Mac beautification

by Francois Joseph de Kermadec

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My resolutions for 2005 did not involve weight loss, reducing my dependence on nicotine or a drinking problem — three apparently fashionable problems I am lucky enough not to have at the moment... It did involve however a rather tricky decision: finally dress up my computer in a way I liked.

Like many Mac users, I am in love with the Mac OS X interface: it is clean, translucent in the right places and has a relatively Zen quality that makes using a computer for a long time a pleasure. Even what is often described as gratuitous eye candy by some of our PC friends actually serves a purpose by introducing a dash of fun and surprise in an otherwise dull computing routine.

As much as I love the interface, though, I was stuck in my quest for the perfect screen background. Someone staring at his screen all day like me quickly gets fed up with the beautiful but limited collection of images that comes bundled with the operating system — I must say to Apple's credit that the images they suggest are by far better than what I have seen on other platforms.

Unfortunately for me, I don't have gorgeous Hawaii vacation pictures to put in iPhoto and use as a desktop slideshow and do not have kids that send me pictures of their surreal, sun bathed wedding in the northern forests to look at. Therefore, I am often stuck with nice stock photography that I end up rotating quite frequently.

While browsing the internet yesterday, I remembered the backgrounds I had seen at PlasmaDesign, a site that many members of the Mac community know well. I hadn't looked at Rob Randtoul's backgrounds in a long time and I must say that they felt like a welcome change! Figurative enough to be enjoyed but abstract enough to not cause the too-common two-hours picture backlash — this awful moment during which you realize that you so cannot stand your choice of picture that you just end up replacing it by a solid light blue for the day.

I am still browsing the collection and looking at the pictures but I am hooked... Now, I do change my screen background every five minutes but it's for another reason ;^) I just wish I had a 30" cinema display to do them justice!

I know that many of us heavy computer users are often in this situation, so I thought I would share this gem I discovered with you. It is most certainly not the only site to offer backgrounds but it's definitely the best I have seen — and trust me, I have looked around!

Until next time, dear Mac users, enjoy thinking different!

And you, what are your favorite sources of backgrounds or techniques to make an image stay fresh longer?


2005-01-17 07:32:54
Try Mandolux
The most gorgeuous backgrounds I have ever run across:

2005-01-17 09:17:17
I use StarfishX to make my desktops. It's easy to let it run randomly overnight and choose the best ones in the morning.
2005-01-17 12:00:43
If you even notice your background image, you must not be working hard enough...never notice mine :-)
2005-01-17 15:54:36
deviantART: where ART meets application!
deviantART: where ART meets application!