My Desktop Setup

Time for desktop show-and-tell!

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My dad found a great deal on a flat panel monitor, so I’ve finally been able to get a dual monitor set up. It’s true what they say: having multiple monitors makes you more productive.

I’ve also just bought a stand for my laptop. It’s a tablet PC, and I’ve got it connected to my desktop via a network crossover cable. This lets me use Multiplicity, a program that lets me use the same keyboard and mouse on two different PCs. (Open-source Synergy does the same thing, but I find that Multiplicity works much better.)

 

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The stand, a Rocketfish RF-LAPSTND, actually works really well. It cost a bit than I really wanted to pay, but it looks and works great. It makes my tablet much easier to use with Multiplicity; I had been leaving the screen open, but swiveled around so that the keyboard was at the back and the screen was close to me, but it had a lot of problems: the network cable would be in the way, since it would have to be in the front, and I wasn’t able to put any pressure on the screen with the pen because it would push the screen back onto the keyboard. This stand is much better.

Here’s another shot, showing the snakes next that you can’t see when you’re working on stuff:

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The laptop is connected to an external hard drive for backups and my beloved ScanSnap. The USB hub is held in place with Sticky-Tack.

So, how about you? Show off your desktop on your site and leave a comment. I’d love to see how y’all are set up.

My Desktop, and How I Use It to Get Things Done

My mom posted her desktop to her blog earlier today, and it inspired me to show you mine. You can click on any of the thumbnails below for a larger view.

My Desktop

The wallpaper is from Digital Blasphemy, where a guy named Ryan Bliss makes the best wallpapers in the world. This is his latest work.

I’ve hidden all of the icons on my desktop to make it a lot cleaner. I can autohide the two docks at the top and have just the pretty background if I want, but I find it easier if I have some functionality on the desktop.

The row of three icons to the left are on an ObjectDock. From left to right, they are Firefox, my Desktop, and my Recycle Bin. The icons are included in IconPackager for Vista.

The row of icons on the dock on the right are from the Yahoo! Widget Engine. If I click any of these icons, a widget will appear on the desktop with more information. From left to right, I have a battery monitor, a CPU monitor, a dictionary widget, a RAM monitor, a TV guide widget, a wi-fi Signal Monitor, a Southern US temperature map, and a weather widget. Most of these I can monitor from the dock, but the TV guide widget, the dictionary, and the US temperature map have to be clicked on to be useful.

TV Guide Widget
A TV Guide Widget
Weather and Dictionary Widgets
Weather Widgets and the Dictionary Widget

Now, I have four hidden folders on my desktop. These were inspired by the Kinkless Desktop series, and they are: Inbox, Processing, Outbox, and Archives. Almost everything that I do goes into one of these folders, except for programs, photos, movies, and music. So, it would be handy to be able to get to them instantly. To do so, I use AutoHotkey scripts. To get to my Inbox folder, I hit Windows Key – I; for the Processing folder, I hit Windows Key – P, and so on. This means I go from thinking “I need to look at that file I just downloaded” to looking at it in no time at all.

I’ve just started to scratch the surface of what I can make AutoHotkey do, like make a drop-down command prompt or Instantly take a screen shot and resize it. It’s a powerful tool.

The final indispensable program that I use to get things done on my computer is Launchy. When I hit Ctrl-Space, Launchy appears and I start typing. Within a couple of keystrokes, the icon of program that I need will appear, and I hit enter to run it. I also have it set up to index my four desktop folders, so I can type the name of any document and open it just by knowing any of the words in the file name.

Launchy
See how it doesn’t even need to be the first letter of the file name?

My desktop is set up to be as clean as possible while still keeping the files and folders that I need most at my fingertips. My goal is to make my computer as efficient a tool as possible, so that it will stay out of the way when I need to get something done.

Let me know if you have any questions, and leave a comment if you post your own desktop to your blog. My mom’s blog has some instructions on how to make a screen shot if you need any help.

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Future Enterprise
This thing is called the Future Enterprise. It was the rarest card in the First Edition Star Trek: Customizable Card Game. I bought it on eBay.

Yes, ST:CCG was cool. Shut up.

In fact, it was so cool, nobody in the whole freaking state played it except for me and my brother (when I could pester him into playing).

At least it was better than that Pokemon trading card game….