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Use a photo feed as screen saver or Desktop background Apps
I've created a small script that runs against a web app built on Google's new App Engine. The app parses a few photo feeds, stores the photos in a database, and can generate custom feeds which will enable the use of the photos in the feed as a Screen Saver, or Desktop background photos. So far, two feeds are parsed (with the approval of their owners):
  • Chromasia: http://deskfeed.neophytou.net/feed/chromasia
  • Daily Dose of Imagery: http://deskfeed.neophytou.net/feed/ddoi
These feeds are ready to be placed in iPhoto, and be used as Screen Savers or Desktop backgrounds. The disadvantage of using iPhoto however is that only one feed can be used at a time (there isn't a feed that produces the photos from both blogs together - yet), whenever iPhoto refreshes it has to download all the photos from the server again, and to update the stored photos one must launch iPhoto and click refresh, manually.

To get around this, I created a small python script which can be found, with instructions, here. Long story short, create a folder called DeskFeed inside the Pictures folder in your home directory, then download the script directly and just run it, and optionally set it to run automatically with a cron job. The first few lines are pretty self explanatory as to how the script is set up.

To set the photos as a Desktop background (similar process for setting them as a Screen Saver), launch System Preferences, go to the Desktop & Screen Saver tab, and either select the iPhoto album corresponding to the feed you subscribed to, or select the DeskFeed folder using the little + button. I found that choosing "Fit to screen" with a black background works best.

The generated feeds serve the photos from the Google servers, so the host blogs don't see any increase in traffic from the usage of this script. Additionally, new photo feeds can fairly easily be added to this app, so contact me with suggestions. Finally, if anyone has any knowledge on creating preference panes in OS X, please contact me as this script begs to be set up as a pref pane -- it's just too complex to set up the way it is, and it could very easily become a two-step process for any user not comfortable with the Terminal.
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Use a photo feed as screen saver or Desktop background
Authored by: musox on Apr 21, '08 10:18:22AM

Tried this out and it works great! I updated rss array feeds for my own personal images, and made sure that the required parent/child elements were included within my RSS, and it still works. How about that! :D

Thanks for the great tip, now I don't need to open iPhoto just to get my updated pictures on all my machines.

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http://musox.com



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Use a photo feed as screen saver or Desktop background
Authored by: wallybear on Apr 22, '08 02:32:17AM

"Finally, if anyone has any knowledge on creating preference panes in OS X, please contact me as this script begs to be set up as a pref pane"

Why not an AppleScript Studio App? Pref panes are not so encouraged. It's better a little app, with its preferences window:unobtrusive and more safe (=stable).

If you like, I could write the GUI.



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