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Randomly cycle desktop images Apps

I know that cycling desktop images been covered here before with a number of solutions, but I just ran across what may be the slickest solution I've seen yet. If you have a number of images that you'd like rotated as your desktop background, check out SwitchPic.

This amazing $5 shareware application, written by Joe Howard, is nearly a perfect solution to the problem. It offers the ability to use the built-in screensaver images (beach, nature, etc) as backgrounds or you can specify your own folder of images. You can then, as seen in the screenshot, individually control whether each image is included in the cycle, how it's placed on the screen, and how likely it is to be chosen for use. You can even choose to install SwitchPic as a stand-alone application or a custom PreferencePane.

About the only caution I would offer is that it does a recursive search on whatever image folder you tell it to use, and if there are a lot of images and sub-folders, your machine can really slow down while it works at cataloging the images. Not a bad bug list for version 1.0 of anything!

So if you want to cycle your desktop images and help a starving college student in the process, download and register (for a whopping $5!) SwitchPic. I'll be registering my version this evening!

[Important note: The program will use a LOT of memory while indexing images! Here's a blurb from the author, posted on VersionTracker: "The problem with the system slowing to a crawl while loading a large set of images doesn't have as much to do with indexing as much as loading all of the pictures to preview. SwitchPic loads an images, resizes to be smaller and then discards the larger image in memory. The problem is that it doesn't release the memory until all of the images have been loaded. When more memory is being taken than you have on the system, it stores it on the slow hard drive. I haven't noticed this since I have a lot of memory so it hasn't needed to access the hard drive. I'll try and fix this and release a updated version early next week."]
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Randomly cycle desktop images | 12 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Screen Savers - not quite
Authored by: SeanAhern on Nov 01, '01 05:16:33PM

The description was a bit misleading. Yes, the program allows you to use images from the Apple-bundled screen savers. But I had thought (erroneously) that I could use any full-motion screen saver as the background image. That's not the case. The program merely provides convenient shortcuts to the folders containing the still images that Apple uses in the default Nature, etc. screens savers.

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My fault!
Authored by: robg on Nov 01, '01 06:04:03PM
I didn't provide the full details on the 'screensaver' aspect of the program; I've fixed it now. I haven't heard of any sort of hack to make the full-motion screensavers play as background images. You might give SaverLab a look -- it runs the modules in a resizable window on the desktop. Quite cool, actually, but not quite the same as running them as your desktop. -rob.

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Bad experience = removed application
Authored by: ebow on Nov 02, '01 12:10:23AM

I downloaded the Preference Pane version of the app. I pointed it at a folder that contains 51 pictures, and it slowly picked up all of them. But it really slowed down the hard drive (and the system). And then it slowed things down more. I tried to quit System Preferences, and waited. Eventually, some message about the hard drive came up, but was partially covered by a Finder window. The pointer barely responded to mouse movements, and the clock wasn't running. So basically, it was unusable, and I had to restart. After restarting? Uninstalled the app and threw it away. So much for that.

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Bad experience = removed application
Authored by: thrash on Nov 02, '01 01:10:47AM

same thing happened to me...
I had a terminal window open to top
and it had gobbled up 1.2GB of VM in about 30 seconds
killed the process and deleted the file

the application seems ok though


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Bad experience = removed application
Authored by: ebow on Nov 02, '01 01:39:05AM

I suppose some info about my configuration might help take my post from complaining to informative. I'm running OS X 10.1 on an iMac DV SE 500 with 640MB RAM. At the time I tried SwitchPic, I had a significant (but not excessive) number of applications running, with an uptime of 11+ days.

I do wish I had a terminal running in the foreground when things went foul, as Thrash mentioned. I could tell this was a case of one process not playing nice (apparently not by the rules, either) but I was unable to remedy the situation.

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blurb from author...
Authored by: robg on Nov 02, '01 01:41:40AM

I just added a blurb from the author that explains the behavior...not that it helps your problems (sorry!), but he hopes to make it behave better with the next release.


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Bad experience = removed application
Authored by: thrash on Nov 02, '01 02:23:15AM

just to note...

I am running a Ti/400 with 640MB RAM and ~740MB free HD space
only a couple hours of uptime and a few apps running

at first I suspected that there was a
memory leak or malicious code

reassuring to see it was just a bit sloppy

nice app though!!!


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Not rotating pics...
Authored by: Bixmen on Nov 02, '01 12:19:44PM

i download the pref pane version, and selected some pictures, set the rotate pics every 2 minutes, and it hasn't switched yet. i also tried every login, and it still isn't rotating. am i forgetting something painfully obvious?

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Not rotating pics...
Authored by: Bixmen on Nov 02, '01 12:37:34PM

PS. i forgot to mention that it rotates with the standard apple backgrounds, but if i go to choose folder, and choose some of my desktops (about 30 pictures in the folder) that is when it doesn't rotate.

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Not rotating pics...
Authored by: geoff2 on Nov 02, '01 04:59:40PM

I encountered the same problem using a custom folder of images; at the time the images were supposed to rotate, I got certain messages on the console stating that it had failed. I e-mailed the author of the program, and he said he had figured out the problem and would fix it.

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Authored by: theNonsuch on Nov 03, '01 10:47:02PM
Why not use RandomBackground? It's free, and it's worked fine for me since day one. Check it out at : RandomBackground.

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Authored by: robg on Nov 03, '01 10:54:08PM

It's a nice program, all right, but I like changing desktop pics during my work session -- no logout required, and I get a new random picture every 45 minutes!


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