ďSo what the heck is this xBack you speak of?Ē
Iím glad you asked...
xBack really only does one thing but it does it very well - it's a utility that allows you to use screen savers as your desktop. How cool is that? I told you it was cooler than the Fonz.
Iíve uploaded a small (approximately 9.5MBs) QuickTime movie to my .Mac site that shows xBack in action. Click the thumbnail to view the movie.
Once installed xBack resides in the Finderís menu bar. Click on itís icon and youíll be presented with a couple different options, the most important of which are the Media drop down menu option and the Media Browser.
These two options basically do the same thing: allow you to choose which screen saver you want to set as your desktop. With the Media drop down menu your presented with a textual list of all installed screen savers as shown in the image above. The Media Browser goes one better and shows you a small preview of the selected screen saver.
Other choices in the main drop down menu include a Stop option as well as Quit. As you might imagine, Stop stops xBack but doesnít quit it all together. When you want to start xBack up again just choose Run from the menu. This is handy on slower machines as xBack can take up quite a bit of CPU power. There may be times when you want to temporarily shut it down. Quit on the other hand, quits xBack completely. Imagine that!
You can also choose to have xBack start automatically upon log on from the main drop down menu. Thatís how I have it set up. If you find your machine slowing down or perhaps OS Xís dock starts getting a little jerky while unhiding, you can choose the ďRun xBack at a lower priorityĒ option. Iím running xBack on my 2GHz iMac G5 and have run into only a few occasions where Iíve noticed slow or jerky behavior, and that is only when the dock pops up or during an application launch.
Want the ultimate in Wow! factor to show off to your PC using friends? Buy and install Marine Aquarium 2 for OS X. MA 2 is a stand alone aquarium simulation that also comes with a screen saver module. Having a school of tropical fish swimming around on your desktop is, to say the least, sweet!
Gideon SoftWorks, maker of xBack is only charging $10 for this gem, and you can try it for 7 days before you buy to make sure your machine can properly handle it. Speaking of which, minimum system requirements are: OS 10.2 & Quartz Extreme. Iím running it in 10.4.3 and haven't run into any problems.
Check out and download xBack from Gideon SoftWorks. Also check out other screen saver and Quartz Composer animations thatíll work with xBack from quartzcompositions.com.
I give it ............9 out of 10 Apples (loses 1 for sporadic jerky OS X dock)!