June 15, 2006
This guy* who gave a presentation with Patrick Cauldwell yesterday revealed his desktop during the presentation. Here's what it looked like:
After the presentation, I ribbed him about his desktop. You have a few square millimeters of desktop left uncovered, I said. Clearly you have your work cut out for you.
He said he considers the desktop dead space if it doesn't have something on it. I think his exact words were "make the desktop work for you". That's a unique perspective. It's more of a portal philosophy. Fill the desktop to the brim with tons of stuff that's relevant to you, so it's always at your fingertips.
This made me stop and think a bit.
The desktop is usually dead space, that's true. And dead speace is never useful. But it's not a destination, either. My goal is to never see the desktop. I should always have the task I'm working on front and center, not the desktop. If I need something, I don't want to be forced to press Windows-D to context switch and reveal some links or files sitting on my desktop. That interrupts my task and my flow. I'd rather perform some kind of popup ad-hoc search-- or better yet, use a hotkey-- to get directly to what I want.
The last thing I want is for my desktop to look like the Yahoo home page.
That said, I realize there's no right answer. Some people strive for blank, zen-like desktops, and some people fill their desktop with as many icons, gadgets, and gewgaws as they can possibly jam in there. It's a religious debate, and people get cranky when someone puts peanut butter in their chocolate.
But I still maintain that it's unhealthy to turn the desktop into an artificial destination. It's like the Las Vegas strip; no matter how many zany attractions they add, eventually visitors have to come to terms with the fact that they've arbitrarily chosen to build those attractions in the middle of a vast, inhospitable desert.
* I think his name was gretelman.. something..
Posted by Jeff Atwood
You and your opinions.
I prefer using SlickRun for applications. I use the Quicklaunch for my most important applications (because I sometimes need to run them as an admin so I drag them to my MakeMeAdmin command window).
I use the desktop for shortcuts to items I'm currently working on.
The problem is that non computer savy users end up saving everything to their desktop. Even if the guy giving the presentation is the most organized and tech savy individual in the world, his desktop mimics what I constantly see on my own father's machine! So he immediately looks like a novice.
I personally keep my desktop clear of ALL icons (even the recycle bin icon is gone). I pin things to the start menu so that they are much more handy. I just got tired of having to restore all of my open windows after using Windows-D to get to something. As you said it totally disrupts your flow. And it is particularly annoying on multiple monitors since even applications that are not on the primary monitor get minimized when you show the desktop.
I've been iconless for about a year and I just love it! Seeing desktops like the one you've presented just makes me cringe.
I fall on the desktop zen side of the fence, I only have one item on my desktop, a shortcut to Password Minder. AppRocket and TopDesk get me to where I need to go.
I must agree, there are a few icons on my desktop, but mostly because I've been to lazy to clear them off. The thought of having to minimize what I have open just to launch an app always seemed counterintuitive and counterproductive to me.
I think Matt hits it on the head about non savy users. My wife, who I actually think is fairly computer savy (a notch above the 'average' user anyway, but not a geek) keeps her desktop covered in icons. I also notice she tends to change her wallpaper every day or two. I guess mine might get changed twice a year or so. I still have a pic of my kids at Christmas on my laptop.
Instead of the desktop, I have my start bar set to take up two rows. First row is quick launch, where I keep the apps I'm in and out of all day, second row is running programs. I also set it to autohide, so it doesn't take any space away from my active window.
I second the SlickRun recommendation. I have db servers scripted so if I type server name database, query analyzer pops up on that server/db
The only icon on my desktop is the recycle bin.
Look at the 4th column top row. Isn't "Blue Sky Airlines" Excel's tutorial spreadsheet? Why would anyone need that on their desktop? And what is this the video file called women? A desktop tells more about a person than you might think.
I remember when I had to do a presentation with a friends laptop and discovered that some spy ware program had created something called the "sex dialer" which was displayed prominently on the desktop. Luckly I caught it the night before.
I keep the Address toolbar docked in my taskbars on all machines so that i can quickly navigate to folders and websites via the keyboard. A handy side effect of this is that i can launch any program on the path *or the desktop* by just typing the name.
While adding things to the system path is easy enough, putting shortcuts to programs and commonly-used documents directly on the desktop allows me to rely on autocomplete to save me even more typing...
Needless to say, my desktop is never empty.
