Dick Greenberg's November Contest (Show Us Your Wallpaper) has inspired this post. I think it is a interesting way to get a glimpse of each other's worlds as the computer (and phone) screens tells a little story about us! :)
I've been a little absent from blogging lately (busy days!) so the contest was a good chance also to say hello to everyone and let you know I'm still here!
Well, here's a snapshot of my computer desktop..........
I thought I'd show you not only my wallpaper, but also my entire desktop because it gives me a quite a few thoughts for show and tell and maybe a few teaching points (I'm always teaching! You know that!).
First of all, my wallpaper introduces you to one of my primary raisons d'être... my son's name is Brendan and he's now in the second grade. Earlier this year, I made a composite image of a few photos of him along with a year calendar and made that my desktop wallpaper. I love seeing him on my screen every day as I go about working on my computer!
Now let me share some thoughts about my computer desktop, there is plenty of "methods to my madness." First of all, it is Windows 10. I respect Mac for it too is a very good OS but I'm a Windows guy all the way! Windows 10 is an excellent upgrade and is available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. (free upgrade for a year from it's release date of July of this year) If you missed Windows 8, you really didn't miss anything. Microsoft was fiddling with the whole desktop/tablet unified interface and they tried some things that didn't work so well. However, Windows 10 they got back on track with the interface and it works well!
Now wait!... Craig's taskbar unlike 99% of the world doesn't go across the bottom. It goes on the left side of the screen. I prefer this orientation because it gives me the full height of my monitor for my app windows. Some people choose to leave the taskbar on the bottom, but use the auto-hide feature to get maximum app height. However, I like to keep the taskbar visible so I can see what apps are running as well as to see the clock and date I find very useful throughout the day.
I make a determined effort to keep a clean desktop (I hate cluttered desktops and believe me, as an IT professional, I see lots of people's desktops and most of them are extremely cluttered!) I know how easy it is to lose control of the desktop. You need a quick place to drop a file, then another, then another, and soon it's completely full of little file icons! For important project files and photos, I have specific folders and I try to keep things in their proper place. There are plenty of little miscellaneous files however that I don't have time to make project folders for every little thing. When it is time to cleanup the desktop, if it is truly a temp/garbage file, I drag it into the recycle bin. If I need to spend more than few seconds wondering should I keep it in case I need it again, I simply drag it into my "cleanup" folder so I can look at it again later if I need to. But I don't need to waste time thinking about it and I don't need it cluttering up my desktop!
Now Let me take you on a quick tour of my taskbar. It's shown over there on the left!
At the top is the new windows start button, where you can get a pop up menu to ALL of your apps and settings. (and thankfully it is no longer a start "screen" like windows 8 was, good riddance). Below that is the Cortana search circle icon. You can ask your computer questions the same as you can your phone ("hey siri" or "ok google", but with windows you can say "hey Cortana" or click the circle button). Here's a post that talks more about Cortana.
Below that I have pinned an icon to open up a folder for browsing to my files. Below that is one of my most used apps, Evernote! I can't remember everything on my own - this app sure helps! Below that is my Chrome app (my browser of choice).
Below that is my Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel apps. Next, comes my Notepad++ app. This little app does a great job of color coding source files for easier reading. So if I'm browsing an XML, CSS, HTML or some other alphabet soup. This helps me read it easier. And speaking of coding web stuff, my IDE of choice is called Brackets. That's the next icon you see on my taskbar. (both of these apps are free which makes the deal even sweeter!)
Next on the taskbar, comes CorelDraw for doing composite graphics like you often see in my blog posts. Following that in line is my FileZilla FTP app for posting web files to hosting sites.
Next on the bar comes a great photo organizing/editing app called Picasa. I've written a whole blog series on that so you can check it out if you are interested. The little red icon below it is a quick little graphics app called Irfanview which is an awesome tool for quick edits like cropping and resizing images. Next in line is Adobe Reader which of course is used to read PDF files.
Next in line is my Sony Movie Studio Platinum app for editing video files.
Finally in the taskbar queue are shortcuts to the calculator app and the app to Chrome Remote Desktop when I need to vpn into my desktop computer at work (this screen that I've been sharing is my laptop computer)
At the very bottom, in my system tray, you see the date and time. In the system tray, you have the ability to show and hide various icons of apps that are running in the background. The > character when clicked will show you all. But some icons, I have set to "show always" because they are useful to quick launch an app, namely:
In my tray you'll see Skitch, Dropbox, my battery meter.
Also there is my wifi status, my volume, and screencast-o-matic for launching when I want to do a video tutorial recording.
The tour is almost over, but there's just a few more apps on my desktop that I'll share my view with you. (Since not everything quite squeezes onto the taskbar, these are some often used apps that spill over onto my desktop for easy access.)
First in this sequence is Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for working with photos. Next is a shortcut to my sound control settings for when I'm getting ready to record a tutorial and can adjust the mic source and levels. Next is my Gmail icon (it is a preset Chrome window set to launch into gmail). Wunderlist is my task list organizer app. Google Play Music is for listening to my music. And Messenger icon is a quick launch of FB messenger direct to the messenger.com URL which is simply a clean interface to your facebook communications.) Active conversations are best in chat apps and not email. So between FB chat, Google Hangouts, and Slack (which we use at work), I have a good set of tools that helps have active conversations that stay pretty much out of the email inbox.
Whew! That little tour gave me an opportunity to share some ideas perhaps sparking an interest here or there of some idea or tool that you may want to check out. I put hyperlinks in the text above if you want to go bounce out to other pages on the topics. (and for the ones not linked, seems like I have a whole ton of topics that I haven't YET blogged about. Stay tuned!)
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my wallpaper and my desktop and some of my digital philosopies! :)
If you have time to say hi in the comments below, I enjoy seeing that you visited.