Custom Tiles for the Windows 8 Start Menu

I upgraded to Windows 8 over the weekend, and I’m quite enjoying the large tiles and groups on the new Start screen. I’m seeing rumors that in 8.2 the traditional Start Menu is returning, so that’s sort of a bummer, but I’ve been working on some custom tiles, using OlbyTile, and wanted to share my progress.


Here’s my current Start screen, with the work programs finished.

Normally, Windows takes the default application icon, centers it, and picks a color from it to fill the space around it.I wanted the icons to be full bleed, without a text label, so I needed the icons to be meaningful to me, without being too text-heavy. I went with Maven Pro, a very stylized, thin font for the icons, utilizing the same convention the CS icons use — when a program has two words in it, we use a capital letter for the first word, and lowercase for the second — and I’m quite happy with how they came out.



My new icon is on the left, and the default means by which Windows creates application tiles is on the right. It’s a lot cleaner now, and we don’t have the long ass text under the icon. That distraction was the major impetus, and it’s been alleviated with my new tiles.

Here’s all the work ones, at their native resolution.

Obly Tiles

From top left to bottom right: Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, PhpStorm, FileZilla, Beyond Compare, Klok, and Sublime Text

I’ve deviated from the convention in two cases, where I use Klok as the full title, and phpS for phpStorm. I’ve drawn inspiration for the colors from the original icons, and shaped them into minimal gradients.

It’s harder now that I’ve moved onto my pinned games. Thus far I have only completed one for SimCity, and I’m relatively happy with it. I’m unsure if I’m going to stick with this one, or go for a more consistent minimal look.


This uses the Game’s logo and a screenshot of one of my cities.


In this one, I've reused my FileZilla icon with Sc for SimCity.

In this one, I’ve reused my FileZilla icon with Sc for SimCity.

Edit: Whelp, I’ve finished up my games section with tiles. I decided to go the route with screenshots and the game’s logo, to make them pop a little more. It gives each game a little more personality and conveys what you’re getting into when you hit the tile. Here’s how my Start screen looks now:

start screen


Blogging daily for a month. Or a few days. Whichever.

One of my best buddies in the world, Justin, called a bunch of people out on Facebook about how we don’t blog enough. His New Year’s resolution was to blog every day, and he’s been on top of that like flies on shit.

I guess he’s tired of being the lone blogging wolf, and he’s offering up some sweet swag to a lucky person that can keep up with him. I’m going to give it a go, and see how far I make it. Not only because of the tempting loot up for grabs, but because I’ve always said that I want to “blog more” since the inception of blogs. This is the best I’ve done, and you can see my mediocre track record in the sidebar over there.

Time to test out if I really want to do this or not, once and for all.

Since today is April fool’s day — please note the correct capitalization of only April in that phrase — I figured I’d share one of my favorite pranks of all time.

It’s hard to believe that this kid is so idiotic. I prefer to espouse the hypothesis that this is an elaborate troll job, designed to make people angry. Take notice of the specific terms he uses to describe things. They’re handcrafted to make people overreact and try to correct him.

See for yourself, check out the comments on the first page!

The Dunning-Kruer effect is so strong in this one.
The more I watch this video, the more I pay attention to what he says, the more I want to slit my wrists, and I’m not even remotely close to emo.
I’ll be watching this, hear him say something stupid and from there on I don’t hear anything else, I’m just trying to calculate the sheer stupidity of it… So every time I watch it, there’s some new ignorant statement immediately following the last one.
That’s it, I’m moving to Mars. I hear there’s a company recruiting for colonists and they plan to launch in the 2020s. Can’t come soon enough for me.

“Semi-colon. Well, not semi-colon. The… Dot-dot.” You mean the colon? Fool.
This guy is a fucking moron. What he is viewing are all of the routers between him and whatever ip address the google DNS directed him to. This is why nobody should take children seriously. If you want to learn how to “hack,” go to college and major in computer science or security.

Such ire, but for what gain? Showcasing your brilliance at basic IT knowledge? Good job, guys, you’re really sticking it to him! We all know you’re clearly superior to him in every way. Oh yeah, except in that one way where you took his bait hard.

I guess that’s the allure pranking, though. After people take the bait, prankers love to say, “Ha, I got you!”

Those above the fray feel empowered when they doubt correctly. “Ha! You can’t fool me, I know what fucking day it is! You dumb son of a bitch, I knew it all along!”

And then there’s people like me. I get nothing out of simple pranks just to say “I got you.” I prefer an elaborate, multilayered get, where only I know that I got you, and you’ll never know the difference. Doubt or dive in, it doesn’t matter. You’re both falling prey, and you can’t do anything about it.

Look what I found today!

The hose on the kitchen sink stopped working, so I figured I’d pop under the sink and turn off the water, then have a look at what was going on with the hose.

First thing I noticed was a ton of shit in the way. Some from us, most of it from before we were alive. Case in point: this glass bottle of Windex from 1973 that predates us by a full decade.

1973 Glass Windex Bottle


The bottle reads (from top to bottom):

Glass Cleaner

Sparkling Glass…
Dozens of Uses!
20 FL. OZ. (1 PT, 4 OZ)

©1973 The Drackett Products Co., Cincinnati, Ohio 45232 · Distributor · Made in U.S.A.

Also below the sink was a modern version of the bottle, dated 2010. Pretty neat juxtaposition!

By the way, there are no shutoffs for the water under the sink. To turn the water off, I needed to turn off the cold from the main entry point into the house, and stop the hot water from the main feed leaving the hot water tank. Yay, another quirky thing about this piece of shit house we live in!

To be fair, if the sink was leaking profusely, it might be quicker to run downstairs and turn those off rather than contending with the junk stowed away in the cabinet…

Introducing the Kung fu knife!

I never pay attention to commercials, but every once in a while I’ll hear something that makes me look up and focus on the ad.

Last night, during my weekly Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon on ION, I heard Ming Tsai’s voice, and as a long-time fan of his, I had to see what he was up to. He was advocating an incredibly cheap-looking knife, and I’ve decided to have some fun with it.

- Aero Knife Commercial on YouTube

Here are my favorite parts of the commercial:

  • The knife cuts like a razor (or, you know, like a knife)!
  • The knife has holes, so that’s 60% less surface area for friction!
  • Cut the cheese jokes are amazing!
  • In a clip where extensive force is exerted on the blade, the claim of no force required is thrown out there!
  • Knife ads always have a scene where they “cut” something not food-like and this one is no different. This block of wood has been shaved down with a piece of sandpaper, and the knife is slapped against it to knock the shavings loose. Notice how the blade is perpendicular to the wood? Isn’t it cool that it still halves the softest fucking fruit on Earth after tapping dust off a piece of wood?! Amazing!

I’m usually not one to buy things advertised this way, but do you hear that awesome noise it makes every time Ming moves it around? It’s like he’s in a goddamned Kung fu movie, and I desperately need a knife in my kitchen that does that.

I also really need a tool to cut wood and tomatoes, so that’s just an added bonus.

So I’m flipping through my guide, and I come across this…

Worst show ever?

Can you imagine the person pitching this show to a network? Can you imagine a network picking it up and airing it? Can you imagine anyone sitting there and watching it? Does anything about this synopsis, title of show, or name of the episode scream “comedy” to you?

If if does, we probably shouldn’t be friends.