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Google Reader and Bloglines themes - it's over to you.

(Last Google Reader theme post, I promise)

Before now, I’ve felt quite protective of my site skins, and have always stated “Feel free to modify the CSS to suit your own tastes, but please don’t redistribute”. This stems from vanity to be truthful – I spend a long time creating these themes, and don’t want other people getting the credit!

That was how I used to think though. As time goes on, I feel like I’m becoming more communist open when it comes to the web. Besides, I have little time to update the themes, and carry out feature/bug requests, and they’re both at a point where I’m happy with them. Sure, there’s so much you could do to them, but the original intention was to create something for myself. Which is where you come in.

These themes are now both “do what you like with them”. Take out the bits you don’t like, put in new bits, whatever. Feel free to re-distribute them anywhere you like, whether slightly tweaked or massively altered. They’re yours to do with as you please! Give them a good home and let me know what do with them (hopefully something better!)

downloads

Google Reader Theme
Bloglines Theme for Webkit & Opera
Bloglines Theme for Mozilla

Finally, to answer a much-asked question I don’t have plans to do a GMail or GCal skin, but you never know.

Waiting for Songbird to nest on OS X

Despite what I said last year, working completely off a Powerbook does work (now that I have a functioning powerbook of course!). Only one thing mars the experience – high CPU usage from iTunes.

I have a lot of hungry apps open, Fireworks and Omniweb can be quite greedy, but they’re beginners next to iTunes with its range of 31-60%. Obviously, playing music from another source (such as radio or iPod) would solve this, but I prefer being able to play music from my computer. Especially when I have bluetooth niftiness such as Salling Clicker pausing iTunes whenever there’s a phone call.

Playing music is important part of work and home life, but on OS X, there seems to be no alternatives to iTunes. Audion has long since died, and while its still available, its no match for iTunes for managing and playing a library of music.

Songbird logo

This is why I’ve been keeping an interested eye on SongBird – an open source XUL based app for playing media. I have no idea whether it uses less CPU, or when a version for OS X will arrive, but I’m really keen to try it. I love what they stand for and the approach they’re taking. I have high hopes! (I also love the sound of this job, shame I’m not qualified! :D ).

So in the meantime, if anyone has any ideas for lower CPU music playback on OS X, or tips to reduce iTunes CPU usage, I’d love to hear them. Have I missed a good OS X alternative?

Update: Some of the comments gave me an idea – I turned off my Volume Logic plugin and CPU dropped dramatically! Aha, culprit found!

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The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

Upcoming Talks

I sometimes pop up at conferences and waffle about design, icon creation in particular. Here's where I'll be next:

Web Expo Guildford- "Icon Design Process" - 26th September 2014

Beyond Tellerrand Berlin – 3rd-5th November 2014

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