Yosemite gurus, some advice please

As some of you guys know, I like to work with a minimalist UI, with files only on the desktop temporarily, and with the dock hidden and only showing actually running apps, together with the finder applications folder, documents folder and downloads folder and trash.

Screenshot 2015-03-17 12.30.16.png
Now, clicking on the applications folder — it shows the 1Password icon, as that is the first app in the list — brings up an alphabetised list of all the apps on the machine. The problem is, there are apps that are installed automatically that I never use — Chess, Game Center, Launch Pad, etc. — which inflate the list but can’t be deleted it seems.

Screenshot 2015-03-17 12.44.03.png
Do any of you gurus know how I can hide them?

Mr X

Well… the easiest things I can think of…

Create a new folder for apps you want in your home dir (call it applications) then symlink the apps you want to see. Place said folder in dock…

Or, if you like to live dangerously, create a backup folder in apps, then open a terminal and move unwanted apps to folder (will require sudo). Has to be terminal as finder prevents it.

CMD ALT DRAG the application icons that you do want to a new folder of links. Then add that folder to your dock and remove the main applications folder (from the dock).

Alternatively, CMD SPACE and typing the first letters of the program name and then hitting enter is a very quick way to launch programs. Faster, IMO, than unhiding the dock and digging around in the applications folder.

Much clearer than the way i said it. Some day i need to think of the UI as the better way to do things.

This is how I do it, too. I have subfolders for “writing apps”, “image processing”, “website management”, “games” (contains mainly Chess and FreeCell), “system”, so everything is nicely in its place.

I think this is what they invented the Launchpad for; one quick trackpad gesture, and you have an IOS-like set of icons that you can arrange into groups and pages, just like on ipads and iphones. I don’t bother browsing lists of applications, except when I forget the name of an application. Instead I use Alfred App, thought Spotlight search should work almost as effectively.

Thanks to all of you. I had wondered about creating a folder within the Applications folder and putting them all in there, but I wasn’t sure if that would screw everything up or not … but I don’t think I’m going to go the Terminal-sudo route, as I’m not really geeky enough.

Unlike you, Robert, I really don’t like LaunchPad and I’m basically happy with my current system except for the things that I never use cluttering it up.

Cmd-Space doesn’t work for me, as that is remapped to switch between Chinese and English.

So I think the answer is the new folder and the Cmd-Opt-Drag way. That also has the advantage that I can limit it to the apps I do use all the time, as others like Cocktail and Chronosync that I use once a week, are easily accessible through the Finder with Shift-Cmd-A or utilities through Shift-Cmd-U.

So now for a happy half-hour setting it up that way … mmm, and I wonder if I can find a suitable icon to differentiate the folder.


Mr X

To be clear, I don’t like to browse grids of apps either. I tried Launchpad for a bit, but I ended up having to use the search tool at the top of the interface to find where I’d hidden certain apps. I tend to do better with text searches than scanning visually for icons and words, unless I momentarily forget the name of the app.

One tip for using aliases: You can create multiple aliases and file them away in different locations. I’ve done this before too; I had a “frequently used” folder of aliases, and then more aliases to the same set of frequently used apps would get filed away, according to application type, along with never- and less-frequently-used apps. I abandoned that after a while too; I forgot to maintain the aliases as I added new applications, so it just got to be a mess. You seem more organized than I am, so maybe you can pull it off.

Well, I’ve set it up, with only the apps I use the whole time, and I’ve found I’m down from a long, long list to just 15, and even then there are some of them I might remove. I am a minimalist … my various desktop images are photos looking out to sea from beaches, with any people removed, like this one from St Ives in Cornwall.

Screenshot 2015-03-17 17.00.50.jpg

Mr X

Nice. :slight_smile:

I’m inspired by your minimalist approach. I’ll never manage it myself, but it’s good to see just how absurdly far from Desktop Zen I truly am…

Having said that, I have successfully used dock folders with shortcuts to favourite apps for years. The only issue is, on my machine at least, that the shortcuts sometimes lose their icons. Easy enough to fix (copy & paste the icon or simply recreate the shortcut).

Also, you can use sub-folders within your applications folder. The only time this is an issue is if you move an app that expects to find itself in the Applications folder — I have only had this happen once & I simply moved it back.

I think I’m at the point where the dock is meaningless other than as a status display for running apps. 9% of the time I’m looking at the dock icon of an app I want to start while I’m using spotlight to launch it. Makes me wonder how much more we can reduce the UI intrusion for daily use.

But now I’m just being … me.

Well, my dock basically has Finder, Apps, Documents, Downloads and Trash … and I’m thinking of removing Documents as I have never used it to access a document — If I’m working in an App, clicking the Finder icon brings up a window, with Home the default; if there’s nothing on the desktop, I use Cmd-N — and maybe even the Downloads, but I do access that more often. So, if I remove those two folders, my Dock, which is hidden will only show Finder and running apps above the line, the folder of regularly used apps and the Trash below the line — the only difference with what you’re talking about basically being the App folder, as I don’t use Spotlight to open apps … actually, I find I hardly ever have a need to use it. And I ought to learn the keyboard shortcut for app-switching, to make even less use of the dock.

