What's on the Apple Store desktops?
February 20, 2005 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I was in my local Apple Store on Saturday, and the desktops all had some kind of one-click launcher, with mouseover titles and things you couldn't drag off. It felt kind of like Active Desktop. Anyone know what it is?

There weren't any running processes other than the usual stock suspects. Is this some kind of internal Apple hack, or some Finder configuration I'm missing. I'd love this functionality for my company, but all the various Safari-desktop hacks aren't quite good enough. Surprisingly, none of the floor staff working there knew what it was, either, and I didn't have the time to wait for a Genius.
posted by mkultra to Technology (13 answers total)
Is it the new dashboard feature of OS10.4?
posted by jessamyn at 12:11 PM on February 20, 2005

If mkultra is talking about what I've seen, it's not Dashboard -- the Apple Store program(s) is running on Panther.
posted by esd at 12:12 PM on February 20, 2005

I know what you mean, it's been there for a while and it's not Tiger-related.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:20 PM on February 20, 2005

It's just a little application that Apple wrote for use in their stores only. Runs with a hidden dock icon and I think there's a related cron script to keep it running if it gets force quit, etc. I can't remember the name of it, but it should show in activity viewer or top.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:23 PM on February 20, 2005

Is it the Exposé feature that shows all open apps with giant icons? You can access it in Panther with command-tab. Doesn't make sense that it would be showing by default, though.
posted by obloquy at 12:23 PM on February 20, 2005

nathan_teske is correct, it is a custom internal Apple Store application, and is emphatically not a consumer-available feature of any OSX version. I suppose it's remotely possible that someone has created a freeware/shareware clone of it, but I've never heard of one and probably would have if such existed.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 12:36 PM on February 20, 2005

It's not Exposé, and it's not Dashboard. It's something custom, and very nice. It doesn't show running apps, just shortcuts to things Apple wants you to see (I seem to recall an iCal calendar of events at that store, for example). In terms of window ordering, it sits above the Finder but below everything else. You can't bring it to the foreground and you can't force-quit it, so it feels like it's "embedded" into the Finder desktop.
posted by jjg at 12:40 PM on February 20, 2005

This is the locked-down, "restricted" Finder that you can set for user accounts in the System Preferences -> Accounts applet.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:38 PM on February 20, 2005

AlexReynolds, that does not seem to be what's described in the question. I just tested it, and nothing on the desktop is affected.
posted by odinsdream at 2:18 PM on February 20, 2005

You can see it here. It isn't part of any feature of OS X I know of.
posted by cillit bang at 2:33 PM on February 20, 2005

Its called DesktopButtons
posted by vacapinta at 2:43 PM on February 20, 2005

The most relevant point is that what it launches is fixed and can't be easily changed.
posted by smackfu at 3:37 PM on February 20, 2005

It could be Konfabulator, which might be the app that Apple based their new shiznitz on.

I use Konfabulator all the time and it's pretty great. Weather widgets, CPU widgets, widgets for building widgets...
posted by readymade at 3:58 PM on February 20, 2005

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