Friday, April 29, 2005

Desktop Reversal

Ever since Windows 95, I've hated the concept of the desktop "folder". This was partly due to flaws in Microsoft's implementation, but mostly because the whole concept seemed broken to me. The desktop is too awkward to access (because you have to minimize other windows instead of simply switching to another window) and lacks a unifying purpose. Mac OS X Panther softened my resistance somewhat - Expose solves the access problem, and on the Mac it's generally easier to keep a clean desktop (As a rule I don't use the desktop on my powerbook for long-term storage of anything. Right now my desktop is completely blank).

Now enter Tiger and Dashboard - a hidden "layer" of widgets that can be brought to the forefront via a hotkey or an icon in the dock. This works the way I always wished the desktop worked in Windows. But now, I find myself wishing that the Dashboard widgets showed up on the desktop, so I could see them under my active windows and didn't need a third hotkey (after mapping the bottom-row enter key to expose all windows and command-enter to expose desktop). It's almost there - you can drag widgets from the Dashboard layer to your main screen, but they always display on top of other windows. Hopefully some enterprising hacker will figure out how to turn off the "always on top" bit (an "always on bottom" bit would be nice, but not necessary).


At 8:15 AM, Blogger pauric said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Brad said...

hey did you ever figure that one out? It looks like you wrote it a few years ago, but I'm trying to solve the "Always on Top" thing too

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Ben Darnell said...

No, I never figured it out, but I stopped looking after I wrote this post. I'm still running Tiger, so I don't know if things are different in Leopard.


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