While the VLC team broods about the hows and whens of reinventing the VLC experience on the Mac, Hirogen has gone ahead with his own version of what VLC should look like. In fact, he doesn’t stop at VLC, instead creating an entirely new user interface style, which he calls BlackPearl. It’s not only gorgeous matte UI, it also fits just perfectly on a Snow Leopard desktop.

Installing the BlackPearl mod for VLC involves downloading the disk image and moving around a few files, as instructed by the generous how-to. I’m using the single window version, which I prefer to having a separate window for the controller. Sadly though, the fullscreen HUD still sports the old flat HUD, along with several other unchanged UI elements, so hopefully when the official VLC UI overhaul arrives, it’ll get the slickness that is the QuickTime X controller. Oh, and while you’re modding the user interface, you might as well change the hideous icon along with it. MacRabbit has got an excellent replacement kit for the application icon and file associations.


This is just for starters…

Hirogen has also created a BlackPearl mod for Transmission. While the new look isn’t as drastic a change in your regular usage, flip out the torrent inspector and you’ll see some glorious pixels strewn about the place. There’s also a VisualHub mod, but since it advises one should delete the preference file, I’m afraid it might not be able to reactivate the now de-funct VisualHub. Any cool application mods you know of?

[tweetmeme] It’s wallpaper time! What better way to change your desktop than to magically replace the majority of its pixels. The Mac has so far shipped with some really good wallpapers, and Snow Leopard’s Aurora is just a timeless work of art that you can never tire of. Well, tire of in the long run, but you do need some change in between. While some prefer to have a picture of a city, or some loved ones, I can’t resist layering on ambient wallpapers that don’t really mean anything, but are beautiful by themselves.

These will fit in great with your desktop.


Your first stop to an Aurora replacement. And it comes with an Apple. And, if you don’t like the Apple, there’s a version without it included in the package. These designers are just too kind! Big bear hug to artist =Lemex.

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[tweetmeme] Ever since the day themers found the resource files for changing the Leopard dock, the themes have just flown out. At first it was abstract stupid stuff that made its way to ‘dock sites’ like dockulicious and leopard docks, but it’s only later that serious designers put their hard work into creating some visually appealing and functional docks, perfect as a replacement to the grey dock that comes with your Mac. Many of these docks are meant to be used with CandyBar from Panic Software, which is one tool you need if you’re going to be theming your Mac.

Sidenote: You might also want to check out this post on SA, all about customising your dock.

Phantom Dock

Gorgeous dark theme, works especially well with vibrant yet dark images. The dock comes with some spacey wallpapers perfect for this one. It’s also a dock theme that looks great when enlarged rather than small. Also, it’s not the more intuitive dock, as its indicators can get muddled with the reflections.
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[tweetmeme] There’s a bunch of sites out there advertising christmas wallpapers, but a large part of them are geared toward the PC crowd—random pictures of snow, 4:3 aspect ratio, and sharp vector artwork. If you’re planning to dress up your Mac, here’s a limited but tasty selection of wallpapers that’ll fit right into your holiday mood.


Designed by Michael Flarup of PixelResort, this cozy candy coated artwork will definitely blend in with all that snow outside [Disclaimer: I don't have any snow outside to actually test my claims]. Michael was also kind enough to create a stunning timelapse video of the artwork in progress. A must watch.

2560 x 1600 | Download

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mac-apps[tweetmeme] If we’re starting at ground zero, what better way than to have a nice little list. Mac software has so far exhibited a far greater penchant for user interface design than their Windows counterparts. Let’s not bring Linux into the picture. While most Mac apps exhibit good user interface design, there are some exceptionally well done pixels. Here’s a few among the many apps highlighting some excellent visual design and functionality.


Creating waves even before its release, LittleSnapper from RealMacSoftware has captured the hearts of many a Mac user. While more pretty than functional in its earlier releases, the app has gained serious traction since its 1.5 release. Tied with its online service “Ember”, LittleSnapper is currently the de facto screenshot/webshot manager on the Mac. It seamlessly integrates with Mac OS X, has a fairly decent memory footprint, and one of the best user interfaces in the Mac appspace.


LittleSnapper costs $40 for a license, but if you wait around there’s usually a good deal waiting for you to happen. Nothing’s stopping you from grabbing the trial though.

It’s dangerous, having such beauty floating around on the screen

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