Last Wednesday night I inadvertantly catalyzed a viral Twitter meme. I had just seen a talk, and in the few moments before the presenter fired up his Keynote presentation, his idle Desktop caught my attention. Lined along the bottom was the familiar OSX Dock- that colorful destination for our most-used applications. He had so many different icons I had never seen before. I realized that this practice had become something I look forward to when I go to presentations. So, naturally, I tweeted about it.
I like seeing people's Apps and dock icons in the few moments before they give a slide deck. What's in there?— gully_ (@gully_) February 25, 2015
Jonathan Sick suggested making a blog about it, which reminded me of the tech/design website usethis.com which highlights hardware and software setups, and this Nature article series, which highlights scientist workflows. Adrian Price-Whelan chimed in, and started the viral microblogging hashtag #astrodock.
Rather than repost the docks, all the original content is still available on Twitter, by simply searching for #astrodock. Here were some insights:
- All the cool kids are using iTerm2 instead of the bland default Terminal.
- Some people use Bibdesk some use PapersApp.
- There’s something called Skim for reading PDFs.
- Sublime Text is popular.
- Some people use Evernote, Quicksilver, and Transmit.
- Long tail of random app icons that are un-Googleable.
Point number 6 above highlights the challenge of extracting further insights from the astrodock meme. I think the astronomy community could benefit from a resource like usethis.com or the Nature article– but something that anyone can edit. That’s where Twitter shines- you don’t need permission to post. But the 140 character limit stifles a deeper conversation about useful tools. Jonathan Sick agrees with me, so I know we must be on to something.