ok, couldn't help but post one more quickie blog ... yeah, yeah, i'm flooding the planet. bite me (after the people who want this entry to be the plasma entry but who are going to be disappointed; i told them they could bite me in my last entry so they get to go first)
so, i'd like to talk briefly about "software that looks professional" and then talk about the power of public (near-)nekidness. and by "i'd like" i mean "i will". only the cats can stop me now. (and one of them is trying pretty hard, i might add, by laying on the keyboard)
i just read this blog entry by albert astals cid detailing how mauricio piacentini updated the artwork in kmahjongg. and in the comments some people were noting that the new artwork (which looks awesome, btw) is not as easy for play since the tiles aren't as differentiated as in the current kde3 art. some people in the comments, however, noted that the graphics were polished (they are), easy to read (they are) and serious (ok, perhaps) ... which, they purported made the application professional in nature as if that's something to shoot for.
now, nobody wants to have their software called "poorly done". and these days "professional" has been twisted to mean the opposite of "poorly done". unfortunately, there are many ways for something to be "well done" that don't fit the criterion the posters noted as making the new graphics "professional". you know, like actually works better for the user. in this case, which nice screenshotware, the new grahpics may actually be worse for players as noted by several mahjongg players in the comments (many of whom also noted the new artwork is gorgeous looking)
and this leads me to my rant: sometimes people pursue an idealized version of a "professional look and feel" and end up with crap. by "crap" i mean "doesn't actually do what the user wants or needs". it's no win to short change the user in an attempt to slickify your software.
good news is that one can do both, but it requires holding in your head both goals at once. in kde we've often paid so much attention to empowering the user that we forget the other goals at hand as well. we've been working very hard to change that, but let's not swing the pendulum all the way to the other side of the arc here ...
for those advocating a "more professional" look without noting the balancing issues of user first design, i'd really encourage you to consider that it is more than just clean lines and a low colour count featuring low saturation colours ... it's part of it, but not all of it. because, let's be honest, the current "that's professional look" stands a good chance of looking like bell bottoms and leg warmers in 5 years time but the user never goes out of style.
but enough of the ranting. =) i picked up a plush bathrobe (which t. had been talking about needing/wanting over the last month or three) and a little something to go on underneath it. i went over to her place before she got home from work and laid a path of roses from the door to the gift box in her living room (yeah, yeah, i'm a romantic schmuck). some four hours later (it's now dark outside) i hear a tapping on my living room window. outside is t. wearing the something for underneath the robe and a wonderfully sleek and shiny full length coat with a pair of strappy little platform shoes ... when i open the door for her there's some random person on the street trying to get her attention. when he sees me he makes eye contact and then mutters something about "did i see that girl with .. uh .. a guy? go past .. near here.. a bit ago..... uuuh .." haha.. nice try. caught with his eyes in the cookie jar and really not prepared. boo
hmm.. one of my icecream build cluster nodes just disappeared off the network (i only have 3, but that's better than 1 =) ... turns out the cat was playing with the switch. again. grrr...