The "Active Desktop" is a great feature of Windows 98/2000/95 (95 only with browser integration installed,) that allows you to have html as your desktop background. This is very useful for placing your most often used tools right at your fingertips (especially if you know html.) For example, my desktop has Google, Ask Jeeves, and dictionary search bars in addition to links to my most often visited websites, and a spiffy flash animation just for looks.

To turn Active Desktop on, open display properties (this can be done by right-clicking on the desktop, then choosing properties). Then, once in the display properties box, first go into the Web tab and make sure that the box for "View my active desktop as web page" is checked. Then, go into the Background tab and click browse. From this, simply select any html document and press ok.

You could even put the everything2 search bar on your desktop so next time you need some inane info, you don't have to go through the trouble of opening up a web browser and choosing it from your favorites list (requiring 4 entire clicks!).

Acutally, it is one of the least used features of all versions of windows that have it available. 90% of the time it is active, but unused. On all computers I find running active desktop, I usually disable it because it's use is, truthfully, limited.

But, I have found one of those limited purposes.

I have a Japanese-word-a-day calendar. It's one of those desktop ones with 365 pages, and is pretty useful. Only problem is that it's not where I can look at it easily (you think there's space on my desk?), nor does it have the kanji (all romaji).

So using JWPce, each day I type the calendar entry into a text document encoded in EUC, this way I get the Kanji, Hiragana pronunciation, and the english definition. No romaji. I just right click, hit reload, and my desktop is updated. At last, a useful feature. Maybe next year I'll make a CGI for it, put a webserver on localhost, and serve it up to my desktop...

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