The desktop metaphor used to be one of the most clearly distinguishing properties of early graphical user interfaces, and I find that today the desktop still holds great fascination for many people. There are tons of tools out there, apart from what your operating system of choice offers you, to customize the desktop – displaying gadgets and gimmicks, active content that can actually be used instead of only displayed, or simply family photos. The reason I’m taking the time to blog about this is that every time I stumble upon a new announcement of a tool that runs on the desktop (or I see the carefully crafted icon layout on somebody’s screen), I’m baffled. On the desktop? Where? Oh, desktop… that’s the thing behind all my windows, right? Haven’t seen it in a while… and when I last saw it, I configured it to be a calming dark blue, so that I’ll be able to find something on it, should I actually be required to go look for something in that hidden place, like it happens maybe once a year… At this point there are 15 windows hiding my desktop, and I don’t consider that to be a comparatively big number. It is hard to reach the desktop, so icons that are created there by installers are useless. Even Vista doesn’t make the “Show desktop” button work much better than it used to. I can’t see my desktop because there are usually (more like always, really) applications running on my computer. Well. So. I don’t get it. How come everybody but me apparently has that weird relationship with their desktop? Care to explain?
I just spent half an hour with a very interesting task: I created a new user account on a computer of mine and configured Outlook. Why did that take me so long? Very simple: because apparently all Outlook add-in developers are completely crazy.
Outlook has several methods of registering add-ins. I’m not an expert, but I have found that at least there’s one method to register an add-in system-wide, another that registers the add-in only for a given user. So guess which approach every single add-in on my system uses? Right, the global one! Why? Sure – everybody who ever works on my system wants to try TEO because I have been trying TEO. And everybody has a NewsGator account because I have one. And so on. Sure.
Apparently I am, and I wasn’t aware of that until recently. This is not about methods of closing your fly.
Hm… calculating from the number of times I see any creature whatsoever vomit and considering the relation between the number of rats I usually have any kind of contact with and the number of non-rat creatures I usually have any kind of contact with, I don’t think that’s really a valid question to ask. But this blog article and the pages linked from there, especially this essay explain the scientific reason in great depth. Probably not really necessary to know, but a fun read, somehow 😃
Well, I don’t. I never switch off my computer and I never quit the utilities that are running on it all the time. There may be better reasons for this than I have, but these are mine: I use it 14 hours a day anyway, and to boot my 3.4 GHz Athlon 64 system from a cold state into Windows XP, with all the tools running, it takes 19 minutes, that’s no exaggeration. In this context, there’s something I absolutely hate: most applications, even small ones, have routines these days that run “regularly”. Many do automatic update checking, some do automatic backups, whatever. And guess what those brainy developers do? They run those processes at startup, somehow assuming that a satisfying regularity will come automatically that way.
Great. Crap, of course. Guys, don’t do that! It’s useless! Many people don’t restart your application all the time, so it just doesn’t work! And I’m sure those apps take their share of the 19 minutes boot time, because once they are actually restarted it’s something that happens only every few weeks, so all the update checks/backup/whatever take place at the same time. Who comes up with such an idiotic idea?
> date +%s 1111142015