One of the great things about laptops is that you can have your work environment with you wherever you go. This portable environment is especially helpful if you’re making a presentation, as you will surely know if you’ve ever had to do a talk using another computer. Of course, using your own computer for a presentation comes with a price: other people will almost certainly get a glimpse of exactly how unorganized your desktop is.
I recently came across a great little tool in the Mac App Store for fixing this problem. Camouflage is a simple program that does more or less what it’s name implies: hides all the items on your desktop. Camouflage lives in the menu bar; simply by clicking on it and choosing “Hide Icons,” you too can have the sort of desktop that could impress the aesthetes over at Minimal Mac. If you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be happy to know that you can create one for Camouflage. You can also set a different wallpaper to appear when you invoke Camouflage.
There is one problem with Camouflage at the moment, if you’re using it with Lion (OS 10.7). When you switch between desktops, your icons temporarily reappear and then fade away again. It’s pretty quick, but it’s clearly not how the application should be working. And since the application hasn’t been updated since August, I’d guess it’s worth assuming that this problem won’t be fixed anytime soon.
That being said, I’ve been very pleased with Camouflage for the $1.99 I’ve paid. I use it in at least three or four meetings a week and when I’m teaching next, it will be just another part of my pre-class planning.
Camouflage is—of course—a Mac-only tool. But the need for desktop management is something that is cross-platform. How do you keep your desktop tidy? Do you even try? Let us know in the comments!