Design Blog: Cursors, Icons, Buttons, Cliparts

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

- Select desired icons

- Post your query

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

* * *

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

Icon design software:

All icon sets:

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 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. 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 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. 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.

Apple iPhone or Android: the Battle

Androids vs. iPhones. The discussion goes on and on. At the time the iPhone first hit the market, there was really no competition. Apple was playing in a class of its own. Early Android devices were mediocre: slow UI response, lags here and there, and the overall “do-it-yourself” approach just didn’t with consumers.

iphone icons
Today, the situation has changed. With the latest iPhone being a superb device and a wonderful system, the newest Androids leave little to be desired. Today’s Androids have no UI lags, offer most of the same apps in the Android Market, and abandoned the do-it-yourself, LEGO style approach. Today, choosing one system over another is more of a personal preference. Let’s try to find out what’s best about going the Apple route, and what benefits the Android way can bring.

Hardware and Models

With Apple iPhone, you have a limited choice of only several models. Or, rather, you can choose from just one current model in several versions that, honestly, differ very little. There are a few older models available 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 screens, CPUs, memory. Vastly different reliability and usability. Getting 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. The rest will be served by Apple.


The newest generation of iPhones has a wonderful Retina display. These super high pixel density displays will render your apps, icons and photos so smooth it’s hard to believe. Kudos to Apple: they built one of the greatest screens ever.

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

Built-in Software and UI

An iPhone is an iPhone. They’re all the same. One operating system, same UI, the same set of pre-installed apps, exactly the same icons. You can customize it by shifting 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. Extensively customizable: you can make Android phones look like whatever you want (and it’s not just about custom icons) – but you have to know what you’re doing. With such a broad variety, some devices are simply better as in simpler to use, more robust and working more reliable than others. If making your very own tailored system is fun for you, by all means get the Android. If you like it working out of the box, get an iPhone and begin using it right away.


iPhones don’t have a slot to use an external memory card. 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 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 goes bad in some years (they all do; lithium batteries won’t hold charge after 3-4 years), you’ll be shipping your iPhone back 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 Androids are easy: just lift the cover and put a new battery in. A replacement battery will set you back a few dollars, allowing you to buy a replacement phone when you want it.


Android phones are cheaper to buy and cheaper to upgrade and maintain. They’re more extensible and customizable. iPhones are perfect straight out of the box, and offer possibly 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 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 to check out previews, download free samples or place an order.

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


Shopping for ready-made graphics and want the best value? Stop right here: the set of All Menu Icons packs 13,000 unique icons into a huge value pack. How much value? If you buy this pack, each icon will cost you just 3 cents.

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

Visual quality? All images comprising the All Menu Icons bundle are meticulously designed and handcrafted by professional artists, then assembled into matching sets for easier reference. There are numerous icons representing 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 bundle images in quite a few sizes and formats. There are five pixel resolutions (16×16, 20×20, 24×24, 32×32, and 48×48), two color depths (256-color and True Color with alpha-channel), and four file formats (ICO, BMP, GIF and PNG), with separate resolutions available at an even deeper discount. Three visual states representing Normal, Disabled and Highlighted versions of navigation elements are supplied. The variations boost the total number of icons to over 600,000.

Writing about icons, reading about icons or talking about images won’t tell you anything about how they actually look. Visit to have a quick look at the preview and decide for yourself whether All Menu Icons are what you’re looking for. Didn’t find an icon you were looking for? We can make one right for you, according to your needs and specifications.

Perfect Office Icons – Give a Magnificent Look to Your New Project!

If you are developing a new office application or a web applet for editing posts, perfect icons will give your new project a magnificent look. The sets of perfect office icons normally used in office for application such as open, save, new, copy and paste, Microsoft word icons and many other text icons. Users can get other several benefits by using such icons on their desktop. These icons are now available in several websites at the price of only $99.95. If you want to get more detail information about these icons then online is the best solution for you. Perfect office icons are available in various resolutions such as 16×16, 20×20, 24×24, 32×32 and 48×48 pixels. Disabled, highlighted and normal are the three common states of perfect office icons. Now you can also get perfect office icons in ICO, BMP, GIF and PNG formats. These icons are also available in 256 color and true color version.

The Perfect Office Icons range is the set of the royalty Free Icons that is designed specially to breathe the new life in all of the office applications. No matter whether the text editor, graphic editor, visual-presentation creator or Information Manager, you can find that very simple as well as convenient spice up GUI of the software with new set of the Perfect Office Icons. Also, thanks to long experience of the designers, all icons are creatively made or crafted, to make the look very appealing as well as intuitive. All icons have the bright as well as well matched colors; the edges are well-rounded and smooth. Even though you are not software developer, still you might want to customize the personal space or change appearance of PC desktop, which you see daily. Perfect Office Icons is icon pack for you and it has all symbols, which are used commonly in the Microsoft Office as well as other software packs.

