Although I feel similarly, I have found that (under Mac at least) I can get a great desktop use with GeekTool (http://projects.tynsoe.org/en/geektool/). You have the best of both worlds: a nice background, and plenty-o-data, albeit, not always usefull, makes me feel less guilty. IIRC, you can use Samurize to do the same under windows. Another tip is to make icons on the Mac’s desktop 128x128 and select a nice icons for your drives. This makes sure I never get too much clutter, as ‘too much’ is 6 icons, and keeps my scripts’ outputs visible.
I use kdesktop to change the background every 2 mins, the randomly selected pool includes xkcd, Garfield, and some random imagery I stumbled upon on the Net, e.g. Lena.
Actually, since the desktop is easily accessible (button ShowDesktop in the QuickLunch or other toolbar, or Win+D) it makes sense to put there something useful, e.g. I have a bitmap with a map of the USA with the state names/abbrevs, cities and time zones, codes for entering some chars with Alt+0xxx (like — etc), calendar for three months.
If you want to stretch a single image over multiple monitors in Windows, you don’t need Ultramon or anything like that. Just set the image to “Tile”, and it should do the same thing. Works for me in Win2K.
One thing about shortcuts on the desktop is it takes a whole lot less mouseclicks and time to access them.
You could even add a fourth monitor to your setup and just use it to access them.
Come on, you really really want to have 4 monitors don’t you?
I don’t have a ‘Desktop’. There is no point in it.
I run dwm which launches irssi and firefox at startup.
Programs are launched through shortcut keys or dmenu.
I find the desktop background is a great office chatter point. I typically have my background set to something “interesting” and it sparks many a conversation when people see it.
I enjoy dual monitors and pixel real estate as much as the next nerd, but I see wallpaper as place to kick start your creativity. Sometimes I’ll minimize everything, look at my bg and get an idea. Other times, it’s the conversation that stems from my background that generates the ideas.
Of course, I’m also the guy that has the lost Toys R Us aisle in cubicle. Enjoying my environment is just as important to me as enjoying my work.
…and if you’re looking for some sweet simulated walnut finish for your desktop, this is the place. See the Woodn’U set.
The desktop as we think of it may not be such a great idea, but it was originally made to serve a purpose: to give you a working space.
That need is still there. GUI Junky just mentionned something about the need for a ‘Control Board’, smart shortcuts and quick access to system info. That need of a “desktop” is still there; it just isn’t served very well.
Perhaps we really should replace the desktop with a bunch of windows organized around a a href="http://www.google.ca/search?q=mondrian"mondrian/a pattern. This would make the future of the desktop look into a grown version of that a href="http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000928.html"WinSplit Revolution/a utility you mentionned earlier.
Dear Lazy Web, wouldn’t it be great if your desktop was a grid you could snap any window in? You could snap in a clock, a mail reader, application monitors, a command line, a phone, or any other widget of your liking. You could switch between grids when you move from an entertainment center to a development environment. What else could it do?
Do you also hear the sound of necessity is calling?
I want my Mondrian Gridtop.
Oh…and Pixelgirl Presents is a regular stop for me when I’m looking to change up the ol’ wallpaper. Lots of photos/genres.
I’m not a big photograph background fan either, but abstract stuff sometimes gets boring… A good compromise is HDR photography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDR . Look it up on flickr. It’s surreal enough to not be distracting, but complex enough to be interesting.
Regardless of your desktop philosophy, a background image is a nice thing to have when you lock your pc. A locked pc shows the background image so I see my background image every time I sit down at my desk and everyone else sees it when they walk by my empty desk.
I currently have 178 wallpaper images (after some pruning), which switch out randomly every 15 minutes. I don’t think I’m spending too much time obsessing about my desktop. It’s frequently visible when I’m navigating files, but I don’t feel like I’m wasting space. It’s not like I need all that space to find a file. When I’m browsing the web or using some other application, I generally fill the screen with it. It’s not because I think the desktop is wasted space or anything. It’s just that I need as much space as I can get, and I have a small 12.1" 1024x768 monitor.
Isn’t this very entry just another way of obsessing over your desktop? If you weren’t, you’d just leave it alone instead of always fiddling with it like you describe. I’ve set mine the way I like, and it does it’s job. I don’t have to bother with it anymore. I do occasionally drop another image in the queue if I happen to find one I like, but I’m not staring at my screen and figuring out how I can make the best use of my pixels. Instead, I waste that time on the Interwebs.
Mike Johnson – According to an old post, The CAPTHA is always the same because it is still stopping bots. Until they figure it out Jeff has said it will stay like this.
I’ve had this background for about a year now:
But to be honest it has probably only had an effect for the first couple of days. hehe
Correction, half a year.
I’m a fan of xEarth for a background http://hewgill.com/xearth/ windows port even shows almost realtime earthquake data.
Desktop backgrounds are especially fun on my media center PC, especially now with my new 46" TV Right now it’s using a cropped-to-16x9 version of the new E92 BMW M3 from the website. Vroom vroom drool …
Following this theory I shouldn’t be able to see the wood grain on my real desk top or my chopping board pattern as it has food on it or even my bath as it has water in it (with bubbles).
In fact we don’t need a desk top, just call it something else like “carpet” or “tv screen” and there you go, the nightmare’s over.
Rob - You could extend that logic to the fact that you can still see the carpet on the floor as an inefficent use of space. Apparently messy people are just more efficent. Who knew? Any argument can be taken to the absurd extreme. Amazing how little distance that can actually be.
I doubt seriously that desktop fiddling causes many people to waste much time, especially as compared to the perfect time-wasting machine of the Internet. (and blogs like yours – damn you!)
It can actually be useful to clutter your desktop up with random files that you generate in the course of one task or another. Then they’re in your face and you realize that you should delete them. Just depends on your own workflow.