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My computer desktop, vs. my real-life desktop:

Displaying poll results.
Is significantly messier
  1396 votes / 4%
Is a bit messier
  1065 votes / 3%
Is approximately as organized
  8187 votes / 23%
Is a bit neater
  3679 votes / 10%
Is significantly neater
  14112 votes / 40%
Why would I have a "computer desktop"?
  1837 votes / 5%
Why would I have a "real-life desktop"?
  4359 votes / 12%
34635 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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My computer desktop, vs. my real-life desktop:

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  • by Upphew (676261) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @01:01PM (#35848614)
    I have so many windows open that I really really rarely see the desktop. On computer I mean.
    • by LearnToSpell (694184) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:29PM (#35849244) Homepage
      I have a bunch of windows open, and I came into the room to find my real-life desktop had been cleaned up for me. Windy today. :-D My floor's a mess now though...
      • Y'know wind can't flow through minimized windows. And if a hurricane/tornado is coming, you may want to close them out all together. :P
        • by mortonda (5175)

          Living in the middle of tornado alley, I can say that if a tornado is coming, ignore the windows, no matter what state they are, and get to shelter!

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        I hadn't considered the windows. I mean, yes, they are ON the desktop, but thats like, what I am doing right now. Its like the current open project. I was thinking about this more... when the windows are closed and its all those "desktop icons" which have been around for a while now (not sure how I feel about desktop icons, I seldom if ever actually use them...

        Keep making them tho.... old habbits die hard. I used them a lot more in the past.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        Same, except my floor's clean too.

        Oh, and my TV is missing.

        I wonder where all my stuff went...

      • What about your Recycle Bin?
    • In one of the sections of the toolbar on my Windows desktop, I've got the "Show Desktop" application's button. It's useful for two reasons

      • When Windows or some application is more uncooperative than usual, often that means there's a dialog box hiding somewhere that wants attention. Usually Show Desktop will make it appear.
      • I frequently switch between using the laptop alone and two-screen mode with laptop+monitor, and switching is much faster and cleaner if you minimize all the windows first.

      I do have a b

    • That's how I am.

      But I truly do use my desktop directory as a desktop, where I dump stuff I happen to be working on and unzip files I download, eventually organizing files that I keep for long-term into more permanent directories, cleaning up the desktop every once in a while of files I don't need anymore. It's convenient for this use because file because file browsers typically have a button to hop right to the desktop for easy access.

      • That's how I am.

        But I truly do use my desktop directory as a desktop, where I dump stuff I happen to be working on and unzip files I download, eventually organizing files that I keep for long-term into more permanent directories, cleaning up the desktop every once in a while of files I don't need anymore.

        Same here.. I clean up by putting everything on the desktop into a folder called "stuff" before doing presentations so people don't see all the mess projected on screen...

    • We Linux users have multiple desktops :P
  • My computer desktop is devoid of icons. I don't even keep the Recycle Bin on it. There's always a window or seven covering it, anyhow.
    • by nmb3000 (741169)

      My computer desktop is devoid of icons. I don't even keep the Recycle Bin on it. There's always a window or seven covering it, anyhow.

      You realize the desktop is only two keypresses away, right? Win+D (or Win+M to minimize windows) and you're there.

      I tend to use my desktop as a TODO list. In addition to a few icons for easy access (Computer, Documents, Recycle) every icon or folder on the desktop represents something I'm either working on, or is a reminder to do something.

      I also use the desktop as my downloaded file folder. Downloading files to the desktop makes them easy to find, and also helps prevent forgetting about a longer-running

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        Don't have a "Win" key on my IBM Model M keyboard :)

        I can Alt-Tab and just click on the desktop so it's one more action.

        [John]

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Then get the modern Unicomp copy of the Model M with a 104 layout, no coiled cord (which I think is my major complaint :)), a smaller footprint (the original Model M has 1.5 to 2 inches of space above the keyboard that does nothing) and USB support. Plus, they're available in black.

          I've got an original Model M too (as well as two additional mech-switch keyboards:a Scorpious M10 and an old Smith Corona), but the Unicomp is everything good about the Model M with none of the bad stuff.

          http://pckeyboards.store [yahoo.net]

        • Ma tilda!
          On ma keyboard
          but I never use ma tilda.

          Your mission for the remainder of the day is to get that song out of your head.
      • I organize things in their named folders on OS X - documents, downloads, pictures, etc. My default sort mode for folders in Finder is by date modified, newest first. This keeps everything I'm working on, or stuff I just downloaded for example, right at the top so it's easy to find. OS X doesn't put folders at the top of the list, so it keeps everything, folders and files, that I've recently used at the top and easy to find.

