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Winamp Skin Museum (webamp.org)
694 points by 0-_-0 9 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 264 comments



Winamp skins make me miss the fun of software circa 2000. The sun was bright and the possibility space wide open. A piece of software would come out, make huge strides in enabling a new use case effectively, leave the door open for people to make it theirs - and boy did they ever!

In the last 20 years how have software music players changed? The files come from a subscription service easier to use and with much better metadata than tracks from Napster ever did. That's awesome! Also the subscription dictates you use their hot turd of software, with dreary spartan UI and zero room for functional customization to be had. Welcome to the future, now learn to like it or get called a luddite.


We've lost so much since the 90's and 00's.

Most people are using less configurable computers: phones.

We can't easily install the software we want on our devices (iPhone especially, but Android also to an extent). Add to that the fact that we have to go through a distribution channel that takes a 30% cut. It's gross af.

The social media platforms took over from websites. Nobody really bothers with personal websites or blogs anymore since the majority of the population get their news from social media. Why spend effort building for the long tail?

Forum communities are dead because of social media. Facebook pages and subreddits are not the same.

There's one search engine, and it has a pretty big moat. This search engine built a browser and is now trying to destroy ad blockers via extension capability removal and web bundles.

It's pretty obvious that Google is trying to kill the web. AMP, steering away from semantic web, etc. They want everything to be Chrome.

Firefox doesn't have as much user share because of aforementioned browser.

We invented some cool protocols along the way (blockchain), but also lost a few that were really great (bittorrent, DHT).

IRC is pretty dead. Now there's Slack and Discord. Riot is a pretty distant third.

Apps and websites got SUPER BLOATED.

A few things have improved, though: Git is pretty freaking sweet, and Rust is the language of the future.

It's like when Link wakes up in Ocarina of Time after retrieving the Master Sword. Except in our case, everything's suddenly shiny, but feels plastic and artificial. We've discovered we're now renting everything and craftsmanship has withered away to a world of composability and integration.

It's a simple story: billions and billions of dollars chased after capturing and exploiting the average human user. Each company it super simple to adopt their platform. To do so they had to destroy the competition and create a moat. These negative externalities coupled with high concentrations of users to platforms has left a wake of destruction.

The indie, free and open web got knee-kicked by the giants.


Most of this is nonsense.

Most of what you're describing is simply an extension of Eternal September. "We" haven't really lost any of these things. It's just that newcomers don't care about them so much.

And that's okay.

Why would I be upset that that some teen or 20-something, who primarily uses the internet to post and browse selfies on social media, does so from a phone rather than a IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad? Their main use case is Instagram or TikTok. A ThinkPad makes no sense for them. But I can still buy one.

Social media platforms "took over" in the sense of having more eyeballs. But so what? Few if any of those eyeballs are really interested in the things that I'm interested in from websites, blogs, etc. Moreover, websites and blogs are still around, and just as populated as they ever were. It's just that there's a bigger population on social media sites.

There ARE multiple search engines. DuckDuckGo even has good policies. True, none of them may be as good as Google. But pretty much ALL of them are better than Lycos, Infoseek, AltaVista, and all of the old-school competitors who lost to Google.

The only thing on this list that's a halfway decent point is Firefox user share. Just to the extent that browser engine monoculture gives Google a lot of power. But as long as the engine is open source, and there's a possibility of more privacy-conscious players leveraging it (e.g. Brave, Vivaldi, etc), then I can live with that.

The "positive" bit about Rust being "the language of the future" gives me the impression that you're mostly mourning geek culture being delegated to a side subculture, instead of being the dominant culture of the Internet itself. To an extent, it is a bummer to no longer be at the forefront of the hype wave. But to be honest, now that I'm middle-aged I don't so much care about being at the forefront of the hype wave anyway. As long as I have my crufty greyboard corner in the Internet's basement, I'm happy. And that doesn't really seem to be going anywhere.


> Why would I be upset that that some teen or 20-something, who primarily uses the internet to post and browse selfies on social media, does so from a phone rather than a IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad? Their main use case is Instagram or TikTok. A ThinkPad makes no sense for them. But I can still buy one.

The point is that the structure of the contemporary internet has caused their use case to be what you stated it is. What used to be a plethora of possibilities is now a small number of tailored experiences, and this is directly because of the heavy centralization of the internet.

You commented about OP's mention of rust but I'm curious to hear about your thoughts on DHT. The internet could entirely be supported by p2p infrastructure and maintain all the aforementioned properties, yet the predominant connotation of p2p is piracy. This is a more nuanced discussion than you give it credit for.


I find the current day internet beats the Winamp era in entertainment, learning, open source, travel, job hunting, hobbies, shopping, art and games. They all have more content, better and more accessible.

In the beginning, when the internet was roamed by students and tech guys, there was much enthusiasm for the possibilities, which unfortunately didn't pan out as expected when much of the rest of the world joined in. But that doesn't mean we can't find better options today than before.


As someone who sympathizes with the parent, I think it's mostly a lament for a lost favorite hangout. What happened to the internet, for me, feels like when a local restaurant gets featured on diners drive ins and dives and suddenly you can't just walk in and sit down, if you get a table it's too loud and crowded to enjoy, they can't function on just the usual staff so they hire a bunch of asshole hipster waiters that ignore you, and the food quality wavers. The internet got popular. The people who remember it before it was ubiquitous miss what it was and are disappointed by what it became.


The nuance and poetry of this comparison to a favorite local diner is a refreshing breath of air and conjured up a very similar sensation in thinking about what the web is now compared to the one we had.

Thank you.



> "We" haven't really lost any of these things. It's just that newcomers don't care about them so much.

the switch to software as a service has reduced the ability as well as need for people to fix bugs in software and to in a sense even operate their own software. This is a loss. I used to teach intro CS classes at my uni and over the last few years even beginner CS students didn't know how to install an OS or do rudimentary networking stuff, skills people picked up in ca 2000 just by toying around with their desktop systems.

The entire thesis is faulty to begin with, people not caring doesn't mean that loss of skills isn't bad. We're also in a continuous decline of physical skills. People may not care that they can't swim, they do care though when they're drowning. (a statistic that sadly has been going up)

People don't care about their software being locked down because they don't even know what open software is like. If you're so coddled you don't get to experiment you don't care because you're stunted in development, not because the skills are not valuable.


Part of the reason for students being unable to install an os or get a network to work is because CS degrees now equal a lot of money, and the people that tinkered with computers all through childhood often lose their places to the kids that spent their time studying how to get into a good university, instead of studying how to do things with computers.


And yet there are more compsci than ever, and the field is more diverse.

Why does it matter they haven't installed an OS before? Technology advances and the average use case changes too. At some point CS majors stopped knowing what punchards were for.

No field is for one specific group. All these complaints come off as trying to lament the inevitable.

