Free Icons and A New Year Gift From Aha-Soft

Happy holidays everyone! Enjoy your time with your family, stay offline for a couple of extra days and have a fantastic, successful and a truly joyful 2013!

We’d like to celebrate the coming holidays with a gift to our customers!

You can get 2 individual icons from our stock icon sets for free.

Follow these steps to get your icons:

- Visit http://www.aha-soft.com/all-large-icons.htm

- Select desired icons

- Post your query

You can choose icons from 280 icon sets which are ready for evaluation.

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You can order all our software products and stock icon sets with 50% discount using NY2012SUB discount coupon.

Icon design software: http://www.aha-soft.com/products.htm

All icon sets: http://www.aha-soft.com/iconsets.htm

30% discount is available for icon design service.

(All offers are valid through January 1, 2013)

Why Designing a Mars Rover Like Curiosity Just Got a Lot Easier By Tim Maly

MSL Rover NX CAD model


You’ve all seen the artist renditions. This is what Curiosity looks like to an engineer.

A few minutes into our interview last Thursday, I ask Tim Nichols, managing director of Global Aerospace, Defenses and Marine Industries at Siemens, if he was nervous about the Curiosity’s fate on Sunday. “Of course I am,” he says with a laugh, “We all know about missions to Mars — they’re complex.” None moreso than Curiosity’s elaborate landing sequence, designed to get the SUV-sized robot down safely.

He needn’t have worried. Late Sunday night, the rover successfully set down on the Martian landscape, overseen by a tense room of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers and watched by so many people here on Earth that all of NASA’s websites crashed. Like the rest of us, Nichols was glued to his screen. Unlike the rest of us, Nichols gets to say he had a hand in it. His company’s software designed Curiosity.

Curiosity is much larger than her unexpectedly long-lived predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. This meant that she couldn’t just land bundled inside airbags like the smaller rovers.

Instead, the mission executed a complex series of maneuvers to eject the robot from its capsule and lower it to the ground, via a rocket-powered sky crane in a sequence of events that NASA called the Seven Minutes of Terror.

Curiosity was designed by the JPL at the California Institute of Technology. When it came time to coordinate the enormous team of designers and engineers that built Curiosity, the capsule, and the sky crane, JPL turned to Siemens. They needed to design the robot (relatively) cheaply and they needed to design it fast — the launch window for missions to Mars comes once every two years. If you miss the deadline, there’s a long wait ahead.
MSL Capsule with Rover NX CAE thermal model


If you squint, you can see Curiosity and the sky crane folded up together in the capsule.

Luckily, Siemens had developed software suited to this sort of project. They call it Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

One of the costliest parts of creating a new physical product is building and testing prototypes. With PLM’s robust suite of simulators and version tracking, you can avoid a lot of physical prototyping — saving both time and money, and speeding up the development process. In essence, PLM turns the physical engineering of a product into a process that looks more and more like designing code.

PLM runs on a laptop, connected to a central asset manager, called the Team Center. Engineers can check out parts of the project, work on their problems and assignments, and then check it back in to the main branch. This allows for a lot of concurrent design work. “In the past, engineering teams would be somewhat isolated by discipline,” says Nichols, “The overall leadership recognized that they needed to bring all the groups together.”

This is a far cry from past projects, which would be designed as a series of handoffs between teams. First the thermal profiles would be worked out, then the aerodynamics, on down the line. Propagating changes between teams could become a nightmare. PLM changed all of that, Nichols says, giving the team the ability to “compress the schedule and … do many more design iterations.”
MSL NX CAD Exploded view of seperation stages


With luck, this is the only exploded view of the Mars lander that we’ll ever see.

If this sounds a lot like software engineering, especially the open source variety, it’s because it is. There’s a version control system, the ability to check code in and out of the system, and a set of test suites that allow you check the performance of your part of the module in relation to the whole. By keeping the objects in software for as long as possible, you can treat them like software, with all of the speed and flexibility that this implies.

Nichols says their suite of tools has been used to design everything from golf clubs — “Golf clubs are pretty sophisticated, though they haven’t helped my game.” — to aircraft carriers. Looking ahead, he predicts an increasing incidence of distributed international teams of contributors working on a project.
“Global virtual collaboration and engineering is really the future,” he says. “We want to see more of that.”

But first, Curiosity had to make it to Mars. “We all have our fingers crossed,” he said on Thursday. You can uncross them now, Mr Nichols.

The Release of Large Menu Icons

Menu-Icons.com announces the release of Large Menu Icons, a royalty-free library of stock menu images for application developers and web designers. The new set includes 398 icons drawn in matching style, color and gamut. The Large Menu Icons collection sells for $49.00.

