Welcome to yet more pre-scheduled content!
One thing that really interests me is how people customize technology to meet their own needs and personality. So, other people’s filing systems, ways they use shortcuts or specific paths in certain programs, methods of arranging apps on phones…I find all that super interesting.1
But beauty is also a factor in technology, one that I’ve long found intriguing. Everyone customizes their phone case, to some extent. Even the choice not to have a case is a kind of personal statement, at this point. But many people, especially those who work extensively on computers, customize the images that applications use to display information. Thematic file icons, color schemes, and (of course) wallpapers are all a big part of how we personalize our technology that has basically zip to do with functionality.
My desktop and phone background always have to match. I have no idea why. But right now they’re both Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom, which makes me smile when I open the screen of either technological overlord. Before that, it was this one image from Howl’s Moving Castle, which is my favorite Ghibli film, and one of my favorite movies period. For a long time, I would only have a plain black background because I was opposed to anything that added joy to the time I spent on a computer. Also it looked kind of badass.2
For me, at least, I do less appearance customization on the level of file images, and more on the level of in-app icons because an absurd amount of my day is spent in two programs, Omnifocus and Scrivener, both of which allow you to use icons to customize your experience. In Omnifocus, I usually use custom icons as buttons for perspectives, and in Scrivener, I just use them when I get bored of certain patterns of folders and pages. In neither case do they add any functionality, but they definitely do make me hate my day less.
Which leads me to my current favorite source for custom icons, flaticon.com. I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best, but if you’re designing perspectives in Omnifocus or whatever, it’s a fun way to stamp some personality on the endless list of shit you have to slog your way through. And, I just found out, you can make fun patterns out of random icons if you have some bizarre need for tiling wallpaper made of flat icons.
Hello from future me in Greece, by the way! She’s probably having an awesome time. If she’s dead because she crashed driving alone in a foreign country, these pre-scheduled blog posts are going to be really dark, though. At least my dying blog posts will have been useful to people searching for minor ways to alleviate the shittiness of being stuck on a computer all day.