Compensation and diversity are both up, so however you slice it why not mention that too?


> And yet there are more compsci than ever

this isn't even true.

Number of computer science graduates fell, and has stagnated since the mid aughts. The field is also one of the least diverse, and the reason compensation is up is because there's a shortage of labour, that's how supply and demand works, and it's why so many foreign CS students and tech workers migrate to the US, because the need for tech talent vastly outstrips the number of qualified workers.

None of this is inevitable, decline in technical excellence is a preventable choice, both on a cultural and policy level. This however is only doable if kids, from a young age, have the liberty and power to experiment with the tools they are given, rather than destroying their technical literacy by spoon-feeding them locked down tech and services.


> Most of this is nonsense.

> Most of what you're describing is simply an extension of Eternal September. "We" haven't really lost any of these things. It's just that newcomers don't care about them so much.

You're missing my point. I don't care that the tech stack changed. I care that everything is locked down and inherently inflexible.

Everything has become a rental and we don't have autonomy in the choices.


Your comment literally begins with "We've lost so much".

"We" haven't. The websites and blogs and desktop applications that you're talking about still exist, as does the general computing hardware to work with it.

What's happened is that newer, more vapid content has emerged. Along with more locked-down hardware for working with that. Aimed at a totally different audience of non-technical people, that never would have been "us" anyway.

It's the argument of an old white guy, who's mad that immigrants have changed the neighborhood. Yeah, maybe so. But our favorite old restaurants are still there. The bridge club is still open, right next to the bingo hall. It's just that we're a subculture now, instead of the dominant scene.


> Your comment literally begins with "We've lost so much".

> "We" haven't.

Yes, we have.

Look at what's happened to Reddit in the last decade.

Companies with that much power over the signal can adjust what we see. Change the ratios to favor content that earns them money. It destroys open discourse.

Facebook, Google, and Apple are all doing this.

TikTok only lets beautiful people through! I like the app, but that's pretty fucked up.

The browser is becoming a monoculture.

AMP is taking precedence in the search order.

The web long tail is atrophying because there aren't eyes on it anymore.

I can't share apps I write with friends that use iPhone.

Stallman.

It's happening in industry too. Redis and Linux are now AWS.

You are seeing past me.


I am disagreeing with you.

You are using the term "we" to describe 1990's Internet denizens, and 2020's TikTok browsers, as being the same cultural entity. From that POV, "our" online experience has degraded.

I am saying that these are different groups altogether. That the latter has supplanted the former in terms of size and dominance. That all of the things I cared about in the 1990's are still alive and perfectly accessible to me today. That it may be somewhat sad to see the "Internet culture" of old become a subculture, as the casuals rolled in and took it mainstream, but that "we" still exist and are doing fine.


It doesn't matter what the populations of the users are! My partner uses TikTok, and I do by extension.

The only place demographics matter in this argument is how they affect where and how the money is being spent.

Incumbents are turning our field into a fiefdom to lock in eyeballs. Some of this is just unconscious natural evolution because of the gravity their decisions have, but some of it is quite deliberate.

Google shuttered Google Play Music because it doesn't have the numbers they want and they have another internal effort that duplicates the functionality. With one choice, they changed the music listening behavior of millions of people. YouTube Music sucks at discoverability and favors replays of the same music.

In the old web, this didn't happen.

This is a small, unimportant anecdote. It's a drop in the sea of changes that are turning the internet to shit. There are hundreds of events and changes I can point to.

I'll cut to the chase:

Google, Apple, and Facebook need to be split up by the DOJ. Google shouldn't have a browser or any say in web standards, AMP should die, Apple shouldn't lock down iPhone, and Facebook should have extremely flexible data portability.

All of these companies should have their ad units stripped away and instead do bidding. There are too many negatives (spying, ads disguised as search results, etc) to having these in the same business units.

I haven't touched on it yet, but the Cableization of streaming is also something we need to address. It's a very close parallel to what's happened with the walled gardens.

At the heart of the issue is anticompetitive behavior and how it erodes the commons.

This has nothing to do with Gen-Z and everything to do with FAANG.


I get a lot of what you're saying, but I think you're conflating signal-to-noise with disappearance of the old weird web. It's still there, there's just a lot more other stuff out there too.

For the most part I agree with what you say about big tech and their dominance, but you don't have to use their products for the most part. The web standards are the big problem in that context.

Genuine question - why do you feel you have to use TikTok?


The problem is that these platforms have, in a very meaningful sense, taken the place of communications infrastructure. The bulk of us use Messenger or iMessage/FaceTime or some other over-the-top service for things we would have otherwise texted, or sent over email, or called someone about using a dialer, and that contributes to the vendor lock-in that they have. It's the new IRC, or AIM, but with an even wider capability gap and a userbase billions deep.

Even RCS doesn't solve this, because they're still a technically inferior spec - they don't support E2EE, and they still depend on phone numbers, with the terrible user experiences of arbitrary last-century identifiers and the phone companies you (generally) have to subscribe to to get them.

Until social media companies or their chat protocols are forced into some sort of interoperability - a thing we can do, under antitrust law - no amount of data portability will fix this. Because it's a consequence of their owning our networks, not just our content.


We’re definitely on the same page. I’ve been evangelising about interoperability for several years, meeting blank or glazed over stares the whole way. I’m definitely jaded.


StevePerkins has already done an excellent job trying to showing you why you're wrong.

I don't know why this is so hard for you to grasp. For people who liked the way things were in 1990 (or whenever) all that technology is still out there and in use (with a few minor and largely unimportant exceptions). It's even better than it used to be! You can get an RPi system for HOW MUCH! these days. Internet service is often good enough to host your own (small) server if you really want to do that. If you don't, there are dozens of excellent cheap hosting services. Everybody uses open source compilers. Linux is everywhere, opening stuff up (not all stuff, but a lot of stuff).

Now, do the majority of people who use "the internet" use any of this stuff, or even care about. They do not.

I would suggest that what you care about is precisely what Steve noted: Eternal September. You're unhappy that the vast majority of users of "the internet" don't care about the sorts of tools, platforms and culture that you do (and to a large extent, I do too).

But those platforms, tools and capabilities have not gone away. They are all out there, and in most ways are healthier than ever. They have not become a part of the majority experience of "the internet" (Android doesn't really count, though in a few small ways, it's notable). That might matter to you.

But it doesn't mean that the things you prefer are gone, or that "the internet" has been turned to shit. It means there's more than one "the internet" out there, and most people interact with a version of it that you don't like. You can rail against that if you like, but please don't claim that it has destroyed the other versions, because it hasn't.


You're both fixated on this "Eternal September" argument, which is a total mischaracterization of everything I've stated.

I'm not talking about people, I'm talking about companies behaving badly.

I want the entire world on the Internet. I want everyone creating more and consuming things that better fit their interests. I'm a creator! I want people using my stuff!

