back to article Here's a sprite idea: PC pokers push pixels to LED displays with Microsoft's new platform for non-verbal comms

Microsoft has dropped a beta of Expressive Pixels, a delightfully retro editor aimed at flinging animated visuals at LED displays. Designed for nonverbal communication, the software has both the worthy goal of improving accessibility as well as being an amusing toy. Microsoft suggested the following scenario: "You're sitting …

  1. logicalextreme Silver badge

    Another stellar use of MS's time

    Meanwhile, the alternative "verbal communications" application known as Teams continues to add nonsense nobody's asked for while blithely ignoring feature requests that have been open for years.

  2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Do they still have interface guidelines ? Skype and Teams (the only MS applications I encounter) seem to go out of their way to hide any form of control setting rather than make them self-explanatory.

    1. Falmari

      Not sure if they still do but I remember years ago (10+) we had the Microsoft book on GUI design which we had to follow and a massively meaty tomb it was. Not really a bad book a lot of it was just common sense but following it did give a consistency to our GUIs.

      Just a shame that Microsoft’s own software did not follow it, more a case of do as we say not as we do. ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Have an upvote for

        do as we say not as we do

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "a massively meaty tomb it was."

        Although in this case, tomb is probably accurate since the guidelines seem to be dead, I suspect you meant tome there.

        1. Falmari
          Thumb Up

          You are right I meant tome. But tomb is more accurate a much better choice. :)

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            I just thought it was a crypt-ic joke.

            1. jake Silver badge

              ... he said gravely.

      3. Martin-R

        The Common User Access Guidelines were a wonderful thing... and from IBM rather than MS, though MS followed them for a long time. I was working on OS/2 and Windows applications in the first half of 90s and everything working consistently across apps and OSes was great, unlike today where half the time you're not sure if that's a button or a link or just a bit of text :-(

        See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Common_User_Access for a bit of history

  3. Damage
    Linux

    Copying Ideas Again

    Nothing new of course - Raspberry Pi example here:

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/create-your-own-home-office-work-status-light-with-raspberry-pi/

  4. Milo Tsukroff
    Gimp

    TI-99/4A - Yes!!

    Thanks for the shout-out about TI99/4a games! I spent years happily coding sprites for games I wrote for that sadly underpowered machine. But its graphics processor made up for the lack of power.

    Ah, the olden golden times! When programmers were robust, and TI-99/4A's ran at 1 Mhz.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: When programmers were robust

      And we cared about making our code efficient and use recourced wisely.

      And "Hello World" was not a 10Mb binary. (or something like that)

      And when Online Ads were someone's wet dream.

      And Zuck was in short trousers.

      Those were the days.

      Now we get all sorts of ad slurping frameworks, trackers for everything under the sun, bloated code and despite Multi GigaHz CPU's things still run like a dog with one leg.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: When programmers were robust

        Short trousers? Not even an itch in his daddy's pants ... Zschmuck was born 3 years after the TI99/4a came out.

  5. Def Silver badge

    Back in the mid 90s I was working for a small games company. Being a semi-senior member of a small team I was often the person others turned to with questions. Most of the time I was happy to help, but occasionally I just needed to get stuff done. One particular day I had to get a demo finished for the following morning, and the interruptions were coming thick and fast. I ended up taping a big “Fuck off, I’m busy” sign to the back of my chair. Which worked really well until about half six in the evening when I got a friendly tap on my shoulder. “That’s not very nice,” said the cleaner with a big grin on her face.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Timely, though

      Half past six (night not morning?) sounds like past the time that you should fuck off. (But did you?)

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Timely, though

        Most evenings I was well and truly in the pub by that time. I did pull a few all nighters though.

  6. jake Silver badge

    I just locked my office door from the inside ...

    ... with a "do not disturb" sign from the local no-tell-motel on the outside handle. Seemed to work.

  7. Ozzard
    Boffin

    Four bits, 15 colours

    1 bit R, 1 bit G, 1 bit B, and 1 bit to halve the level of all three outputs, called "Dark". Which leads to colours like grey (dark white) and, of course, the wonderful combination of Black and Dark Black.

    Nope, still no "old fart" icon :-).

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Four bits, 15 colours

      and, of course, the wonderful combination of Black and Dark Black.

      If you question the usefulness of that pairing, you’ve obviously never been tasked with designing either a spaceship for Disaster Area, or an album cover for Spïnal Tap!

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