Tuesday, June 02, 2009

TechTeach, Issue Nine

As important as anti-virus and anti-spyware are, this issue I’d like to dip into the fun side of your computer. Some people leave their computers on for long periods of time. Hours, days, even weeks without shutting them off. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than a couple of hours I recommend at least turning off the monitor. But, you can have your computer do a couple of things to make it interesting. Windows comes with a few screen savers of it’s own.

One of my favorites is the My Pictures Slideshow. This screen saver looks in you’re my Pictures folder and displays those pictures in a slideshow on your monitor. You can change the size and how long the picture stays on the screen. You can also point the screen saver to a different folder if you keep your pictures elsewhere. This great for family photos; kids, grandkids, events, vacations, favorite places.

Another one is Mystify, which shows lines bouncing around the screen as they change colors. Beziers does the same thing, only with curved lines.

You can also download screen savers from the Internet, but these come with the usual warning about being careful where you download them. Some screen savers can be the carriers of bad software (malware). If you want to look for screen savers, search CNet’s Download site. ( http://www.download.com/2000-2001_4-0.html ) These are pretty reliable for being clean files. Since I don’t run the site, I can’t promise that they will be clean, but I have had no issues with them in the past. If you find something you want to try, but aren’t sure, send me an email and I’ll give it a try first.

For those Star Trek fans among us, I can strongly recommend System47’s screen saver. It comes with animated screens and sounds and is multi-monitor aware. Meaning that it will use two monitors for its displays. I also like Planet Quest, which displays planets. It is also multi-monitor aware, but you have to tell it by un-checking the Use Primary Monitor box in the Configure program.

You can find screen savers for cars, planes, flowers, landscapes, art, cats, dogs, fish, or anything you want to display on your computer. Try the ones that come with Windows first, and see if those are appealing to you. Most of them have been since the days of Windows for Workgroups around 1992. It’s a great way to see some Windows history, without the pain.

Screen savers are a great way to give your Windows experience a new twist and have pictures to look at while you take a break from your computer.

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