Monday, June 02, 2008

SOFTWARE: Green=Go. Red=Stop!

My desktop in Windows is plain. I discussed that yesterday. Even my XP desktop looks JUST like a Windows 2000 desktop, by using the 'classic' desktop look. That's right, no fancy headers and buttons, just plain, old, boring, easy-to-figure-out windows to work in.

And there's a reason. I've got the video cards and machine power to have ALL of the fancy effects. I just don't have the patience to wait for menus to unfurl or whiz bang sliding effects to take their time to come and go. I've got work to do.

But the main reason I use the Classic desktop in XP is that I can't get the Title Bars for windows to do what I want them to in ANY XP theme I've seen so far. It's simple. Let me have the active window show with a white type on dark green background title bar. I want the inactive windows to use light grey text on dark maroon red title bars. No gradients, an abomination on type MOST of the time.

I have NEVER had anyone take a look at my desktop with a myriad of open windows and NOT know what the active application is. They might not know which of several green-title barred windows might be the active one of the lot, but they know it's one of 'em.


Put two windows up with the default blue and white Microsoft defaults, and novice users will guess wrong a surprising number of times. And other themes make it a complete guessing came. I've looked for a long time for an XP theme that does what I need. I have failed. I did use Windows Blinds to build a theme that had green for active and white for inactive, but that's as close as I got. It's not bad, but I don't use it.

Oh, and the aeroglass effect in Vista takes the XP theme issue and moves it into another dimension. But that's where all the five happy Vista users live, so we won't go there.

No, I stay with the classic look for effectiveness and real performance benefits. But I would dearly love an XP theme alternative to at least make me question my stance. A little bit.

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