The premise: A beautiful Saturday, with a cool breeze, a cloudless sky, and the outdoors calling my name.
The catch: I had work to do.
The problem: I turned on my computer to start working, and could barely even see the screen.
Now, one might automatically assume that I needed glasses (I don’t), or that the bright sun was reflecting on my screen (to taunt me), but this was not the case.
Upon first installing any operating system, my first priority is always to customize the graphical interface so that it best suits my needs, ultimately saving myself a great deal of accumulated time.
The KDE Plasma 5 desktop was no exception. Although I found it to be exceptional in its own right, I made several changes for comfort and familiarity.
This guide will walk you through the changes that I made, step-by-step, so that you can make similar changes to suit your own needs in the desktop environment.
One of the best time-savers that I have run across, is the ability to create shortcuts to the programs that you use most often.
These shortcuts, when strategically placed (and/or placed in multiple locations!) quickly become hard to live without.
It’s driving me nuts.
Don’t get me wrong; I like having my most-often-used programs clearly visible on my Taskbar, where they are always just a single click away from deployment.
It’s the after-deployment part that’s the problem.
It’s the part where the open programs look identical to the closed programs, and multiple instances of the same program get collapsed under one icon, and I can’t tell what’s going on!
It must be stopped.
Thankfully (for the sake of my sanity), the fix is very simple.
Maybe you like the default Window 7 desktop background.
It is pretty… For a day or two. After that, I’m ready for a change.
I like to entertain myself by putting puppy photos on my desktop, since I’m not allowed to have a real puppy. (My brother’s dog would object. I still wonder why she has any say in the matter.)
The ability to change the desktop background, window colors, sounds, icons, pointers, screen savers, and more, are all parts of the personalization experience.
They say that email is dying, but I have yet to see evidence to back that particular claim.
On the average weekday, I receive and send an average of 50-75 emails from one or another of my email addresses.
It quickly becomes difficult to manage multiple email addresses, so I have a simple solution.
Similar to the widely-known Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird is a program that allows you to manage both emails and news feeds.
And the great news?
Thunderbird runs (for free) on both Windows and Linux!
After realizing that I use the words “customize” and “configure” somewhat interchangeably, I decided it would be a good idea to do some research.
I figure that I should know how badly I’m misusing these words, at the very least. To that end I looked up the Merriam-Webster definitions.
cus·tom·ize (verb): to change (something) in order to fit the needs or requirements of a person, business, etc. (source)
I’m finicky. Often-times I experience various degrees of inability to fully concentrate, unless everything around me is just so.
All items in my immediate vicinity (desk/workstation) must be within their assigned locations — or out of sight completely — so that they do not act as distractions. I try very hard not to look at — or think about — the nearby work spaces that are out of my control (out of control?).
Similarly, I have very decided opinions about what I do and do not want on my computer’s desktop, how I organize my files, how my programs are configured, and just about every aspect of customization that ever takes place on my computer.