OSX-style Expose for Windows Vista


No, no, stop laughing, it’s true.  Some guy, apparently a guy who works for Microsoft, thought it’d be awesome if the Vista interface sucked a little less.  So he went and put together one sweet little app called Switcher.

If you’re one of those brave souls running Vista, and at any point in your life experienced the joy of using OSX, go get that app.  It’s not quite as unrelentingly cool as The True Expose, but it does a pretty bang-up job.  I haven’t played with all the options, so it’s possible that one might be able to configure it to operate closer to The Real Deal, but even on default settings, I’m more than a little impressed.  It really improves the usability and workflow of Vista’s interface, and it just works great.

Wait, wait – aren’t I running a Fedora machine?  Yes I am.  And I still love it.  But a few things made me alter my work area.  I had an interview at Fluent, and while we were chatting the subject of Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, and how much I know about security came up.  Don’t ask me why, it just did.  Anyway, while it’s true that I can accomplish 99% of my tasks with the GIMP and Inkscape (and God knows I love Inkscape), I forgot to append something to that (and it’s becoming more and more relevant.)  I can use GIMP and Inkscape for creative tasks, when I’m starting from scratch.  If I have to import files (logos, graphics, whatever) then these packages fall very, very, very flat.  This didn’t used to be the case – but try to import a Photoshop CS2 or CS3 file into GIMP… or pretty much any Illustrator file after Ill-10.  Nothin’.  No love.  And the unfortunate fact is that I get quite a lot of files in these formats, now that they’ve become all industry-standard an’ stuff.

Granted, I could transfer the file to my Powerbook, open it, and re-save each file that comes in so GIMP/Inkscape can Do Their Deed, but man that’s just a lot of extra hassle.  I thought about it (a lot) and went ahead and decided to run my beloved Fedora 8 on a little box I keep in the closet as a web server for testing and kicking around, and slap Vista back on the quad-core.  I can always remote into the Fedora box and play around all I want, should I have The Urge.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not hugely happy about all this.  I’ve been loving on my Fedora box for a long time.  But I have to face the facts, and until I can once again wield the Linux environment as an effective tool, I’ll have to use Windows again for production.  It hasn’t been too painful, honestly – Vista has such annoying quirks that it makes me a little crazy – but it’s been a lot smoother than I expected.  This Switcher app I mentioned help ease the transition quite a bit.  I don’t know.  Time will tell if this move was worth it.