Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mac Jedi Desktop Switch

What am I talking about anyways, this title makes no sense? Well watch a little video I made showing what a Mac Jedi Desktop Switch is.

Using a Mac Book Pro or other Apple Laptop with the ambient light sensor (used to detect light changes and dim the keyboard) and two other pieces of software, you can switch between your virtual desktops with a wave of your hand over the left speaker grill (which houses the sensor).

How to set it up
Set up is suprisingly easy so lets get started.

1) Have a laptop with the sensor. You know if you have this if your keyboard can dim when the lights go down. Some laptops that have the sensor are the new Mac Book Pro and recent Powerbooks and some that don't are the Mac Books and 12inch Powerbooks.

2) Dowload and install VirtueDesktops from:

3) Download and install ShadowBook from:

4) Run VirtueDesktops and select Preferences from the menu (VirtueDesktos runs in the top bar).
a) The most important setting here is in the Layout and Pagers section which will allow you to be able to switch to all of your desktops. Unclick Stay in Current Row. VirtueDesktops Preferences to Run with ShadowBook

b)You can also change the animation settings under the Appearance tab to whatever suits you.

5) Run ShadowBook and adjust the settings
a) First adjust the Upper (Left Sensor) Slider so the bar is green normally and when you pass your hand over it the bar changes to yellow. This sets the trigger point. If you make it not sensitive enough your hand won't trigger it and too sensitive means your virtue desktops either will wiz past one after another or not change. ShadowBook Preferences to switch between VirtueDesktops

b) Second click on the "Send Notification when Triggered" check box to enable the switching. I also disabled the keyboard flash to save my backlight for the iTunes Visualizer below :o)

6) Thats it! Now just pass your hand over the left speaker grill while focusing the force to change between the desktops.

7) If the light changes where you are at, open ShadowBook and adjust the sliders again. Also, if your desktop starts fliping like crazy, cover up the grill, open ShadowBook, and readjust the sliders.

I would like to be able to use the right speaker to go the other way in the desktop list but it looks like it doesn't trigger unless the left one is active. If anyone has worked around this, let me know and I will try it and post it here!

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