Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:38 pm
I, personally, think that "activities" don't need to be rethought.
I think that there is one main tweak that can be done and then using a sledgehammer...
get out a SIMPLE - ten point description of what the activities actually DO.
I) This post is about two things:
i) how to get the word out
IF THE FOLKS IN LINUX LAND DO NOT KNOW....about "the rethinking" then the situation in and of itself about getting NEW users by "rethinking activities' is an exercise in futility.
ii) GET the ONE thing that the NEW USER thinks would make the "activity" worthwhile RIGHT and be done with it.
BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT but the post will begin with "how to get the word out'.
i) The whole gestalt of the "activity" has been a "bugaboo" for years..... I have read literally dozens and dozens of "reviews" of activities and absolutely none actually "described" the intention behind their creation.
Notice that the PROBLEM is not the Plasma desktop it is what the REVIEWERS WRITE about the desktop.
Almost all reviewers could care less about this desktop or that desktop!
What they care about is:
a) people coming back to read their breathless and trenchant reviewsand not another reviewer's work
b) CLICKING ADVERTISINGS.
The Newspaper Editor figured out two centuries ago how to ....minimize the "reporter's ego" and maximize money.
This has been forgotten intentionally, or unintentionally, in the modern day of "advocacy journalism" but HERE is the way to get the reader's attention.
The physical placement on the paper newspaper page was this reading DOWN vertically:
The reason for this placement is so that the editor could CHOP OFF the bottom parts of the article in the case that A NEW ADVERTISING came in after the article had been typeset ( the old lead fonts that were hand placed).
WHO --- who is the article about, literally, "do I know the person in the car wreck"? ...........not .....the reviewer
WHAT - A new factory is coming to town, what will they make and can I maybe get a job?
WHEN - if it happened within the last few days then it is important to read now, otherwise I can MAYBE save it for later
WHERE - All the IMPORTANT news is "local"
WHY - people could care less why so it is at the bottom..
However, "reviewers" have changed / reversed this...
WHO now means the reviewer
WHAT is BELOW the first advertising
WHEN the dates are removed so that the reader is fooled into when it was written and so it can be easily recycled
WHERE - This is often very hard to determine so that the reader thinks it might have happened near them.
WHY- This is how the reviewer makes her or himself important and so people come back to read more scribblings...
The new sequence is
B) What do I HAVE to write so that you will come back and click my advertisers?
So.............ONE PROBLEM with "Linux developers" is that they FEEL IT IS DIGNIFIED to write about their stuff in a formulaic format
It is a THING..............being dignified, and aall welll..you know...
And a prime example is at Distro Watch, most "release announcements" start with something like "We are proud to announce..." ..etc.
SO.............what needs to be done to "get the word out"?
The thing that needs to be done is to decide upon A FEW.......
A FEW...........important things about the Plasma desktop
And.....get them //// out so that they are..... FRONT AND CENTER.... for the new user. OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN...
Especially at three places:
I) There should be a vertical bulleted list, not a paragraph, for a distro watch announcement...the one on the first page of DW
II) The first ten vertical bulleted lines of the "description" of the distro on the distro's page at DistroWatch. WITH...a one line "expansion" of each.
III) The first ten vertical bulleted lines the "landing page" of the KDE site with TWO expansion sentences of each
front, and centre, there should be a vertical BULLETED LIST of AT THE MOST.....
TEN "things that can be done with the Plasma Desktop".
A) the first two or three bulleted items should be NEW even if they are just TWEAKS of what was there before.. but don't SAY that they are tweaks....this is intended for the NEW user.
" We now have a widget to invoke activities"
B) the rest should ALWAYS "the IMPORTANT base items" that are repeated with each announcement.. such as:
"Activities now have a lock feature for applications on them".
"We have a very short "read me" on the desktop to guide you in setting up your first activity and first widget".
HORRORS: What will the reviewers have to write about?
HORRORS: Will we offend the reviewers?
To answer the last question: NO!
This is done to :
a) capture the new user's interest
b) So that the REVIEWERS can easily absorb the information and then TURN IT AROUND IN THEIR OWN PARTICULAR SPIN...AND EXPAND UPON THEM. for their readers.
After all, why do YOU ...like to read a particular reviewer?
Mainly because of the reviewer's writing STYLE..and the "in depth" reporting....
But., the reviewers want the reader to be "slidering down" past ADVERTISINGS....the "good stuff" is at the bottom..
SO.........FORCE the reviewers
to put the "good stuff" THE WHOLE LENGTH DOWN...of their review starting at the top!!
They will write about what is PROVIDED because it is EASIER than digging it out for themselves...
Give the reviewer a "hand up" with the bulleted information and the reviewer can then take the " hand off " and run with it...
everybody is happy!
AGAIN TO REITERATE:
The NONUSER who has READ reviews.... has read TOO MANY TIMES....that the "plasma interface" is ...."hard to understand"... it is "heavy" it is "resource intensive"
By producing over and over again a simple bulleted list of what the plasma desktop can do....
THE CASUAL READER........."gets the big idea" and then can go to the reviewer for the details...
