Widgets & Gadgets, Objects, oh my...
|Mac Zealots Strike Again!|
Yesterday Microsoft announced Microsoft Gadgets. This came as a bit of an eye-opener to those of us who have been working with DesktopX for years. An eye-opener, but not necessarily a surprise... Way back with active desktop Microsoft played with this type of thing, and we knew that they had not stopped. XAML and Avalon are coming in Vista and have been in the works for years and it has been quite evident that desktop content, similar to what DesktopX can create was possible with these technologies.
I started using DesktopX in 1999 with version .01 alpha and got quite addicted. I started making Zoomers, which are more or less "Suppr Icons", but before long I was making "Plug-In" Objects, which are more or less what we now know as widgets. I started with a simple Drive Monitor, then moved on to fancier things. My favorite was my media player object which I still use regularly five years later.
One of my favorite old Zoomers.
An early Drive Monitor for two drives.
A CPU and Memory monitor.
My original FauxS-X Media player.
|These are from 2000. Two Friking Thousand!!!!.|
Now it was a bit annoying when, in 2003, Konfabulator came out for the Mac and everyone was like "this is the coolest thing ever" and "its a pity nothing like this exist for Windows". I remember the first time I saw it I was watching the Screen Savers about a year after DesktopX had been featured on the show, when, Konfabulators best friend, Leo LaPort showed Konfabulator off. The first thought I had was, "cool DesktopX for Mac". Well the thing that sucked was somehow Konfabulator became an over-hyped monster.
I have to admit that I was not to concerned; Konfab was on the Mac, and it had no development environment at all so it never lured me over. Then it was released for Windows, and they had the gall to say "We wanted to bring it to Widows because nothing like it was available". This is 3 or 4 years since I made my first "Object" for DesktopX. Anyway, I was annoyed. But Konfab did do some things that I had to admire. They were smart enough to do high quality default objects and make sure they stayed on the top of their library so first impressions stayed good. So annoying. But they were good, good developers making a pretty solid competitor, if only they would stop saying that they invented the concept.
I have to admit I chuckled a bit when Apple essentially stole Konfabulator about a year later and made Dashboard widgets. Which, as I pointed out in my last rant against Apple, is a piss poor implementation of Konfabulator. If you own a Mac, Konfabulator is still the best widget program. For the first time I got to see Konfabulator people screaming about how they were ripped off - which they were. Anyone who sees Dashboard cant deny that its style is so "inspired" by Konfabs default styles.
Now the 900 pound gorilla comes onto the scene; Microsoft, with Microsoft "gadgets", putting aside that Windows will have had "widgets" and "objects" for six years by the time that Vista ships. I am not too mad about it. I think that in the long run Windows gadgets will be good for customization, and especially for Stardock. We will be able to do high quality gadgets quicker and better since we have been doing it for years. Much like "Luna" brought attention WindowBlinds and skinning, I think that Windows Gadgets will make more people aware of gadgets, widgets, objects, or what ever they are called this week. And I am sure that Stardock will be able to use its knowledge to capitalize on it. I think DesktopX will find new avenues that would not have been possible without Vista.
Now the thing that is really chapping my hide, is this: Mac zealots are flaming Microsoft for ripping off Dashboard! Dashboard, which is a total rip of Konfabulator, which is at the very least a Mac version of DesktopX. Now as a big DesktopX fan I'm not going to the personal blog of the Windows Gadgets project developers and flaming them that they ripped of DesktopX. Yet just hours after the announcement of Microsoft Gadgets Mac zealots were on those blogs screaming, sometimes quite rudely, that MS had copied Dashboard. These poor developers, who have been working on this project since 2002, are now being accused of stealing their ideas.
The funny thing is this; I bought my first Mac about the time that Apple released Jaguar 10.2, at the same time the first Longhorn screenshots were showing up. About that same time we saw the first "Longhorn Bar", which was more or less the what is now Microsoft Gadgets. You can even see the simple analog clocks and the obligatory "slideshow" widget. Keep in mind that this was OS 10.2, and widgets did not come out until 10.4. Let's remember that Longhorn/Vista is a 5 or 6 year project and many of its tools and features have been in the works for years. Perhaps Apple's great skill is that in their ability to put out point releases every 18 months they can implement new ideas faster - even those that have been "inspired" by other developers. Yes, even by Microsoft.
So to sum up: Mac zealots, knock it off. I'm sick to death of you claiming everything good comes from the Mac. I have a Mac. I paid for it, I use it, but after reading what I read yesterday, I doubt I will ever buy another. And I beg you Steve Jobs, stop leading your fanatics by example.
Ok, I'm done with my rant. Let the flaming begin!