I like my desktop empty. Very empty. My last few backgrounds were stuff I found by googling "tree of life". My current one is a plant fragment and it even has color (I can't decide if I'm okay with that - my previous ones were black on white). I'd like to do something mildly messed up myself, but I don't have a scanner :(.
My point is that I win (by merit of ethnical/mythological references and being obsessively formal). To be honest, there is a lot of space for improvement for my general workflow, but that doesn't seem to be the subject here.
Also, I'm worried that whatever "programmer related" you come up with, it will be less nerdy and more silly. If you feel like it, you might be able to find yourself a tiled window manager. That should get you a few extra points, I think.
Do I get extra points because I used* to have a meticulously organised astronomy wallpapers folder? And when I say "meticulously organised", I mean I had a folder of nebulae which was organised by type, NGC (or other) number and then file number, for example: "Wallpapers/Astronomy/Nebulae/Reflection/B33 (Horsehead)/B33 000.jpg"
I'm disorganised IRL but my hard drive is very well organised.
* Deleted it when I bought a new (1920x1080) monitor (up from 1440x900) and I haven't bothered to recreate it since. I was working on a taxonomically-organised folder of animal pictures too, but in the end I settled for just having the kingdom, order and common name (e.g. "Wallpapers/Animalia/Carnivora/Wolf/Wolf 000.jpg").
Why? Because modern operating systems still haven't solved the problem of not being able to use special character in file names?
Personally, I think a filename should be able to have any character in it you want. The current system with paths and passing arguments as strings and such is archaic and constantly causing problems. Why else would we still be having to deal with the same minor problems over and over?
We adapt by doing what the OS wants us to do? Really? Granted, it's not exactly like there are other options, but I'm still going to rebel. You can use filenames that make your computer happy and type memorized commands into the console all day long if it is more productive for you, but I think that we're contorting ourselves just because it's too hard to change in any real way.
I'm not saying old is bad, I'm just saying that old is slowly starting to make new harder. Something has to change. Either file systems and console-based interaction needs complete redesigns, or certain "special" characters shouldn't be allowed in file names - and how will you enforce that? ;p
What we have currently works, but it has problems. I'm just pushing for perfect. Don't yell at me for being misinformed or ignorant - I'm not forcing you to change, I'm just explaining how I could increase my own productivity. Though, if I have said something blatantly wrong, do correct me.
I guess you can call me a "nerd" since I am a computer programmer.
I usually have backgrounds of binary, NAND or XOR gates, transistors, printed circuit boards, or algorithms.
Although, I take my desktop backgrounds HIGHLY seriously, and select them with careful extraction of details, impression, and uniqueness to my favor, not so much on mobile operating systems do I stress on this.
This is one of the backgrounds I used to have; it's a fork puzzle: