Currently on My Desktop 20081101

When I was in University, I was a total Linux geek. What’s worse, I was a total Linux X11 window manager geek. That’s fancy talk for someone who likes to tweak with, basically, desktop themes. ((To my geek audience, I know I’m grossly oversimplifying things. I’ll have you know I had an FVWM2 configuration that was hundreds of lines long and involved its own hand-made theming solution, was a Blackbox-derivative hardass for a while, and then was converted to the love of tabbed window bars in TVWM. Also, I really miss the ultra flexibility of sawfish, may it rest in peace.))

Anyways, so I would usually save screenshots of my desktops. Usually I had something like 9 active desktops (that’s workspaces for you Mac OS X fans), although I recall in FVWM I once had 24 (icons in pagers rock). Just sort of to preserve their prettiness. Of course, that all went to hell with the rest of my life a while back. And I switched over to Mac OS X.

Ahem. So. Today, because I’m obviously high on Halloween candy, I’m going to put up some desktops praising the apps, wallpapers, and such that I’m using. Also you can see some of my insanity here, and why I tend to need to use so many desktops. I contain myriad worlds inside me. Or else the medication is finally working. It’s hard to tell right now.

So! without further ado, let me introduce you to My Macbook Pro, which is one of those 15″ widescreen things, glossy screen (love the glossy screen; it is extremely clear and actually doesn’t reflect badly). Just two desktops, the busiest ones right now, because I’m busy hacking S∂’s theme (sssshh).

A bit picture-spammy, so I’m putting the rest of this article behind the cut.

Desktop #1: Cyberduck Space!


First of all, you’ll notice I have a zillion apps in the sidebar. I’ll cover those at the end of this article.

Wallpaper by Girl Genius; a donation prize. It’s not up there anymore right now, but it’s a bit plain (I like plain, except when I don’t). Every month there are new wallpaper prizes to claim for a $1 donation or larger. Very nice way to get donations for a website.

Here, anyways, is one half of my work when I’m messing with a theme. One of Cyberduck‘s browser windows is in the forefront. Cyberduck is an FTP program, but with one feature I love: the ability to edit files on the server without doing the download-upload scheme yourself. It does it for you.


Every time I save in MacVim (by the way, the most smashing Mac OS X port of gvim), the save is automatically uploaded to the server. Of course, if I’m live-editing a WordPress theme file, this might not be a good idea if I’m only half-done with a specific change, so I’m careful about the saving. Small steps at a time.

iTunes hides in the lower right corner. Funnily enough, pressing the green button, which usually maximizes a window, makes it tiny and cute in iTunes’ case.

Desktop #2: Firefox Space!


It is so nice having a wide, wide screen when dealing with browsing the web with Firefox (or, indeed, anything). As you can see by my Firefox toolbars, I’m quite a fan of StumbleUpon.

You can see the current draft of S∂’s modifications to the wonderful Simple Balance theme. I use the Web Developer toolbar to debug website CSS and HTML structure. I still use “View Selection Source” but this has replaced much of the picking-and-guessing that I used to do, and speeds up development by several notches. Not only can I see the structure leading down to that “Downloads” list element at the top of the page, but I can see all CSS bits that are applied to that piece—including inherited CSS. That’s incredibly useful.

The tabs I have open: GMail (to watch for Mint notifications), Google Reader (these days I eat up the political blog posts; frenzy is my answer to frantic), a couple S∂ tabs, followed by 28 tabs for all the SF&F publishers with Kindle books on Yes, I’m looking to prepare another New on Kindle article soon.

Oh, and up in the toolbar, there’s a black scissors icon. It turns white again after the timed shot is taken. InstantShot! is the best screenshot program, in terms of features, ease of use, and constant accessibility, that I’ve ever used. And I was an X11 windows manager geek who took screenshots all the time. And still do.

Apps Down the Side!

And yes, I use 9 desktops. You can probably see why. Some of my constantly used apps not yet covered:

Once a command-line geek, always a command-line geek. I use the Homebrew theme, which is all the transparency I ever wanted in X11 without all of the hassle.
One of the best Photoshop-alikes available for the Mac (and definitely not at a Photoshop price). All my image manipulation happens here, though these days it’s relatively simple.
An excellent offline blog post editor. Multiple blogs, instantly updated previews, doesn’t get in the way of those of us who write in HTML and have little liking for the world of WYSIWYDAG. ((What You See Is What You Don’t Always Get))
Flickr Uploadr
The new 3.0 version is quite an update from the older ones, and is easy to use (and allows you to keep photos viewable by anybody, but not available in the common pool for search and such. I have a hard time finding this setting on the Flickr website itself).
Awesome for writing. Fiction, non-fiction, anything but blog posts (doesn’t do HTML well. Just plain old text, fine). My favorite feature is the “session target” and “project target” progress bars, plus the word count updates in the footer as you type. So far as I know, that feature has only been recently available in, say, Word 2007. Not so much elsewhere.

Great for NaNoWriMo? Yup. Though I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year; that’s kind of open just because.

Crossover Mac
Run Windows apps (sometimes) on your Mac! I use this for running the things that create Mobipocket books, but otherwise it’s sort of useless. And it doesn’t work all that well.

Don’t waste your money here. Go visit VMWare which has way cooler features and more stable integration. Much more stable.

Crossover’s cheaper though. Scrobbler
… sigh. I look at the little red circle icon that for all the world looks like an “as” logo, which reminds me of AfterStep. (I also futzed with WindowMaker.)

Anyways, it shares what I’m currently listening to It launches with iTunes. I don’t really use it much; I tend to listen to music on loops.

Anyways, that’s the last bit of my vague sense of memory, recall, and gentle mental marination in the past. And I am free of primary oncall at long last. (Comes back tomorrow morning though.)

2 thoughts on “Currently on My Desktop 20081101

  1. I’m halfway converted from Developer Toolbar to Firebug, it’s got some very tasty features. You might find the profiling info handy (point it at a page and it tells you how long images, ad frames, javascript &c. took to load).

  2. Oooooh, nice!

    I think I’ll still be using Developer Toolbar even if I get Firebug though–from what I’ve seen, their feature sets don’t overlap for the most part. I get a lot out of the visual outlining from the developer toolbar because I spend much of my time on the interface rather than Javascript. Were I working more with Javascript, Firebug would be much more valuable to me, although the CSS border/margin calculation is neat.

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