Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Thoughts on Disco

Main window of Disco
Back in August, I spent $5 on a program called Disco. At the time the actual features of the program were kept secret, so I was basically spending $5 on a program without knowing what it actually did.

Fast forward to the end of last month, and I got my hands on my copy of Disco, which turned out to be a CD writing program. Though it’s still in beta, there’s a few comments I’d like to make about it.

  • It’s small. My screen resolution is 1280×800…. and Disco only uses a small portion of that. Admittedly one of its nice points is its minimalism, but the interface doesn’t expand much even when you drag a whole load of files onto it. In fact, you’ll only get to see 6 files at a time, which means that if you want to burn a disc with lots of files you potentially have a lot of scrolling to do.
  • It’s a bit bland While the black-and-white look is consistent throughout the program, it does take the biscuit when it’s spread to the Preferences panel (which is also ridiculously small and cramped). It would be nice if this used the look that preference panels in other OS X apps use, mostly for ease of use but also just because it’ll make thing a bit brighter and not like a goth art student’s bedroom.
  • It makes the widgets look weird The close/minimise/maximise buttons have even been changed to shades of black and grey, just to make the program more depressingly dark, and the buttons and tickboxes are not standard OS X ones either. It’s all a bit ‘form-over-function’ which I don’t like.
  • It’s a bit too transparent Quite a few windows use transparency, which would be nice if they were a little more opaque. If you have any programs open behind Disco, then they’ll show through, to the point at which it makes the text in Disco hard to read. This would be fine if you could turn the transparency off, or adjust the level, but you can’t, leaving users to squint at the text.

Those are the criticisms. As for the compliments, on the whole I really like the program and there are some very nice touches. The animations make the program more fun to use (something that most, but not all, OS X applications manage), and compared to most CD burning programs I’ve tried it’s far easier to use, with a minimal step-by-step process. That said, it’s got some nice power user features too, such as selecting what format you want the CD to be burned as and the ability to write CD images, and the use of the motion sensors in Apple laptops is a nice touch.

Disco shows a lot of promise and I hope that some of these niggles are addressed. On the whole though I really like Disco and would have paid far more than $5 for it.

Update: A new beta of Disco has been released which allows the transparency to be turned off. This addresses one of the issues I had with it, now for the rest 🙂 .

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