Active Desktop Background

My Current Desktop

My Current Desktop, Utilizing Active Desktop and the W3Background files I’m releasing below.

Active desktop was designed to deliver content to your desktop without having to visit your favorite websites to get the information. In many ways it could be seen as the precursor to today’s widgets. Active Desktop was first introduced in Internet Explorer 4.0, but became more widely know upon the release of Windows 98. It sounded like a promising technology it was buggy, and Windows 98 era PC’s really couldn’t afford the memory hit, so it never caught on. Nevertheless, Microsoft has included it in operating systems up to Windows XP, replacing it in Vista with Windows Sidebar. So what can we do with this old Windows 98 technology today? Create useful, time saving backgrounds!

Closeup of Launch Menu
I created this useful active desktop background out of necessity. I was constantly browsing to specific folders, but I don’t like cluttered desktops so I did not want to put shortcuts to them. Also, I wanted them only one click away, but did not want to over clutter my quick launch tray. My solution was an easy background that looks good and solves my problem.
I have included the Photoshop file so that you can modify it as you see fit. It is sized to my laptop screen resolution of 1680×1050, so it might take some tweaking for other resolutions. I made it simple to add a photo frame as shown on my background, in Photoshop simply drag your photo into the layer group entitled “Put Photos In Here”. I included a couple different background styles within the PSD, but I meant this release to be an exposure to what can be done with Active Desktop, rather than a design exhibition.

Click Here to Download (2.6mb)
Click Here for a live demo. Background image is full resolution (~1mb), be patient.

Quick Start
Extract Zip file to a place where it won’t be moved.
To get it to work for you, first modify the links in index.html to actual places on your computer and rename them accordingly.
Then, modify the CSS file to change the background or link colors/positioning if you wish.
In Windows, simply set index.html as your background.
If you have questions or comments, leave them below.


Recent Design Work

Bob's Graduation Announcement

I recently did the design and photo work for a friends graduation announcements. I tried to do something a bit different than a traditional announcement, and I think they turned out well. Taking the photos was a lot of fun and they got a good response from those that received them. Click the image for a larger version.


Blog Noteworthy

Photoshop CS2 Changes Banknote Handling

In an apparent change from Adobe Photoshop CS, Photoshop CS2 now allows you the ability to open and edit banknote images. Though it warns that if you try to print it, it will not print “as is,” though if you do try to print you are faced with a second dialog box stating that fact you can’t print at all.

Opening Dialog Box
CS2 Dialog box
click image for full screenshot
Printing Dialog Box
CS2 Printing Dialog box


We do stuff.

Throw together some stock photos, buzzwords, and a slick webpage and you have a design firm. Its hilarious, but so true…

“Our office is really modern and we’ve got nice computers and stuff. If you ever saw it, you’d say ‘Wow, cool office. These guys are legit.'”


Design Monopoly anyone?

Here’s a bit of news that will shake up the design community. Adobe systems is acquiring Macromedia for an estimated $3.4 billion dollar in an all-stock transaction transaction. Now we just need to bow down to Adobe for all our design, video, web, and print design needs. Should be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Goodbye understandable product names, hello Adobe Flash CS2 MX 2006 Professional!