Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's all about Appearances....

It's been on the record for some time that I like icons, desktops, and other neat eye-candy for the pc. I haven't gone to dual monitors yet, but that's just due to desk-space limitations, I've got the hardware ready. However, sometimes too much can be distracting. When I get XP on a new machine, I like to strip it down to more of a modified W2K/Classic setup. I keep a handful of icons on the desktop, and quite a few more down in some custom quick-launch bars in the task-bar. That's it. In Linux, I generally prefer Fluxbox/BlackBox desktop interfaces rather than the gorgeous KDE. It is almost too beautiful. I'm more of a ZEN type of guy. Simple, functional, inspirational--in perfect ballance.

Now, I generally use Linux at work only for data-rescue circumstances. Imagine my surprise the other day when I ran across a Windows shell tool that re-creates the BlackBox desktop experience on a Windows pc! It is called bblean. It doesn't need to be "installed"--just unzip, add some extra modules if desired and click-to-go. If you really like it--set it to run at startup. If you get tired, quit it and your Windows GUI returns. NEAT! The Wikipedia has an entry for it with some good links for more modules and stuff. You can really get out-of-hand if you aren't careful--thus loosing the "simplicity" of it all.

I've been playing with the Microsoft XP Virtual Desktop Manager Power Toy on my laptop. It is pretty cool, but the more I use it, the more I'm just not sure. I will keep it going for a while to see what I think. You get 4 "virutal" desktops you can select. Keep Internet apps on one, network apps on the other, etc. Even have a different desktop on each one. Seems mainly for people who use too many windows open at the same time and don't like overlap, or those who can't decide which desktop image to use.

As previously blogged, I've been playing with Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 (a.k.a. Deer Park) for some time. I really am impressed with this build. If it works this well now, I can't wait for the final delivery version. However, I was chicken to install it over my 1.0.7 version and sometimes it doesn't play well installed in two locations. John Haller has made a "portable" version of it (and some other cool things too). Use this one to avoid conflicts...and if you copy for 1.0.7's profile folder (just follow the instructions on his page) into it, you can preserve all your bookmarks. Neat. Thanks John!

Dad has been talking about getting a new digital SLR (DSLR) camera body so he can use his SLR lenses. Dan's Data has an awesomely deep and headache inducing DSLR camera primer about why one should (or should not) get a DSLR camera and blows away some false expectations about them. It might be good to review for those coming from the SLR world into the DSLR camera world. This guy is awesome and witty (Aussie). I might just add his banner to the list.

Spybot S&D Updates are failing pretty hard right now. If your do as well, just keep trying. After a couple of days trying (both at work and at home), I finally got one of the european servers to deliver a good set of updates. Maybe they are facing a DoS style attack. If that still doesn't work, go to the main download site and download the detection update pack manually from there.

Shortbread cookies:
Lavie's parents in Liberty County still don't have power. It has been--what a week?--since it went out. It has been hot and breezeless. I hope they get power soon. Good people, them. Us? We're a/c, no power, no running water...time to move.

So, after riding out Rita, just what would to take to design and build a hurricane resistant house?
Chores calling--need to finish pickup and recovery from return from evacuation....

See you in the Skies!

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