        This way I don't have to deal with the desktop, though stuff does seem to end up ther

      • by xaxa (988988)

        You realize the desktop is only two keypresses away, right? Win+D (or Win+M to minimize windows) and you're there.

        I don't use the desktop, except to show off my photography to my colleagues as I'm logging in.

        Two keypresses away is two more than clicking a button on the taskbar, if I'm already holding the mouse; and slower than typing "fir<tab><enter>" if I'm already at the keyboard. It also messes up my workflow, as all the windows are no longer when I left them (I minimise windows only if I won't use them for a while. I middle-click-titlebar-to-lower things I'm working on).

        • It also messes up my workflow, as all the windows are no longer when I left them

          Nope. Windows-D, do stuff on the desktop, Windows-D and your windows are all exactly where you left them. Or, at least, they were with Windows 2000 (the last version I used). Same with OS X's reveal desktop action (which I leave configured as a hot corner action, so I just do a down-left swipe on the trackpad and the desktop appears / disappears).

    • My Desktop-Of-Choice Fluxbox (on Linux) doesn't even have support for icons, so can it ever be described as 'messy' in this context???
    • I thought the same way...

      To you sir I recommend the newest version of gnome. (I swear they made that out of our reasoning exactly.

      I love it [gnome.org]! (It takes some getting used to...but it really doesn't. For all you linux fans out there try a live cd, I dare you.)

  • I cleaned my desk at work a couple months ago and found stuff from 2003 which was when I moved to that desk. It was awesome to have a clean desk. Felt empowering. Empowering enough that it was covered with junk again in about two weeks.

    • by pclminion (145572)
      My way of handling the messy desk is to use as small a desk as possible. The surface still becomes messy, but because there is less surface there is less mess, at least from an absolute standpoint. The desk cleaning operation usually consists of setting a recycle bin at one end of the desk and sweeping the arm in a single definitive motion to transfer all of the contents of the desk into the bin.
    • by jgrahn (181062)

      I cleaned my desk at work a couple months ago and found stuff from 2003 which was when I moved to that desk. It was awesome to have a clean desk. Felt empowering. Empowering enough that it was covered with junk again in about two weeks.

      Let's see ...

      • one old computer case fan
      • a dozen pens
      • one dead peyote
      • one dead Rudbeckia hirta flower
      • one 1:15000 orienteering map
      • one dead USB hard disk
      • an Asus motherboard manual
      • twenty beer caps
      • nine plastic snuff boxes
      • four USB sticks
      • three antique postcards
      • one plastic clothespin (yellow)
      • a few dozen post-it notes and A4 papers
      • one 2010 village society membership card
      • several women's hair pins
      • a rave-era smiley amulet

      et cetera.

  • "Desk"top (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ironchew (1069966) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @03:15PM (#35849546)

    What is this desk you speak of? My computer is perched atop an amorphous, self-leveling pile of miscellaneous items.

  • by Elviswind (1959800) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:11PM (#35849956)

    I always get a little twitchy when I'm looking over a colleague's shoulder at their computer screen and there's nothing but icons for documents and shortcuts as far as the eye can see. I don't keep anything on my work computer desktop apart from My Computer, My Network, My Documents (which is mapped to c:\data), and the Recycle Bin. That way if I want to copy something to the desktop, do some work, and then delete it or move it somewhere else, it's easy to find.

    My physical desktop is also pretty neat and organized, but that's mainly due to the workspace cleanliness kick our CEO is recently on.

  • Regardless of which desktop, I only have the screen, the start menu (for windows) and trashcan. Add in the app bar for the mac and that's it.

    My physical desk at work has a phone and a notebook for taking notes during meetings in addition to the four computers and monitors.

    At home I have a bit more going on but only because I have an electronics workstation, guitar center, gaming workstation, work workstation with an extra monitor (for when I'm on call), gateway, my music and gaming laptop, and my main syste

  • My computer desktop generally only has 0-4 icons/shortcuts on it at any time. Normally I would have said my real desktop was "significantly neater", but I just cleaned up my real desktop the other day (throwing away mail from 2 years ago is fun) and it takes time to properly cultivate a messy desk.

  • At least for my job, every file is a potential time bomb just waiting to go off. File organization is key to CYA. It doesn't matter how trivial or temporary the file might be, I put it where it's supposed to be, immediately juuuuust in case.

    Clients just can't wait to bitch and moan at us if we ask them for information that was contained in one of a few hundred files they sent us over the past 3-4 weeks. If it's somewhere in there, anywhere in there, they'd rather complain that we have it than actually tell

  • I've got UNUSED ICONS on my DESKTOP! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp meeeee
    • Sometimes I have to use windows for a presentation and it displays this obsession with the icons on the default desktop on the machine I am using. It keeps popping up this window promising to help me clean up unused icons, sometimes once every five minutes or so. I would hate to be the engineer who specified that. He probably has to take out the rubbish every half hour at home.