Music Icon – Right Platform for Music Lovers!

Music icon collection is a best option for the music lover in which they can get all sorts of image, symbol, and objects that related to various sound related applications. These icons collections are also available in royalty free. The user can perform various tasks easily like the sound recorders, audio processing and notion editors with the help of the music icons. These icons are available in various formats and size that user never required to make any sorts of change in their system setting to download it. You can get the icons in various sizes 16×16, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48, 128×128 and formats ICO, BMP, GIF and PNG. These icons sets are right option for the Windows vista users. Due to faster processing the user can get their desire designs of icons immediately after their order. At the same way, the user can get much discount on the regular price on the 24×24 and 32×32 size of the Music icon collection. The Music Icon is the collection of the royalty free icons for the use in personal and commercial products, which includes software applications, websites, blogs, as well as presentations.

The icons are very carefully made by every pixel in your hand of the professional artist. Also, they shine with the bright palette of the colors, Smooth as well as well rounded edges. Best in the quality, icons can help the developer for placing the truly professional feel to the projects Interfaces without any need of hiring the designer and spend some days or even weeks to design the icons on own. The Music Icon is been delivered in various sizes and formats, which includes GIF, BMP, ICO, PNG, and sizes as 32×32, 16×16, 24×24, as well as 48×48.

The web software and products can look more like Modern as well as attractive with the Music Icon. The icon collection also includes next icons: phone, violin, drum, sound, music, voice Chat, trumpet, no sound, guitar, tuner, radio, film, notes, piano, metronome, USB-drive, recorder, CD-disk, camcorder, Ear, music disk, MP3-player and many more. You may also download the free Music Icon Library now.

Creating Icons – Design the Icons in Assortment Formats!

At present, the demand of icons are going on high because these sorts of icons are having great features with designed by advance technology. If you want to create icons, then you need to look for the creating icons tools. With the help of creating icons tools, you can design sophisticated icons for your computer. The icons which have been designed by the creating tools are available in versatile icons packages. So, you can download these sorts of icons on your computer as per the requirements of sizes and shapes. These sorts of icons are available in assortment formats at online media. It is the best option for you to download these icons from online media in cheap. Now, you need to move for the online media and search these sorts of icons in best designs and quality. Also, creating icons tools can help you for designing the icons from quality and royalty free images.


Almost each desktop enviroment I have seen has the special application to make icons, generally limited drawing application. And in this tutorial, we are going to show you how the GIMP (Image Manipulation Program) will help you in creating icons for the desktop. The icon is graphic image, which represents the available function on the computer’s graphical interface. They also look very much like the standard image, but, to make the icon, you should have the special program able to make or save the image in the ICO format. Size of the icon will differ that depends on an application it is linked with. Few may require 16 x 16 pixel image as well as others might need the 32 x 32 pixel image. Additionally, number of the required colors are 16 and 256.

Computer Monitor – An Electronic Visual Display!


A monitor is the most important part of a computer. It is also known as the display of the computer through which the pictures and resolutions come out. In technical term it is an electronic visual display for computer. Usually, the monitor consists of the display device, an enclosure and circuitry. The modern monitors uses a thin film transistor liquid crystal display where as older monitors uses a cathode ray tube according to the screen size. Generally, computer monitors are used for data processing where as television monitors for entertainment. Most importantly, computer monitor can use both for entertainment and data processing. However TVs also implement some normal computer functionality. However, the working capability or performance of a monitor is measure by the following parameters

  • Aspect ratio
  • Display resolution
  • Viewable image size
  • Refresh rate
  • Dot pitch
  • Response time
  • Contrast ratio
  • Power consumption
  • Viewing angle
  • LuminanceSize of the rectangular display is generally given as a distance between 2 opposite screen corners, which is, diagonal of a rectangle. One big problem with the method is it will take in the account display aspect ratio, thus for example 16:9 21 in (fifty three cm) wide screen display has the less area, than 21in 4:3 screen. A 4:3 screen has the dimensions of 16.8*12.6 in and area 211sq in, whereas widescreen is 18.3*10.3in, 188sq in. The method of measurement is been inherited from method that is used for first generation of the CRT TV, when the picture tubes with the circular shapes or faces were in use. To be circular, just the diameter was required to describe the size. As the circular tubes were been used to display the rectangular images, diagonal measurement of rectangle was also equivalent to diameter of tube’s face.