Animating the Desktop

Christopher Breen
2 June, 2009
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If you’re tired of looking at the same old desktop backgrounds, maybe it’s time for a change. How about looping some of your favourite videos in the background while you work? 

Sure. Download a copy of MonkeyBread Software’s free Desktop Movie Player X. Once you’ve downloaded it, you can just drag a movie of your choosing on top of its application icon (or launch it and choose File -> Open Movie File) and the movie will play as your Desktop background. Choose Movie -> Loop and the movie will repeat until you quit the application. You can also play a folder full of movies by either dragging a folder on top of the application icon or choosing File -> Open Folder. (You can easily have Desktop Movie Player X play the contents of your Movies folder by choosing File -> Open Movie Folder.)

This is pretty slick, but perhaps you’d like something that’s both slick and relaxing. You’ll find that in Amuse Inc’s $US35 ($A44) My Living Desktop. My Living Desktop not only allows you to import your own movies for display on the Desktop but also comes with over three dozen high-definition, animated scenes from beautiful locations around the world. If you like, you can set up a schedule so that these serene scenes kick in at certain intervals (every hour, for example) or at particular times of the day. You can have My Living Desktop play just one scene or ask that it cycle through the different scenes at an interval of your choosing.

One other option is to forgo your own movies and use the Mac’s built-in screen saver as an animated Desktop background instead. To do that download and run a copy of Nil Thacker’s free Wallsaver or open Terminal and enter:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &

To stop the animated screen saver, return to Terminal and enter:

killall ScreenSaverEngine

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