As Promised… Desktops!

Posted: 22/06/2010 in Desktop Layout

The AVI transcodes are about halfway now.  This work is just up my alley.  No ques, no automation, every action needs to be manually driven.  Input, then wait, then input again… very fucking zen 🙂

An update on that Wi-Fi streaming experiment… EPIC FAIL! The wife mucked about for a good few minutes of pointless buffering hell but ended up watching a DivX transcode of some Jiggling About With Jillian methinks (directly off her flash drive).

I have been spending my time productively though.  Between facilitating the refreshment needs of my two most demanding patrons (otherwise known as “The Wife” and “The Sprog”) and trying not to have an embolism at the aforementioned Sprog, I HAVE managed to capture my desktop in a few different configurations I use.  You may think me odd for caring about this kind of thing, but really, I don’t care what you think 🙂

I have always had a fascination with desktop modification/replacement and Windows Se7en is honestly the first OS I have installed that does most of what I like without much tweaking or coercion. Desktop wallpaper switching, sidebar/desktop gadgets/widgets… and don’t get me started on the new “Super Bar”.  Aerosnap and Aeroshake functionality also gives me a large techno-woody!! I have used a quadrant based desktop real estate management system for years now, and it is really refreshing that Windows finally caters for user who do exactly that with Aerosnap.

So, here it is then…

Firstly, a configuration I use for torrent administration.  This config allows me to keep an eye on my torrent list (uTorrent client) aswell as my torrent folder and a destination folder (ie Tier 2 of my file system, organised by type/genre). Also, not making use of the top right quadrant means I can monitor HDD capacity (usually running at almost max 😦 ) using Sushi’s excellent Sidebar gadget, DriveInfo.

Next, a very simple example of Winamp 5 running the new larger Bento skin side by side with MiniLyrics, both with customised colour scheme to complement the basic (and stylishly swish I think) Aero Black theme. Incidently, I have MiniLyrics configured to download lyric files to the file location aswell as to embed them into the MP3 files directly.  It may seem redundant, but I figure it opens up my music library’s functionality across platforms.  Also noteworthy (at least to me) is that most often when I am listening to music, I am not actually sitting at my machine but rather cooking or trying to catch my toddler to spank/hug it.  This layout gives me full access to my music whilst not obscuring any of my vital system information (ie HDD capacity, time, system tray, etc…) and not requiring me to use my hands to operate the mouse and keyboard moving windows out of the way.  I once saw an insert about modern homes in Japan with informational video walls scattered throughout the apartment displaying various media and data.  I yearn for the day, but in the meantime I will have to make do with LCD monitors and desktops I can get a wealth of information from just at a glance.

Now, my new music file system is multi-tiered, with a reserve cache of tunes I am interested in which is kept separate from my collection proper and also facilitates a sorting/filtration media management scheme.  The primary rule for me now when it comes to incorporating music into my main collection (known as Mojo’s Tunez and displayed in the image above in the album view in Winamp) is the following.  To be added, the music in question must adhere to the following criteria.

1.  All metadata is to be correct and uniform (predetermined by my own naming convention).

2. All filenames are to be in accordance with, and generated from, the embedded metadata.

3.  Folder must have a folder.jpg aswell as a playlist file for the album in question listing tracks in their correct order and named with an underscore prefix so as to make sure that it is always at the top of a folder when viewed with Explorer.

4.  Each individual MP3 file must have album art (resized to 500×500 pixels exactly) and lyrics embedded.

5.  Each album/disc will be contained in it’s own folder, named to an existing naming convention so as to sort (automatically by filename) by artist, the albums chronologically.

6. All MP3 files are to be normalised to uniform audio levels.  I use MP3Gain which is totally awesome and absolutely free (not featured in the pic as I only use it occasionally when I have added a good few new albums to Mojo’s Tunez.

To make all that magic happen, I use this…

For more general file maintenance and sorting (ie games and movies) I use a more generic two Explorer windows, top and bottom, configuration.  I usually like to have an option to open a Firefox browser session on the right half of my screen should I need to reference an online database for file renaming (all of which I do manually, it’s the only way to minimise the “Fuckup Factor”), will minimize the window if I need to see what is happening with my drive space.  Here is the layout…

The one app that I always install directly after installation of OS and drivers is ObjectDock from Stardock.  This brilliant application launcher not only looks bloody fantastic (if you put in a bit of work) but is also highly versatile and functional.  I set all of my docks to hide offscreen when not in use, but for the purposes of this blog entry, I called them all up onto the screen.

And lastly (phew, this has really taken it out of me), an image of my desktop at rest.  The complete minimal amount of activity and clutter which can exist on my desktop.  The only app running on the Super Bar is my email client.  All other messaging services, drivers and apps run either off the system tray or in the background.

Well… that was fun 😀 God, I need a strong cup of coffee… the whole household has gone to sleep whilst I was writing this entry 🙂

  1. Arakasi says:

    I enjoyed the days when desktop modification was a mission, when it took 4 or 5 individual apps and an enormous amount of tweaking and modifying to get what you want. It was very satisfying achieving that perfect setup. Nowadays everything looks decent by default. You’re setup is pretty good though, except for the fact that you’re still using the default firefox theme :p

    • MojoRisingZA says:

      You have a valid point, part of the fun was the struggle. What always got me though, was that no matter how much you tweaked (and sometimes because of it) stability was always an issue. As much as I am an eyecandy whore, I inevitably found myself going back to default shell settings in order to have a machine that actually functioned. What I like about everything being incorporated on an OS level is that there are no “extra” layers, everything is exactly where it should be, and that allows for modding within safe constraints and continued stability (at least with Se7en, VISTA SUCKS!) 😛

      PS: It’s not the default Firefox skin you tool, it’s Foxdie Graphite. I wanted something understated, classy and USEFUL which immediately disqualifies most of the more radically different themes.

  2. Arakasi says:

    Ahh but stability is secondary my good friend :p I guess it’s nice that everything is incorporated on an OS level but I think third party apps are still required just to add that personal touch – even if it’s just Object Dock 🙂

    Also, those game icons are quite impressive, have you thought about making them available for download? And your Gspot icon, I still have/use the one you made with Faye Valetine from Cowboy Bebop cos the default icon is very low res.

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