PART 12: ACCESSORIZE YOUR ATARI
The desktop doesn't have to be the size of your screen
An unusual feature of NeoDesk 4 is its ability to run as a desk accessory. Yes, you heard that right; NeoDesk 4 can hide itself away in the Desk menu of your Atari, ready to pop open just like any other GEM desk accessory. A similarly unusual feature is NeoDesk 4's ability to contain itself in a resizeable GEM window whether run as an accessory or as a program.
When it is run as a desk accessory, NeoDesk 4 retains all the functionality of the standard NeoDesk 4 setup. It still acts as the shell (the central file-and-program controller) for all operations, and still provides desktop macro keys and other specialized features. What it gains when run this way -- as both a desk accessory and as a program in which the desktop-in-a-window feature is activated -- is a second identity. The "desktop" suddenly becomes something new, not simply the background space for all file and program activity but rather a redefinable area on top of the bedrock of the operating system, if you will pardon the metaphor. Resizing the NeoDesk 4 window so that it covers only a small portion of the screen quickly frees up the remaining space for anything else.
What could that "anything else" be? In a multitasking system or a system making effective use of desk accessories, it could be anything -- an image in its own GEM window (using Imagecopy or 1stView, to name just two programs that will do such a thing), the Gribnif World Clock, a scientific calculator, an address book, an archiver running in its own GEM window, a notepad, a telecommunications applet in a window ... or just an expanse of ordinary, featureless space. All of this can be done when NeoDesk 4 is running full-screen, of course, but without the panache; anyone used to the way the Windows and Mac desktops look cannot fail to be amused and amazed at a desktop that can collapse into its own window. There is even something Trekkie about it.
If you decide to run NeoDesk 4 in a window, whether as a desk accessory or a program, you will want to arrange its desktop icons and windows more carefully than you would normally. An ideal setup would display the most important icons and windows when the NeoDesk 4 window is normal size, with ancillary icons and windows coming out of hiding, so to speak, when the NeoDesk 4 window is made full-size. You can arrange the icons and windows for this effect without a lot of difficulty. Such a desktop looks like nothing else on any platform -- perfectly organized, adaptable and easy to use.