Fun screensavers and desktops

Fancy having other people’s dirty confessions streamed to your desktop? (they get bonus points for making a Mac version too)

Here’s the one that I have as my desktop wallpaper:

Earthwatcher creates a new image of the earth, as seen from space, every twenty minutes. It’s really quite humbling to watch as the lights come on along the Trans-Siberian railway. As I write this the sun is going down in east India. This was mentioned by a person on my forums last summer and I’ve loved it ever since.

Of course, if you want to do something good with your spare PC runtime then get the FightAIDS@Home screensaver/distributed processing software:

Download it from here
(Currently Windows and Linux only. No plans for the Mac have been mentioned.)

Once you’re set up you can click this link and join the Matazone team so we can see how we’re doing together! Currently there are seven members of the team and we are ranked 1,072 in the world for our collective contribution to the study of AIDs and illnesses related to the human genome.

More info on that one here.

Solar powered lampposts

There used to be a joke when I was a kid about a solar powered torch being invented by silly people (in England this is usually attributed to the Irish, but I’m sure the Irish probably use the English or some other country). The point was that it wouldn’t work when the lights were off, ba-dum tish. Well, some smart people up in Scotland have decided that they can do it after all.

Using technology developed for distaster areas, solar panels are being attached to lampposts so that they can generate their own power and any extra left over is going to be fed into the national electricity grid. It’s really about time we started doing things like this because power doesn’t grow on trees. Unless you burn the leaves… But you get the idea.

The thing that amuses me is that, in typical engineer fashion, they’ve got all excited and added wireless internet connection boxes onto the lampposts that would be driven by solar-power too. Hurrah! Next you need to be able to charge up your electric toothbrush from them too and you’ll be away! After that I predict it’ll be small rakes that pop out from the sides of the lampposts and clear up any dead leaves in case someone slips on them. Then ‘lamppost modding’ will become popular in areas where people have too much spare time: people will begin to change the standard bulb lampposts outside their homes into blue neon poles that pulse in time with the music on their owner’s iPod shuffle.

The future is bright, the future is powered by the sun, pulsing, and coloured blue.