So most of us are familiar with screen savers on computers – they’ve been around ‘forever’ – and really they had a functional use in their early days – ” to prevent phosphor burn-in on CRT and plasma computer monitors by blanking the screen or filling it with moving images or patterns”.  Today they do little more than allow nice images to dance across the screen.  Yet it’s just that function – inside of a lab environment that can take the function of a screen saver and make it real again. 

With the real connectedness of the Internet – it’s very easy to put together a screen saver hosted on Flickr and have it pipe content to your desktop, on a PC or a Mac. You can take your best pictures, even those you don’t necessarily own and have them show up on your computer in whatever time frame, sequence and pattern you wish.  You can even automate the updating of screen saver content on the fly – using RSS, as is seen in OSX’s RSS Visualizer. 

While this is all nice – and it is.  I still want more.  Since I work for a small IT department, and we have several systems we manage – some of which are Mac, I like to pride myself on giving a bit better polish to how we support end users on the Mac platform. [I’m the only ‘mac’ guy on the team.. so give me a little break here.]  And in so doing, I’d like to make use of OSX’s RSS Visualizer to post updated IT specific news on OSX lab computers.  The problem seems to be that I can’t fully get the screensaver to execute while logged out.  I realize that OSX’s RSS Visualizer also allows you to enter a number corresponding to the ‘article’ to have it show the full article – so being logged off kind of eliminates that ability. Our labs don’t have machines setup as kiosks – users are required to login, otherwise a standard login would work just fine.

I may just have to go with a standard picture-replacement option – using one of OSX’s built in savers and replacing the content with other images – and manually changing those images when it’s really warranted.

Now that I think about it – how often does content from IT departments get ignored, regardless of the number of times or means that information and level of importance is communicated.  And really, who’s going to stare and read at a screen just to read a few lines of an article post?  Perhaps trying to communicate pertinent information via screen saver is really a lost cause.


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