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)

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.

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.

Apple iPhone vs. Android: the Battle

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

iphone icons
Today, the situation has changed. With newest iPhone being a superb 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 Android Market, and went away with the do-it-yourself, LEGO type approach. Today, picking one phone over another is more of a personal preference. Let’s try to discover what’s best about going the Apple route, and what advantages the Android way can bring.

Hardware and Model Selection

With Apple, you are always limited to just a few models. Or, rather, you can choose from only 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 phones, on the other hand, come in all sorts of shapes, models and colors. Various manufacturers use entirely different hardware. Different displays, CPUs, memory. Vastly different reliability and usability. Buying an Android phone will require you to do a market research, whereas you can’t go wrong with any current iPhone. Are you a techno geek or a gadget guy? Look for an Android phone that flies with you. The rest will be served by Apple.

Screen

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

Androids ship with all kinds of displays. Some of the better ones can reach iPhones in pixel density, but software integration is still lagging. Many applications still have low-resolution icons and images designed to be displayed on lower-resolution displays. When choosing an Android phone, you will have to watch really carefully to buy a model with a good display. If you’re not good with numbers, icon dimensions, angles of view and technical specs, just get an iPhone for the best screen ever.

Firmware and UI

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

Androids come in all sorts of flavor. Different firmware and dozens of OS versions, builds and editions. Different sets of icons for exactly the same app. Completely different shells and launchers. Fully customizable: you can make Android phones look like whatever you want (and it’s not all about custom icons) – but you must know what you’re doing. With such a huge variety, some models are simply better as in simpler to use, more stable and working faster than others. If building your very own custom environment is fun for you, by all means buy the Android. If you like it working straight out of the box, get an iPhone and begin using it right away.

Extensibility

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

Most but not all Android devices come with a microSD slot, allowing you to add more memory when you need it. With flash memory 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 won’t hold charge after 3-4 years), you’ll be mailing your iPhone to Apple for a “major repair” (more dough to Apple), or be shopping for a new iPhone (even more dough to Apple).

While some Android devices use similarly user irreplaceable batteries, most phones are easy: just lift the back 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 more affordable to buy and more affordable to upgrade and maintain. They’re more extensible and customizable. iPhones work great 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

Icon Mega-Pack: All Icon Sets

Designing graphics on a budget has never been easy. Software developers use dozens, and often hundreds of small images (icons) throughout a single application. Custom ordering all of them makes little sense, unless you’re making a Photoshop killer or building a similarly ambitious project.

Stock icons are a perfect alternative to custom graphics for the rest of us. Stock graphics are instantly available, come with clear licensing terms, and eliminate waiting and guessing from your routine. With ready-made icons, you get exactly what you see, pay a discounted price, and receive your images in a matter of minutes – not days, weeks or months.


Every icon set is unlike another. The many collections of ready-made icon sets cover various topics, serve different platforms, and come with different licensing terms attached. And of course, the icon sets come in a wide assortment of sizes, color depths and file formats. Some icon sets are drawn better than others, and some have extra features such as a separate semi-transparent layer (the Alpha-channel) allowing the images blend smoothly with difficult backgrounds. Finding and choosing the right icon set can be just as difficult as ordering custom graphics to a designer.

Aha-Soft All Icon Sets http://www.aha-soft.com/iconsets.htm offer the ultimate answer to the entire stock icon set dilemma. This monster icon pack includes more than two hundred collections, or over 25,000 unique icons covering pretty much everything from social networks to medicine, financial and transportation applications.


All Icon Sets integrate multiple collections of icons. Each icon set is dedicated to a certain topic. There are icon sets for Windows developers, and there are icon sets for Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Phone apps, as well as Web portals, databases and online tools. No matter what platform you are targeting, All Icon Sets will have something for everyone.

With as many as 25,000 individual icons in 200 icon sets, the icon mega-pack includes images in a widest range of sizes, color depths, activity states and file formats. Depending on the target platform, the icons come in all sizes defined by the platform’s design guidelines. The sizes include resolutions of 16×16 to 512×512 pixels, depending on the platform and application of the particular icon set. The icons from All Icon Sets are provided in a combination of BMP, GIF, PNG, and Windows ICO formats. Vector sources can be provided with some icon sets including AI, SVG, PDF, CDR, XAML, 3DMax, and PSD formats.

All Icon Sets come with full-size, instant online preview. Visit http://www.aha-soft.com/iconsets.htm to check out previews, download free samples or place an order.

All Menu Icons Bundle Packs 13,000 Icons into a Single Value Pack

Shopping for ready-made icons and looking for the best value? Look no further: the set of All Menu Icons bundles 13,000 unique icons into a single value pack. How much value? If you purchase this pack, each image will cost you just 3 cents.


With so many icons packed at a deeply discounted price, there must be a caveat, right? Well, let’s see. Licensing terms? All Menu Icons are royalty-free, allowing you using them as many times and in as many projects as you please. Whether you’re making mass-production software or designing custom Web sites, All Menu Icons will never ask you for an extra fee. With flexible, royalty-free terms, All Menu Icons offer simply the best value among competition.

Visual quality? All icons comprising the All Menu Icons bundle are professionally designed and handcrafted by professional designers, then assembled into matching sets for easier reference. There are a number of images drawn in a number of visual styles, allowing you designing bright and vivid Web sites or projects with decidedly muted looks while maintaining the usual high level of visual clarity.

Technically, All Menu Icons offer icons in multiple sizes and formats. There are five pixel sizes (16×16, 20×20, 24×24, 32×32, and 48×48), two color depths (8-bit and 32-bit color with alpha-channel), and four file formats (ICO, BMP, GIF and PNG), with individual resolutions offered at an even deeper discount. Three visual states for Normal, Disabled and Highlighted versions of navigation elements are supplied. These variations bring the total number of images to over 600,000.

