The next generation vision of your future desktop

It really isn't often I can say, "I have seen the future" in a Darth Vader sort of voice, but I genuinely believe I have.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

It really isn't often I can say, "I have seen the future" in a Darth Vader sort of voice, but I genuinely believe I have. I know how messy a students' desk can be like, partly because I am one and my desk is an absolute mess. On the average student desk, I have seen:

  • writingpen.png
    a printer, a cup of tea/coffee, computer speakers;
  • a hole punch; several Post-it notes, an iPod;
  • three separate essays, a pack of cigarettes;
  • three (and a half; this is an average remember) books;
  • a scrap of paper with a shopping list scribbled on it,
  • headphones, a picture frame of family and/or friends in,
  • a cigarette lighter, Blu-Tack, and their university ID card.

Some of these obviously can't be placed on your physical desktop, but BumpTop, a revolutionary new desktop visualisation software has evolved my student ways for the better. It has transformed my desktop into a three-dimensional utopia, allowing me to post things on either side of my screen and on the desk-part; it makes my desktop feel like it's my actual desk. Anything in bold above, can be achieved with BumpTop.

The software is only in preliminary beta, and has been for quite a while considering it's currently at the 17th beta phase. It was shown off at the TED 2007 Conference and has been taking the web by storm, even though it is currently only in private testing. The media, such as myself, have been all over it like a nasty rash, but nothing but good has come out of this amazing software.

It's called "BumpTop" because everything on your desktop, replacing your standard Windows desktop, can be shifted and bumped about. By tapping an icon with another icon bumps it in a calculated direction, making it seamlessly similar yet different enough to how a real desktop works. The taskbar remains in place, but having certain themes attached to the application give Windows 7 an entirely new light.


You can grow icons, shrink icons, change the icon colours and change the layout, angle and perspective on your desktop items, lasso around your items and bump them together or even stack them in a pile. Using a carefully set algorithm of physics, mathematics and general understanding of the x, y and z axis, this software can entirely transform your desktop, and your busy and hectic lives. You can even add a Flickr stream or RSS feed to your wall; a similar but more compact version of the desktop slideshow in Windows 7.

There are many areas of BumpTop which can be built upon, and hopefully we'll see more developer angles in the near future. Nobody says it has to stay exactly the way it is; maybe a few more "gadgets" on your desktop, perhaps. Considering BumpTop uses around the same amount of memory as the Desktop Window Manager in Windows 7, it wouldn't be a bad addition to the operating system.

There's one thing for sure, is that this is the next generation desktop, and I'm surprised Microsoft haven't thought about adding this to Windows 7.

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