Desktoptopia is a cure for the common desktop background

A Mac-only app that switches up your desktop backgrounds so you don't have to.

For about the longest time, the background on my Mac had been fairly dull--a Manhattan cityscape plucked from the selection at DesktopNexus. I want my desktop patterns to look good, but I'm not one to put a whole lot of thinking power into it; there are better ways to waste energy.

I have a pretty new desktop--'Within' by Vlad Studio

This morning, however, I switched when I read about Desktoptopia, a new Mac-only downloadable app that lets you easily discover aesthetically pleasing "designer desktop" backgrounds created by innovative digital artists (no generic landscapes here) and switch them up either automatically or manually with a very simple set of controls. Install the software, and you'll get a new little menu in your navigation bar to play around with it.

For further interaction, the drop-down menu also allows you to rate your current background--presumably, this will mean that higher-rated desktops will show up more frequently in the rotation--or visit the Web site of the designer who created it. You can additionally select exactly how much time you want to go in between desktop refreshes (mine's set to manual) or which categories you'd like the selection to come from (we're talking the likes of "photography," "typography," and "graphic design," not "beaches" and "sunsets"). Most of the available desktops are really quite lovely; a few border on the yawn-worthy "abstract displays of light" genre, but the majority are very fresh.

I do wish there were more social features to help build a community around the app and encourage both user and designer feedback--think of it as a Threadless for desktop backgrounds. Now that would be really cool. And it is, very tragically, $20 to go beyond the trial version. But doesn't the label "designer" usually come with a premium?

(Via Josh Spear)

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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