[JDEV] Managing the Desktop with Jabber

Michael Bauer bauer at michaelbauer.com
Thu Feb 21 15:52:36 CST 2002

So, here's a left-field question (with apolgies to our non-US friends that 
don't get the baseball analogy):
How do you manage your desktop with a Jabber client?  I mean you're 
cruising along, editing files, checking email, surfing sites - and then 
you start to engage in a half-dozen Jabber conversations.  The problem is 
you've got two classes of activities going on at the same time.  The 
first class is primarily pro-active.  You make the decision what to edit, 
what to read, what to surf when.  The whole tiled windows desktop 
environment works pretty well here.  I now have my editor on top.  Soon, 
I'll put my email on top to send this.  Everything is well and good.  I am 
at peace.

The second class of activities is re-active.  I am in the middle of 
editing something hoping that Diz will get back to me soon so i can finish 
my conversation with him.  In this context, I can't be pro-active with 
this activity.  I'm waiting on an event - an IM from diz.  I could set the 
Jabber client to come to the top when message received - but that pretty 
rapidly drives me insane.  I don't want this to happen when I get a 
message from just any old person, like Jer.  :)  And there's no way I'm 
going to dynamically specify when I want to be so interrupted from a 
particular person (I may not want to talk to diz immediately all the 
time).  So, I've taken to just carving out a few lines on the top quarter 
of my screen with my Jabber client (Jarl on Linux).  This way I can glance 
up expectantly waiting for a conversation to go "red" indicating that I 
have a message from anyone).  I lose some of real estate this way but it's 
mostly OK - except I have to resize the window to chat and size it back.

I'm interested in how others do this.  Of course, it's going to be client 
dependent.  I'd love to know how others have envisioned solutions to this 
problem too.  Transparent pop-up windows would be pretty sweet.  Iconified 
individual conversations maybe too.  Just curious.  

Michael Bauer        me at michaelbauer.com       http://www.michaelbauer.com

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