How does the saying go? The wallpaper on the desktop in the first act must be changed by the third?
I’m a desktop fidgeter, I confess. Really good wallpaper lasts about a day, and finding a lovely new background is usually my first line of defense against getting any work done. Hell, I’ll change every icon in my Dock to deflect a particularly stubborn project. “If I create a perfect, pristine setup,” I tell myself, “I will produce perfect, pristine words.”
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
Instead, it’s come to this: the least distracting, least present settings I could achieve on my Mac, without sacrificing a certain aesthetic appeal. It resists fidgety change because I hardly know it’s there. It doesn’t make my writing any better. It just makes my writing possible.
In case there’s anyone else out there with my precise working tics, here’s a rundown of the current settings:
The Tweetie menubar icon will modestly shift to blue when I get new mentions or direct messages on Twitter. It makes a highlighted dock icon or a Growl notification look as audacious as a big-top ringmaster. I’ll get to it when I notice it, thankyewverymuch.
Skitch’s menubar icon serves a practical purpose: you can use it to snap a selection without changing window focus. This turns out to be important in the software-blogging part of my work.
SMCFanControl warns me when my MacBook looks like it might go all Mount Vesuvius on me, and lets me crank up the fans accordingly. I keep the icon there because I find it attractive, and because SMCFanControl offers no option to turn it off.
FuzzyClock: because you don’t actually need to know the time down to the minute, so you may as well stop being a self-important jerk about it.
You may notice some missing icons:
Volume: I already controlled it via keyboard 9 times out of 10, so I ditched the icon.
Airport: When I’m in-office, there’s no need to quickly change my wifi settings.
Spotlight: I never use it. Instead, I use Quicksilver. Disabling the Spotlight icon takes a little more work than the previous three I’ve listed — which all have checkboxes in their respective preference panes — but you can get rid of it. Try this tip from MacOSXHints. (It’s labeled 10.4, but works on Leopard and Snow Leopard, too.)