About Large Menu Icons

Large Menu Icons is the perfect choice for busy application and Web site developers. This collection of stock icons with matching properties such as style and colors, can be used in various projects and scripts, as well as on portals, blogs, forums, and web sites. Large Menu Icons will make an application, blog or applet look modern and consistent throughout. All icons in the Large Menu Icons collection are royalty-free. The entire collection is immediately available and comes with an online preview.

What’s Inside

The Large Menu Icons collection contains images representing all sides of the application work. Some of the icons in the set are: open, close, edit, validate, time, clock, error, OK, data, computer, archive, people, user, girl, man, admin, horse, car and more.

 

Large Menu Icons
Technically, the set includes icons in a number of formats, sizes, color resolutions, and image styles. Every icon from the library comes in sizes of 16×16, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48 and 64×64 pixels. Normal, disabled, and highlighted versions are included for every icon. 256-color and semi-transparent True Color icons are supplied. Large Menu Icons are delivered in Windows Icon (ICO), Bitmap (BMP), GIF and PNG formats for instant integration into any systems. The entire Large Menu Icons collection is available for only $49.00. Source images are also available in SVG and AI formats for an additional payment.

Menu-Icons.com also plans to release a number of new original icon sets including Lumina Menu Icons, Windows Menu Icons, New Menu Icons, Cool Menu Icons, Win8 menu Icons, Vista Menu Icons, Mac Menu Icons, Android Tab Icons, Linux Menu Icons, Nokia Menu Icons, iPhone Menu Icons, Mobile Menu Icons.

About the Company

Menu-Icons.com offers thousands of icons in the most difficult small resolutions. PDA and mobile developers and designers can enhance their software with smooth, perfectly rendered icons in the most convenient resolutions. Menu-Icons.com are available in all sizes common to desktop and mobile applications for mobile phones, communicators, and desktop applications. All icons offered by Menu Icons are royalty-free, ready-made and instantly available.

iPhone vs. Android: the Battle

Androids vs. iPhones. The discussion continues. When the iPhone was first released, there was really no competition. The iPhone was playing in a class of its own. First Android phones were dismal: sluggish UI response, lags here and there, and the overall “assemble-it-yourself” idea just didn’t with consumers.

iphone icons
Today, the market has changed. With newest iPhone being a great device and a luxurious system, the newest Androids leave little to be desired. Today’s Androids have no UI lags, feature most of the same apps in the Google Play store, and went away with the do-it-yourself, LEGO type approach. Today, picking one system over another is more of a personal preference. Let’s try to discover what’s good about going the Apple route, and what advantages the Android way can bring.

Hardware and Model Selection

With Apple iPhone, you are always limited to just a few models. Or, rather, you can choose from just one current model in several versions that differ very little. There are a few older models you can get from the used market, but that’s about it. “You can have any color as long as it’s black”.

Android devices, on the other hand, come in many shapes, models and colors. Different manufacturers use entirely different hardware. Different displays, processors, memory. Very different quality and usability. Buying an Android phone will require you to do a research on what’s available, whereas you can’t go really wrong with any iPhone you can afford. Are you a techno geek or a gadget guy? Look for an Android phone that flies with you. Others will be served by Apple.

Display

The latest generation of iPhones has a superb Retina display. These super high pixel density displays will render your apps, icons and graphics so smooth it’s hard to believe. Kudos to Apple: they made one of the best screens ever.

Androids come with all kinds of screens. Some of the better ones can reach iPhones in pixel density, but software integration is still lagging. Many apps still have low-resolution icons and images designed to be shown on lower-resolution displays. When choosing an Android phone, you will have to watch really carefully to buy a model with a good screen. If you’re not good with numbers, icon resolutions, angles of view and technical specs, just leave the Androids alone.

Pre-Installed Software and UI

An iPhone is an iPhone. They’re all the same. A single operating system, one UI, the same set of pre-installed apps, exactly the same icons. You can customize it by moving things around and picking a few icons on your own, but there’s only so much you’re allowed to do.

Androids are available in many flavors. Different firmware and dozens of OS versions, builds and editions. Different sets of icons for same apps. Many different shells and launchers. Fully customizable: you can turn an Android phone into pretty much whatever you want (and it’s not all about custom icons) – but you must know what you’re doing. With such a broad variety, some models are simply better as in easier to use, more stable and working faster than others. If building your very own tailored system is fun for you, by all means buy the Android. If you like your phone working out of the box, get an iPhone and start using it right away.

