aequinoctium autumnalis

by Scott ChitwoodWednesday September 22nd, 2010
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Photography

Hey it’s Autumnal Equinox 2010™.  w00t, w00t!  You can play along at home as the sun crosses the celestial equator and day and night are of equal length for just a short while — party on and be excellent to each other my temporal little friends.

aequinoctium autumnalis by Scott Chitwood

Widescreen ( 16:10 )  :  1440×900  :  1680×1050  :  1920×1200  :  2560×1600
Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080  :  2560×1440
Fullscreen ( 4:3 )  :  1024×768  :  1600×1200
Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
Mobile  :  iPhone  :  iPhone iOS4  :  iPad  :  Netbook

ArtDesk no.19

by Scott ChitwoodThursday September 9th, 2010
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Digital Art

Colours of the sunrise seethe amidst high clouds and deep shadows, those endmost dregs of predawn chased away as our dreams are also lost, both merging into the pristine day, both returning to us as the worlds spin upon their axis’, delivering us back into the night where all things are possible.

ArtDesk no.19 by Scott Chitwood

Widescreen ( 16:10 )  :  1440×900  :  1680×1050  :  1920×1200  :  2560×1600
Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080  :  2560×1440
Fullscreen ( 4:3 )  :  1024×768  :  1600×1200
Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
Mobile  :  iPhone  :  iPhone iOS4  :  iPad  :  Netbook

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@font-face and Other Stuff

by Scott ChitwoodMonday September 6th, 2010
Posted in More Than Words

A few minor updates to site graphics have been applied, hope they brighten up the place a smidge or two.  Here’s the scoop…

  • Tiled background image is now fixed in place, doesn’t scroll with content area.
     
  • New fonts: these will only be viewable for those using browsers that support @font-face.  Fonts in use as of this update are Delicious Italic by Jos Buivenga, and Andika Basic Compact by The Non-Roman Script Initiative at SIL International.
     
  • Post author info display: this one comes courtesy of a WordPress plug-in, Author Exposed v.1.1 by Igor Penjivrag and does just what it says; invokes a little pop up when the author link is clicked.
    Author Exposed Screenshot
     

Back in the Fast Lane

by Scott ChitwoodFriday September 3rd, 2010
Posted in More Than Words

After a slow to almost non-existent Summer of new content here at the Ranch™ I was primed and ready to adopt a heavier schedule.  Too bad our early 2008 Macbook Pro went belly up at the thought of having slog through all that work again.  Here we are one week later with new guts — logic board and HDD both had to be replaced after a massive video failure.  Ack!

Scary stuff, I was expecting huge dollars in repair costs since I wasn’t smart enough to buy AppleCare.  Instead I was pleasantly surprised with diagnosis, service, and out-of-pocket expenses that were about one third of what I was expecting.  A big shout of thanks to the Genius Bar staff at Saint Louis Galleria Apple Store, you people rock!

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Inset Dark Dockling Skin by ~theBassment

by Scott ChitwoodThursday August 26th, 2010
Posted in Dock Skins & Mods, Snow Leopard UI Mods

Here’s a nice little UI mod that you’ll find easy on the eyes.  Install is simple and offers up a good learning experience for getting familiar with system files.  Let’s download our working components and dig into the little beastie.

inset dark dockling skin

One more thing along the way — let’s back up our destination files.  For the Dock we’ll want to save a copy of it’s ‘Resources’ folder located with the ‘Contents’ directory.  The ‘sArtFile.bin’ is located in the ‘Resoures’ directory within the ‘CoreUI.framework’.  Use the ‘Go to Folder…’ command in the Finder for navigating to both locations.

/System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/
/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreUI.framework/Versions/A/Resources

  1. Run the Inset 1.02 installer.  Essentially you could finish up here, but (from my personal perspective) the docklings are a little too transparent.  This can make list items difficult to read when they appear over open windows/documents or overlay some desktop wallpaper images.
     
  2. The image files included with Inset: Dark remedy the transparency issue noted above.  Files for the ‘Dock’ can be copied directly into the ‘Resources’ folder.  We’ll need to fire up Theme Park to replace image files located within the ‘sArtFile.bin’.
     
  3. When Themepark is launches hit the ‘Edit sArtFile’ button, then locate specific image numbers as they are listed within the ‘Inset: Dark’ files.  Select an image with Themepark and it loads into an image well.  Now drag the corresponding image file from ‘Inset: Dark’ into the image well.  Easy cake amigo.
     
  4. When you’re done switching images do a ‘Command-S’ to save the updated file, hit the ‘Apply Theme’ button, and Quit out.
     