But at the same time I want our data and our tools to be open. I want portability and the ability to integrate how I want. We had some semblance of that, and now it's gone.

The web is eroding!

Mobile is locked down!

Our data is stuck in silos!

We're being tracked!

Diversity is gone!

Interoperability is gone!

These things happened.

The DOJ should break apart Google, Apple, and Facebook. They haven't been good stewards of the Internet.

I've gotten nearly a hundred upvotes in this comment thread, so I don't think I'm alone in this thinking.

And I don't mean to call either of you out. I just don't think you're seeing why I'm frustrated.


>I'm not talking about people, I'm talking about companies behaving badly.

Your main claim was that the "old web" has been destroyed.

The web is not eroding. It has expanded dramatically, and now includes huge amounts of stuff that were not part of the (say) 1994-2000 version. It continues to contain large amounts of stuff that are directly connected to that earlier stuff, albeit in massively greater quantity and quality.

Mobile is locked down. Nothing to say about that. Mobile is not the web, it's just the platform that most people interact with the online world on. Nothing more (or less).

Data is not deterministically locked in silos, although many people take the easy path toward certain functionality (e.g. email) that has that result. But this still a choice.

Ditto for tracking, though arguably less of a choice. You can do a lot to stop it, but you shouldn't have to.

The software/IT/web world is massively more diverse than it was in 1995. The available material, the participants : way, way more diverse.

Interoperability was never there: we had the Unix wars, Unix vs. Windows, mac vs everyone else. We had Intel vs PowerPC (soon to be revisited as Intel vs ARM).

Unless you've been using GNU since 1986 (I have), your tools weren't open.

Google, Apple and Facebook are doing bad things. They have not destroyed the internet that you loved, they've made it harder to see.


The internet grew and so did its capacity of making people money. In a world which cares a great deal about money, it makes sense the culture would slowly get shifted by industry to keep developers focused on what makes the money, which is apparently not skins.

It’s the filter on ideas of capitalism applied at scale and it’s not unique to the internet (eg Cookie-Cutter houses). It‘s interests are aligned with maximizing access though, but yeah, I get the frustration, we lose a lot in that process. Maybe we can think up something better...


No. The technology is not there anymore. Unless you consider “minor and unimportant” the network news (it’s barren today), ftp servers (they are unsupported by web browsers), gopher (unsupported too), or the muds (barren too).


> Stallman.

Not sure what to make of this. Is this a reference to his tarnished sainthood or that the modern web has largely ignored his sage advice? Or something else?


> Why would I be upset that that some teen or 20-something, who primarily uses the internet to post and browse selfies on social media, does so from a phone rather than a IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad?

Because it used to be that you could start as a browser/gamer and transition to becoming a creator/tinkerer without having to change devices.

You can become a creator using the software available in the walled gardens, but only a certain kind - a content producer for the almighty ad engine.

The general purpose computer has not disappeared, but it’s no longer the first or default exposure to computing for young people. The phone or tablet is a plateau which will trap many who might move beyond it due to simple economics - it’s hard to justify yet another device if the phone or tablet can do everything that you need it to at the moment.


> Why would I be upset that that some teen or 20-something, who primarily uses the internet to post and browse selfies on social media, does so from a phone rather than a IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad?

I care about this.

It’s the same reason I care about consoles versus pc’s. If all a young person has is a console, it’s difficult for them to realize they can change things, instead of just being a consumer.

I’m finding it difficult to put into words, but just this week I had to buy my three young children some kind of computer for school. The school suggested chromebooks because they were easy yet I just couldn’t bring myself to get them and got some refurbished macbooks instead.

The reason, I guess, is that I want my children to understand technology and to be able to hack it to suit their ends. I don’t want a media consumption device, I want them to have computers.

Literally the only reason that I can do the things I can do today is because when I was young, I had access to an 8-bit computer that I could easily write code on, even though I mostly just played games on it. If I’d had a console instead, my life would have been much poorer.


I think he’s point was more about the walled gardens and monoculture. Everything was independent and variety was rife.

In fairness, this change hasn’t just happened with IT either. Cars have gotten harder to self-repair. Hardware has increasingly become disposable. Even the life of things like TVs have gotten shorter as they’ve become “smarter”. In general, consumers have gotten lazier and more motivated by pretty things rather than longevity. A trend businesses are very keen to encourage because it makes them more money.

It’s not all bad though. For example social networks and smart TVs have become a weird godsend during the lockdown. Would we have coped without them if we didn’t have them? Probably. But I’m still glad we had them.


I think you forgot MSFT being the super monoculture that hard blocked linux being installed on desktop machines with OEMS. IE6 being the scourge it was and pretty much the only option until firefox came out. How MSFT killed netscape & got an antitrust lawsuit over it. The entire encryption export fight & the clipper chip fight and so on. We look at the past with rose colored glasses.

I don't think people really looked at how long lasting their hardware was back then, it was more of a happy accident. We still 'disposed' of hardware with glee, more because of huge moore's law gains. I think a lot of people still use a lot of older hardware you're not aware of either. People use cars from the early 2000s still. People using cars from the 70s wasn't much of a thing in the 90s and american manufacturers were far less reliable.


I hadn’t forgotten about Internet Explorer. But in fairness, Linux wasn’t really quite ready as a primary OS until around the time kHTML and Gecko became good enough most of the time. Plus Opera was free from 2000 too. Before then Internet Explorer was actually the better browser, as painful as it is to write that. I did also occasionally use a browser I’d written myself too (because that was semi-possible with Web 1.0 standards).

I also used to use an IRC client I’d written myself.

The more annoying walled garden was Windows itself. The 80s and early 90s has such variety then Windows dominated. If there’s one thing that’s better today its that applications are now platform agnostic just so long as Blink/WebKit/Gecko runs on it. So Linux is as much a first class citizen as Windows and macOS.


Very good point. Even today, MSFT has such control over the hardware world, if you want to run Windows 7 on a Z490 mainboard, you're SOL. The latest mainboards force you to run the latest Windows 10. Fortunately, they all run your favorite OSS os'.


> Moreover, websites and blogs are still around, and just as populated as they ever were. It's just that there's a bigger population on social media sites.

This is absolutely true, but it's also true to say that they're very hard to find nowadays. You can in part blame the dominance of the major platforms, but I think the real culprit is probably SEO: it's very hard to out-SEO anybody with a marketing budget, or the kind of bottom feeders who are willing to spew out spun or other low-quality content that spams search results.

There's a bitter irony in realising that, back in the day, I used to bemoan the first page of search results being cluttered with "junk" from GeoCities or wherever, when I was looking for "real", "authoritative" information, whereas now I'd be much more welcoming of that kind of content appearing on page 1 of the search results.

And maybe that gets to the truth of it: good, interesting, worthwhile content has always been pretty hard to find online. You had to work for it 20 years ago, and you still have to work for it now.


