Review: Shareware Roundup
One of my first screensavers was AfterDark—you know, the one with the flying toasters. If truth be known I used to make those toasters flap their little wings really fast. Then I’d want calmness, and would change to the swans who swam gracefully in the black water that was my monitor.
I can’t say I’ve used screensavers much these days. Actually, as the Read Me document from Setting Sun notes: “Although screen savers are not strictly necessary (since most modern monitors can turn themselves off when idle), they still provide a nice distraction from a blank screen…” So true. And, it’s always fun to check out what’s out there in screensaver land, especially if it’s free!
By the way, if you don’t like these selections, check out more screensavers at VersionTracker and click on the Screensavers link.
Dilberito Screen Saver 1.5
Developer: Scott Adams Foods
Requirements: System 7.1
Watch Dilbert as he is chased by various colorful foods: a green string bean, a yellow clove of garlic, two purple beans, and one red tomato. These represent the four different types of food respectively—Indian, Garlic & Herb, Mexican, and Barbecue. (This is connected with the Scott Adams Foods company, which produces the Dilberito, a “delicious hand-held meal that’s fun to eat and filled with yummy tasting veggies, rice.” But I’ll let you read more about that online.)
Hit Escape to quit the screensaver. Although it’s very colorful, it’s not overly exciting, but a true Dilbert fan might like it.
Developer: Greenpeace (product page)
Requirements: Mac OS 8
From Greenpeace, this is a screensaver with, yup, you guessed it, lots of pictures of whales. The background of this screensaver is blue, and the pictures (centered on your screen) change every few seconds. This may not be much in the way of exciting, with things flying across the screen, but nonetheless, it’s a very peaceful and soothing screensaver. You’ll like it whether you’re a whale lover or not.
One thing to note: on the product page, Greenpeace mentions the following: “These screensavers are for enhancing your computer, they are not intended to be used to prevent your screen suffering from burn out. Every effort has been made to ensure these screensavers function correctly, however Greenpeace cannot be held responsible for the installation and download of these screensavers onto your computer. Greenpeace will not be providing any technical support for these screensavers.”
Setting Sun 1.6.1
Developer: Purple Shark Software (product page)
Requirements: Mac OS 8.1; 3D modules require QuickDraw 3D and OpenGL
Trial: Fully featured (30 days)
Setting Sun uses plug-ins (called faders) to draw cool images when your computer is not being used. This is the most versatile of the programs I looked at, because you can choose what type of screensaver you’d like. There’s the Typewriter (it begins to type a note across your screen, e.g. “I will not cut corners”), and the Matrix (the green symbols and numbers drop from the top of your screen just like in the opening of the film), and Roller Coaster (this one simulates a roller coaster ride). Warning: the roller coaster might make you queasy.
Setting Sun is certainly worth the $20 shareware fee, just because of the variety you have. It’s very cool and there are many options within each fader. Select Preferences from the Edit menu to change faders or keep your system secure by creating a password to wake up.
Here’s a screen shot of the Flag fader with a choice of flags. I’ve chosen the Scottish flag (must be something to do with the name Smith).
Scary Blinky 1.0
Developer: MacScreenSavers (product page)
In case you’re one of those I’ve-got-to-decorate-my-computer-for-Halloween types, try this spooky screensaver. A moon and a tombstone in the upper right hand corner remain constantly on a black background as ghouls and monsters pop up from the bottom of your screen. Watch for the flying witch (Blinky in disguise) on a broomstick, ghosts, rolling clouds, a haunted house…and more. Lots of fun!
Imagine Journey 1.0.0
Developer: Imagine Media (product page)
Requirements: G3-based Mac, Mac OS 8.5
Basically a promo for Imagine Media, this screensaver may not have very exciting graphics, but the idea is different. When the screensaver kicks in you’ll see a picture of a monitor on your screen. Within that screensaver monitor, there’s a little animation involving the earth, a window, and two desks with computers. Choose different buttons on the on-screen monitor to do different things; for example, reduce or increase image quality, what else can we do (this will show you other services by Imagine Media), fill the screen (to get rid of the monitor), or turn the sound on or off. If you want to quit the screensaver hit Escape or point your mouse to the button with the green dot.
Actually, when you begin to move the mouse, a hand with a pointing index finger appears and moves as the mouse would. Definitely imaginative.
Also in This Series
- Count Your Pennies · February 2003
- Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: Educational Tools · January 2003
- Scrabble and Boggle · August 2002
- Weblog Tools · June 2002
- Financial Help · January 2002
- Games for Mac OS X · December 2001
- Screensavers · October 2001
- Stickies and Notepads—Part Two · July 2001
- Stickies and Notepads—Part One · June 2001
- Complete Archive