My Pretty Desktop.

For the past two years, my daughter has bought into, quite literally, the crazy My Little Pony world of cute, pink and purple rainbow-studded and fresh orange-smelling happy go-lucky ponies. It’s a strange micro-culture that probably builds big profits for Hasbro but, to me, it’s kind of harmless. The ponies, with names like Rainbow Dash, dance around castles and can be customized with tiaras and tutus and kitchens and balloons.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about customizing my desktop, which, to me, always felt like the computer geek’s version of My Little Pony. Customizing my desktop: even the words sound so completely naive, cheesy, and brain-killing that I cringe as I write. For years, I’ve known about a Mac program called CandyBar, which essentially allows you to trick out your icons on your computer – they can take on a whole different look – sassy, techy, funky, queer, whatever. For people with time on their hands, I thought, CandyBar would be a big ol’ fun thing.
Well, I downloaded the program and a bunch of artist-built icons made for Mac from Iconfactory, a site dedicated to showcasing beautiful, original icons for folders, applications, and actions created by different designers. I tried a number of different “themes” and the one that caught my eye most is David Lanham’s Aqua set. These icons are gorgeous, easy-to-read both and large small, coherent, crafty and superbly rendered. I tried to figure out how these are done but, for the life of me, I don’t know.
I’ve now got My Pretty Desktop, full of customized icons. It’s fantastic – for whatever reason, I now actually look forward to looking at my desktop again. It’s a pleasure to look at all of that customization, probably not unlike the good customers of Toyota’s Scion line of personalized vehicles. I’m not going so far as customizing the look and feel of my windows and applications; the one time I did this, using Unsanity’s Application Enhancer, the system slowed down and I felt bad. Sure, it looked nice. But it was like all of the work Apple’s software engineers had invested in producing a breathlessly good, stable, and usable user interface had gone to pot because of my 3-minute installation of a complex system-changing application.
At the end of the day, my computer interface looks different and it’s so nice to be happy and pretty and warm and everything is rainbows and sunshine.