Steelskin.net

Got Wood?

21st October 2008 - Category: Design,Tech and Computers

iwood-1I guess wood and electronics have a shaky history, with the likes of fake wood effect as seen on the Atari 2600. However I really like natural materials. iWood from Miniot is a great example of wood in a modern and attractive design. Also love WoodStation by Sebastian Wallet. I can really see me owning both, although I am no iPod lover to the iWood is less likely. I love hi-tech futurist devices, but tactile feed back has always pushed my buttons and a nice material like wood gives that.

Aiwa AM-NX9

15th October 2008 - Category: Design,Tech and Computers

Aiwa AM-NX9 Vs Sony MZ-N710 Front

I recently purchased an Aiwa AM-NX9 from Ebay. It’s a Net MiniDisc from the brief period that Aiwa was branch of Sony before being shut down.

Sony had hoped that AIWA could become their new youth orientated brand to combat Apple and its own fading brand name. Sony at this time was serious limited by its music and movie departments demands. They couldn’t easily get MP3 support for MiniDisc let alone launch their own. Aiwa seemed to be a nice backdoor around this. So by launching some re-branded Sony kit with some funky designs they could get the ball rolling. Unfortunately AIWA was much more of an budget and older person’s brand far from the young and luxurious Apple brand they were hoping to compete with. For example my parents own a lovely dark green AIWA Mini HiFi the same colour as the oldies’ favourite the Nissan Micra.

It is a shame as I think the styling on the AIWA youth MDs were very nice. I purchased the mass market AM-NX9, although in nice Black and Red combo instead of the more common Silver and Green. Rarer models are even more impressive looking like the AM-NX1. The NX9 is a very feature starved unit, next to the MZ-N710 it looks particularly weak and no amount of styling can hide this. It is a shame that Sony didn’t keep up a AIWA or another youth brand as some of their later designs look incredibly bland and stodgy being neither the Minimalistic Apple or Maximalistic AIWA.

A Word About Web Browsers

10th September 2007 - Category: Design,Site News

You may or may not know that I am a big fan of Opera for Windows. I find it personally to be the best browser on the system. I am free tech support to my parents, so after some nasty spyware problems I shifted them over to it. I work day to day for a large firm doing web and graphic design and Internet Explorer is always a pain. I would say however that IE7 combined with Maxthon 2 is a magic combination and really the only way you should use IE at all. I don’t like Firefox much, but it is so much better than IE6 I am compelled to recommend it if Opera or IE7 doesn’t tickle your fancy.

Shiira I recently used a Mac for testing purposes and found the multi platform browsers to be seriously wanting. After a bit of testing I decided that I liked Shiira, it is the nearest thing to Opera or Maxthon I could find that ran like a real Mac app. Safari is too light for me and few people will pay for Omniweb. Shiira uses the same webkit engine as Safari, but with a vastly better interface.

IE6 or below is not supported by this website, MS promised PNG Alpha support for years and only IE7 now supports it so if you see my banner with a gray background you have a duff browser.

Websites in Safari for Windows Look Bad

4th July 2007 - Category: Design

anti-aliascomparisonWhilst it has it’s detractors I really like Cleartype, Microsoft’s Sub-Pixel Anti-Aliasing  system. Personally I prefer my text to be sharp and readable in most applications. The exceptions being DTP, Illustration Apps or print previews where font accuracy is of the highest order. Shown left is a screen shot of Opera 9, Firefox 2, IE7 and Safari 3 Beta. Personally I like Opera the most, FF looks a bit heavy, IE b0rks on the ‘'’ and Safari well just looks awful. Safari behaves nothing like any windows app, it feels like running IE in Parallels Coherence on OS X. Whilst I don’t deny that OS X does many things better, more intuitively and accurately than Windows I do find it annoying when companies just up and ignore application consistency. Again the very application I am writing this post in, Windows Live Writer, ignores any pretence of consistency. Really anything above a widget or mp3 player should stay inline with the host OS by default whether the author agrees or not. One of the key reasons Linux keeps failing to win the desktop market is everyone doing their own thing in applications. It’s hard enough to learn one new OS interface, let alone some sort of shape shifting chimera. Then again Linux isn’t alone now increasing Windows and Mac Apps just ignore consistency for the fun of it.