Extensibility

iPhones don’t don’t accept memory cards. You’ll be stuck with the amount of memory you originally got. If you outgrow your iPhone, you’ll have to get another iPhone, bringing more money to Apple.

Most but not all Android phones come with a microSD slot, allowing you to add more memory when you need it. With microSD cards getting cheaper every year, you will be better off in the long run if you get an Android.

With iPhones, you can’t even replace a battery. If your battery dies in some years (they all do; lithium batteries die in 3-4 years), you’ll be mailing your iPhone to Apple for a “major repair” (more money to Apple), or be shopping for a new iPhone (even more money to Apple).

While some Android phones use similarly user irreplaceable batteries, most devices are easy: just lift the cover and throw a new battery in. A new battery will set you back a few dollars, allowing you to postpone the purchase of another phone some more years.

Conclusion

Android phones are cheaper to buy and cheaper to upgrade and maintain. They’re more extensible and customizable. iPhones are perfect right out of the box, and offer one of the best usage experience ever. Which one to pick? The choice is yours.

Source: Apple iPhone vs. Android: the Epic Battle

10 Mistakes Feedback – Consider It!

Through this article the author is imagining to attract more icon lovers who are more excited to know about the various icon designs. However, the visitors are never required to move through the boring reading option. In this article 10 Mistake in Icon Design, the icons designers are offering lots of ideas that are much essential for the designers to design perfect and attractive icons that easily to access. If you are required to get more information about the icons designs, then the Turbomilkers sites are providing many ideas about it. Basically, the icon designs are the right option for the users to access any application and program in their desktop. On the other hand, the icons are the graphical representation of every program and application through which the users can directly access their desire application in quick time. So, well crafted and perfect shape icon designs are much essential for the users.

The icon must be very simple to read and elements it has, better. It is good in case, whole image is very relevant and not just a part of that. Thus, you need to pay close attention to context of making use of icons. Simpler and laconic the icon, better and it is preferable keeping number of the objects in the single icon to the minimum.


Nonetheless, the Microsoft’s designers, which was inspired by new format of the icons featured in the Windows Vista, determined to go big or drew bloated icons for justifying the bloated budget: It is simpler to criticize someone else’s work than making something very cool yourself.

However, in case, you apply the systematic approach for criticizing, then make the numbered list as well as prepare the illustrations, it is regarded as the fully fledged analysis! So. In my view, the icon design undergoes the transitional period.

Designing Dialog Icons for Android Apps

Designing Android Dialog Icons

Android developers must meet the strict guidelines when designing icons for their mobile apps. Icon Design Guidelines for Dialog Icons specify icon resolutions and provide guidelines for choosing the color palette and visual styling of images used in pop-up dialogs and interactive prompts.

The Android OS can run on a wide range of hardware platforms equipped with screens of different pixel densities. To accommodate the wide range of displays used in the various devices running the Android OS, the guidelines specify three separate icon sizes for low-, mid- and high-definition displays. These resolutions are specified as 24×24 pixels for low-resolution displays (ldpi), 32×32 pixels for medium-resolution displays (mdpi), and 48×48 pixels for high-definition screens (hdpi).

Style wise, Android dialog icons are flat, face-on images designed with the use of a light gradient and inner shadow. These visual features allow dialog icons to stand out against a dark background. No isometric or 3D style is allowed in order to maintain a uniform look across Android-compatible apps developed by different vendors.


The Design Guidelines specify exact colors for icon’s overlay. The gradient overlay is laid out at an angle of 90 degrees. The gradient starts from the bottom as 233, 233, 233 (an R,G,B color), and goes up to 249, 249, 249 (R,G,B) at 75% to the top. The space from that point up is filled with a single color of 249, 249, 249 (R,G,B).

The inner shadow is rendered black at 25% opacity (controlled via the alpha-channel) at -90 degrees. The distance from the main picture is 1px, while the size of the shadow is 0px (meaning that the shadow is the size of the main shape itself).

Creating Android-style dialog icons is a fairly easy, step-by-step process. You can create your icons in a graphic editor such as Adobe Photoshop by downloading the Icon Templates Pack for Android 2.3 from the Android Web site. However, a raster editor may not be the perfect way, as you will end up drawing each of the three icon resolutions separately.

To save time producing the three resolutions (ldpi, mdpi and hdpi), a vector tool is advised. You can draw the basic shape of the icon in your favorite vector editor such as Adobe Illustrator and export the shape into Adobe Photoshop, rendering the vector source into the required reaolution (24×24, 32×32, or 48×48 pixels). The rest is simple: add an overlay gradient in a separate layer, and specify the appropriate inner shadow in yet another layer.  Save the image as a PSD file for future editing, and export it as a PNG file with transparency enabled to add your newly created icon into your Android app.

