Sunday, June 01, 2008


There are people who have their Windows Desktop set to auto arrange, and even worse, auto-align. Those people should not be allowed to procreate. In fact, I'm sure the world would be a better place if only we would find a desolate spot in the Antarctic to decamp them all, lest they spread their mental disease.

With the real actual desktop on which your computer sits, do you pile everything on it in one corner, stacking in and out boxes, pictures of loved ones, the phone and the computer itself in one heap in the upper left-hand corner? Of course not. You put the things you use regularly, the pen and phone, within easy reach. The inbox and outbox are placed just out of reach, easier to ignore. The garbage can is out of sight, but easy to reach. You ARRANGE things to make them easier to access according to your rate of using them. That is sensible.

So why, pray tell, do you NOT do that on your computer's desktop?

For me, the garbage can is in the upper left. My windows manager is in the lower left. And the strip between the two is filled with my usually used icons. When I DO open my Windows Manager, Powerdesk or ExplorerPlus depending on the computer, it does NOT open up in full screen mode. It IS called WINDOWS for a reason. I set it up so that strip of icons are visible, allowing me to drag files to those icons (examples would be Word, Excel, IrfanView and Delphi, my programming language of choice). There are a couple of empty spots so I can right-drag a file to the desktop and create a shortcut icon. And when that shortcut is created, I DRAG it to where it's supposed to reside on my desktop. I don't let WINDOWS control my desktop, I do the controlling.

When the desktop is empty of working applications, I have a group in the centre of the desktop devoted to computer maintenance. They are arranged in Left to right, top to bottom order. I run them in that order on Fridays. I want CrapCleaner run before Spybot and before the virus checker, so that they DO NOT WASTE TIME checking the files in the recycle bin. Getting rid of them does two things. It makes the scans quicker and I don't get complaints about attachments I deleted without looking at them. Why warn me about things I don't care about and had already disposed of? Let Windows do the sorting and it will put AVG or Avast! anti-virus programs BEFORE CrapCleaner (a before c). Are you starting to see the lunacy of auto-arrange.

Then there's the issue of new programs. On MY desktop, a new program appears in the upper left, just under the garbage icon. Easy to find. Try that with auto-arrange. It could be ANYWHERE the mindless moron that is Windows decides it should be inserted. And of course, it moves EVERYTHING ELSE around too. So the Word icon that was in the top middle today, might be in the lower left tomorrow.

Just WHAT is the allure of this idiotic approach? Please explain it to me. No, do not. I simply can't take the risk of seeing things your way and ending up in the rubber room.

Before the diatribe runs out of adrenalin, let me address two other issues that mystify me.

People who have fancy pictures on their desktop take pleasure in the graphic beauty contained therein. That is, until they have to find a rarely used icon. Then they start looking through the dark-coloured icons with the grey captions against the dark part of the picture on the desktop and realize they have been a colossal idiot. First, the picture is rarely seen. When programs run, a LOT of people run them full-screen (more on that below). Even smart ones fill the real estate with several windows. So, why waste the memory and resources to have the pretty (but unseen) picture on your desktop? It makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Plain is best. Saves resources and memory too. Makes your computer faster and more stable. Given Windows' stability in the first place, isn't it worth nudging it a little further into trustworthy territory?

As mentioned before, there is another rampant crime. Running EVERY application full screen is idiotic. Many, many programs can be run much thinner than full-screen, especially with the current propensity to use wide-screen monitors. They are good for Excel, idiotic to use full-width for Word. There's a reason newspapers don't run stories across all 11 inches or so of width. People have trouble reading that far across and getting back to the right spot. Run Word in one-half of the screen. You can then open Firefox (or whatever) to browse the web in the other half (yeah, web-browsing gets difficult with a wide window, too). Or your email program. USE the windows feature of Windows.

Sure, the defaults set up by Microsoft are cretinous. I think they are set up that way to let 'computer experts' like myself enjoy a comfortable living trying to fix the flaws set up by Microsoft's defaults. Seems a shame to make money at YOUR expense.

But if you are willing to donate ...

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