Mac Daniel's Advice

Desktop Pictures

Evan Kleiman - 2001.03.26

Q. I'm getting tired of looking at the old blue kitty cats on my desktop. Can you tell me where I can get more - and better looking - desktop pictures?

A. The number one element to be customized on a Macintosh user's desktop seems to be the one thing everyone sees the most - the desktop picture. Unfortunately, Apple only provides a few different choices for the desktop picture or pattern. But now there are a large variety of sites out there that you can use to get some pretty cool new desktop pictures.

The first, and one of my favorites, is a great site that's been around for awhile. At Digital Blasphemy, the speciality of the day is always some kind of freaky, way-out, desktop picture. Most of these photos on this site have been rendered with programs such as Bryce 3D, so you can imagine how cool they look. In fact, the last five out of six or seven desktop pictures I've had have been from this site, and they all yield a "Woah, cool pic, dude!" or something like that when one of my friends or family members views my new desktop.

Another site is one for the Mac-Evangelist in all of us. At Mac Desktops there is a large selection of the common types of desktop pictures, such as pictures of trees, water, landscapes, etc. But, there are also a few larger sections at this fine site dedicated to pro Mac images. There are very many pictures of iMacs (many of which are in rather creative places, such as "iMacs in Copenhagen"), as well as many other Apple-related desktop pictures.

Even though by today's standards a $1,200 iMac is considered low-end, there are some real "extra-low-end" computers out there that are running pre-Mac OS 8 systems that are incapable of displaying full desktop pictures on their own. These users have two options: use plain old desktop patterns or get a program to display desktop pictures on your Mac.

The first option, which is probably the easiest, is just by getting some new patterns for you to use on your computer. Probably one of the best places for this is the Hyper-Mac desktop textures archive. As an added bonus, you can use these patterns as well as any other standard Mac OS desktop pattern as a Window Monkey pattern.

But if you don't want to use the plain old patterns, you can get Decor, an extension that will give your pre-OS 8 Mac the ability to use basically any GIF, JPEG, etc. as a desktop picture.

In the end, pretty much any desktop you see out there can be yours for the taking. The only hard part is finding the Kaleidoscope theme to match it!

Evan Kleiman has been writing for Low End Mac since January 1999. He also runs his own site, Evansite. Evan uses an iMac, along with some vintage hardware. You can read more about his computing experience in The Many Macs of Evan Kleiman.

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