|Robert Dale Smith
Entrepreneur, Software Developer, Techie
Ever since my early days on the internet I have been constantly logged onto some type of online chat client. Starting with IRC and AOL chat rooms in the mid 1990s. Then in 1996, there was ICQ and America Online's Buddy List, the precursor to AOL Instant Messenger. Eventually Microsoft released MSN Messenger onto the IM scene as well. Now a days I also use Google's gTalk and Facebook messaging. I have built an online presence on each of these services and have stayed logged in to each virtually everyday my primary computer is powered on. It was always ridiculous having so many applications running in order to be connected to all these similar services.
In the summer of 2000, a new chat application was released called Trillian which solved this problem by providing a single client that is capable of logging into all these IM services. This way you have just one program running on your computer, saving resources. Also allowed you to have a single buddy list window for all services. Being an application I used on a daily basis, I quickly started to design and build my own custom skins for the chat client. These skins completely changed the look and feel of the application. I only released two complete skin packs for the Trillian application about a year after its release.
The first skin called, ICQ Trillian, made Trillian look identical to the version of ICQ that was avialable at the time. This became a very popular theme for users coming from the ICQ client. It allowed them to have a familure look and feel, plus the extra benifits Trillian offers. Over the skins lifetime online it was downloaded over 13,000 times on deviantART.com before it was no longer compatible with the latest versions of Trillian.
Original ICQ 2000a - Screen Shot 2
The second Trillian skin that I released to the public is a graphical user interface port of Windows XP's Silver visual style theme that is bundled with the operating system. I callled the theme Metallic Trillian XP and it made Trillian look identitical to Windows XP when its set to the Silver color scheme. At the time I developed this skin there was only the default Blue XP skin available. I preferred the silver look over the blue and I knew many other individuals in the skinning community also did as well. Metallic Trillian XP was downloaded over 38,500 times on deviantART.com.
I also had these skins available on one of my websites at the time. It was a free site I had setup on the old school Geocities website. I have no idea how many direct downloads I had got on these skins though. Unfortunatly Geocities was shutdown, but after doing some research I was able to find a website that archived all the old Geocities websites. This site is called Oocities.org and my old site can be found at http://www.oocities.org/ffpsx/.