The Preemptive Switch to Dock-on-the-Left

Since my first day with OS X I have had my dock on the bottom. I suppose it’s because I switched from Windows and that is where the Start and task bar lived.

My Dock started out at a very non-geeky, medium size with auto-hide and magnification both turned on. Progressively through the years I have turned off auto-hide and magnification, and now have it at a much more geeky, smaller size.

When I first saw the screenshots at WWDC of Leopard’s Dock I figured it was one of those things that had made it into the 10.5 concept build, but wouldn’t actually make it through to the final product. (Same as what happened to the grass wallpaper.)

As the developer builds were seeded I kept expecting Apple to finally change the dock; hoping it was on the ToDo list but they hadn’t gotten that far yet. (Perhaps they were working on my .Mac suggestions?)

And Apple never did change the dock.

I don’t know what preferences may be available in the final build of Leopard to turn lame dock off, but I’m not betting on any.

So I’m left with two choices: (1) Keep my dock in the location I’m used to and hope the shelf grows on me. Or (2) move my Dock to the side and see if I can get used to something new.

I’m going with the latter because I am always up for something new. Heck, I just switched to AT&T after 5 stellar years with Verizon. I didn’t switch because Verizon was bad, I switched because why not? It’s an easy way to change things up a bit. (Well that, and the iPhone is fantastic.)

I only moved my dock over about 2 hours ago and there are already a few things I noticed right away:

  • Putting the Dock on the left is the only real option for me because the mounted discs are on the right. Although the vast majority of people who have moved their dock off the bottom have moved it to the right.
  • The screen is ‘framed’ differently. With the dock on the left and my discs on the right my desktop feels more like one large screen in the middle of two access points, as opposed what used to feel like two smaller screens with the access points in hiding.
  • Even though my icons are still in the same order, top to bottom feels much different than left to right. I basically need to re-learn my Dock icon layout. I don’t know if that’s a normal issue to have or if it’s because I’m right brained. Or maybe I’m left brained. I don’t honestly know.

What I know of Dock-on-the-side people is similar to those who drink their coffee black and those who shop at Costco. There is something about those types of people that I haven’t connected with why they do it that way, but I have a feeling if I did I would discover something great.

Some Dock-to-Screen Real-Estate Math

  • My 23″ Apple Cinema is 1200 pixels tall. When my dock was on the bottom it was 41 pixels tall. That’s roughly 3.5% of the up-and-down real estate.
  • On the side my dock is now 47 pixels wide; or about 2.5% of my 1920 pixels of left-to-right real estate.
  • Obviously if I hid the dock then screen real estate would be a non-issue, but that’s not gonna happen. The beauty and functionality of the Dock has always been one of the great ‘little’ things about OS X.
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