Simplifying one’s desktop.
For me it’s an ongoing, ever-changing process. I’m constantly tinkering with new applications for my iMac, trying for that seemingly unobtainable perfect set up. One of the biggest issues I struggle with is managing multiple windows. I generally use five or six “main” applications on a daily basis. These usually consist of Safari, Apple Mail, Tweetie, Net News Wire, Skype and Adium. I’ll use other things throughout the day such as Mars Edit or iTunes, but the “main” 6 are always open and running on my desktop.
Managing six windows at once on a 24″ iMac is surprisingly harder than it would seem. 24″ of screen space seems like a lot, but in reality things get crammed together, windows get lost behind each other, and that 24″ screen starts to feel like a 12″ one.
Last night I had a key breakthrough though, and I was able to make some serious headway in the effort to consolidate my workspace. Using a one program (Firefox) and a bunch of extensions I was able to bring five open windows into one.
My old desktop looked like this:
And with access to the same amount of information, it now it looks like this:
How did I do it? Here’s how. For starters you’ll need Firefox. Chrome works too but I’ve always been a fan of Firefox. I know there’s a lot of people who bash it for being a memory hog or complain about it constantly crashing on them, but I can honestly say I’ve had very little issue with it over the years.
I manage three G-MAIL accounts. The web-based G-MAIL client only allows you to be logged in to view one account at a time. Fortunately there’s a Firefox extension that gets around this. The “G-Mail Manager” extension allows you receive notifications for multiple accounts. And when new mail arrives you simply click on the account to launch the mailbox in a new Firefox tab. You auto-log in to that specific account so there’s no logging in/out over and over again when switch between accounts.
Yoono brings a ton of services into the sidebar of Firefox. Here I’m managing my Twitter feed, Facebook, YouTube, Google Reader and Google Talk and that’s only about half the services the slick add-on offers.
I also manage a lot of bookmarks and like to have one-touch access to them at all times. The Firefox extension Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar allows for more than one row of bookmarks in the Firefox toolbar. I can now have as many bookmarks as I want one click away without have to access the bookmarks drop down menu and scroll.
Here’s how everything falls into place.
Any tips for managing your desktop that you’ve been using? Leave me a comment below, and I’ll try it out and report back.