Jun 19, 2007

Smart Wallpapers

November 17th, 2006

Here’s an “I like my desktop to be beautiful and informative” idea.

Today, we pretty much choose static wallpapers because they look good. (Although I think Macs have a slideshow wallpaper function.) I once thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool if my wallpaper could reflect the environment outdoors?” Meaning, could I have a wallpaper that reflected the season, weather, and time of day? (I’m not the only person to come up with this idea.) Doubtless there is software that can do that (I didn’t find any freeware that did it) but it got me thinking. What if wallpaper was more information-aware?

What if instead of a static image, we had “Wallpaper Widgets”? Imagine a Wallpaper Widget that showed a different picture if you have new email, or that displayed a slideshow of the latest NASA images, or that changed colors depending on the stock market. Add transparency support, and multiple Wallpaper Widgets could be layered, so that your desktop could show a weather based wallpaper by default, an envelope wallpaper if you had new mail, and on top of those, a translucent wallpaper that was tinted green or red based on the stock market! Obviously, a generic wallpaper widget could be made that simply lets users pick a static image to display, but advanced generic wallpaper widgets could be written to handle picture slideshows, wallpaper rotating, and so on.

Postscript 6-19-07:
I bet this is achievable in Plasma. (Meaning I could make transparent Plasma applets that take up as much size as the screen.)

Postscript 9-17-07:
Wow!  Plasma "backgrounds" really are applets!  This is going to be so cool!

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