I have been a fan of skins since I discovered the first one for a messenger program I used to use in the 90′s. Who wants boring blue, light blue, and gray on all their application windows browsers? And by extension, on their electronic devices? I know we were all glad when we went from “putty” colored CPU’s and monitors to sleeky, stealthy black, but there’s so much more we can do. I am not a boring person, and I refuse to have my devices be boring, much less my software applications. That’s why I have a flamingo pink laptop, and a hot pink cell phone, and virtually all of the applications I can possibly skin on my computer have been skinned. And if I can’t skin a physical device (like my boring silver and black 60 gb classic iPod), I use stickers to make a statement (art cows, anyone?).
Of course, this is superfluous and does not really enhance functionality, and most techies wouldn’t care one way or the other. But I have to stare at this computer all day, every day, for work, and at home I choose to stare some more at a computer. It’s much easier to stare at when it’s “prettified,” as my daughter likes to say. We’ve been able to skin gmail for quite some time, as well as MSN and Yahoo Messenger (you can probably guess at my color themes by now). I’ve been able to create custom color schemes on the windows desktop for as long as I can remember, including our wallpaper and what our icons look like. And there are a million templates out there for customizing WordPress, Blogspot, and LiveJournal blogs, amongst others, which is just another form of skinning. The fact is, we like to make it look unique, like “our own,” like something that belongs to us.
Firefox’s most recent update (v. 3.6.10), pushed over the last couple of days, now gives us the option of skinning our browser. You can assume, rightly, that I’ve already skinned my browser this morning in a color scheme that fits me. With about 180,000 skins to choose from, there’s no reason you can’t find one that can fit you. I found mine on page 2561.
Are you a skinner? Do you even care, or do you just leave things the way they come by default? Leave your comments!