Workspaces in Windows: Redux

I was talking with some coworkers about random technical stuff the other day and I had a good shot to bring up the workspaces question. Given that both guys are very intelligent, articulate, and considered "power users", I was interested in their take on it. The first point they made was that if they wanted to do workspaces in Windows, they would have done them. It is not a technical limitation or a legal issue, it was a matter of choice. That means they didn't believe that enough people would use it, and too many would be negatively impacted (see prev. article) to have it. Yeah, that sounded about right, but now "aren't there still enough people out there who want it to have it available, but disabled by default, or only in a professional/ultimate type edition?" I asked naively. To my surprise I found that even within the "technical" community or "power users" a large portion dont utilize workspaces and or dont find them useful enough to install them.

Realistically, if they cant convince a significant portion of more technical users to ask for it, or use it, then its pretty clear why they wouldn't include it by default. I guess those of us that want it will have to rely on third party tools to implement them for us, although so far I have not really been happy with what I have seen. Guess I will have to continue looking harder.

Workspaces in Windows

For some time now I have been left to wonder why there are not "workspaces" in Windows. In the time that I have been using Linux I have found multiple workspaces to be incredibly useful. Being able to have windows open on different workspaces is a really great way to have quick access to information, but not have it constantly distracting you away from work. I usually ended up with a layout something like this:
1. Browser w/ email, sports page, slashdot
2. gEdit, terminal, browser for programming reference
3. Either a different programming window (like #2) or a paper I'm writing or reading
4. Usually empty, otherwise it could be another space like 1-3

Now initially it doesn't seem like much, you could easily navigate around a Windows desktop with those Windows open. So what the big deal? Separation. Having email/sports/slashdot open, refreshing in the background, is just too tempting. All too often I find myself flipping over to that window just distract myself with Slashdot for a while.
So Linux has workspaces, and as of recently, OSX now has them as well, that only leaves Windows.

There are mainly a few arguments for why multiple workspaces are worthwhile. First, many users (myself included) find that workspaces improve productivity greatly. In the jobs I have worked at I often have seen co-workers with TONS of windows open and they have quite a time managing them. For those of us who don't have multi-monitor setups (or even if we do), workspaces provide a lot of extra room to work with.

Now if they are all I have cracked them up to be, why wouldn't Microsoft jump through rings of fire to make them? Well there are a few reasons why I would see them not doing this. First, there is probably a large population of Windows users who would likely not use them. Think about the grandmas and moms who use their computers to check email and look at pictures of their kids online, they either wont know about them, or not seen any use for them. This doesn't seem that bad since they would effectively be in the same position as they are now since they would not use the workspaces. It turns out not to be so simple, one could imagine how many times windows would magically "disappear" to other workspaces and they would have no idea how to get them back. Given that number of users who use Windows on a daily basis, the number of times this would happen would be astronomical.

I think a reasonable solution to this would be to only include workspaces in upgraded Windows editions, so leave it out of "Home" editions but include it in "Professional" or "Ultimate" editions. In doing this, workspaces would be provided to business and power users, while home users wouldn't have to deal with them, everyone is happy.

Originally I wrote about some of the patent issues that have come up with Red Hat and Apple from IP Solutions, and how that would affect Microsoft's decision to include that feature. In looking into it there seems there is more going then I originally noticed, so I'm going to do some homework on the topic before I comment here.

Tune in next time when I talk about how file sharing and BitTorrent help Web 2.0 technologies

To touch or not touch

I've had this opinion since the 3G iPhone release, but am only getting to write about it now.

I think I am part of a very large contingent of people who where (and still are) awaiting the release of the iPod touch V2. Since it was first released I knew that the touch was an incredible product and enviously played with a few of them. Music, of course, video, excellent, and just to top it off Wifi. Being able to connect to Wifi hot spots at great speeds and not having to pay a cell provider a bunch of money for a limited service are huge plusses for the touch. Yet there were a few things that held me back from jumping on one from when it first came out was space, and cost. Upon its release the touch came out in 8 and 16GB sizes which carried the price tags of 300 and 400 respectively. In talking to my compatriot Phil we both came upon the same conclusion, its simply not enough space. 16 gigs on a device which can store video, including full length movies, is insanely small. This was coming from the guy who was having trouble squeezing just his music onto a 20GB iPod photo. I decided that I would wait till the second round of iPod touches since they would increase capacities to 32 and hopefully 64 GB and make some software improvements.
I was really disapointed when I found out they were going to release a bigger 32GB touch, but it would still be the first gen. Mainly, they added this on top of the other two sizes, without a price drop, which left the largest model with a hefty price tag of $500. This also meant that they would not be releasing a touch V2 anytime soon.
Fast forward to today, and I am still torn about what to do about it. Surprisingly, Apple has yet to drop the 8GB touch which means prices have stayed the same. To pour a little fire on it, Apple has continued to stick it to touch users by charging them "nominal" fees for software updates. There have been (I believe) three updates so far which have been free for iPhone users, which touch users have had to pay for. Why Apple? I don't see how Apple can justify charging touch users but not iPhone users, either charge both or none.
I guess for now I'll continue to wait and hang on to my old school iPod. Perhaps soon enough Apple will decide to lower prices on touches and toss in those updates for free and then perhaps ill change my tune and put my money where my mouth is.

I'm back, with content

Today I decided to take a stroll and get some dinner. From this came two things, first, I made the unfortunate decision to eat Arbys, which I have not had in ages. Second, I had a chance to think about a few ideas which had been bouncing around in my head. So here are the fruits of that labor.