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Exposing Spaces

February 21st, 2010 - 4:30 pm

Talking about workflow the other day got me to thinking just how overpopulated my computer desktop had become. Blogging, writing, scripting, radio recording, telepromptering (that’s a word, right?), plus my iTunes and Handbrake obsessions. But Mac’s Exposé feature seemed all right — press a button or gesture on the multitouch mouse, and all your open windows splay out. Click the one you need and you’re ready to rock and roll.

But that’s not the way we work, is it? You’re still doing an awful lot of hunting, and the more windows you have open (I can have tons and tons of browser windows open at any one time, and, yes, I use tabs), the smaller and less readable those Exposé thumbnails become. So I figured I’d try this Spaces thing and see how it works.

If you don’t know, Spaces (and I assume Windows already has something similar, and if not MS will copy it soon enough) lets you maintain multiple virtual desktops — up to 16 at one time. And it’s a surprisingly deep program in that Apple way. The ways the Mac team has developed for you to maintain and navigate all that information is a joy to use and a constant “ooh, pretty!” to discover.

But it’s not finished yet. I’ve got the full 16 desktops going, and I use them all, each one dedicated to a particular app or activity. When you’ve got all that to manage, you need some better cues as to what’s where.

So, Apple, please — let us give each desktop a name. The name only needs to show up when we do the Spaces click, but we do need the ability. And we should be able to give each desktop its own wallpaper. Something photo-y for my Aperture desktop, something graph-y for my spreadsheet space, etc. Again, that would go a long way toward helping me think less about how to do my job, and spend more time actually doing my job.

Or… more time playing Hearts of Iron III. Whatever. Get off my case. I’m getting work done, I swear.

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