  5. Reboot your Mac.  Enjoy your new docklings and do the Happy Dance™ in celebration of newly acquired knowledge.  :^)
     

Disclaimer: Apply this UI mod at your own risk, Rampant Mac not responsible for damage/loss.

Lights by PrekeshC

by Scott ChitwoodMonday August 23rd, 2010
Posted in Appearance Themes, Snow Leopard UI Mods

I’ve been a UI (user interface) enthusiast for darn near the entirety of my Mac user experience; for those playing along at home we can pinpoint that all the way back to a revision b Bondi Blue iMac running MacOS 8.5 acquired in November 1998.  Custom icons, appearance themes, UI mods, and all sorts of related, unsupported hacks were fun, exciting, and sometimes disastrous avenues of learning how to dig around the nuts and bolts of the operating system.

Over the course of years my enthusiasm waned somewhat, and with the continued advancement and refinement of Mac OS X there was little reason and little opportunity to mess with big immersive UI mods.  Though there were, and still are, a good handful artists to follow, the UI community fragmented into niche groups that had the appearance of being hype-driven exclusive clubs leading the way to a new “Glossy, Grey” UI world order with visions of dollar signs spinning in their heads.

Thankfully, this phase seems to have nearly fizzled out; UI artists are creating/releasing some neat stuff these days.  A good amount of these are little UI mods that make a big impact on the user experience, combing several together can really make your workspace feel special.

So, in appreciation of this resurgence I’d like to share some of my favorite current UI mods and make a commitment to share more of these more often here at the Rampant Ranch™.

First up is a nifty Traffic Light UI mod that is easy to install and apply; Lights by PrekeshC.  This is a fantastic creation that puts the big smack-down on Snow Leopard defaults; rich colors, highlights, and bevels to whet your UI palate — just gorgeous!

Lights by PrekeshC

Installation is real easy, grab the files and let’s go.

  1. Using the ‘Go to Folder…’ command in the Finder copy and paste the following:
    /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreUI.framework/Versions/A/Resources
     
  2. There are two items we need to replace in here: ‘ArfFile.bin’ and ‘SArtFile.bin’.  Hang tight on that thought, we’ll get back to it.
     
  3. Go up one level in the directory, highlight the ‘Resources’ folder and use the ‘Get Info’ command in the Finder to make changes to ‘Sharing & Permissions’ settings.  You’ll need an admin password to unlock the settings.
     
  4. After unlocking, add yourself to the ‘Sharing & Permissions’ settings, give yourself ‘Read & Write’ priveleges, then finish off by selecting the ‘Apply to enclosed items…’ command, and exit the dialog.
     
    Get Info
     
  5. Go back into the ‘Resources’ folder.
     
  6. For back up purposes and easy replacement, rename ‘ArfFile.bin’ and ‘SArtFile.bin’, then copy the new files from download into ‘Resources’ folder.
     
    Resources
     
  7. That’s it.  Restart your Mac to make the install complete.
     

Disclaimer: Apply this UI mod at your own risk, Rampant Mac not responsible for damage/loss.

Into the Blue

by Scott ChitwoodWednesday July 28th, 2010
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Spheres & Glass

After all these years I still have a weak spot for shiny things and glass spheres…

Into the Blue by Scott Chitwood

Widescreen ( 16:10 )  :  1440×900  :  1680×1050  :  1920×1200  :  2560×1600
Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080  :  2560×1440
Fullscreen ( 4:3 )  :  1024×768  :  1600×1200
Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
Mobile  :  iPhone  :  iPhone 4  :  iPad  :  Netbook

Designed and rendered in Bryce 4 on a Quicksilver Power Mac G4 running MacOS 9.4.  Post processed for contrast in Photoshop.

Chimeræn Sunrise

by Scott ChitwoodWednesday June 30th, 2010
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Fractal Flames

Two hundreds years of cryosleep; that’s a tremendous long time by any measure.  Forget everything you left behind, the real challenge is waking up from that deep place and not frying your brain with sensory overload.  Lobotomy before breakfast?  Not good way to start the day my friend.

Chimeraen Sunrise by Scott Chitwood

Widescreen ( 16:10 )  :  1440×900  :  1680×1050  :  1920×1200  :  2560×1600
Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080  :  2560×1440
Fullscreen ( 4:3 )  :  1024×768  :  1600×1200
Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
Mobile  :  iPhone  :  iPhone 4  :  iPad  :  Netbook

Rendered in Oxidizer 0.6.1.  Post processed in Photoshop for color values, contrast, rotation, and other effects.