I learned that there are 3 purist desktop usage schools:
1. Application Oriented Desktop - is the default Windows concept in which your desktop contains shortcuts for all your favorite applications. In other words it is a desktop-as-launchpad approach. For example, on my windows box I keep all my game shortcuts on the dekstop. Why? Because to play a game I usually shut down all the other applications anyway to improve performance and limit interuptions. Desktop is a logical place for these type of shortcuts.
2. Content Oriented Desktop - is what you see there on the picture. Desktop is used to store and organize data for quick access. People who really preach content oriented method usually have all the stuff neatly organized into folders are interesst areas. For example, frequently edited documents go on the bottom right, to-do documents on top right and etc... Documents that are not needed are filed away in one of the many desktop folders. I personally don't like this idea, but I know people who claim it increases their productivity.
3. Clean Desktop - the third school practiced by Ubuntu/Kubuntu developpers is to reserve desktop for displaying a cool wallpaper, and maybe some widgets. This setup makes most sense in a multi-tasking environment where you have many applications running and so you rarely see the desktop anyway. My Kubuntu desktop has no icons. I use it for an embedded terminal (a borderless transparent aterm) and I have gkrellem sittign in the corner letting me know my CPU usage and etc...
To tell you the truth, each method has it's charm, obvious benefits and drawbacks. I personally use #3 on my work laptop, and a very limited #1 on my home gaming machine (I have mainly game shortcuts on the desktop).
I very often dump downloads, documents and things I have to sort out shortly on the desktop - then I never deal with them and end up somewhat near that... thing.
I have recently realized that it has a mental impact on me. I get mentally exhausted when I as much as glance at the desktop in that state. I suppose I have soon reached the point where I must deal with it.
I would be more inclined to keep things on my desktop if the Windows Show/Hide desktop worked in a consistent, reasonable, reliable way. Because it doesn't, I virtually never see my desktop.
Is that really Netscape 3/4 that I spy? ...Wow.
Problem is that document icons make for very bad filing systems; they're all identical. You need to open the accounting spreadsheet, the only way to find it is to focus on each and every excel icon and read the (often cut-off) name in turn. The only way you can be remotely productive is to memorize the location of everything and never change it (and pray windows never resets their positions in a fit of fancy). Unique icons aren't just cute, they're a necessity for quick visual scanning.
My boss has this problem all the time. Then again, I see people with desks piled high with real paper files and other crud, who claim to be more productive but really just ignore the extra mental fatigue in favor of laziness. (I'm sometimes one of them...) It breeds a packrat mentality, you never need to get rid of junk if it's all hidden under other stuff and forgotten.
For those people who can't bring themselves to delete anything from the desktop: why not place miscellaneous files in a temp or download folder? You don't have to worry about accidently deleting anything, and you get a desktop free of clutter. First thing I do when I get a new comp is create a directory called "temp" on the root. It's a holdover from the days of using old terminal apps like Telemate where downloaded files would be placed in c:\download by default. I also have a subdir within temp called "software" where I dump the install file of every program and driver that I download. Really helpful when you want to rebuild your comp.
My digital desktop is clean. Occasional stray files sit there before being tucked away into the file system never to be found again w/o using MSN Desktop search.
However my physical desktop is a mess. Go figure.
1) I hate that the default download location is the Desktop. Not hard to change, but ...
2) A fun thing to do is to visit an 80-year who just got his first computer (true story) and have a gander at his desktop.
3) What on EARTH does that stupid Windows thing mean when it offers to clean up "unused icons on your desktop"? Who the hell asked THEM to mind the store? Sheesh.
4) "why not place miscellaneous files in a temp or download folder?" Well, heh-heh, then your temp folders gets crufted up. As I happen to know.
In any event, the desktop is for everyone to use as they like. Peace.
unfortunately I end up like this too often, and then I try to organize, and end up with folders like "needs sorted" or "unused desktop icons". I agree with an earlier post - why do we need the desktop. I have my other computer (an iMac) set up to load email, browser, newsreader, and itunes at startup. I use quicksilver to launch programs or files. I leave the dock visible only to see if I have new emails or news items. On my PC, I can't have startup items because it loads them in the wrong order (firefox before networking finishes), or just takes way too long. But both of the comps have folders with bizarre names that are simply holding crap until I have a free life to deal with it.
There's a place for miscellaneous files that Ijust discovered. It's called the recycle bin. I just have to remember to use it.
My desktop has 13 icons on it, which is about my limit. Generally speaking, those are the most recent installs or documents. Once I get used to a new program/document (or I stop using it) it gets tossed into "unused desktop icons".
