Skype 4.x sucks ass!

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,software | Monday, November 9th, 2009

Skype 4.1 UI

What the fuck is it with developers and their horrible UI designs these days?

It seems it all had started with Vista, or perhaps with the WPF? No fucking idea, but the UIs of the programs I use very often, well, pretty much all the times, are terrible! Distracting, eye-hurting, slow, un-ergonomic, cluttered, very difficult to use and most of all annoying.

One of such a program is Skype. I’ve dumped the dumb ICQ for good and I can’t seem to start liking the Messenger, so I’ve got stuck with Skype if I need to IM someone. Besides a lot of my friends are on Skype already, so it was only a logical choice. However, since I’ve upgraded to Windows 7 recently and I tried to install the version of Skype I’ve been using for ages, I found it doesn’t start under Windows 7. Not even when run in a compatibility mode. When logging in it silently crashes. So I started looking around for a solution as I really can’t stand the shitty UI of Skype 4.x.

Thankfully there is a solution if you like the UI of Skype 3.x and don’t mind losing the 4.x new features, however, you’ll have to downgrade quite a lot as the latest 3.x version (3.8.0.188 from November 19, 2008) doesn’t work either under Windows 7. I had to downgrade to Skype 3.6.0.248 (February 5, 2008), which seems to be working even without having to run in the compatibility mode.

The UI wars of modern software should be ended soon. I refuse to believe that Microsoft, Autodesk or any other company can’t afford real UI specialists to do the job RIGHT! The current UI bullshit that we see everywhere is just insane! It doesn’t serve anyone! Not the seasoned pros, not the newcomers, not nobody! Perhaps, maybe, the PR suites are happy, but that’s about it.

I fucking hate modern UIs just for the sake of being “IN”.

I’ll never buy another Western-Digital MyBook HDD

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Friday, June 26th, 2009

wd_banner

Let me get this straight: I love WD HDDs, all eight of those in my workstation are from WD. They’re super-reliable, fast, affordable and quiet. On the other hand, the MyBook external drives are really shitty!

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mental ray’s FAIL Vol.3

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,technical | Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

And here we go again.

This is another of those errors I can’t seem to get rid off. It’s not as severe as in the previous example, but still annoying as hell.

mr hair bug

The problem is that mental ray renders pure black pixels or lines, completely randomly. It doesn’t write them in the alpha, though, but writes them in the beauty pass. Sure enough, with motion blur and everything, you can pretty much get rid of these bugs, but sometimes the errors are much larger than that and become extremely difficult to get rid of. Like in here:

mr hair bug 02

Another of those errors… I hate mental ray.

mental ray’s FAIL Vol.2

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,software,technical | Monday, April 13th, 2009

As a follow up to my previous rant about mental ray in 3ds Max, here’s another beautiful example of its “usefullnes” in production.

I’ve been working on some “fur” shots on the latest project I’m about to finish in about two weeks from now and I haven’t berated so much in a long time! Here’s a test shot of a furry ball very roughly put together just to demonstrate the point:

mrPrim beauty

and here is the problem seen on the very same render’s alpha channel:

mrPrim alpha

this is what happens when you superimpose the render over an arbitrary background:

mrPrim comp

Isn’t it wonderful?!

I remember this bug from the old 3ds Max 8 days. Unfortunately, it’s the year 2009 and this was rendered in 3ds Max 2009 (will test 3ds Max 2010 asap) with mrPrim set as the Hair Rendering method. Now this can be avoided by using a different Ray Sampler the Fast Rasterizer, however, this option yields even less predictable and reliable results. Although the hair alpha channel gets rendered correcty, I often get artifacts in the render buffers in forms of random black pixels or random black lines (not affecting the alpha though), but some times the rendering simply gets stuck forever never actually finishing the current frame, which is very bad!

So, please, those of you who use mental ray daily, educate me, I can’t believe this would just slip out in this form as a “final and ready for production” product! I refuse to believe so!

mental ray truly is MENTAL!

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,software,technical | Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Having to work with mental ray on the current project has been the most painful experience I’ve had in a long time. The countless crashes, low quality and constant “bugs” during the rendering almost drove me mad! mental ray is a strange renderer. It has some amazing features, but at the same time it lacks so much functionality and then there are the bugs (random black pixels or random black lines over your renders, unpredictable crashes etc…). I really hate it and can’t wait for this project to come to an end and I’ll be able to go back to my beloved finalRender Stage-1 and Stage-2 (for Maya).

Vista is getting on my nerves…

loocas | opinions,software,technical | Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

I’m starting to seriously think about either reverting to Windows XP or radically switching to a different OS every day.

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