I was deeping through the old web recently. Sites either had really small pictures or full sized pictures scaled down. You just don't see more than 1024px sized quality anymore. Browsing photothumbs instead of scrolling is so much quicker and offers more depth. We did lose a lot.

We gained more people with shallower content. Being able to lookup and find a picture of most people is an advantage. But losing flickr quality and album length means instead of a photoset you get a highlight photo with mayhe four combined.

Maintaining old sites were always an issue. Costs / site changes brought down good sites/pages so deadlinks were a huge problem. The waybackmachine could bring a site back but they rarely deep indexed or saved media so you mostly got a page full of 'x's.

Someone on here could easily build a better search engine indexing older websites and bring life back to those sites.

But be warned you've changed. Waiting a week or two or months between replies was common. Having tiny text on mobile is the norm so get ready to scroll. There was a lot of shallow content with some real gems. Patience is required.


Indeed, and there are already search engines like https://wiby.me/ and https://millionshort.com/, which offer more direct access to content off the beaten track.


Sums up my thoughts in this perfectly. Thanks for writing.


I mostly agree with you. It’s sad. The only thing I disagree is that iPhone, while closed, is really important piece equipment in your life. It’s got your walking gait, browsing history, photos, videos, notes, passwords, social media accounts, health records, bank info, geo location, driving habits, where I work and how I commute, where I jog, etc.

It’s ridiculously dense. This kind of a device didn’t exist in the year 2000. So, while 90’s tech would be awesome on the surface, I am glad Apple is in the driving seat to manage my phone’s security. App Store is amazing, shitty software that spies on you doesn’t make it through (chrome extensions anyone?). Treat 30% as a privacy fee. You’re glad there is a T2 security chip on your device. And you’re glad Apple pays $400k a year for several top notch security engineers that work there.

This cannot be achieved by a bunch of Winamp hooligans and open source crusaders.

Replace Apple with your fav phone manufacturer.

Everything else, I agree. The internet has become a pile of shit.


If the W3C had focus, we could have developed a cross-platform native application runtime that worked over HTTP. You could visit a website and a lightweight, sandboxed app could be downloaded. Google kind of did this with "Android Instant Apps".

It'd have all the same permissions and sandboxing guarantees that apps distributed over the stores do. The OS could even collect telemetry on the kind of requests these apps made to help quash bad actors.

It might have even prevented Javascript from growing into what it is today. We'd have a strong division between what is app and what is document. (I'm not bashing the Javascript/frontend folks! I just wish we'd had a dichotomy rather than stuff everything into HTML.)

I think WASM might stand a chance of doing some good here. It'd be nice if there was agreement between Apple and Google to build a cross-platform device SDK. They won't.

We need to defend HTML and our browsers from growing into the Frankenstein's monster Google is pushing for. If we lose that, we lose the war.


>It’s ridiculously dense. This kind of a device didn’t exist in the year 2000

Pocket PC's existed.


Did they have a camera? Gyro, magnetometer, accelerometer? Did it contain my call history? Did it know where I am?

Totally unfair comparison.


Some recent ones bundled a GPS unit, and they were not blent with smartphones until 2008? but they where good enough.

You talk as if before the iPhone we had -nothing-. And that's not true in any sense.


> shitty software that spies on you doesn’t make it through (chrome extensions anyone?). Treat 30% as a privacy fee.

https://objective-see.com/blog/blog_0x4E.html


I feel you.

Come to Urbit. It's not ready yet, but the hope was not lost.


You can still use all of those things, so what have you lost?


>It's pretty obvious that Google is trying to kill the web.

Won't it mean then that Google kills it self ?


Torrents died? When?


Yes, funny thing though, you can watch a youtube how-to video for almost anything you want to accomplish.

Facebook groups are sitting on so much information which previously would have been accumulated in forums, unavailable and totally useless except to serve ads for the members of said groups.


[flagged]


> FB groups are mostly a bunch of conspiranoids and retards.

Depends what groups you're on. I don't see them in any of the groups I'm in.

> And sure a 30 minute video with shitty poses is better than a damn written guide being read and done in less than 10 minutes, even 5 as I am a able to quicly parse it.

Definitely true, but not something I've ever had a problem with. I was confused a bit by some of the instructions for the auto bed leveling kit I got for my 3D printer, searched YouTube, and found a 6 minute video that was quite succinct.

> Even usenet and IRC are far more superior for highly technical issues.

Because generally it's only highly technical people on those platforms.

> Back in the day I had lots of info in fora and IRC channels instead of FB being blocked to outsiders and worse, full of trackers, add and being 90% of it, noise.

Forums and IRC channels still exist.


I've done a lot of thinking about this, and I think much of the nostalgia for that era is actually rooted in limitations and the way that they made certain things exciting.

Owning a new album was exciting, because previously you couldn't listen to that album.

Getting a new mp3 player whose storage was suddenly measured in gigabytes was exciting, because previously you couldn't carry around that much music.

Getting a new phone was exciting, because it probably had a camera, or internet access, or the ability to edit files, or some other fundamentally new feature that your previous device couldn't do.

Spending a Saturday curating your music collection and updating metadata was exciting, because that couldn't be done for you automatically.

Each stage where some barrier was overcome - be it a small, personal barrier or a large, technological barrier - came with this intoxicating sense of progress and improvement and possibility. If you assembled the solution yourself from existing products - software or hardware - it was all the more potent of a feeling.

These days everything just works, amazingly well. That's a testament to progress, but it's also incredibly boring. There's little left in consumer tech to solve, by consumers or by companies. You have one miraculous device that does everything you could possibly want in your digital life, and does it really well, out of the box. It has as much bandwidth as you're likely to use, you can stream enough media to fill a thousand lifetimes for less than twenty dollars a month, it can shoot photographer-quality photos and orchestrate your smart home and play console-quality video games and run a fully-features office suite.

Progress is what gadget-lovers like us miss. Tragically, the the very act of indulging it erases opportunities for it.


Brilliant insightful analysis. Thank you.

It's the journey we find exciting - the difference from A to B.

I remember the intoxicating experience of using Spotify for the first time in October 2008, using IP address account tricks to access it from outside the UK. This was despite being a winamp- (or actually foobar2000)-loving music pirate.

Now, I don't think of it at all. I've arrived at destination B. What now? Well, there's desktop Linux on phones. That's fun and new, if you care about freedom, things being in the hands of the user, tinkering, and customisation. I'd go there, it needs some help.


Great insight. I wonder where are limitations today?


AI is still quite limited but improving at a decent pace. Look forward to more intelligent game AIs and possible auto-pilot on cars, and stuff that might seem far-fetched today.


I still find Spotify's admittedly garbage electron app better than any other player I've ever used because I get (almost) all the music I could ever want at my fingertips without having to browse any third party website, find the files, buy/pirate them, load them in the right location with the right tags etc...