To access my less frequently used programs I use Seek v2.0.3. It is a AutoHotkey script that allows me to type a few bits from the prgram's name, and then hit enter/enter or select from a short list.
Seek is very nice for that occasional use of Python (which current lives in Start- All Programs- Programming- Alternative Languages- Python. Or any other similar "I use it, but not every day" tool. It allows me to deeply organize my programs in the start menu and yet have fingertip access without remember the *exact* filename.
I agree: the guy's desktop shows that he is a hack.
If he's doing presentations this way, he can't be anything else but a hack.
There's no clear organization to the stuff. It's just random junk.
So when all desktops goes 3D I can really use my first person shooter experience from my computer games to navigate safely through my boss's pc. ? I enjoy the joke where you take a screenshot of somebody’s desktop and they can’t understand why nothing responds to their desperate clicking. :)
Anyway, desktop is only good for one thing and that is to show a wallpaper. If you wanted to make desktops useful, it should be as multiple desktops.
my desktop :-)
and yes ... i know ... there are estimated 10+ cm free space on my desktop :)
leave a message here for suggestion as how to fill the empty space :)
hacktick: holy crap. How would anyone FIND something on that desktop?
I've heard some people say that, in the future, the whole concept of a file system or a directory tree will be marginalized in favor of an indexed, searchable history of every file, email, im, etc. File naming will become moot, and you'll just throw everything that you create onto a timeline that you can view and search faster than you'd be able to locate a file these days.
I think this is absolutely true-- it's coming.
rm -R \\hacktick\c$\documents and settings\hacktick\desktop
it's not that bad as it looks like :-)
on my desktop are temporary items.
the most time i know exactly the filename ... left click on my desktop type the first three letters and e voila ... here we go...
every once in a while there is a complete cleanup of items on my desktop. items i never used again get deleted others are ordered in folder structures.
Whoa! That is a messy desktop.
Rather than dump lots of shortcuts on the desktop, I've started using Freelaunchbar, which is a great way to use the quick launch bar space more efficiently.
Applications like Launchy and Slickrun are also helpful to get to applications easily.
I try not to "store" things on the desktop, but I will often keep a set of files on there that I'm currently using.
The main reason for this is that too many apps have unpredictable behaviour regarding what folder they will start at when I Open/Save a file. Some apps will remember the last folder, some will default to "My Documents", and some will open at somewhere completely different. The desktop is easy to access via Win+D for drag/drop, or as the top-level element in the common dialog folder tree.
I also send things like Internet downloads to the desktop, too. That way, I don't forget about them and am forced to do something with them (in order to maintain a clear desktop).
I like the reference to "gretelman". Very funny--in light of knowing who you are talking about.
" I've heard some people say that, in the future, the whole concept of a file system or a directory tree will be marginalized in favor of an indexed, searchable history of every file, email, im, etc. File naming will become moot, and you'll just throw everything that you create onto a timeline that you can view and search faster than you'd be able to locate a file these days.
I think this is absolutely true-- it's coming."
I think Jef Raskin will finally be happy, even if he has to roll over in his grave.
Colibri is a nicer looking SlickRun/QuickSilver rip off that means I haven't seen my windows desktop in quite a while. I actually just looked at it there for the first time in a while. Keira Knightley is hot :)
I've installed Google Desktop on my folks' PC, and I *can't* get them to use it...
Something like. "Will I still be able to surf the internet if I run FireFox?"
People dont get it, because they dont have the time with computers as we do. They dont have the time to arrange their documents. And one week later when they need to find it again they cant remember where they put it. "10 recently opened documents" can be a real "life saver" for people not using a pc regulary.
I never understood why guidance was not more important in operating systems. Something like the office assistant was great, but implemented in a horrible way. We love intelisence in IDE’s, we love spelling checkers in word processors, we love tabbing in command shells, I love stuff like slickrun, etc.. Some form of guidance that doesn’t take over control. It would be really sweet if it was even better with the file system. Something like, understanding what my documents are about, where I used to store documents of same content, tell me where it is if I work with something where I could use it..
We need to have the software and operating system understand what we do, understand the data and not only the file format. Just because it is called a desktop, it does not have to act like a real desktop.
But anyway, Google with their employed experts will probably sooner then imagined provide us with that.