Return of The Polygon!

9th February 2007 - Category: Design

As you may or may not know I really like the G-Shock Polygon.  Well guess what I just received one through the post. I think I just prefer the black one a bit more than this, but I like this one very much and considering I got it for a quarter of the UK street price I am a happy man.

It’s all very tech and comes with a thick multi-language manual. Luckily I just had to set my city to LON and all was fine.

Please stop double-spacing after full stops!

2nd February 2007 - Category: Design

Urgh, I have to remove by hand so many second spaces from word documents, in order for the hidden extra space to not be encoded into a junk character in HTML. So many people are taught when learning to type that you should use a double space after a sentence. This was correct in the past when text was manually typeset and typewriters were the standard. Even latter when DOS based Word Processors were the norm this was correct. Why not now? you may ask, simple we no longer use monospace fonts, proportional fonts are the standard and old school hacks around the inadequacies of monospace spaces are just that HACKS. So unless you are using a monospace font, please for the love of all that is good in the world STOP DOUBLE SPACING AFTER FULL STOPS.

Thank You.

I guess I still like the Demo Scene

17th January 2007 - Category: Design,Tech and Computers

I grew up with my Amiga and I still have fond memories. I always loved watching Demos, not game demos, but Demo Scene demos. Classics like State of the Art by Spaceballs and 242 by Fairlight gave me insight into computer art. They used to a way of seeing cutting edge realtime effects, in all reality that is no longer the case and in a way I like that even more. The concept is now king. I really like Conspiracy‘s work. Here is a classic 64kb demo by them(I’d recommend running the real thing):

Shiny and Virtuous

10th January 2007 - Category: Design,Life

As you may or may not know I like to recycle, but I’m also rather lazy. My kitchen is often overflowing with paper, plastic, metal and glass waiting for me to take it to the local recycle bins. I like to do it all in a one’r now and then to save on shifting backwards and forwards with small amounts.

The BMW designed Ecopod E1 seems like the answer, unfortunately it is only available in the states.

New Year New Avatar

7th January 2007 - Category: Design

The last time I created an avatar theme for myself I was interested photography and fractals. So I wanted an avatar that would scale and reflect my current interests. So the the Avatar shown to the left was born. It features the white border of a Polaroid photo, the HUD of camera and my personal favorite little fluffy clouds. 😀

Well its a new year and time for a new avatar. This one is more design orientated and was made in Adobe Illustrator rather than Photoshop. My most fav’d deviation on Deviantart.com is an vector made avatar set, so I guess I needed a more relevant avatar. It comprises of an abstract C at 45 Degrees and N at 135 Degrees interlocking. The background is a ripple out, similar to an art style I haven’t used since High School. It is usually colour animated from blue to green to brown/orange to blue. Some forums don’t allow such animation so they will see like above the static blue version.

The Awfullness of CS3 Icons

4th January 2007 - Category: Design,Desktop

You may or may not be aware that Adobe has released a beta of Photoshop CS3, mainly I think to prove to those Intel Mac owners that there will be X86 versions on their way. There have been many posts of the subject so I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll just state my opinion and offer some appropriate links.

I started off liking them for,  mmm, around 5 minutes untill I realised how essentially broken they are. The CS/CS2 icons are fairly broken, but examples like Icon Masks and the comedic Their Toolbar make the point quite well. BeckleyWorks makes a good arguement, unfortunatly he also links to the Icon Masks image, which is equally true in the pre-CS style squares. I’m happy with abstract, but really icons should be icons not minature versions of the finder label highlights.