A science-fiction-inspired desktop UI for your Lin/Win/Mac system


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/23/simulacrum-sf.html


why so much grimdark


Hmmmn. Not sure about this. It may be a fun icebreaker on a large tablet, but it reeks of an impractical, gee-whiz, Hollywood UI. I would need to give it a test drive before installing it on one of my machines.


You use computers mostly at daytime, I’m guessing. Remember you’re basically staring at a fluorescent light bulb. Black ink on white paper is a technology artifact we’ve replicated into an inappropriate medium.


right but in deep space when you’re hiding from the aliens this stuff is the UI you want to be using, mostly.


There’s that. This is just sore spot for me because my 1993-era-HTML web page:


…was cruelly mocked on slashdot for its ugliness even if it is only 9K. Some posters specifically asked why I did the “ugly” white-on-black look. I blame Steve Jobs for wanting to give the Mac a “paper” look to go with the multiple fonts and general WYSIWYG claim. Then Windows had to follow him and look like B-on-W to “compete”.

To me, especially at this time of year where it’s dark before people are home from work and all your home computing is in the dark, it’s like a competition for worst 1970s colour scheme:

I give much thanks for that “invert page colours” extension for Chrome.


I see what you did there :slight_smile:


Yeah, if I’m choosing among different phone apps that do the same thing, the ability to have a white-text-on-black-background interface almost always wins the day.

It’s not “grim” it’s easy on the eyes.


Aren’t all futuristic interfaces either iOS clones or grimdark cyberpunk dystopia?

(The joke is on us, of course, since we appear to be on schedule for a cyberpunk dystopia powered by iOS and clones thereof; take that futurists!)


I’ve been using i3 to great effect, though I’ve been working on a fresh configuration or I’d throw up a screenshot. If you want a cyberpunk theme, a tiling window manager is the way to go,

  • electron-builder version=20.36.2
  • loaded configuration file=package.json (“build” field)
  • writing effective config file=dist/builder-effective-config.yaml
  • rebuilding native production dependencies platform=linux arch=x64

sigh People are always making assumptions… Odd, because a portable Raspberry Pi setup seems like a natural for this. I wonder what needs to know the (wrong) architecture, since the javascript engine knows the correct one already.

Oh well. Tinker, tinker…

eta: I tried changing x86 to arm7l in package.json

  • rebuilding native production dependencies platform=linux arch=armv7l
  • packaging platform=linux arch=armv7l electron=2.0.13 appOutDir=dist/linux-armv7l-unpacked
  • downloading parts=8 size=46 MB url=https://github.com/electron/electron/releases/download/v2.0.13/electron-v2.0.13-linux-armv7l.zip

That’s taking a while.


This would look odd coupled with steam-punk themed hardware… or the other way around. Pineapple-on-Pizza Effect.


Oh, I dunno. It would depend in the overall theme. I can envision it as being part of an overall “nothing but alternate universe technology” look.


Please, sir, may I take lessons from you?

No sarcasm at all. I’m really interested in learning how to build a personal “cyberdeck”, and I don’t even need Mks I-VII to do anything but facilitate my fiction-writing. But trying to figure out the basics (as in, which '…For Dummies" book or Make: magazine kit to get first) has me stumped.


ok I looked at the page and it’s not white text of black background it’s white text on relatively bright blue background, which for my eyes at any rate is very hard to read https://www.preventblindness.org/computers-and-your-eyes (ironically I don’t think the web pages at prevent blindness are really designed with accessibility in mind)


Yeah! Bring back fsn!


I thought that was the whole point.


My review: 4/5
I tried to post this using Lynx in the but I forgot no javascript / no joy. I think the file / folder icons aren’t quite the right kind of retrofuturistic. I’d prefer just [folder] and ‘file’ text tags but I’m too lazy to compile it myself.


LOOKS LIKE: any old tiling window manager, with conky or gkrellm or something running in the corner

main question is why would anybody need all that stuff visible on the screen at the same time