Larry Page, the co-founder and president ... said: "People always make the assumption that we're done with search. That's very far from the case. We're probably only 5 per cent of the way there. We want to create the ultimate search engine that can understand anything ... some people could call that artificial intelligence."
Next topic in this series should be Inbox-itis. And to sorta bring the discussion around full circle, we can start by noting that certain Scott-ish developers who have a crowded desktop are in fact proponents of GTD and maintaining a very clean Inbox. Discuss.
You could have at least used my REAL desktop and not this weak simulacrum. ;)
I use my desktop as an organizational tool. I liken it to a toolboard in the garage. Where's my hammers? Top left corner. I 'instinctively' start there and then find my specific tool in miliseconds. Where's my cisco documentation? Bottom right corner of third monitor. Sure I can put it in a folder, but I won't know which document out of 4 or 5 that I want by name. Search? All I remember is that the command starts with the letter "R". I have a "physical" location to start from and I can scan the group of files I want faster than I can open another folder. My actual desktop looks alot like that too. Here's my requirements pile, here's my softball schedules, here's my IDE shortcuts.
Well, sounds like SOMEONE needs to post a picture of his desktop along with the rationale behind it.
It's a reasonable approximation. I'll agree that using a Windows ME desktop is kind of a low blow. But that's how I fight-- dirty, yo.
Note: I exempt baby pictures from any criticism. That would just be mean.
" I've heard some people say that, in the future, the whole concept of a file system or a directory tree will be marginalized in favor of an indexed, searchable history of every file, email, im, etc. File naming will become moot, and you'll just throw everything that you create onto a timeline that you can view and search faster than you'd be able to locate a file these days."
What gets me the most is that the guy in the original post doesn't even bother to line up the icons. It is a mess with some icons overlapping others. Also, look at his system tray and task bar. He has so much crap installed and/or running that it isn't even funny!
The guy is clearly a hack who doesn't know what he is doing.
I used to have all my downloads on my desktop. And then I could never find anything because the desktop has no scrollbar and all the icons where off the screen.
Now I had to reinstall Windows and so don't have anything on it. I really can't decide anything useful to put on it. I did once write an application so you could switch between Downloads and Documents and Search and things on the desktop, but there all so easily accessable from the start menu I rarely used it.
It's so easy to find things in Vista and OSX theres really no need to use the desktop to easily find things. So what should it be used for? Who knows?
The desktop has some special functionality - using the desktop toolbar in the taskbar, shrunk down to just the word "Desktop", creates a menu that lists all the items on the desktop.
Maybe not terribly exciting, but what's cool is: if "My Computer" is in this list, you can walk the entire file system via this menu. For some reason this doesn't work from "My Computer" in the Start menu - it shows the drives, but they aren't submenus.
You're kidding right!?! You didn't even show the guy's real desktop? You just picked up some novice user's desktop to make your point while leaving him to look like an ass?
Oh that is a really low blow. And after getting caught you didn't even apologize!
Hmmm... I've lost a little respect for you Jeff. Very sad indeed!
Sorry, but I don’t quite get your Las Vegas simile. Isn’t it better to have all those zany attractions situated in one place, so you know exactly where to go if you feel like visiting some?
To me this discussion is about aesthetics, not productivity (or what’s (morally) right/wrong). I'm more productive with a cluttered desktop, because that is how I prefer it. Well, not the clutter itself but having the files/documents I'm currently working on in a consistent, easy accessible place. You know - like an actual desk?
(then later I can store the finished documents in the archive/my documents, of course this is the hard part :-)
It's the old joke (my translation): if a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify?
I can’t see any objective reason why one is better than the other, so I guess it boils down to personal preference (http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000602.html).
You just picked up some novice user's desktop to make your point while leaving him to look like an ass?
No, no, it's supposed to be an extreme case, a joke. I thought the fact that it was Windows ME made that pretty obvious!*
I said it looked like this, eg, it was covered with icons.
Geesh. Lighten up, guys.
* Windows ME, people! Who uses Windows ME these days? Who used Windows ME even when it was current (other than me)?
"You're kidding right!?! You didn't even show the guy's real desktop? You just picked up some novice user's desktop to make your point while leaving him to look like an ass?"
I agree wholeheartedly.
The entire time I was following this post I was under the complete assumption that the "actual" desktop of said presenter was the image being posted. Although you didn't actually say, "this is the actual, true, honest desktop of the guy giving the presentation" you did say "Here's what it looked like:" and as you can see from the responses I was not alone in believing that what I was seeing was indeed his desktop revealed that particular day.
