heinlein

      • #2354874

        I am guessing they are dumbing it down for people who don’t know what “download” really means,

        If they don’t know what “Download” means, they should NOT have possession of a PC.

        Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit ESU, Dell Latitude E6330, Intel CORE i5 "Ivy Bridge", 12GB RAM, Group "0Patch", Multiple Air-Gapped backup drives in different locations. Linux Mint Greenhorn
        --
        "A committee is the only known form of life that can have least four legs and no brain."

        -Robert Heinlein

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2354876
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        What about adding pickles and mustard to the hamburger icon?

        Apple’s and Google’s Hamburgers emojis

        Attachments:
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2354971
          Bob99
          AskWoody Plus

          The one emoji for hamburgers that’s “built into” Windows 10:  🍔

      • #2354878
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        If they don’t know what “Download” means, they should NOT have possession of a PC.

        My brother use PCs for 30+ years. Doesn’t know what download is or how to perform downloading files. He doesn’t know how to copy, create… folders, files…
        Only last month I have taught him how to empty the recycle bin…yet he is using his PC to surf, read mail, watch video, check his monthly pension, log to his bank…

      • #2354879
        HiFlyer
        AskWoody Plus

        Seems appropriate for April1st.

      • #2355000
        td97402
        AskWoody Plus

        One fine fellow extracted all of the new icons from the release preview and made them available to download.  I was able to enjoy the nice, new shiny, icons without having to suffer the buggy preview release.

        Unfortunately, it sems they’ve been taken down, the links are dead now.

        • #2355034
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          That will be because MS own the icons and extracting and posting them is illegal.

          cheers, Paul

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