To save time designing icons for your Android app, you may choose a ready-made collection instead. The collection of Android Dialog Icons by Aha-Soft provides 86 different icons designed in strict accordance with the Dialog Icons Design Guidelines. This royalty-free collection is supplied in the form of PNG files with alpha-channel, and offers PSD source images. In addition, scalable AI and SVG vector sources are available. You can view and purchase the set at the company’s Web site.

Stock Icons For Developers

Implementing Stock Images in Your Application
Choosing the right collection of stock images was not an easy task. But you’ve made the choice, and bought yourself the right set to use in your project. Now when you bought the images, how are you going to integrate them with your project? Do you know what file format should be used where, and what size, color depth or image style to embed into your project?
There are a few common questions asked by developers. Where would I use 32-bit icons with alpha-channel, and why choose them over traditional 256-color images? What development environment support translucent graphics, and what file formats should be used there? Finally, which versions of stock icons to use for the various Windows control elements? Let’s answer these questions one by one.

Ready-made icon files for designers

Picking 32-bit icons over their 256-color counterparts seems logical. 32-bit icons feature an extra layer defining a semi-transparency mask. The layer is called alpha channel. Thanks to that alpha channel, images with 32-bit color depth can integrate nicely with any background, having smooth edges and looking great even if your background has a busy color, gradient, or has an image or pattern. In addition, the alpha channel makes shadows and reflections display semi-transparent, making them look natural and overall rendering extremely pleasing.
So, 32-bit icons are just the right type to use. The real question is if you will be able to use them for your project. In reality, 32-bit icons can be used in most situations – and cannot be used in others. If you’re designing a Web site, the chances are that your target audience already has a compatible browser installed that can show 32-bit graphics with full alpha-channel support. Exceptions are far and between, and include Internet Explorer 6 and earlier versions, ancient builds of Mozilla, and a few resource-stranded mobile browsers (although most mobile platforms can still show 32-bit images).

For Web use, you should use 32-bit icons in PNG format wherever possible. If maintaining support for legacy browsers is important, you can fall back to 24-bit PNG icons, converting the original 32-bit images with an icon editing tool such as IconLover. 8-bit GIF files can be used for designing light Web sites to be used with the slowest mobile browsers. Note that GIF files don’t have a full alpha-channel support; instead, they offer a single-bit transparency mask. Again, you can render your 8-bit icons from 32-bit originals with IconLover, or use the GIF versions of icons supplied with your stock icon collection. The GIF icons provided with your set will display nicely on most types of backgrounds, but you can produce your own versions if you need a bright, colourful background and want your icons blend with it.

Windows programs can normally only use a single type of file depending on what exactly you’re going to use it for. For example, ICO files are normally used as application icons. ICO files contain the same image (or, sometimes, different images) in a number of sizes and color depths within a single file. The system will automatically pick the right size and color depth depending on the user’s display settings and the location of the icon. It’s best to assemble all standard sizes and color resolutions in a single ICO file. Our stock icons already include all standard resolutions and color versions stored in the ICO format; if you want to build your own ICO, you can use IconLover.

There are dozens of other things we’d love to tell you about using your newly purchased stock icons. You can read an extended version of this article detailing the many Windows controls and development environments such as Java, C#, .NET and Visual Studio, at http://www.aha-soft.com/faq/integrating-icons-development-environments.htm. You can always find the right icons for your projects or Web sites at www.aha-soft.com.

Sib Icon Catalog

Find Ready-Made Icons from Your Computer

Sib Icon Catalog indexes hundreds of royalty-free image sets and thousands of individual graphics, making it simple to find graphics and select icons you need. All images indexed by Sib Icon Catalog come directly from the source, with on-time delivery guarantee, pre-sale and after-sale customer support and no watermarks.

Royalty-free stock icons are a great way to cut down costs of graphic design. Available instantly, stock images are a perfect way to meet the deadline – no matter how close it happens to be. However, not all ready-made images are created equal.

Icon Catalog

Ready-made graphics vary in appearance, technical parameters, and flexibility of their licensing terms. Some image packages are available on per-project terms, and some require licensing fees, or royalties, paid from every sale of a product using those icons. It is in the best interest of the buyer of images to avoid licenses with royalty payments.

