Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Morning Hexagon

We have a weekly publication called the Monday Morning Briefing that is pushed to desktops each Monday. When you log in after a new one has been published, it opens immediately in Acrobat Reader. Needless to say I'm not in favor of this intrusive window, but lost the battle to people higher in our City org chart. When people sign your paycheck, you do what they say. :)

I'm experimenting with a method to extract the first 2 pages of the document and putting it on the top and bottom of our 3D workspace hexagon. People would then see it when flipping between views and could flip it down to read the content. I built this prototype with OpenOffice. I created a custom paper size of 11" x 11" and then simply exported it to PNG format. It needs some work to make the fonts easier to read, but I kind of think it makes good use of that real estate.

Those handling the merge of Beryl and Compiz, please make sure the ability to put images on non-cubes is pulled from Beryl...this is a very useful feature.

We are up to 10 fulltime 3D users and things are going well. The biggest thing that people struggle with is the concept that increasing the number of workspaces up from "1" actually gives you multiple hexagons. The big order of 560 new thin clients is expected to arrive on 6/18. Things will be very busy around here deploying that much hardware....the first time in 10 years we have touched desktops.

(Shot below)

5 comments:

Augur said...

Compiz can supposedly attach a window to the top/bottom face of the cube. That may be more useful than splitting your PDF out to a bunch of images.

W. Mercer said...

What do you use 6 desktops for?

Dave Richards said...

Regarding 6 desktops: Most people that were using Workspaces in 2D GNOME were using at least 5 of them. So when I pushed the cube to the beta testers, everyone mentioned that 4 sides was not enough. 6 seemed to be a good compromise. I do not allow people to customize the number of sides, it's set to 6 for the whole City.

It's pretty easy to fill 6 sides with software. Firefox, Xchat, OpenOffice and Evolution take up 4.

Johan said...

For the PDF, is there a reason you use Acrobat Reader rather than Evince?

With regards to your reply about six desktops, you have Xchat installed and accessible by default? If so, that's an unusual choice for a corporate-type environment.

Personally, I'm happy with 4 desktops:
one for a terminal, emacs and a usually minimized amarok, one for balsa (mail), one for firefox, and one for xchat/misc junk.

Dave Richards said...

Johan: We use Adobe Acrobat mostly for user experience versus technical reasons. Many perceive that if an application isn't what they have at home or on MS Windows then it's inferior....even if it works better. The other reason is that if a PDF fails to open in Acrobat, normally it fails in all flavors of Acrobat and we can tell the users that it's a bug from Adobe. If we used Evince and it failed to open a document, the user community perceives we have provided inferior software.

As for Xchat, it's on the menu for all users, but I am the only person that uses it. I communicate with the Tomboy, Evolution and OpenOffice developers most of the day. Keen eye to have noticed that flipped on the side :)

As for 6 sides, most users have the core products open and then 1-2 more specialty products for their various departments. Many of those specialty products are running on Windows and access with Citrix or RDP.