What good is the Mac’s visible Desktop wallpaper? It’s merely one of the few ways Apple gives Mac users an opportunity to customize or personalize a Mac. Anyone using the Desktop to manage files and folders rather than the Finder is asking for trouble. There are times when the Desktop needs to be completely out of the way. And there are other times when a Desktop can be somewhat useful.
Yes, there are a couple of free apps for that.
First on my Friday Freebie list is Backdrop. It’s not so much as a decoration for the Desktop as it is a customizable screen that hides the Desktop and everything else. That makes it good for clean and uncluttered screen shots, for example. Or, as a way to focus on only one application at a time. Writing is another example.
Here’s what Backdrop looks like in action.
Add any image or color to create a unique and usable Backdrop to replace a cluttered Desktop. There’s also a built-in screen pixel test to see if your Mac has bad or stuck pixels.
At the other end of the scale, also free, is GeekTool, a Mac app that puts useful customizations into the Desktop. This unique app gives you plugin options to monitor bandwidth usage, view the Mac’s CPU load, check memory, insert the time, date, and weather information, or display iTunes information– right on the Desktop.
Great, right? Not so fast.
GeekTool implies that geeks will prefer it over the rest of Mac humanity. There’s no point and click settings as in Backdrop. You’ll need to know your way around the Mac’s Unix interior, be familiar with Unix shell commands to make things happen.
Mac geeks will love GeekTool. The rest of Macdom, not so much.