Writing about images, reading about icons or talking about icons won’t tell you anything about how they actually look. Visit http://www.menu-icons.com/all-menu-icons.htm to have a brief look at the preview and decide for yourself whether All Menu Icons are what you need. Didn’t find an icon you need? We will make one right for you, according to your needs and specifications.

Large Category Icons – Save Maximum Time!

These days, the website designers and software developers have been offered the large category icons with an assortment icons through which computer users can make their website and software improvement easier and faster. These sorts of large category icons are coming to the market in various sizes involving 16×16, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48, 256×256 and 512×512, and assortment formats including ICO, BMP, and PNG. These sorts of icons are having transparent background, and available in three states such as disabled, hot, and normal. If you are looking for unmatched or unique design icons, then you need to take a look for large category icons. These days, the large category icons are the best options for every computer users because these sorts of icons are just what they require to make unexpected appearance to any software application and website. Through these sorts of icons you can save maximum time on graphics without forgoing quality of your website.

While you design the website and develop software, making graphics are time consuming task. Problem with the readymade graphics is most of them are all inferior in the quality that is why most of the web designers or software developers select to make their own large category icons. The large category icons also take guesswork out of the finding best quality of graphics that can improve the web page and software illustrations without even worrying about the mediocre result. With the glossy large category icons that you have an access to the versatile icon collection in the PNG, ICO formats as well as in various sizes that includes 512×512, 48×48, 24×24, as well as 16×16. All of the icons have transparent background or come in 3 state variations that include normal, as well as disabled. This also allows you to make or launch the website quicker or develop the software without any need to use the graphics editor and make the images from the scratch.

Know the History Behind of Icon!

An icon is a religious work of art that used in a wide number of contexts for an image or picture representation. In normal terms the icon is a sign that stands for an object by representing it concretely or by analogy. In modern culture icon is also used in the general sense of symbols. According to the history several religious cultures have been stirred by concrete images in two or three dimensions. If you go back to the history you can find the icons as scared objects of worship or simply applied as ornaments. In Eastern Christianity the icon is usually a flat panel painting representing holy objects such as Jesus, Mary, angles and cross. In these time icons are also carved in stone, painted on wood, printed on paper or metal and done in fresco work. These icons also make a clear distinction between Christian and Pagan art.

Throughout the history, different religious cultures are inspired and supplemented by the concrete images, no matter whether in 2 dimensions or 3. Degree to which the images are been used and permitted, and the functions — no matter whether they are for the instruction and inspiration, treated as the sacred objects of the veneration and worship, or applied as the ornament — depend on tenets of the given religion in given time and time. In the Eastern Christianity as well as other icon-painting the Christian traditions, icon is normally flat panel painting and depicting the holy being and object like Mary, Jesus, saints, cross and angels. Icons can be cast in the metal, carved in the stone, embroidered on the cloth, painted on the wood, done in the mosaic and fresco work, and printed on the paper and metal, and so on.

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 Graphics in Your Application
Getting the perfect set of stock icons was not a quick job. But you have finally made the choice, and have purchased a perfect set to use in your project. Now when you bought the images, what are you going to do with them? Do you know what file format should be used where, and what resolution, 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 pick them over traditional 256-color icons? What development environments support translucent images, and what file formats should be used there? Finally, which versions of stock icons to use for the many control elements? Let’s answer these questions one by one.
Ready-made icons for development

Choosing 32-bit icons over their 8-bit counterparts seems natural. 32-bit icons feature an extra layer defining a translucency mask. This layer is called alpha channel. Thanks to the alpha channel, images with 32-bit color depth can blend nicely with backgrounds of any color and complexity, having smooth edges and looking great even if your background has a bright color, gradient, or shows an image or pattern. In addition, the alpha channel makes shadows and reflections appear semi-transparent, making them appear natural and overall rendering extremely realistic.
So, 32-bit icons are just the right type to use. The real question is whether you will be able to use them for your project. In reality, 32-bit icons can be used in a handful of situations – and cannot be used in others. If you’re making a Web site, the chances are that your user base already has a compatible browser installed that can display 32-bit graphics with full alpha-channel support. Exceptions are rare, and include Internet Explorer 6 and earlier versions, ancient builds of Mozilla, and a few resource-limited mobile platforms (although most mobile browsers can perfectly show 32-bit images).

For a Web site, you would use 32-bit icons in PNG format. If supporting legacy browsers is important, you can resort to 24-bit PNG icons, converting the original 32-bit images with an icon editor such as IconLover. 8-bit GIF files can be used for designing light Web sites to be displayed on the slowest mobile platforms. Note that GIF files don’t have a full alpha-channel support; instead, they feature a single-bit transparency mask. Again, you can convert your 8-bit images from 32-bit originals with IconLover, or use the GIF versions of icons supplied with your icon set. The GIF icons provided with your set will display nicely on most types of backgrounds, but you can render your own versions if you have a busy or colourful background and want your images blend with it.

Windows applications can typically 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 pack the same image (or, sometimes, different images) in a number of sizes and color depths within a single file. Windows will automatically choose the appropriate size and color depth depending on the user’s display settings and the location of the icon. It’s best to pack all standard sizes and color resolutions in a single ICO file. Our stock icons already have all standard resolutions and color depths stored in the ICO format; if you want to build your own ICO files, you can use IconLover.

There are dozens of other things we’d love to tell you about making the best use of your newly purchased graphics. You can access a full version of this article covering 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 programs or Web sites at www.aha-soft.com.