Tech Life Classic N.A.D.D. symptoms

Show off your N.A.D.D. / Win a Prize

So, you think you’ve got a pretty bad case of N.A.D.D.? Prove it. I want desktop screen shots showing the multitude of open windows which best demonstrate your pathology.

The best (worst?) example of N.A.D.D. will received a signed Jerkcity book as well boat loads of well intended public humiliation. Winner(s) will be decided by yours truly.

Please send your submissions to — I’ll post noteworthy submissions to the entry as I receive them.

[7/18/03 Update]:

Our first NADD finalist, a Windows user, is displaying all the right symptoms. Multiple lines of communication open in the form of email and instant messaging. Combined with edit windows for both Python and HTML as well as tidy WinAMP window, you’ve got a got simmering case of NADD.

Finalist does lose points for, apparently, editing HTML within notepad? Please. A true NADD is the master of their respective editor whether it’s EMACS, VI, Codewright, BBEdit whatever.

Finalist #2, a Mac OS X user, displays some mighty NADD symptoms. First off, where’s the Dock? THE DOCK IS HIDING BECAUSE IT TAKES VALUABLE SCREEN REAL ESTATE — HELLO. Other blissful clutter includes edit windows, stickies, a news reader, and other unrecognizable apps stacked behind Safari.

Two minor deductions. First, the use of stickies. Clearly this is being used as an organizational method here, but stickies are neither structured nor do they scale – give me Excel with sortable columns… aaaaaaahhhhh. As for iChat, it appears Finalist #2 has seven folks on their buddy list. Seven? You call this NADD? A full blown case of NADD would mean you’d be FORCED to turn off buddy pictures because YOU’VE GOT TOO MANY DAMNED BUDDIES.

Finalist #3, another Mac OS X user, does display the Dock, but they still got flippin’ apps open all over the place… Net News Wire, Camino, iChat, Mail.. and more… Looking carefully, one can see Slashdot hiding behind iTunes… Slashdot… news for NADD.

One major deduction for this Finalist is the presence of an old version of iTunes. Part of the NADD pathology is a deep desire to stay on the bleeding edge. Information is power and using old bits means you’re missing out on something AND SUDDENLY YOU’RE AN AOL USER. Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie.

Keep those submissions coming…

[7/20/03 Update]:

In our second set of three finalist, we start with Finalist #1 who is clearly playing to judge with the Emacs editor sitting in front in all of it’s color syntaxing glory. Additional points are awarded for the discarding of the Internet Explorer for the bleeding edgeness of Mozilla Firebird plus a generous dosage of XWindows in the Windows XP environment.

Lastly, Finalist #1 has the balls to leave the default Tinker Toy theme of Windows XP on… I’d dock points here, but I left it on, as well. The older themes look, well, old.

Finalist #2 is a study in N.A.D.D. nirvana. Clearly a Unix fan, this finalist demonstrates virtual desktops. If your N.A.D.D. needs pixels, virtual desktops are the way to go… if you’re OS doesn’t support it out of the box, there’s always add ons which will give your respective OS everything that it needs.

As we’ll see from our next entry, Finalist #2 appears to have a solid system for their affliction, but they are missing one thing…

Folks, virtual desktops are for those of us without the cash money to do this… multiple live desktops. Yes, it takes a lot of desktop. Yes, it can be costly, but when it comes to N.A.D.D., YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH YOUR DESKTOP… ALWAYS.

Finalist #3, a Mac OS X fan, sports an amazing clutter of applications. As with all the entries, it is difficult to detect the system by which the user controls their desktop from a static screenshot. To really understand the depth of their N.A.D.D., you’d need to be looking over their shoulder as they traipsed around their desktop.

This entry shows all the classic N.A.D.D. symptoms… look at that dock… look at that toolbar… packed full of N.A.D.D. related applications. The last straw must be the shunning of iChat for Adium… why? It’s be the tabbed instant messaging. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

15 Responses

  1. Darien , the man who sold the world 14 years ago

    Doesn’t this seem like an efficency test? not that I won’t enter I mean it’s about time this affliction got me something. but I think it’ll be genuinely interesting to see how some people do this. remember gang “sad pants” (or favourite jerkcity in general) bg not nessasary! …that is if you can even remember what your wallpaper is.

    ~Darien, Time for darien to go get some non-franchise coffee. but wait they didn’t pick the beans themselves they are supporting some big bean company! *GASP*



    T DARIEN I’ve received a bunch of desktops so far and while they are interesting, what you DON’T GET TO SEE is how people interact with their desktop… I’m certain how folks interact with their desktop is half of determining the NADDishness.

