Bring your own device might be an unstoppable trend in the workplace, but accepting that still requires IT pros to work out a strategy for dealing with making those devices actually useful for something more than email and occasional browsing. Two distinct schools of thought have emerged here: desktop virtualisation and deploying native apps. Which is the better solution?
If you have a ton of applications and files open but you want to focus on a single thing without the hassle of shutting the rest of the apps and files down, use a virtual desktop.
Every week we look at a specific topic and ask, which is best? From malware removal to home servers and wallpaper, here’s a look back at the most popular Hive Five topics of 2009.
Windows only: Virtual desktop utility DoubleDesktop does exactly what its name implies—it creates two virtual desktops in a tiny package that uses less than 1 MB of RAM. Using the lightweight utility is very simple—just click the system tray icon to switch back and forth between the two virtual desktops, or optionally set a hotkey in the preferences to flip between the two virtual desktops. Moving windows between desktops is the only annoying part—you have to drag them halfway and catch them on the other side. Readers looking for a full-featured virtual desktop solution would be better served with a solution like previously mentioned VirtuaWin — but this tiny utility might be just the ticket for low-memory systems. DoubleDesktop is a free download, Windows only.DoubleDesktop [via Help Desk Geek]
Windows only: WindowsPager is a free and light-weight application for managing virtual desktops. The application is just over 300k and uses around 5MB of system memory. Windows Pager requires no installation or administrative rights to run. After running the executable a small bank of four screens—see the screenshot at left— is placed on the Windows taskbar. Clicking on one of the four panes in takes you to one of the four virtual desktops. On a multiple monitor setup, WindowsPager treats all of the monitors as one enormous desktop and cycling through the virtual desktops will fresh all of the multiple monitors accordingly. WindowsPager was quick to respond to changes and bring up the new windows for each virtual desktop. WindowsPager is a free portable-application, Windows only. WindowsPapger [via Freeware Genius]
Mac OS X only: Hyperspaces adds several simple but useful customisation features to OS X Leopard’s built-in virtual desktop tool, Spaces. With Hyperspaces, you can set different wallpapers to different desktops, name you desktops, create a handful of keyboard shortcuts (including shortcuts to jump directly to a specific space), and much more. If you’re already a fan of Spaces, Hyperspaces is a must-have addition. The program is developed by the same guy who created previously mentioned VirtueDesktops—an incredible virtual desktop app that pre-dated Spaces—so you can bet this one will continue to add great features. Hyperspaces is currently a free download (you’ll need to pony up $US13 if you want to customise more than two spaces), requires Mac OS X 10.5.3 or higher. Hyperspaces [via Switching To Mac