And as you can see in the screenshot above, the internal HD doesn’t appear on the desktop — Cmd-N or clicking the Finder icon will bring up a window on it … easier than double-clicking it, leave alone having to reveal the finder to expose the icon first. External drives do appear on the desktop while they’re mounted, though.

I’m just being me too, and the older I get, the more I want to de-clutter my life … unfortunately, my computers are the only domain where I have complete power and control! :slight_smile:

Mr X

I hardly use the dock at all - it’s hidden until I need it, which is very seldom.

Mark, not sure if you were asking what the shortcut for switching applications is – cmd-tab. To switch between the windows of the same app, it’s cmd-` (the back tick key, not a single quotation). Ctl-tab and shift-ctl-tab will cycle through tabs in a lot of programs (eg Safari).

Finally, you can alter the default spotlight key in System Preferences – once you get used to ctl-space (or whatever) plus a couple of letters it’s by far the quickest way of opening programs and it remembers your favourites and prioritises them. They’ve beefed spotlight up in Yosemite so it might be worth having a look at it to see what else it can do.

Apologies if you knew all this…

Am I the only one with a bad memory?

I use the Dock partly to remember the apps I really like, but use so seldom that I tend to forget I have them when I am about to do something special, for which that particular app is extra usedul. :smiley:

And this thing about keeping a very clean desktop? I don’t save stuff to the desktop, because I almost never see it. It is always covered with one or several apps I am using. If you want an empty desktop with a beautiful motive to look at, wouldn’t it be cheaper to have a large digital photo frame standing beside the computer while you work, to rest your eyes on every now and then?
I use an old iPad that way. :slight_smile:

But some applications are useful to have in the dock even if they’re NOT running. I always keep Textwrangler there so that if I want to look into textfiles that are not identified as such, I simply drag them on the Textwrangler-icon in the dock and Boom, they open. (Or not, if they’re really no textfiles. :blush: )

And what’s the point in having a clean computer desktop? If you’re working on your computer, you won’t see it most of the time anyway.

But then again, I am no big fan of clean table desktops as well. If I enter a office and see somebody sitting behind a neat, empty table with only one item before him, I suspect I see somebody who has either too much time to kill, something to hide or priorities that don’t put the actual goals on top. If you look on photos of working spaces of real creative geniuses (in the league of Picasso, Hemingway etc.), you almost never see tidy, clean, neat desks, but a certain amount of mess. A certain amount – not too much, not too less. I think it has to be like that.

You mean like the old saying:
“Messy desktop, messy mind. Empty desktop…?” :smiley:

I’d like to adjust it to something like “in order to grow something, you need a fertile soil … or a nutrient medium …” :laughing:

not everyone uses full screen all the time. I often have desktop showing. And I do “real work”. Did I mention that I have a large monitor? Although I’m not sure how windows coverage has anything to do with productivity.

Technically more items on the desktop alters UI draw speed. Desktop redraws are frequent and NOT only when the desktop is exposed. Less crap on the desk top allows you computer to spend more time focused on the active window. Oh, and go back to the opening to see why desk top redraw is continuous.

Memory… no… I forget stuff. All the time. but if I’m not using something enough to remember it, why is it on my machine? Likely a tendency from my SA days, but disk space should be occupied by things I use not cruft. Granted I have an external array for my cruft… Just not on my local drive. :slight_smile:

I’m all for clutter. But in the right place. And for the right reasons.

Sorry not to have been back earlier … couple of weeks of alarums and excursions, and other complications.

I think Jaysen and I must be related! :open_mouth:

Actually, it’s something I learnt one week in China. One Tuesday afternoon, a message arrived from one of the people in the International Office; there was a very important document to be edited, needed by the President by 9 a.m. on Thursday. It was at a time when I was feeling really tired and getting out of breath and I’d just seen my cardiologist, who had arranged a complete check-up for me, and had told me that there was nothing intrinsically wrong but that I should not work so hard and rest more!

So I told Cathy that there was no way I could do it unless she booked me a room in one of the on-campus hotels, as I had 6 hours of lectures the next day with preparation and further lectures on Thursday, and with a 1 to 1 1/2 hour journey in each direction to get home and with 100 stairs to climb I would be too tired when I got home. Eventually, she came back to me and said she’d got permission to book me a room in the Guest House and the boss wanted to know how long I’d like to have it. So I took a punt and said “A week” and that’s what I got. So I went home, quickly packed up pyjamas, changes of clothes, toothbrush etc. and settled in to the guest house.

For a week, I had the clothes I needed and my MBA, which I needed for work, and nothing else, and I felt so relieved and so energetic. I realised then how much possessions, things, clutter, all sap your energy. As I said before, I really want to declutter my life, but the only domain — apart from my mind — over which I have real control — and I don’t suppose I have real control over my mind! — are my computers, iPad and iPhone. When my wife asks me to sort something out on her MBP, I find hunting around on her overloaded dock, working out what she’s got running, and her desktop covered with a random selection of files, folders, disk icons, totally confusing and frustrating.

It’s not that I’m looking at the desktops all the time; it’s knowing that there is nothing cluttering them up which I like. Jaysen’s point about redrawing, perhaps especially on this 2GB MBA with fairly restricted graphics power running Yosemite, would seem another good reason for keeping it clean.


Mr X