  4. (read headline) a prize, eh? cool…

    (starts writing comment) ah screw it…

  5. It seems like someone with a serious case of N.A.D.D. would choose an OS that supports a window manager that supports multiple desktops (ahem…linux), because then you have an infinite number of desktops to clutter, instead of just one measly little desktop.

  6. Aurynn 14 years ago

    Nah.. while you’re right that multiple desktops are the way to go, the TRULY N.A.D.D.-afflicted would go for the superior route – multiple monitors. Two or three displays would definitely be the best route. None of this weak ‘changing virtual displays’.. just glance over! 🙂

  7. I have one problem with your update, Rands…

    The only truly good HTML editor I’ve ever worked with is Notepad. I need nothing more than the features it gives me. Anything else *cough*FPExpress*cough* is for losers.

  8. Andrew –

    Damn right!

  9. First let me say I use notepad all the time — it’s great for quick hit and run editing. BUT, for any editing of code, a good editor will save you time and, most importanty to the NADD affliction, it gives you MORE CONTROL.

  10. Notepad isn’t even good for “hit and run” editing. That’s why you always leave Emacs running.

    I mean, what if you need to do a quick rectangle operation?

    Maybe it’s just me.

  11. So far, my vote for the NADDiest of the NADDs goes to update #2 Finalist #3 (#6 for the mathemeticians out there). I mean that person is in need of a serious 12 step program for NADDoholics.

    (You all laugh but just wait, such a program will exist in time, and we’ll have Rands to thank/curse.)

    Sometimes genius involves simply putting a name to something that was there all along. I mean, why didn’t I think of NADD? Then I could be rich and famous JUST LIKE RANDS!

  12. Hm, I actually considered submitting my desktop for consideration here, but the problem is that in some cases, the depth of NADD affliction is not immediately visible from a screenshot. Frankly, a lot of these just look like “how many windows can I have open at once” shots rather than true examples of NADD tweaked-until-it-can-be-tweaked-no-more work environments.

    Case in point: my two terminal windows. Only two terminal sessions open? Must be a mild case, right? Wrong: each one opens up onto a screen ( session that contains somewhere between 2 and 20 virtual terminals inside it. (One virtual terminal, in turn, runs irssi, a textmode irc client with its own virtual windowing system for each channel.)

    The point here not being that HELLO I’M SMARTER AND GAYER THAN YOU FOR USING SCREEN (okay maybe a little, although screen’s gee-whiz factor is pretty much a circa-1988 phenomenon), but that there are plenty of ways of coping with vastly multiplexed inputs that don’t result in a completely visually cluttered desktop, and you can’t necessarily infer the former from the latter.

    Obvious similar example: some people have one emacs window open to edit a text file somewhere. Then there are those people who simultaneously use the same emacs session to read their mail, IRC, IM, and probably collect netporn.

  13. That’s exactly the point I made when I sent some screengrabs over. The screens that are up right now would drive me fuckin’ nuts — way too much clutter. But with tabbed browsing in Mozilla, AIM/IRC/editing in XEmacs, and a single ssh window open for email stuff, I have lots going on and I can see everything that’s happening.

    Add a virtual desktop that and you can have important apps always a single keystroke away (Alt-F12 = Desktop 4 = Palm Desktop for me).

  14. I’m definetly a NADDer, but I never grasped the benefits of virtual desktops. I just alt-tab through the apps I need, or use one of a billion hotkey combos set up to launch various apps. CTRL-ALT-A for CTRL-ALT-C for a calculator (or CTRL-ALT-T for the tape-calc), CTRL-ALT-B for Mozilla Mail (once ther ctrl-N gets me a browser window while mailnews fetches my mail), CTRL-ALT-M for a magnifier, more more more. I mean, if I’ve used multimon, and loved it (until I blew out a monitor, never tinker with the innards while they’re on), but virtual desktops just seems useless. What’s the difference, REALLY, the usabliity difference between that and hotkeying from app to app?

  15. The differences, in my mind, are twofold:

    1. If you have a lot of apps open, they let you organize groups of windows by function. I don’t want to alt-tab past my email window when all I care about is the windows on my staging server. This also lets you set up an environment and forget about it for hours until you need to come back to it.

    2. Alt-tabbing means you have to look at icons and think. Having one app running on a desktop, you can hit a hotkey and that app is active. It’s always exactly one mindless keystroke away. I love that.