Every so often, I like to share apps that actually make my phone useful for things other than procrastination. Well, today, I’d like to update that list of apps and include a new app for customizing the windows desktop.

I’m probably behind the times here, but Lifehacker’s featured desktops have caught my eye for a while now. I just haven’t been in the mood to actually do anything about it. This weekend, I actually did it. I present my desktop.

My Desktop

I am now using Rainmeter. I’ll be honest– even though I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to these things and I’m not afraid to fool around, this program and the skins for it confused me. You have to plan ahead, know what you want on your desktop, and then do a search for something that meets your needs.

In Rainmeter speak, “skins” seems to mean widgets, like on Android. I made a list, giving consideration to what programs I use as well. Many skin suites (the entire package) will mention what widgets they include. If you’re lucky, they will also include a layout that you can then adjust to your liking. With this program, you aren’t stuck using everything or nothing. You can easily unload apps that may be too distracting.

One of the issues though is that you have to use a .ini file to customize widgets. That’s part of what can take a while. Currently, I’m using Glasses by Vcloud. This one came easily customizable. I just have to hit the little triangles, and then a box pops up with spots for text input.

Along the side, I’m using Rocket Dock. I’ve placed the programs I do use most often as well as shortcuts to important computer folders and Dropbox. I’ve also downloaded a program called Launchy. This lets me pull things up easily with a couple clicks. (Currently it’s set to ctrl + spacebar.) I can use it as a calculator, a web searcher, and a file or program finder.

I have also decluttered my phone:

2013-04-29 10.48.50

On my phone I’m using ADW Launcher with a custom skin. This launcher allows you to make folders and then label those folders. For anyone on earlier versions of Android (which is pretty much everyone a majority of Android users), this is so helpful. I’ve also streamlined it and removed the notification bar (a rooted phone is a necessity to do that).

I’ve also started using Swipepad. It allows me to access programs while I’m in the middle of another one, so if I’m reading something and get an idea for a story, I can switch apps and write it down quickly.

I’ve also started using Catch Notes. This program is easier than Evernote to catch thoughts quickly and to add tags. It has a shortcut to create a note which I keep on my Swipepad. When I have a thought, I pull it up and write it out. I can add hashtags within the text, just like twitter, and I don’t have to bother going the extra steps I have to use with Evernote. The thought just gets captured, and then I can access it later on when I’m at the computer. With this method, I can write before bed or take down random thoughts. The only downside is that you can only have five notebooks, so I’m going to be sticking with Evernote for now to organize all my heavy duty notes and clippings.