Two screens, not 1 -- right hand screen has two rxvts (green on black), with vim on the left and a shell on the right
Left screen has fullscreen firefox. I dropped out of slashdot around the time of beta, I believe it's got better since, but the ratio of good:bad commenters is still low.
I never got into transparent terminals, but I did have some silly effects when I dabbled with E17 for a few weeks. That didn't last, and I went back to my WM around that era was blackbox (and fluxbox later), and indeed I only change to xfce around 5 years ago -- very similar screen estate.
Just as I had 20 years ago, I have focus on mouseover, raise on click. I no longer monitor cpu/memory usage using the program that's on the right side of the screen (I used to use it, but I can't for the life of me remember it's name).
I'm using mplayer to listen to an internet radio station rather than x11amp to listen to local mp3s, if anything I think the main change in the last 20 years for me is less window dressing (which was already pretty minimal)