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BlueWolf's Howl

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July 01, 2004

Tiny Icons

While I'm working on someone's computer, quite often I get asked all kinds of "how come" questions... "When I do ____ , my computer does ____ . Why does it do that?" "Why did Microsoft set it up so that _____ does ____ ?"

Just because I know how to make your computer work, doesn't mean I always know the philosophy behind every design decision of the operating system. Sometimes you can figure out that it was designed a certain way so that some other task works better (but produces the questioned effect when used in *that* way...). But, often you can only shrug and say you don't know...it just does it that way. Depending on the relationship you have with the person asking, you can also use it as a lead-in to a joke... "Because your enemies have a controlling interest in Microsoft and they've used that power to create features to annoy you..." It depends on who you're talking to... (and if you have a good cartoon voice to accompany the remark)

So while I was tearing into the Mastering Windows XP Professional (by Mark Minasi) book, I ran across this gem:

Note: Why does everything get smaller as the resolution goes up? It's because each item - an icon, for example - is a fixed number of pixels in size. When you switch to a higher resolution, that number of pixels takes up less space onscreen in proportion to the total screen area.

Doh! Yeah...it sure does. And I should have known that, but never thought about it until I saw it spelled out. I've used the Icon Forge software to create icons. I know they're set at specific sizes. [If you've bookmarked the site and see the little blue B -- I made that...] But, since I never wondered "why"...I never stopped to figure it out. Thank you, Mark for pointing that out!

So now I can give a clearer answer if I ever get asked. I'm still going to practice my cartoon voice so I can give the joke answer first and then the real answer... Bwahahahaha...

Posted by BlueWolf on July 1, 2004 09:07 PM