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pragmatic innovation on the desktop

What have you seen _and_ used recently? where did it come from originally?  Im not talking about programming languages, favorite IDEs or clever database design, but real, practical ideas in software that either _you_ actually use and that you notice the difference with every day, or that mum & pop actually use.

I was able to come up with a couple, but surprisingly few.
what am I missing?

blocking ad popups (opensource), bayesian email filters (opensource), file navigation in osx 10.3 (apple), tabbed browsing (opensource), Ad Aware & SpyBot (<g> I visited my inlaws over the weekend, can you tell?)

that seems to be it....surely theres more? 

FullNameReqired
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Mouse gestures in Firefox. I believe the first browser to use mouse gestures was Opera?

Matthew Lock
Sunday, May 09, 2004

The LaunchBar for OS X.
Huge productivity boost.

Rhys Keepence
Sunday, May 09, 2004


Gush messaging client. Very nice but the rendering is too slow for practical use on my PC

TomA
Sunday, May 09, 2004

I'd like to add Opera.

Peter Monsson
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Mac OS X Exposé - if only there was a decent implementation of it for Win2k...

r1ch
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Man, that LaunchBar thing is too hard for me to understand right now; have tried it a bunch of times. Maybe it's one of those things that is easier than it seems. Can I look up the man page for printf with it? Does it really have to index all of my favorites in my browser even though they are not really favorits but bookmarks.

Anyway, since the theme is OS X, I'll say that I am happy to have found:

Labels X - at last I can have my OS 9 labels back the way they are b est - as an icon's tint, and not some weird distracting shiney panther candy bar.

DockSwap! - ah, so relieved I am to at last be able to organize the NextStep Dock into multiple sets. It's on ok substitute for the brilliant tabbed putaway folders of OS 9 which should never have been put away from OS X.

WindowShade X - I had to pay for it for OS 7.5, and now I have to pay for it for OS X since Apple tossed it out after having bought the original. No matter, WindowShade is just what I need to see behind the window at hand without moving it into the dock (explain why that makes sense again? Then I have to move the mouse to get it back). Expose is overkill for this and besides, CW8.3 doesn't work in Panther, so I'll just stay in Jaguar for the text few years thank you.

Longing for the days of OS 9
Sunday, May 09, 2004

The scroll wheel.

Media player/program shortcut buttons on the keyboard.

Alex
Sunday, May 09, 2004

+1 for the scroll wheel.

It's the only thing that keeps me from going back to OS 9.

Longing for the days of OS 9
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Kind of depends on what you mean by "recently", but over the past ten years or so the biggest innovation I can think of is the hyperlink. Really changed the way we use computers.

Tom H
Sunday, May 09, 2004

" but over the past ten years or so the biggest innovation I can think of is the hyperlink."

<G> actually my definition of 'recently' is a little more recent than that.

I was just thinking about things last night (after a fun day cleansing a few of my inlaws windows OS of virusi, malware, adware and other tedious crap) and I was trying to think what, after all the updates between win98, macos8 and winXP and OSX10.3, had _actually_ improved in my use of computers.

ie, improved in a noticeable, intelligent way that affects how I use computers everyday.

<g> the best I could come up with was tabbed browsing.....but Im sure there must be more...?

Im specifically not including IDEs (cause we all love ours best, right?) or big, visionary crapola like web objects or .net....just things that make our lives easier every day.

technically I prolly shouldn't have even included ad aware or spybot for windows but I was so overwhelmingly impressed by how easy they make the windows cleanup process that it just seemed picky not to even mention them.
great apps, I owe their creators some real gratitude.

FullNameRequired
Sunday, May 09, 2004

VoodooPad as a notekeeping tool on OS X.

http://flyingmeat.com/voodoopad.html

Darren Collins
Sunday, May 09, 2004

- Optical mouse !
- IM

Nix
Sunday, May 09, 2004

Mouse gestures on Windows are, IIRC, much older. Sensiva Inc. brought it out about 4+ years ago and it was free. I still use it.


Win+L. A real boon for me.

KayJay
Monday, May 10, 2004

"Win+L"

<g> whats that?

FullNameRequired
Monday, May 10, 2004

Winkey : Finally, the windows key becomes usefull.

Laurent
Monday, May 10, 2004

On a(n) (un)related note, is it more memory efficient to use have dual logins and use applications or have a single login and lauch apps with 'Runas'?

KayJay
Monday, May 10, 2004

Google, changed the way I use the web.

Privoxy, while not innovation is something I also use all the time.

Jonas B.
Monday, May 10, 2004

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