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      Clippy to the rescue?
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @07:44PM (#35851150)
    Compare/contrast time:
    • 6 folders backing up the state of my flash drive at various times
    • Shortcuts to 3 different versions of Blender (royal bitch to get them all working without breaking each other)
    • 11 other program shortcuts I frequently use (Cygwin, Firefox, GIMP, etc.)

    versus

    • 1 17" CRT, starting to yellow a bit
    • A box of screwdrivers, pliers, etc. of appropriate sizes for computer work
    • Several months worth of bank statements
    • 1 McDonald's toy (Scotty from the "new" Star Trek movie, says "I'm givin' 'er all she's goot, cap'n" when pressed)
    • 1 Microsoft NT yo-yo (just like the OS, it goes up, and down, and up, and down)
    • A full set of gaming dice, including a gold-plated D20
    • Air freshener
    • 2 IDE CD-ROM drives
    • 20GB hard drive
    • Intel(c) Pentium(c) IV(c) CPU
    • Bottle of paintball marker lubricant (barely used)
    • Ingot of silicon (decorative)
    • This ingot of silicon... It wouldn't be round would it? ... about the size of a bowling ball?
      • by gman003 (1693318)
        No, it's the cap to an ingot used in silicon wafer manufacturing. It's normally tossed out as scrap - my father gave it to me after he toured the factory (his company was producing the water-filtration system). It's labeled "
        Imagine the top 10cm or so of this [tootoo.com] being cut off, so the rest can be sliced into wafers.
  • On my main Linux machine(s), I keep my desktop 100% clear; I even disable the normal icons to eliminate all clutter. My general principle is also to use lots of virtual desktops set to hotkeys and eliminate the taskbar (I use the same workspaces for the same applications, so I can reach them much faster).

    On Windows machines and even Macs, my desktop tended to get a bit cluttered. Any OS where the primary file management/file picking scheme is to use the GUI means that the desktop is one of the easiest pla

  • My desktop is arranged by penis [arrangebypenis.com]!
  • Even before I moved to KDE 4, I had a serious aversion to icons of any kind on my desktop. I have search and a file manager and a menu, icons on the desktop always seemed superfluous to me. So when KDE 4 rolled out and everyone was all "ZOMG WHERE R MY ICONZ?" I saw it as an idea whose time had come years before.

    These days I have a few widgets on my desktops, one for the weather, a time tracker, a media player, and a system monitor. That's it.

  • by Risen888 (306092) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @09:12PM (#35851520)

    To contrast with my previous comment about my computer desktop, my physical desk presently contains:

    A 17" flatscreen monitor
    2 speakers
    A desk caddy containing the following:
    * 4 pens
    * a mechanical pencil that I've never used
    * a pack of graphite for said
    * a pack of mechanical pencil erasers
    * a pocket sewing kit that I've actually been looking for weeks, how the hell did that get in here?
    * a stick of krazy glue
    * a 1Gb SD card
    * 3 pink erasers for no good reason
    * 4 sharpies, various sizes and colors
    * a fingernail clipper
    * a phillips screwdriver
    * a cigar cutter
    * a bottle opener
    * 2 books of matches
    * a pocketknife
    * a multitool
    3 empty bowls
    a coupon for 2 medium 3 topping pizzas for $20 at my local pizza place (they never ask for the coupon! it's like endless coupons! it's beautiful!)
    2 more Sharpies
    another pen
    a copy of Jon Stewart's America
    4 empty coffee cups
    3 empty Fat Tire bottles
    an empty Pabst can
    an empty canteen
    a business card wallet (also empty)
    a tape dispenser
    a half eaten bag of chips
    a burned CD with no label on it
    a small plush Tux
    a small ceramic Buddha
    a small pewter statue of Thor
    a dead dog's skull (long story)
    a 2011 desk calendar
    another fingernail clipper
    a tiny flathead screwdriver
    an ashtray
    a USB powered desk lamp and fan ($5 off woot)
    a yellow legal pad
    a studio microphone
    a 1Gb flash drive with the plastic case broken off
    an empty pack of cigarettes
    a blue Bic lighter
    a trackball mouse ...and the crown jewel, an IBM Model M keyboard, made in Rochester MN on November 17, 1991, and built to last. This keyboard will be old enough to drink next year. I'm going to throw it a party.