II) How to capture the attention of the NEW USER when FIRST seeing the plasma deskop:
A) a READ ME..... on the desktop front and center.. listing in ten bulleted sentences:
a) This is how you add an activity
b) Look at the widgets and find our new "activity manager" widget that places a link on the desktop for navigating to the activities.
c) how to lock an application to a single desktop
KISS....keep it simple for a few of the BIG IDEAS that make the Plasma desktop so elegant and easy.
We all know that the huge strength of the Plasma Desktop is the activities.
THINGS RECENTLY DONE RIGHT...
A) the Placement / addition of the widget "activity manager" FIRST THING on the top ... is brilliant...............just brilliant.
B) The whole "panel" at the left for adding activities, is, again, brilliant and very nice looking...really....
THE ONE THING THAT NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED......
In my honest opinion........The problem is that a NEW USER ... thinks INTUITIVELY that if an activity is going to be "better" than a virtual desktop that
it should AT LEAST......lock an app to an activity.
I have a favourite music app that does not have the "normal controls" on the window frame at top, there is NO window frame... to lock it to an activity...
Instead it has a box to tick for "move to such and such a page' but it doesn't work...the thing is on all activities no matter what..
A LOT OF PEOPLE have a variety of "their favorite thing" that do not have this "lock to activity / window / whatever" option.
>>>>>>>So, make it a function of the KDE Plasma desktop.... no matter what the app wants to do.<<<<<<
TO WIT....when the person is making the new activity there should be a TICK BOX. WHEN MAKING IT.,..inserting the title, etc...
......"Do you want to LOCK all applications on this activity to ONLY this activity?" ( Yes / UNDO } ....
IMHO.............if the new user can IMMEDIATELLY FIRST THING.. get a couple of activities set up AND lock the desired apps to that activity.........
The word will get out ....and people will flock to KDE.
they can explore the nuances later... lol
Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:21 pm
The biggest problem with activities is to me they are a solution in search of a problem.
What you have to ask yourself is: what does the user need that virtual desktop cannot give to him?
Why would he need another way to manage his screen?
If you cannot find the answer, then virtual desktop are useless; and forcing them to the user is like forcing someone to use a DE on a server.
If you don't need it, why use it?
Personally I found a way activities can actually be used.
I'm thinking on something that andreas kainz said on the firsts post of this topic.
Use them to manager multiple kind of input, like mouse and touchscreens.
Think of some modern laptop: they are convertible touchscreens, where you can use only the screen to use the PC.
In that case it would be nicer to have two activities: one classical shell for keyboard and mouse (or touchpad),
and one for just the touchscreen (where the shell is different and look somewhat more like android).
So now they would be used by users, because they would be there for a *purpose* and not just because someone decided they are needed "just to have a feature more".
Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:55 am
I, personally, would be greatly interested in you expanding on that you have "found" a way...
Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:47 pm
Well, this would apply only for laptop with touchscreen or convertible ones.
Like this. https://www.cnet.com/topics/laptops/bes ... d-laptops/
You will have two activities:
one called "laptop" or "PC" and would behave just like a normal activity.
The other is called "Tablet" and would be optimized for touchscreen use.
The shell will be different (more like a tablet interface) and some settings will be different (like, for example, you can move a widget long pressing on it).
It will be more like Plasma Mobile shell.
Also windows 10 has this feature (I have to say I discovered this later), where you have a "tablet mode" that changes the UI to be more touch friendly.
here that's a good explanation with pictures of what I want to achieve with activities.
http://www.howtogeek.com/221973/what-is ... n-and-off/
Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:42 am
Great things about activities from my point of view are:
- Different power saving modes per activity
- Do not track
What is missing at the moment (or I don't know how to (re)activate in Kubuntu):
- Link files/folders to activities
So I am using a Presentation activity (display never turns off and do not track is active, but if I close the laptop lid the desktop is locked.), a Standard activity (nothing special here) and a Home activity (same as Standard, but if I close the laptop lid the desktop is not locked because the laptop is connected to a docking station) and in the past I created activities for each project I was working on (because I linked files/folders to activities and with a folder view plasmoid in the taskbar just showing linked files/folders it was super easy to just have the files you need for this special project at one click).
May we see a comeback of the linking feature someday?
Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:40 am
For what it's worth, I just checked and the linking still seems to be present (though I don't really use it). In Dolphin, I can right-click on a file or directory and the menu has an Activities entry where I can link it to the current, or any other activity. I couldn't really find a way to disable it either although you can configure Services in the Dolphin Preferences which allows you to disable the "File to activity linking plugin" . I'm running Plasma 5.8 on Debian Unstable.
Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:41 am
Yesterday I updated my Kubuntu installation with packages from the backports ppa and now I can use this feature again , I am pleased as a punch .
I think this feature is just amazing, if you use activities. As stated in my last comment I have a folder view plasmoid on my taskbar which just shows the files and folders which are linked to the current activity. So in this folder view I just see files and folders which are relevant for the current activity (e.g. files which I need for the current presentation, so I don't need to exit my current application because I just need to click on the folder view plasmoid and every needed file ist there).