As a result Scott has been labeled a hack. If I were him I'd be seriously miffed! SERIOUSLY. Not a very good way to make a point. Very bad form, Jeff. Very weak.
YES! That's right! Just as dirck pointed out: use the desktop toolbar in the taskbar !!!
It is easy: right click on the taskbar, then click Toolbars, then Desktop, and you have a nicely toolbar with ALL THE DESKTOP ICONS, automatically updated whenever a new icon is added to the desktop.
Now you would never, never use anymore the Show Desktop icon. :-)
Desktop? What Desktop?? Go to annoyances.org and learn how to get RID of the bloody thing completely - icons and all!
Now - if I could only get rid of that stupid Taskbar completely, _without_ leaving a strip of grey at the bottom...
Bleagh! *Windoze*... arrghh....
(PS: Don't forget to set your Swapfile as a permanent one - the very *first* file - on the secondary master hard drive too, so it's running at max efficiency... and DO _partition_ your primary master drive as well, so you can put your My Documents folder, your Favorites folder, and all of your config stuff in that E: drive as well - so you can *Ghost* your C: partition from a boot floppy and _restore_ it quickly and completely when it gets crapped, _without_ having to re-install all over again. ;-)
You do realize there's a reason why it's called a "desktop"? It's been sold since PARC as a replacement for a real desktop, which is where I keep all my current documents, along with a can of soda.
Exactly when was this memo circulated that it is foolish to keep on your computer desktop what you would normally keep on your physical desktop (aside from the soda)?
I use CustomBar (custombar.net) to access my files, see what song is playing, and search Google. It's a cool utility because it can do many other things too and people can write tehir own things for it too. Very unobstrusive too.
Just a question - isn't there some technical reason for not leaving files all over your desktop in terms of the desktop being part of your profile ?
Im sure that if you have a roaming profile and your in an office environment and your moving around on a network - your desktop comes with you ? so if you've got a 10meg spreadsheet on your desktop it has to download when you log on ?
thanks for the props man! :)
Well, here is a nice solution for real-world-like desktop usage. Not sure whether I'd use it (I'm a two-screen-never-see-the-desktop user), but it's definitely quite cool-looking.
I'll tell you what bothers me about that cluttered desktop: That it's full of files, not shortcuts. If his hard drive crashes, what happens to those files?
I keep anything important in My Documents, which is mapped to my server from each PC (and is synced with Offline Files). Only shortcuts to files get to go on the desktop; the actual files are safe on the server, which is regularly backed up.
Pardon me for resurrecting this year-old post, but *you* linked to it, so it's fair game, Mr. Atwood.
I treat the desktop as a well-known folder which always has a built-in shortcut in save-as dialogs.
When I create/download a new file, it goes on the "Desk-Top" as part of my current "state".
In about a few days, the icons fill two columns and start to pour into the third and when I next boot up my box, I realize I have been slacking and go into a cleansing frenzy until only the recycle bin remains behind. Temp or no-longer-necessary files get deleted, useful stuff gets moved to their respective archive folders.
Oh, BTW, I try to not minimize-all to reach the junk on my desktop. I deleted the "show desktop" shortcut from my quick launch and replaced it with a normal shortcut that actually launches the desktop folder in a new explorer window.
Works for me for all times. Does not force me to break my flow in an ever-enforced obsessive compulsive organization, yet I don't end up with a black-hole-desktop of more and more junk.
Let me repeat in case it got lost in all the gunk I just spewed: Save-As Dialogs.
if you really need to fill up your desktop, just run this python script from it:
for i in range(1000): open('%s%s' % ('filler', i), 'w').close()
yes i mashed it on one line, and yes i know it would work faster with name = 'filler' predefined on the line before. who cares.
I have been working on Windows Platform for years now. But I hate what most people love, using mouse. I just love keyboard and use only keyboard to launch any app. I don't wish to scroll in start menu nor search on the desktop for my link. I just use the run command to type which app i wish to run. But I also use Desktop, but just that, the desktop always have a nice wallpaper ;-) which soothes the eyes when stressed. ;-)
Now that I think about it, I rarely use my desktop even though I have a fair amount of icons on it. I never store files on the desktop, since I find that disorganized and cluttery. The only things on my desktop are links to programs, My Computer, My Docs, a couple network drives or things like that and a shortcut to log off (don't know why I still have that...) As for background images, I don't spend any time really looking at my desktop, but when my computer's locked it's nice to see it rather than just a plain blue screen.
