march, 27, 2002 archives

screenshot of my desktop showing some open browser windows and terminals, the clock, and a popup about the music track that just started playing. this article by alan cooper on application “posture” (via divintomark), does a great job of explaining an aspect of application design that i've had strong opinions about without even realizing it.

this screenshot (click to view it full-scale) shows my normal working desktop: a few open browser windows (about 600×700 in size, except for the popup window where i'm typing this entry), a couple of open terminals (dimmed because they are in the background—something i wish i could make very window do), a floating digital clock in the lower-left, and a floating message at the top of the screen telling me what music track just started playing (it disappears after about 10 seconds—i can redisplay it with a keypress).

no toolbar. no dock. very spartan window decoration (using aewm). when i want to launch applications, i mostly use the keyboard. f6 launches my mail program (mutt in a terminal window, nearly full screen). f1 opens a local terminal. f5 opens a terminal on my home server. super-d pops up a dialog box that lets me look up a word at dictionary.com. super-g does the same for google. super-l lets me type in a url. i can pop up a menu of applications using the left mouse button on the background, or the right super key. the menu key pops open a list of windows, so i can navigate quickly to any window from the keyboard.

i don't especially look forward to ever having to use the standard windows or macintosh interfaces again. i may have gotten too used to controlling my own user experience.

that's not to say my current environment is ideal. i'd like to patch aewm to include some edge resistance, so it is easier to throw windows against the edge of the screen. i also wish i could easily move and resize windows from the keyboard.

(oh, the background is withered monkey paw 2 from volume 13 of the propaganda background tile collection. just one i liked because it was non-obtrusive.)

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