The price to pay for this convenience is DRM and player lock-in (and all possible usage data being siphoned by said player). It is unfortunate, but as a user it's a price I'm willing to pay, even if reluctantly.


Yeah, and albums suddenly disappearing because the licenses ran out. Or, even worst: Albums being incomplete because certains track "aren't available".

I don't know. I use Spotify as a radio replacement, but albums I like I try to buy as FLAC files. If they are lost, it's my own fault.


As long as the music files are still available for purchase, then I’m fine with the situation as is.


Until they aren't. Convenience, DRM and collective inertia may well lead to disappearance of media delivered in open formats. Not tomorrow, not next year, but in 10 years? I am not so sure, unless a dedicated minority keeps pushing for it. But then, what happens when will come of age the generation that grew considering normal to only stream and buy a temporary license for media and books?


what DRM? rip and pirate until you have everything you need


Its possible to create 3rd party spotify clients by using the librespot library and there exists alternatives but I havent seen any that could replace the official application.

The only caveat is librespot only works with premium accounts.


Speaking about fun. The reason why there is no Winamp 4: Who the hell wants to see a Winamp 4 Skin

Yes it is an official reason https://web.archive.org/web/20131219003849/http://www.winamp...


I imagine that 90's software was like late 1800's Western United States... pioneers going west and just doing whatever the fuck they wanted, now you need a permit to replace your window in San Francisco.


That world still exists if you'll just get off your phone. Not only does it still exist, but the Linux version of it is better (and wilder, in the important) ways than anything from the 90s.


It’s very different. Sure I can still use Winamp but it’s not like my friends and I are exchanging skins. The market is now an enthusiast’s one.


Your friends who were exchanging winamp skins? Total enthusiasts. You didn't notice it because compared to the hardcore nerds who had been online for 15 years before you, you felt like regular people. Fast forward, and it turns out otherwise.


At the risk of sounding like a "get off my lawn" guy as well, computing just isn't fun anymore.


Have you toyed with instagram masks and other AR projects lately? Fun moves around, and what's been hot and new 20 years ago is not anymore.


There are still fun things to do, but platforms like Instagram are repellent to me. I'm toying with compilers and interpreters, which have been around for a long time. What's not "fun" is just how the nature of computing has changed, things have been conglomerated into platforms and a lot of the cool grassroots stuff is either dead or just not as visible.


Not sure if you remember Sonique. It was, I think, the first app (or at least MP3 player) that had non-rectangular shapes for it's skins:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonique_(media_player)


I loved Sonique, but winamps consistent updates ended up winning me over. One huge love in the winamp side was when Tripx was released and made crazy visuals to go along with the music.


Oh for sure, I think Winamp just had staying power, and the various skins and visual plugins were awesome.

I totally miss that time period, it was just a great time to be into technology.


Oh wow. I totally forgot about Sonique. I guess after Winamp I blocked it out. It actually reminds me a bit of my first Rio Player.


Oh my god, I haven't thought about Sonique in decades!


There's a Gap Dream song called College Music which goes: Too many soft machines / No relation to the world / Unnecessary wall / ... / It makes me sick sometimes.

These are literally all the lyrics I could find, but maybe my Google fu is weak: https://www.spin.com/2016/06/gap-dream-college-music-stream-...

Luddites were against not receiving a piece of the larger pie, not against technology or progress.

https://qz.com/968692/luddites-have-been-getting-a-bad-rap-f...


Not to mention the insane licensing laws governing what music I can listen to. For example, I can’t listen to any Muse tracks on Spotify in India.


Back then you had a different software for each media type. Browsing Download.com, Tucows and Snap Files to find new cool stuff was a thing I did. Most of my friends did Windows/software customization with Litestep, skins, wallpapers and what not. shakes fist at sky


I use pianobar, driven by key bindings in my window manager. It's conceptually something I easily could have had 20 years ago, but I didn't.


>> In the last 20 years how have software music players changed?

For me? Not so much. I still have my music on Mp3s. The new stuff still plays as is did back then. Mp3 players never went away. I still occasionally use my old RCA Lyra but there is actually a healthy market for new models. My car still has an FM radio, but now I can plug a USB full of mp3s into it too. That isn't bad. Bluetooth and streaming has yet to become mandatory.


I use MusicBee to listen to my di.fm subscription - the futures not bad


That was awesome , thank you


Winamp was so slick. Lightweight, did one thing very well.

A modern version would probably be built on Electron, be a 500Mb download & require 8Gb RAM to just run (12Gb required if you want to change the skin).

I long for the days where things weren't so bloated.


Just to trigger you, we did that :P

https://desktop.webamp.org/

It was just an experiment to see if it would work, but if you want something to hate-download check it out :P


I mean this in the most endearing way possible...YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD kiss! I've been looking for this forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


You have won the internet for the day!


So, 50MB installer. How much RAM does it require? Can it actually play MP3's in real time on my Pentium 60? ;)


LMAO, funniest thread all day


Didn't you notice that the link in the post itself goes to the same website? :p The skins from the museum are hosted on and implemented on Webamp.


The person you are replying to is literally the creator of the website, so I expect they know that. They were pointing out that there is explicitly a desktop version. :P


You just earned an upvote


The modern version is foobar2000 which is 1.8mb exe and uses a few mb of ram. It loads and runs instantly.


fb2k always seemed so cool, and I used it for a while during the bad years of winamp, but it definitely had that "useless by default" feel to me. Like it's cool that you can map global hotkeys, can you please default to supporting my keyboards quite standard media keys.


+1 for fb2k, currently using 13MB RAM to play an MP3 with my collection of ~50K tracks loaded in the background.


You can still run Winamp. I run it using WINE on Ubuntu.


I still use winamp, with classic skin. It's small out the way, I can simply drag the files in I want to play.

Not want any more than that for a music player IMO


Me too. Nucleo_nlog skin though.


I just run audacious when I feel nostalgic - it has support for old Winamp v2 skins. Most of the time i just use cmus though.


I run it native on my Windows 10 laptop


An MP3 decoder is actually relatively tiny: https://github.com/lieff/minimp3 shows that it can be done in ~30KB of code. It's everything else around the player, such as the UI, that takes up the bulk of the size.


Well yeah, what kind of garbage MP3 playing software wouldn't have a built in app store, social integrations, a pro version that removes ads, and its own mail client?


don't look a processor l1 cache, enough to fit windows 95


What does computer response time look like when you fit your OS in L1 cache?


10$ that good old windows had wrongly designed timers placed in its core that would prevent ns response time :)



I use AIMP. It's great. One big plus for me: It can play my Youtube playlist.


AIMP looks neat, is there a Linux version? On Linux I like QMMP so far, and use WinAMP skins with it. It opens videos in a standalone window, but I can't say I really use it as a video player.


xmms, audacious. For videos, SMplayer is nice.


