Alex Martelli is the author of Python in a Nutshell, the comprehensive guide to the Python language, and an uber technical lead at Google in Mountain View, CA.
The greatest thing about my desktop these days is -- that I'm less and less tied to it, in a growing number of ways!
My laptop comes with me a lot of the time, and my cellphone all of the time, and between them they do a good job of letting me work (and play) anywhere it suits me -- i.e., whether I'm actually AT my desktop, or somewhere else.
So Ian Bicking presents us with a picture of a black rectangle, and Alex Martelli's desktop lives in cyberspace where we can't see it. This column is proving less informative than I hoped.
Further, a growing proportion of my work (and play) that requires computer access doesn't any longer require me to be using any single given computer -- if I can get to any machine that has a browser and a decent internet connection, I can do my email, check and update my calendar and contact lists, plan trips, do word processing, work on spreadsheets, and more generally use an increasing number of both general-purpose and specialized applications that are made available as web-apps and/or web-gadgets.
Of course more and more people are becoming less and less dependent on using a specific physical device - the web has definitely started to decouple us from our computers. If Google can't achieve such independence then I wouldn't expect anyone could!
It's not 100%, yet ( e.g., as a developer, I'm starting to grumble about not having such web-app, online access to compilers and debuggers...!), but it sure looks like it's trending that way, and I'm seriously happy about that trend.
How nice it would be if all applications were web services, so our desktops lived in the virtual world and we could attach to them from any convenient physical device.
Thanks for sharing your desktop with us, Alex.