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People Don't Know How To Use My Laptop

Published Sep 18 2013 via openDesktop.org

Over the last few days, I’ve been letting my laptop fall in the hands of other people for showcasing and entertainment purposes. You know, the occasional “checking of Facebook” or “lemme see that code?”. It’s been very amusing since how people accidentally open a can of worms. A bit of background, I use Kubuntu on my laptop with a self-tweaked kernel for power saving options, hardening and security1. The window manager2 I use is the defacto of KDE, KWin. It has a lot of bells and whistles and I try to use only as much as I need like per-application-window switching, no thumbnails for windows at all, etc. The environment has this nifty features called “Screen Edges”. It allows me to trigger actions whenever I hit a corner or edge of the screen.

Screen Edges on KDE

For my set-up, I have the following enabled:

  • “Present Current Application Windows for Current Desktop” when you hit the center top of the screen,
  • “Show Dashboard Widgets” when you hit the top-right of the screen,
  • “Present Windows for All Desktops” when you hit the bottom-left of the screen and
  • “Present Windows for Current Desktop” when you hit the bottom-right of the screen

The difference between the “Current Application Windows” and just “Windows” is that the former shows every single window open for a specific application whereas the latter show only the most recently used window for each application on a said desktop. It comes in handy when you have dozens of terminal, browser, and vector image editing windows open.

“The Horror!”

Now, a friend of mine and I were watching a few videos on YouTube. She meant to raise the volume, but didn’t hold Fn. This causes my drop-down terminal appear. She ignored it and just clicked back on Chrome.

This time, she moved the cursor to the top of the screen. Wham! Windows for days since I was on my “Social” desktop, you had Facebook, Hacker News, my personal RSS reader3, dozens of dedicated windows for Ars Technica, Phoronix, The Verge, it goes on. She called me over and asked for help.

The Thing

You might wonder why can’t I just keep things simple and just have a regular set-up (or just a Mac™). I can’t tweak OS X the way I can with my laptop, I’ve tried. And being fiscally disadvantaged, I can’t see why I’d pay $5 for window tiling and snapping, it doesn’t just add up to me. Of course, each set up is (hopefully) as unique as its user/owner so that’s that.

  1. I might post about this when I feel more confident with the process.

  2. For the not-knowing, window managers are applications that tell other applications where they are on the screen.

  3. A anti-social reader powered by Stringer.

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