Electron hate is starting to become such a meme lately.


Many would argue that Electron itself is a meme. An unfunny one that gets repeated at the user’s expense ad nauseam.


Isn’t VSCode electron? Somehow Microsoft ended up with an electron app that doesn’t have all the hallmarks of what people complain about. What was done differently?


One of the biggest things people complain about with Electron apps is their slowness.

When I started using VSCode, it was perfectly snappy and I could see what people were talking about when they said, "But VSCode is Electron, and it's fine — it's just crappy developers."

After about six months of using it and loading in fewer than ten extensions, it has become very laggy. To the point that I have had to train myself to pause my typing after I press certain key combinations while the system catches up.

VSCode is great, but it's not a poster child for Electron.


Yeah, VSCode did that thing where a great product seems to just become worse, for no obvious reason.


The reason IS obvious: It's called "feature bloat." That being said, unless you install a bunch of extensions, VS Code is still pretty snappy, at least on all of my computers.


Probably as something made for developers, it was created to be fast and efficient and avoid sucking down inordinate amounts of resources.

Rather than the usual reason electron apps get made, which is because they’re “easy” and allow web-first devs to put out acceptable-quality desktop apps with no mind paid to those same concerns.

It is entirely possible to release good software with electron. It is also entirely possible to win the lottery.

(Bitter and annoyed? Me?)


> Probably as something made for developers, it was created to be fast and efficient and avoid sucking down inordinate amounts of resources.

That's not a given. Just look at the bloated monstrosity that is Visual Studio.


I once couldn't start VSCode because my internet was offline. Turns out it was an electron bug. (This issue: https://github.com/Microsoft/vscode/issues/7570 ). I've been suspicious of electron ever since.


They cared?

Desktop is fundamentally a different medium from web. It's a pipe dream to expect the web mentality to just transfer over. It's akin to saying a webdev is a great gamedev because they can write code.


Electron hate is starting to become such a meme lately.

I used to think the same thing until a couple of weeks ago when an Electron app crashed and took down every other Electron app on my computer. I thought these things were supposed to be sandboxed.


It just runs contrary to a lot of people's ideals for software. I don't spend my time thinking about Electron much but I don't care for it either. I guess it just rankles that it's really the easiest cross-platform solution we have.


Just feels like a cheap way to get Internet karma to compare old apps to modern apps made with Electron.


So it’s cheap to say that old-Winamp does the same with let’s say 1-10% of the resources that a remake in electron does? How so? Isn’t it interesting from a historical perspective? Can’t we learn from history? If anything history could be an anchor point for where we can go back to or it can tell us that if we just try harder we can achieve more. How is that cheap? If anything it is powerful to keep reminding ourselves that we can do better as an industry and that we shouldn’t settle for mediocrity.


It's interesting until you see the 10th comment comparing some old software against Electron. Then it comes meme-y.


Loved this web project ever since I learned about it.

Also think Winamp, hands down is one of the best pieces of software to withstand the test of time.

Winamp v2.92 still runs on Windows $LATEST. Geiss/Milkdrop Plugins and all.

Lets not forget the high quality audio output; its 834 KB (854,016 bytes) binary size and next to nothing CPU/MEM usage (Testimonial: left it playing my entire music collection in a forever loop and memory usage never budged more than it start with <3)

My primary music player still to this day and when on Linux Audacious or VLC

Of course other notable players: FooBar2000 Media Player Classic (MPC-HC)


> Winamp v2.92 still runs on Windows $LATEST

I loved Winamp, but this has more to do with Microsoft maintaining backwards compatibility for a long time. Try running something from Mac OS 9 on a modern Mac.


For what it's worth, qemu-system-ppc works extremely well on a modern Mac and setting up a virtual OS 9 system is very easy.

And because you're emulating and not virtualizing, it works just as well on ARM Macs, too.

Screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/3usNwXz.png


I think his point was that no average user is going to do that -- whereas any Windows user can just double-click the .EXE and it works.


I wonder how difficult it would be to make a wrapper program around qemu to reduce this problem to a couple of clicks.


> (Testimonial: left it playing my entire music collection in a forever loop and memory usage never budged more than it start with <3)

Were you trying to bump up your Scrobble count, or what?


winamp 2.92 was the last version I used. Never bought into 3/5 and all the flashy things they tried in. It did one thing and did it well.


> Winamp is a media player for Windows, macOS and Android, originally developed by Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev[5][6][7] by their company Nullsoft, which they later sold to AOL in 1999 for $80 million.

80M, for an MP3 player is peek 1999


They also had a directory of streaming "stations", Shoutcast


And you could install shoutcast to host your own station! I remember hosting one for all of my friends to listen to, and we all had a great time.

Of all the things of the internet of old, Winamp 2.x, its skins, shoutcast and the visualization library are what I miss the most by far


Oh I’d forgotten about the visualisations. Those were, for me, one of the best parts of Winamp.... other than the sound bite about a llama. :-)



TripX was pretty, but Geiss, Milkdrop, and Gforce were my favorites, if only because of the insane number of add-on visualization presets. What was always ironic to me was that most of the presets by the actual developer were pretty garbage.


People still use Shoutcast, it's the standard way to DJ in virtual worlds.


I still use Milkdrop2 for visualizations when listening to music within Kodi.

"ProjectM" exists within Linux as well, but I've never gotten it to work properly on my laptop.


Ah yes, shoutcast!

You know, it's funny how ahead of its time Winamp was in many ways.


It still exists and I use it regularly to find new stations: www.shoutcast.com

You can play streams directly from there or via WinAmp.


I remember long nights by the crt screen back in the late ninties. My parents would go to bed and I was left with a newly found napster application and winamp.

I would watch the download finish, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, and then i would open up that track with winamp and my favourite skin.

I loved those nights as christmas. It was so intens and a totally new world for me.

Miss those days at times


Ah, man. I wish I could still get as excited about things as I did back then.


Oh this is awesome. I remember using Winamp in high school, and I think it was Winamp 2 came out one morning and they had an Easter egg on the site, writing in with the location of that Easter egg netted you a reward. It was a Winamp t-shirt.

It was a cigarette box with the llama on it.

Winamp, it whips the llama's ass.

What a trip down memory lane.

For those that aren't aware, the guy that created Winamp (Justin Frankel) is now working on a DAW called Reaper (http://reaper.fm). It's stellar for what it is as well!



I love this, like a trip back in time! My favorite skin was this one, which interestingly became the basis for XMMS, the classic Linux Winamp clone:

https://skins.webamp.org/skin/d72ca73bdde779b18e8e8980962124...

(For reference, the XMMS default skin is on here too: https://skins.webamp.org/skin/dd26a8459c364a833e53ef0d994562...)


