Imagine your Facebook, Gmail, Twitter or favorite blog or magazine as a background of your desktop. You can switch currently showed content from desktop level to front anytime from menu bar and start browsing immediately.
Desktopr is a desktop application for Mac OS that turns your desktop background into a live feed of mutimedia and websites of your choice. Perfect for passively viewing social network feeds, news stories and/or checking email. Sandwich Lab has done a nice job with this V1.0 release. There are many options available for customization such as: custom URL’s, transparency adjustments, duration of display, management of content, font size and more.
Adding custom URL’s is a breeze and can be accessed by launching the Preferences Panel. After clicking the “Add” tab from the menu, select “Custom” and type in the URL for whichever website you wish to add to the rotation. You will also notice preset categories which provide quick access to popular sites and services. Once you have added the website (or file), click on the “Content” tab in “Preferences” to confirm its addition to the list. From this panel, you can also set the display duration for each item, independently. This means that you can set your Gmail account to display for 3 minutes, Twitter for 2 minutes, CNN for 45 seconds and so on. You can also check content to add it back to your feed or uncheck content to remove it from your feed.
Once you have all of your sites, feeds, files, videos and other content added to Desktopr, head on over to the settings tab in Preferences to customize the way Desktopr Functions. From here, you can set the app to launch at login, adjust the transparency, configure WebKit Settings, change font size and customize the Quartz frame rate. All of these items come in very handy, but for me, I find the transparency option to be the item I change/update the most. It takes some tweaking to get the level of visibility just where you like it. I still want to see my standard desktop, files and drives, beneath Desktopr but not so much that it detracts from the content. It can be a delicate balance.
Another option available to the user is “Browsing Mode” which allows you to actively, as opposed to passively, view items. When activated, Desktopr becomes a web browser in full screen mode. Handy if the content chosen to run inside the app requires feedback, replies and/or interaction of any kind.
Although Desktopr is really a great effort and executed very well, there are quite a few areas that need improvement and/or further development. My Wish list for Future updates:
- Add Keyboard Shortcuts: It appears as though you cannot use any keyboard shortcuts to access the app and its features.
- Add Social Network Integration: Currently, there is no way to sign in to services, such as Facebook or Twitter, from the preference screen.
- Allow Desktopr to Access Keychain Items: Login info for websites is not accessed via keychain; you must sign in to all services and/ or websites added.
- Browser Bug Fixes: There appears to be a browser incompatibility issue when accessing Google+.
- Support for Sleep Mode: There is no sleep mode, so you must quit the app to access your desktop files.
- Polish Current Display Functions: When entering browse mode, the time constraints set for display should not apply. As-is, the app switches to the next item regardless of browse mode, often times interrupting whatever I am doing.
At the end of the day, Desktopr is worth the $3.99 if you are looking for an effective way to passively view your favorite news and/or social sites. Anything more involved than that, at this point, would require further development from Sandwich Labs to provide a satisfactory experience. Great first release, I look forward to future updates.
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