Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wallpaper and screen savers for IT people

I am an information technology professional, a software developer to be precise. I spend nearly my entire work day sitting in front of a computer. If I'm not at the computer I'm either reading a trade magazine or a programming book, down the hall talking with other developers or slurping ramen noodles while watching/listening to a technology podcast. I also have a 2 year old who, if I may say so, is rather cute.

What then is my desktop background? It's the ultra plain and boring Windows default teal blue. It's not a picture of my kid, pet, house or favorite vacation spot. It's a solid wall of lifeless monochromatic color.

What then is my screen saver? It's not beziers or starfields or 3d flower boxes. It's the default black screen with the Windows XP floating logo. Almost as boring as the wallpaper, but with movement.

I see banners for screen savers or hear technical people talking about power toys that provide nifty screen savers and wall paper goodness. Who has time for that? There's work to be done! What are these information workers doing that allows them to spend time staring at their computer's desktop wallpaper? And then staring long enough for their screen saver to kick in?? Don't they have work to do? Don't they have useless desktop add-on reviews to write?

And what about the screen savers? Do we even need them any more? Sure they were useful when we ran monochrome green CRTs, I suppose ATM and POS displays are legitimate applications, but everyone in my office runs a laptop with an external flat panel display. What's the purpose of the screen saver now apart from killing productivity? Do out LCDs really need saving? The only useful screen saver I see (or rather don't see) is the auto power-down mode.

If you are going to leave your workstation long enough for the screen saver to kick in, let it power off automatically or just shut it off and save a few watts . I'm sure your desk chair won't be any less entertained.

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