I am exactly like the guy of the photo. I throw all interesting stuff there and when I have time I give a look..order must be inside the mind...;-)
My desktop is usually clean, with ObjectDock in bottom and taskbar in top like on Macs, but I use descktop as a transition area.
Desktop is an airport for different type of items... few files, few fresh apps, but they don't survive too much time. I have a ritual of cleaning my desktop, anyway I have to review those items, also this is a way not to forget about things, as they are there to remind me.
Oooo... and don't forget Reinlendar... :P
I put many things on my desktop as well as use it as my default download destination. I do that because I actually want a clean desktop, so by putting all my stuff on it forces me to deal with it and then organize my stuff.
I also keep things on my desktop that are still "fresh in my mind". For example, if I'm pricing out motherboards I'll have a a text file on my desktop called "motherboards.txt" and keep it smack in the middle. As the days go by I write down prices and stores in my text file. Once I either settle or buy the motherboard I delete the file.
I'm also a HUGE fan of the Run box, and use the Win-R shortcut religiously; I even add to the path or create batch files for all my common programs so I can access them easily. Furthermore I also have the address bar locked into my Taskbar so I can access items ON my desktop without having to minimize anything. I never use Quick Launch as I find it takes longer for me to click the icon I want than to just hit Win-R and type a word. It also takes up space on the Taskbar.
There are ways in the middle:
My desktop is mostly clean, but contains some shortcuts to current projects and files I use daily. So my desktop is clean *and* I have quick access to the stuff I need.
Only disadvantage is you have to clean up from time to time.
desktops are best used to placing shortcuts, but not the actual files. above all, It tends to slow down your machine having files on your desktop.
I'm definitely on the silly side on this one. I've got 366 items on my desktop right now. I also have over 50 tabs open in Firefox. I'm strict about filing important things in the right place, but random little files make more sense on the desktop than hidden in My Documents in my funny world.
I like to put things on the desktop that I'm not sure I'll want or need. If I hide them away, I might not ever find them again. If I put them on the desktop, I'll scan over them from time to time and maybe good things will happen. It's worked for me over the years.
I guess this is similar to my bulk RSS subscription. More is good. Our brains are optimized for scanning, not filing.
It's interesting that the Firefox team chose the desktop as the default location for downloads. I can only assume that they feel that this means that the average user will be less likely to think that they've 'lost' their download if it winds up on the desktop, where they're sure to see it, rather than buried in Program Files/Firefox/Downloads or My Documents/Downloads. I prefer to choose each time, but I just choose the Desktop half of the time anyway. Maybe that's the whole idea behind the desktop metaphor; it's a place where the stuff that you're working on resides, but sometimes you have to clean it off if you want to look at your spiffy wallpaper.
I actually have a folder that sits next to my Recycle Bin, called 'Almost Trash'. When my desktop starts to look like the posted screenshot, I start selectively dragging stuff in there. God I'm afraid to look in there.
I also find it interesting how many people that I've encountered abhor using the 'My Documents' directory. It keeps your desktop clean, keeps your files in a place that's easy to get to in explorer, and easy to click to when you're saving. My girlfriend would much rather have a directory off of the root than use the the whole My Documents thing.
I've heard some people say that, in the future, the whole concept of a file system or a directory tree will be marginalized in favor of an indexed, searchable history of every file, email, im, etc. File naming will become moot, and you'll just throw everything that you create onto a timeline that you can view and search faster than you'd be able to locate a file these days. I don't know if I buy into that, though...
I think that in most companies, the higher you go up the management tree, the higher the incidence rate of desktopitis. Perhaps they are used to the idea of other people handling the mundane organizational tasks. Or perhaps they're just lazy - who knows.
Personally, I don't believe that the file system is going to just disappear in favour of searching and indexing. I've installed Google Desktop on my folks' PC, and I *can't* get them to use it. I make extensive use of both trees and search, but the latter is not a catch-all solution in cases where the former is a problem. I think that "those" users are simply going to continue to struggle with the organization problem until computers are able to recognize speech.
Anyway, desktopitis and folderphobia are gradually getting washed away as one generation of users overtakes the last and overall computer literacy improves. UI design may still revolve around "pen-and-paper" Mom Pop today, but they'll eventually become a minority market.
Let me just put a shortcut to this article on my desktop so I can find it later...