That’s what I am. I like my desk clean — a corporate clean desk policy had never been able to hurt me — and I like my computer desktop clean. Of course that has its disadvantages. As someone, somewhere, on a website long since lost once remarked, there’s a remarkable disadvantage to a trash-can icon that shows the can bulging with junk when it contains a single file.
The disadvantage is that as some people, people like me, will feel a very strong, nay irresistible, compulsion to empty the trash as soon as it contains a single file. One is tidy, or one isn’t. And this means that the whole purpose of the trash can — a place where you can restore your deleted files from — is defeated. After all, one isn’t a dumpster diver, is one?
So, whenever people try to convince me that a so-called spatial file manager is an improvement over a browser-browser, I sigh. Deeply. Because I know the beast, having used in my time Gem, MacOS pre-X, OS/2, Panther and Windows 3.11 and Windows 95. And in all cases I was immensely irritated by all the stupid windows that littered my desktop like the remnants of the Gay Parade or Koninginnedag litter Amsterdam. I want my desktop clean, I do.
And that’s not the worst. Because one can live with a little, or a lot, of irritation. But the heart attacks! Because these irresponsible spatial file browsers also remember the size, position and how far down the window one has scrolled. So, if you have a folder with, say, the last thirty chapters
of your novel, and the last time you visited it, you scrolled down to grab chapter thirty to drag it onto your text editor — the next time you visit, you will only see chapter 30. The rest will have scrolled out of view. Eek! Files gone! Novel lost! When was the last backup! A month ago! Eek! My poor heart!
Same with dragging files to a certain position in that window that represents the directory on your hard disk. It stays in that place. But one clumsy move and it’s placed two ‘scroll-fulls’ of window below the other files. Where it will stay until I move it back into some sensible, orderly place. Will I find it again? Perhaps, if I pay close attentions to the size of the thumb-thingy in the scrollbar. Perhaps not, if I were using GEM or MacOS-preX.
No. I want my file manager, my desktop, to keep order for me. To clean up after after me like a loving and forgiving mum, who keeps picking up the socks I drop. Like a divine secretary who keeps all my stuff catalogued for me, and readily accessible. I don’t want my computer to assist me making a mess of my virtual existence — because I cannot live in a mess, and I will spend too much time cleaning up.
Ps. I don’t understand why the makers of Nautilus use a technical term like ‘filesystem’ in its depiction of what a computer contains… I don’t think the new users, who have never used a computer before, know what that is.