RomandDA (David Roman) is one of my best friends. He's a just an all around good guy. He's written a ton of tutorials
for DX and has even founded a site
to help the DX Community find and write scripts.
In addition to skinning and working he's also involved in Tae Kwon Do and has recently received his black belt. I couldn't be more proud. David took some time to answer questions from the community. You can look for him featured in episode 5 of the Wincustomize SkincastWhat parts of your background prepared you to be a skinner?
As a kid (yes I was one, and I have pics to prove it!) I loved to draw things, the problem was I sucked at it. When I was 12 or so I was given this stencil thing and some drafting tools, I loved this. I finally could draw things that look ½ way decent. I took drafting in school, and I went to a Tech school for Computer-Aided Design. At the time this meant Intergraph. I got a job doing what I called "assembly-line drafting" 3 shifts of people working 24hrs a day 5 days a week. I hated it, but I was really good at it, does that make any sense? After working in that world for a while I moved on to AutoCAD, and then to I.T. Support.
My last job gave me the opportunity to use all kinds of cool graphics programs for doing things like 3d renderings, and more. I had to use Corel Draw for a ton of sales things, as well as some other cool programs, this was my first real "IN" into graphics that were not just lines.Many of your creations seem to fill a 'need' (
FileTransporter, TimeCommander, HolidayCoundown, DropInfo). Is that something you strive for?
Yes, I usually look for a need then build something that will fill that need, and make it work easier, or simpler, or just plain cooler. A lot of times these things come from my own needs. Dropinfo
was created for work, we have a proprietary system that used to be solely solaris, and is now running on windows, and one of the main things I missed was having the name of the pc (in our case the DROP NAME) on top of every screen. I made this as a simple little piece of text that sat on the top of the screen, and it just kept growing. Can I add the network info, can I put in the DELL Asset tag no, etc. These kinds of things I LOVE, I get to get into the code and play and play.How do you balance your vision and what the community might want?
Visions, I had them once when I took.. oh wait.. nevermind.What would you like to see from the skinning community?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I think my main problems with skinning and DX (since that’s my area I deal in) is that people confuse widgets/gadgets/objects and what I consider skinning of widgets. I think having the ability to SKIN DX Widgets/Gadgets would help to solve this. Coding is a totally different skill than skinning an existing widget. There are a lot of really cool SKINS of widgets out there, but how many truly innovative widgets are out there? I think that the community loves these skinned widgets but when you make something that is truly unique, it's gets lost in the shuffle of “skins” and after a few of those you get a little bummed out and start to give up.Can skinning be a full time job?
If you have the ability to make some great looking graphics and have the speed to get them done, it's possible. DX as a full time job.. nope, don’t see it.
Does it sometimes disappoint you when people say that selling your skin is wrong?
These would be the same people who buy $4.99 15 second ringtones of a $0.99 song. So yeah, it pissed me off. These are normally the people that have no idea what is involved in making something like the Holiday Countdown Pro
, or Sport Strip
, or any of the really complicated Gadgets I have made. HC Pro took me somewhere around 100+ hrs, Sport Strip was more than that. And I'm asking what? $5? My god, at that rate I might be able to pay for those 100 hrs in …. 20 years? I think if the people that complain would take the time and effort to make a single skin they would see how hard this is and JUMP at the little $ that is charged for this stuff.How do you react to projects with poor user feedback?
Well, honestly I get bummed out, it's like your baby, you brought it to life, nursed it, then showed it to the world to be told “so what”. That really takes all the wind out of your sails. The way I look at things like that, if you don’t like it, just go away, if you have something constructive, let me know, if not, I don’t want to hear “this sucks”. LOLWhere would you suggest that newbies start if they want to try their hands at DX? What's the best way to develop solid fundamentals without biting off too much at first? What order of progression would you suggest, in terms of degree of project complexity?
For scripting, I always start in the same place… it's a little known resource called google, ever hear of it? It always amazes me when someone says they can’t find this or that, and I punch in the exact thing they posted about into google and in the first 3 or 4 results is their answer. The thing I have to laugh at now is that with all the DX posts and Tutorials I have made over the years, when I do a search like “DesktopX Hiding Showing Info” I see my own tutorials
show up. It's a shame when I have to steal code from myself. When this fails, and I'm stuck I go to the TRUE DX GOD – VAD_M
he makes me look like a noob. His depth of knowledge and willingness to share, it's unmatched.Other than yourself, who is your favorite skinner? Why?
If I stick to just DX, it HAS to be VAD_M
, for reasons stated before, he is amazing, not just in coding skills, but in the graphics, and implementation of his ideas. The other reason is, he is the most giving and caring person I have encountered. He basically coded all of Time Commander
and than told me it's mine, do what you want. Who else would do that?What keeps you excited/interested in making DX widgets/gadgets?
The women, yeah the groupies do it for me.. um yeah.. RIGHT
I would say it's the Challenge of something new, something I have never done before, or something someone throws out there and goes “can you do this??”. I love that stuff.
Any sneak peeks at a current project?
I don’t think I have anything in the works right now. My “REAL” life has been keeping me incredibly busy. My TKD testing
has been the thing where ALL my energies have been focused for about 6mo. That and being out of town makes it hard.
The last 2 things I did really went under the radar. The Wallpaper-Wallpape
r for Boxxi was something I thought was really just cool as crap, it did some things I had not seen anyone do in DX before, and it has around 300 in 2 months. That one held a lot of potential, but alas like I said before people like the same things skinned over and over, not new stuff it seems.
The other is the new QueVue
, it's really a niche product, so I figured it wouldn’t get a lot of downloads, even with the Weekend Pick. It was something I had hoped to do some cool things “with” Netflix on, but they just didn’t seem interested. What do you see as the Future of DX:
Glad you asked that.. LOL
DesktopX is without a doubt THE most under-rated program on the market today. The amount of things it can create is truly limitless. Just look at some of the things VAD_M
and myself have done, as well as sViz
, and more (not meaning to leave anyone out). But I think that is also DX’s downfall, it doesn’t fit neatly into one little market, it's all over the map. Weather widgets, clocks, to entire desktops, and more. How do you classify a program like that?
What I would love to see happen is to have happen is to give DX the ability to be skinned via Skin Studio. This would allow people to make a great widget and then have it “match” whatever the skin is that is installed. That would be amazing. I would also love to see some changes in how WC handles DX, but I have mentioned that way to many times.