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:45 am
I'm choosing detachable laptop now.
But I have doubts, my friend has a problem with this gadget. On the one hand, it is rlly very convenient, but, on the other hand, I'm worrying about breakdowns. She has Asus (2015, I don’t remember the name exactly). In tablet mode, programs аре not presented in a full-screen by default.
Does this often happen to the tablet mod? When I used her laptop, it was very annoying.
Edit by moderator: link removed, this was off-topic
Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:29 pm
In my opinion, you should provide an faster way to switch activities. For example, Plasma5 should provide an activity switcher in additional, top panel. In this panel could also co-exist current window menu.
In place of upper idea, you could place activity switcher in default panel on right of task switcher. Task switcher should been configured to display only window from current activity by default.
Lachu, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Nov.
Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:13 am
What about this?
For the experienced KDE user the above may seem very much "overly simplistic" and "I could do that with a virtual desktop", but one should think of ATTRACTING the new user who.... we might "assume" is here fresh from Microsoft and has never even considered a "virtual desktop" let alone an "activity' .....the only option is "the" desktop.
The above could be described as a large "quote" which is labeled "for the absolute new user to Linux / KDE" there could be another large "quote" labled "for the part time user of the "virtual desktop" that the activity provides so much more such as...
the discussion elsewhere of using an activity for a "private page" or a "laptop page" or whatever.
Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:55 pm
Perhaps taking that a step further, have an Activty Recipes page (on the kde community wiki or somewhere) which describes how to use Activities to do different things. That could then be used to showcase their versatility as well as share knowledge about recommended usages and setup schemes.
airdrik, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Dec.
Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:37 pm
BRAVO! my thoughts, even though my head is made of cabbage, exactamente!
Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:09 am
I think the use cases for Virtual Desktop, when it was first created, would likely have been something like this:
As a user, I want more desktop space available than visible on my monitor.
I'm not saying this was the exact use case that was being thought of, or that people were actually thinking of use cases at the time. I just think that this was likely the underlying thought for creating Virtual Desktops. It ultimately came from a need for more desktop space.
But if you look at the problem more closely, it becomes clear that there are actually different reasons for wanting more space. The 2 main reasons can be described in 2 separate use cases:
As a user, I want more desktop space available than visible on my monitor so I can perform my tasks more effectively.
As a user, I want more desktop space available than visible on my monitor so I can perform my diverse tasks more effectively.
These are clearly very similar use cases, with the difference being in how they want to optimize their desktop space for their tasks. In the second use case, the tasks are different enough that the user can't optimize the desktop space in one single way to suit all of them, as can be done in the first use case.
So to answer the question: What are activities?
Activities represent extra desktop space that are configured differently. Each one can have different panels, widgets and backgrounds and be linked to specific files and applications. Each Activity can have a different amount of Virtual Desktops as well.
And to clarify the confusion with Virtual Desktops: What are Virtual Desktops?
Virtual Desktops extend the user's desktop space to provide them with more space to arrange their application windows. The background, panel and widgets remain the same for each Virtual Desktop, providing the user with the same familiar desktop space in each Virtual Desktop.
It should be noted that users should be able to use Virtual Desktops or Activities or both. They provide different ways to make the user more productive and it's up to each user to determine what works best for them.
I hope this helps reduce the confusion around this and give a bit more insight into these features, both of which I think are beneficial to users. Though the difficulty still lies in how to make them discoverable to users when they need them (without spamming them when they don't need these features).
Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:18 pm
That does a great job of describing the situation, including covering why we have both Virtual Desktops and Activities, in a very concise, easy-to-digest summary.
Of course, part of the problem we run into is users who by that description only need Virtual Desktops, but want different wallpapers anyway just because. (though, for that I believe there are items on the kde store and iirc Latte Dock? which allow you to set different wallpapers on your VDs).
Something else that could be useful is some kind of switching tool to help users who are accustomed to Virtual Desktops but who should be using Activities, which would do things like swap out widgets, set up Activities for each of their Virtual Desktops and swap keyboard shortcuts; to ease the migration and allow them to use Activities like Virtual Desktops but with the enhanced customizability.
airdrik, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Dec.
Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:02 am
This seems useful for improving usability as well as discoverability of the Activities feature. I think there are 2 use cases for such a "Virtual-Desktop-to-Activity converter" tool; converting all Virtual Desktops into Activities and converting a single Virtual Desktop into an Activity.
Once you have this, you can present the tool to the user at suitable places for discoverability of Activities. One of the most user-visible differences between a Virtual Desktop and an Activity is that you can't change widgets and the background for only 1 Virtual Desktop. So we could put the option of converting a single Virtual Desktop to an Activity in the "Configure Desktop" dialog, adding that they need to do that if they only want to change that specific desktop and not all of them. And the System Settings dialog for Virtual Desktops could contain the option for converting all Virtual Desktops to Activities, again with some explanation that it's needed if you want them to look and feel differently. This is just a first guess at where to make this discoverable though. Maybe some more suitable places can be found.
Once the user has converted their Virtual Desktop to an Activity, they can discover the other features that Activities provide.