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Author Topic: Is the Windows start menu dead?  (Read 25377 times)
nontroppo
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« Reply #75 on: February 08, 2008, 03:47:39 PM »

Yikes, I just watched the Vista start menu demo. Lots of pseudo-cognitive psychology put me off this app for life...

Is the start menu dead? For me it mostly died in Windows 98 when I started using Litestep. Litestep of course required lots of tweaking, so the gains in productivity over the clumsy start menu were offset by writing config files to hone your interface Wink Though I oscillated between explorer and alternative shells for app launching (and also task management where the start bar sucks) I was never quite satisfied. Until I found FARR. This was a Tarantino moment for the start menu, a complete gruesome yet swift death. As a mouse/keyboard flip-flopper I still can't get anything close to the power of find-as-you-type launchers mouse-wise.

I do like the concept of radial menus however; sapiens is a mac launcher that uses them (quicksilver also can use radial menus for key/mouse hybrid interface):

http://www.donelleschi.com/sapiens/design.php
http://www.donelleschi.com/sapiens/

I don't know if there are app launchers in windows that use radial menus for launching (mozilla had a radial menus extension IIRC), but they offer several ergonomic benefits over the more common linear menus... Maybe a future Windows start menu will be round?  Cool
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Darwin
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« Reply #76 on: February 08, 2008, 04:29:20 PM »

Yikes is an understatement! I just watched the video demo as well and don't "get" the emphasis on visual memory. Version one DID emphasize positioning - it was broken up into "grids" and featured large icons. Since version two, though, the emphasis, to my mind, has been to work with the existing start menu "ethos" and enhance it. Using VSM - just fired it up and updated for the first time since the late summer - I find the icons and the text far too small for "visual memory" to be enhanced and visually scan the menu for programmes and other items by name. Anyway, funny how enthusiastic one can be for something and how that enthusiasm can wear off. I still think VSM is a fine start menu replacement and that it would benefit some users. For me, I just don't rely on the start menu enough to make it worth my while.
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nontroppo
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« Reply #77 on: February 08, 2008, 05:43:38 PM »

Yeah, the items in the menu look small and uniform, not so identifiable and not really structured (visuo-spatial memory could be enhanced by category regions, a sort of way-point navigation).

One idea I love from sapiens is contextuality. What I may be looking for in the menu  may depend on what I've just been doing. So if I've just downloaded an image I may want to edit it. Image editors should be emphasised. etc. There are lots of cool innovations to make in this field...
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Darwin
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« Reply #78 on: February 08, 2008, 05:56:50 PM »

(visuo-spatial memory could be enhanced by category regions, a sort of way-point navigation)

This is exactly what version one did... I honestly thought that version two signalled a change in direction from this, though. I like the contextual idea that you mention. Done correctly this would be a real boon (done haphazardly it is likely that this would drive me to drink!).
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« Reply #79 on: February 08, 2008, 08:31:26 PM »

Whoo, seems someone drank the kool-aid. That demo is a bit over the top for what it's nothing more than a expanded XP Start menu. It's better than the default in Vista, but I think Microsoft also provided an option to use the old Start menu without forking $20 for "visual memory".

And if you want to activate your visual memory even more, use Rocket Launcher. Free, and with big icons smiley
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Dormouse
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« Reply #80 on: February 09, 2008, 02:01:24 AM »

use Rocket Launcher. Free, and with big icons smiley

Rocket Launcher??

Do you mean RocketDock (rocketdock.com)?

I don't know, and haven't found a 'Rocket Launcher'.
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Lashiec
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« Reply #81 on: February 09, 2008, 07:54:26 AM »

Erm... yeah, RocketDock embarassed
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techidave
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« Reply #82 on: February 09, 2008, 03:27:55 PM »

There are several things that "annoys" me about VSM.  It probably is customizable but for me it would take way to long to get it to something more to my liking. 

The all black background.
different default order than the default XP start menu.
I don't find it easier to remember where things are at in VSM.

One of things I did like was the search bar.

In the mean time, I will keep trying the Launch Bar Commander unless I can find something else that strikes my fancy.
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Darwin
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« Reply #83 on: February 09, 2008, 06:41:37 PM »

Fair comments, Dave. VSM is/was supposed to get skinning, but I don't think it's yet been implemented. You can get the XP start order by right clicking and selecting "sort by type and name" and de-select "keep the positions". What this does is effectively turn it into XP's start menu tweaked - it's bigger and you've got the search bar plus the keyboard shortcuts.
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techidave
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« Reply #84 on: February 09, 2008, 09:40:23 PM »

I will give your tweaks a try the next time I am on that particular computer.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #85 on: February 10, 2008, 05:24:10 AM »

yeah, RocketDock

Grateful to you for mentioning it because it finally go me to look at docks.

What I would really like is a proper Donation Coder Review of all these progs.

I can see that they fall into two classes - keyboard based and mouse based. (I'm mostly mouse based for this sort of activity, so that is what interests me most.)

There only seems to be one class of keyboard based solution, (though that could easily be my ignorance) so they could all be compared with each other.

Then there are the different types of mouse solutions. They seem to fall into 3 categories.
  • What you can do with the OS - and Carol's exposition was very clear.
  • Launchbars and start menu improvements.
  • Docks.

If you are going to use extra software, it does not seem worth the effort to organise the start menu in the OS etc. But it looks as if there might be some gain from using a launchbar/start menu prog (or both???) and docks.

And might well be worth using more than one dock if there is enough to put on it.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of each prog? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of each system of use?

Have I got the time to try to investigate it all myself? No.  Cry
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hpearce
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« Reply #86 on: July 01, 2012, 04:12:07 PM »

Classic Shell at sourcefourge now not only implements  a windows 8 start button but includes an option to bypass metro right to the desktop.


Classic Shell at Sourceforge
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #87 on: July 01, 2012, 04:14:15 PM »

If it isn't a silly question if you are going to install Classic Shell why bother to upgrade to 8 at all? Basically 8 is pretty much 7 with a few (AFAICS fairly minor) tweaks plus Metro.
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hpearce
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« Reply #88 on: July 01, 2012, 06:16:36 PM »

If it isn't a silly question if you are going to install Classic Shell why bother to upgrade to 8 at all? Basically 8 is pretty much 7 with a few (AFAICS fairly minor) tweaks plus Metro.

Because classic shell ONLY handles the display of the menu (thru the start button)...  just one aspect of any windows OS.

And sooner or later I will need a new PC and the options for one with windows 7 will probably be small .
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #89 on: July 01, 2012, 07:09:52 PM »

OK fair enough for a new PC - but how much do you bet that the outcry will be so loud that MS will be offering downgrades to 7 like they offered XP downgrades from Vista ?? OK not immediately but I bet by February or March next year!
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