Missing Out on the Beauty of BIG Icons!

smallbee2The first computer I ever owned that had a graphical user interface was an Amiga 500.  It was quite low resolution, so it would have been easy for Commodore to compensate by using tiny icons.  But it didn’t.  Some of the icons for programs on the Amiga were huge.  I remember one that looked as big as a deck of cards.  Granted, Amiga’s color limitations when not in HAM mode gave all the elements of the desktop a blocky, monochromatic appearance.  But I always admired the Amiga’s gutsy, big icons.

Starting with Windows 3.1,  I fell-in-line for awhile, and got used to dinky, boring icons.  Even when icons became scalable in the late 90s, and for an embarrassingly long period afterwards, I continued to use little retro-sized icons; in part, because BeOS didn’t support true icon resizing.    It wasn’t until I moved from Windows to Mac as my choice for day-to-day business computing that it finally dawned on me what I was missing out on.  Selecting “view options” from the desktop, I dragged the slider to the right,  and lo, the Mac’s beautiful, artistic icons leaped up to “Amigaesque” proportions…and they were stunning!  120×120 icons on a 1900×1200 monitor are about an inch high.  I love looking at them.  When I try reducing them to a smaller size now, I feel cheated.

Next, of course, I had to try resizing the icons in Haiku, where they also scale smoothly these days.  I bumped the icons up from 32×32 to 96×96, and they really came to life.  Ultimately I backed them down to 64×64 so my standard set of always-needed icons fits in a single row across the top of the screen, but they’re still large enough to appreciate their beauty.  And the Haiku system icons are indeed beautiful, kudos!

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time staring at a computer desktop.  In my own case, the simple act of making the icons bigger is something that has given me pleasure every time I turn on my computer.

A related note…

Coming from a long, unfortunate past in Windows, I became accustomed to the typical columns of icons along the left side of the screen, and anything different than that was alien and difficult for me to get used to.  But when I discovered the nifty clean-up feature Haiku offers by doing SHIFT-OPT-K (sorting the icons across the top of the screen alphabetically), I quickly came to appreciate and even like that layout.  It satisfies the “Monk” in me to be able to snap those icons into a predictable order when they get unruly.  Their being alphabetical means that, once you become accustomed to their onscreen order,  it becomes fast and easy to find what you want, even after a cleanup.


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