My favorite of the older generation skins was "Classix", which was later ported to Winamp 3.x too

https://skins.webamp.org/?query=classix


Oh that’s a good one, too!

I remember that skin had an associated “uxtheme.dll” theme you could install on Windows XP, which was one of the best third party XP themes out there.


Deep inside me I hold a hope that one day we can return to GUI design like this. My human soul demands more than the bleakness of material UI


Technically on Linux you can have your GUIs look like this since both GTK and Qt are themeable.

It is just that everyone seems to be making slight variations on the same Aqua and Metro inspired ideas the last decade or so.


I too hope for this- I mentioned it in another thread about UX, but basically it would be great if the web was just data and some metadata, and our browser would skin everything appropriately. A lightweight web is pipe dream though :(


Us likeminded people should band together and create some kind of guild or cabal devoted to dismantling this crushing regime of lazy, flat, aesthetically unfulfilling UI styling. The neo-skeuomorphist reactionary front would be a good name


I want animated swirly widgets showing the TCP status of individual apps! No more rectangles! Cubism is for simps!


unironically yes lol


careful man, you're about to ask for a button on your phone


I can relate. But would pixel-based designs really work well on today’s hires displays?


We have the technology for pixel perfect rendering (SVG, ...)


Simple, just do what all the indie games do and go for deliberately pixelated designs.


I lived through it, so you'd think i'd remember, but what struck me was how long anime girls have been a part of 'computer culture'.

Winamp, OSX Aqua, Sonique, Shoutcast, Windows 9x : all gone.

Rei and Lain -- still immensely popular across the internet.

edit : found my old favorite https://skins.webamp.org/skin/78deb012fc1bd1db7ccc00de2a28a1...

there's something nice about contrasting chickenscratch style hand-writing with graphing paper and the rest of the rectangular interface plastering the rest of the computer. Almost a squiggle-vision Dr.Katz feel to it.


Let's all love Lain!


The Jennifer Love Hewitt skin should tell you what era this was popular! This brought back high school/college memories (from the late 90s to mid 2000s)


The various Mac OS X Aqua ones are also a dead giveaway!

https://skins.webamp.org/?query=mac%20os%20x%20aqua

I remember running with those for quite a while even though I only bought my first Mac in 2019


I remember using one of these. I wasn't even remotely aware that those are somehow MacOS related back then.


It took me a while to realize that all the skins are interactive and playable--not just animated. The playlist is the same for all (and includes the llama soundbite), but all the buttons and equalizer sliders work. Really neat (and in-browser capabilities never cease to amaze me).


Glad you enjoyed it! The Winamp player ("Webamp") is open source: https://github.com/captbaritone/webamp


I love the idea of software museums. We need more of these. In the future we will have to have something like software archeology to keep our aging legacy systems running in perpetuity. Imagine a large, critical legacy system built on ancient software continues for 100+ years, and the cost to replace it with modern technology is devastatingly expensive and close to impossible?

Oh wait, we already have systems like that in the US Federal government! Okay they’re not more than a century old, but ai can imagine scenarios where they will be. The programmers for these systems are in now their sixties and early seventies, with very very few younger engineers learning the old stuff, especially recent graduates.

We need a specialized CS program just for this.


Justin Frankel, the Winamp developer who sold to AOL and later made Gnutella, the original p2p file sharing phenom .. has this AMA website and he still replies in hours if you ask him something. https://www.askjf.com/index.php


Wow, the skin I made is in there: https://skins.webamp.org/skin/20b66bbd0313e399e8981ead0b0bd2...

I haven't seen this in what feels like forever. I use Foobar200 now.

I made this using Dreamweaver when it was still popular and useful. It had really nice slicing features for graphics at the time.


NICE! I found the one I made as well. Holy nostalgia. I was actually using the skin several years ago on the Linux player Audacious. I should install it again...


Hey! Author of the site here, thanks for sharing. I'm happy to answer any questions.


This is an awesome site! But the scrollbar behavior is a disaster. There are four scrollbars, and none of them allows me to navigate the main content.


Thanks for flagging. I'll be sure to fix.


I also get three or four entries in my history from following a link to one skin.


Thanks for mentioning it. I'll followup.


I notice if I submit a URL & title that already exist, the story doesn't get submitted and HN forwards me to the previously submitted post, but I submitted this yesterday so how does this avoid said redirection?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24366172


Funny! Author of the site here. I came to post a "Show HN" but it got redirected to your post so I gave up :P


There is an 8 hour window when you can not resubmit a link. Also your post didn't get much attention.


I think this shows the entire collection: https://skins.webamp.org/?query=*


Search results are capped at a certain limit, but no query should give you the full results. No query was breaking before due to hug of death, but things have stabilized a bit for now.


Nucleo AlienMind & NLog stand out in my memory, they were and are so great. I think Winamp clearly got a lot right.

https://skins.webamp.org/skin/bfd4187850616fc9b4e433c4b632b6...

https://skins.webamp.org/skin/6edc6d5a5d07ceb361912824a17004...


I just can't get this site to work. Nothing shows up, the "Random" button doesn't take me anywhere.


Hug of death. Working to get things working again.


I think things have stabilized a bit.


What worked for me is clicking any of the search links posted in replies. And then the site started working. For me it was this: https://skins.webamp.org/?query=mac%20os%20x%20aqua


Takes a while to load, even though it appears as if nothing is happening. I think it's like 30 seconds or so of waiting, then a bunch of images appear at once.


Shoutout to https://twitter.com/winampskins which is listed in the about section. Commenting here in case others miss it


I happened across this the other day that should work with these: https://winampify.io/

> Winampify is a Web Client for Spotify using Winamp 2 skins

It's made by Rémi Gallego, who releases music as The Algorithm and Boucle Infinie.


I'm trying to think of areas of software that still have UIs that match this type of non-uniformity and creativity and can't think of very many.

The only one that immediately comes to mind is GPU overclocking software on Windows ala https://www.evga.com/precisionx1/


Twitch stream layouts look like this. I've also seen some crazy obs skins (it's made in qt)


Winamp skins are an interesting source for design inspiration since the player follows the template of a single page mobile application.


I 'member X11amp, it was in the glory days. Things were simple back then, no systemd, none of this k8s stuff, perl ruled the scripting scene and people wrote maintainable code. People had time to test their code. SCSI was the thing because you couldn't get IDE cd writers. Floppy drive cables had a twist so you had a primary and secondary. They were 50K per second. Mobile phone users complain loudly and change operators if their phone internet is slower than MB/s.

Anyway, please add the x11amp skin! It was something like this:

  <http://daffyduke.lautre.net/pictures/png/x11amp.png>
Hopefully it won't become my white whale, this rabbit hole has gone pretty deep:

  <http://www.x11amp.ml.org/>
  <https://web.archive.org/web/19981206071453/http://www.x11amp.ml.org/skins.html>


If the author is around, I get double scrollbars in Chrome on Ubuntu

double horizontal https://i.imgur.com/4joQkPL.png

double both horizontal and vertical https://i.imgur.com/0MoiDdD.png


Thanks for flagging. It got reported yesterday but haven't had time to fix. Scrollbar blindness is real on mac: https://svenkadak.com/blog/scrollbar-blindness


Should be fixed now.


