TUCOWS ARTICLE

What's on Gary Elfring's Desktop

My name is Gary Elfring and I own Elfring Fonts, Inc., a software and font development company incorporated in 1979. I built my first Z80 based computer in 1975 from a kit. (The Digital Group Group- and yes that was the name, not a typo.) It came with no operating system, so I input data from toggle switches. When the CP/M operating system came out and I wrote and sold the CP/M bios for this particular brand of computer. I wrote my first game for CP/M and distributed it on the very first BBS that could handle downloads. (It was a complete failure.)
Published: Jun 26, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
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My name is Gary Elfring and I own Elfring Fonts, Inc., a software and font development company incorporated in 1979. I built my first Z80 based computer in 1975 from a kit. (The Digital Group Group- and yes that was the name, not a typo.) It came with no operating system, so I input data from toggle switches. When the CP/M operating system came out and I wrote and sold the CP/M bios for this particular brand of computer. I wrote my first game for CP/M and distributed it on the very first BBS that could handle downloads. (It was a complete failure.)

I have 6 or 7 Windows computers at my office, mostly Dells. My displays are all flat panel LCDs, 19 or 21 inch. All my computers have CD and DVD drives. I'm not a "computer" guy- I'm a "printer" guy. My main computer has an HP LaserJet 4100, an OKI 5150 color laser printer, and a Signature IV CD printer attached to it. My second computer has an HP LaserJet 4M, another Signature IV CD printer, and an OKI Data dot matrix printer attached to it. I run a wireless network for Internet access. I do have two PDAs both of which support Wi-Fi. When I travel I only bring a PDA (plus a fold up keyboards and a Wi-Fi sniffer.)

I am very particular about my Windows desktop. I do use the standard color scheme. I arrange my desktop icons in the same fashion on all of my computers and any other ones I get near. I use a desktop icon for every program I regularly use (at least 52 at the moment on a 1280 x 1024 desktop), and they are organized so I can quickly find them. I rarely use the Start menu. Everything on my desktop is arranged in columns.

My left most column consists of programs I use multiple times each day. Top icon is always My Computer, followed by the Recyle bin, and then internet browsers (IE and FireFox), email programs, and newsgroup readers. My next column (from the left) has Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and NoteTab Pro. My next column of icons has font related programs- editors, managers, the Windows Fonts folder, etc. After that I have separate columns of icons for 1) desktop publishing, 2) web work (an editor, FTP Voyager, tools for building menus and indexes, etc), and 3) programming tools (compiler- Borland's C++ Builder, installer, help compiler, etc.). I really like Borland's development environment, but want to stick to C++ programming.

My favorite programs are:

  • NoteTab Pro as a text editor. I use it for editing any true text file (and a lot of random file types) and as a searchable database for all kinds of information. I might have 10 or 15 files open in it at one time, always ready to be searched or referenced.
  • The Bat! for email. Frustrating help, documentation, and menus, but features like "Quick Templates" that I can't live without. Quick Templates are basically macros that let me type a few letters and substitute paragraphs of canned text for that little piece of text I typed. I have nearly a hundred answers for common questions stored as macros. This lets me answer common questions with extensive replies in virtually no time. Finally, The Bat! doesn't use any MicroSoft tools to display HTML and isolates you from all kinds of Internet related worms, viruses, and spyware.
  • PaintShop Pro seems to be a new version every few months, but it's a great graphics program. I can convert images, optimize them for web sites, and do hundreds of other useful things. It's also much easier to use than PhotoShop.
  • ProShow Gold for making slide show presentations of my digital pictures. It's easy to use, intuitive, and makes shows for computers or DVDs (or both- all on the same CD!).
  • Pretty Good Solitaire when I need to waste time, this is my program of choice. Hundreds of games to choose from.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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