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For Software Addicts: Yes!MaybeNah!
Articles In Category <em></em>

Articles In Category

January 5th, 2008

Wallsaver: A Free App for Playing Screensavers on Your Desktop

January 4th, 2008

Tickershock: Get Your RSS Feeds in Push Mode

March 14th, 2007

iCan: The Best Desktop Trashcan for Mac OS X!

February 19th, 2007

iCalViewer: A Different Way of Viewing iCal Events and Lists

February 16th, 2007

Desktopple Pro: Shareware for Desktop Cleaning and Management

January 9th, 2007

iXiu: Glass Pasteboards for Your Bonjour Network

December 23rd, 2006

CodeTek VirtualDesktop Pro: Is This Where Virtual Desktops Actually Work?

December 23rd, 2006

You Control Desktops: Will Spaces Make It Another Sherlock?

December 23rd, 2006

Leopard’s Spaces: Virtual Desktops for the Rest of Us?

I’ve been intriguedVirtual Desktops by the concept of virtual desktops since encountering them in a Unix system many years ago (I think it was an SGI Irix system), and then later when I set up Linux about 5 years ago to play around with that OS firsthand. Then, a couple of years ago I saw an early build of Virtue Desktops and thought it was pretty cool. I really loved the nifty transition effects and all the desktop customization you can do with Virtue.

However, Virtue seemed pretty flaky at the time, so I looked around to see what other virtual desktop environments there were for Mac OS X. To my surprise, there were several in addition to Virtue… including some commercial implementations. After trying all the free ones (I wasn’t interested in paying for this feature, since I didn’t even know if I’d like it), I decided Virtue was the best of the bunch.

But I also decided that Virtue’s flakiness was simply adding more time to my routine rather than helping me organize my work, and I finally broke down and decided to try You Control Desktops. Now, it may be a total coincidence, but just after I installed Desktops and restarted my system, the whole OS began to flake out, and I ended up having to trash my hard drive.

Needless to say, whether that was You Desktops’ fault or just a bad hard drive kicking in, it soured me on the whole idea of virtual desktops for awhile.

Then, when Apple announced in August that one of the premier features of its forthcoming Leopard OS would be a virtual desktop system called Spaces, I thought that maybe someone would finally get this thing done right on Mac OS X. Maybe the problem has been that the implementations I’d tried just weren’t intuitive enough, or right-featured enough, to be useful to me. I even said this out loud in an article of video snippets from the WWDC keynote that I published in mid-August.

Spaces IconApple’s initiative with Spaces also made me question my previous conclusion that virtual desktops were not worth the effort. If Apple is investing the energy to bring virtual desktops to “the rest of us” someone at Apple must believe that they are a user interface enhancement that will really benefit “us.”

So, I opened my mind once again to the idea of virtual desktops. As a member of the select Apple developer group, I’ve been getting the Leopard “seeds” as they’re released, and I’ve taken the opportunity to try out Spaces along with other new features of Leopard. Given my nondisclosure agreement with Apple, I’m not going to say anything about Spaces that isn’t revealed in Apple’s own presentation of it on the Leopard website. Instead, I’m going to spend a few minutes sharing my impressions of virtual desktops in general and of four other specific VD applications that are already available for Mac OS X:

At the outset, I’ll confess that my note-taking for this exercise wasn’t as rigorous as usual… I didn’t test for the same set of features in each application. Unfortunately, I can’t go back now and refresh my memory for the commercial products, because their demo licenses have expired. The reason for my relatively sloppy approach probably reflects my renewed conviction, after thoroughly testing Spaces, that for most computer users, virtual desktops are a waste of time and effort. Simply put, they’re an idea whose time has passed.

That’s a pretty harsh judgment, I realize, and one likely to make a good number of fellow geeks stop reading right here. After all, some users of virtual desktops feel strongly that they are highly valuable and necessary—for them. And I suspect that’s true. Given the probability for misunderstanding when expressing an opinion on a topic like this, I want to begin by exploring why virtual desktops arose in the first place and what benefits users get (or believe they get) from them. I also want to explore the expectations users have of virtual desktops like Spaces, in the very likely event that they’ve never actually used such a system themselves.

Full article

December 23rd, 2006

PhotoStickies: Show Pictures or Movies on Your Desktop

December 9th, 2006

Edgies: Super-Stickies on the Edge of Your Screen

December 8th, 2006

Docktop: A Customizable Launcher Embedded on Your Desktop

November 10th, 2006

Desktop Transporter: Remote Desktop Client Now A Devon Product

October 30th, 2006

Stattoo: An Alternative Dock for Information Feeds

October 30th, 2006

ClickPix: Create Your Own Desktop Pictures from Photos and Images

October 29th, 2006

Amnesty Singles: Convert Dashboard Widgets for Desktop Use

October 5th, 2006

Virtual Dashboard: Virtual Desktops for Dashboard

July 8th, 2006

Screen Mimic: Screen Recording in Flash or QuickTime

June 16th, 2006

Scriboard: Desktop-Drawing Tool from France

June 8th, 2006

DeskDoodle: Draw Freehand on Your Screen

Just Say No To Flash