Brooks (brooksmoses) wrote,

Desktop Meme

(From jenett, because these things are fun.)

Home Desktop

Why that background?

Because it has always been that way. Well, not really; I took the photo in either '98 or '99, from the window of a classroom where I was taking a class on writing fiction, and made it into a background, and it's sort of been my home background ever since (with occasional edits to a different screen size). Occasionally I change to another one, but it always seems wrong and so I change back.

Why is your toolbar where it is?

Mainly because it's the Windows default so it's what I'm used to, but also because vertical sidebar toolbars take up more space, and a top-bar would be harder to reach with the mouse when I'm leaning back in my chair.

What's on the toolbar, and why:

On the "quickstart" bar (for those unfamiliar with Windows, that's the row of micro-icons to the immediate right of the "Start" button that start programs that aren't running): An icon to switch immediately to the desktop, for times when I've got a dozen windows maximized and want a desktop icon, a "My Computer" icon, the modem dialer, Notepad, Notetab (a full-featured text editor), ExamDiff (a windows graphical diff tool), Acrobat, CygWin tcsh shell, Eudora, Netscape 4.79 (direct to the news window, which is what I use it for), Opera, and PuTTy.

The running programs on the main toolbar: Notetab, Acrobat, Opera (lots of windows), Netscape news, Eudora, a tcsh shell, my calendar, and a couple of MatLab windows. These, aside from MatLab, pretty much stay open all the time. Notetab, Acrobat, and the tcsh shell are involved with writing LaTeX files and other work stuff, and Eudora, Netscape news, and Opera (open to LJ) are involved with things that I read frequently.

In the system tray (far left, next to the clock, things that are mostly background processes) are the antivirus program, the sound volume control, the authentication program for Stanford's internet stuff (mostly needed for the calendar these days), the system monitor (which indicates in its icon how heavily the CPU is loaded, so I can tell if a program is stuck or such), and the indicator for the modem connection (which goes blue when it's transmitting or receiving, so I can tell if things are using the connection unexpectedly, or see if something is done downloading without opening its window).

What the desktop icons are:

Pretty much any program I use at least once a month, although I haven't updated them in a while. The standard "My Computer" and "Recycle Bin" icons, Calendar, Matlab, Zinf (for playing music; it actually works on this machine, unlike the better-known programs), a CD ripper, a time-tracking program that I was using for a while to help me stop procrastinating, DOS prompt, tcsh shell, MS Office, Acrobat, Notetab, Micrografx drawing programs, and a couple of random things.

Office Desktop

Screen 1 (right-hand monitor):

Screen 2 (left-hand monitor):

As is somewhat obvious, this one's a dual-monitor setup. Screen 1 is on an LCD, so it's a bit sharper than Screen 2 which is on a CRT. Thus, I use it for my primary monitor, with the other as a secondary -- it's most useful in cases like now, when I put the screen-capture images up on Screen 2 and am writing this on Screen 1; I can see both without having to switch what window is in front.

Why that background?

It's simple, and I've sort of become used to having a pretty much single-color background on this computer. Also, since Windows puts the same picture on both screens, and they're slightly different sizes, a full-screen background photo looks a little odd. The image itself is just something I did up in a 3D modeling program when I first got this computer; it amuses me.

Why is your toolbar where it is?

Same as above. It's on Screen 1 because of the added screen clarity, mostly -- also, because that's usually the screen I'm looking at.

What's on the toolbar, and why:

Pretty much the same as above for the quicklaunch, although the third icon is for "screen lock" (one click, and the screen's locked; this is quite useful in an office machine!), and there's Mozilla instead of Netscape 4.79 for the news program. (The other computer has Netscape because it's much nicer on slow-cpu machines, or at least was last I tried them both on it.) There also seems to be a Quicktime icon there, which wasn't exactly meant to be there. I've just replaced that with an ExamDiff icon.

As for running programs: Mutt in an ssh session from my Linux computer running in an X window, Acrobat, Opera (but now each Opera window has several tabbed pages in it; no idea why I do this differently on the two machines), Notetab, tcsh, calendar, a couple of "My Computer" windows, and Micrografx Picture Publisher to edit the screen captures.

The tray has the same things mentioned above, except no modem connection, and with the addition of a system monitor that came with the motherboard drivers. A few things aren't shown because I had to restart the "explorer" service a few weeks ago and haven't rebooted since, and it didn't put all the tray icons back that should be there.

What the desktop icons are:

Screen 1: This is where all the programs are. Going down the left side first and mentioning the interesting ones: Tecplot (the blue-green quarter-circle) is a graphing and data visualization program, Matlab is the same as before, Cantera (the square icon with flames) is an open-source program for modeling chemical mixtures, there are icons for Opera 6 and Opera 7 (the former leftover from when I was upgrading), and a "lock screen" icon. The second column has the calendar, and an eMusic downloader from when I had a subscription. In the middle are MS Visual Studio (C compiler, and also front-end for the Intel Fortran compiler), a directory link that really should be on Screen 2, and GSView. Next are XNews (which I don't use any more; I tried it and didn't really like it), Mozilla, Trillian, and Samson (Stanford's Kerberos-based terminal program), and a large column of Cygwin links, mostly to start xterms with ssh sessions to various machines. Below that are Aspen (the yellow "leaf" icons; a commercial chemical simulation program), MS Office, Notepad, NoteTab, the Micrografx programs, Adobe Illustrator, and Acrobat.

On Screen 2 are mostly shortcuts to various directories that I use a lot, and a few random things that I stored on the desktop temporarily because of not having a better place to put them.

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