Not a big fan of scrolljacking. Make the page work with space/page down, etc.


Those work fine for me. Firefox 79.0 in Windows 10.


I miss the era of design where the form factor never changed. You could design stuff like this without worrying about the window resizing because you simply couldn't resize the window.



Page doesn’t work for me in Safari on iOS 13.6.1

There’s a top bar and then everything else is just all black.


I think it's just slow to load the images. I had the same and eventually they started to appear.


Some access patterns brought the API to a crawl. Seems to have stabilized now. I'm monitoring.


Same here in Win10 on Firefox 80.0


Same here on chrome for Android.


Ah, takes me back to before the flat anti-skeumorphism trend, when unique UIs were socially acceptable.


This page shows that there was an "art" to making a good Winamp skin. You couldn't just pick a background picture and make all of the buttons transparent, or else the GUI became incredibly difficult to use. You had to balance the theme with usability.


Wow, some of mine are in here. That's amazing.


Found mine! Amazing! Hadn't seen it in years.

Turns out it's not as good as I remember. Oh well.


I couldn't seem to find Flow by Uriel: https://www.deviantart.com/uriel/art/Flow-5172551


I still use Winamp. Many skins and plugins still available - http://www.mywinamp.com


There's also the archive.org winamp skins collections: https://archive.org/details/winampskins


Thanks for pointing that out. This website draws from that exact collection.


My word, I made the MozAmp skins. 3 was great, 2 was bad, but 1 was awful and I actually had lost it. I had hoped the internet had forgotten MozAmp 1, but nooooooo, 15 years later is surfaces.


Ah, simpler and better times. When I pretty much brough my own music to work and had a dedicated directory. I was amazed that a program could list the title and artist of the song.



For linux users out there, in a previous discussion, audacious has a winamp 2.x appearance, and it can even be skinned with winamp 2.x skins!


These can still be used with the Audacious media player! Great piece of software that I still use to listen to online radio streams.


This is absolutely awesome. As someone who is still using Winamp daily, I'm thinking of replacing my shortcut with a script that, before launching the executable, opens the .ini file and writes some random skin's name in the property, so that at each execution I'll be shown a different skin.


This is one incredible journey back into my teenage years. Thanks so much to the developer and the person who shared it here!


Awesome. They even have noerroramp my favorite and the skin I'm using as of this moment and have for ~10 years now.

https://skins.webamp.org/skin/8a466a39534e4be0dc6ca5cc0d6f5a...


I used this one for years: https://skins.webamp.org/skin/83447bc283821369d0887e3ee38c19...

I still think it's an incredible piece of art/design.


Artist here, thanks for the kind comment! I still like it too, can't believe it's been 20 years already.


It still looks fresh.


Somehow I don't see most skins here that were popular in russia in late 90s..early00s. Have no idea where to dig them now, but some of those were really cool. A lot of them were anime-themed, movie-themed (Aliens, Predator, Matrix, Terminator, etc).


Black screen for me, in chrome and ff


When I get the black screen, I notice in the dev tools this request gets stuck at pending and never returns - https://api.webamp.org/skins?offset=0&first=100


Hug of death. Working to resolve


Should be stabilized now. Monitoring.


Had the same issue. Close the tab and re-open it again. It should work :)


Didn't work for me, even in incognito :/

EDIT: Author has a twitter bot that tweets some of them, so I had a look over there: https://twitter.com/winampskins


Takes a while (30~ sec) on Chrome to load, but I don’t think it’s broken. If the author is here, maybe chuck a spinny wheel somewhere in your JavaScript Ajax request.


Same for me...another awesome React SPA... so cool...


The problem seems to be a failing API request not a bug in the client.


Should be stabilized now. Sorry about that and thanks for debugging.


Some kind of dark version was my fav (a bit like Xmms looked by default). Most special one, aesthetically (yet still with function of Winamp), was probably Winamp with a Kjofel skin/interface.


Ah, I remember some of them. To be honest I mostly used the default one and nowadays the included Bento (except to modify the eq which is still better on the Classic skin with ctrl-d)

I also remember some cool plugins, like the one that would put speakers left and right.


So nostalgic. In all the example images, the Matrix (1999) soundtrack will play after the Winamp intro sound.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HaF-nRS_CWM


Try these out on VLC using these instructions: https://www.hacktrix.com/how-to-apply-winamp-skins-on-vlc-me...


Oh man... it's 2020 and I'm here discovering and installing Winamp skins :)

FEUEREIS is beautiful


I loved Winamp. There's a theme for every occasion and it great attention to detail. I always had it opened to admire the beautiful interface and enjoyed seeing the equalizer movements.


Not a comprehensive collection; there are repositories of classic winamp skins scattered throughout the web. I myself still keep copies of every skin I've used in Qmmp.


If you know of any ones we are missing, please send them my way. I'd love to add them here and to the collection we maintain at the Internet Archive.


deviantart.com use to host plenty of winamp classic and modern skins (version 5+) but sadly, it's no longer publically browsable. Others like wincustomize.com and customize.org already have snapshots on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.


I can't find the "Yellow Submarine" skin that used to my favorite. I expect that if I found it I would be overwhelmed by a frisson of Proustian nostalgia.


Anyone else get glitched views when they open up an individual skin and it switches to the animated view? I'm on Firefox and it seems to work fine on Chrome.


I wasted hours with winamps themes, and the advanced visualization studio. I like to think I managed to create some half decent presets too.



This website was a delight to view on mobile. Perfect use of space. Infinite scroll. Search. No wasted space with nonsense. Wonderfully done.


Wow, thanks for the kind words! My only fear is for mobile users on a metered data plan. I suppose we show fewer images per screen than on desktop, but I do fear that it will add up.


So many good memories, the simplicity of this player was wonderful. I made a skin for sure, but I don't think I ever submitted it.


It’s neat how a strange name wakes up memories. Just reading the link title, the image of WinAmp’s gray gradient UI popped in my mind.


I used to remember playing with Winamp skins for hours as a kid and watching the visualisations. Loved it! This brings back memories.


Are there any details somewhere on how the skinning was implemented in software? It’s so amazingly flexible.


These "classic" skins were just a zip file (renamed to `.wsz`) containing a number of bmp sprite sheets. Future versions of Winamp had free form skins which consisted of XML and a custom scripting language called MAKI.


No mention of 5.8 in the comments yet... winamp.com

Is this really the original team? Or a clever scam?


I still use Winamp, with the plugin that shows the lyrics of the current song.


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