Bumptop again

Up until now I’ve thought that bumptop (and lowfat, and to a lesser extent croquet) was pretty but not very useful. The demos show a lot of nice file manipulation tools, but I use nautilus very rarely; so bumptop has seemed like it put a lot of energy into the wrong place.

I’ve been thinking about it a bit more and I’m not as sure as I once was. It took a while, but I finally realized that my desktop is littered with things that, on a bumptop desktop, would be active objects subject to manipulation — that bumptop actions are not limited to “files” but instead “desktop objects (some of which are files)”.

So, for instance, all the launchers on the gnome menu and on my various panels would fit into this category. So would things like URLs I dragged to the desktop, notification area icons, other panel applets like the mail checker, methusalem-based task trackers, etc.

Something like a panel full of launchers, or the gnome menu itself or that matter, would instead become a bumptop container of some kind. Menu editors would just go away, deferring to a more general (and, if this whole idea makes any sense at all, easier to use) organizational technique.

Technologically it all seems like a good time.. groovy physics-based 3d-ness; downloading hibernating python bits from the web to live like fireflies on the desktop, telling us the state of our imap account or calendar or remote build, until we delete them or bury them under a pile of crumpled PDFs; treating our applications like the edsels they are and, finally, stripping them of their chrome, choosing instead to pull bits from youtube and google video and our mythtv servers to remix them in place in a specialized desktop… a google of hackers could spend years having fun on this.

I’m still skeptical though: the extended definition of “desktop objects” still only covers a small minority of what I do daily. I only occasionally use launchers (and those I have set up nicely on an auto-hide side panel), and the whole point of applets and notifiers is that they are typically passive.

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