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Icon overload [Tuesday 10th November 2009 at 10:43 pm]

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You know you've got far too many windows open when you're entering the third column of icons on a vertically-aligned taskbar...

I can begin to see the attraction of tab-based systems (I think at least a quarter of those were PuTTY sessions), though all to often I find they add another layer of indirection that gets in the way. I also find tabs very inflexible when using a multi-monitor system: quite often I'll want to pull a tab out into its own window (to then drag it over to the other screen, so I can see both things at once), or do the opposite and add a separate window into an existing tab system. The great beauty of a multi-monitor system is being able to see more stuff at the same time, something which tab-based interfaces seem to actively discourage. Traditional MDI views also suffer, as once you start spanning the window across more than one screen accessing elements in the parent window becomes awkward, more so when the screens are not aligned vertically. The ones that I find work best are SDI views as your window layout is not constrained by whatever some developer thinks is the One True Layout (though then you end up with the aforementioned icon overload...).

My setup has the secondary screen on the right, about 100px lower than the primary, with the start bar auto-hiding to the right side of the primary. It means the start bar is always near the mouse pointer, and makes it easy to capture it by aiming for the top-right corner of the primary screen. It's a bit of an odd layout (it started because my original secondary screen was a different size to the primary), but I find it works for me.

Anyway, was there a point to this post? Probably not, but have a cookie for putting up with my NaBloPoMo contribution.
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[User Picture]From: pleaseremove
Tuesday 10th November 2009 at 11:24 pm (UTC)
Firefox allows you to re-arrange tabs, pull windows into tabs and pull tabs out into new windows... and maybe now you start to understand why I like it so much....

Tabbed interfaces are the best way to keep this much data organised. one of the great benefits of tabs is you can hide something away for later, I don't look at my 70+ tabs at once, hell, I normally keep a window just for tabs to look at later.

I agree some of the early implementations of tabs weren't that great, but these days people are starting to get it and they are a great solution to many multi-tasking problems.
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