There are, of course, plenty of royalty-free ready-made collections on the Internet. In fact, there are so many that it is easy to get lost. Googling for stock icons will return hundreds of thousands of results. Are there that many image designers? Not really. Many stock graphics are sold through various affiliate schemes with often cumbersome licensing terms and conditions and dubious customer support.

Searching quality stock graphics with acceptable licensing terms and appropriate technical parameters such as resolution and image format support becomes complicated. Here comes Sib Icon Catalog. Developed SibCode, Sib Icon Catalog contains hundreds of royalty-free ready-made icon packages and thousands of individual icons, making it easy to search icons and pick images you need. All icons indexed by Sib Icon Catalog come straight from the source, with on-time delivery guarantee, pre-sale and after-sale customer support. Needless to say, all icons in the Sib Icon Catalog database are supplied with a very simple license allowing customers to re-use them in as many products, services, or other media as needed without paying any extras in royalties or additional license fees.

Sib Icon Catalog makes it easy to find ready-made images, select and purchase graphics with watermark-free instant previews. Thousands of full-size images are provided with Sib Icon Catalog with no watermarks. All graphics are carefully tagged, making it simple to search for the right icon. Sib Icon Catalog helps software developers and webmasters to meet the toughest deadlines with on-time delivery guarantee. One can cselect and purchase images and image packages directly from Sib Icon Catalog.

All software icons indexed by Sib Icon Catalog are technically sound, available in numerous sizes, file formats, versions, and color depths. Typically, every icon or icon collection is supplied in ICO, GIF, PNG, and BMP formats in three versions: standard, highlighted, and grayed out. Sizes of 16×16 to 256×256 pixels are available in both 256-color and 32-bit True Color resolutions. Sib Icon Catalog is free and can be downloaded at sibcode.com.

Perfect File Icons

File icons are a crucial component of nearly every application developed today, and impressing users with something fresh and new can say a lot about the application’s style and quality. Choosing professionally-designed file icons like those found in our large collection can help make any program or project take on an appealing look without sacrificing important issues of usability.

Our file icon set includes graphics for many basic functions, such as saving, opening, creating, and deleting files, and also features several icons for conveying information to users precisely and clearly. From text importation and exportation icons to various reports and lists, this set will keep you covered as you assign icons to your application’s toolbar options. The availability of three specific transparency modes for each article, including normal, highlighted, and gray scale, will help make your menu look more organized.

Each toolbar icon in this set features an easy-to-understand graphic that lets your users easily associate them with the unique functions and options of your program. The icons’ uniformly smooth edges offer a polished look that will add a great sense of style to any project. Perfect looks are matched by perfect usability in this collection, and you can count on having the right graphic every time you add a new option to your menu.

All of our file icons are available in a range of sizes. Choose from 16 by 16, 20 by 20, 24 by 24, 32 by 32, or 48 by 48 to achieve the best look possible in any visual environment. The icons’ beautiful, eye-catching colors support both 256 and 32-bit True Color, and every piece in the set can be found in regular, hot, and disabled modes. These distinct transparencies let you visually define the status of any option while keeping the same great looks. Icons also come in ICO, PNG, and BMP formats.

Your project can greatly benefit from the stylish looks and clear symbology of these professional file icons.

Arm Adult Filter

Arm Adult Filter is a simple way to protect your kids from the obscene web content while they are seeking for information or communicating online. It comes with the lists of words and web sites which shouldn’t be seen by kids. The tool won’t allow opening a web page containing the words from the black-list and ban access to indecent sites. Also it can permit opening the sites only from the white-domain list. You can swiftly edit lists of allowed and restricted websites as well as the list of inappropriate words. With a reliable control of Arm Adult Filter, you can be sure that your children can not stumble upon adult things while browsing the Internet.

The tool will serve as a reliable solution preventing access to various types of improper content. You can swiftly adjust the restriction lists using import and export features or manually specify sites and words you consider undesirable. Not only does it allow blocking indecent material but it can also keep your children away from gambling sites, dating chats, violent games, various disturbing images and any potentially immoral web resources. Simple, yet efficient blocking mechanisms of Arm Adult Filter can safeguard children against numerous hazards.

Arm Adult Filter easily integrates with popular browsers without changing the navigation. However, once a kid attempts to enter an improper web site, the tool will override the download and inform that the site is unavailable due to its contents. The program takes into account various search engines, so it will block search results containing censored words. Also the tool can automatically run when the system starts, so it will look after a child right away.

If you care about your child’s mind, then use Arm Adult Filter to provide your kids with secure web surfing. I will allow a child to develop his consciousness without a risk to accidentally discover some adult content. This tool will be a reliable guardian for children’s web safety.