    • another fingernail clipper

      You should organise your stuff alphabetically. When I did that with my books I found out I had two complete copies of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

      • by mikael_j (106439)

        Organizing by size is a lot more fun. I did that a few years back. started with the tallest pieces of furniture and other items to the left of the front door and looped around the apartment. Items that contained other items had the smaller items sorted from largest to smallest with the largest items to the bottom left and the smallest to the top right.

        Yes, this system was considered weird by just about everyone I knew and the only excuse for it was that I had been really bored...

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I think my desk is smaller than yours. I've also only been using it for a few months.
      * 4 thick, useless books (VB5?), supporting
      -- 2 17" monitors
      -- Chip and PIN reader
      -- Box of mini screwdrivers
      -- Bits of paper
      -- Jar of ink cartridges
      -- Roll of duct tape
      -- Promo CD I was given last night
      -- Samples of a machined part my software provides output for
      * Box of tissues
      -- Slightly-used tissue
      * Local map
      * Pack of sunflower seeds
      * USB fan
      * Emergency deodorant
      * Map of the city centre
      * Lego toy car (someone brought th

    • ...and the crown jewel, an IBM Model M keyboard, made in Rochester MN on November 17, 1991, and built to last. This keyboard will be old enough to drink next year. I'm going to throw it a party.

      I suspect I can guess the year that'll be on its headstone.

    • by SheeEttin (899897)

      This keyboard will be old enough to drink next year.

      I realize some people like to age their liquor, but why on earth would you drink your keyboard?

    • by niks42 (768188)
      I only just threw out my Keyboard D ..
  • My computer has a 80x24 character display. It is a VT-100 terminal attached to the serial port of my state of the art computer. Since I don't play games, I don't need graphics, so I've never bought one of those fancy color monitor things.
    • Geez man get a 320 at least. I hate the keyboard in the VT-100. Oh my fingers!

  • 2 laptops, satellite interwebs biz and 4 acres of paradise. Ill pass on the desk.
  • ...has no desktop.

    My ~ is pretty organized, unlike my physical desktop.

  • ...we're talking about. At work, my desk is way cleaner then my computer desktop. At home it's the other way round.
  • At work my Windows machine's desktop has a lot of stuff, but well organized. Since I almost never, ever maximize windows, I keep various useful icons around the edges... I don't need to see the whole icon, or the text with them, since I use them enough to know which is which, a few pixels each will do...

    On the left edge I have one to launch JBoss, another to launch our bug tracking system, another for my team's wiki, another link for our continuous integration server... At the top I have several icons fo

  • My work PC's desktop is a total mess. My physical work desktop isn't too bad.

    My home laptop's desktop is fairly clean. My gaming PC's desktop is super-clean. My phone doesn't have a desktop you can put files on, it's just for launcher icons and widgets, similar to Android.

  • by imroy (755) <imroykun@gmail.com> on Monday April 18, 2011 @11:11AM (#35855756) Homepage Journal
    My desktop is a Messier object [wikipedia.org].
  • All I've got on my computer "desktop" is a collection of assorted program shortcuts, most of which are only there because the installer put them there. I sometimes use those for things that aren't used often enough to rate my quick launch bars, but I don't want to search for in the Programs menu. Nothing there is that organized, but Windows is nice and puts everything in pretty columns. I don't like to keep actual document files on my desktop for some reason. My real desk is far far more messy than that.
  • Computer desktops are a lot easier to organize. While you can put folders in other folders they can't be accessed without taking the parent directory out. My desktop has many layers of subfolders to organize and if all the data were included in a similar fashion to a 'real' desktop it would be much messier.
  • Just as messy.

  • Until some one comes up with an "Align To Grid" button for my desk.
  • by jonescb (1888008)

    I use KDE4 which doesn't have desktop icons by default, so I voted "Why would I have a computer desktop"

  • You mean the clutter obscured by my monitor?

  • Ya know, this is unfair, my real life desktop doesn't have a snap to grid feature. Also, my teenage daughter looked at me as asked, "What's a real life desktop?". I said it was that flat thing on top of your desk that you toss stuff on when you run out of room on the floor.

  • If I had quicksilver for "real life", my desktop (and workshop, closets tool shed etc) would really be a whole lot neater.

  • The difference for me is that when I want to do something with a physical record, I need to move it from its storage location, do my thing and then put it back (and dispose of any copies, drafts, etc that I created along the way). I'm not so good at that last step. On the computer I open the file, do my thing, and hit save, and then close it. The file never left its location. My company recently has allowed us to stop creating physical project files. I believe that I am doing a much better job now, and
  • Real life desktop: A cup, a bottle of tea, a sock (???), a phone, a couple of letters, hemostats, some wrappers.
    Desktop desktop: A pineapple image, some random iWork document I don't need, a folder called "bullshit" filled with other bullshit folders, a few screenshots, a python script that should be on the server...

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

 



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