After 4 days use I’ve uninstalled TopDesk. Its a nice idea, but its not fast enough. By that I mean compared to how Windows manages task switching. I’m so used to seeing the program icons and being able to really quickly tab through them, that the slight delay that TopDesk has, really hurts my productivity. I tried out the various layout options and thought that Flip was the best, followed by Grid and then Spatial.
Flip (which is apparently how Windows Vista will work) shows your windows as a 3D stack. Kind of like looking at a deck of cards from a corner at a 45 degree angle. Its nice in that is in that there is a consistent point on the screen to look at but it does tend to hide windows, so you’re not really sure what order they’re in. So you end up tabbing through them a few times to work out what you’re after.
(Flip and Spatial Layouts)
Grid shows all the windows in 2D but resizes them to a similar size / scale and shows them in a grid, obviously. Quite nice in that its organised in a obvious, neat way, but it doesn’t feel right. Spatial is similar to grid, but keeps the original scale and ratios of the windows. This is my least favourite because the windows layout seems to be random, which I guess is a side effect of it.
The latter two also suffer from what I mentioned previously, they make it hard to focus on what you’re after. On a multi-monitor set up its made worse because the windows are spread over the monitors. I know this seems like a good idea, but I can’t see how. I think this is more down to my conditioning of expecting to look at a set point on the screen and work from there.
As I commented on previously, there is also its memory usage. Lets see, I have mIRC, Firefox, BlogJet, MindManager Pro X5, FeedDemon, Windows Media Player, Process Explorer and a couple of Explorer windows open and TopDesk is using…
…35MB! I’ve had it creep up to 100MB+ on a couple of occasions. Thats a bit worrying for a glorified picture viewer!
I also noticed some odd behaviour where windows think they’re minimised when they’re not. I didn’t look further into this to work how it occurs, but I’m fairly confident its TopDesk related. Its never happened before or after using it.
So all in all, its a little too quirky for me. I just hope that Vista has the current / old style method available!